National News

5 things for May 25: North Korea, #MeToo, Canada IED, Julian Assange, Jack Johnson

Posted May 22, 2018 6:24 a.m. EDT

— Memorial Day is coming up. It's a time for barbecues and outdoor fun for most of us. But let's not forget why we really have this day off. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. North Korea

North Korea had a rather restrained reaction to President Trump's abrupt cancellation of the planned summit next month in Singapore. An official from the North's Foreign Ministry said the regime is still willing to meet with the US "at any time." But that same official said Trump's decision isn't "consistent with the desire of humankind for peace and stability in the world." The summit's demise -- after a North Korean official raised the specter of a nuclear showdown and called US VP Mike Pence a "political dummy" -- also puts South Korea, China and Japan under a new cloud of uncertainty.

As for the President, he said his administration would continue its "maximum pressure" campaign on the regime, which means a push for new sanctions. But Trump also expressed hope another meeting could be scheduled. This mixing of threats with olive branches is a typical Trump move, observers say, but it may not work in international diplomacy. "This isn't a New York real estate deal," one expert says. "These are the North Koreans."

2. #MeToo movement

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein will turn himself in to New York police this morning on rape charges, a source tells CNN. Prosecutors are expected to charge him with first- and third-degree rape in one case and first-degree sex act in a second case. Weinstein is also under investigation for alleged sex crimes in Los Angeles and London, and he's reportedly the subject of a probe by federal prosecutors in New York. The charges follow a flood of accusations against Weinsten that led women around the world to come forward with accounts of being sexually harassed by powerful men.

Meanwhile, eight women have accused Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior or harassment on movie sets, at his company and in interviews. The women, in the exclusive CNN report, made allegations of unwanted touching, demeaning comments and inappropriate staring. Freeman released a statement in which he apologized, saying it "was never my intent" to make people feel "uncomfortable or disrespected."

3. Canada restaurant explosion

Fifteen people were hurt last night in Mississauga, Ontario, after two men walked into an Indian restaurant there and set off an "improvised explosive device," police said. The men fled after the explosion; surveillance photos show them wearing jeans and dark-colored hoodies, with one covering his face with a black cloth. Of those hurt, three people suffered critical injuries and were taken to a trauma center in Toronto. No word yet on a motive.

4. Julian Assange

Is Julian Assange's stay at Ecuador's embassy in London almost over? Sources tell CNN that Assange's situation is "unusually bad" and that he could leave "any day now" -- either because he'll be forced out or made to feel so restricted he'll leave. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been holed up in the embassy for almost six years. He was originally wanted for questioning in Sweden on a rape charge (prosecutors dropped that investigation last year). But he's still afraid to leave the protection of the embassy because the US has prepared charges to seek his arrest. US intel agencies think Russia used him as an intermediary to distribute hacked Hillary Clinton campaign emails during the 2016 presidential election.

5. Jack Johnson

President Trump posthumously pardoned boxing legend Jack Johnson. The life and career of Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, was thrown into chaos in 1913, after he was convicted under a human trafficking law for taking his white girlfriend across state lines for "immoral" purposes. Critics say the law was used in the racially motivated prosecutions of blacks. Johnson died in 1946. Trump said he granted the pardon on the suggestion of actor Sylvester Stallone, best known, of course, as fictional movie boxer Rocky.


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