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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- An arrest warrant has been issued for the founder of a controversial 3D-printed gun company in connection to the alleged sexual assault of a minor, according to Texas authorities.

Suspect Cody Wilson, 30, owns Defense Distributed, which sells blueprints for producing plastic firearms using 3D printers.

The alleged victim, an unnamed 16-year-old girl from Central Texas, according to Austin police, told a counselor she’d had sex with Wilson Aug. 15, 2018, in an Austin hotel before he paid her $500, according to the arrest warrant affidavit filed Wednesday in Travis County District Court.

Austin police said they received a call from the counselor Aug. 22 who reported that a client, a girl under the age of 17, told her she’d had sex with a 30-year-old man a week before.

Police said they were present Aug. 27 when staff from the Center for Child Protection interviewed the alleged victim. The girl said she’d met the man on and that he’d used the screen name “Sanjuro,” according to police.

She said the two exchanged phone numbers and talked via iMessage, police said.

A search of the girl’s cellphone uncovered messages to as well as links to messages from Sanjuro, according to police. And, in one message, Sanjuro identified himself as Cody Wilson, police said.

“Victim said that ‘Sanjuro’ described himself to the victim as a ‘big deal,’” according to the affidavit.

Wilson’s Texas driver’s license picture also matched the “Sanjuro” profile image on, police said.

Wilson and the girl met at a coffee shop Aug. 15 and left together in a black Ford Edge, police said. They said the vehicle was similar to a 2015 black Ford Edge registered with Wilson’s business, Defense Distributed.

Later, valet surveillance video from a hotel recorded Wilson and the girl’s getting out of the car, according to police.

Police said they reviewed hotel surveillance footage “showing the victim and Wilson exiting an elevator onto the seventh floor. … Hotel records showed that Wilson was the lone registered guest for room 718 on that date.”

Wilson sexually assaulted her and then “retrieved five $100.00 bills from a bag on the floor” and gave her the money, the girl told police, according to the affidavit.

Video showed Wilson and her leaving the hotel, the affidavit alleged. He later dropped her off at a Whataburger restaurant, she told authorities.

ABC News' attempts to reach Wilson were unsuccessful.

Wilson is not in custody and his last known location was Taipei, Taiwan, according to Austin police. He missed a scheduled flight back to the U.S. and had left the country before police could interview him, authorities said Wednesday during a news conference.

Austin police said they were working with national and international authorities to locate him.

"We don't know why he went to Taiwan but we do know before he left, he was informed by a friend of the victim that she had spoken to police and police were investigating him," Cmdr. Troy Officer said.

Officer said he was not sure of Wilson's exact return date but the time had passed.

Detectives have spoken with the victim, Officer said, and "in their opinion, if someone mistakes her age, it would be because they think she’s younger, not older, than the 16 year old that she is.”

Police are still investigating, Officer said. Wilson could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, according to ABC Austin affiliate KVUE-TV.

Wilson is a self-described "crypto-anarchist" at the center of a fierce legal battle over whether Americans should be able to print guns that would be unregulated and untraceable.

After Wilson in 2013 successfully fired a bullet from the world’s first 3D-printed handgun and posted its design online, the video got nearly half a million views, and the design was downloaded nearly 100,000 times. After a few days, the link was terminated by law enforcement officials.

Years of litigation followed, leading to a settlement in July allowing Wilson to re-release the gun’s downloadable blueprints, giving anyone with access to a 3D printer the ability to create their own so-called “ghost guns” – unregulated unregistered and untraceable firearms.

Over the summer, a federal judge temporarily stopped him from putting gun blueprints online and in August, a federal judge in Seattle extended the injunction, after a coalition of states and the District of Columbia said making plastic weapons available would create a public safety issue.

Later that month, Wilson said he'd started selling the plans for producing plastic firearms using 3-D printers despite an injunction blocking it because of concerns about public safety.

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Joshua Gane via Storyful(NEW YORK) -- A young boy has been arrested for putting sewing needles inside strawberries in New South Wales, Australia.

The boy, whose name has not been disclosed because of his age, confessed to putting the sewing needles in strawberries as a prank and is not believed to be the culprit behind other fruit contaminations in the region, New South Wales police authorities told ABC News.

"What we’ve seen in this state we believe is the work of copycats and pranksters," Stuart Smith, the acting assistant commissioner of the New South Wales police, said in a press conference Wednesday.

The boy is the first person to be arrested since people reported finding sewing needles inside strawberries across Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia last week.

The New South Wales Police Force said in a press release Tuesday that they have received more than 20 reports of contaminated strawberries alone. Contamination of apples and bananas has also been reported, police said in the statement.

Smith said that people deliberately contaminating food can face up to 10 years in prison.

Smith also announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of any individual who contaminates a food source in the area.

"Whether it's done with the intention of prank, whether it's done with the intention of serious harm to another individual, it's no difference," Smith said Wednesday. "They are going to be charged with that offense and they are going to find themselves in front of a court."

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Tristar Media/Getty Images(ISTANBUL) -- Celebrity chef Nusret Gokce, better known as "Salt Bae," was torched online after videos of him serving steak to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Turkey went viral on Monday.

Gokce posted three videos on Instagram of Maduro feasting, drinking and smoking a Cuban cigar with his wife, Cilia Flores, at one of Gokce’s restaurants in Istanbul.

Maduro said Monday night on Venezuelan television that the visit took place after a brief stopover in Turkey. Maduro was headed back to Venezuela after visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, who agreed to extend a $5 billion credit line to help alleviate the current economic crisis in the country. China has already provided more than $60 billion in credit to Venezuela in the last decade alone.

“He loves Venezuela,” Maduro said of Gokce.

Gokce became famous in early 2017 when a video of him salting an Ottoman steak in a Swan-like arm position exploded online and became a meme. He has since removed the videos of Maduro from his social media accounts.

Over 1.6 million of Venezuelans have left the country since 2015, fleeing a growing economic crisis that has left the country with food shortages and a hyperinflation that is expected to hit 1,000,000 percent this year.

Gokce declined ABC News’ request for comment.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- UK police are investigating an attack Wednesday morning near a Muslim community center that injured three men.

A car drove into a crowd of people leaving the North London mosque, with the occupants of the car allegedly shouting Islamophobic taunts, authorities said.

Two men were taken to the hospital for treatment after the incident. One victim, a man in his fifties, suffered “a serious leg injury,” authorities said. A third person did not require hospital treatment.

The incident is not being treated as an act of terrorism, police said.

Four people were allegedly drinking, taking drugs and engaging in “anti-social behavior” at the center's private car park, according to police. Three men and a woman in their mid-twenties allegedly refused to leave when security officials arrived and a confrontation ensued, police said.

The car proceeded to drive off at a high speed.

The Hussaini Association, which had been hosting a religious lecture before the attack, released a statement on Twitter describing the collision as “a suspected premeditated Islamophobic attack” in which people were “indiscriminately mown down.” It claims the drivers of the vehicle were all “of Caucasian origin.”

The organization praised “a number of volunteers [who] bravely stood between the speeding vehicle and patrons heading home. These acts of bravery potentially saved the lives of dozens of innocent people.”

Ali Salman, an eyewitness, told ABC News the attack occurred at “exact time the program finished and everyone was coming out.”

He initially saw a group of people surrounding the car, which was “almost trapped trying to get out.” The car sped away from the group when a security guard smashed one of the windows, he said. Salman then pushed his friend to safety before “the car came full force at us to trying to run us over.”

Local police are investigating the incident. No arrests have yet been made.

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Kassem Family(CAIRO) -- After five years in prison and facing 15 more, an American citizen jailed on trumped up charges in Egypt is pleading for his life to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

In two letters sent to the administration, obtained exclusively by ABC News, Mustafa Kassem recounts how he was beaten and arrested after Egyptian security officials discovered his U.S. passport amid a mass crackdown on opposition -- and how he has started a hunger strike "because I am losing my will and don't know how else to get your attention."

A 53-year-old diabetic, his family has urged him to stop, and his lawyer tells ABC News that his health is failing. He appeared very frail and weak during a visit Sunday, with his hands visibly shaking and his blood sugar dropping to a dangerously low level.

But Kassem writes that while he knows "full well that I may not survive," he has no choice.

"I want my children to know that I fought tooth and nail for my freedom. I want them to know America is great because our government will fight tooth and nail for its citizens," he wrote in the letter addressed to Pence. Both are dated Sept. 12 and were sent to the White House on Sept. 13, according to his lawyer.

A New York City taxicab driver, Kassem started his hunger strike last week after being convicted of trying to overthrow the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi and sentenced to 15 years in jail in a mass trial with more than 700 co-defendants.

Praveen Madhiraju, executive director of Pretrial Rights International and one of Kassem's lawyers, has called the charges against his client "bogus," adding that he's "an innocent American" and the situation is a "disgrace."

Kassem was in Egypt in August 2013 visiting his wife and two children, then 3 and 6 years old. It was a particularly volatile moment in Egypt's recent history -- one month after the military seized power following days of protests against the democratically elected government of Mohamed Morsi.

In Morsi's place, then-General Sisi took control, implementing a crackdown on political opposition and civil society that has since expanded. About 20 Americans currently are in Egyptian jails, but there are as many as 60,000 political prisoners across Egypt, according to a Human Rights Watch report last year.

On Aug. 14, 2013 -- the night before Kassem was set to return to the U.S. -- he went out to exchange some money and shop when security officials detained him and his brother-in-law, accusing them of participating in protests against the military takeover in a nearby square. The military was cracking down on the demonstrations in what human rights groups say was the single deadliest incident in Sisi's sweep to power, with as many as 800 killed.

While his brother-in-law was released, Kassem was accused of being an American spy because of his U.S. passport.

"Although the beatings eventually stopped, these prisons and their guards did they best to wear me down for more than five years," he wrote to Trump.

In Egyptian jails, he has been denied regular access to medical treatment, including insulin, his lawyers said, leading to dangerous drops in blood sugar like the one this past week. Multiple requests by his family to have him hospitalized have been denied or simply ignored by Egyptian authorities, but he has been moved to solitary confinement to monitor his health.

Still, now that he is on hunger strike, his family worries he is running out of time.

"My brother is dying slowly. He is giving up hope," his sister, Iman Kassem, told ABC News in a statement.

Kassem's case has been followed by the Trump administration, with Pence saying he raised it directly with Sisi when the two met in Cairo in January. In his letter to Pence, Kassem thanks him for those words, calling them "little rays of light" and hope that "my government still cared for me."

"But since January, I have seen no change and little action from either the Egyptian government or our government," he wrote to Pence. "I am losing hope that you and our government are willing to take a hard stance and secure my freedom."

"Mr. Pence, I need your help. You once spoke for me. I now beg you to fight for me," he concludes.

Both letters were transcribed by a family member because Kassem was too weak to write them out himself, according to his family. He could sign his name to both, and his signature was verified by ABC News using previous legal documents.

The White House did not respond to questions Tuesday, including whether it had received the letters or if would raise Kassem's case directly with Sisi, whom Trump may meet next week during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Madhiraju, Kassem's lawyer, said they also did not hear back from the White House or Pence's office.

The State Department has said the U.S. is "deeply concerned about his conviction and his sentencing. ... His case has been raised repeatedly with the Egyptian Government," according to spokesperson Heather Nauert. Officials from the U.S. embassy have conducted consular visits with him to check on his condition.

The Trump administration has been accused of going soft on Egypt, especially in recent weeks, even as Kassem and more than 700 "co-defendants" were sentenced en masse on Sept. 8 for the August 2013 protest. Seventy-five people received the death penalty, and more than 600 were sentenced to prison, including Kassem and the award-winning Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, also known as Shawkan, who was covering the protests.

After withholding $195 million in aid to Egypt over human rights concerns in 2017, the State Department announced in July it was releasing that money "in the spirit of our efforts to further strengthen this partnership," an official told ABC News.

Just this week, the administration announced it had approved the possible sale of $99 million worth of tank rounds to Egypt, calling it a "friendly country" and "important strategic partner."

Annually, the U.S. typically provides Egypt with more than a billion dollars in aid and military assistance. That billion-dollar package is one reason Kassem said he believes "my government has slowly abandoned me."

But Trump's tight bond and warm words with the strongman Sisi have yielded some results, too.

In April 2017, Egypt freed Aya Hijazi, a U.S. citizen and humanitarian aid worker, her husband Mohamed Hassanein and four others after Trump and top aides urged Sisi to do so as a goodwill gesture. Afterward, Hijazi met Trump in the Oval Office, which he called a "great honor."

Kassem wrote to Trump that he has been left praying for a similar reception: "I pray that you have a plan for me. I have seen you defend other jailed Americans. I ask you -- why not me?"

His family said they have lost their patience.

"His life is in danger because he showed his American passport, but President Trump has done nothing about it and Vice President Pence has not done enough," his sister, Iman, told ABC News. "They know about Mustafa's condition, and they can save him. They are as responsible for his life as anyone else."

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Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- Behind the scenes of Pyongyang’s grand welcome ceremony for a South Korean delegation Tuesday was the mysterious Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.

Kim Yo Jong was the watch commander of the greeting event, caught on camera running around the red-carpeted airstrip in Sunan International Airport making sure everyone knew their path. Sitting beside Kim Jong Un during the first round of inter-Korean talks in the three-day summit, she made her presence known as his trusted confidante.

Widely known as Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong was appointed the first vice department director of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea this February. Before that, she was named vice director of the Workers' Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department, according to CNN.

Kim Yo Jong roamed around Tuesday's events in a black two-piece suit, stealing the show on the live broadcast screen in Seoul's press center for inter-Korean summit. Nearly 3,000 journalists watched her giving directions to South Korean President Moon Jae-in himself as the two Korean leaders stood on stage facing North Korean honor guards. She stood only a few steps behind the first couples, closely engaged the whole time.

"Kim Yo Jong is practically Kim Jong Un's political partner and right hand," Han-Bum Cho, senior research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told ABC News. "She takes the role of his political comrade by being the chief secretary, chief presidential secretary and policy director She is the only person that Kim trusts."

Kim Yo Jong first caught the public's attention as part of North Korea's delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, and as the North Korean leader’s special envoy to deliver his letter to Moon.

Since then she has been part of every landmark moment in inter-Korean relations. Not only did she attend the first inter-Korean summit in April at the border village of Panmunjom, she also played her role as Kim Jong Un's shadow during the historic U.S.-DPRK summit in Singapore in June.

"Kim Yo Jong is an authority figure," Philo Kim, an associate professor at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, told ABC News. "She is the one who can speak frankly to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, not only as a high official of North Korea’s ruling party, but also as a family member."

Standing by her brother's side as he and Moon signed a denuclearization agreement Wednesday, Kim Jong Un would only use the pen Kim Yo Jong handed him to sign the joint statements.

Kim Yo Jong shares with Kim Jong Un the Baektu bloodline that flows from late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, which they say legitimizes the Kim dynasty’s regime. They both have the same mother, Ko Yong Hui.

While Kim Jong Un said Wednesday he plans to visit Seoul, his sister was the first member of the Kim family dynasty to step foot on South Korean soil when she arrived ahead of the Olympics.

She is also known to have accompanied the North Korean leader in his overseas studies in Switzerland.

During Tuesday's two-hour closed-door meeting with Moon, the golden sister sat to the left of Kim Jong Un, proving her position as an influential figure in the Worker’s Party of Korea.

On the right was Kim Yong Chol, the vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of North Korea, who has kept his spot during every important summit talk Kim Jong Un has held. He also visited the White House earlier this year as the U.S. and North Korea prepared for June's historic summit. Moon sat with Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's top security adviser, and National Intelligence Chief Suh Hoon.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL) -- North and South Korea issued a joint statement Wednesday laying out more steps North Korea is prepared to take to denuclearize, but offering few details as to how they will get there.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to permanently shut down the Tongchang-ri missile launch and engine testing facilities with independent inspectors present. Kim also said he is prepared to permanently shut down his nuclear production facility at Yongbyon, but only if the U.S. takes "reciprocal steps" in the spirit of the June 12 agreement signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

It was unclear what those "reciprocal steps" would be.

Trump excitedly responded to the agreement in a pair of tweets late Tuesday. He said that Kim had allowed nuclear inspections "subject to final negotiations" -- an agreement not mentioned by the Koreas Wednesday -- and highlighted that the two Koreas will also submit a bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics. He did not shed further light on what the U.S.'s reciprocal steps would be either.

The Koreas also agreed to work toward easing military tensions on the Korean peninsula, increasing communication and cooperation and facilitating more family reunions.

Kim promised he “will visit Seoul in the near future,” and Moon commented Kim would be the first North Korean leader to visit the South.

North Korean Defense Minister No Kwang Chol and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo signed a military agreement to implement the Panmunjom agreement.

The second day of summit talks took place Wednesday at Baekhwawon state guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The guesthouse is the same location where former South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun stayed during the inter-Korean summit talks with late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000 and 2007, respectively.

The South’s delegation’s was served lunch at Okryugwan, a Pyongyang restaurant famous for its cold noodles. Moon was scheduled to visit facilities related to science and technology in and around Pyongyang city Wednesday afternoon.

A farewell dinner banquet is to follow. Moon is expected to return to Seoul on Thursday morning.

Moon and his 150-member delegation arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, greeted by Kim and his wife with much flag-waving and music followed by a fancy car parade through Pyongyang's streets.

After a closed-door summit, the South’s delegation, including top business executives and musicians, joined Kim and North Korean officials at Pyongyang Grand Theatre for an orchestral performance by the North’s Samjiyon orchestra.

The dinner banquet that followed was amicable throughout the whole three hours, officials said, with it wrapping up past 11 p.m.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BERLIN) -- Petya Verzilov, a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, has likely been poisoned, doctors treating him in Germany said Tuesday.

Verzilov, one of the early members of the group that has for years staged provocative demonstrations against Russia's government, was rushed to a hospital last week in Moscow after he suddenly began suffering vision and motion loss and fell unconscious. His relatives and fellow activists quickly suspected Verzilov was the victim of poisoning and on Tuesday doctors at the Berlin hospital where he has been transferred for treatment said they had no other explanation for his sudden sickness.

"The impression and the findings that we now have, as well as those provided by colleagues from Moscow, suggest that it was highly plausible that it was a case of poisoning,” Dr. Kai-Uwe Eckardt of Berlin's Charite hospital told reporters.

Eckardt said doctors currently have "no evidence whatsoever that there would be another explanation for his condition.”

The hospital’s chairman, Karl Max Einhaeupl, told reporters that Verzilov was no longer in life-threatening danger and that his condition was “improving day by day.”

Verzilov, 30, fell sick following a friend's court hearing in Moscow on Sept. 11 and was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he was placed in intensive care. Verzilov's symptoms included disorientation and widened pupils and Russian doctors began treating him for possible poisoning, Eckardt said, emptying his stomach and performing a dialysis.

Verzilov, who has Russian and Canadian citizenship, was then moved to Germany by air ambulance on Saturday, flown there by the Cinema for Peace Foundation, an NGO that has supported Pussy Riot.

Eckardt said Verzilov was suffering from anticholinergic syndrome, which can disrupt the nervous system.

He said that laboratory tests were currently being carried out to identify the exact substance used to poison Verzilov but said it was unlikely that would be possible given the amount of time that had passed since he was exposed.

Eckardt ruled out that Verzilov could have taken the drug himself, saying there was “no evidence that there is a drug problem” and that it would be highly unusual for someone to take the drug in such a high dose unless the person was suicidal, which he said they had “no indications of.”

Eckardt said he hoped Verzilov would now make a full recovery and would not suffer any long-term health consequences.

Verzilov is one of the best-known members of Pussy Riot and is the estranged husband of Nadya Tolokonnikova, whose arrest in 2012 with two other activists over their protest in a Moscow cathedral led to the group becoming world famous. During that period Verzilov, a veteran activist and provocateur, became a kind of impresario for the group, often handling media inquiries.

In recent years, he has continued to arrange stunts targeting president Vladimir Putin's rule even as Tolokonnikova and the group's other leading member, Maria Alekhina, have increasingly stopped performing together. In July, Verzilov and two other Pussy Riot members were sentenced to 15 days jail for a demonstration during the World Cup final, in which they ran onto the field dressed as police officers to protest police oppression in Russia.

There have been a number of high profile poisoning cases involving opponents of the Russian government recently, including the poisoning of former spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter.

Another prominent activist, Vladimir Kara-Murza, from the liberal group Open Russia, in 2015 and 2017 was poisoned twice with an unknown substance. Kara-Murza suffered organ failure on both occasions and now walks with a cane. Despite extensive tests, doctors were unable to identify the poison.

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Pyeongyang Press Corps/Getty Images(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in with a lavish welcome ceremony Tuesday at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, as the two leaders kicked off their third summit this year.

Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, hugged the first couple from the South at the red-carpeted airfield as a crowd of thousands lined up to cheer for them -- some holding national flags, some holding unified-peninsula flags and some holding colorful plastic bouquets.

North Korea's ceremonial guards honored the South's delegation. Kim's influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, also was on hand to escort the visitors.

Moon flew to Pyongyang Tuesday for the third inter-Korean summit with Kim.

The South Korean delegation, which was about 200 people from all walks of life, including businessmen and musicians, landed around 10 a.m. local time.

Moon and Kim rode in a lavish parade, standing together and waving to the crowd from an open-top black Mercedes limousine. Tens of thousands of citizens dressed in colorful national costumes and waving flags and paper-flower bouquets lined up in the streets chanting “Unification!”

The two leaders arrived at the Baekhwawon guesthouse, had separate luncheons, and then began the first of a three-day summit talk.

“You traveled to best places around the world but our accommodation is plain compared to developed countries,” Kim told Moon just before going into closed-door meetings. “Though our standards may be low, I hope you understand our efforts with full heart that we did our best to prepare the best accommodation and schedule [for this trip].”

A priority on the agenda is to ease military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Im Jong-seok, the South Korean presidential office's chief of staff, said at a press conference Monday. The two leaders will spend considerable time reviewing in detail the progress of their joint agreement made in April and then draw up a "concrete and practical" agreement.

Moon also will focus on bridging the gap between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump regarding denuclearization. So far, the U.S. wants concrete steps by the North to prove denuclearization, for example, a "list" of nuclear facilities. On the other hand, North Korea wants a regime-security guarantee that includes declaring the Korean War over and signing a non-aggression peace treaty.

It's "difficult to have an optimistic outlook" on the progress of denuclearization, although it will depend on the honest conversations between Moon and Kim to reach such an agreement, Im said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(HONG KONG) -- Although they are used to weathering several typhoons every year, Hong Kongers woke up shell-shocked on Monday after Super Typhoon Mangkhut, the strongest storm on the planet recorded this year, tore through the city on Sunday, injuring over 300 people but killing none. Even after such a devastating storm, most people went back to work on Monday, and the stock markets opened for trading.

Despite weakening after first hitting the Philippines and killing at least 65 people, the Hong Kong Observatory confirmed Mangkhut was the most powerful storm to hit the southern Chinese territory since records have been kept beginning in 1946.

Hong Kong avoided a direct hit and escaped without any fatalities, but Mangkhut’s ferocious winds and storm surge uprooted more than 1500 trees and broke hundreds of windows across the city.

Record-setting storm surges of more than 11 feet were measured in some parts of Hong Kong, while huge waves crashed into waterfront apartments. Low elevation and coastal neighborhoods like the beach town of Shek O and waterfront housing estate Heng Fa Chuen experienced flooding.

Windows across Hong Kong were blown out by wind gusts that were recorded at speeds of up to 120 mph. Most dramatically, dozens of windows of the One Harbourfront complex that juts out into Hong Kong’s famed Victoria Harbor were destroyed. Online video taken during the storm showed reams of paper being blown out from the building.

Hong Kong’s normally secure and bendable bamboo-scaffolding used in construction could not withstand the force of the winds, and many scaffolds were ripped off of buildings, crashing into the streets below.

The Hong Kong Government made the call to lower the storm signal early Monday morning to allow the stock market to open for trading, meaning that Hong Kongers were also expected to go to work.

Public transportation was not running at full capacity as numerous bus routes and light rail services were suspended due to debris, causing major crowding at transportation hubs across the city.

In a press conference Monday, trade union leader Lee Cheuk-yan criticized Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam for not giving workers a day off to recover from the typhoon.

Terence Chong, an Economics professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong told the South China Morning Post that if the entire city had not worked on Monday, the economic loss could amount to about $7.3 billion Hong Kong dollars, the equivalent of $930 million U.S. dollars.

What was left of Mangkhut went on to wreak havoc on neighboring Macau on Sunday, which suspended normal casino operations for the first time ever. The storm later made landfall in China’s Guangdong province, where it has killed at least four people.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Maritime history was made this month with the passage of the first commercial container ship through the Northern Sea Route of the Arctic Ocean, a route made possible by the melting of Arctic ice.

The Venta Maersk, a new ship loaded with Russian fish and South Korean electronics, left Vladivostok, Russia, at the beginning of September and is expected to arrive in Bremerhaven, Germany, next week, after successfully navigating ice-plagued seas from the Bering Straits north.

The waters at the top of the world have warmed rapidly over the last four decades, at nearly twice the rate of warming in the rest of the world, according to the Arctic Council, an international group that studies the region. The United Nations' panel on climate change says the dramatic warming is unprecedented in human history.

Only a decade ago shipping experts all but ruled out traveling across the Arctic Ocean.

The Venta Maersk, which has protections built in for moving through ice, is owned by the largest container shipping agency in the world, Danish company A.P. Moller Maersk. With its successful Arctic passage, commercial shipping agencies are likely to consider what kind of market might be developed using the Northern Sea Route.

Traveling across the Arctic Ocean can reduce ships' travel time 40 percent by allowing them to go north instead of around southern Asia and through the Suez Canal or past the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. That could mean lower fuel costs, fewer canal transit fees, reduced danger from pirates, and less wear and tear on the vessel.

But commercial customers also demand reliability on delivery dates, and the Northern Sea Route could close quickly if weather suddenly changed, potentially causing a container ship to get stuck in ice until rescued by bigger ice-breakers remains a possibility. Such unpredictability has until now led commercial shipping companies to stay away.

Chinese and Japanese shippers are among those exploring the possible benefits of Arctic Ocean crossings, Frederic Lasserre, a professor at the Universite Laval in Quebec and expert on Arctic shipping, told the EUObserver newspaper.

China has already announced an ambitious plan to create a “polar Silk Road” by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming. The Arctic Shipping Forum says 300 ships have used the Northern Sea Route, but the Venta Maersk is the first container vessel for commercial shipping to cross.

"In the last two, three years the ice melt in summer has been so extensive that developments are getting very hard to predict. I will not rule out that some shipping agencies may reach the necessary level of flexibility so that they can offer regular container service in the North East Passage during summer within the next 10 years," said Lasserre.


The Venta Maersk is one of seven new vessels that the Maersk company is building for possible use on this route. Each new ship is 650 feet long, 115 feet wide and capable of carrying 3,600 shipping containers through waters frozen with 3 feet of ice.

But the company is so far downplaying the historic trip as a one-off.

"The trial passage will enable us to explore the operational feasibility of container shipping through the Northern Sea Route and to collect data. Currently, we do not see the Northern Sea Route as a commercial alternative to our existing network which is defined by our customers' demand, trading patterns and population centers," a statement from A.P. Moller Maersk says.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BRISBANE, Australia) -- Australian authorities have ordered a review into the handling of strawberries after they say fruit containing sewing needles turned up in supermarkets across the country.

Annastacia Palaszczuk, premier of Queensland state, also offered a reward of roughly $72,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible.

“Whoever is behind this is not just putting families at risk across Queensland and the rest of Australia – they are putting an entire industry at risk,” she said in a statement.

No suspects have been identified.

The first reported case of strawberry contamination sparked national fears last week. Hoani van Dorp went to the hospital with "severe abdominal pain" after swallowing half a sewing needle lodged in a strawberry, according to friend Joshua Gane.

Gane made the allegation in a Facebook post that has been shared thousands of times.

Authorities have not confirmed any injuries or the number of strawberries that have been affected.

The Queensland Strawberry Growers Association described the incident as “extremely disheartening and troubling.”

“Strawberries were interfered with between the time they were packed and the time they were purchased,” it said, also advising purchasers to cut their fruit in half before eating for “peace of mind."

Contaminated strawberries have now been found in supermarkets Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., which reported that strawberry growers are using metal detectors to scan their fruit.

Coles and Aldi supermarkets have reportedly pulled all strawberries from their shelves while two of New Zealand’s biggest food companies -- Countdown and Foodstuffs -- have reportedly stopped importing Australian strawberries.

The Queensland Health Department has advised anyone who has bought Berry Obsession and Berry Licious strawberries to destroy or return them after they were pulled from shelves. At least six major brands have been affected, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced on Twitter that regulatory body Food Standards Australia New Zealand will investigate.

He tweeted, “I urge all Australians be vigilant for potential contaminants.”

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Jes Aznar/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The strongest storm on Earth in 2018 barreled through the northern Philippines before dawn on Saturday, bringing with it ferocious winds and torrential rain.

Typhoon Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong, made landfall in Cagayan province on northeast Luzon island at 1:40 a.m. local time, according to the country's weather agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. It's estimated that the tropical cyclone put at least five million people at risk.

Mangkhut, considered the strongest storm on the planet so far this year, was the 15th to hit the Philippines. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center U.S. Navy-U.S. Air Force command, located in Hawaii, had downgraded Mangkhut from a "super typhoon" prior to landfall, when it had peak wind speeds of 180 mph.

Mangkhut weakened slightly as it reached Luzon's mountainous coastline early Saturday morning; however, it was still packing winds equivalent to a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

Its tropical storm-force winds extended 550 miles across, according to the country's weather agency, making it nearly double the size of Florence, the hurricane-turned-tropical storm that made landfall over the southeastern United States on Friday.

Mangkhut's high winds churned rough seas as it moved across Luzon, producing waves nearly 30 feet high, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The heavy rain triggered landslides that reportedly claimed the lives of several people in the area.

Images from hard-hit areas in Cagayan province show countless downed trees and toppled power lines, blown out buildings and debris strewn across roadways.

Global nonprofit Oxfam said it deployed teams of responders to the area to assess the damage and provide disaster relief.

"The situation is very bad," Oxfam's April Abello-Bulanadi said in a statement from Tuguegarao City. "The winds are howling and we can feel the destructive force of Ompong. The roof of the hotel where the response team convened has been blown away. We are on the third floor. The walls and ceiling are shaking. It has been raining nonstop."

Mangkhut has been tracked northwestward at about 16 mph over the past six hours, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

The cyclone is forecast to make another landfall over southeastern China, just west of Hong Kong on Sunday, and will ultimately dissipate over the rugged terrain.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL) -- South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, is expected to fly to Pyongyang for the first time next week in hopes of accelerating international efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

"At this stage, I believe it is most important to put a complete end to military tensions between North and South, or possibility of military conflict, or war threat," Moon told reporters Thursday.

It will be the third summit this year between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The first two meetings -- in April and May -- took place at Panmunjom, which separates the two Koreas.

Moon and the South Korean delegation will fly directly to Pyongyang using the Western air route, Moon's office said, adding that an advance team will take the land route to Pyongyang on Sunday for preparations. Next week's summit is set to take place from Tuesday to Thursday. Key parts of the three-day trip will also be broadcast live.

At the top of the agenda is defusing military tensions, Moon said during a meeting Thursday with his special advisers.

Moon is also eager to mediate differences between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in order to bring the denuclearization process back on track. The third inter-Korean summit has been planned as denuclearization discussion between the United States and North Korea have faltered.

"I believe finding an intersecting point to restart the dialogue and let denuclearization to take place promptly, is the role [South Korea] must serve in the middle," Moon said.

Moon Chung-in, an adviser in the South Korean presidential office, also explained during a briefing with foreign journalists that the president will want his North Korean counterpart to seek "bold and imaginative approaches" that go beyond just freezing of the North's nuclear program and involve a declaration, inspection and verification process.

"President Moon will be placing the utmost impetus on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, he will try to play role of a facilitator or a mediator between Pyongyang and Washington," the top adviser told reporters.

Next week’s summit will mark the fifth inter-Korean meeting. The late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il invited South Korean President Kim Dae-jung to Pyongyang in 2000 and Roh Moo-hyun in 2007.

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Retired Adm. William "Bill" McRaven, who led the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, resigned from his post on the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Board last month, just days after he publicly criticized President Donald Trump, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.

"I can confirm that Admiral (Ret.) William H. McRaven resigned from the Defense Innovation Board, effective Aug. 20, 2018,” Heather Babb, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, told ABC News on Thursday. "The department appreciates his service and contribution on the board."

The Defense Innovation Board is an independent advisory committee to the Pentagon specializing in issues related to technology and innovation.

His resignation was first reported by Defense News on Thursday.

The resignation came four days after he criticized the president for revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, whom McRaven called "one of the finest public servants" he’d "ever known."

"Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him," McRaven, the former head of Special Operations Command, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post last month. "Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency."

"Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation," McRaven added in the op-ed.

The retired admiral, who led the Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, noted that he had criticized Trump in the past and hoped to see Trump "rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs."

"A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow," McRaven wrote. "A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself. Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities."

McRaven oversaw the 2011 mission that killed the former head of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan.

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