North Korea Releases Three American Prisoners; Iranian Lawmakers Protest Trump’s Decision on Nuclear Deal; Uber’s Flying Taxi Project: UberAIR; Michael Cohen’s Shell Company Received Large Payments from Various Companies; Nebraska Woman’s “Runny Nose” Was Brain Fluid; Ebola Outbreak Kills 17 People in Democratic Republic of Congo; “Children of a Lesser God” to End Production on May 27
North Korea Releases Three American Prisoners
Three Americans who were detained in North Korea for over an year are now on a plane back to America. This is after the Sec. of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise trip there yesterday.
President Trump was the first to break this news via Twitter this morning. Trump said the three men seemed to be in good health and that he would meet them at Andrews Air Force Base at 2 a.m.
The three Americans' names are Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Tony Kim. They are Korean-Americans -- their descendants are from Korea.
They were detained after they were accused of spying, of anti-state activities. One of them was sentenced to 10 years of prison with hard labor.
One of the families of the men thanked those who worked for their return and President Trump for engaging directly with North Korea.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said this was a positive factor for the success of the North Korea-United States summit.
Trump also said the date and place for the upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un was set. Later in the day, President Trump said in a Cabinet meeting that the site of the meeting with North Korea would not be at the DMZ, that there would be an announcement in the next few days.
Trump said he believes both sides want to negotiate the deal, to make a great deal for the world. But he warned that everything can be scuttled (fall apart).
Iranian Lawmakers Protest Trump’s Decision on Nuclear Deal
Iranian lawmakers in their parliament building protested against U.S. President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal and impose sanctions against them.
Some of them shouted, “Death to America!” and burned a paper US flag. They also burned a paper that represented the deal and stomped on its ashes.
Iranian President Rouhani said they hope they can still work with European leaders to maintain the nuclear deal, but said they are now free to resume their nuclear program. So he shared two different messages.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei said Trump couldn’t do a damn thing.
President Trump said he is advising Iran very strongly to not start their nuclear program, and that if they do, there will be severe consequences.
European leaders have reached out to Iran to say they want to keep the deal, to maintain their economic relationship.
Uber’s Flying Taxi Project: UberAIR
Uber just revealed their vision of developing an air taxi service — with new electric flying vessels that looks like a combination of a plane and a helicopter.
The service is “UberAIR.” The flying taxis would land on rooftops of buildings and bring up to four people per taxi from cities to suburban areas, or to any other destination.
Uber worked with NASA on this project. Leaders hope to start offering this in two to five years, with the first cities in Dallas and Los Angeles.
The flying taxis will fly 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground at 150 to 200 MPH. Goodbye traffic.
Uber said pilots will fly them at first, but hopes to have it autonomous. They said the price would be similar to what you pay for a UberBlack (luxury service), but it would drop down to UberX prices when more passengers are available.
There are other competitors who are also developing air taxis — Alphabet (Google)’s company Kitty Hawk and Airbus.
It seems like the future is up there.
Michael Cohen’s Shell Company Received Large Payments from Various Companies
News broke last night that a shell company (a temporary, inactive company) set up by Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, received over $4 million in payments from various businesses in the time before Trump was elected up to this January.
Who was the first to inform the public about this? Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, who has unleashed a constant barrage of attacks against Trump.
News media quickly checked the claims and confirmed some of the payments.
Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants, is the same one that he used to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000 for a non-disclosure agreement. This payment was reimbursed by Donald Trump.
Which companies put in the money?
AT&T said they made four payments totaling $200,000 between October 2017 and January 2018 to get insights to understand the new Trump administration.
This comes at the same time AT&T is seeking for an approval from the Justice Department for their proposed merger with Time Warner.
Cohen’s company got a $500,000 from Columbus Nova, a New York investment bank that has ties with a Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg. His net worth is $13.5 billion and he is close with Putin.
Obviously this can be controversial because of the ongoing Russian investigation.
The company said it was owned and controlled by Americans, that Vekselberg had nothing to do with with the payments.
Other payments were from Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company and Korea Aerospace Industries, which is owned by the South Korean government.
Avenatti said those transactions are suspicious.
Cohen said the information he shared is not accurate.
The Mueller investigation team has contacted Novartis and Vekselberg about the payments.
We’ll see what this leads to in the Cohen FBI investigation, Avenatti and Stormy’s lawsuit, and the wider Mueller probe.
Nebraska Woman’s “Runny Nose” Was Brain Fluid
One woman from Nebraska, Kendra Jackson, had complained about a runny nose that seemed to go on for years. She also had headaches almost daily and struggled to sleep. She had to bring a box of tissues everywhere.
She said it started two years after a serious car accident where she slammed her head against the dashboard.
Doctors told her that it was allergies, but Kendra felt it was something else.
After she met with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, she found out the reason why.
She had a hole in her skull which leaked brain fluid — cerebrospinal fluid — through her nose for three years.
This fluid acts as a “shield” around the brain and the spinal fluid. If the leaks continued, she could get serious infections, vision changes, and hearing loss.
Doctors were able to plug the hole using her fatty tissue between her nostrils and skull.
Kendra said now she can sleep and doesn’t have to carry around a tissue box anymore.
Ebola Outbreak Kills 17 People in Democratic Republic of Congo
There is another outbreak of the virus Ebola in the northwest part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in central Africa.
At least 17 people have died in the past five weeks.
Ebola causes severe bleeding and organ failure that often leads to death. It is highly contagious, transmitted by bodily fluids like saliva or blood.
The virus can be spread through bats, which can survive with the virus, and they can infect other animals like monkeys. It often infects humans when they eat wild animals that have Ebola.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set aside $1 million in an emergency fund and sent 50 experts to work with country government officials to contain it.
Other African countries are now screening people at border crossings for symptoms to prevent it from spreading.
It is the ninth time there is an Ebola outbreak in the DRC, with the last one less than a year ago.
One of the worst outbreaks was in 2014, when more than 11,000 people died in western African countries Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
“Children of a Lesser God” to End Production on May 27
The Broadway show “Children of a Lesser God” will stop their performances on May 27. They were previously scheduled to have shows up to the fall.
A New York Times article said it was because not enough people bought tickets. The play grossed $297,762 last week, but it was 30% of its potential.
The article said critics praised the two lead performers, Lauren Ridloff and Joshua Jackson, but not the production. Ridloff has a Tony Award nomination.
This may be a blow to the Deaf community and those who had plans to see it over the next few months. But there’s still time, if you’re in the area or willing to make last-minute travel plans.
An article in Playbill praised the production as the most accessible in Broadway history with supertitles, CC available via apps, and scheduled dates with ASL interpreters.
On the show’s website, you’ll see an alert saying it’s the final three weeks!
Before “Children of a Lesser God,” the most recent Broadway show with a large Deaf cast is Deaf West Theatre’s “Spring Awakening.”
It started in September 2017, ran for 18 weeks and was extended for two more weeks.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!