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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EST

November 29, 2017 - 8:04 PM

Haley: NKorea 'brings us closer to war' the US doesn't seek

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday that North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile — which some observers believe could reach the Eastern U.S. — "brings us closer" to a war the U.S. isn't seeking.

Nikki Haley, speaking at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, said that if war comes as a result of further acts of "aggression" like the latest launch, "make no mistake the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed."

"The dictator of North Korea made a decision yesterday that brings us closer to war, not farther from it," Haley said. "We have never sought war with North Korea and still today we do not seek it."

The Trump administration threatened new sanctions on North Korea after the reclusive government shattered 2 1/2 months of relative quiet with its most powerful weapon test yet.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Pyongyang's "provocative actions," and he vowed that "additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!" Trump's top diplomat, Rex Tillerson, said the U.S. could target financial institutions doing business with the North.

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What's new, and what's ahead, after North Korea's ICBM test

TOKYO (AP) — Experts may debate trajectories, payload weights and re-entry shields, but North Korea's claim that the entire United States is within range of its rapidly improving missiles just got a lot more credible.

Wednesday's launch of what the North called the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated a greater range than other missiles it's tested and showcased several capabilities the North must master if it were ever to actually try to unleash them at the United States.

Here is a quick look at the advancements made, the developments still to come, and the implications for the United States and its Asian allies:

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THE MISSILE ITSELF

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10 Things to Know for Thursday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:

1. TRUMP ACCUSED OF STOKING ANTI-ISLAM SENTIMENT

The president stirs a furor by retweeting a string of inflammatory videos from a fringe British political group purporting to show violence being committed by Muslims.

2. SHOCK FOLLOWS 'TODAY' SHOW HOST'S FIRING

Matt Lauer's dismissal for what NBC says was "inappropriate sexual behaviour" with a colleague stuns viewers and rocks the network.

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Matt Lauer is fired at NBC, accused of crude misconduct

NEW YORK (AP) — "Today" show host Matt Lauer was fired for what NBC on Wednesday called "inappropriate sexual behaviour" with a colleague and was promptly confronted with a published report accusing him of crude and habitual misconduct with other women around the office.

With his easygoing charm, Lauer has long been a lucrative and highly visible part of NBC News and one of the highest-paid figures in the industry, and his downfall shook the network and stunned many of the roughly 4 million viewers who start their day with him.

He is easily one of the biggest names brought down in recent weeks by the wave of sexual misconduct allegations that have swept through Hollywood, the media and politics.

Network news chief Andrew Lack said in a memo to the staff that NBC received a complaint about Lauer's behaviour on Monday and determined he violated company standards. NBC said the misconduct started when Lauer and a network employee were at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and continued beyond that assignment.

Lack said it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer in his 20 years at NBC, but "we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident."

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AP source: Mueller's team questioned Kushner about Flynn

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has been questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators about former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed Wednesday to The Associated Press.

The person said the questioning of Kushner earlier this month took about 90 minutes or less and was aimed in part at establishing whether Kushner had any information on Flynn that might be exculpatory. The person said multiple White House witnesses have been asked about their knowledge of Flynn, who was forced to resign from the White House in February after officials concluded he had misled them about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

The confirmation of Kushner's interview came as prosecutors working for Mueller postponed grand jury testimony related to Flynn's private business dealings.

The reason for the postponement was not immediately clear, but it comes one week after attorneys for Flynn alerted Trump's legal team that they could no longer share information about the case. That discussion between lawyers was widely seen as a possible indication that Flynn was moving to co-operate with Mueller's investigation or attempting to negotiate a deal for himself.

An attorney for Flynn, Robert Kelner, did not immediately respond to email and phone messages Wednesday afternoon. Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined comment.

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Trump stokes anti-Muslim sentiment; censured here and abroad

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stoking the same anti-Islam sentiments he fanned on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump on Wednesday retweeted a string of inflammatory videos from a fringe British political group purporting to show violence being committed by Muslims.

The tweets drew a sharp condemnation from British Prime Minister Theresa May's office, which said it was "wrong for the president to have done this." May spokesman James Slack said the far-right Britain First group seeks to divide through its use of "hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions."

Brushing off the criticism in an evening tweet, Trump said May instead of focusing on him should "focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom."

Trump had turned away from taxes, North Korea and other issues facing his administration to share the three videos tweeted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the British group. It was not clear what drew him to the videos, though one had been shared by conservative commentator Ann Coulter the day before.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was simply promoting border security and suggested that verifying the content was not a top concern.

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AP FACT CHECK: Anti-Muslim videos misrepresent what happened

WASHINGTON (AP) — Like much other propaganda, the anti-Muslim videos spread around by President Donald Trump mix grains of truth, fakery and shades in between, overlaid with a message meant to be a blunt hammer blow for a cause.

Trump's penchant for sharing doctored images and making false statements on Twitter means that content tweeted or retweeted by the president should be viewed skeptically. His spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, suggested the veracity of the videos wasn't a high priority amid concern over national security and strong borders, saying: "Whether it's a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about."

Here's a look at known facts behind the videos tweeted by a far-right British fringe group and retweeted by President Trump:

FALSE

One video shows a young man attacking another who is on crutches, near a river bank. It was originally posted to a Dutch viral video site in May and picked up by Dutch media. In her tweet, Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, wrote: "VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" But the victim was not attacked by a Muslim migrant.

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Lawyer: Conyers has no plan to resign amid harassment claims

DETROIT (AP) — Embattled U.S. Rep. John Conyers has no plans to resign amid allegations that the congressman sexually harassed several women when they worked on his staff, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Detroit-area attorney Arnold Reed told The Associated Press that the 88-year-old Conyers is going to fight claims that he inappropriately touched the women and that anyone making the allegations should be prepared to back them up.

Reed said Conyers is "innocent and will co-operate with any investigation that ensues."

"He's going to fight these allegations tooth and nail if he has to with evidence, with documentation, witnesses, whatever he has to do," Reed said. "And the accusers will have to prove up their case."

Last week, BuzzFeed News reported that Conyers had settled a complaint in 2015 from a woman on his staff who alleged she was fired because she rejected his sexual advances.

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Croat general performs ultimate act at war crimes trial

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Slobodan Praljak, a former film and theatre director turned wartime general, was always known for theatrics.

So, when the former Bosnian Croat military commander suddenly threw back his head and drank what he said was poison from a small bottle after his 20-year war crimes sentence was upheld by a U.N. court on Wednesday, many Croats watching the drama unfold on live TV thought it was yet another bluff.

But it wasn't. The 72-year-old silver-bearded Praljak died soon after being rushed from the U.N. tribunal to a nearby hospital.

The shocking scene was not unlike the suspenseful plays he once directed before becoming a military commander during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s.

"Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal! I reject, with contempt, your verdict," Praljak shouted before drinking from the bottle.

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Garrison Keillor fired for 'inappropriate behaviour'

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Garrison Keillor, whose stories of small-town characters entertained legions of public radio listeners for 40 years on "A Prairie Home Companion," became another celebrity felled by allegations of workplace misconduct on Wednesday when Minnesota Public Radio terminated his contracts.

The homegrown humorist told The Associated Press he was fired over "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard." Keillor didn't detail the allegation to AP, but he later told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had put his hand on a woman's bare back when trying to console her.

"I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness, and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized," Keillor told the newspaper in an email. "I sent her an email of apology later, and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it.

"We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called."

MPR said only that it received allegations of "inappropriate behaviour" against Keillor last month involving one person who worked with him during his time hosting "A Prairie Home Companion." Keillor retired as host of the radio variety show last year, but continued to work for MPR on various projects.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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