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Taliban hostage rescued after 5 years in captivity didn't believe Trump was president

A Canadian man who had been held in Afghanistan for five years by Taliban-tied kidnappers revealed that he thought his kidnapper was joking when he said Donald Trump was president of the United States.

Joshua Boyle said one of his captors told him Trump was president just before he was forced to film a “proof-of-life” video, according to the Toronto Star.

>> Read more trending news

“It didn’t enter my mind that he was being serious,” Boyle said.

The Boyle family, including Joshua, his American-born wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three young children, who were all born in captivity, were rescued by Pakistani forces after U.S. intelligence informed them of the of the family’s location.

The family was in the trunk of a car being transferred to another location when their kidnappers engaged in a shootout with Pakistani forces. Some of their kidnappers died in the fight while others fled, but the entire family made it to safety.

Iran nuclear deal: What to know about Trump's aggressive new strategy

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. ET:

President Donald Trump said Friday during a news conference that Iran is not living up to the “spirit” of the nuclear deal signed in 2015.

Trump criticized the deal, calling it “one of the worst” and most “one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”  

>> Full transcript: Read President Trump’s remarks about the Iran nuclear deal 

The president’s new strategy will include tougher sanctions that will aim to deny the Iranian regime all paths to nuclear weapons.

>> Here is President Trump’s new strategy on Iran

ORIGINAL REPORT:

President Donald Trump is expected to announce an aggressive new strategy toward Iran on Friday, disavowing the 2015 nuclear accord that was negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama. But Trump will stop short -- at least for now -- of scrapping the agreement or even rewriting it.

>> Read more trending news

"It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Trump said in a statement released early Friday.

Here are some things to know about Trump’s actions on the accord, which was signed by the United States, Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

  • In his remarks, scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Friday, Trump will declare his intention not to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal. But the move does not amount to tearing up the deal, which was a promise he made during his run for the presidency in 2016.

  • Trump will send the agreement to Congress, which will have 60 days to determine a policy. 

  • If Congress imposes new punitive economic sanctions on Iran, the nuclear deal likely would fall through. However, Trump wants legislators to adopt new measures to keep it in place and define parameters by which the United States would impose new sanctions in the event Iran violates its agreements.

  • Some of the violations could be defined as continued ballistic launches by Iran, refusal to extend its constraints on the production of nuclear fuel, or if U.S. intelligence agencies conclude that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon in a year or less.

  • Two times, Trump reluctantly certified the deal, but told his top advisers that he would no longer do it. To do so, he asserted, would make it appear that the president was breaking his campaign process.

  • Iran has rejected reopening the accord or negotiating a new one. 

In his statement Friday, Trump said his decision was the “culmination of nine months of deliberation” with Congress and U.S. allies on how to best protect American security.

Jimmy Carter offers to sit down with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un

Former President Jimmy Carter is offering to sit down with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, according to a retired University of Georgia professor – who has passed the word to a Korean newspaper.

>> Read more trending news

Park Han-shik, an emeritus professor of international affairs at the University of Georgia, reported having the conversation with Carter, according to the Korea JoongAn Daily:

>> PHOTOS: Jimmy Carter through the years

"'Carter wants to meet with the North Korean leader and play a constructive role for peace on the Korean Peninsula as he did in 1994,' Park, 78, told the JoongAng Ilbo over phone after meeting with the 93-year-old former president."Park, a prominent scholar of North Korea-related issues who has traveled to Pyongyang over 50 times, visited Carter, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work with the Atlanta-based Carter Center, at the former president’s home in Plains, Georgia, on Sept. 28."

>> Former President Jimmy Carter turns 93

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has requested confirmation from the Carter Center.

Trump's cryptic tweet about North Korea: 'Only one thing will work'

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to double down on recent ominous remarks about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

>> Read more trending news

"Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn't worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!" Trump wrote

Trump’s tweets follow a tense few weeks between the United States and North Korea. On the floor of the United Nations, Trump and the North Korean foreign minister traded accusations and threatsOn Oct. 1, Trump tweeted that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should save his “energy, we’ll do what has to be done.”

Last week, Trump had dinner with military leaders and their spouses. Before the event, he called in the press corps and directed them to take a picture of the group. Surrounded by his military top-brass, the president remarked, “You know what this represents? It could be the calm before the storm.” However, he hasn’t remarked what “the storm” he alluded to might be, and some suspect he was just playing up the cameras.

>> Watch the moment here

The United States and North Korea have also been flexing their military muscles at each other over the past few months. Kim's regime has launched multiple missiles, setting the nations around him like Japan and South Korea on edge. In response, the United States has flown bombers right up to the border and run military exercises with the South Koreans.

Otto Warmbier's parents speak out about son's death, North Korean torture

Fred and Cindy Warmbier, parents of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was imprisoned for allegedly taking a propaganda poster in North Korea and later died, rebuked the DPRK as “terrorist” in an interview with “Fox & Friends,” their first since their son’s death.

>> Watch the interview here

Cindy said when she and Fred heard their son was in a coma, they never imagined there was nothing that could be done to save him.

>> On Rare.us: College professor under fire for comments about Otto Warmbier’s death

“So what we pictured, because we’re optimists, is that Otto would be asleep and maybe in a medically induced coma, and then when our doctors here would work with him and he’d get the best care and love, that he would come out of it,” she said.

Matching other accounts of North Korean torture, Fred said their first encounter with their son after he returned to the U.S. was horrifying:

>> On Rare.us: Otto Warmbier, American student released from North Korea, has died

"We walked over to the plane, the engines are still humming, they had just landed … When we got halfway up the steps we heard this howling, involuntary, inhuman sound. We weren’t really certain what it was. Otto had a shaved head, he had a feeding tube coming out of his nose, he was staring blankly into space, jerking violently. He was blind. He was deaf. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him, it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth."

>> Read more trending news

The Warmbiers said that “North Korea is not a victim; they are terrorist,” that they “tortured and intentionally injured [Otto]” and that they are a “state sponsor of terror.”

President Donald Trump said Otto Warmbier was “tortured beyond belief” in a tweet praising the interview.

>> See the tweet here

The interview comes at a time when tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have escalated significantly, with North Korea having fired at least 21 missiles during 14 tests since February 2017.

North Korean officials reach out to Republicans for help understanding Trump: report

North Korean officials are reaching out to Republican-linked analysts in an attempt to better understand President Donald Trump, according to a report published Tuesday by The Washington Post.

>> Read more trending news

The effort began before Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un started trading fiery rhetoric in the wake of the Hermit Kingdom’s repeated missile tests, the Post reported.

“Their number one concern is Trump,” a source, who was not identified, told the newspaper. “They can’t figure him out.”

The Post reported that at least seven invitations have been extended to Washington-based analysts, including Douglas Paal, an expert on Asia who served on the National Security Council under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Paal, who is currently vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the Post that he declined North Korea’s request to arrange talks between its officials and “American experts with Republican ties.”

Read more from The Washington Post

“The North Koreans are clearly eager to deliver a message,” Paal said, adding that North Korean officials wanted the meeting to take place in a neutral location, such as Switzerland. “But I think they’re only interested in getting out of the country for a bit.”

Trump's latest statement 'a declaration of war,' North Korean foreign minister says

North Korea's foreign minister on Monday told reporters that President Donald Trump has issued "a declaration of war" against the Hermit Kingdom in the president’s most recent statements on the country.

>> Read more trending news

However, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted at a news briefing on Monday that no declaration had been made.

“We’ve not declared war on North Korea, and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd,” she said.

On Saturday, Trump said that North Korea "won't be around much longer" if it continues to threaten the United States.

 

Trump administration announces new travel ban: 'The tougher, the better'

The Trump administration late Sunday announced it is replacing its travel ban with a new proclamation barring visitors from eight countries, saying those nations are not doing enough to block terrorists from reaching the United States. 

>> On AJC.com: Dishwasher to Doctor: Syrian refugee achieves American dream. Now he helps others do the same.

The new directive continues existing restrictions against Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. And it adds new ones for Chad, North Korea and Venezuela starting Oct. 18 and remaining in place indefinitely until the countries toughen their security procedures. Venezuela’s restrictions narrowly apply to that nation’s government officials – and their immediate relatives – who are responsible for traveler screening procedures.

>> On AJC.com: From March: Trump travel ban again targets refugees 

“The travel ban: The tougher, the better,” President Donald Trump told reporters in Washington on Sunday. 

The first version of Trump’s travel ban — announced in January — sowed widespread confusion, triggered angry demonstrations in Atlanta and across the nation and ultimately stalled amid constitutional challenges. Trump replaced it in March with an order barring visitors from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. 

>> On MyAJC.com: From June: U.S. Supreme Court reinstates key parts of Trump’s travel ban

It also halted this nation’s refugee resettlement program. Senior administration officials said Sunday they would announce plans for next fiscal year’s refugee resettlements in the coming days.

Like his original travel ban, Trump’s March 6 order drew court challenges. Trump has cast his travel restrictions as efforts to block terrorist attacks, while his critics say they are driven by discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about it on Oct. 10. 

>> On MyAJC.com: From June: Travel ban begins as guidelines draw fire

Walt Wallace — a traveler from Richmond, Virginia, who was traveling through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Sunday — said he understood the security issues involved in the travel ban. But he also said he was concerned about the impact on "people who are legitimately trying to come here... escaping persecution."

>> Read more trending news

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Friday his organization might send attorneys to the airport. Mitchell added his organization will be watching to see if the restrictions are "motivated by legitimate concerns about national security, or are they motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry." 

"If the order only impacts people who do not already have visas to travel here, then nobody should be caught up at the airport," Mitchell said. But "if the order affects those already in transit like the first order did, then chaos could erupt and we'd need our attorneys at the airport."

Donald Trump brands North Korea's Kim Jong Un with new nickname – 'Rocket Man'

President Donald Trump has never been shy about giving his opponents nicknames — “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Crazy Bernie,” “Goofy Elizabeth Warren,” “Low-energy Jeb” and “Little Marco” all immediately come to mind — and now North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has his own Trump moniker.

>> On Rare.us: North Korea fires another missile into Japanese airspace

“Rocket Man” is the latest of Trump’s derisive epithets.

>> WATCH: Trump's 'awkward' handshake with first lady Melania has internet buzzing

On Sunday morning, Trump launched Kim's new nickname into cyberspace.

>> See the tweet here

>> Trump retweets doctored video of golf ball hitting Clinton

“I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines in North Korea. Too bad!” Trump tweeted.

>> Read more trending news

The “Rocket Man” nickname is a clear jab at Kim Jong Un’s now semi-regular missile launching over Japan.

>> On Rare.us: Former NBA standout Dennis Rodman stands by his man Kim Jong-un in a bizarre interview — 'He jokes'

The most recent launch happened Thursday. North Korea has fired at least 21 missiles since February 2017 in 14 missile tests.

Guam releases fact sheet for imminent missile threat: 'Do not look at the flash or fireball'

Guam releases fact sheet for imminent missile threat: 'Do not look at the flash or fireball'Guam Homeland Security on Friday released guidelines for residents to prepare “for an imminent missile threat” as President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continued to barbs.

>> Read more trending news

The release came just days after North Korea’s army said in a statement that it was reviewing a plan to attack the U.S. territory.

The two-page fact sheet suggests that residents build an emergency supply kit and create a plan in case of a strike.

“Make a list of potential concrete shelters near your home, workplace and school,” the sheet said. “Fallout shelters do not need to be specifically constructed for protecting against fallout.”

>> Related: Why is North Korea threatening Guam?

It went on to give specific advice for during and after a strike.

“Do not look at the flash or fireball – it can blind you,” the sheet said. “Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.”

During a news conference Friday, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo said that despite the fiery rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang, the island is “safe and sound,” the Pacific Daily News reported.

“Everyone should continue to live their lives,” Calvo said. “There are no changes.”

>> Related: North Korea, Trump exchange threats

Still, he encouraged residents to prepare, despite the lack of an imminent threat, according to the Daily News.

Pyongyang’s state-run KCNA news agency said Thursday that the country’s army would finalize plans later this month to fire intermediate-range missiles from North Korea to near Guam, Reuters reported.

Trump told reporters gathered in New Jersey on Friday that Jong-un “will regret it fast” if he “utters one threat in the form of an overt threat … or does anything with respect to Guam or anyplace else that’s an American territory or an American ally.”

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