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President Trump expressed his confidence in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday, indicating that the strongman’s rogue nation may have tried to send him a “signal” with a new editorial critical of former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe [Biden] a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” he tweeted on Saturday.

He was referring to an editorial, published on Tuesday, that lobbed a series of insults at Biden, the 2020 contender leading in the race to challenge Trump for the presidency. The editorial, posted by the Korean Central News Agency, called Biden “self-praising” and suggested it was laughable for Biden to consider himself the most popular presidential candidate.

NORTH KOREA DEMANDS THE RETURN OF SEIZED CARGO SHIP

“He is self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate. This is enough to make a cat laugh,” the piece read.

Trump’s tweet came at a time when National Security Adviser John Bolton has been unequivocal in saying that recent North Korean missile launches violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. “U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles,” he said. “In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that.”

Kim and Trump met during a historic summit in 2018, following an aggressive pressure campaign at the beginning of Trump’s presidency. Another summit in February ended with Trump walking away after North Korea demanded the U.S. lift all of its sanctions on it,

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Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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A 102-year-old woman facing eviction from her California home of nearly 30 years is getting help from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Los Angeles Times reports Thelma Smith was given until June 30 to move out by landlords who say their daughter needs a place to live.

Los Angeles’ rent control law provides relocation assistance for elderly and disabled.

But Smith, a retired secretary for the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, lives in an unincorporated section of Los Angeles County, just outside the city limits. The law doesn’t apply there.

Schwarzenegger, who knew Smith through his involvement with the charity, called the eviction “heartless.” He tweeted: “Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life.”

A spokesman says Schwarzenegger’s staff has met with Smith to find a solution.

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President Trump is expected to nominate former Virginia attorney general Kenneth Cuccinelli to oversee the nation’s immigration system as the next director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to media reports.

Cuccinelli —  an immigration hardliner — would replace Lee Francis Cissna, who is resigning after pressure from the White House, the New York Times reported. He officially steps down June 1. Trump has long-regarded the country’s immigration system as broken and in need of restructuring.

Cissna had support from a number of groups opposed to illegal immigration, but not from White House officials.

Ken Cuccinelli is reportedly being tapped to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Ken Cuccinelli is reportedly being tapped to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Fox News)

While Cuccinelli has Trump’s support, getting confirmed to the post could be a problem. The Times reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chances were close to zero.

Cuccinelli in 2014 was part of the Senate Conservatives Fund political action committee that supported Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to challenge McConnell in a primary, according to the paper.

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McConnell previously said he opposed Cuccinelli to head the Department of Homeland Security after Kirstjen Nielsen was fired last month.

“I’ve not spoken to him about any of them. I have expressed my, shall I say, lack of enthusiasm for one of them … Ken Cuccinelli,” McConnell told reporters in April.

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Mexico’s minister of the environment presented her resignation to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador Saturday, the second Cabinet resignation in less than a week, after receiving criticism for an air flight.

In a letter on her Twitter account, Josefa González-Blanco said she resigned because she delayed the departure of a flight that had waited for her to start a working trip.

López Obrador, who took office Dec. 1, has promised a government without privileges or corruption.

“There is no justification,” the minister of the environment and natural resources said in the letter. “The true transformation of Mexico requires a total congruence with the values of equity and justice. No one should have privileges and one’s benefit, even if it is to fulfill one’s functions, should not be put above the welfare of the majority.”

The delay of the flight for more than half an hour had generated criticism from other passengers and the media.

González-Blanco’s resignation comes four days after that of Germán Martínez Cázares, head of the Mexican Social Security Institute, the country’s main public health system. In his resignation, Martínez Cázares lashed out at health spending cuts.

López Obrador himself has gotten rid of his presidential guard and travels on commercial flights. On Tuesday, he said that since he imposed a rule requiring public officials receive approval for international trips, he has received about 100 petitions and approved only 20.

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Grizzly bears are expanding their range in the U.S. Northern Rockies, spreading from remote wilderness into farmland amid a legal fight over proposed hunting.

New government data from grizzly population monitoring show bruins in the Yellowstone region of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho expanded their range by about 1,500 square miles (3,900 square kilometers) over the past two years.

They now occupy almost 27,000 square miles (69,000 square kilometers), a range that has grown 34 percent in the past decade.

That means more bears on private lands where they can encounter humans and attack livestock, said Frank van Manen with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Run-ins with bears are happening in agricultural areas where the fearsome animals hadn’t been seen for decades, raising tensions in communities over the grizzly’s status as a federally protected species in the U.S. outside Alaska

PROTECTIONS RESTORED FOR GRIZZLIES; HUNTS BLOCKED

“Not all grizzly bears are livestock killers, but of course it only takes a few to do potentially quite a bit of killing,” van Manen said.

Wyoming and Idaho officials proposed grizzly hunts last year, but they were blocked by a judge’s ruling.

Government attorneys on Friday asked an appeals court to overturn part of that ruling. The case could take months or even years to decide, even as there’s no end in sight to the trend of bears getting into more conflicts at the periphery of their range.

An estimated 700 bears live in the Yellowstone area. Biologists say that’s a conservative figure and doesn’t include grizzlies that are outside a designated monitoring area that’s centered on Yellowstone National Park.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contends the animals no longer need federal protection. State officials say hunting would give them a tool to better manage their numbers, but that it would be limited to sustainable levels.

In his ruling that blocked hunting, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen said in part that officials had not given enough consideration to how lifting protections for Yellowstone bears would affect other grizzly populations in the Rockies.

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The government conceded that point in Friday’s court brief, saying officials already had started working on the topic and would explain the impact that lifting protections would have on other bears.

But U.S. Justice Department attorneys pushed back against the judge’s further contention that a “comprehensive review of the entire listed species” was needed. That would require officials to look more closely at the status of other bear populations, beyond the impacts of a decision to lift protections around Yellowstone.

The attorneys said such a detailed review exceeds what’s required under federal law.

Environmentalists argue that it’s too soon to lift protections first imposed in 1975, especially because conflicts between humans and bears remain a prime cause of bear deaths. Also, Yellowstone bears are isolated from other populations, which has raised questions about their long-term genetic health.

“For us it’s never been a numbers game,” said Andrea Santarsiere with the Center for Biological Diversity. “For grizzly bears to really be recovered, we need to see those populations connected.”

A coalition of American Indian tribes wants Congress to protect grizzlies permanently. They say the animals are sacred and play a role in many ceremonies and traditions.

Yellowstone became a refuge for the species last century after hunting and trapping killed off bears across most of their range.

The park remains a grizzly stronghold. But younger, male bears search for territory of their own outside the park, with females soon following behind, van Manen said.

A similar dynamic has played out in Northwestern Montana, home of more than 1,000 grizzlies. The area includes Glacier National Park and the vast Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Bears in recent years have attacked livestock dozens of miles outside those wild areas, on the open plains of central Montana where ranches and cropland occupy the landscape.

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Organizers of the Lord Jesus of the Great Power Festival, which fuses Andean and Catholic cultures, have chosen the queen to head the annual event which will mobilize 74,000 dancers and more than 4,000 musicians in the Bolivian city of La Paz.

Wearing the red skirt, white-fringed shawl and hat of the “la morenada” dance, Steffany Arriaza Cabezas took first place among 73 participants in voting that concluded early Saturday. She will lead festivities on June 21.

Arriaza represented “Morenada X of the Great Power,” one of the most traditional fraternities in the festival with more than a thousand dancers. The morenada is a folk dance born in the Andes and inspired by the slave trade in the region during the colonial era. Its influence has extended to Peru, Chile and Argentina in recent decades.

Each participant enters the catwalk performing the dance she represents. The judges take into account the dress and choreography, and the contestants have to answer questions.

The first place winner receives a kitchen; the second place participant a refrigerator and the third place dancer a microwave oven. The queen will preside over the festival, said Marina Isabel Salazar, president of the Association of Folkloric Groups.

On June 21, the dancers will descend the steep streets of the highland city of La Paz from the Jesus of the Great Power Catholic church, where the festival was born 49 years ago. Over the years, the festival has become a cultural icon for the city.

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Facebook has released a statement amid concerns about its decision not to remove an altered video that went viral — one concocted to make it seem that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was slurring her words.

Although the social media giant triggered a backlash by not taking down the vid, it said it did reduce the content’s distribution and add a disclaimer notifying users that the video was “false.”

“We remove things from Facebook that violate our Community standards, and we don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,’ the company said Friday, according to ABC7 News.

By Saturday, the video had more than 28,000 comments, nearly 50,000 shares, and at least 2.6 million views. It was posted on Wednesday. Underneath the video’s caption, a long list of articles, from labeled fact-checkers, criticized the video.

CROSSFIT QUITS FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, ACCUSES SOCIAL MEDIA GIANT OF CENSORSHIP, BEING ‘UTOPIAN SOCIALISTS’

It showed Pelosi making controversial comments about Trump’s alleged behavior during an infrastructure meeting that was cut short earlier this week.

The platform clarified that it didn’t think all content deserved to be distributed but allowed some content as forms of expression.

“There’s a tension here; we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance,” it said.

“But just because something is allowed to be on Facebook doesn’t mean it should get distribution. In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed.” The platform also outlined how it combated misleading content.

MARK ZUCKERBERG CLAIMS FACEBOOK SECURITY EFFORTS WILL SUFFER IF COMPANY IS BROKEN UP

“We fight the spread of false news on Facebook in a number of ways, namely by removing content that violates our Community Standards, like fake accounts; reducing the distribution of content that does not directly violate Community Standards, but still undermines the authenticity of the platform, by demoting it in News Feed; and empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share by informing them with more context in-product and promoting news literacy,” it said.

The controversy erupted amid already-growing scrutiny surrounding Facebook and other social media companies and the way they handled content on their platform. Facebook and Twitter specifically took heat for apparent bias against conservatives as well as allowing content promoted by Russians during the 2016 election.

Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, said on CNN that her company “dramatically” reduced the video’s distribution and told users the video was false.

“We have acted … anybody who is seeing this video in News Feed, anyone who is going to share it with somebody else, anybody who has shared it in the past — they are being alerted that this video is false,” she said.

FACEBOOK REVEALS HOW OFTEN IT GETS CONTENT TAKEDOWNS WRONG

CNN’s Anderson Cooper pressed Bickert on why she decided to keep the video on the platform.

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“We think it’s important for people to make their own informed choice about what to believe. Our job is to make sure that we are getting them accurate information and that’s why we work with more than 50 fact-checking organizations around the world,” she told Cooper.

She added that the company would remove misinformation related to on-going riots or some kind of threat to physical violence.

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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats says the nation’s spy agencies will provide the Justice Department all appropriate information for its review of intelligence activities related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump claims his campaign was the victim of “spying” and has given Attorney General William Barr full authority to publicly disclose still-secret information collected during the investigation.

Some former intelligence officials and Democrats worry that Barr will cherry-pick intelligence to paint a misleading picture about the roots of the probe.

In a statement released Friday, Coats said he’s confident that Barr will work with “long-established standards to protect highly sensitive, classified information that, if publicly released,” would put U.S. national security at risk.

___

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The family of a woman mauled to death by a lion last year while interning at a North Carolina animal preserve is pushing for new safety regulations to prevent similar attacks.

Alex Black, 22, was just 10 days into an unpaid internship last December at the Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C., when she found herself alone with a lion, her aunt Virginia Black told The Associated Press.

“It is possible she saved other lives that day,” Black wrote. Alex Black died after the lion pounced and dragged her back through an open gate into its enclosure.

2 AFRICAN LIONS DIE AT CALIFORNIA ZOOS, OFFICIALS SAY

In this 2018 photo provided by Virginia Black, Alex Black, left, poses for a photo with her aunt Virginia. Alex Black was killed in November 2018 when she came face to face with an escaped lion just 10 days into her unpaid internship at the Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C. (Virginia Black via AP)

In this 2018 photo provided by Virginia Black, Alex Black, left, poses for a photo with her aunt Virginia. Alex Black was killed in November 2018 when she came face to face with an escaped lion just 10 days into her unpaid internship at the Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C. (Virginia Black via AP)

Black has urged state lawmakers to require safety drills and law enforcement safety plans at facilities such as the one where her niece was attacked. A recently passed House bill prohibits private ownership of big cats, apes, hyenas and bears. It doesn’t regulate facilities such as the Conservators Center, which falls under the watch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Sanctuaries and zoos where a person has been killed or injured where investigation has revealed a lack of proper safety drills, equipment and protocols should no longer be able to keep dangerous wild animals,” Black wrote.

Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Democrat, said she introduced an amendment to the bill, but was rebuffed by other lawmakers.

In this Sept. 30, 2017 photo made available by Erik Sommer, the lion Matthai relaxes inside his enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington, NC. Matthai escaped from his enclosure in December 2018, and fatally mauled a 22-year-old Conservators Center intern before he was shot eight times and died. Now the intern's family is supporting legislation in North Carolina that would tighten restrictions on ownership of large carnivorous animals. (Erik Sommers via AP)

In this Sept. 30, 2017 photo made available by Erik Sommer, the lion Matthai relaxes inside his enclosure at the Conservators Center in Burlington, NC. Matthai escaped from his enclosure in December 2018, and fatally mauled a 22-year-old Conservators Center intern before he was shot eight times and died. Now the intern’s family is supporting legislation in North Carolina that would tighten restrictions on ownership of large carnivorous animals. (Erik Sommers via AP)

“I would’ve loved to see a stronger bill. I did what I could,” she said.

Black was preparing deer meat for the cats when a 14-year-old male lion named Matthai bit her ankle and dragged her into a steel enclosure. No tranquilizer gun was on hand, and the center’s CEO, Douglas Evans, struggled to load it when one was found.

ENDANGERED AFRICAN PAINTED DOG PUP KILLED AT FLORIDA ZOO IN ‘GUILLOTINE DOOR’ ACCIDENT

“When the gentleman tried to assemble the tranquilizer gun, he was reading the instructions,” Black wrote in her letter, citing a witness she wouldn’t identify.

Authorities eventually subdued the lion with three tranquilizer darts and eight gunshots.

A USDA inspection in January found the center has “no non-compliant items.” USDA inspections in 2017 and 2018 found no problems at the facility, according to government reports. A government inspector counted 16 lions among 85 total animals in 2018. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting its own investigation, which is expected to wrap up in June.

In a statement to the AP, the center’s Executive Director, Mindy Stinner, said the animal sanctuary is “confident that if all of its policies and procedures are followed, its guests, staff, and animals are safe.”

In this May 4, 2019 photo, the entrance to The Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C., is open for visitors. The park re-opened in February 2019 after an intern was mauled to death by a lion that escaped its inclosure in December 2018. ( AP Photo/Amanda Morris)

In this May 4, 2019 photo, the entrance to The Conservators Center in Burlington, N.C., is open for visitors. The park re-opened in February 2019 after an intern was mauled to death by a lion that escaped its inclosure in December 2018. ( AP Photo/Amanda Morris)

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Dan Ashe, executive director of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said facilities like the Conservator’s Center should obtain AZA accreditation.

“If a facility has dangerous animals, they should hold themselves to high standards and should be held by the government to high standards,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Trump on Saturday ripped into what he described as an “activist Obama appointed judge” after a federal judge blocked the administration’s plan to reallocate money to building a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

“Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction,” he said. “This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking.”

JUDGE TEMPORARILY BLOCKS TRUMP’S BORDER WALL CONSTRUCTION PLANS

Trump went on to say that the administration is asking for “an expedited appeal.”

U.S District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling late Friday temporarily prevents the administration from using reallocated funds for two wall-related projects in Arizona and Texas by diverting money that Congress has not approved.

Trump declared a national emergency in February and is using that declaration to redirect funding from the Pentagon, after Congress did not agree to the president’s demand for more than $5 billion in wall funding.

“Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures — even when that control may frustrate the desires of the executive branch regarding initiatives it views as important — is not a bug in our constitutional system. It is a feature of that system, and an essential one,” Gilliam, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion.

“In short, the position that when Congress declines the executive’s request to appropriate funds, the executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” he said.

Gilliam’s ruling does not stop the Trump administration from using other sources to fund the wall, and he rejected a request by California and 19 other states to prevent the diversion of $600 million in Treasury funds to the wall.

REPUBLICAN LAUNCHES FRESH PUSH TO DEFUND SANCTUARY CITIES AFTER COURTS BLOCK TRUMP

Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, coming after a 35-day government shutdown, was controversial on both sides of the aisle.  A resolution disapproving of the declaration passed both chambers of Congress, but was vetoed at the president’s desk. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it a “power grab by a disappointed president” in a statement.

Congress had OK’d $1.4 billion for border security, but it wasn’t close to the $5 billion Trump requested.

The White House eyed an additional $8 billion in existing funding that could be moved for the wall, $3.5 billion of which could be shifted over from the Defense Department’s military construction budget via the emergency declaration.

Trump predicted a difficult legal fight when he declared the national emergency, saying he believed it would end up in the Supreme Court.

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“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued,” Trump said, adding that the federal appeals courts could well rule against his administration. “Then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake, and we’ll win at the Supreme Court — just like the [travel] ban.”

The case is one of a number of lawsuits the administration is facing over the declaration. On Thursday, a judge in Washington heard arguments on a lawsuit from the House of Representatives that claims it violates the Constitution.

The judge was considering whether the House can sue the president instead of resolving a dispute through the political process.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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