Monday morning news: April 23, 2018

North Korea suspends nuclear tests, missile launches » The White House says the U.S. is closer than ever before to solving the North Korean nuclear threat peacefully.

AUDIO: North Korea state TV

That after this announcement on North Korean state TV Saturday…

AUDIO: North Korea state TV

Declaring the country will halt nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests, and close down a nuclear test site.

Washington generally welcomed the news but many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are highly skeptical. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein told CBS’s Face the Nation… 

FEINSTEIN: Of course the reputation of the North Koreans has been that they don’t necessarily keep their agreements.

And Republican Senator Tom Cotton noted …

COTTON: It’s an easily reversible decision, and they made no announcement about their medium or short-range ballistic missiles that threaten hundreds of thousands of Americans in Korea.

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short says he understands why lawmakers are weary, but he told NBC’s Meet the Press that the current round of negotiations is different from what’s happened in the past.

SHORT: I would tell you that, one is the agreement to stop testing, which is something North Korea has not done before. We also, though, have cautious optimism, Chuck, we are cautious — you heard the president say many times, we’re going to keep up maximum pressure. We’re not gonna stop that until they denuclearize. 

The president is also projecting very guarded optimism. While he celebrated the announcement as “great for the world” he also said Sunday that “we are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won’t.”

Iran warns U.S. against agreement withdrawal » And as a May 12th deadline looms for a White House decision on the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s foreign minister is warning the United States against pulling out of the agreement. Javad Zarif told CBS’ Face the Nation that as President Trump talks of the U.S. putting its own interests first, Iran is prepared to do the same.

ZARIF: If the benefits of the deal for Iran start to diminish, then there is no reason for Iran to remain in the deal, because it’s not acceptable for us to have a one-sided agreement.

President Trump says the deal is already one-sided, in Iran’s favor. In January, the president called on Congress to fix the terms of the nuclear deal, but those efforts have stalled on Capitol Hill.

European leaders, like French President Emmanuel Macron are trying to convince the president not to scrap the deal.

MACRON: On nuclear, let’s preserve the framework because it’s better than a sort of North Korean type of situation.

President Trump extended sanctions relief for Iran in January, but vowed it would be the last time unless the nuclear deal is amended. Some analysts believe he could change his mind and extend the deadline once again next month particularly if secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo is not yet confirmed.

57 dead in Kabul bombing » A massive suicide bombing in Kabul has killed dozens. WORLD Radio’s Jim Henry reports.

AUDIO: Kabul sound

JIM HENRY, REPORTER: An ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan quickly claimed credit for the bombing that killed 57 and injured nearly 120 others early Sunday.

The explosion shattered windows miles away from the bomb site— a voter registration center where hundreds of Shia Muslims had come to pick up identification cards.

The Sunni-led ISIS calls Shiites “apostates.”

Like the Taliban, ISIS opposes representative government and wants to establish harsh Islamic rule in Afghanistan.

The country will hold parliamentary elections in October. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Jim Henry.

DNC lawsuit alleges conspiracy between Trump campaign, Russia » Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of any possible collusion between Russia and officials within Trump campaign is still very much ongoing but the DNC isn’t waiting for a conclusion.

The Democratic National Committee has filed a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 20-16 election.

No one within Mueller’s team has thus far offered any indication that the probe has turned up evidence of collusion but DNC Chairman Tom Perez says he’s convinced collusion took place.

PEREZ: We’ve got elections coming up in November. It’s hard to win elections when you have interference in elections, and they’ve done it with impunity, and I’m concerned that it’s gonna happen again.

Republicans say the lawsuit is nothing more than political grandstanding ahead of those November elections.

Perez says the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an order to prevent further interference with computer systems of the Democratic National Committee.

White Sox pitcher in critical condition after dugout collapse » Chicago White Sox players are asking people to pray for a teammate who is remains hospitalized after a brain hemorrhage in the middle of a game over the weekend. 31-year-old pitcher Danny Farquhar collapsed in the dugout during the 6th inning of a game against the Houston Astros, just moments after leaving the mound.  

Medical personnel immediately rushed to help him, and he regained consciousness before being transported to an area hospital.

Tests revealed that a ruptured aneurysm caused the hemorrhage. He remains in the hospital in stable but critical condition.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next, Mary Reichard takes us to the Supreme Court on Legal Docket. And Mary Coleman on a Christian approach to mental health. This is The World and Everything in It.

(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File) In this Friday, April 20, 2018, photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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