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US student freed from North Korea has severe brain injury

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An American university student who was returned to the United States this week after being held in North Korea for 17 months has a severe brain injury and is in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness,” doctors said on Thursday.

Otto Warmbier, 22, who arrived in the United States on Tuesday, is stable but “shows no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surrounding,” said Dr. Daniel Kanter, medical director of the neuroscience intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati.

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“He has not spoken,” Kanter said at a press conference. “He has not engaged in any purposeful movements or behaviors.” He said Warmbier was breathing on his own.

Warmbier, from Wyoming, Ohio, has been in a coma since March 2016, shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea, his family said on Tuesday.

He was arrested for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan, North Korean media reported. He was visiting North Korea with a tour group.

On Thursday, North Korea said that it had released Warmbier “on humanitarian grounds.”

The University of Virginia student’s father Fred Warmbier said at an earlier news conference that his son had been “brutalized and terrorized” by the North Korean government.

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He said the family did not believe North Korea’s story that his son had fallen into a coma after contracting botulism and being given a sleeping pill.

Doctors said on Thursday that there was no sign of botulism in Otto Warmbier’s system.

Kanter said that Warmbier had suffered “extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain, but he declined to discuss Warmbier’s prognosis at the request of his family.

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On Thursday, the State Department said that U.S. diplomat Joseph Yun, who negotiated Warmbier’s release, had also met with three other U.S. citizens being held in North Korea.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have been heightened by North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests. Pyongyang has vowed to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

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Fred Warmbier said he was stunned when told of his son’s condition one week ago.

“I don’t know what being in shock is, but I’m pretty sure I was,” he said.

“There is no excuse for any civilized nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top-notch medical care for so long.”

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He said his wife, Cindy, had not left their son’s side since his return to the United States and that he had spoken with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday night.

In Wyoming, a northern Cincinnati suburb of about 8,000 people, Warmbier’s return to the United States was marked by blue and white ribbons, representing the colors of the local high school, tied around trees and telephone polls.

(Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Toni Reinhold)


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Trump is only visiting India ‘because he’s obsessed with crowd sizes’: Bollywood Star

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A famous Indian filmmaker took a jab at President Trump on Twitter this Sunday, saying that his trip to India likely satiated his need for large crowd sizes after Trump addressed an audience in the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the home state of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Indian director and producer Ram Gopal Varma started out by wondering if the money India spent by welcoming Trump would be reciprocated by Americans.

"We Indians spent thousands of crores in welcoming @realDonaldTrump," Gopal tweeted. "but will Americans spend even thousands of rupees in welcoming @narendramodi to the US? That says about America and not India ...Just saying!"

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In extradition bid, US accuses Assange of endangering sources

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A lawyer for the United States on Monday accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of risking the lives of intelligence sources by publishing classified US government documents, as his extradition hearing opened in a London court.

Assange faces charges under the US Espionage Act for the 2010 release by his whistleblowing website of a trove of files detailing the realities of US military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Assange spent much of the past decade holed up in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid separate legal proceedings in Sweden, but Washington is now seeking his transfer from Britain to stand trial.

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‘Money hungry mannequin’ Ivanka Trump buried for her taxpayer-funded ‘field trip’ to India with her dad

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Ivanka Trump was hammered on Twitter for posting pictures of her trip to India where she praised the "grandeur" of the Taj Mahal -- with herself featured front and center before it.

Donald Trump's daughter, a senior White House adviser, has taken to using her Twitter feed to promote herself (usually via photos or video clips) as she travels the world, presumably representing the United States. Monday morning's tweet was no exception, with the two pictures accompanied by, "The grandeur and beauty of the Taj Mahal is awe inspiring!" followed by emojis of the American flag and India's flag.

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