Rodman's N. Korea trip off to uncharacteristic low-key start

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Warmbier admitted stealing a banner from a hotel in the country and in March 2016, he was sentenced to three months of his arrest.

North Korea has released Otto Warmbier, an American serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday in an announcement that came as former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang.

Warmbier, 22, arrived at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati Tuesday night after a stopover at a U.S. military facility in Japan and was whisked off to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The mistreatment of Warmbier is attracting additional attention to North Korea at a time when US officials are already convinced that the rogue regime presents a serious threat to USA interests and national security.

Not long after President Donald Trump declared last month that he would be "honored" to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un amid mounting nuclear tensions, a secret encounter took place in Oslo between officials from the two countries. "I think we're very excited yet very prayerful about what is happening because we've heard he is in a coma".

The last time Rodman visited North Korea, he delighted the country's young ruler with a rendition of "Happy Birthday", suffered an angry meltdown on CNN while defending his trip, and spent time at a rehab facility.

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"Otto's detainment and sentence was unnecessary and appalling, and North Korea should be universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior", Sen.

The American college student being held captive in North Korea since last January has finally returned home to the United States after diplomats learned he's been in a coma for more than a year. "We get to see our son Otto tonight".

The North Korean account, the family said, claimed Warmbier then fell into a coma after being given a sleeping pill. The last instruction the president left Tillerson was: "Take care of Otto", the official said.

Kim Dong Chul was detained back in October of 2015 but his status was not known until January 2016 when North Korea officials revealed that they had sentenced him to 10 years of hard labor for spying; he worked at a company in a special economic zone in the North along the border with South Korea. It is not know if Mr Tillerson made any concessions. He is now being treataed at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

At least three American citizens are still being held in North Korea.

Warmbier's parents, Fred and Cindy, confirmed their son was on a medevac flight.

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Whatever happens with diplomatic relations between the USA and North Korea, one thing's for sure: Dennis Rodman helped put PotCoin on the map.

"Although to date economic coercion has been ineffective in persuading North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons, this does not mean it can not work", writes David Thompson, a senior analyst with C4ADS. But American officials suspect his condition is the result of his treatment at North Korean hands, given the record of the brutal treatment of past prisoners there.

The Warmbier family said North Korean officials told the USA envoys that soon after his trial in March 2016, their son became sick with botulism, an illness caused by a toxin, and fell into a coma after being given a sleeping pill, according to the Post.

Warmbier's release was announced in Washington by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, was visiting the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, as part of a student tour group. "Otto should have been released from the start", Portman said in a statement. The report, Risky Business: A System-Level Analysis of the North Korean Proliferation Financing System, argues that pressure applied to a relative handful of specific points in a global network of shadowy actors could do vast damage to illicit Korean trade with the rest of the world. His parents say they were told he had been in the coma for more than a year. It began offering classes in English to the North Korean elite in 2010.

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