Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 30, 2018

South Korea says the North will publicly dismantle its nuclear site, twin suicide bombings leave 25 dead in Kabul, and more

1

South Korea says North vowed to publicly dismantle nuclear site

South Korea announced Sunday that North Korea had promised to publicly dismantle its nuclear test site next month. There have been reports that the test site under Mount Mantap had partially collapsed and was unusable after a major test in September. "Some say that we are terminating facilities that are not functioning, but you will see that we have two more tunnels that are bigger than the existing ones and that they are in good condition," South Korean President Moon Jae-in's chief press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, quoted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as saying in the recent summit where they agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The South Korean government also said that Pyongyang has said that Kim would be willing to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

2

Two suicide bombers kill 25 in Afghanistan, including journalists

Twin bombings in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, killed 25 people on Monday, including eight local journalists. At least 45 other people were wounded. The dead included the French news service Agence France-Presse's chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, and a cameraman for the local Tolo TV station. An apparent suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated the first explosion near buildings of the NDS intelligence service. The second bomber, on foot, reportedly struck after mingling in with emergency health officials and journalists who arrived to cover the first blast. The Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State, known as Khorasan Province, claimed responsibility.

3

Reports: Ronny Jackson won't return as White House physician

Ronny Jackson, President Trump's onetime pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, will not return to his job as the White House physician, White House officials told Politico and The Washington Post on Sunday. Jackson, a Navy rear admiral, withdrew his nomination last week after several current and former colleagues accused him of being drunk on the job, improperly dispensing pills, and creating a hostile work environment; he denied the allegations. Jackson is back working in the White House medical unit and will stay on staff, but administration officials say that Sean Conley, a Navy officer who took over as Trump's personal doctor last month, will remain in that role.

4

50 caravan migrants seek asylum in U.S. but are turned away

About 50 people from a Central American migrant caravan tried to seek asylum in the U.S. on Sunday, but they were prevented from crossing the border from Mexico. U.S. officials told the would-be immigrants the facility where asylum-seekers are processed was full. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said in a statement that the immigrants "may need to wait in Mexico." The people in the group distinguished themselves from the roughly 350 others in the caravan by wearing white arm bands. Others in the caravan also waiting in Tijuana also reportedly plan to request asylum. President Trump has pointed to the caravan as an example of the kind of lawlessness that his promised border wall will prevent.

5

Comey says House panel's Russia inquiry 'wrecked' by partisanship

Former FBI Director James B. Comey on Sunday dismissed the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee's report on its investigation of Russian election meddling as a "political document." Comey said the committee's work was "wrecked" by partisanship that "damaged relationships with the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court, the intelligence committees." Comey, who is in the middle of a tour to promote his memoir, A Higher Loyalty, said on NBC News' Meet the Press that the report released by House Republicans on Friday was not consistent with his own "understanding of what the facts were" as leader of the FBI. He also said he would have "serious doubts" about President Trump's credibility as a witness.

6

Kasich says Republican Party 'left me'

Ohio's Republican governor, former GOP presidential candidate John Kasich, criticized the Republican Party on Sunday, saying it had abandoned its principles by opposing immigration and accepting large budget deficits. "I'm still a Republican. I didn't leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me," Kasich said on CNN's State of the Union. "In my state we have balanced budgets, surplus, we're up half a million jobs and then people say, 'Well Kasich's not a conservative.' What does that mean?" Political analysts took the comments as the latest sign that Kasich will launch another bid for the White House in 2020. "Come home to where we basically live," he urged Republicans. He also said he does not know what Democrats stand for.

7

Trump calls comedian Michelle Wolf 'filthy'

President Trump lashed out at comedian Michelle Wolf for her caustic routine at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, calling her "filthy" in a tweet late Sunday. Wolf skewered the Trump administration in the monologue, saying that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders "burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye." She also compared Sanders to Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid's Tale, who indoctrinates the handmaids into a system that enslaves them. The association's leaders issued a statement saying Wolf's monologue was "not in the spirit" of the group's mission to promote civility and unity. Comedian Kathy Griffin tweeted that Wolf's critics should be demanding that "Trump apologize for calling women fat pigs, slobs, talking about their bodies."

8

T-Mobile and Sprint agree to $26.5 billion merger

T-Mobile US Inc. on Sunday agreed to buy fellow cellphone carrier Sprint Corp. in a $26.5 billion merger. The deal, if permitted by antitrust regulators, would create a company with about $74 billion in annual revenue and 70 million wireless subscribers, rivaling AT&T, which is the industry's No. 2 company with $72 billion in annual wireless revenue and 78 million subscribers. The No. 1 wireless carrier, Verizon, has $88 billion in annual revenue and 111 million subscribers. T-Mobile, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom, and Sprint, which is owned by Japan's SoftBank, would both have representatives in leadership positions at the combined company.

9

Iran says U.S. is the one destabilizing the Middle East

Iran said on Monday that U.S. cooperation with Saudi Arabia will "further destabilize the Middle East and will lead to more crisis in the region." The comments, made by Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi on Iranian state TV, came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after meeting with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh that the U.S. was concerned by Iran's "destabilizing and malign activities" in the region, including its support for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Qasemi said that Iran would maintain its international presence "as long as the legitimate governments of the regional countries need our help." President Trump has threatened to scrap the 2015 Iran nuclear deal unless European signatories fix its "terrible flaws" by a May 12 deadline.

10

Avengers: Infinity War breaks box office records

The Marvel super-mashup Avengers: Infinity War brought in an estimated $250 million at the domestic box office over the weekend, setting the record for the biggest opening weekend ever in the U.S. and Canada. The previous No. 1 in the U.S. market, 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, brought in $247.9 million in its debut. The film, which cost $300 million to make, made $630 million worldwide, also a record, even before opening in China, according to ComScore. Marvel Studios now has six of the 10 films with the biggest opening weekends. Disney, which made the film with Marvel, has nine of the Top 10, and set a record this year as the studio to hit the $1 billion domestic box office mark fastest.

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