North Korea vows harsh retaliation against new UN sanctions
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea vowed Monday to bolster its nuclear arsenal and gain revenge of a “thousand-fold” against the United States in response to tough U.N. sanctions imposed following its recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests.
The warning came two days after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions to punish North Korea, including a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, called the U.S.-drafted resolution “the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against” North Korea.
In a statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s government said the sanctions were a “violent infringement of its sovereignty” that was caused by a “heinous U.S. plot to isolate and stifle” the country.
“We will make the U.S. pay by a thousand-fold for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country,” the statement said.
The North said it would take an unspecified “resolute action of justice” and would never place its nuclear program on the negotiating table or “flinch an inch” from its push to strengthen its nuclear deterrence as long as U.S. hostility against North Korea persists.
Venezuelan state worker becomes voice against voter coercion
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Javier Hernandez knew he was going to be fired.
Everyone who worked with him in a state-run cement factory was told to vote last month in an election to choose delegates for a new constitutional assembly granting nearly unlimited powers to Venezuela’s ruling socialist party. With the opposition boycotting the vote, virtually all the candidates were government supporters. A vote was tantamount to a show of support for President Nicolas Maduro and his allies.
Resentful of what he saw as a rigged process, Hernandez flouted his supervisors’ order and didn’t vote. Last Wednesday, he was taken outside the building and informed that he was fired.
Now he has become a rare public voice speaking out against a phenomenon that government critics say was widespread in last month’s vote – Venezuelans were threatened with loss of their public benefits or state jobs if they didn’t participate.
“It was not a surprising measure, because we had been warned,” Hernandez said. “The people who did not go to vote were explicitly threatened. … If we didn’t go to vote on 30th of July, we would be fired.”
Transgender camp teaches kids they’re ‘normal, not alone’
EL CERRITO, Calif. (AP) – In some ways, Rainbow Day Camp is very ordinary. Kids arrive with a packed lunch, make friendship bracelets, play basketball, sing songs and get silly. But it is also unique, from the moment campers arrive each morning.
At check-in each day, campers make a nametag with their pronoun of choice. Some opt for “she” or “he.” Or a combination of “she/he.” Or “they,” or no pronoun at all. Some change their name or pronouns daily, to see what feels right.
The camp in the San Francisco Bay Area city of El Cerrito caters to transgender and “gender fluid” children ages 4 to 12, making it one of the only camps of its kind in the world open to preschoolers, experts say. Enrollment has tripled to about 60 young campers since it opened three summers ago, with kids coming from as far as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. – even Africa. Plans are underway to open a branch next summer in Colorado, and the camp has been contacted by parents and organizations in Atlanta, Seattle, Louisiana and elsewhere interested in setting up similar programs.
On a sunny July morning at camp, the theme was “Crazy Hair Day,” and 6-year-old Gracie Maxwell was dancing in the sunshine as a Miley Cyrus song blasted from outdoor speakers. The freckled, blue-eyed blonde wore her hair in a braid on one side, a pigtail on the other and snacked on cereal as she twirled and skipped.
“Once she could talk, I don’t remember a time when she didn’t say, ‘I’m a girl,'” said her mother, Molly Maxwell, who still trips over pronouns but tries to stick to “she.”
Chicago files federal lawsuit over sanctuary cities threat
CHICAGO (AP) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has taken his fight against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies to court, with Chicago becoming one of the first cities Monday to sue over what many U.S. cities argue are illegal bids to withhold public safety grants from so-called sanctuary cities.
A 46-page lawsuit against the government was filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago a day after Emanuel announced the litigation and said the city won’t “be blackmailed” into changing its values as a city welcoming of immigrants.
It’s the latest round in a battle pitting several U.S. cities against the Trump administration. The cities have opted to limit cooperation with government enforcement of immigration law while federal officials threaten to withhold funding if those cities don’t comply.
A first order of business now that Chicago’s suit has been filed will be to ask a judge to put a freeze on the policy as the civil case plays out, said Edward Siskel, the head of City Hall’s legal department. That request for a preliminary injunction could be made within days.
Chicago has received the grant funds at the heart of the lawsuit since 2005. It spent $33 million in grants to buy nearly 1,000 police cars in that 12-year period; it got $2.3 million last year. In addition to cars, funds were also used for radios and SWAT equipment.
Google exec denounces employee’s views on female workers
NEW YORK (AP) – Silicon Valley’s efforts to promote workforce diversity haven’t yielded many results – unless you count a backlash at Google, where a male engineer blamed biological differences for the paucity of female programmers.
His widely shared memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” also criticizes Google for pushing mentoring and diversity programs and for “alienating conservatives.”
Google’s just-hired head of diversity, Danielle Brown, responded with her own memo, saying that Google is “unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success.” She said change is hard and “often uncomfortable.”
The dueling memos come as Silicon Valley grapples with accusations of sexism and discrimination. Google is also in the midst of a Department of Labor investigation into whether it pays women less than men, while Uber’s CEO recently lost his job amid accusations of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination.
Leading tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Uber, have said they are trying to improve hiring and working conditions for women. But diversity numbers are barely changing .
3rd Boy Scout dies after sailboat strikes power line on lake
AVINGER, Texas (AP) – A third Boy Scout has died from injuries suffered when a sailboat struck an overhanging power line on a lake east of Dallas, an official with Texas Parks & Wildlife said.
The 11-year-old Scout died Monday at a hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana, Texas Parks & Wildlife spokesman Steve Lightfoot said.
The boy was sailing in a catamaran Saturday with two older boys, one 17 and the other 16, when it struck the power line at Lake O’The Pines near Avinger, 150 miles (241 kilometers) from Dallas.
Daniel Anderson, chief operating officer for the East Texas Boy Scouts of America, said a Scout leader reached the boat within minutes but the two older boys were already dead. The oldest teen was found in the boat while the other two fell into the water.
Authorities have not released the names of the victims.
Poached eels: US strikes at illegal harvests as value grows
BREWER, Maine (AP) – Changes in the worldwide fisheries industry have turned live baby American eels into a commodity that can fetch more than $2,000 a pound at the dock, but the big demand and big prices have spawned a black market that wildlife officials say is jeopardizing the species.
Law enforcement authorities have launched a crackdown on unlicensed eel fishermen and illicit sales along the East Coast.
Although not a well-known seafood item like the Maine lobster, wriggling baby eels, or elvers, are a fishery worth many millions of dollars. Elvers often are sold to Asian aquaculture companies to be raised to maturity and sold to the lucrative Japanese restaurant market, where they mainly are served grilled.
But licensed U.S. fishermen complain poaching has become widespread, as prices have climbed in recent years. In response, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies are investigating clandestine harvesting and sales.
Operation Broken Glass, aurora jolie a reference to the eels’ glassy skin, has resulted in 15 guilty pleas for illegal trafficking of about $4 million worth of elvers. Two people are under indictment, and more indictments are expected.
MSNBC surges as home for Trump opponents
NEW YORK (AP) – For the first month since CNN’s Larry King owned cable news in October 2001, the most popular personality in prime-time doesn’t work for Fox News Channel. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC is the new champ.
Her network achieved other milestones in July, including its closest finish to Fox since 2000 and largest margin of victory over CNN ever. The numbers illustrate a surge in popularity at MSNBC, where politics has become prime-time entertainment. Like late-night comic Stephen Colbert can attest, having President Donald Trump as a regular punching bag is great for business.
“I thought there would be a lot of interest in news,” said MSNBC President Phil Griffin. “I had no idea this would happen.”
It’s especially noteworthy because the year after an election traditionally signals a slump in cable news ratings. During prime-time weekday hours in July, Fox News averaged 2.36 million viewers – still more than any other cable network, news or entertainment. MSNBC was at 2.13 million and CNN at 961,000, according to the Nielsen company.
A wider view illustrates how things have changed. Earlier this year, Fox routinely had more viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined. Those two networks frequently duke it out for second place; last November CNN averaged 1.83 million viewers to MSNBC’s 1.64 million, Nielsen said. MSNBC took over second earlier this year and the gap continues to widen.
Netflix makes 1st acquisition: comic book maker Millarworld
NEW YORK (AP) – Netflix says it made its first acquisition, comic book publisher Millarworld, with plans to turn its characters into new films and shows for the video streaming service.
Millarworld’s graphic novels “Kick-Ass,” ”Wanted” and “Kingsman” have already been turned into movies by major studios.
Los Gatos, California-based Netflix didn’t disclose on Monday how much it paid for Millarworld.
Netflix already has made a hefty commitment to comic-book series with “Daredevil,” ”Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage,” among others based on Marvel characters. The streaming service ventured outside the Marvel universe with the recently announced series based on “The Umbrella Academy,” published by Dark Horse Comics.
Netflix has been spending heavily for original movies and shows in all genres, such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” to attract new viewers and stand apart from rival services.
Gase: Cutler didn’t delay retirement to stand on sideline
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) – New Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler won’t play in the team’s exhibition opener Thursday, but look for him to be starting soon enough.
“He didn’t come out of retirement to stand on the sideline,” coach Adam Gase said.
Cutler missed Monday’s practice because it took place as he landed in South Florida to sign a $10 million, one-year contract. The 34-year-old Cutler decided to delay the start of his network TV career for the chance to replace Ryan Tannehill and be reunited with Gase, his former offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears.
“A situation like this doesn’t come along very often,” said Cutler, wearing a polo shirt bearing the Dolphins logo. “I know Adam very well; I know the system. And you’re talking about a playoff team with a lot of really, really good players and a lot of potential.”
Cutler is expected to leapfrog longtime Dolphins backup Matt Moore for the starting job while Tannehill remains out with a left knee injury that likely will sideline him for the entire season.