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NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony

NBC contributor Josh Cooper Ramo ran into some controversy during the 2018 Winter Olympics after making a comment about the relationship between Japan and South Korea.

>> Olympic figure skater Yura Min suffers wardrobe malfunction, handles it with class

As the Washington Post reported, Ramo said on live television that “every Korean will tell you that Japan as a cultural and technological and economic example has been so important to their own transformation.” The comment was made after Ramo spoke of Japan’s 35-year occupation of the region.

>> Mirai Nagasu first U.S. women’s figure skater to land triple axel at Olympics

>> On WPXI.com: Complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Many were upset with the comments, which seemed to ignore various crimes against committed against the Korean people. These included, as the New York Times pointed out, forcing Korean women into sex work.

>> On Rare.us: America first? Not according to this country’s Winter Olympics fans

Several viewers called the comment callous.

NBC anchor Carolyn Manno apologized in an on-air statement:

>> Read more trending news 

"During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday, we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, 'representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.' We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize."

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president Moon to visit

Kim Jong Un has extended a formal invitation to South Korean president Moon Jae-in to visit North Korea, which would be the first meeting between the two countries since 2007, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The invitation was presented to Moon by Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, when the two met at Seoul’s presidential palace Saturday, spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

Moon said the two countries “should accomplish this (meeting) by creating the right conditions,” CNN reported.

>> Photos: Ones to watch for in the 2018 Winter Olympics

Kim Yo Jong’s visit to South Korea was the first time that a member of North Korea’s ruling family has visited since the Korean War, which ended in 1953.

'Putin list': U.S. releases names of Russian politicians, oligarchs

The U.S. Treasury Department released an unclassified list Monday night of more than 200 Russian oligarchs and political figures seen as allies of the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

>> House Intelligence Committee votes to release controversial Nunes memo

>> Click here or scroll down for more

>> Read more trending news 

UK party leader's girlfriend suspended over Meghan Markle comments

The girlfriend of the leader of Britain’s right-wing U.K. Independence Party has been suspended from the party after reportedly making racist comments about Prince Harry’s American fiancee, Meghan Markle.

The Mail on Sunday published a series of messages reportedly sent by 54-year-old Henry Bolton’s 25-year-old girlfriend, Jo Marney.

>> On Rare.us: Meghan Markle’s half-sister slams rumors about her family ahead of the royal wedding

Marney reportedly said Markle would “taint” the royal family, that she had a “tiny brain” and that black people were "ugly."

In a statement to The Mail, Marney said: “I apologize unreservedly for the shocking language I used.”

She added: “The opinions I expressed were deliberately exaggerated in order to make a point and have, to an extent, been taken out of context. Yet I fully recognize the offense they have caused.”

Former deputy leader of the party Peter Whittle wrote on Twitter: “These are disgraceful remarks," adding, “This person should not just be suspended … but expelled altogether.”

>> Read more trending news 

UKIP’s chairman, Paul Oakden, told the Mail on Sunday that Marney had been suspended from the party membership immediately after he was made aware of the messages.

“UKIP does not, has not and never will condone racism,” he said.

Bolton, who was elected party leader in September, tweeted to confirm that Marney had been suspended from the party “immediately upon [UKIP] receiving this information.”

He was responding to a teenage party activist who urged him to publicly call for Marney to have her UKIP membership revoked.

“Her words were blatantly racist and there should be no room for that in UKIP,” Jack Penny wrote on Twitter.

Bolton confirmed his relationship with Marney in a letter to UKIP supporters earlier this month, after seemingly leaving his wife to pursue his new relationship, the BBC reported.

Federal judge temporarily blocks Trump administration's plan to end DACA

A federal judge in California dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – also known as DACA – on Tuesday by temporarily blocking their ability to do so.

In his ruling, Judge William Alsup said DACA must stay in place until litigation over the program is complete. He also said that the Department of Homeland Security’s “decision to rescind DACA was based on a flawed legal premise.”

The judge’s ruling will allow recipients who didn’t renew by last year’s deadline to submit renewal applications, but no new applications will be allowed to be submitted.

>> Read more trending news 

“Dreamers’ lives were thrown into chaos when the Trump administration tried to terminate the DACA program without obeying the law,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, according to The Hill. “Today’s ruling is a huge step in the right direction.”

“America is and has been home to Dreamers who courageously came forward, applied for DACA and did everything the federal government asked of them,” Becerra continued. “They followed DACA’s rules, they succeeded in school, at work and in business, and they have contributed in building a better America. We will fight at every turn for their rights and opportunities so they may continue to contribute to America.”

The Trump administration announced in September that it was ending the program; however, earlier on Tuesday, during a meeting with Republicans and Democrats to discuss immigration issues, Trump appeared willing to negotiate a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants – a move that stunned both Democrats and Republicans.

“My head is spinning with all the things that were said by the president and others in that room in the course of an hour and a half,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said, according to The New York Times.

During the meeting, Trump also appeared to support Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein’s call for a clean DACA bill, which would push off dealing with issues like border security until later.

In a tweet Tuesday evening, though, he did seem to harden his resolve on the border wall, saying that a southern border wall must be part of any “DACA approval.”

Report: UK government worried about Trump's reaction if Obamas get royal wedding invitation

The British government is urging Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to reconsider inviting former President Barack Obama to their wedding out of fear of how current President Donald Trump might react, according to reports.

>> Read more trending news

“Harry has made it clear he wants the Obamas at the wedding, so it’s causing a lot of nervousness,” The Sun reported, citing a senior government official. “Trump could react very badly if the Obamas get to a royal wedding before he has had a chance to meet the queen.”

The government appears to be concerned that Trump might view an invitation to the Obamas as a snub amid already frosty relations between the United States and the United Kingdom. Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May have had a rocky relationship since the start of the Trump’s presidency, and many fear extending an invitation to Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama might exasperate the issue.

The pair was not invited to Prince William’s 2011 wedding to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, but Prince Harry fostered a bond with the Obamas, working closely with them on his annual Invictus Games in Toronto in September. While the trio remain friendly, it looks like it might be up to May to make the call on whether the Obamas will be invited to the royal wedding this spring.

“Conversations are ongoing about and ministers will eventually have to decide,” The Sun reported. “If the PM lays down the law, Harry will just have to suck it up.”

Prince Harry and Markle are expected to wed May 19. The couple has opted to celebrate their nuptials at Windsor Castle, where they spent time together before getting engaged. Once married, the couple plans to live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.

Lorde cancels concert in Israel amid criticism

New Zealand crooner Lorde has canceled a planned show in Tel Aviv amid pressure from activists who oppose the Israeli occupation of Palestine, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Lorde planned to perform in Tel Aviv on June 5, 2018, according to news.com.au.

She said in a statement obtained Sunday by The Jerusalem Post that she got “an overwhelming number of messages (and) letters and … had a lot of discussions with people holding many views” before making her decision to cancel the performance.

“I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” the statement said. “I'm not too proud to admit I didn't make the right call on this one. Tel Aviv, it's been a dream of mine to visit this beautiful part of the world for many years, and I'm truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you. I hope one day we can all dance.”

The announcement came after a pair of New Zealanders wrote an open letter to Lorde asking her to reconsider her decision to perform in Tel Aviv.

The letter, published last week on TheSpinOff.co.nz, was penned by Justine Sachs, who is Jewish, and Nadia Abu-Shanab, who is Palestinian.

“Today, millions of people stand opposed to the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, ethnic cleansing, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid,” the letter said. “As part of this struggle, we believe that an economic, intellectual and artistic boycott is an effective way of speaking out against these crimes. This worked very effectively against apartheid in South Africa, and we hope it can work again.”

The pair urged Lorde to “act in the spirit of progressive New Zealanders who came before you and continue their legacy,” by canceling her show.

Lorde acknowledged the letter last week in a tweet and said she was "considering all options."

Some fans praised Lorde’s decision, while others decried it. Miri Regev, Israel's culture minister, urged Lorde to rethink the cancellation.

“Lorde, I’m hoping you can be a ‘pure heroine’ like the title of your first album,” Miri Regev said in a statement obtained by The Guardian. “To be a heroine of pure culture, free from any foreign – and ridiculous – political considerations.”

Lorde was not the first performer pressured to cancel a planned appearance in Israel by pro-Palestinian activists. According to the country’s Ynetnews, Elvis Costello and Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore have canceled shows in Israel amid criticism. Rock band Radiohead was also urged to cancel a show last summer in Tel Aviv but went through with the performance after corresponding with critics, Ynetnews reported.

UN votes to condemn US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

The U.N. General Assembly voted in favor Thursday of a resolution that implicitly condemned President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite the president's threats to cut funding to countries that oppose his decision.

>> Read more trending news 

>> Related: President Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Kremlin says it views Trump tweets as ‘official statements’

President Donald Trump is a prolific user of Twitter, and his tweets are read by millions of people.

>> Read more trending news

Including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reported. 

The Russians view Trump’s tweets as an “official statement,” a Kremlin spokesman said Tuesday.

“Everything which is published from his authorized Twitter account is perceived by Moscow as his official statement,” said Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, who added that it was not his place to comment on Trump’s tweets.

Peskov also said that Putin does not use Twitter, Reuters reported.

“Naturally, (Trump’s tweets are) reported to Putin, along with other information about official statements by politicians,” Peskov said.

North Korean defector fears being sent back, has medical problems that stun doctors

The North Korean solider identified only as “Oh” who was shot multiple times as he fled Kim Jong Un’s regime for a life of freedom has not only been found to have medical issues doctors haven’t seen, but he’s also afraid that he’ll be sent back.

The 24-year-old soldier escaped two weeks ago after abandoning his post and making a run for it in an incident that was partially recorded.

>> North Korea replaces border soldiers after defection

Although Oh suffered multiple gunshot wounds during his escape, he is recovering. The thing he fears the most is being sent back to North Korea, the New York Post reported.

He has been assured that will not happen.

While surgeons were disturbed to discover that Oh also had tuberculosis and hepatitis B, the 10-inch parasitic worms they removed from his intestines took these doctors to uncharted territory, CNN reported.

>> Watch: North Korean guard makes dramatic defection

“In my 20 years as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a medical textbook,” surgeon Lee Cook-Jong said. “He’s quite a strong man.”

The lead surgeon in South Korea said Oh is “not going to die” from his wounds, ABC News reported.

Doctors were also vexed by the raw corn kernels in Oh’s stomach, according to the Washington Post.

Officials in South Korea said that Oh’s escape took place two Mondays ago after the North Korean guard abandoned his post and tried to escape. CNN reported that this was the third defection of a North Korean soldier this year and that there had only been four such defections in the past five years.

>> Read more trending news 

“The defector was urgently transferred to hospital in a helicopter of the United Nations Command, and there was no exchange of fire with our side,” a South Korean ministry official told Reuters. “Since it was an area exposed to the North, we had to crawl toward there to get him out.”

ABC News also noted that it appeared North Korea violated the 1953 Armistice Agreement signed by the U.N., North Korea and China by firing guns across the military demarcation line (MDL) and by physically crossing the line.

Earlier Saturday, it was reported that Kim Jong Un has already “replaced” the border guards who fired on Oh but allowed him to escape.

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