Thursday morning news: May 31, 2018

Pompeo, Chol to meet in NYC » The proposed U.S.-North Korea denuclearization summit is all but official, as high-level talks continue to advance.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting today in New York City with Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the North Korean communist central committee.

Last week President Trump announced he was canceling the scheduled June 12th summit. But yesterday State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said things look promising. 

NAUERT: We are where we are today. We know we’re looking forward to participating in those meetings as we prepare for President Trump’s summit in June.

The latest official word out of the White House is that the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is expected and that if the June 12th date can’t be reached, it could take place sometime after. 

SWBTS fires Paige Patterson, strips of benefits » The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary executive committee voted unanimously last night to strip Paige Patterson of the title “president emeritus” and retirement benefits.

A week ago, the school’s board of trustees moved Patterson out of the president position amid past controversial comments and accusations that he had failed to notify authorities about a rape allegation in 2003 while he was president of another seminary.

The executive committee said it had new information confirming the allegations and voted unanimously to end its association with Patterson.

Ceasefire in Gaza » AUDIO: Gaza calm sound

A tense calm after a Palestinian mortar attack on Israel’s border with Gaza. 

Leaders of the militant group Hamas on Wednesday said they’d reached a cease-fire with Israel through Egyptian mediators.

That after one of the worst days of violence in Gaza since the 2014 war there.

Hamas fired dozens of mortar shells early Tuesday, wounding three Israeli soldiers and one person in a kindergarten shortly before it opened. Israel responded with air strikes on Hamas training sites in Gaza. 

Israel denied reaching a cease-fire but said quiet would be met with quiet.

Ukraine fakes journalist’s death » Reports of the death of Arkady Babchenko have been greatly exaggerated.

ANCHOR: A Russian journalist has been killed in the Ukrainian capital. Arkady Babchenko was shot in the back in his own apartment…

Ukrainian officials admitted Wednesday to faking the death of the prominent journalist, known for criticizing the Kremlin-backed separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says it carried out the hoax to catch people reportedly trying to kill Babchenko. He appeared with officials at a news conference and thanked those mourning his staged demise.

Russia had earlier dismissed claims that it was behind what turned out to be a staged murder, calling it an “anti-Russian smear.”

China tariff tiff » The Chinese government on Wednesday criticized the Trump administration’s decision to reverse an agreement to delay tariffs on Chinese goods.

China said the decision hurts the administration’s credibility and is—quote—“contrary to the consensus the two sides have previously reached.” However, China did not threaten to raise tariffs on U.S. goods.

Earlier in the week, the administration renewed its threat to place 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods and restrict Chinese investments in U.S. companies over unfair trade practices.

Trump signs “Right to Try” bill » With the stroke of a pen Wednesday, President Trump gave new hope to those suffering from terminal illness. 

TRUMP: Today I’m proud to keep another promise to the American people as I sign the “Right to Try” legislation into law.

The new law gives patients with life-threatening illness access to experimental treatments and medicines, bypassing the Food and Drug Administration.

Trump said the United States has the best medical researchers in the world but promising treatments are held up for years in exhaustive trials, forcing Americans who can afford it to go elsewhere for treatment. 

TRUMP: I’d see people, friends of mine and other people I’d read about, where they’d travel all over the world looking for a cure.

Some patients’ groups criticized the bill as unnecessary, saying the FDA already approves experimental treatments. Critics said it could give “false hope” and is “unsafe.”

Edwards signs abortion ban bill » Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has signed legislation protecting unborn babies from abortion after 15 weeks gestation.

The new law makes Louisiana one of the nation’s most protective states for the rights of the unborn. It creates criminal penalties for anyone performing an abortion, but not for the mother.

Mississippi enacted a 15-week abortion ban in March, but a federal judge has put that law on hold. Early this month Iowa adopted a law bannings abortions after doctors detect a heartbeat, often around six weeks gestation.

North Carolina dam compromised » AUDIO: Rushing water sound

Flood waters rushing over the Lake Tahoma dam east of Asheville, North Carolina.

Fire crews went door-to-door in the area Wednesday, warning residents that a landslide, caused by rains from Tropical Depression Alberto, could cause the dam to fail. 

BAILEY: It’s been a scary time, so I think everybody was heeding the warnings that we put out.

McDowell County spokeswoman Richelle Bailey. Officials did not issue a mandatory evacuation, but on social media encouraged residents to “act now to save your life.”

Even so, the county said it did not expect a full collapse of the dam.

I’m Jim Henry. Straight ahead: more on the new migraine drug the FDA has just approved. And a report on the attempted crackdown on those vexing robocalls. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies at the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. 

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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