The Latest: Kim indicates he’s willing to denuclearize

The Latest on the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says he wouldn’t be holding a second summit with President Donald Trump if he weren’t willing to make good on his denuclearization pledge.

Asked by a U.S. reporter Thursday in Hanoi whether he’s willing to denuclearize, Kim responded: “If I’m not willing to do that, I won’t be here right now.”

Trump told reporters that that’s what the two are discussing during their second day of talks.

Kim was also asked if the leaders would be talking about human rights, which he’s accused of abusing. But Trump responded to the question instead, telling reporters: “We’re discussing everything.”

The comments came as the two met with an expanded coterie of aides, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.


11:05 a.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has answered a question from a foreign journalist almost certainly for the first time ahead of his high-stakes nuclear summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

When asked by a member of the White House press pool about his outlook on the summit on Thursday, Kim said: “It’s too early to say. I won’t make predictions. But I instinctively feel that a good outcome will be produced.”

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which deals with affairs with North Korea, couldn’t confirm whether it was the first time Kim answered a question from a foreign journalist.

But reporters didn’t get opportunities to ask questions of Kim during his three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his four meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Kim ignored questions shouted at him during his first summit with Trump last June in Singapore.


10 a.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un appeared more relaxed as they convened near the pool of the luxury Vietnamese hotel where they’re holding their second summit.

Trump and Kim emerged after their first formal bilateral meeting Thursday morning on the Metropole hotel’s pool patio, where they were joined by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean official Kim Yong Chol.

The group then went into a glass-enclosed area and sat down around a table for more talks.

Trump told reporters earlier that he’s in no rush for progress, saying: “What’s important is that we do the right deal.”

Trump and Kim will later be holding a working lunch and appearing at a joint-agreement signing ceremony later in the day.

Trump will hold a news conference before boarding his flight home.


9:10 a.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are beginning the second day of their high-stakes nuclear summit with a one-on-one discussion.

Trump and Kim met Thursday, the morning after they opened the summit in Vietnam.

Trump told reporters that “a lot of great ideas” are “being thrown about.” He says, “When you have a good relationship, a lot of good things happen.”

The president also said he’s in “no rush” to make “the right deal,” a sharp break from his heated rhetoric a year ago about the threat posed by Pyongyang.

Kim added that the “whole world” was watching the talks and suggested that, for some, the image of the two “sitting side by side” must resemble “a fantasy movie.”

Rep. Mark Green says Cohen hearing proves Dems are gunning to impeach Trump

Rep. Mark Green called Michael Cohen a “fake witness” at his hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday and accused Democrats of outwardly aiming to impeach President Trump.

“The Democrats are trying to begin an impeachment process. They started with a fake dossier to get an FBI investigation going and now they’re starting with a fake witness to get the impeachment going,” Green, R-Tenn., told Fox News “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, testified in front of the House Oversight Committee leveling accusations against President Trump that included payoffs and illegal acts.

However, Green said he believed Cohen inadvertently exonerated Trump on various matters including the infamous tape alleged in the anti-Trump dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.

“I’ve had many people contact me over the years. I have no reason to believe that that tape exists,” Cohen said at the hearing.

Cohen also addressed rumors of secret abortions and love-child claims saying he had no knowledge of them.

“The real story is what he didn’t say today,” Green told Tucker Carlson.


“This is the best they got.  This is their star witness. A guy who lied on his bank loans, a guy who lied five times to the IRS, lied to Congress,” Green, who attended the hearings, told Carlson.

Green also addressed Trump’s reported payout to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in order to keep her quiet about an affair.

“Let’s say you’re having an extramarital affair, as many members of Congress do as you know, and your girlfriend tries to extort money from you. ‘I’m going to tell people unless you pay me.’ And you pay her. Is it a crime to crumble in the face of an extortion plot?” Carlson asked Green.


“Actually there are a lot of debates out there. Most people don’t think it was a crime and most people think that Michael Cohen probably didn’t need to plea to that,” Green responded.

Cohen is set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee Thursday behind closed doors.

Families of heart donor and recipient meet, share sorrow and joy

Julie Sandoval isn’t a doctor. But on Wednesday, she wore a stethoscope and pressed it to the chest of Bakersfield resident Ramiro Cruz.

The room went silent as her eyes brimmed with tears.

She heard what she was searching for: Beneath Cruz’s shirt, beneath his skin, musculature and rib cage, she could hear the rhythmic beating of her beloved son’s heart.

Strong. Steady. Familiar.

“Oh, my God, it’s beating so good,” Sandoval marveled. “His heart is amazing.”

Eleven and a half years have passed since Sandoval’s eldest son, 31-year-old Erik Sandoval-Preciado, was shot to death in a botched car theft in Stanislaus County. Eleven and a half years have elapsed since Erik’s still-youthful heart was transplanted — in a miracle of medical science and human generosity — into Cruz’s dying body.

On Wednesday, the family of the donor and the family of the recipient met for the first time at the offices of Ponder Environmental in Shafter. For more than two hours, they laughed and cried, shared stories, broke bread, and tried to reconcile one terrible, irreconcilable loss against the extended life of a father of three who stood before them, awed, grateful and humbled by the gift and the great loss that made it possible.

“I’m very grateful,” the 64-year-old Bakersfield man said in Spanish, his son, Rodrigo, translating.

Cruz recalled learning from doctors more than a dozen years ago that his heart was badly weakened, that his life was in danger. He needed a transplant, soon.

When a heart became available in 2007, he knew nothing of the donor, nothing of the circumstances behind the donation.

After spending 13 days in the hospital recovering from the successful transplant, Cruz seemed to have a new chance for a longer life with his wife, Maria, and their three children. But as time passed, he wanted to find the donor family, to thank them and express his condolences for their loss.

He was told it was too early, that they hadn’t requested such a meeting.

But in recent weeks, word went out that Julie Sandoval wanted to meet the man whose life was saved by her son.

Saving lives, even in death

Sandoval, who lives in Benecia, recalled that a few years before Erik died she had mentioned to him that his sister had registered as an organ donor.

Erik told his mom, “We can’t be selfish.” He said he would follow his sister’s example.

“He told me, ‘If anything happens to me, I want to know that I saved somebody’s life,'” Sandoval recalled.

It turned out he saved four lives, following the donation of two kidneys, his liver and his heart.

Hell on earth

Following her son’s death, Sandoval went into a near-death spiral.

“Nothing in God’s world can prepare you for the loss of a child,” she said.

She switched from wine to vodka, but she still couldn’t get enough. Every night she took a handful of pills, but eventually came to realize they were making her worse, not better.

For several years, Julie was no longer Julie, said her sister, Deanne Sandoval-Ponder.

“It’s getting to where she’s Julie again, my big sister,” she said.

After spending months at Shamia Recovery Center in Vallejo, Sandoval began to emerge from the darkness. She’s now nearing seven years of sobriety and gave up the pills.

“I look back and I’m lucky to be alive,” she said. “Hell is no joke.”

A new family

The mother of four was clearly excited, and a little nervous, as she waited for the Cruz family to arrive Wednesday afternoon. For years, she had avoided things that reminded her of her greatest loss. But on Wednesday, she was prepared with photos and memories of Erik. She wanted the Cruz family to know who he was.

The nerves seemed to disappear as soon as the elder Cruz, his wife, Maria, two of their children, a daughter-in-law and a grandchild entered the room. Sandoval embraced each one of them.

They talked. They bonded. They spoke of meeting again, the next time at the local home so that the Cruz family can cook for them.

“I’m here today with new family,” Sandoval declared, beaming.

As they sit and talk, and pass out paper plates and sandwiches, there is laughter and joy mixed with an aching sorrow way down deep. Sandoval embraces Cruz. He lightly rubs her shoulder.

She says he carries a part of her son, a boy she carried within her own body and loved with all her heart. That makes them family, she says.

How does one sculpt joy from grief, carve love from loss, rescue life from death? Just ask the Sandoval Cruz family. They know.

Suspect in Modesto bar shooting arraigned on murder charge

The man charged with fatally shooting a 22-year-old man outside a Modesto bar earlier this month pleaded not guilty in Stanislaus Superior Court on Wednesday.

Pete Warda is charged with murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He also denied enhancements of using a firearm during the commission of the crime and being out on bail while awaiting judgment on a previous charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Warda is accused of shooting Thomas Hinchman outside the CR2 Bar and Billiards at Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue on the evening of Feb. 17.

Judge Rick Distaso set Warda’s bail at $5 million, he said, because the shooting occurred while Warda was out on bail.

Warda told The Bee last week he shot Hinchman in self-defense because Hinchman and his friend were assaulting him, hitting and kicking him while he was on the ground.

The confrontation started when Warda saw at least one of them leaning on his pickup and told them to move, Warda said.

Hinchman’s mother, who was not at the scene, said Hinchman’s friend told her Hinchman came between the two to apologize and to defuse the situation.

Warda’s attorney, Frank Carson, waived time for a speedy trial on behalf of his client and asked Distaso if they could return to court in late March.

“There’s a lot of investigation still occurring on both sides,” Carson said.

Warda will return to court for a pretrial hearing on March 28.

Herbalist sentenced in death of 13-year-old diabetic patient

A Los Angeles-area “herbalist” was convicted in a child abuse case Tuesday after a jury found him responsible for the death of a 13-year-old diabetic boy.

Timothy Morrow, 84, of Torrance, was found guilty of one count of practicing medicine without a license. He also entered a plea of no contest to one count of child abuse likely to produce great bodily injury or death, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Morrow began treating Edgar Lopez in 2014 for his Type 1 diabetes. He prescribed herbs in place of the insulin that Lopez was prescribed by his pediatrician.


In August 2014, Morrow visited the family’s home after the boy became extremely ill due to complications from his condition. Prosecutors say Morrow instructed Lopez’s parents not to give him insulin but instead to administer the herbs.

The boy went into cardiac arrest and died the following day. A report from the medical examiner’s office said the victim would have survived had he received the proper medical treatment.

During the trial, Morrow’s defense attorney, Samuel Perliss, argued that Lopez’s mother had an interest in seeing her son treated with herbal medicines before meeting Morrow.

“Nobody held a gun on Edgar’s mom,” Perliss said in his closing argument, the Daily Breeze of Torrance reported. “Nobody stole insulin from that house so Edgar’s mom couldn’t use it. Edgar’s mom wanted to do what Edgar’s mom wanted to do.”


After the verdict, City Attorney Mike Feuer released a statement.

“This case underscores the serious health and safety risks of taking medical advice from someone who lacks a license and the proper training that goes with it,” Feuer wrote. “These convictions send a strong message that my office will continue to hold accountable those whose actions place lives in danger.”


Morrow was sentenced to 120 days in county jail, a $5,000 fine and was ordered to pay restitution to the family for all funeral expenses.

Lopez’s mother was said to have met Morrow when she attended his seminars about herbal treatments.

Nigeria’s president is declared winner after bumpy vote

Nigeria’s president was declared the clear winner of a second term in Africa’s largest democracy early Wednesday, after a campaign in which he urged voters to give him another chance to tackle gaping corruption, widespread insecurity and an economy limping back from a rare recession.

While many frustrated Nigerians had said they wanted to give someone new a try, President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator, profited from his upright reputation in an oil-rich nation weary of politicians enriching themselves instead of the people.

Supporters began dancing in the streets of the capital, Abuja, on Tuesday night as vote counting stretched his lead from the weekend election to nearly 4 million votes over top opposition challenger Atiku Abubakar, a billionaire former vice president who made sweeping campaign promises to “make Nigeria work again.”

Buhari received 15.1 million votes, the electoral commission said in making its official declaration before dawn Wednesday. Abubakar received 11.2 million. The average national turnout was 35.6 percent, continuing a downward trend.

In a failed last-ditch effort to stop the official declaration, Abubakar’s party claimed that election data had been manipulated and demanded fresh elections in four of Nigeria’s 36 states.

Buhari’s party rejected the accusations. It also called on Abubakar, who hasn’t made a public appearance since Saturday’s election, to accept his loss gracefully and concede. “Let this nation move forward,” campaign spokesman Babatunde Fashola said.

The election, once described as too close to call, suffered from a surprise weeklong postponement and significant delays in the opening of polling stations. While election observers called the process generally peaceful, at least 53 people were killed in an attack claimed by the Islamic State West Africa Province extremist group and other violence, analysis unit SBM Intelligence said.

It remained to be seen whether Abubakar will follow through on pledges to accept a loss, or challenge the results. A former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, said the troubled election had given the candidates grounds to go to the courts. That route could take months.

Many Nigerians have prayed for peace. They were surprised in 2015 when President Goodluck Jonathan took the unprecedented step of conceding to Buhari before official results were announced. It was the first defeat of an incumbent president by the opposition in the country’s history.

“Jonathan set the benchmark on how electoral outcomes should be handled,” Chris Kwaja, a senior adviser to the United States Institute of Peace, a U.S. government-backed institution promoting conflict resolution worldwide, told The Associated Press. “Accept defeat in the spirit of sportsmanship. This is a critical vehicle for democratic consolidation.”

Nigerians were praised for their patience and resilience in this bumpy vote.


Associated Press writer Cara Anna reported in Kano, Nigeria, and AP writer Khaled Kazziha reported from Abuja, Nigeria. AP writer Sam Olukoya in Lagos, Nigeria, contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s full coverage of the Nigeria elections here: