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WATCH: Trump welcomes 3 Americans detained in North Korea back to U.S.

Three Americans detained for more than a year in North Korea were welcomed back to the United States by President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and other members of the administration at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland early Thursday.

>> MORE: PHOTOS: Trump welcomes 3 Americans detained in North Korea back to U.S. I Trump: 3 Americans released by North Korea | More trending news 

The detainees, identified by The Associated Press as Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim, reportedly were released Wednesday.

After Trump and the detainees briefly spoke to members of the media, the men were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment, the AP reported.

>> Watch a video of their arrival

Here are the latest updates from the scene:

Update 6:07 a.m. EDT Thursday: President Donald Trump took to Twitter to share a video showing clips from his meeting with three Americans who returned to the U.S. early Thursday after being detained in North Korea.

“On behalf of the American people, WELCOME HOME!” Trump tweeted.

>> Watch the video here

Earlier Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted about the detainees’ return.

“Great day to be an American! Because of @POTUS Trump’s strong leadership, tonight we welcomed home three Americans from captivity in North Korea. Honored to be there to say Welcome Home! #GodblessAmerica,” Pence wrote.

>> See the tweet here

Update 3:02 a.m. EDT Thursday: The three freed detainees have exited the plane with President Donald Trump and the first lady. 

“This is a very special night for these really great people,” Trump said to members of the press at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, adding that he “very much appreciates” that North Korea released them.

Trump continued: “I’m very honored to have helped these three folks. They’ve been through a lot. The true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons.”

When one detainee was asked how it felt to be back in America, he said, “It’s like a dream.”

Update 2:57 a.m. EDT Thursday: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have boarded the plane to speak with the detainees freed by North Korea.

Update 2:44 a.m. EDT Thursday: The plane carrying the American detainees has arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Update 2:37 a.m. EDT Thursday: The plane carrying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Update 2:23 a.m. EDT Thursday: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have arrived at Joint Base Andrews.

Photos: Trump welcomes 3 Americans detained in North Korea back to U.S.

Staging a flag-waving, still-of-the-night arrival ceremony, President Donald Trump early Thursday welcomed home three Americans freed by North Korea and declared their release a sign of promise toward his goal of de-nuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Photos: President Trump, Melania host 1st White House state dinner

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania hosted their first White House state dinner, welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte.

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."

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