Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Rodman sings happy birthday to North Korean leader

PYONGYANG, North Korea — Dennis Rodman sang Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before leading a squad of former NBA stars in a friendly game Wednesday as part of his "basketball diplomacy" that has been criticized in the United States as naive and laughable.

Rodman dedicated the game to his "best friend," Kim, who — along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives — watched from a special seating area. The crowd of about 14,000 clapped loudly as Rodman sang a verse from the birthday song.

Rodman said he was honored to be able to play the game in the North Korean capital and called the event "historic." Some members of the U.S. Congress, the NBA and human rights groups, however, say he has become a public relations tool for North Korea's government. The government's poor human rights record and its threats to use nuclear weapons against rival South Korea and the United States have kept North Korea a pariah state.

Rodman, 52, has refused to address those concerns while continuing to forge a relationship with Kim, whose age has never been officially disclosed.

To keep the game friendly, the Americans played against the North Koreans in the first half, but the teams split up and merged for the second half.

The North Korean team scored 47 points to 39 for the Americans before the teams were mixed.

"A lot of people have expressed different views about me and your leader, your marshal, and I take that as a compliment," Rodman told the crowd. "Yes, he is a great leader, he provides for his people here in this country, and thank God the people here love the marshal."

Comments
Quinton Flowers’ top 10 plays at USF

Quinton Flowers’ top 10 plays at USF

Understandably, an anticlimactic vibe hovers over the Birmingham Bowl for many USF fans, who were hoping their season would end a bit farther east, at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.But one still can't ignore this game's historical context: It's the last ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida education news: Testing, board pay, school zones and more

Florida education news: Testing, board pay, school zones and more

TESTING: Superintendents asked, and the Florida Department of Education delivered. Sort of. After Hurricane Irma interrupted schooling for a week or more, districts sought a delay in spring 2018 state testing. They got  an extended assessme...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rock Hall 2018 class: Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, the Moody Blues

Rock Hall 2018 class: Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, the Moody Blues

Iconic singer Nina Simone and New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi lead the 2018 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, which includes four first-time nominees
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Greek Supreme Court approves request to extradite Russian bitcoin fraud suspect Alexander Vinnik to United States

Greek Supreme Court approves request to extradite Russian bitcoin fraud suspect Alexander Vinnik to United States
Updated: 9 minutes ago

AP Top News at 7:17 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 7:17 a.m. EST
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Ex-king Michael's coffin arrives in Romania ahead of funeral

Ex-king Michael's coffin arrives in Romania ahead of funeral

A coffin carrying the body of the late Romanian King Michael I was transported Wednesday to a castle in the mountain town where he was born as the country prepares for his funeral this weekend
Updated: 10 minutes ago
'Nobody saved us': Man describes childhood in abusive 'cult'

'Nobody saved us': Man describes childhood in abusive 'cult'

Jamey Anderson fled Word of Faith Fellowship church when he was 18, but he is not free. More than a decade later, he still struggles to find his footing in a world that he doesn't understand _ having been raised, as he puts it, in a "cult."
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Analysis: Trump bets on Moore and suffers stinging defeat

Analysis: Trump bets on Moore and suffers stinging defeat

Analysis: Trump bets on Moore and suffers stinging defeat
Updated: 11 minutes ago

Germany mulls more money for victims after Berlin attack

The German government is considering increasing compensation for those injured or who lost loved ones in terror attacks, following criticism in the wake of last year's truck rampage in Berlin
Updated: 12 minutes ago

Venezuela's opposition, prisoners win EU human rights award

The democratic opposition and political prisoners in Venezuela on Thursday have received the European Union's Sakharov Prize for human rights
Updated: 17 minutes ago