Dustin Johnson in 4-way tie after day of survival at U.S. Open – The Denver Post

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — The only thing that spared Dustin Johnson from another U.S. Open implosion is that everyone around him suffered on a Shinnecock Hills course that even the USGA conceded got out of hand Saturday afternoon.

Daniel Berger and Tony Finau were the exceptions, each posting a 4-under 66 about the time Johnson was just starting out on greens that became so slick that Phil Mickelson swatted a ball that was still moving on the 13th green and no one in the final 22 groups broke par.

Johnson, who started the third round with a four-shot lead, barely nudged his 17-foot birdie attempt on the 18th hole. It ran 8 feet by the cup and he missed the par putt for one last bogey and a 7-over 77.

At least he still has a chance. Johnson was in a four-way tie for the lead at 3-over 213, the highest 54-hole score to lead the U.S. Open since the fabled “Massacre at Winged Foot” in 1974.

“You were seeing shots that were well played and not rewarded,” said Mike Davis, the chief executive of the USGA. “It was a very tough test, but probably too tough this afternoon.”

Berger and Finau, who started the day 11 shots out of the lead, will play in the final group.

Johnson and defending champion Brooks Koepka will be right behind them. Koepka made only two birdies in a hard-earned round of 72, leaving him in position to become the first back-to-back winner of the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange in 1989.

Henrik Stenson made one birdie and picked up three shots on the leader.

Mickelson celebrated his 48th birthday by matching his worst score in his 27th U.S. Open with an 81, and he provided the snapshot of a day that was entertaining for reasons the USGA didn’t imagine.

He went from behind the 13th green all the way off the front. His next shot was 18 feet above the hole. His bogey putt slid by, and after a few putts, Mickelson trotted after it and then stuck out his putter and hit the ball back toward the cup to keep it from running off the green. That’s a two-shot penalty, giving him a 10.

“It’s just a moment of madness,” said Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who played with Mickelson and couldn’t stifle a laugh.

Mickelson apologized if anyone was offended by his act, even after saying he knew the rules for hitting a ball in motion and was happy to take a two-shot penalty instead of playing a crude version of tennis.

Johnson didn’t have anything that wild, rather more of a slow bleed that began with a shot off a sandy path and three putts on the par-3 second hole for his first double bogey of the championship. His lead was gone with a three-putt bogey on the par-3 seventh. He was back in the lead when everyone around him couldn’t hang on. Justin Rose (73) and Stenson (74) also shared the lead at some point.

Rose was one shot behind, with Stenson another shot behind. Kiradech Aphibarnrat had the only other round under par. He teed off at 9:40 a.m. and had a 2-under 68 and was three shots behind.

The scoring average of 75.33 was the highest for a third round in the U.S. Open since 2000 at Pebble Beach.

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EXCHANGE: Community reacts after college announces closing

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) – Tim Morthland promised economic revitalization for Franklin County and Southern Illinois by opening Morthland College and its family of businesses – a research park that would produce energy drinks, a music conservatory, phone screen repair, even a cafe on top of a proposed hospital, and a four-year private college based on Christian values.

There would be a sports complex and health clinics, and there would be jobs for miles coupled with a huge economic stimulation from increased tax revenue. Ceremonies and news conferences were held, buildings were donated, deals were made, and gifts were given.

Momentum for the Morthland train was huge and, according to former Morthland College administrative employee Paul Lemon, the enthusiasm for the project, specifically the college, was palpable.

However, through a series of missteps, the intricate weave of Morthland College and its guilds began to unravel in 2016. Decisions were made against the recommendation of top advisors, money began to get thin and people complained of paychecks bouncing. Contractors slowly stopped being able to reach anyone on the phone and payment for services dried up for some.

The Southern Illinoisan reported last year that the school was under investigation by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, after a Department of Education program review revealed alleged mishandling of Title IV student aid dollars. The college had allegedly allowed ineligible students at prep sports academies to use their FAFSA numbers to draw down student aid while taking online classes.

The school lost the ability to access those funds. In a May 26 news release, officials said that was the root cause for the college’s closure.

In the wake of Morthland College’s decline, careers were sent sideways, students were left in limbo, and a small community’s goodwill and hopes for revitalization were dashed.

Mike Popovich was living, teaching and coaching football in Mount Zion when he saw a job advertised downstate – a football program was being started at a small Christian college in Franklin County, and it needed a head coach.

When he got the job, he said he didn’t know what to think when he actually saw the campus.

“They had basically a couple of buildings they were operating out of,” he said. “There was nothing there.”

Popovich said when he was hired in 2016 he was told they would have everything they needed for the team. A weight room, a football field … all of it would be ready for the 2017 season.

“You had to close your eyes and imagine what it would be like,” Popovich said.

It wasn’t hard to do. Popovich said the dream was around every corner of the campus. Drawings of the future were framed on the walls, the big plans were on people’s lips at all their meetings.

“You believe it,” he said. “Wow, this is going to be amazing.”

Leigh Caldwell was born and raised in Franklin County and had spent about 20 years working outside the community in journalism when she was looking for a way to come back. She had seen what the slowing economy had done to her hometown of West Frankfort and was struck when she heard Morthland’s big plan for economic revival. So she was thrilled when she got to work as part of a team helping bring her small town back to life.

“I wanted to work to make my hometown better, to see economic recovery there and to make it more of the community that I had left in the ‘90s,” she said. “My involvement in Morthland College came from exactly that same place.”

She took the helm as the school’s media coordinator in June of 2015 and eventually also became the resident “dorm mom” when the college opened its campus dorms.

She said she threw herself into her work, even moving her teenage daughter into the dorm with her.

Cathie Mieldezis worked in the administrative office at Morthland College and was there from its earliest days working just part time, eventually finding her way into a full-time position as the school grew. She said the core group of people there at the time believed in the mission. There was a giving spirit there.

“We invested our finances into that college,” she said, adding that office workers would routinely supply their own copier paper and Post-it notes. There was literal and figurative buy-in, she said.

As time wore on, the veneer wore thin for many that worked there. The environment became less and less open, and the inner circle of the administrative team grew smaller and smaller.

Employees weren’t the only ones who were taken with the idea that Tim Morthland could be the saving grace of West Frankfort and Franklin County.

Tom Jordan, West Frankfort’s mayor, said the idea was exciting for a small town leader anxious for his city to prosper, particularly in light of the steady decline of coal jobs.

Jordan and the city lined up to help in any way it could – how could he say no to the possibility of having a thriving private college, bringing hundreds of students to his town, not to mention the “guild” businesses associated with the college?

They even signed a TIF agreement with Morthland College to help whenever needed with the loan payments on the school’s Oak Street main office. The classical, white-columned structure eventually became home base for the school.

Community leaders pitched in as well. Money was donated, buildings even. The Coleman-Rhoads building on Main Street in West Frankfort was donated to the college in 2014 by Brent Coleman and Steve Rhoads.

“(I) thought it held great promise for the town,” Rhodes said in an interview Tuesday.

The next year another large gift was made to the school in the form of a church. In 2015, the First United Methodist Church signed a $1, 20-year lease for the school to use the building, allowing the very small, aging congregation to continue to worship in the historic church.

Joyce Mutche, former administrative board chairwoman for the church, said at the time, donating the church seemed like the right idea. She said Morthland College seemed like a great opportunity for the community and for the congregation.

Money and buildings weren’t the only gifts. There was time and influence given, too. Mieldezis and Jordan said some of the most prominent members of the Franklin County community signed on to the Morthland idea. Even West Frankfort’s city attorney, Mike Riva, sat on the board of the Morthland College Foundation, which he said acted like a booster club for the school. It raised money to help offset the cost of operation.

Popovich traveled a lot. He would go state to state, even as far as California, to bring kids to play for his program, the program that was going to be something. The program that was promised to him.

He said there was even a donation made from someone in West Frankfort that paid for this travel. He did what he was supposed to do. He got a team together and it bloomed the school’s enrollment.

“That first year, that fall of 2016, we had, there were 95 kids in the school and I want to say almost half of them were made up by the football team,” Popovich said.

The season went pretty well. The Patriots finished 7-3. Fundraising wasn’t doing too bad either – they played a game against Wisconsin Oshkosh, an NCAA Division III team, for $5,000. However, after the check was sent, Popovich said his program never saw the payment.

Popovich said it was at this point that his eyes started to open to what was happening at the school, and he started to see a change.

He said he started to see donations come in for things that never happened, and money started to get harder and harder to get.

Popovich said he came in several times to find the lights were off because of unpaid electric bills. He said his $1,400 paychecks even bounced a few times.

Talking to his bosses also got a lot harder.

“To get ahold of them it was like trying to see the wizard,” he said, referencing the illusive wizard in “The Wizard of Oz.” He said Morthland himself was never available.

“You didn’t get to Tim Morthland,” he said.

Over time Popovich and Mieldezis said they began to see through what they were being told.

“They were really good at lying,” Popovich said.

“I would say it was very cultish,” Mieldezis said of the Morthland College work culture.

“It’s what you wear, it’s what you eat. It’s the manipulation and the control of everything you do,” she said.

Popovich agreed.

“They just they paint a picture, you get sucked in that you are going to be part of something bigger,” he said.

The duality Mieldezis felt was hard to reckon with, she said. She would watch people come to the school and be told what she knew to be falsehoods, but then turn around and believe the same things when she was told them.

She said Morthland and the administrative staff created a culture of divisiveness among employees.

“It was always this idea of you didn’t know who stood where,” she said. “I didn’t trust anybody.”

Mieldezis said she thinks this was all by design.

“How do you control someone? You make (yourself) the person that they need,” she explained.

She said she’s not sure if these actions were the plan from day one, but said once they realized the power the administration could have, they worked it.

“I believe they fed on it, they realized it and that’s what they did,” Mieldezis said.

Popovich said he has since heard numerous falsehoods about the school’s goings on during his time there. Things he knows aren’t true because he was involved – namely the relationship the school had with prep academies.

Part of the problem the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the DOE had with Morthland College’s reviews was their enrollment and retention of online students at prep sports academies – schools that pledge to help high school athletes get placed in college sports programs while also getting them college credit.

In emails previously reported on by The Southern, Morthland and his vice president, Emily Hayes, claim the school had no relationship with the academies beyond accepting them as students. Morthland reiterated this in an interview Wednesday with Tom Miller on WJPF.

“That’s a lie because I did, because I was told to recruit student athletes from the prep schools,” Popovich said, adding that it only made sense to recruit from these schools for their own football program – they were already enrolled at the college and had experience on the field.

Things didn’t go too well for students, either.

Andrew Trambley is originally from Vienna and said he jumped from attending Shawnee Community College in order to play football for Morthland College. He said his first experiences there were great – the teachers knew all the students and really seemed to care about their success. But things went sideways his senior year.

He said he had signed up for classes in the fall of 2016 for the next semester. When he went to pick up his schedule, one class didn’t appear. He said he found out weeks later that he had been enrolled in an online course without his permission – he said he had signed up for all in-person courses. And, a notification that if he did not become active in the class he would be dropped was sent not to his school email, but to his dad’s.

When he found out, he decided just to let the class drop. This became a problem the next year when he tried to get his transcripts. He was told by a school administrator that he had been failed in the class, not dropped, and that he owed a $200 online class fee for a course he never OKed in the first place.

Because of this, his transcripts were being held, and they turned the $200 over to collections.

His decision to leave Morthland College came after he found out that athletics had been dropped in favor of club sports – he said it also put a bad taste in his mouth to hear Morthland deliver an address to that year’s graduating class saying how stable the school was when he saw that it wasn’t.

“The fact that he just blatantly lied to everyone at graduation, I was done with the school,” Trambley said.

Trambley said he was in a low place after he left Morthland College.

“I was going into my senior year, I had my life planned out pretty much,” he said. “To have that plan ripped out from me really hurt.”

Trambley is currently in a lawsuit against the school to have the fee waived and to have his transcripts released, but he said even after that, he’s not sure what he’s going to do. He said based on his research the closest school that would accept the credits from Morthland College is in Tennessee.

Tim Eaton, president of Morthland’s accrediting agency TRACS, said his institution is working with students who need to finish degrees to find schools to attend.

Caldwell, Mieldezis and Popovich all left on their own terms, and all said their biggest regret is that students got caught up in the school’s problems.

“The biggest source of upset for me (is) the students who came there in good faith to pursue degrees,” Caldwell said.

There is also a sense of disappointment for the city and county.

“Beyond any personal impact of losing my job and having to move from the place where I was living, I am heartbroken over what the opportunities that were lost in my town over anything that happened with me personally,” Caldwell said.

Jordan and Riva said while the city did help Morthland with some money directly, any money still committed to Morthland College should be freed up, given that the institution no longer exists.

As for the donated buildings, some, including the Oak Street office, have been sold by the county at tax sale after tax bills were not paid.

Caldwell, Popovich and Mieldezis all landed fine. Caldwell has a new career and has since gotten married, Popovich is coaching in Collinsville – though he said last summer was hard with his family having only one income – and Mieldezis has also secured work. She even said she feels “free” again, adding that she knew there was oppression when she worked at the college, but said it has taken time and distance to realize just how much there was.

Looking back on it, Mieldezis and Popovich said they aren’t sure if the entire Morthland College project was bad from its outset. However, Popovich said at the end, he thinks the administrators believed what they told people.

“Once you tell yourself a lie over and over … you eventually start to believe those lies,” Popovich said.

In the radio interview with Miller, Morthland discussed the closure of his namesake college, pushing most of the blame on the DOE and their sanctions, pointing to a conspiracy that the department has it out for faith-based schools.

Mieldezis and Jordan both took issue with this blame-shift.

“It had nothing to do with Obama or Trump or George Bush I or II, it had to do with what was going on internally,” Mieldezis said.

“It’s easy to blame everybody else,” Jordan said, adding that he thought the school administrators needed to own their mistakes.

He said Morthland’s various institutions had the very best leaders Franklin County had to offer, but for whatever reason, the college didn’t make it work.

“They had every opportunity to succeed and didn’t,” Jordan said.

Earlier this month, the Department of Education waived the college’s $2 million fine and closed two docket entries in the Office of Hearings and Appeals. Documents provided to The Southern by Aaron Hopkins, attorney for Morthland College, indicate that the department felt the appeal hearings would be “moot” because the school had opted to close on its own.

It is unclear what these decisions by DOE mean as to future penalties or actions from the department or other federal agencies. The documents said the decision to waive the fine and close the hearings were separate from the still-ongoing program review, the results of which have not yet been published.

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Source: The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, https://bit.ly/2sFGf50

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Trump on FBI, phantom law on migrant kids

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is claiming exoneration in the Russia matter from a Justice Department report that actually offers him none. He’s also branding fired FBI chief James Comey a criminal, though the report in question makes no such accusation.

Fallout from the internal report by the department’s inspector general capped a week of diplomacy with North Korea, trade spats on several fronts and growing attention to an immigration policy that is splitting children from parents after their arrests at the border. Trump dropped misrepresentations into the mix at every turn.

A week in review:

TRUMP: “I think that the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. And if you read the report, you’ll see that. … I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.” — remarks to reporters Friday.

THE FACTS: The report neither exonerated nor implicated Trump. It did not make any findings about collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice. It did not discredit, or give credence to, special counsel Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation into Russian interference in the election and ties between the Trump campaign and Russians. The report was about the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices.

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TRUMP on Comey: “Certainly he, they just seem like criminal acts to me. What he did was criminal. … Should he be locked up? Let somebody make a determination.” — to Fox News on Friday.

THE FACTS: The report does not substantiate Trump’s lock-him-up rhetoric. Comey was roundly faulted by the inspector general for violating FBI practices and for insubordination in making public statements about the Clinton investigation at the height of the presidential campaign. The report also revealed communications among some FBI employees who plainly wanted Trump to lose. But it does not support Trump’s complaint that political bias influenced the conduct of the email investigation into his Democratic rival.

Nor does it allege any criminal behavior by Comey, who has been accused by Clinton supporters of taking actions that hurt her election chances.

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TRUMP: “Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change! This is why we need more Republicans elected in November…” — tweet Saturday.

TRUMP: “The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children.” And: “I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.” — remarks to reporters Friday.

THE FACTS: It’s not Democrats’ law. There is no law mandating the separation of children and parents at the border.

The separations are a consequence of a Trump administration policy to maximize criminal prosecutions of people caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally. That means more adults are jailed, pending trial, so their children are removed from them. Before the policy, many people who were accused of illegal entry and did not have a criminal record were merely referred for civil deportation proceedings, which generally did not break up families.

The policy was announced April 6 and went into effect in May. From April 19 to May 31, 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults, according to Homeland Security statistics obtained by The Associated Press. The figures are for people who tried to enter the U.S. between official border crossings.

Trump’s repeated, but nonspecific references to a Democratic law appear to involve one enacted in 2008. It passed unanimously in Congress and was signed by Republican President George W. Bush. It was focused on freeing and otherwise helping children who come to the border without a parent or guardian. It does not call for family separation.

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TRUMP: “The economy is the best it’s ever been with employment being at an all-time high.” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Thanks largely to population growth, the number of people with jobs is, in fact, at a record high of 155.5 million. But a more relevant measure — the proportion of Americans with jobs — isn’t even close to a record.

Last month, 60.4 percent of Americans 16 and older had jobs. That is up from the recession and its aftermath, when many Americans stopped looking for work. It bottomed out at 58.2 percent in July 2011. Both figures are far below the record high of 64.7 percent, which was briefly reached in 2000. At the beginning of the 2008-2009 recession, 62.7 percent of Americans had jobs.

Economists estimate that at least half of the decline reflects ongoing retirements by the huge baby boom generation. For Americans in their prime working years — age 25 through 54 — roughly 79 percent have jobs. That’s up substantially from the post-recession low of 74.8 percent in November 2010. But it’s below the record of 81.9 percent in April 2000.

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TRUMP: “Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: He oversimplifies the reasons for increased prices.

OPEC is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Members of the cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, and other big producers including Russia have contributed to reversing the plunge in crude oil prices that started in 2014. They have shown discipline in limiting production since the start of last year, helping push up the benchmark price of international crude.

Prices, however, were already rising on growing demand and expectations that a sharp pullback in new investment by oil companies would reduce the oil supply.

Some estimates put the post-crash reduction in investment by major oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron and BP at more than $1 trillion — almost akin to eliminating the fourth-largest oil producer in the world.

Meanwhile, output from Venezuela, a major oil exporter to the U.S., has plunged as the South American country goes through a political and economic crisis.

Then there is Iran, OPEC’s third-biggest producer. Iran boosted production after the U.S. lifted sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program in 2016. But analysts expect output to fall when Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal takes full effect later this year.

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TRUMP: “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal. According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!). Minimum is 17B. Tax Dairy from us at 270%.” — tweet June 10. Two days earlier: “Canada charges the U.S. a 270% tariff on Dairy Products! They didn’t tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers!”

THE FACTS: He’s not telling the whole story. While Canadian dairy tariffs average nearly 249 percent, the troubles that U.S. dairy farmers face can’t all be blamed on Canada.

Canadian trade policies have had only a “tiny impact” on America’s struggling dairy farmers, says Daniel Sumner, an agricultural economist at the University of California, Davis.

Despite Canadian barriers, the United States last year ran a $474 million trade surplus in dairy with Canada, and exported $636 million in dairy products to Canada while importing $162 million, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Dairy is barely a blip — 0.1 percent — in U.S.-Canada trade, which amounted to $680 billion last year. As a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, “99 percent of the trade between Canada and the U.S. is tariff-free,” said Bruce Heyman, former U.S. ambassador to Canada. Overall, the U.S. ran a nearly $3 billion surplus in trade with Canada last year.

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TRUMP: “Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea…” —tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: His claim that there is no nuclear threat is an exaggeration. The five-hour nuclear summit gave the two leaders an opportunity to express optimism. But it didn’t nail down how and when North Korea might denuclearize.

North Korea is still believed to have a significant nuclear arsenal that could potentially threaten the U.S. Independent experts say the North could have enough fissile material for anywhere between about a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs. Last year, it tested long-range missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland although it remains unclear if it has mastered the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead that could re-enter the atmosphere and hit its target.

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TRUMP: Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President (Barack) Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!” — tweet Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Trump is wrong to say there was an assumption before he took office that the United States would go to war. Obama had used sanctions to no avail to try to halt North Korea’s nuclear program. But it wasn’t until after Trump took office that North Korea’s testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile and rhetoric between the two leaders heightened talk of war.

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TRUMP: “Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirms his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We also agreed to vigorous negotiations to implement the agreement as soon as possible, and he wants to do that. This isn’t the past. This isn’t another administration that never got it started and, therefore, never got it done.” — remarks Tuesday at news conference with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

THE FACTS: He’s wrong in suggesting his administration is the first to start on denuclearization with North Korea. The Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations both did so.

Clinton reached an aid-for-disarmament deal in 1994 that halted North Korea’s plutonium production for eight years, freezing what was then a very small nuclear arsenal. Bush took a tougher stance toward North Korea, and the 1994 nuclear deal collapsed because of suspicions that the North was running a secret uranium enrichment program. Bush, too, ultimately pursued negotiations. That led to a temporary disabling of some nuclear facilities, but talks fell apart because of differences over verification.

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TRUMP: “He actually mentioned the fact that they proceeded down a path in the past and ultimately as you know nothing got done. In one case, they took billions of dollars during the Clinton regime. … Took billions of dollars and nothing happened.” He said of Clinton: “He spent $3 billion and got nothing.” — remarks Tuesday.

THE FACTS: His numbers are incorrect. The Clinton administration, which he calls a “regime,” and the Bush administration combined provided some $1.3 billion in assistance from 1995 to 2008, says the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress. Slightly more than half was for food aid and 40 percent for energy assistance.

He’s also wrong in saying “nothing happened” in return. North Korea stopped producing plutonium for eight years under the 1994 agreement. Just how much was achieved, though, is in question, because of the suspicions that emerged later that North Korea had been secretly seeking to enrich uranium.

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TRUMP, on Kim’s agreement to work to repatriate the remains of prisoners of the Korean War and those missing in action from the conflict: “He gave us the remains of our great heroes.” — remarks to reporters Friday.

THE FACTS: That’s false. No remains have been returned since the summit, as of Friday. The last time North Korea turned over remains was in 2007, when Bill Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador and New Mexico governor, secured the return of six sets.

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TRUMP: “He’s giving us back the remains of probably 7,500 soldiers.” — to Fox News on Friday.

TRUMP: “I asked for it today. And we got it. … So, for the thousands and thousands, I guess way over 6,000 that we know of in terms of the remains, they’ll be brought back.” — remarks Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Also wrong. About 5,300 U.S. troops are still unaccounted for from North Korea.

Trump is also glossing over the surely impossible odds of locating the remains of all Americans missing from the war, more than six decades later. Several thousand are still missing in South Korea despite its close alliance and history of cooperation with the U.S.

North Korea and the United States remain technically at war because the 1950-53 fighting ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. But between 1996 and 2005, joint U.S.-North Korea military search teams conducted 33 joint recovery operations and recovered 229 sets of American remains.

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TRUMP: “I remember a nuclear event took place, 8.8 on the Richter scale, and they announced — I heard it on the radio, they announced that a massive, you know, an earthquake took place somewhere in Asia. And then they said it was in North Korea, and then they found out it was a nuclear test, I said, I never heard of a Richter scale in the high eights.” — remarks Tuesday.

THE FACTS: North Korea had no earthquake last year approaching that level of severity. This isn’t the first time he has misrepresented the episode.

North Korea tested what it called a hydrogen bomb in September, causing an underground blast so big it registered as a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. Other nuclear tests last year were associated with smaller seismic events.

An 8.8 quake would be 316 times bigger — and release 5,623 times more energy — than a 6.3.

In the past 15 years there have been three earthquakes that were an 8.8 or higher: the 9.1 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 that killed nearly 16,000 people, a 9.1 earthquake and tsunami off northern Sumatra in 2004 that killed about 250,000 people and an 8.8 earthquake off Chile in 2010 that killed 524.

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Associated Press writers Christopher Rugaber, Colleen Long, Matthew Pennington, Seth Borenstein and Paul Wiseman in Washington, David Koenig in Dallas and Elliot Spagat in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

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Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck

EDITOR’S NOTE _ A look at the veracity of claims by political figures



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Daughter gives dad kidney for Father’s Day

This Father’s Day, a daughter is giving her dad a priceless gift — a second chance at life.

Florida high school music teacher Ronald Corbin had been on a waiting list for a kidney transplant for three years when his daughter, Candice Corbin, contacted him with good news, according to ABC Palm Beach station WPBF.

After she grew tired of her father’s waiting, she decided to take a test to see whether she could be a donor.

Ronald Corbins daughter, Candice, donated a kidney to her father for Fathers Day.WPBF
Ronald Corbin’s daughter, Candice, donated a kidney to her father for Father’s Day.

“I didn’t know she was getting tested,” Ronald told WPBF. “She lives in New York, and she got tested up there, and one day she called me and said, ‘Daddy I’m a match.'”

At the end of May, at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, Candice donated a kidney to her father, who had been on dialysis since 2015.

Ronald said he never would have asked or expected his daughter to donate a kidney.

Ronald Corbins daughter, Candice, donated a kidney to her father for Fathers Day.WPBF
Ronald Corbin’s daughter, Candice, donated a kidney to her father for Father’s Day.

“Wow, it’s amazing — it was beyond me to realize she would do this for me, but she’s a great kid and I really love her,” he said.

Both father and daughter are doing well after the surgery, WPBF reported. Ronald said he’s recovering quickly, and Candice is back singing in New York.

“I’m just blessed to have you in my life,” he told her. “Thank you and I love you.”

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Immigrants fleeing gangs prefer taking chance for US asylum

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — The MS-13 gang made Jose Osmin Aparicio’s life so miserable in his native El Salvador that he had no choice but to flee in the dead of night with his wife and four children, leaving behind all their belongings and paying a smuggler $8,000.

Aparicio is undeterred by a new directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions declaring that gang and domestic violence will generally cease to be grounds for asylum. To him, it’s better to take his chances with the American asylum system and stay in Mexico if his bid is denied.

“Imagine what would happen if I was deported to El Salvador,” he said Wednesday as he waited at the border to enter the U.S.

The directive announced Monday could have far-reaching consequences because of the sheer volume of people like Aparicio fleeing gang violence, which is so pervasive in Central America that merely stepping foot in the wrong neighborhood can lead to death.

The Associated Press interviewed several asylum-seekers this past week at a plaza on the border, and each of them cited gang violence as the main factor in fleeing their homelands. They planned to press on with their asylum requests in spite of the new rule.

The decision by Sessions came as the administration faced a growing backlash over immigration policies and practices that human-rights advocates view as inhumane, including separating children from immigrant parents. They leveled similar criticism over the asylum changes, which the White House says are necessary to deter illegal immigration.

“The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim,” the attorney general wrote Monday, overruling a Board of Immigration Appeals decision granting asylum to a Salvadoran woman fleeing her husband.

U.S. officials do not say how many asylum claims are for domestic or gang violence, but advocates for asylum seekers said there could be tens of thousands of such cases in the immigration court backlog alone.

Many Central Americans seeking asylum say they are fleeing from gangs known as “maras,” primarily the Mara Salvatrucha (or MS-13) and Barrio 18 groups. President Donald Trump has condemned those groups and the violence they commit in the U.S., referring to members as “animals.”

The gangs were formed by young Central Americans mostly in Los Angeles decades ago and spread to the so-called Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras when members were deported. Today, Honduras and El Salvador in particular routinely post some of the world’s highest homicide rates.

In Central America, maras stake out and battle over turf, attacking anyone who unwittingly crosses through their area on the way to school or work as a possible rival.

Gangsters sometimes forcibly take over people’s homes. They extort bus drivers and small business owners, killing those unable or unwilling to pay. They threaten teens and young men in attempts to recruit them, and force girls and young women to be their girlfriends.

Maureen Meyer, director for Mexico and migrant rights at the Washington Office on Latin America advocacy group, said the ruling would “make it very difficult for a lot of the people seeking asylum in the United States.”

Meyer said Central Americans commonly request asylum for extortion, forced recruitment and violence against women. Where the gangs are prevalent, moving elsewhere is not an option, she said.

“People feel very insecure in their homes and continue to see the U.S. as a safe haven in spite of Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric,” Meyer said of the steady northbound flow of Central Americans that began in 2014.

More than 100 asylum seekers gathered Wednesday near the entrance to San Diego, the largest crossing on the U.S.-Mexico border. Some Mexicans in the crowd said they were fleeing criminal groups.

Holding her 7-month-old daughter and trailed closely by her 5-year-old son, who was on crutches because of a gunshot wound, Maria Rafaela Plancarte said she abandoned their town near the western Mexican city of Zamora after her husband was shot and killed behind the wheel of the family car as they fled a party stormed by gunmen. Her son was wounded in the attack.

Plancarte, 34, said she has not considered moving elsewhere in Mexico and hopes to live with an aunt in California.

“I will feel more comfortable with a family that I know,” she said.

Alejandro Arroyo said he fled Apatzingan in western Mexico with his wife and their 14-year-old son, hoping asylum would bring them to his wife’s family in Gilroy, California. The 48-year-old said criminal gangs killed his nephew and brother-in-law, and he feared he and his son would be next.

They initially sought refuge in Tijuana, but requested U.S. asylum after being robbed by local police.

“I do not feel safe” in Apatzingan, Arroyo said, “and I do not feel safe here.”

Aparicio, from El Salvador, is caught in the middle of the change in asylum policies. His wife requested asylum about a month ago with three of their children – ages 2, 10 and 12 – and they were released to a family in Maryland while their cases wind through immigration court. Aparicio stayed in Tijuana to seek asylum with his 17-year-old son, hoping to reunite with the family later.

Sessions subsequently made his ruling on gang violence, but Aparicio is still pursuing asylum and hoping to get into the U.S.

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Greek eats made simple – The Denver Post

Roast potatoes with lemon juice and garlicl. Photo provided by Big Bang Catering
Roast potatoes with lemon juice and garlic. (Photo provided by Big Bang Catering)

By Bill St. John, Special to The Denver Post

 

As it is with Chinese, Vietnamese and certainly Moroccan or Turkish, most of us tend to enjoy more exotic cuisines at restaurants or with takeout, forgoing cooking them at home.

 

That’s certainly the case with Greek cooking. I don’t know any non-Greek-Americans who whip up saganaki on their weekends. Maybe we’re all just hesitant to throw that flaming cheese plate into a fireplace that no longer works.

 

Joanne Meras, a Greek-American and Denver Post reader, readily acknowledges the several challenges posed by cooking Greek at home. “Forget the octopus,” she writes, and “Rolling dolmathes is a chore, and ready-made ones are so accessible.” But she also encourages by prompting cooks to consider “exploring the uses of filo dough.”

“It is so versatile,” she says, both for savory and sweet dishes.

 

My advice as a cooking teacher is to take baby steps in the kitchen with Greek cooking and begin with some terrifically flavorful basics. That should goad even the most reluctant into at least considering putting together an avgolemono (pronounced av-yo-LEM-oh-no), the Greek version of chicken soup enriched with eggs and lemon juice. Once you taste avgolemono, you never go pho.

 

Or head out to Denver’s annual Greek Festival, this weekend as always at the community’s mother church near Glendale. Deets below. So many foods will be offered. The list itself is a menu: saganaki, souvlakia, gyros, lamb sandwich, chicken oreganato, tiropites, spanakopita, keftedes, dolmathes, pastitsio, Greek salad, and several desserts.

 

Or try these simple recipes from the preeminent recipe writer and teacher of Greek cooking, Vefa Alexiadou, and her “bible” of Greek recipes, “Greece: The Cookbook” (Phaidon, 2017).

 

Roast Potatoes with Lemon

8-10 servings

From “Greece: The Cookbook,” Vefa Alexiadou ontastingtable.com

 

You’ve had roast potatoes before, but never like this. Potatoes are marinated in lemon juice and garlic before getting roasted to a golden ideal. They’re the perfect accompaniment for a whole roast leg of lamb. Pro tip: Pour some drippings over the potatoes before serving.

 

Ingredients

4 1⁄2 pounds Yukon Gold and red-skinned potatoes, cut into wedges

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Pinch dried oregano

1 garlic clove, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 tablespoons olive oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

 

Directions

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the lemon juice, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit for 1 hour, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350. Transfer the potatoes to a roasting pan, then drizzle with olive oil and dot with butter. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour.

 

Remove the foil and continue to roast the potatoes for 25 minutes until lightly brown. Then turn on the broiler and cook until crisp and golden, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve.

 

 

Greek Village Salad

From “Vefa’s Kitchen,” by  Vefa Alexiadou (Phaidon 2009).

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 large tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings

10 Kalamata olives

4 ounces feta cheese, diced

Pinch of dried oregano

Oil-vinegar dressing (recipe below)

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced or quartered (optional)

Chopped fresh parsley, watercress, or arugula to garnish (optional)

Directions

Cut each tomato into 6 wedges. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion rings, olives, and feta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a little oregano and pour the oil-vinegar dressing to taste over it. Toss and serve garnished with the eggs, parsley, watercress, or arugula (if using).

Oil-Vinegar Dressing

2 parts olive oil

1 part red wine vinegar

Pinch of dried oregano or mustard powder (optional)

Salt and pepper

Put the ingredients into a screw-top jar, fasten the lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly blended.

IF YOU GO

Denver Greek Festival, June 15-17

4610 E. Alameda Ave., Denver (at the Assumption Cathedral of Theotokos)

www.thegreekfestival.com

 

Reach Bill St John at bsjpost@gmail.com

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Delhi Deadlock LIVE: PM Modi Calls for Cooperative Federalism as Capital Crisis Clouds NITI Aayog Meet

Event Highlights

Even as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is on a sit-in protest for the seventh day, L-G Anil Baijal has left for the crucial NITI Aayog meeting, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a few minutes from now. The crucial meeting may turn out to be a platform for yet another show of strength by the opposition as four non-NDA, non-Congress chief ministers gear up to raise the political impasse in Delhi with PM Modi. The four chief ministers — West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh’s Chandrababu Naidu, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan and Karnataka’s HD Kumaraswamy — have rallied behind Kejriwal and sought the Centre’s intervention to end the deadlock between Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor Anil Baijal over an alleged strike by IAS officers. Their request for permission to meet Kejriwal, who is on a sit-in at the Lieutenant Governor’s office for a week, was verbally denied, after which the quartet reached Kejriwal’s home. The open support to Kejriwal by the Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Janata Dal (Secular) comes amid opposition efforts to cobble together a rainbow coalition ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While PM Modi is hopeful of discussing the implementation of key policies, all eyes are on the four chief ministers, who may use the opportunity to seek PM’s intervention in the “constitutional crisis” during the NITI Aayog meeting.

Stay tuned for live updates

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Spectacular implosion brings down cooling towers at Florida plant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It took just 12 seconds for 1,500 pounds of dynamite to bring down two huge cooling towers Saturday morning at a Florida power plant.

While it is an exciting moment for some to witness at the St. Johns River Power Park, several local residents said it’s also bittersweet.

“Yeah, I’ll probably have a tear in my eye,” said Carol Stevens, who started working at the Power Park in 1988 when the second tower was built. She retired several years ago.

Each cooling towers measure about 462-feet tall. 

“The towers are coming down as the first step in decommissioning the entire plant,” said Gina Kyle, a Jacksonville Electric Authority spokeswoman. She said the towers were used to cool the water that was coming into the plant to produce energy, but they are no longer needed.

“I’ve only lived in Jacksonville for four years but this is the icon,” she said.

JEA and Florida Power & Light contracted Total Wrecking & Environmental to handle the implosion of the cooling towers and demolition of the power park for $14.5 million. The project is expected to be completed in April 2020.

They were the second tallest cooling towers to be imploded in the world, Total Wrecking & Environmental said.

Preparation took about 10 weeks for the implosion. More than 1,500 pounds of dynamite and 12,000 linear feet of detonation were used.

The St. Johns River Power Park, a 1,264-megawatt, coal-fired electric plant, was closed in January.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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May ‘locks in Brexit’ with multi-million national health fund boost

However, May will risk a backlash from Conservative MPs by opening the door to increased borrowing and tax rises to fund the pledge. The Prime Minister is expected to say details of how the extra funding will be financed will not be announced until a future Budget – pledging to listen to views about how it should be achieved.

British Prime Minister appears to be locking Britain into leaving the EU by allocating funds from the 'Brexit dividend'.

British Prime Minister appears to be locking Britain into leaving the EU by allocating funds from the ‘Brexit dividend’.

Photo: AP

Hunt states that the funding will help “deliver the improvements people desperately want from their NHS” including better cancer survival rates and reduced waiting times for mental health treatment. “The extra funding will come in part from the ‘Brexit dividend’ – vast sums of money we will no longer send to the European Union after we have left – and the country will be asked to contribute a bit more for the NHS in a fair and balanced way,” a No 10 spokesman said last night.

Critics say Britain's NHS is critically under-funded.

Critics say Britain’s NHS is critically under-funded.

Photo: AP

Downing St said that the NHS “will receive an extra £600 million per week in cash terms compared to today” in a five-year funding settlement. The settlement would equate to an average increase of around 3.4 per cent per year over the next five years.

“Under our plan, by 2023-24, the NHS budget will increase compared to today by over £20 billion a year in real terms, which is approximately £600 million a week in cash terms,” the Downing St spokesman added. In return, the NHS will be expected to produce a plan, led by doctors, setting out how the money will deliver the Government’s “vision” for the health service and ensure value for money.

During the 2016 referendum campaign Brexiteers, including Boris Johnson, travelled around the country in a Vote Leave bus emblazoned with the slogan: “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead.”

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The campaign was accused of “misleading” voters because the figure referred only to the UK’s gross annual contribution and did not take into account Britain’s rebate and other payments that come back from the EU.

But in January Johnson doubled down on the slogan, stating that the estimate was “grossly underestimated”.

The Foreign Secretary said the UK’s weekly gross contribution to the EU would in fact rise to £438 million by the end of a post-Brexit transition period in 2021, as he continued to pledge the NHS would be “top of the list” when the spare cash became available.

“The debate over Brexit can be divisive, but that famous campaign promise can now unite us all: the British public voted for £350 million a week for the NHS, and that – and more – is exactly what this government will deliver,” Hunt said. The announcement follows 11th-hour discussions between Downing Street, Hammond, Hunt and Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, over the figures.

Last week Stevens said a rise of between 3.5 and 4 per cent was required to ensure the NHS, which  has a £128 billion budget, could cope. Since 2008 average growth has been 1.4 per cent a year.  Hunt has been pushing for an annual increase of 4 per cent every year from next year.

Proposals under consideration for funding the pledge alongside the Brexit dividend are believed to include freezing the thresholds for the personal allowance, the rate at which people start paying income tax, and for the 40p rate from April 2020.

In the past the approach has been criticised as a “stealth tax” because freezing the threshold means that more people get dragged into the higher rate as earnings rise. It has been estimated that the measure could raise almost £4 billion by the end of this Parliament.

Meanwhile, in a sign of arguments likely to be made by Tory MPs, John Penrose, a senior backbencher, has said that Hammond should commit himself and future chancellors to only borrowing money for “long-term investments” in infrastructure, rather than day-to-day spending on areas such as the health service.

Penrose, a former Cabinet Office minister, urged Hammond to introduce a new “fiscal rule” to ensure “we only live within our means”.

Telegraph, London

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“Wild Fire,” “The Last Cowboys” and more – The Denver Post

Wild Fire: On the Front Lines with Station 8

By Heather Hansen

(Mountaineers Books)

In 2015, more than 68,000 fires burned 10 million acres in the United States. The number and severity of wildfires are growing due to climate change, increased use of mountains and wilderness areas and human carelessness, writes Heather Hansen in “Wild Fire.”

People are responsible for nearly 85 percent of the wildfires and close to half of the area burned.  Moreover, humans often create wildfires where nature doesn’t, increasing the wildfire season by three months each year.  Due to climate change, there is less snow, and temperatures are higher.  That not only results in a longer season but also more fuel.  Prolonged freezing temperatures fail to kill pine beetles, which means more dead trees.

So who puts out those fires?  Hansen spent a year working with Boulder-based Station 8, whose crew, known as the “hot irons,” fights fires in Colorado — and all over the U.S. when needed. A large section of the book is devoted to a blow-by-blow account of Section 8’s handling of the Cold Springs fire outside Boulder in 2016.

“Wild Fire” is a primer on both wildfires and firefighting. Hansen mixes history with interviews and descriptions, and the book has a nice you-are-there feeling.  The author interjects herself a bit too much in her reporting — too many “I ask” and “I saw” references — but that’s a minor criticism of a book that defines the challenge of fighting the devastation that wildfires bring.

Great Plains Literature

By Linda Ray Pratt

(University of Nebraska)

Literature in the Eastern U.S. had a 200-year start on Great Plains literature, writes Linda Ray Pratt in this brief study of mid-America writing “A region so sharply defined by its geography and history was bound to produce a literary culture absorbed in telling its stories,” Pratt writes.

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