Live Coverage

Today's News: Feb. 14, 2017

Kim Jong Un’s half-brother assassinated, Oroville Dam evacuation order lifted, and more from the United States and around the world.

Kim Jong-nam / AP

—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam was assassinated at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur airport. More here

—Authorities lifted the evacuation order for the nearly 200,000 Northern California residents affected by the Oroville Dam’s damaged spillway that threatened to flood the surrounding area. More here

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).


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U.S. Officials Arrest DACA-Protected Immigrant

LM Otero / AP

Immigration officials in Seattle arrested a 23-year-old who came to the United States from Mexico illegally as a child, but had a work permit granted during the Obama administration. Daniel Ramirez Medina, who qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program signed by President Obama in 2012, was arrested last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. He had no criminal record. This is the first such arrest of the Trump presidency, and potentially threatens the status of 750,000 other people protected under DACA. Ramirez challenged his detention in federal court on Monday in Seattle, arguing he was protected under DACA. His lawyer, Ethan Dettmer, said he is “hoping this detention was a mistake.” The Justice Department is also reviewing the case. There is already concern that the Trump administration will ramp up arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants. Just last week, immigration officials arrested nearly 700 people.

Oroville Dam Evacuees Can Return Home, Authorities Say

California Department of Water Resources staff watch as water is released from the Lake Oroville Dam on February 13. (Jim Urquhart / Reuters)

Authorities on Tuesday lifted the evacuation order for the nearly 200,000 Northern California residents affected by the Oroville Dam’s damaged spillway that threatened to flood the surrounding area. Kory Honea, the Butte County Sheriff, said in a press conference that the situation was safe enough for the evacuation order to be reduced to an evacuation warning after experts determined there was no additional damage to “compromise the overall integrity” of the spillway, which authorities on Monday warned could collapse. Honea added that residents should be prepared to evacuate again if the situation changes. As my colleague David Graham noted, part of what contributed to the dam’s dire state is the unpredictability of California’s drought, which has seen “weather moving from dry to saturated in a matter of months.” Honea said Lake Oroville should be capable of handling any additional rainfall expected this week.

U.S. Secret Service Director Steps Down

U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy on Capitol Hill on November 17, 2015. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

Joseph Clancy announced Tuesday he will step down as director of the Secret Service next month, according to a statement from the agency.

Clancy was named the 24th head of the nearly 7,000-member force by President Obama in February 2015 after serving four months as acting director following the resignation of Julia Pierson, who stepped down in October 2014 following a series of security breaches. President Trump will choose Clancy’s successor after Clancy steps down from his post March 4.

Etan Patz Murder Case Ends in Guilty Verdict

A New York Police Department spokesman holds the original missing poster of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who went missing in 1979. (Keith Bedford / Reuters)

A New York jury found Pedro Hernandez guilty Tuesday for the kidnapping and murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who became one of the country’s most infamous missing children after he disappeared from Manhattan’s SoHo district nearly four decades ago. In 1979, Patz vanished while walking two blocks to his school bus stop. The incident, which prosecutor Joan Illuzzi dubbed “a cautionary tale,” led to Patz becoming one of the first missing children to ever be pictured on a milk carton, and the anniversary of his disappearance was designated National Missing Children’s Day. Patz’s body was never found. In 2012, Hernandez, who formerly worked at a grocery store in Patz’s neighborhood, confessed to police he lured Patz into the store basement with soda and strangled him—an admission the 56-year-old later recanted and one his lawyers dismissed as a product of police manipulation over a mentally ill man. Tuesday’s conviction is the result of Hernandez’s second trial for Patz’s abduction and murder; the first, which took place in 2015, resulted in a mistrial after the jury reached a deadlock. Hernandez faces a possible life sentence and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 28. His lawyers said they will appeal the decision.

Kim Jong Un's Half-Brother Assassinated in Malaysia

Kim Jong-nam is escorted by Japanese authorities at Tokyo's Narita International Airport on May 4, 2001. (Eriko Sugita / Reuters)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam was assassinated Monday at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur airport by two unidentified women who fled the scene, Yonhap News Agency reports. His cause of death has not yet been confirmed, with some reports alleging he was killed using poisoned needles, while others say he was killed with a spray. The 45-year-old is the eldest son of Kim Jong Il, the late North Korean leader, and was regarded as his likely successor before he fell out of favor with his father in 2001 after he was detained trying to enter Japan using a fake passport—a trip he said he took because he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland. He is believed to have lived in exile ever since. Kim Jong Nam held no formal title and expressed no interest in assuming power in North Korea, telling Japanese media in 2010 he was uninterested in politics and criticized his brother for lacking “any sense of duty or seriousness.” Kim Jong Nam has been targeted by North Korean spies in the past. If Pyongyang is found to be behind the assassination, it would mark the most high-profile death under Kim Jong Un’s regime since the execution of Jang Song Thaek, the North Korean leader’s uncle, in 2013.

Disney Cuts Ties With YouTube Star PewDiePie Over Anti-Semitic Content


Disney’s Maker Studios has cut ties with PewDiePie, the YouTube star with more than 53 million subscribers, over anti-Semitic content in his videos. YouTube also pulled his channel over the content, which included two people holding a sign that read “Death to all Jews.” PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is among YouTube’s highest-paid stars, earning about $15 million last year. Bloomberg reported that YouTube removed PewDiePie from its Google Preferred service and canceled the second season of his show as a result of the videos. At issue were nine videos with anti-Semitic content posted since last August, some of which the Swedish celebrity subsequently took down. The BBC said the star acknowledged the material was offensive, but denied he supported “any kind of hateful attitudes.”

Mike Flynn Resigns

Mike Flynn, President Trump’s national-security adviser, resigned last night, days after reports emerged that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and others over the nature of his conversation with Russia’s ambassador to Washington, D.C. Flynn had denied discussing U.S. sanctions with the envoy before Trump was sworn in as president, but it turned out he had discussed the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014. At the time of the conversations, Flynn apparently did not have the authority to discuss the sanctions. The conversations were seen as a major breach of protocol—and, some argued, potentially illegal. As a consequence, the U.S. Justice Department said Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail. Flynn was reportedly also being investigated by the Army over whether he took money from the Russian government during a trip in 2015 to Moscow. The Washington Post adds that Flynn’s 24-day tenure as national security adviser is the shortest ever; the average term about 2.6 years. My colleague Russell Berman’s story on the resignation is here.