Good morning, Maine. Here’s your morning briefing.
Expect an overcast sky today. The highs will be in the mid-60s today. Check your local forecast here.
National and international headlines
A North Korean propaganda outlet on Thursday released an inflammatory video clip showing a simulated attack on the White House, declaring “the enemy to be destroyed is in our sights,” The Washington Post reports
The video comes at a particularly tense time in relations between North Korea and the United States, with the Trump administration sending warships to the region in a show of force against Kim Jong Un’s regime.
President Donald Trump, who has been urging China to apply pressure to North Korea and to act if Beijing doesn’t, convened lawmakers Wednesday to brief them on the “very grave threat” posed by Pyongyang.
At the same time, one of the U.S. Navy’s largest submarines, the USS Michigan, which carries Tomahawk cruise missiles, docked in the South Korean port of Busan this week. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, together with the destroyers and cruiser that make up its strike group, will be arriving in the Korean Peninsula area this weekend as well.
The 2.5 minute long video also included scenes from the huge military parade that North Korea held on April 15 to mark the anniversary of the birth of the state’s founder, Kim Il Sung, as well as showing footage of North Korean artillery and missile launches.
Against the background of missile launches, the caption read: “We will show you what a strong country that leads the world in nuclear and missile technology is capable of.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that President Donald Trump “has no intention” of releasing his tax returns, which would show the public how much he would benefit personally from the administration’s plan to overhaul the tax code, The Washington Post reports.
“The president has no intention,” Mnuchin said. “The president has released plenty of information, and I think has given more financial disclosure than anybody else. I think the American population has plenty of information.”
Trump and his spokespeople have often cited his taxes being under audit as an excuse for him keeping them private, although there is no IRS restriction on an individual making public his or her tax returns while under audit.
Mnuchin, however, did not mention the audit as an excuse. Rather, he issued a blanket denial that the president plans to ever release his tax returns.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday proposed slashing tax rates for businesses and on overseas corporate profits returned to the country in a plan that his fellow Republicans in Congress generally welcomed but viewed as an opening gambit, Reuters reports.
While Republicans, who control the House of Representatives and the Senate, have long eyed tax cuts, Trump’s proposal may be unpalatable to party fiscal hawks. It lacks plans for raising new revenue and could potentially add billions of dollars to the federal deficit.
The proposals were unveiled at the White House by Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who called them “core principles” that would be worked on with Congress to produce a bill that can be passed.
The planned cuts would pay for themselves through economic growth, and by reducing tax deductions and closing loopholes, Mnuchin said.
“Our objective is to make U.S. businesses the most competitive in the world,” he said. “The president is determined to unleash economic growth for businesses.”
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said Wednesday that her planned speech at the University of California at Berkeley this week was canceled amid mounting concerns about potentially violent protests, The Washington Post reports.
Coulter said in an email that the Young America’s Foundation canceled her appearance scheduled for Thursday, ordering her not to go to the Berkeley campus. Coulter wrote that the university realized the group “wasn’t serious and dropped ongoing negotiations over a room,” she wrote. “Everyone who should be for free speech has turned tail and run.”
President Donald Trump told the leaders of Canada and Mexico on Wednesday that the United States would not be pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement “at this time,” opening the door to future negotiations on the same day that Trump was considering signaling a strong intent to withdraw as a potential way of bringing the parties together at the deal-making table, The Washington Post reports.
Trump spoke with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau late Wednesday afternoon after reports circulated during the day that the president was contemplating withdrawing from NAFTA.
“President Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries,” the White House said in a statement late Wednesday.
Earlier, three people familiar with the matter said Trump is seriously considering signing a document within days that would signal his intent to withdraw the United States from the agreement within six months.
If signed, the letter would begin a formal process that could see the United States exit from the 23-year-old trade pact with Canada and Mexico, ratcheting up tensions among neighboring nations.
With a smiling Gov. Paul LePage looking on, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order telling the U.S. Department of the Interior to review at least two dozen national monuments created by presidential decree — likely including Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the BDN’s Nick Sambides Jr. reports.
The order calls for the review of monuments 100,000 acres or larger, created since 1996 by presidents and those, regardless of size, that the Secretary of the Interior determines were designated “without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.”
The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is 87,563 acres, but was created on Aug. 24, 2016, and many Katahdin region stakeholders have complained bitterly that their wishes were ignored.
The review does not immediately threaten monuments, but appeared to reignite the interminable and deeply divisive Katahdin region debate that started in 2011 when businesswoman Roxanne Quimby publicly announced her intent to donate family-owned land to the National Park Service.
As the summer of 2017 approaches, a perfect storm for the seasonal hospitality industry is gathering over Vacationland, the BDN’s Kathleen Pierce reports.
Maine is experiencing record low unemployment rates. At the same time, a hospitality boom is ushering in new hotels and restaurants all along the coast. A change in the rules for hiring foreign seasonal workers through H-2B visa program has prevented many hoteliers from rehiring skilled help from places such as Jamaica this summer.
“You have people on the horizon, but you never know who will show up,” said Sarah Diment, who needs to hire a dozen employees — from housekeepers, to dishwashers to front desk people — in order to keep her 73-room inn on The Marginal Way humming. “I’ve been here 22 years and it’s the tightest labor market I’ve ever seen.”
When a Maine woman died suddenly in 2013 after a tick bite, the state went on alert against the dangerous virus that claimed her life, the BDN’s Jackie Farwell writes.
Marilyn Ruth Snow, a Rockland-area artist, fell ill almost immediately after finding a tick stubbornly embedded in her shoulder that November. She died just weeks later.
At the time, Powassan virus hadn’t been documented in Maine in nearly a decade. Much rarer than Lyme disease, but transmitted more quickly and potentially more devastating, Powassan had appeared in only 50 cases across the country over the previous decade.
Now staff at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute’s “tick lab” collected adult and nymph (immature) deer ticks from 30 towns across 11 of Maine’s counties between June 2015 and December 2016.
Living and events
Game Night for Suicide Prevention will be held 4-8 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at Bangor High School cafeteria, 885 Broadway.
Jon Roy-Musor, research assistant at University of Maine in Orono, organized the fundraiser, which is being held in honor of two young Bangor community members who died this year. Board and card games will be led by the brothers of Alpha Delta. Snacks and drinks.
Suggested donation of $5, which will be used to help prevent youth suicide. Open to everyone.
Seventh annual Kid Central Festival presented by BangPop! 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 6, in downtown Bangor.
Local businesses, museums and other arts organizations, and families will come together for fun and free activities indoors and outside. From music to crafts, face painting to the annual superhero costume contest, there are activities for everyone ages 12 and under.
Beloved Maine children’s author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen will sign copies of his new book “Hattie and Hudson” at The Briar Patch on Central Street.
Schedule and information at KidCentralFest.com.
Three hundred years ago, the pirate ship Whydah, sank in a storm off Cape Cod laden with bounty from more than 50 captured ships.
On May 26, the classical age of piracy comes to life in Portland when the Portland Science Center at 68 Commercial St., Maine Wharf, welcomes “Real Pirates: An Exhibition from National Geographic.” Tickets for the general public go on sale April 26, at portlandsciencecenter.com.
The 7,000-square-foot interactive exhibition showcases more than 150 artifacts, including everyday objects, personal items, and treasures, from the first fully authenticated pirate ship ever to be discovered in U.S. waters.
Exhibitions International, a leading producer of touring exhibitions, presents “Real Pirates,” with organizational expertise from the National Geographic Society.
The Maine Troop Greeters were honored to receive one of the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism — “Exemplary Service Award” in the category of Outstanding Nonprofit Volunteer Program during a presentation held Monday, April 24, at the Hall of Flags in Augusta.
The selection panel for the Maine Commission for Community Service recognized the Maine Troop Greeters for their contributions to civic and community life.
The Memoir Network is a group of writers who assist, mentor, and coach other writers. The Memoir Network will hosting a workshop at the Bangor Public Library from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 10.
The workshop will help participates create a working outline of a memoir in hopes of encouraging writers to put their stories on to paper for the world to read.
Between the State House and Cross office building, 111 Sewall St, Augusta, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 29.
The Game Loft’s major gala event of the year will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at the Belfast Shrine Club, 20 Northport Ave., Belfast. A full evening in the year 1856 awaits our guests featuring an historical menu, pre-Civil War politics, a bit of Game Loft dinner theater where our guests will help young Elizabeth Chartwell chose between Love and Freedom, a performance by the Game Loft Youth Choral group with some of the popular tunes of the time, and a period dance called by Chrissy Fowler and featuring music by Sassafras Stomp.
Argan, a terrible hypochondriac, is always seeking medical advice from any doctor or pharmacist, real or quack, that he can find. His bills are mounting and he has come up with a ridiculously tangled plan in an effort to solve his problems.
With a scheming wife, a saucy maid, mistaken identities, and faked deaths the hilarity is non-stop! You’re not going to want to miss Moliere’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” directed by Irene Dennis.
You can see a performance at the Historic Bangor Grange Hall, 1192 Ohio St., Bangor.