1. Trump says 'major, major' conflict with North Korea is possible, but he’s seeking diplomacy
Reuters: U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.
"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump said in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office.
Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.
"We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult," he said.
2. Trump has a red button on his desk that orders Coke
THE HILL: President Trump often has his finger on the button in the Oval Office — but for soda, not nuclear strikes. In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump revealed the purpose of a "red button" on his desk, which apparently is used to summon a butler with a Coke for the president.
“With the push of a red button placed on the Resolute Desk that presidents have used for decades, a White House butler soon arrived with a Coke for the president," the AP reported.
When a reporter asked Trump whether it was the "nuclear button," he pressed it to order some Cokes, then joked: “Everyone does get a little nervous when I press that button.”
3. People reporting extraterrestrial sightings to Trump's new 'criminal alien' hotline
THE HILL: The White House launched a new hotline on Wednesday for people to report crimes committed by “criminal aliens,” but some of the callers instead are using the line to report cases of extraterrestrial contact and UFO sightings.
The administration set up the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office on Wednesday, in accordance with President Trump’s executive order in January. The office, folded within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, aims to “assist victims of crimes committed by criminal aliens.”
“All crime is terrible, but these victims are unique — and too often ignored,” said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in announcing the office. “They are casualties of crimes that should never have taken place—because the people who victimized them often times should not have been in the country in the first place.”
The hotline will also serve as a resource for “victims to receive public information,” an ICE official told The Atlantic.
4. Passenger who was dragged off jetliner settles with United
Associated Press: The passenger who was dragged off a flight after refusing to give up his seat settled with United for an undisclosed sum Thursday in an apparent attempt by the airline to put the fiasco behind it as quickly as possible.
David Dao's legal team said the agreement includes a provision that the amount will remain confidential. One his lawyers praised United CEO Oscar Munoz.
Munoz "said he was going to do the right thing, and he has," attorney Thomas Demetrio said in a brief statement . "In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened ... without attempting to blame others, including the city of Chicago."
The settlement came less than three weeks after the episode and before Dao had even sued. The deal means United will not face a lawsuit, which could have been costly, both in legal bills and in further damage to the airline's reputation.
United issued a brief statement, saying it was pleased to report "an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard Flight 3411."
5. Unleash the goats! St. Paul to deploy 30 on riverfront to gobble unwanted plants
Pioneer Press: On Monday, St. Paul Parks and Recreation plans to allow 30 of the animals to roam inside fenced-in areas along the bluff edge at Indian Mounds Regional Park.
It’s the first step in a cleanup effort that will roll out over the course of several months along the Mississippi River, with the goal of reducing invasive species and unwanted vegetation — which the goats are more than happy to devour.
City officials say goats are well suited to the work because they can navigate the steep terrain, they aren’t hard on the land, and they adore brushy, woody invasive plants.
They’re also the most environmentally friendly (not to mention adorable) weed killer on the market.
The goat unleashing begins at 3 p.m. at 10 Mounds Blvd., but river visitors can expect to see them again in different sections of the city’s riverfront. The goats come from Goat Dispatch, a rental company.
The effort is the result of a partnership between St. Paul’s Greater River Passage team and the city’s natural resources division.
The GreatRiverPassage is the city’s master plan for 26 miles of Mississippi riverfront.