May 9, 2018

Trump confirms 3 Americans freed by North Korea

President Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is returning from North Korea with the three Americans — Tony Kim, Kim Hak-song, and Kim Dong-chul — who had been detained there.

More from POTUS: "Secretary Pompeo and his 'guests' will be landing at Andrews Air Force Base at 2:00 A.M. in the morning. I will be there to greet them. Very exciting!"

Who they are, per the NYT:

  • Tony Kim, detained since April 23, 2017: He spent a month teaching accounting at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. A source told Reuters that his arrest was not related to his teaching: “He had been involved with some other activities outside P.U.S.T., such as helping an orphanage.”
  • Kim Hak-song, detained since May 6, 2017: He also worked at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Per the Times, "it was not clear whether his arrest was connected with that of Tony Kim two weeks earlier."
  • Kim Dong-chul, detained since 2015: The most mysterious of the prisoners, the Times reports that "Mr. Kim appeared at a government-arranged news conference in Pyongyang [in March 2016] and apologized for trying to steal military secrets in collusion with South Koreans."

A statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders:

"At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other representatives of the United States government traveled to Pyongyang, North Korea on May 9 to prepare for the President’s upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. During Secretary Pompeo’s visit, the North Korean leadership released three American detainees.  President Trump appreciates leader Kim Jong Un’s action to release these American citizens, and views this as a positive gesture of goodwill.  The three Americans appear to be in good condition and were all able to walk on the plane without assistance. All Americans look forward to welcoming them home and to seeing them reunited with their loved ones."

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Countries where novel coronavirus cases are falling may be hit with a "second peak" if they relax restrictions too soon, World Health Organization emergencies chief Mike Ryan warned during a briefing Monday. "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,498,849 — Total deaths: 346,306 — Total recoveries — 2,233,180Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,662,768 — Total deaths: 98,223 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.