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July 31, 2014
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It turns out that Bill Clinton had Osama bin Laden on his mind mere hours before al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Speaking to a group of Australian businessmen on Sept. 10, 2001, Clinton said he once had the opportunity to kill bin Laden, but decided not to because it would have led to the deaths of innocent civilians. An audio recording of the remarks was released for the first time today by Australian media.

Here's what he said (h/t MSNBC):

And I'm just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he's very smart guy, I've spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once. I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn't do it. [MSNBC]

Clinton tried and failed to kill bin Laden a couple times in the 1990s, launching missile strikes at his residences in Sudan and Afghanistan. In this speech, he appears to be referring to a famous missed opportunity in 1998, when he balked over concerns about collateral damage. Ryu Spaeth

9:32 a.m. ET
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A train derailment in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Saturday evening killed at least 23 people and injured 120 more, local authorities reported, and the death toll is expected to continue to rise as search and rescue efforts proceed.

"Twelve coaches of the train derailed, with some crashing into a residential area nearby, damaging a few houses," said a statement from Arvind Kumar, the Uttar Pradesh home secretary. "Passengers in eight other coaches escaped unhurt."

A team from the state's anti-terrorism squad is involved in investigating the crash, which is the fourth large-scale derailment in India this year. Such accidents are tragically common because of poor infrastructure conditions, so the train network is undergoing a $130-billion improvement program. Bonnie Kristian

9:25 a.m. ET

The wreckage of the USS Indianapolis, the American warship used to deliver parts for "Little Boy," the atomic bomb later dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was discovered after 72 years Saturday.

The World War II heavy cruiser was sunk on July 30, 1945 by a Japanese submarine. It went down in just 12 minutes, too quickly to send a distress signal. About 900 of the 1,197 sailors and Marines on board survived the initial sinking, but only 316 were alive to be rescued several days later, when help arrived.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen led the team that found the wreck. "To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling," Allen said of the discovery. "As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances." Bonnie Kristian

8:23 a.m. ET
Associated Press

Activist and comedian Dick Gregory died Saturday, his family announced, reportedly following a bacterial infection. He was 84.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Gregory became popular with black and white audiences alike in the 1960s even while offering sharp racial commentary and forthright advocacy of equality. He was an active participant in the Civil Rights movement, joining the 1963 March on Washington and integration protests in the deep South. Gregory reminisced of one such effort in 2003 with characteristic humor:

"We tried to integrate a restaurant, and they said, 'We don't serve colored folk here,' and I said, 'Well, I don't eat colored folk nowhere. Bring me some pork chops.' And then Ku Klux Klan come in, and the woman say, 'We don't have no pork chops,' so I say, 'Well, bring me a whole fried chicken.' And then the Klan walked up to me when they put that whole fried chicken in front of me, and they say, 'Whatever you do to that chicken, boy, we're going to do to you.' So I opened up its legs and kissed it in the rump and tell you all, 'Be my guest.'" [Dick Gregory, via NPR]

Gregory was also outspoken about other political issues, including the Vietnam War, police brutality, sexism, and animal rights, often using hunger strikes as a tool of activism. He is survived by his wife of half a century, Lillian, and 10 children. Bonnie Kristian

8:07 a.m. ET
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The North Korean government on Sunday threatened the United States with a "merciless strike" in response to the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises, 10 days of joint drills the United States conducts with the South Korean military each year. While Washington and Seoul maintain the exercises are merely defensive drills, Pyongyang considers them invasion practice, on Sunday labeling the training "reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war."

The statement from the Kim Jong Un regime also promised the North Korean army is "keeping a high alert, fully ready to contain the enemies" when "even a slight sign of the preventive war is spotted." Though Pyongyang did not elaborate on its definition of "preventive war," the reference was presumably to recent comments from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the Trump administration is keeping military options on the table for halting North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Bonnie Kristian

7:50 a.m. ET

President Trump responded on Twitter Saturday afternoon to the Boston counter-protest against a rally with ties to the white nationalists in Charlottesville. In his first two tweets on the subject, Trump praised Boston police and took a low view of the counter-protest crowd:

Then, later Saturday, he took a more positive view of the counter-protest:

Boston police arrested 33 people at the counter-protest Saturday, which was estimated to have as many as 40,000 people denouncing the "Boston Free Speech" rally, which drew about 20 people. Though a few counter-protesters were arrested for throwing debris at officers, Boston's police commissioner said injury and property damage were minimal because "99.9 percent of the people here were for the right reasons." Bonnie Kristian

August 19, 2017

The administration of Duke University in North Carolina removed a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the entryway of its historic campus chapel Saturday morning. The limestone carving was one of 10 figures memorialized near the chapel door; its face was vandalized Wednesday amid controversy over the similar statues honoring Confederate figures that are displayed throughout much of the country, especially in the South.

"I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university," said the university president, Vincent Price, in a statement on the decision. "The removal also represents an opportunity for us to learn and heal."

The statue will not be destroyed, though Price did not say how it would be preserved, only that it would be used to help students "study Duke's complex past and take part in a more inclusive future."

North Carolina's Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has endorsed the removal of Confederate statues on public land in his state; as a private university, however, Duke is neither compelled by that encouragement nor constrained by a 2015 law limiting removal of the monuments. Bonnie Kristian

August 19, 2017
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will not attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors, the White House announced Saturday, to "allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction." Also canceled is the White House reception for honorees traditionally held after the ceremony every year since 1978.

Kennedy Center chair David M. Rubenstein and president Deborah F. Rutter received the announcement happily, issuing a statement thanking the administration for "graciously signal[ing] its respect for the Kennedy Center and ensur[ing] the Honors gala remains a deservingly special moment for the Honorees," they said, adding, "We are grateful for this gesture."

Before the Trumps' announcement, three of the five artists to be honored — producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie, and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — said they would refuse to attend the ceremony, reception, or both in protest of the president. "In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in," de Lavallade said, "and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House." Bonnie Kristian

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