The Denver Post


- — Denver Post wire services

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday that North Korea is months away from perfecting its nuclear weapons capabiliti­es.

“They are close enough now in their capabiliti­es that from a U.S. policy perspectiv­e we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving” their objective of being able to strike the United States, Pompeo told a national security forum in Washington.

Speaking later at the same event, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said, “We are in a race to resolve this short of military action.”

“We are not out of time,” he told the forum, organized by the Foundation for Defense of Democracie­s think tank. “But we are running out of time.”

California fires cause $1B in damage, burn 7,000 buildings.

The wildfires that have devastated Northern California this month caused at least $1 billion in damage to insured property, officials said Thursday, as authoritie­s increased the count of homes and other buildings destroyed to nearly 7,000.

Both numbers were expected to rise as crews continued assessing areas scorched by the blazes that killed 42 people, a total that makes it the deadliest series of fires in state history.

State Insurance Commission­er Dave Jones said the preliminar­y dollar valuation of losses came from claims filed with the eight largest insurance companies in the affected areas and did not include uninsured property.

The loss total was expected to climb “probably dramatical­ly so,” Jones told reporters, making it likely the fires would become the costliest in California’s history.

Study: World pollution deadlier than wars, disasters, hunger.

DELHI» Environmen­tal NEW pollution — from filthy air to contaminat­ed water — is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculos­is and malaria combined.

One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 — about 9 million — could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released Thursday in The Lancet medical journal. The financial cost from pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report says, costing some $4.6 trillion in annual losses — or about 6.2 percent of the global economy.

The report marks the first attempt to pull together data on disease and death caused by all forms of pollution combined.

UNICEF: Rohingya children face “hell on earth.”

UNICEF says children who make up most of the nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar are seeing “a hell on earth” in overcrowde­d, muddy and squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The U.N. children’s agency has issued a report on the plight of children who account for 58 percent of the refugees before a donor conference in Geneva to drum up internatio­nal funding.

Report author Simon Ingram says about one in five of the Rohingya children are “acutely malnourish­ed.”

The report features harrowing color drawings by some children cared for by UNICEF and other aid groups who are scrambling to improve shelter, nutrition and living conditions in the town of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Expert: Hard for jurors to convict cops.

OKLA.» The TULSA, hard-won conviction of a white former Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot his daughter’s unarmed black boyfriend shows the difficulty prosecutor­s have in convincing jurors to put someone who carries a badge and a gun behind bars, legal experts said.

A fourth jury convicted 57year-old ex-Tulsa officer Shannon Kepler late Wednesday of first-degree manslaught­er in the 2014 off-duty fatal shooting of 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, who had just started dating Kepler’s then-18-year-old daughter, Lisa.

The lesser charge carries a minimum sentence of four years in prison but sets no maximum term, leaving it up to the judge to decide. The jury recommende­d Kepler get 15 years behind bars when he’s sentenced Nov. 20.

Jurors in the first three trials deadlocked 11-1, 10-2 and 6-6, leading the judge to declare mistrials.

Veteran died while nurse’s aide played video games.

The day after Bill Nutter was found dead in his bed at the Bedford VA Medical Center in 2016, a staff member from the Massachuse­tts hospital told his wife that his heart had stopped and there was nothing more they could have done.

But later, his wife, Carol Nutter, learned a bit more about what happened from a doctor, who said the hospital fell short in caring for her husband, she told the Boston Globe.

It turns out that the nurse’s aide responsibl­e for monitoring him overnight didn’t check on Bill Nutter on the night he died. Instead, she was playing video games on her computer, the Globe reported, citing a source with firsthand knowledge.

The Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general has launched a criminal investigat­ion with the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI to identify how the system may have failed Nutter, the Globe reported.

Los Angeles police open Weinstein sex assault investigat­ion.

Police in Los Angeles have launched an investigat­ion of Harvey Weinstein involving a possible sexual assault in 2013, authoritie­s said Thursday.

Detectives have interviewe­d a possible victim who recently reported she was sexually assaulted by the film mogul, police spokesman Sal Ramirez said. He said he could not answer any questions about where the incident took place or when the woman was interviewe­d by detectives.

The Los Angeles Times reported the woman is a 38-yearold Italian actress who spoke to the newspaper on Thursday.

She was not named in the story, but told the Times that Weinstein raped her after bullying his way into her hotel room.

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