Pyongyang releases USA student as Rodman kicks off non-official visit

A military airplane carrying Otto Warmbier landed in his hometown of Cincinnati shortly before 10:20 pm (0220 GMT Wednesday), CBS News reported.

Warmbier's parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, said he was in a coma and was flying home.

Police apprehended the student, identified only as 25-year-old Kim, Tuesday night for sending a homemade bomb to his professor's office at the engineering faculty building of the university in western Seoul earlier in the day. He was sentenced in March after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the State Department had "secured" Warmbier's release, adding that his agency was pushing for three more Americans imprisoned in North Korea to be freed.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Dennis Rodman, the former National Basketball Association bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, began sightseeing in Pyongyang on Wednesday during a trip he said he hoped would "open a door" for his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss - President Donald Trump.

Things took an interesting turn on Tuesday, when news broke that an American college student who had been detained in North Korea for 17 months was being medically evacuated from the country.

There are three other Americans now being held in North Korea.

"FILE â€" In this February 29, 2016 file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korea's first private university, PUST was founded and remains operated by actors outside the country, mostly Evangelical Christian organizations.

United States student Otto Warmbier has been freed from jail in North Korea, 13 months after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labour. Rodman had tweeted in May 2013 that he wanted Kim to "cut Kenneth Bae loose", referring to the South Korean-born USA citizen imprisoned with 15 years' hard labor at the time.

Jury drills down on Bill Cosby's testimony
The incident allegedly took place when Constand visited Cosby's home outside of Philadelphia, in Elkins Park, Montgomery County. Bill Cosby arrives for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

A senior administration official said the Trump administration did not authorize Rodman's trip.

The United States had accused the North of using Warmbier as a political pawn, and condemned the sentence as far out of proportion to his alleged crime.

"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime in North Korean. In no uncertain terms, North Korea must explain the causes of his coma". The White House has responded at various times with tough talk and warnings that Washington's "strategic patience" with Pyongyang is now at an end.

Tillerson told U.S. senators at the start of a budget hearing that the State Department had no comment on Warmbier's condition "out of respect for him and his family".

"Otto has left North Korea", his parents said in a statement to CNN. It is common for sections of tourist hotels to be reserved for North Korean staff and off-limits to foreigners. He flew home Tuesday in a coma-like state, according to some media reports.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert later said Rodman "had nothing to do with" Warmbier's release.

Mr. Rodman is a Hall of Fame professional basketball player who formed a personal relationship with the diminutive North Korean dictator Kim several years ago, traveling to North Korea to give basketball demonstrations.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said, "It's clear that Pyongyang has committed a grave injustice against Otto and his family, and the news that he may be returning with a serious medical problem raises concerns about what happened to him in North Korean custody".

Following the May meeting in Oslo, North Korea urgently requested another meeting, which took place last week between the US envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, and the North's ambassador at the NY.

A small group of family friends was nearby to celebrate Warmbier's arrival, cheering and holding signs that read "Pray for Otto" and 'Welcome home Otto'. A 2009 visit by former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, secured the freedom of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

Recommended News

  • Pirates' Taillon solid in return following cancer surgery

    Pirates' Taillon solid in return following cancer surgery

    Danny Valencia and Mike Zunino hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, the fifth such feat for the Mariners this season. Darvish (6-4) allowed just one hit, an RBI single by Alex Bregman, and three walks while striking out four.

    Iran leaders accuse US, Saudis of supporting Tehran attacks

    One of the attackers reportedly left the scene for a time and ran around shooting before returning to the Parliament compound. The semi-official Tasnim news agency said on of the wounded people had died in hospital, bringing the death toll to 17.

    Could executive privilege block Comey testimony?

    Warner said that the committee is also still sorting through any evidence of financial ties of associates of Mr. Trump , particularly as it relates to former campaign chief Paul Manafort and Flynn.
  • The Heat: Latest on the Qatar-Gulf crisis

    The Heat: Latest on the Qatar-Gulf crisis

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Erdogan would discuss the Gulf rift in a telephone call with U.S. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar.

    Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry lead Warriors to NBA title

    Durant outplayed James in Game 1 finishing with 38 points and zero turnovers. There are already murmurs of James' dedication to the team .

    What was James Comey thinking when he met with Trump?

    Legal experts and Democrats say Trump would have a weak case if he were to attempt to go the executive privilege route. A White House official later confirmed to Bloomberg that the Trump administration was reviewing the matter.
  • Trump says Comey not telling truth, willing to respond under oath

    Trump stopped short of saying that Comey lied under oath at the hearing, which occurred a month after Trump fired him on May 9. When he has responded to Comey's testimony, it has been to call him a "leaker" and say his testimony was "full of lies ".
    Qatar begins shipping cargo through Oman to bypass Gulf rift

    Qatar begins shipping cargo through Oman to bypass Gulf rift

    Saudi Arabia said Sunday it was ordering "suitable measures" to help families with mixed citizenships, but provided few details. Sources said the prime minister may also make stopovers in other Gulf nations involved in the crisis.

    Spider-Man Gameplay Demo Shows Off Open World and Web Slinging Combat

    But, while we got a glimpse of the forthcoming game, the title won't arrive to console until 2018. This game and the next " God of War " edition are set to be released next year.
  • Kirby Trailer For Switch, Release Date 2018

    Nintendo Switch debuted on March 3 and has been supply-constrained as the Japanese company attempts to keep up with demand. It isn't long before we discover Mario's hat sitting on top of the Rex's head, with Mario popping up shortly afterward.
    Hamas denies it built tunnel under United Nations  schools in Gaza

    Hamas denies it built tunnel under United Nations schools in Gaza

    It has done this using electricity paid for by the PA and supplied by Israel. The Israeli decision appears to be seeking a compromise.
    Typhoon Merbok moves away as Hong Kong escapes major damage

    Typhoon Merbok moves away as Hong Kong escapes major damage

    People courageous strong winds as typhoon Merbok moves near Hong Kong, China June 12, 2017. It refers to a type of spotted-neck dove commonly found in rural areas of the country.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.