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Royal wedding: Trump not invited, Obamas not going either, report says

Cancel that shipment of monogrammed “Harry & Meghan” towels from the White House.

CNN is reporting that President Donald Trump is not invited to the royal wedding on May 19 in Windsor, England.

>> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seek charity donations over wedding gifts

Former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle won’t be there either, despite having a close and apparently fun-loving relationship with groom-to-be Prince Harry in particular. Though it’s not clear if the Obamas were invited and just have something else to do that day (though seriously, what could be more important than watching the current fifth-in-line to the throne say “I do” to former “Suits” actress and American Meghan Markle)?

>> On MyAJC.com: Who’s who in American Meghan Markle’s family

Apparently, the lack of invite is nothing personal where the current president and first lady Melania Trump are concerned. A White House official told CNN that no elected U.S. officials were invited to the nuptials at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

>> Hospital begins preparations for Will, Kate and new baby

In fact, a spokesman for Kensington Palace (where Harry and Meghan live, along with their neighbors, Prince William and Kate and their kids) told CNN that “world leaders and political figures would not be invited in their official capacities."

“It has been decided that an official list of political leaders — both UK and international — is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s wedding,” the palace told CNN.

>> Read more trending news 

Hmm … Technically, the Obamas no longer have “official capacities” as political figures, so maybe they did make the cut?

“The royal source would not say whether they had been invited,” CNN said.

Trump vowing to ‘forcefully’ respond to chemical attack in Syria: 5 things to know

Update Apr 9, 2018 7:30 PM EDT: President Donald Trump is vowing to “forcefully” respond to the chemical attack in Syria that left at least 40 people dead.

“It will be met and it will be met forcefully,” Trump said.

“We are getting clarity on that, on who was responsible, Trump said at a press availability at the White House late Monday afternoon ahead of a meeting with his military leaders.

“We have a lot of options militarily,” the president said.

(Previous story)

A missile strike on a Syrian air base left at least 14 dead Monday, just days after a suspected chemical attack on Douma, a rebel-held town, killed at least 40 people.

>> What is a Tomahawk cruise missile and what does it do?

Here's what we know so far:

1. President Donald Trump has not ruled out the possibility of U.S. military action in response to Saturday’s suspected chemical attack.

Trump said Monday that that he will decide how to respond within the next "24 to 48 hours.”

“Nothing is off the table,” he said. “We’re talking about humanity, and it can’t be allowed to happen.”

The president took to Twitter on Sunday to blame Syrian President Bashar Assad for the alleged chemical attack. Trump also pointed fingers at Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran and former U.S. President Barack Obama. 

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria," Trump tweeted Sunday morning. "Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"

Trump later added: "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!"

>> What is sarin nerve gas?

2. The Syrian and Russian governments denied the claims. According to The New York Times, "state news media in Syria denied that government forces had used chemical weapons and accused the Islamist rebel group that controls Douma, the Army of Islam, of fabricating the videos to solicit international support as defeat loomed."

The Russian government shared that position.

"Information attacks about the use of chlorine or other poisonous substances by the Syrian government troops are continuing. Another such hoax about the chemical attack that supposedly took place in Douma emerged yesterday," the statement said, according to CNN.

"We have warned of such dangerous provocations many times before. The purpose of these false conjectures, which are without any basis, is to shield the terrorists and the irreconcilable radical opposition, which reject a political settlement while trying to justify possible military strikes from outside."

>> Read more trending news 

3. The U.S. said it was not behind the deadly missile strike on Syria's T4 air base. "At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria. However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable," the Pentagon said in a statement, according to CNN

The statement came as Syrian state media said the airstrike was probably "an American aggression," The Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry claimed that Israel had fired the missiles.

4. The United Nations Security Council is meeting Monday about the suspected chemical attack. “The Security Council has to come together and demand immediate access for first responders, support an independent investigation into what happened, and hold accountable those responsible for this atrocious act,” Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said in a statement.

>> ONE YEAR AGO: US fires more than 50 cruise missiles into Syria

5. The latest developments in Syria come about a year after a chemical attack there reportedly killed at least 80 people in Khan Sheikhun. According to CNN, the U.S. launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles at Syria's Shayrat air base in response to the April 4 attack.

Obama talks ushering in next generation of leaders, creating 'a million young Barack Obamas'

Former President Barack Obama wants to help usher in the next generation of young leaders, he said Sunday at a conference in Japan.

>> Click here to watch

According to the Washington Examiner and the Guardian, Obama discussed the Obama Foundation's efforts to make a "platform for young, up-and-coming leaders" to connect with each other online.

>> March for Our Lives: See what the gun reform rally looked like from outer space

"If I could do that effectively, then – you know – I would create a hundred or a thousand or a million young Barack Obamas or Michelle Obamas – or the next group of people who could take that baton in that relay race that is human progress," Obama said, the Examiner reported.

>> PHOTOS: March for Our Lives

He also spoke about young people's ability to spark change, citing the March for Our Lives rallies in the wake of last month's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

>> March for Our Lives: Emma Gonzalez stands in silence for Parkland victims, stuns crowd

This was all because of the courage and effort of a handful of 15- and 16-year-olds who took the responsibility that so often adults had failed to take in trying to find a solution to this problem, and I think that’s a testimony to what happens when young people are given opportunities," he said, according to the Guardian. "And I think all institutions have to think about how do we tap into that creativity and that energy and that drive because it’s there. It’s just so often we say: 'Wait your turn.'”

>> Read more trending news 

He added: "A lot of our problems are caused by old men. No offense, men who are old."

Read more here or here.

Jimmy Carter on North Korea: 'It's good we're going to be talking to them'

Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday that “while I don’t agree with everything that President Trump has done, I think it’s good that he’s decided to go” meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“If we could avoid a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, that would be a wonderful achievement,” Carter, 93, told his Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. “It’s good we’re going to be talking to them.”

>> Read more trending news 

Thursday’s announcement that Trump would accept Kim’s invitation to meet has been controversial in some quarters. It was especially timely where Carter was concerned.

“I had made arrangements last week with the White House to have some experts come down and give me an up-to-date briefing on what’s going on concerning North Korea,” he said. “They came down the day that Kim Jong Un invited Trump to come over. So we had a lot to talk about.”

>> On MyAJC.com: Jimmy Carter to start cutting back on teaching Sunday school

Carter, who recently announced that he would start cutting back on his Sunday school duties, broke some happy news to the class about his wife’s health. Rosalynn Carter, 90, had surgery three weeks ago at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta to remove “troubling scar tissue” from a portion of her small intestine. 

>> On MyAJC.com: ‘I was deathly afraid.’ Jimmy Carter shares details of wife Rosalynn’s surgery

“She’s been very, very ill,” Carter said about his wife of 71 years, who normally attends Sunday school and the worship service at Maranatha, then stays afterwards to pose for photos with him and hundreds of visitors. Now, though, he said with a smile, “She’s doing fine. As a matter of fact, she just phoned me awhile ago to finally say she’s on her way home. She’ll be there when we get (back from church).”

>> On AJC.com: A 70th wedding anniversary interview with the Carters

Still, Carter suggested, the situation had been a wake-up call of sorts for the famously busy former first couple.

“We’ve said this before and nobody believed us,” Carter said to knowing chuckles from some in the packed church. “We’ll withdraw from some of the things we’ve been doing.”

NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony

NBC contributor Josh Cooper Ramo ran into some controversy during the 2018 Winter Olympics after making a comment about the relationship between Japan and South Korea.

>> Olympic figure skater Yura Min suffers wardrobe malfunction, handles it with class

As the Washington Post reported, Ramo said on live television that “every Korean will tell you that Japan as a cultural and technological and economic example has been so important to their own transformation.” The comment was made after Ramo spoke of Japan’s 35-year occupation of the region.

>> Mirai Nagasu first U.S. women’s figure skater to land triple axel at Olympics

>> On WPXI.com: Complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Many were upset with the comments, which seemed to ignore various crimes against committed against the Korean people. These included, as the New York Times pointed out, forcing Korean women into sex work.

>> On Rare.us: America first? Not according to this country’s Winter Olympics fans

Several viewers called the comment callous.

NBC anchor Carolyn Manno apologized in an on-air statement:

>> Read more trending news 

"During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday, we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, 'representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.' We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize."

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president Moon to visit

Kim Jong Un has extended a formal invitation to South Korean president Moon Jae-in to visit North Korea, which would be the first meeting between the two countries since 2007, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The invitation was presented to Moon by Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, when the two met at Seoul’s presidential palace Saturday, spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

Moon said the two countries “should accomplish this (meeting) by creating the right conditions,” CNN reported.

>> Photos: Ones to watch for in the 2018 Winter Olympics

Kim Yo Jong’s visit to South Korea was the first time that a member of North Korea’s ruling family has visited since the Korean War, which ended in 1953.

'Putin list': U.S. releases names of Russian politicians, oligarchs

The U.S. Treasury Department released an unclassified list Monday night of more than 200 Russian oligarchs and political figures seen as allies of the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

>> House Intelligence Committee votes to release controversial Nunes memo

>> Click here or scroll down for more

>> Read more trending news 

UK party leader's girlfriend suspended over Meghan Markle comments

The girlfriend of the leader of Britain’s right-wing U.K. Independence Party has been suspended from the party after reportedly making racist comments about Prince Harry’s American fiancee, Meghan Markle.

The Mail on Sunday published a series of messages reportedly sent by 54-year-old Henry Bolton’s 25-year-old girlfriend, Jo Marney.

>> On Rare.us: Meghan Markle’s half-sister slams rumors about her family ahead of the royal wedding

Marney reportedly said Markle would “taint” the royal family, that she had a “tiny brain” and that black people were "ugly."

In a statement to The Mail, Marney said: “I apologize unreservedly for the shocking language I used.”

She added: “The opinions I expressed were deliberately exaggerated in order to make a point and have, to an extent, been taken out of context. Yet I fully recognize the offense they have caused.”

Former deputy leader of the party Peter Whittle wrote on Twitter: “These are disgraceful remarks," adding, “This person should not just be suspended … but expelled altogether.”

>> Read more trending news 

UKIP’s chairman, Paul Oakden, told the Mail on Sunday that Marney had been suspended from the party membership immediately after he was made aware of the messages.

“UKIP does not, has not and never will condone racism,” he said.

Bolton, who was elected party leader in September, tweeted to confirm that Marney had been suspended from the party “immediately upon [UKIP] receiving this information.”

He was responding to a teenage party activist who urged him to publicly call for Marney to have her UKIP membership revoked.

“Her words were blatantly racist and there should be no room for that in UKIP,” Jack Penny wrote on Twitter.

Bolton confirmed his relationship with Marney in a letter to UKIP supporters earlier this month, after seemingly leaving his wife to pursue his new relationship, the BBC reported.

Federal judge temporarily blocks Trump administration's plan to end DACA

A federal judge in California dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – also known as DACA – on Tuesday by temporarily blocking their ability to do so.

In his ruling, Judge William Alsup said DACA must stay in place until litigation over the program is complete. He also said that the Department of Homeland Security’s “decision to rescind DACA was based on a flawed legal premise.”

The judge’s ruling will allow recipients who didn’t renew by last year’s deadline to submit renewal applications, but no new applications will be allowed to be submitted.

>> Read more trending news 

“Dreamers’ lives were thrown into chaos when the Trump administration tried to terminate the DACA program without obeying the law,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, according to The Hill. “Today’s ruling is a huge step in the right direction.”

“America is and has been home to Dreamers who courageously came forward, applied for DACA and did everything the federal government asked of them,” Becerra continued. “They followed DACA’s rules, they succeeded in school, at work and in business, and they have contributed in building a better America. We will fight at every turn for their rights and opportunities so they may continue to contribute to America.”

The Trump administration announced in September that it was ending the program; however, earlier on Tuesday, during a meeting with Republicans and Democrats to discuss immigration issues, Trump appeared willing to negotiate a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants – a move that stunned both Democrats and Republicans.

“My head is spinning with all the things that were said by the president and others in that room in the course of an hour and a half,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said, according to The New York Times.

During the meeting, Trump also appeared to support Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein’s call for a clean DACA bill, which would push off dealing with issues like border security until later.

In a tweet Tuesday evening, though, he did seem to harden his resolve on the border wall, saying that a southern border wall must be part of any “DACA approval.”

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