10 things you need to know today: May 14, 2017

North Korea test-fires ballistic missile, Trump delivers Liberty University commencement address, and more

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on a South Korean news report
(Image credit: Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press)

1. North Korea test-fires ballistic missile

North Korea test-fired another ballistic missile Sunday in defiance of South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who was sworn in Wednesday. "We are leaving open the possibility of dialogue with North Korea," said a statement from Moon's office, "but we should sternly deal with a provocation to prevent North Korea from miscalculating." The missile's behavior was "not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile," said U.S. Pacific Command. It flew about 430 miles before dropping into the sea, a successful test in comparison to a recent attempt in which the missile exploded seconds after launch. A statement from the White House said with "the missile impacting so close to Russian soil — in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan — the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased." The response called for stronger sanctions against Pyongyang.

Reuters Politico

2. Trump delivers Liberty University commencement address

President Trump spoke at Liberty University's 2017 commencement ceremony Saturday after accepting an honorary doctorate of law degree from the school's president, Jerry Falwell, Jr. The talk offered typical commencement aphorisms mixed with uniquely Trumpian sentiments of nationalism and defiance. "With all the blessings you've been given, what will you give back to this country, and to the world?" Trump asked, imagining the perspective of future generations. "Did we take risks? Did we dare to defy expectations? Did we challenge accepted wisdom and take on established systems? I think I did, but we all did, and we're all doing it."

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3. Macron sworn in as president of France

Emmanuel Macron was sworn in as the new president of France on Sunday, one week after his decisive victory over nationalist Marine Le Pen. At just 39, the centrist, pro-European Union Macron is France's youngest leader since Napoleon Bonaparte. He founded his own political party one year ago and has never before held elected office. "The world and Europe need France more than ever. They need a strong France that is sure of its destiny. A France that upholds freedom and solidarity," Macron said in his inauguration speech. "We will take all our responsibilities to provide, every time it's needed, a relevant response to big contemporary crises."

CNN The Associated Press

4. Trump to back Palestinian 'self-determination' during Mideast trip

President Trump will indicate his support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict during his forthcoming Mideast trip, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster announced Friday. Trump will meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian leadership, McMaster said, so he can "reaffirm America's unshakeable bond to the Jewish state" while expressing "his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians." This is an apparent reversal from Trump's refusal to commit to a two-state solution earlier this year after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Reuters Haaretz

5. 8 candidates interviewed to replace Comey

At least eight people have already been interviewed to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, and it is "possible" a replacement will be chosen as soon as this Friday, President Trump told the White House press pool Saturday. "We can make a fast decision," the president added, describing the candidates in glowing terms. "They've been vetted over their lifetime, essentially," he said. "But very well known, highly respected, really talented people. And that's what we want for the FBI."

The New York Times The Associated Press

6. 'Kill switch' limited but did not end global cyberattack

The massive ransomware cyberattack created using leaked NSA code has spread to more than 200,000 organizations in 150 countries, Europol, the European Union’s police agency, said Sunday. The perpetrator of the attack has yet to be discovered, and its reach could balloon Monday as people return to work and are fooled by the hackers' destructive emails. The attack was limited Saturday by a 22-year-old cybersecurity researcher who accidentally discovered a "kill switch" that merely required registering a $10 domain name. The researcher warned his fix would be temporary, because the "attackers will realize how we stopped it, they'll change the code and then they'll start again."

ABC News The Week

7. China, Philippines to begin South China Sea negotiations

China and the Philippines will begin bilateral negotiations this coming week over the disputed waters of the South China Sea, the Filipino ambassador to Beijing said Saturday. The disagreement "cannot be resolved overnight," said Ambassador Jose Santiago Santa Romana, emphasizing that an agreement to talks should not be interpreted as Manila abandoning its claim to the sea. However, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken a more conciliatory approach to the dispute because he hopes to strengthen his country's business relations with China.

Reuters Channel News Asia

8. 3 killed, 10 injured in Greek train crash

At least three people were killed and another 10 injured when a Greek passenger train derailed and crashed into a house late Saturday night. The train was carrying about 100 people on the route from Athens to Thessaloniki when its engine car went off the tracks and rammed through a three-story home. No cause for the derailment has yet been identified. "Death came calling," said one eyewitness. "I heard a strange noise and then I saw the train approaching and ramming into my neighbor's house."

The Associated Press The Telegraph

9. Pope promises honesty, no prejudgment in Trump meeting

Pope Francis is due to meet with President Trump for the first time next week, and the pontiff told reporters Saturday he intends to have an honest and fair conversation. "I will tell him what I think, he will tell me what he thinks, but I never wanted to judge someone before I listen to the person first," Francis said while flying back to Rome from Portugal. "I am not a proselytiser," the pope answered when asked if he would try to influence Trump's thinking. Still, he added, "we need to find the doors that are at least partly open, go in, and talk about things we have in common."

ABC News Reuters

10. Melissa McCarthy hosts SNL, revives Spicer impression

Actress Melissa McCarthy revived her fêted impression of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer this week when she returned to Saturday Night Live to host the Mother's Day episode. This week's Spicey was a forlorn character, angsty over the awful prospect that President Trump could be lying to him. Alec Baldwin also reprised his role as President Trump for multiple sketches, declaring in a parody of the real president's recent interview with NBC's Lester Holt that he fired former FBI Director James Comey "because of Russia. I thought, 'he's investigating Russia, I don't like that. I should fire him.'"

Politico The Week

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of TheWeek.com. She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.