US-Iran move closer to a flashpoint as tensions spike
WASHINGTON — The U.S. and Iran edged toward a flashpoint Monday as Tehran announced it was breaking compliance with the accord that keeps it from making nuclear weapons and the Trump administration followed by ordering 1,000 more troops to the Middle East.
The Pentagon said the deployment includes security forces and troops for additional surveillance and intelligence gathering in the region. While the number is small, it represents an escalation of U.S. military might aimed at deterring Iran and calming allies worried that transit through key shipping lanes could be in jeopardy.
Tehran’s announcement earlier Monday means it could soon start to enrich uranium to just a step away from weapons-grade levels, challenging President Donald Trump’s assurances to allies that the U.S. withdrawal from the deal last year made the world a safer place.
The developments are bound to inflame tensions in the Middle East and pose a test of resolve and credibility for both adversaries.
Iran said it would break a limit on uranium stockpiles established by the 2015 agreement with world powers that was intended to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions.
US restores some aid to El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Monday it is easing previously announced cuts in hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Central American nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala but will not allow new funding until those countries do more to reduce migrant flows to the United States.
The State Department said that after a review of more than $615 million in assistance that President Donald Trump ordered in March to be cut entirely, it would go ahead with $432 million in projects and grants that had been previously approved. The remaining amount will be held in escrow pending consultations with Congress, it said.
That $432 million, which comes from the 2017 budget, is being spent on health, education and poverty alleviation programs as well as anti-crime efforts that many believe help reduce migrant outflows from the impoverished Northern Triangle region. About $370 million in money from the 2018 budget will not be spent and instead will be moved to other projects, the State Department said.
“Previously awarded grants and contracts will continue with current funding,” department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. She added that assistance “to help the Northern Triangle governments take actions that will protect the U.S. border and counter transnational organized crime will also continue.”
U.S. officials said the review looked at roughly 700 projects funded with fiscal 2017 money by the United States in the three countries and concluded that a significant number were too far advanced to end them.
Egypt’s ousted president Morsi dies in court during trial
CAIRO — Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi who was ousted by the military in 2013 after a year in office, collapsed in court while on trial Monday and died, state TV and his family said.
The 67-year-old Morsi had just addressed the court, speaking from the glass cage he is kept in during sessions and warning that he had “many secrets” he could reveal, a judicial official said. A few minutes afterward, he collapsed in the cage, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.
In his final comments, he continued to insist he was Egypt’s legitimate president, demanding a special tribunal, one of his defense lawyers, Kamel Madour told the Associated Press. State TV said Morsi died before he could be taken to the hospital.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood accused the government of “assassinating” him through years of poor prison conditions. In a statement, the group demanded an international investigation into Morsi’s death and called on Egyptians to protest outside Egypt’s embassy across the world.
Morsi, who was known to have diabetes, had been imprisoned since his 2013 ouster, often in solitary confinement and barred from visitors — his family was allowed to visit only three times during that time.
Blackout in South America raises questions about power grid
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The huge blackout that left tens of millions of people in the dark in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay over the weekend raised serious questions about the vulnerability of the power grid in South America and brought criticism down on Argentina’s leader.
President Mauricio Macri promised a thorough investigation into the cause of what he called an unprecedented outage. Energy officials said the findings would not be available for 10 to 15 days, and they had no immediate estimate of the economic damage from Sunday’s 14-hour power failure.
“This is an extraordinary event that should have never happened,” said Argentine Energy Secretary Gustavo Lopetegui. “It’s very serious. We can’t leave the whole country all of a sudden without electricity.”
He vowed: “There is zero chance that this will repeat itself. It can’t repeat itself.”
While the precise cause has yet to be established, the blackout originated at a transmission point between two power stations in the country’s northeast “when the system was getting too much power,” Lopetegui said. A chain of events then caused a total disruption, he said.
Trump campaign fires pollsters after mixed messaging
WASHINGTON — When President Donald Trump’s internal polling suggested he was trailing Democrats in crucial states earlier this year, it did what any campaign would do: tried to bury the bad numbers.
When the findings leaked to the media anyway, an infuriated Trump and his aides first disputed the poll’s existence, then tried to dismiss its importance before finally firing some of the pollsters.
The deception and muddled messaging are part reflexive: Trump and his team have made a habit of discounting embarrassing news as “fake.” But the internal drama on the brink of Trump’s formal reelection launch could also signal trouble ahead if staffers are skittish about being candid with a boss who has made “winning” a central part of his brand.
“All news about the president’s polling is completely false,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “The president’s new polling is extraordinary and his numbers have never been better.”
The episode was also a sobering reminder that for all the Trump campaign’s efforts to professionalize its operation, much hasn’t changed. Despite its new fundraising prowess and growing staff working from a gleaming tower overlooking the Potomac River, the reelection campaign is likely to feature the same leaks, backbiting and high turnover as Trump’s ramshackle 2016 effort and early White House tenure.
Kansas boy very lucky to survive knife impaling his face
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A 15-year-old Kansas boy got a large knife to the face, and doctors say he’s extremely lucky.
Jimmy Russell said her son, Eli Gregg, was playing Thursday evening outside of their home in Redfield, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Kansas City, when she heard him scream. She found him with a 10-inch knife jutting from just below his eye and called 911.
“It looked pretty grim, it was scary,” Russell said in a video released by the University of Kansas Health System, where he was treated.
The knife was embedded in his skull and extended to just under his brain. The blade’s tip, meanwhile, was pushing against his carotid artery, which supplies the brain with blood.
“It could not have had a pound more force on it and him survive that event,” said Dr. Koji Ebersole, who oversaw the extraction. “I don’t think he would have survived it.”
Harvard pulls Parkland grad’s admission over racist comments
BOSTON — A survivor of the Parkland school shooting announced Monday that Harvard University withdrew his admission over racist comments he made in a shared Google Doc and text messages nearly two years ago.
In a series of posts on Twitter, Kyle Kashuv shared several letters he received from the Ivy League school first notifying him that his admission offer was being reconsidered in light of the comments and, later, that it was being revoked.
The decision stems from comments that have surfaced online recently and that Kashuv says were shared among friends when he was 16, months before the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Screenshots that have circulated on social media appear to show Kashuv using racial slurs on Google Docs, an online word processor, and in text messages. The comments include anti-Semitic barbs and repeated use of a slur referring to black people.
Kashuv, now 18, has apologized for the comments and said he didn’t remember them until they spread online. In a May 22 statement on Twitter, as the comments began to spread, he said they were made by a “petty, flippant kid” and not the person he has become. He later said he made poor choices but bears no real racial hatred.
Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress, jeans queen, dies at 95
NEW YORK — Gloria Vanderbilt, the intrepid heiress, artist and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the “poor little rich girl” of the Great Depression, survived family tragedy and multiple marriages and reigned during the 1970s and ’80s as a designer jeans pioneer, died Monday at the age of 95.
Vanderbilt was the great-great-granddaughter of financier Cornelius Vanderbilt and the mother of CNN newsman Anderson Cooper, who announced her death via a first-person obituary that aired on the network Monday morning.
Cooper said Vanderbilt died at home with friends and family at her side. She had been suffering from advanced stomach cancer, he noted.
“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said in a statement. “She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they’d tell you, she was the youngest person they knew, the coolest, and most modern.”
Her life was chronicled in sensational headlines from her childhood through four marriages and three divorces. She married for the first time at 17, causing her aunt to disinherit her. Her husbands included Leopold Stokowski, the celebrated conductor, and Sidney Lumet, the award-winning movie and television director. In 1988, she witnessed the suicide of one of her four sons.
Buttigieg goes home to South Bend after man killed by police
INDIANAPOLIS — The fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer in the Indiana city where Pete Buttigieg is mayor presents both political peril for a presidential candidate who has struggled to connect with minority voters and an opportunity to show leadership on issues of race and policing that are critical — and personal — for much of the Democratic primary electorate.
Buttigieg on Monday canceled several days of campaign events after returning to South Bend, where he spent the day meeting with community members and faith leaders following the shooting of 54-year-old Eric Jack Logan.
Logan died after he was shot once in the abdomen from the front by a white officer who responded to a call about a suspicious person going through cars about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said Monday.
Sgt. Ryan O’Neill spotted the man, later identified as Logan, leaning inside a car, Cotter said. When O’Neill confronted him, Logan allegedly approached the officer with a 6 to 8-inch long knife raised over his head. That’s when Cotter said the officer fired twice, with the other shot hitting a car door.
In a matter of months, Buttigieg has gone from a relatively obscure 37-year-old mayor to the top tier of a crowded Democratic presidential field. His handling of the shooting could test his ability to navigate the demands of the campaign trail while still performing his day job.
Masked gunman killed in shootout at Dallas courthouse
DALLAS — An Army veteran wearing a mask and carrying more than 150 rounds of ammunition for his high-powered rifle was shot dead Monday after he opened fire outside a busy federal courthouse in downtown Dallas, authorities said.
Federal officers killed 22-year-old Brian Isaack Clyde after he approached an entrance of the Earle Cabell Federal Building and began shooting. Glass panes were shattered in a revolving door during the gunfight, but no one else was seriously hurt.
“It’s a lot of rounds — a lot of rounds at his disposal, a large powerful weapon at his disposal,” FBI agent Matthew DeSarno said.
Clyde’s attack began about 8:40 a.m., and three officers from the Federal Protective Service who were stationed at the building confronted him. DeSarno and other officials praised their courage at a news conference.
“But for the actions for the Federal Protective Service officers, this likely would have been a very deadly incident,” DeSarno said.