Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 9, 2018

North Korea confirms that it will discuss denuclearization, Russia blames Israel for a missile strike on a Syrian base, and more


North Korea confirms willingness to discuss denuclearization

North Korea has told the Trump administration that it is willing to discuss denuclearization in talks with the U.S., confirming statements by South Korean diplomats, administration officials said Sunday. The message bolstered expectations that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would follow through with a proposed meeting with President Trump by the end of May. Pyongyang has not made public statements about the meeting since South Korean officials presented Kim's invitation to Trump in Washington last month. Trump and Kim have exchanged threats of war over the past year, as tensions rose following a series of missile and nuclear weapon tests by North Korea.


U.S. denies hitting Syrian base with missiles, Russia blames Israel

Missiles hit a Syrian government air base on Monday, escalating tensions in the wake of Saturday's suspected deadly chemical attack, which reportedly killed at least 40 people in a rebel-held town. Syrian state media called the missile strike "an American aggression," but the U.S. denied involvement. Russia said two Israeli F-15s had fired eight missiles at the base. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 14 people, possibly including Iranian fighters, were killed. The United Nations Security Council is holding a meeting to discuss Syria on Monday, at the request of both Russia and the U.S., as well as American allies. President Trump warned Sunday there would be "a big price to pay" for the chemical attack, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syria's key ally, shared the blame.


Facebook to start notifying users whose data Cambridge Analytica accessed

Facebook plans on Monday to start notifying users who were among as many as 87 million people whose data was potentially harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm that did work for President Trump's 2016 campaign. On Tuesday, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is due to testify before Congress about the company's handling of the matter. The New York Times obtained a set of raw data from profiles Cambridge Analytica accessed, and contacted nearly two dozen of the affected users. Some expressed anger, while others seemed unsurprised because they had lost faith in tech giants protecting their data. The Times said the people it contacted were the first known users impacted by the scandal to be publicly identified.


Another former South Korean president charged with corruption

South Korean prosecutors formally charged jailed former President Lee Myung-bak with taking bribes from the country's spy agency, Samsung, and others. The corruption charges against Lee came after Friday's conviction of his conservative successor, Park Geun-hye, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison in a different corruption scandal. Lee is the country's fourth leader to face criminal charges in roughly two decades. Prosecutors say that in exchange for bribes, Lee's government did favors for Samsung, including a 2009 pardon of convictions against its chairman, Lee Kun-hee, on charges that included tax evasion.


Brazil's Lula starts serving sentence, vowing to continue comeback from jail

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva spent his first night in jail on a corruption conviction on Sunday, after turning himself in over the weekend following a two-day standoff with police. Lula's allies are planning protests, and hoping that the South American nation's Supreme Court will revisit a 2016 ruling that let a judge order the ex-president to start serving his 12-year sentence while he is appealing his conviction. The move upended Lula's campaign ahead of an October presidential election, in which he is leading the polls. He has vowed to continue his campaign from behind bars.


Anti-migration Hungarian prime minister wins third straight term

Hungary's anti-migration Prime Minister Viktor Orbán won a third straight term as his right-wing Fidesz party won two-thirds of the seats in parliament in Sunday elections, according to preliminary results. "We have won, Hungary has won a great victory," the right-wing nationalist Orbán told cheering supporters in Budapest. "There is a big battle behind us, we have won a crucial victory, giving ourselves a chance to defend Hungary." Orbán campaigned as a defender of Hungary's Christian culture against Muslim migration. Orbán's party appeared to have won 133 seats in the 199-seat parliament, narrowly giving him the two-thirds majority he needs to rewrite the constitution and continue his government's rollback of democratic checks and balances.


Stormy Daniels' attorney again seeks to depose Trump, Cohen

Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, on Sunday filed a second motion seeking permission to get depositions from President Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, regarding the $130,000 payment the adult film star received just before the 2016 election. The "hush money" requires Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to keep quiet about her allegations of an affair with Trump more than a decade ago, which Trump denies. Avenatti also requested documents relating to the agreement, which Daniels is asking a court to invalidate on the grounds that Trump never signed them. Late last month, a federal judge in California rejected Avenatti's initial motion to speed up the trial and discovery process, calling it "premature."


Trans Mountain pipeline expansion suspended

Kinder Morgan said Sunday it would suspend work on the controversial expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The project would come close to tripling the amount of oil moved from Canada's oil sands to the Pacific Coast. Kinder Morgan decided to halt all non-essential activities and spending on the expansion because of opposition by the British Columbia government. The Texas-based company said it would talk with "various stakeholders" in an attempt to reach terms that would allow the project to continue. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the project should proceed despite protests and a court battle with the provincial government.


Canadian town mourns 15 killed in youth hockey team bus crash

Mourners in the Canadian town of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, gathered Sunday for a memorial service in a hockey arena for members of a youth hockey team who were killed when a semi-trailer crashed into their bus on Friday. Fourteen others were injured, some critically. "Not one of us is alone in our grief," team president Kevin Garinger said. The bus was carrying 29 people, including the driver. Not all of the victims have been identified, but the 15 dead included coach Darcy Haugan, team captain Logan Schatz, radio announcer Tyler Bieber, assistant coach Mark Cross, bus driver Glen Doerksen, stats keeper Brody Hinz, and players Logan Hunter, Conner Lukan, Stephen Wack, Adam Herold, and Xavier Labelle.


Patrick Reed holds on to win Masters

Patrick Reed, 27, held on to win the Masters golf tournament on Sunday, finishing with a one-shot lead over Rickie Fowler after starting the day out in front by three shots over Rory McIlroy. Jordan Spieth finished in third, one shot behind Fowler. Spieth narrowly missed pulling off the biggest comeback in Masters history, bogeying the 18th hole to finish with a final round of 64, one shy of the tournament record of 63. He started the day nine shots back, and briefly shared the lead on the final day. Reed shot a final round of 71, finishing 15 under par and taking his first major championship. Tiger Woods shot a final round of 69 to finish 1 over par for the tournament.


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