Happening Today: Korea, Steve Bannon, Planned Parenthood, ‘Mission: Impossible 6'

What to Know

  • South Korean president said he would consider sending a special envoy to North Korea for talks if they stop missile and nuclear tests
  • A federal appeals court panel ruled that Arkansas can block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood
  • Production has shut down on "Mission: Impossible 6" due to star Tom Cruise's broken ankle, Paramount Pictures says

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South Korea Looks to Jumpstart Diplomacy in North Korea Standoff

In an effort to jumpstart diplomacy, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would consider sending a special envoy to North Korea for talks if the North stops its missile and nuclear tests. He also declared, amid fears in South Korea that threats from President Trump to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang could lead to real fighting, that there would be no second war on the Korean Peninsula. "The people worked together to rebuild the country from the Korean War, and we cannot lose everything again because of a war," Moon said in a nationally televised news conference. "I can confidently say there will not be a war again on the Korean Peninsula." Moon's comments follow a spike in animosity generated by North Korea's warning that it might send missiles into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam, and Trump's warlike language. Both Koreas and the United States have signaled in recent days, however, a willingness to avert a deepening crisis, with each suggesting a path toward negotiations.

As Trump CEO Panels Disband and Crumble, He Ends Both

With corporate chieftains fleeing, President Trump abruptly abolished two of his White House business councils— the latest fallout from his combative comments on racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump announced the action via tweet, although only after one of the panels had already agreed to disband earlier in the day. A growing number of business leaders on the councils had openly criticized his remarks laying blame for the violence at a white supremacists rally on "both sides." "Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" Trump tweeted from New York. The decision came as the White House tried to manage the repercussions from Trump's defiant remarks earlier. Presidential advisers hunkered down, offering no public defense while privately expressing frustration with his comments.

No Military Solution in North Korea, Trump Aide Says

President  Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon says there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further aggression with "fire and fury." In an interview with The American Prospect posted online Wednesday, Bannon says the U.S. is losing the economic race against China. He also talks about purging his rivals from the Defense and State departments. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Trump tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "made a very wise and well-reasoned decision" by backing down after heightening fears of nuclear conflict in a series of combative threats after recent missile tests, including against the U.S. island territory of Guam. Bannon also outlined his push for the U.S. to adopt a tougher stance on China trade, without waiting to see whether Beijing will help restrain Kim, as Trump has pressed China's leader to do.

Arkansas Can Block Planned Parenthood Money, Federal Court Rules

A federal appeals court panel ruled that Arkansas can block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, two years after the state ended its contract with the group over videos secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group. In a 2-1 ruling, an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel vacated preliminary injunctions a federal judge issued preventing the state from suspending any Medicaid payments for services rendered to patients from Planned Parenthood. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson ended the state's Medicaid contract with the organization in 2015. The court ruled the unnamed patients suing the state did not have the right to challenge the defunding decision. The panel did not directly address Arkansas' reason for terminating the contract. The decision could potentially lead to a showdown before the U.S. Supreme Court over efforts by Arkansas and several other states to defund Planned Parenthood that have been blocked by other courts. In a dissenting opinion to the ruling, Judge Michael Melloy noted several other federal courts have ruled the opposite way on defunding and said the patients have a right to challenge the end of Planned Parenthood's contract.

Tom Cruise Ankle Break Halts “Mission: Impossible 6” Production

Production has shut down on "Mission: Impossible 6" due to star Tom Cruise's broken ankle. Paramount Pictures said production will go on hiatus while Cruise makes a full recovery. Cruise broke his ankle while performing a stunt for the film during its London-based shoot. TMZ posted a video that showed a tethered Cruise leaping to a building, hitting its side and then crawling over the top and running away. After he finished the take, Cruise is seen limping, though he was able to rappel back to the building he jumped from. The 55-year-old actor is known for performing many of his own stunts. The studio says that the film remains on schedule to open on July 27, 2018.

Taylor Swift Makes Donation to Charity for Sexual Assault Victims

After Grammy-winning singer Taylor Swift said she would be donating to charities that aid the survivors of sexual assault, she made good on that promise by giving an undisclosed but "generous" amount to the Joyful Heart Foundation, the organization confirmed to E! News. "Joyful Heart is honored to be recognized by Taylor Swift for our work on behalf of and in service to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse," the charity's spokesperson said. The Joyful Heart Foundation's mission "is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light," according to the group's website. Swift won her widely publicized lawsuit against ex-Colorado radio host David Mueller Monday, with the jury finding Mueller assaulted and battered Swift during a pre-concert event in 2013.

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