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U.S. judge ordered North Korea to pay $500 million in death of Otto Warmbier

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North Korea ordered by U.S. judge to pay $500 million in death of Otto Warmbier - National

A federal judge ordered North Korea to pay more than $500 million on Monday in a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died shortly after being released from that country.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington ruled that North Korea should pay damages to Fred and Cindy Warmbier, the parents of the University of Virginia student.

Warmbier was a University of Virginia student who was visiting North Korea with a tour group when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 on suspicion of stealing a propaganda poster. He died in June 2017, shortly after he returned to the U.S. in a coma and showing apparent signs of torture while in custody.

The judgment is largely a symbolic victory for now, since there is no mechanism to force North Korea to pay.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier said they were thankful that that the court found the government of Kim Jong Un “legally and morally” responsible for their son’s death.

“We put ourselves and our family through the ordeal of a lawsuit and public trial because we promised Otto that we will never rest until we have justice for him,” they said in a joint statement. “Today’s thoughtful opinion by Chief Judge Howell is a significant step on our journey.”

The lawsuit, filed in April, describes in horrific detail the physical abuse Warmbier endured in North Korean custody.

When his parents boarded a plane to see him upon arrival in the U.S., they were “stunned to see his condition,” according to court documents.

The 22-year-old was blind and deaf, his arms were curled and mangled and he was jerking violently and howling, completely unresponsive to his family’s attempts to comfort him. His once straight teeth were misaligned, and he had an unexplained scarred wound on his foot. An expert said in court papers that the injuries suggested he had been tortured with electrocution.

A neurologist later concluded that the college student suffered brain damage, likely from a loss of blood flow to the brain for 5-20 minutes.

The complaint also said Warmbier, who was from a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, was pressured to make a televised confession and then convicted of subversion after a one-hour trial. He was denied communication with his family. In early June 2017, Warmbier’s parents were informed he was in a coma and had been in that condition for one year.

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Prairie dog activists want Arapahoe County to move colony before Comcast paves new parking lot

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Prairie dog activists want Arapahoe County to move colony before Comcast paves new parking lot

To paraphrase a classic by singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, Comcast wants to pave a prairie dog paradise and put up a parking lot.

The telecommunications company plans to build a new parking lot next to its regional corporate offices in the Iliff Business Park at 7770 E. Iliff Ave., in unincorporated Arapahoe County, but animal rights activists say the plan threatens a colony of 60 to 80 black-tailed prairie dogs.

Now, the company, the activists and staff from Arapahoe County Open Spaces are trying to find a new home for the animals before construction begins.

Finding a new home, though, isn’t as simple as trapping prairie dogs and then driving them to a new plot of land. First, the new location must be identified and researched to make sure it’s a suitable habitat. Colorado Parks and Wildlife must issue a permit, said Shannon Carter, director of Arapahoe County Open Spaces. And Carter promises the county wouldn’t move prairie dogs to a place where nearby landowners would be affected.

“We’re not the only agency that has to deal with this,” Carter said. “Whenever development happens and displaces wildlife there’s never an easy solution.”

Jeremy Gregory, executive director of Tindakan, a nonprofit eco-justice organization, said he is hopeful the Arapahoe County Open Spaces director can find a new home in the coming weeks.

“The jury is still out on this, but hopefully we are nearing a decision that is going to be non-lethal and a win for everybody here,” Gregory said.

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“The Neighbor’s Secret” and other mysteries to read in October

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“The Neighbor’s Secret” and other mysteries to read in October

A few mysteries to recommend this month:

“The Neighbor’s Secret,” by L. Alison Heller (Flatiron Books)

The Neighbor’s Secret (Flatiron Books)

Colorado author L. Alison Heller uses a book group as the setting for a complicated story of women and their secrets. At times, “The Neighbor’s Secret” almost reads like an interconnected collection of stories that come together in an Oh-My-God ending.

On a whim, Annie invites the reclusive and very wealthy Lena to join her book group. Lena was widowed years before when her drunken husband killed a young man in a hit-and-run accident. The husband then conveniently died of a heart attack in jail. Lena reluctantly attends the club, only to find she bonds with the women. Lena isn’t totally comfortable with them, however, and there is a sense that she is hiding something from her new friends.

Among them is Jen, who secretly fears that her son is a sociopath. He’s been kicked out of several schools, the last time for stabbing a girl. Now he attends an off-beat religious institution, where he’s tutored by a seemingly innocuous intern. That intern, of course, has a secret.

Even Annie, who appears the most normal, worries that there is some genetic defect that affects Rachel, her eighth-grade daughter. First, Rachel embarrasses the family with her drunken antics at a town festival. Then she becomes obsessed with running. Turns out Rachel isn’t the only one in the family with a secret: Annie’s turns out to be the most surprising of all.

“The Neighbor’s Secret” is a complicated book — you almost need a scorecard to keep the characters straight. Still, it is a first-rate Colorado mystery set around the challenges mothers face.

“Last Girl Ghosted,” by Lisa Unger (Park Row Books)

1635250352 495 The Neighbors Secret and other mysteries to read in October
Last Girl Ghosted By Lisa Unger (Park Row)

Adam, who Wren Greenwood meets on a dating website, is handsome, educated, shares her love of Rilke and is after a long-term relationship, not just a hookup. He seems almost too good to be true. You know what that means.

Just as Wren is ready to commit herself to him, Adam ghosts her. He fails to show up for a dinner, disconnects his phone and social media accounts and disappears. It’s certain that he’s not who Wren thought he was. But then, Wren has a number of secrets herself, including that made-up name.

Adam texts her: “Something’s happened. I have to go. I’m sorry.” As Wren tries to face the fact that she’s been dumped, a private eye shows up, claiming Adam is suspected in the disappearance of not one but three other women he met on the dating site. Wren refuses to accept that. It was clear that Adam loved her, and she thinks she catches glimpses of him hovering nearby. Moreover, there are cryptic text messages. As she learns more about the women, and as her own ugly past is exposed, she reluctantly agrees to help the P.I.

As Wren becomes more involved in a dangerous game, she’s not sure who is hunting whom.

“As the Wicked Watch,” by Tamron Hall with T. Shawn Taylor (William Morrow)

1635250352 331 The Neighbors Secret and other mysteries to read in October
As the Wicked Watch (William Morrow)

Jordan Manning is a beautiful, sophisticated, driven Black television reporter with a cool name. (Sounds a little like talk show host — and the book’s author — Tamron Hall, doesn’t it?)

Jordan covers crime and takes a personal interest when the mutilated body of a young Black girl is found. Police had the girl pegged as a runaway. Black groups protest the lack of police interest. “If the victim had been a white girl …,” Jordan insists.

Jordan gets into the middle of things when she interviews the mother and relatives of the girl, along with a community activist and the police. That leads to her uncovering clues to the murder, and, to no one’s surprise, she finds herself in danger.

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Broncos Mailbag: Why didn’t Vic Fangio turn to Drew Lock at halftime of Cleveland game?

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Broncos Mailbag: Why didn’t Vic Fangio turn to Drew Lock at halftime of Cleveland game?

Denver Post Broncos writer Ryan O’Halloran posts his Broncos Mailbag periodically during the season. Submit questions to Ryan here.

Humor us, please. In your time in Jacksonville, were the Jaguars ever this incompetent and incapable?

— Kris H., Grand Prairie, Texas

Well, yes. The Jaguars teams I covered went 2-14, 4-12, 3-13, 5-11, 3-13 and 10-6. Included were losing streaks of seven (2012), eight (’13), six (’14) and nine (’16) games.

But it seemed like every year except for ’12, there was something interesting going on. New coach/new GM in ’13. Rookie quarterback in ’14. Free-agent money spent in ’16. This Broncos team, right now, is, well, boring.

Why do the Broncos stink? Why has this organization taken a drastic dive into the football abyss?
— Ricky Lopez, Cedaredge

The same answer applies to both questions.

1. Quarterback play. Period. No stability at the sport’s most important position — last month, Teddy Bridgewater was the fifth Week 1 starter in as many years.

2. And look at the last five first-round picks. Left tackle Garett Bolles needs to pick it up. Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb and receiver Jerry Jeudy have been injured. Tight end Noah Fant has yet to get going. And cornerback Pat Surtain II has been fine as a rookie.

Why is Vic Fangio still there? How many losing seasons does it take to say enough is enough?
— Robert Rivers, Powdersville, S.C.

Hey, the Broncos believe they’re still in it even though they are 3-4 and are 12th out of 16 teams in the AFC.

Moving Fangio out at this juncture is pointless. In baseball, hockey and basketball, you see interim coaches occasionally spark their team to a new height. Not so much in the NFL, where the only reason to make a change is to get a head start at vetting the next coach.

If it’s three losing seasons in as many years, that will likely be it.

Vic Fangio said all camp long how close the race was between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. If that were the case, wouldn’t it had made sense to switch to Lock with Bridgewater hurt and ineffective in the first half of the Browns game? Do you think Fangio is being influenced by George Paton not to switch since Bridgewater is his guy?
— Brandon Brown, Rogers, Minn.

Watching Bridgewater go through pre-game warm-ups last week in Cleveland, the thought among a lot of us media-folk was he wouldn’t make it to the finish line.

But Bridgewater gutted it out. Lock was warming up between offensive series throughout the first half.

I go back to Lock’s poor performance in the second half of the Baltimore loss. Was that enough to convince Fangio that a not-that-healthy Teddy is better than a completely healthy Drew? It might have been. Remember, the sentiment before the season was Bridgewater would keep his job so long as the team was winning. The Broncos have lost four consecutive games but Fangio remains committed to Bridgewater.

I don’t believe Paton is getting involved with start-him-or-bench-him quarterback decisions in-season.

How many of the failures are from this coaching staff? Remember when we had Rich Scangarello as the offensive coordinator and Drew Lock started to win games, so how different would things be if we had the right coaching?
— Christopher G, Gunnison

The blame should be passed around to every part of the football operation — management, coaches and players.

The Scangarello firing, which happened two weeks after the 2019 season, will always be viewed as weird because Lock went 4-1 in his cameo, but he was drafted to play in a very specific offense. Then, poof, after one year, Lock had to start over.

When will the obvious flaws in coaching be addressed?
— Shaun Haynes, Tulsa, Okla.

Jan.10? The Broncos’ regular season ends the day before against Kansas City. The day 1/10/22 could be monumental in franchise history. The team may be put up for sale and there could be a coaching change.

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