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Sadiq Khan condemns Boris's 20k extra police offer as he deflects questions on knife crime

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Trump to have dinner with Otto Warmbier’s parents

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump planned to have dinner Saturday with the parents of an American college student who died in 2017 shortly after being freed from captivity in North Korea.

An administration official said Trump was to host the parents of Otto Warmbier, who was convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster while in the North Korea capital and spent 17 months in prison. He died at age 22 just days after being returned to the United States in a vegetative state.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier, the parents of Otto Warmbier, in their home in Wyoming, Ohio, in April 2017.Maddie McGarvey / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, was expected to join the dinner. Officials say he is among the 15 candidates Trump is considering to replace ousted national security adviser John Bolton.

Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier of suburban Cincinnati, say their son was tortured in prison and they were angered by Trump’s comments this spring that he took North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “at his word” that he was unaware of any mistreatment.

Trump later tweeted, “Of course I hold North Korea responsible for Otto’s mistreatment and death.” The tweet made no mention of the Kim, with whom Trump is pursuing nuclear talks.

Doctors in Cincinnati said Warmbier had suffered severe brain damage, although they weren’t sure what led to it. North Korea denied mistreating him, saying he fell into a coma that resulted from botulism and a sleeping pill.

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Trump brings up possible defense treaty that could boost Netanyahu’s re-election bid

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WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a possible mutual defense treaty between the two nations, a move that could bolster Netanyahu’s re-election bid just days before Israelis go to the polls.

“I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries,” Trump said on Twitter.

He added that he looked forward to continuing those discussions later this month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

Netanyahu thanked Trump, saying in a tweet that Israel “has never had a greater friend in the White House,” and adding that he looked forward to meeting at the U.N. “to advance a historic Defense Treaty between the United States and Israel.”

The timing of Trump’s tweet, just days before Israel’s election on Tuesday, appeared aimed at buttressing Netanyahu’s bid to remain in power by showcasing his close ties to Trump.

Opinion polls predict a close race, five months after an inconclusive election in which Netanyahu declared himself the winner but failed to put together a coalition government.

Netanyahu’s Likud party is running neck-and-neck with the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who has focused heavily on looming corruption charges Netanyahu faces.

In a televised interview with Israel’s Channel 12 later on Saturday, Netanyahu made a direct appeal to voters based on the treaty. “I’m going to get us a defense pact that will provide us with security for centuries but for that I need your votes,” he said.

Trump previously bolstered Netanyahu’s candidacy when he recognized Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the Golan Heights ahead of the elections earlier this year.

Some Israeli officials have promoted the idea of building on Netanyahu’s strong ties to the Trump administration by forging a new defense treaty with the United States, focused especially on guarantees of assistance in any conflict with Iran.

Trump provided no details, but a mutual defense treaty could obligate the United States to come to Israel’s defense if it is attacked.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said earlier this month that a pact should apply to “defined issues – nuclear threats and the matter of long-range missiles aimed by Iran at Israel.”

“We have means of offense and defense, but this would spare us the need to earmark enormous resources on a permanent basis and for the long-term in the face of such threats,” Katz told Israel’s Ynet TV.

Netanyahu’s chief rival Gantz assailed the idea as a “grave mistake”, arguing it would strip Israel of military autonomy.

“This is not what we want,” the centrist candidate told a conference in Jerusalem. “We have never asked anyone to get killed for us. We have never asked anyone to fight for us. And we have never asked anyone anyone’s permission to defend the State of Israel.”

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Sanders cancels three South Carolina campaign events to rest his hoarse voice

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The Bernie Sanders campaign canceled three South Carolina events Saturday afternoon to help the Vermont senator combat a hoarse voice.

“After a vigorous campaign schedule, Sen. Bernie Sanders will return home following his appearance on Sunday at the College of Charleston’s “Bully Pulpit” series in order to rest his voice,” the campaign wrote in an afternoon statement to reporters.

Sanders, whose polling in South Carolina trails his performance nationally, was originally scheduled to join four other candidates next Monday evening at the historic “Galivants Ferry Stump.”

But the 78-year-old presidential candidate has been battling a hoarse voice since Monday, when he rallied with an estimated 10,000 people in Denver. His voice didn’t improve and was noticeably raspy, cracking multiple times Thursday night when he took on nine other candidates during a prime time network debate.

Since the debate, Sanders kept up his aggressive schedule and held five public events throughout Nevada.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont during a rally in Denver on Monday.David Zalubowski / AP

“It’s coming back a little bit, you can hear it,” Sanders told NBC News after an event in Las Vegas Saturday.

At that event, he joked with supporters about taking “another commercial break” for water when he paused during his remarks.

Earlier, Sanders took a few breaks to drink water during a speech previewing his $2.5 trillion national housing plan, apologizing at the beginning of his remarks for having lost his voice “somewhere in Colorado.”

“I’ve been giving too many speeches lately, sometimes I forget that microphones work pretty well,” he told NBC News with a smile.

Aides to Sanders insist the senator is not feeling ill and say he plans to return to the trail Tuesday in Philadelphia. Sanders also told NBC News he will release medical records before the primary.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “The American people have the right to know about whether the person they are going to be voting for for president is healthy.”

Sanders is already scheduled to return to South Carolina next weekend for events on college campuses.



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