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Pompeo: Waiting for Kim on talks

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the U.S. was prepared to resume talks with North Korea “at a moment’s notice” if the North signaled it wanted discussions about denuclearization.

Pompeo said he hoped that a letter recently sent by President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would “provide a good foundation for us to begin to continue these important discussions with the North Koreans to denuclearize the peninsula.”

The North’s state-run news agency on Sunday described Trump’s letter to Kim as “excellent” and reported that Kim said he would “seriously contemplate” the content. What was in the letter was not revealed by U.S. or North Korean officials.

The U.S. has demanded that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons entirely before international sanctions are lifted. For its part, North Korea wants sanctions to be lifted and other concessions by the U.S. as it moves step by step toward denuclearization.

Pompeo, who spoke to reporters before leaving Washington for the Mideast, said he hoped working-level talks with North Korea would resume.

Ex-lawmaker joins

Democratic race

PHILADELPHIA — Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania has become the latest Democrat to enter the presidential race.

The retired Navy admiral who calls himself “Admiral Joe” on his campaign website joins a crowded Democratic field seeking the nomination to challenge President Donald Trump. He launched his candidacy Sunday afternoon at a veterans’ museum in Waterloo, Iowa.

Sestak decries what he calls “America’s retreat from the world” and says strong action is needed to deal with climate change, corporate accountability and China’s geopolitical threat.

“The president is not the problem; he is the symptom of the problem people see in a system that is not fair and accountable to the people,” Sestak said in his campaign video.

Sestak served two terms in the House, then defied party leaders by running against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 primary. Sestak beat Specter but lost the general election to Republican Pat Toomey. Sestak sought a rematch against Toomey in 2016, but national Democrats recruited a primary challenger who defeated him.

Death toll in fire,

shooting climbs

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — A third body has been found in the rubble of a burned-out mobile home in California, bringing to five the number of dead in a shooting and fire that began during an argument at a pitch-and-putt golf course, authorities said.

Santa Maria police identified Kurt Bracke, 70, and Richard Hanen, 78, as the people who were fatally shot.

Residents told The Santa Maria Times there had been a long-standing feud between the two men and the shooter that boiled over Friday at the golf course of the Casa Grande Mobile Estates in Santa Maria. The shooter has not been identified.

Responding to a report of shots fired at the mobile home park on Friday morning, police found one man fatally shot inside the clubhouse and another dead on the grass nearby, the newspaper reported.

The gunman is believed to have fled to his mobile home, which then went up in flames after a small explosion. Authorities initially found two bodies— one of which is believed to be the gunman’s — in the rubble, but said Saturday an additional victim had been located.

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