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North Korea reportedly billed the US $2 million in hospital expenses for a man they murdered — and Trump agreed to pay up
Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was released from North Korea in June 2017 after 17 months imprisonment for alleged crimes against the regime, died less than a week after returning home to the United States brain-damaged and in a coma.
Now, the Washington Post reports that North Korea demanded the U.S. government fork over roughly $2 million to cover the cost of medical care for Warmbier — and despite furious allegations that the Pyongyang tortured Warmbier to death, the United States reportedly agreed at the time to pay up.
Here are the maddening details, per the Washington Post (emphasis ours):
The presentation of the invoice — not previously disclosed by U.S. or North Korean officials — was extraordinarily brazen even for a regime known for its aggressive tactics.
But the main U.S. envoy sent to retrieve Warmbier signed an agreement to pay the medical bill on instructions passed down from President Trump, according to two people familiar with the situation. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The bill went to the Treasury Department, where it remained — unpaid — throughout 2017, the people said. However, it is unclear whether the Trump administration later paid the bill, or whether it came up during preparations for Trump's two summits with Kim Jong Un.
In March 2016, North Korea sentenced Warmbier to 15 years in prison with hard labor for allegedly attempting to remove a propaganda sign from a Pyongyang hotel the previous New Year's Day.
The North Korean regime claim Warmbier died after contracting botulism. And while medical examinations of Warmbier didn't conclusively reveal evidence of physical torture, President Donald Trump claimed months later that Warmbier "was tortured beyond belief by North Korea."
Trump recently previously came under fire from Warmbier's parents earlier this year after stating that he took North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un "at his word" that the latter had no knowledge of Warmbier's harsh treatment.
"Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto," Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a March statement in response to Trump's comments. "Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that."
Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.
"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.
Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.
Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.
KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.
Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.
Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.
On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.
This rifle could be a dark horse candidate for the Army's next-generation squad weapon — and you can snag one next year
The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.