Good morning, Maine. Here’s your morning briefing.
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National and international headlines
President Donald Trump said Monday he would be “honored” to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “under the right circumstances.”
Trump’s comments came amid heightened tensions with North Korea, whose nuclear weapons program has sparked deep concerns in the international community, and just a day after Trump said he would not rule out military action against North Korea.
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump told Bloomberg News in a Monday interview. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”
The president acknowledged that his willingness to meet with a dictator known for oppressing his people — comments that are sure to spark an outcry from everyone from diplomats to the human rights community — was more than a little unconventional.
“Most political people would never say that,” Trump said in the Bloomberg News interview, “but I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”
A $100 million lawsuit was filed against organizers of the inaugural Fyre Festival, a music festival in the Bahamas that was billed as a luxury experience only to quickly devolve into an island landscape of half-built tents, cheese sandwiches and a distinct lack of musical talent.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles federal court, Fyre Festival and its organizers were accused of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. The plaintiff, attendee Daniel Jung, seeks class action status for the thousands of ticket-holders who flew to the remote venue.
“The festival’s lack of adequate food, water, shelter and medical care created a dangerous and panicked situation among attendees-suddenly finding themselves stranded on a remote island without basic provisions-that was closer to ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Lord of the Flies’ than Coachella,” the complaint stated, referring to a similar festival held annually in California.
Russian President Vladimir Putin discusses allegations of interfering in the U.S. election of President Donald Trump, and other geopolitical topics, with controversial director Oliver Stone in a documentary to be aired next month on Showtime.
The interviews, recorded at the Kremlin, in Sochi and at Putin’s home outside Moscow, will be aired over four nights starting June 12, Showtime said Monday in a statement. In one sequence, Putin and Stone watch the Cold War classic “Dr. Strangelove” together.
The turmoil at Fox News continued Monday with the ouster of co-president Bill Shine, who succeeded Roger Ailes amid a sexual-harassment scandal last summer despite Shine’s alleged role in abetting Ailes in tolerating a workplace hostile to women.
Shine, a 20-year Fox News veteran, appeared to have the backing of Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch in the wake of the firing of Bill O’Reilly, Fox’s biggest star. Only last week, Murdoch, Shine and Fox co-president Jack Abernethy were photographed emerging from lunch at a Manhattan restaurant, a tableaux widely read as a vote of confidence by Murdoch in the two men.
Rupert Murdoch announced Shine’s departure in an internal memo Monday afternoon:
“Sadly, Bill Shine resigned today,” he wrote. “I know Bill was respected and liked by everyone at Fox News. We will all miss him.”
Bipartisan legislation to impose sanctions on Russia over alleged meddling in Ukraine, Syria and the 2016 U.S. elections is indefinitely on hold, according to the Senate’s top voice on foreign policy, likely until the Senate Intelligence Committee completes its investigation into the Kremlin’s activities.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, said Monday that the Senate would wait “to get some facts” before moving ahead with the bill, which codifies existing sanctions against Russia imposed by executive order since 2014 and introduces new punitive measures against anyone supporting Russian cyber-hacking against public or private infrastructure.
One person was killed and three others wounded during an attack on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin on Monday afternoon, authorities said.
Jennifer Herber, a spokeswoman for the Austin Police Department, said a suspect is in custody. The university canceled classes and scheduled events for the rest of the day.
University of Texas Police Chief David Carter on Monday afternoon identified the suspect in custody as Kendrex J. White, who he said also appears to be a student at the university.
“It was described to us that the individual calmly walked around the plaza . . . and basically attacked these four unfortunate students,” Carter said.
Gov. Paul LePage has sued Attorney General Janet Mills in Kennebec County Superior Court, alleging that Mills has abused her authority by refusing to represent the executive branch in court.
According to a statement from LePage, the Democratic attorney general’s refusal to represent the Republican governor’s administration has cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars, though Mills has authorized LePage to use private counsel on multiple occasions.
“It is no secret that Attorney General Mills and I have differing political views, but that is not the issue,” said LePage in the statement. “The problem is she has publicly denounced court cases which the executive branch has requested to join and subsequently refuses to provide legal representation for the state.”
At issue in the suit is whether the Maine attorney general is obligated to represent the executive branch in cases that the attorney general believes are unconstitutional or not winnable. LePage argues that the attorney general is bound to do so by the Maine Constitution, but the attorney general’s office has argued that the Maine Law Court gives the attorney general “authority and discretion” over whether to represent the governor.
Gov. Paul LePage and leading monument proponent Lucas St. Clair will testify before Congress on Tuesday about whether Maine’s national monument represents a form of presidential abuse of power.
The House Committee on Natural Resources subcommittee hearing will be seen live here starting at 10 a.m.
LePage has made no secret of his disdain for the executive order issued by President Barack Obama on Aug. 24, 2016, that placed the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument designation upon 87,563 acres east of Baxter State Park. St. Clair’s mother, Burt’s Bees entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby, donated the land to the National Park Service.
Until last summer, Jake lived his life as a woman. As a member of the Class of 2017, he had been a starter for the Bowdoin women’s ice hockey team for three years, Anjulee Bhalla of The Bowdoin Orient writes.
“Originally, the way I thought about it was if I could be born again I would want to be born a man — like, no questions about it. But that’s just not my reality. That’s just not going to happen,” Jake, who requested he be identified by a pseudonym, said.
Although he was familiar with the transgender community, for the first few months, transitioning didn’t seem like a realistic option, even as he reflected more deeply on his gender identity.
It was over summer 2016 that Jake fully realized his identity as a trans man, through therapy and the influence of other prominent members of the transgender community, such as Schuyler Bailar, the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer.
“I can think back to the exact moment when I realized that I was trans and that that could be an option for me. I remember looking at [Bailar’s] Instagram, looking at pictures of him — like post-surgery, post-hormones — and seeing his smile and how happy he was as a person. You could just feel he was so happy to be who he was,” Jake said.
“And I said to myself, ‘I want to be just as happy as that guy one day and if this is what it’s going to take for me to get there, then I want to do that. And there’s nothing better that I’d rather do.’ And so from there, it was like, OK, I know I’m trans now. I have to come out to my mom, I have to come out to my brother. But at least I’ve gotten this far in figuring out who I am.”
The man law enforcement officials say died from injuries suffered in a methamphetamine lab explosion last week and whose body was discovered two days later has been identified as a someone with prior convictions related to meth manufacturing, according to police.
Jeffrey Miller, 50, recently had been released from jail after serving a sentence for making methamphetamine on Hammond Street in Bangor, Stephen McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman, said Monday.
The cause and manner of Miller’s death are both pending further toxicology tests, Mark Belserene, spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office, said Monday.
Living and events
The Friends of Fort Knox announced that the Fort Knox State Historic site and Penobscot Narrows Observatory are now open for the 2017 season. Both of these attractions opened on Monday, May 1, and will continue daily, until Halloween.
Midcoast Lyme Aide event to benefit those needing financial assistance for testing for tick-borne disease
The first Midcoast Lyme Aide to benefit Midcoast Lyme Aide Fund will begin at noon Saturday, May 6, with a benefit ride with Ridin’ Steel that culminates with a benefit concert at 5 p.m. at Taste of Maine, 161 Main St., in Woolwich.
Concert doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets $25 in advance and $30 at the door. VIP packages available for $50 each.
The University of Maine at Fort Kent is pleased to announce that astronaut George D. Nelson will be the keynote speaker for the 135th commencement ceremony held at 1 p.m. May 13 in the university Sports Center.
Nelson is an emeritus director of science, mathematics, and technology education, and a full professor of physics and astronomy at Western Washington University. From 1996-2001, he served as the director of Project 2061 and senior staff at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and from 1989-2006 as associate vice provost for research and associate professor of astronomy at the University of Washington.
“Dr. Nelson is an extraordinary individual and we are so fortunate to have him speak at commencement,” UMaine at Fort Kent President Dr. John Short said. “He has had a remarkable career; he has experienced things that we can only dream of.”
Over the next six months, thousands of individuals around the country will gather once a month to publicly pray the rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Mary to three young visionaries in the town of Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.
Among the venues for these outdoor “rosary rallies” will be the lawn of St. Anne Parish, located on 299 Main Street in Gorham, with the first scheduled for noon Saturday, May 13.
“The apparitions occurred on the 13th of each month, so the first two ‘rosary rallies’ will be on May 13 and Tuesday, June 13,” said Dan Kasprzyk, a 4th degree Knight of Columbus who is organizing the gatherings. “The remaining dates will probably occur on a Saturday closest to the 13th of each month.”