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5 things for April 18: Pompeo, Barbara Bush, Southwest death, UK immigrants
CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a secret trip to North Korea a few weeks ago and met with Kim Jong Un, sources tell CNN. Pompeo reportedly was laying the groundwork for direct talks between Kim, the reclusive nation's brutal dictator, and President Trump. That meeting -- planned for late May or early June -- would be the first face-to-face meeting between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader. Trump said five locations are being considered.
This extraordinary revelation comes as Pompeo's nomination for secretary of state hits a rough patch. It looks like the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote against it, with all Democrats and one Republican in that camp. GOP leaders -- in a very rare move -- still plan to hold a full confirmation vote on the Senate floor, where they'd pressure moderate Dems who are up for re-election.
The matriarch of the most powerful Republican dynasty in modern history has died. Former first lady Barbara Bush, 92, was the wife and mother of Presidents, but she was so much more than that. Instantly recognizable with her white hair and pearls, she was a plainspoken yet feisty public figure who adopted literacy as her cause. She promoted women's rights and was such a strong defender of her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, that she earned the moniker, "the enforcer." Bush redefined the role of first lady, CNN contributor Kate Andersen Brower said. Among the flood of tributes pouring in, perhaps the most poignant came from her family, including former first lady Laura Bush, who tweeted, "The world is poorer without her in it."
It reads like a scene out of a Hollywood thriller: A piece of a plane engine breaks off in midair, shatters a window, and a mom in a window seat is halfway sucked out of the plane before terrified passengers haul her back in; then, despite their heroism, she dies. This horror story was all too real on a New York-to-Dallas Southwest Airlines flight that made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Investigators say one of the engine's 24 fan blades is missing.
The plane took a steep dive after the engine failure, dropping from 31,684 to 10,000 feet over five minutes before the pilot regained control. There was absolute panic in the cabin, where passengers and crew, after pulling the victim back in, tried to plug the hole with jackets and other objects. Those objects were sucked out, too. The victim, 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan, was a well-known leader in New Mexico who worked for Wells Fargo.
British Prime Minister Theresa May apologized for the UK's treatment of some Caribbean immigrants, saying they're still welcome. The extraordinary apology comes after the UK government was condemned for how it's treated the so-called Windrush generation, the first large group of Caribbean migrants to arrive in the UK after World War II. Tough new rules imposed during May's time as Home Secretary mean Windrush children who came to Britain with their parents in the late 1940s don't have proper documentation and are now struggling to prove their British citizenship. Some have lost jobs and been evicted, while a few were threatened with deportation.
More than 200 child soldiers in South Sudan were freed in a special "laying down of arms" ceremony organized by UNICEF. Some of the children were as young as 14. UNICEF hopes to release a thousand more in coming months. The UN agency has freed 500 child soldiers this year. But the work is far from done. Thousands of children have been forced to take up arms in the oil-rich country, which has been in a civil conflict for five years. An estimated 19,000 children serve in the armed forces and other groups in South Sudan.
"With all due respect, I don't get confused."
UN ambassador Nikki Haley, hitting back after the White House implied she got ahead of President Trump's decision-making when she said the administration would soon announce new sanctions against Russia. Trump hasn't signed off on the sanctions yet. Meantime, some senators left a classified briefing yesterday on Syria feeling "very unnerved."
The great escape
All it took was a barrel. Four baboons in Texas just climbed on top and escaped their enclosure. One made it to the street, but they're all back home now.
A Beyonce blessing
After her #Beychella triumph, Queen Bey is donating $100,000 to historically black colleges.
She beat cancer three times, so she wasn't going to let hypothermia stop her from finishing the Boston Marathon.
Everybody loves to make Tom Brady a villain, but saying he matches the sketch of the man Stormy Daniels says threatened her is (probably) taking it too far.
A new Cuban president will be selected in a two-day National Assembly meeting that starts today, and for the first time in the lives of most Cubans, a man not named Castro will take power.
The number of stores Starbucks will close on May 29 to conduct racial-bias training for its employees. The move comes after the arrest of two black men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia led to protests and claims of discrimination. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has met with the two men.
"I think we play too much baseball."
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, echoing a common complaint about Major League Baseball's 162-game season. Rizzo said he'd be willing to sacrifice pay if it meant making the season shorter.
Class is in session
Bill Nye the Science Guy, answering your questions -- on Twitter? What could go wrong? (Click to view.)