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North Korea canceled secret meeting with Pence at Olympics, US says

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Vice President Mike Pence was set to secretly meet with North Korean officials at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, earlier this month, but North Korea canceled at the last minute, the Trump administration said Tuesday.

“North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the Vice President softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” Nick Ayers, Pence’s Chief of Staff, said.

Pence “was ready to take this opportunity,” according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, and would have used the meeting to emphasize U.S. concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The meeting with Kim Yo Jong, regime leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s nominal head of state, was supposed to take place on Feb. 10, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the news. But less than two hours before the meeting was slated to begin, the North Koreans backed out.

NORTH KOREA AND KIM JONG UN: MEET THE KNOWN KEY PLAYERS IN THE REGIME

Pence’s office said North Korea “would have strongly preferred” if the vice president didn’t use his trip to the Winter Games as a platform to discuss the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” to dissuade the North from using its nuclear program.

“Perhaps that’s why they walked away from a meeting, or perhaps they were never sincere about sitting down,” Ayers said. “But as we’ve said from day one about the trip: this administration will stand in the way of Kim’s desire to whitewash their murderous regime with nice photo ops at the Olympics.”

North Korea previously said through state-run media that there was “no need” to meet with Pence at the Games.

Pence and the North Korean delegation drew attention at the Games’ Opening Ceremony when he and second lady Karen Pence sat just feet away from Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam. There appeared to be no interaction between either delegation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com.

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New York AG sends notice to Cuomo to preserve documents in sexual harassment probe

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New York Attorney General Letitia James said Friday that her office had sent a notice to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office asking it to preserve any records or files that may be relevant to the investigation into sexual harassment claims against the Democratic governor.

The preservation request, a relatively standard part of law enforcement procedure at this stage of any inquiry, was made for members of Cuomo’s staff including aides and includes electronic communications as well, a spokesperson for James confirmed to NBC News.

This comes as James formally launched an investigation earlier this week into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo.

Cuomo on Wednesday publicly addressed the claims, apologizing for remarks he said “made people feel uncomfortable.”

“I fully support a woman’s right to come forward. And I think it should be encouraged in every way,” he said. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional. And I truly and deeply apologize for it.”

“I feel awful about it,” Cuomo said. “And frankly, I am embarrassed by it. And that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth. But this is what I want you to know, and I want you to know this from me directly. I never touched anyone inappropriately.”

He then pleaded with New Yorkers “to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion.”

As of Friday, three women have accused the governor of inappropriate behavior.

Lindsey Boylan, a deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo from 2015 to 2018, wrote in an essay on the website Medium last month that she had been subjected to “pervasive harassment” when she worked for him, including being asked to “play strip poker” and receiving an unwanted kiss on the mouth. Cuomo press secretary Caitlin Girouard called Boylan’s allegations “quite simply false.”

Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, told The New York Times in an interview published last week that Cuomo made several inappropriate remarks about her sex life, which she said she interpreted as an overture. Cuomo has denied that he was attempting to make an overture.

This week, Anna Ruch, 33, told The New York Times in an article published Monday that she felt “uncomfortable and embarrassed” when Cuomo placed his hands on her face and asked to kiss her at a wedding in 2019. The story included a photograph that appears to show the moment.

On Monday AG James’ office received a referral letter from Cuomo’s office authorizing her to “conduct an inquiry into allegations of and circumstances surrounding sexual harassment claims made against the Governor.”

Cuomo responded to Ruch’s account and the photo evidence of it, calling the gesture his “customary way of greeting.”

James’ office is expected to name a private attorney or attorneys in the coming days or weeks who will conduct the inquiry and prepare a final public report. James also said the findings would be disclosed in a public report.

Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, tweeted Friday shortly after the confirmation from James’ office that the governor will comply with the notice.

“We received this request March 1 and our counsel’s office acted promptly and notified all chamber staff of their obligations associated with that,” he said.



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EU's devastating role in triggering Black Wednesday laid bare – 'Torpedoed the pound!'

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THE UK was plunged into an economic crisis in September 1992 and an expert has claimed the EU was partly to blame for triggering the financial crash.

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Budget 2021: Sunak blasted for 'wasteful' freeports plan

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BUDGET 2021 saw Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveil fiscal policy support designed to help the country weather the final months of lockdown and beyond. However, one of his policies, an extension of “freeports”, has been branded a “wasteful” use of taxpayer money.

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