Banning Flippers? North Korea lashes out at trade sanctions


Doctors treating Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student released by North Korea in a coma this week, said Thursday the 22-year-old had suffered severe brain damage, as his father lashed out at the reclusive regime. "What's happened to him is a truly bad thing", Trump said in Miami at the start of a speech on Cuba.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly trying to steal a banner with a political slogan from his hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The US doctors could not prove what triggered this but said they had found no signs of a botulism infection - the official explanation given by the North Korean regime for how the young man fell into a coma. On Thursday, Fred Warmbier addressed reporters wearing that same jacket, and fought back tears as he spoke of it. He has suffered extensive loss of tissue in all regions of the brain, but they don't believe it's due to head trauma.

He's now being kept at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where doctors said he's stuck in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness".

Warmbier was arrested on January 2, 2016, while trying to board a plane out of North Korea.

Mr Warmbier said his family is "trying to make [Otto] comfortable".

Earlier, Otto's father, Fred, dismissed whatever efforts were made on behalf of his son by the Obama administration, which asked the family to keep a low profile when news of Otto's arrest became public.

After 17 months of detention in North Korea, the conditions of which are still unclear, Otto Warmbier returned to his home state of Ohio Tuesday night. She says there are plenty of restrictions on what Americans can do in countries that face US sanctions - like North Korea or Iran.

Experts said it was unlikely North Korea would have intentionally put a detained American into a coma. With Warmbier home, only three known Americans remain detained in the Asian country.

Michael Madden, the editor of the North Korean Leadership Watch website, said that whatever went wrong while Warmbier was in custody, those in charge of him appear to have tried to cover it up.

When a medical transport plane brought 22-year-old Otto Warmbier home from North Korea this week, a Reuters photographer stood on the corner of a dark tarmac behind a chain link fence - more than 300 yards away from the action.

Tillerson said on Wednesday that USA officials were considering some type of travel visa restriction to North Korea.

State media in North Korea claims Warmbier was released for "humanitarian reasons". Warmbier was immediately driven to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

"The question is, do I think the past administration could have done more?"

USA doctors said they found no evidence of active botulism, a rare, serious illness caused by contaminated food or a dirty wound.

Twenty-two-year-old Otto Warmbier's (WORM'-birz) high school English teacher, Danica White, says he was an outstanding student with "a good heart".

Rodman created a stir by arriving in the country with his small entourage all wearing clothing and hats featuring the name of a company specializing in a cybercurrency used to buy and sell marijuana.

The father says that he and his wife, Cindy, only learned of their son's condition last week. "At no stage did I ever think he was anything but a very, very polite kid".

The father of the man held for almost a year and half by North Korea is thanking the Trump administration for "aggressively" working to secure his release. "No other family should have to endure what the Warmbiers have".