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Report: 3 UCLA basketball players to return to US after Chinese officials drop charges

The three UCLA basketball players previously detained by Chinese police on shoplifting allegations were being allowed to return to the United States on Tuesday, according to a report by The Washington Post.

>> Read more trending news

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were questioned and arrested by police after being accused of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Hangzhou, China. The three players were released on bond Wednesday and did not play in Friday’s game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, China.

>> Related: LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted

The report of the players’ release comes hours after President Donald Trump said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the players’ case.

“They’re working on it right now... Hopefully everything is going to work out,” Trump told reporters on his tour of Asia, according to the Washington Post.

China Sports Insider reported Tuesday the charges of shoplifting were officially dropped for all three players.

Photos: Powerful Iran-Iraq earthquake kills hundreds

The magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Photos: Powerful Iran-Iraq earthquake kills hundreds

The magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 19 miles outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

North Korea: Trump ‘begged for war’

North Korea intensified its rhetoric on Saturday, suggesting that President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia showed he was a “destroyer” as he “begged for war” on the Korean peninsula, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news

“Trump, during his visit, laid bare his true nature as destroyer of world peace and stability and begged for a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula,” the foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the state news agency.

Trump warned North Korea on Wednesday not to underestimate the United States as he wrapped up his visit to South Korea.

Trump says he believes Putin’s denials over election meddling

President Donald Trump said he is done confronting Vladimir Putin over accusations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election and said he  took the Russian leader at his word when he said that his country did not seek to interfere,  CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

"He said he didn't meddle. He said he didn't meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he flew from Da Nang to Hanoi in Vietnam. "Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that.’ And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it."

The two leaders chatted Saturday as they walked together during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Reuters reported.

Although White House officials said no formal meeting between the two leaders was planned, the two men shook hands at a dinner Friday evening and again at the start of Saturday’s main APEC meeting.

Television cameras caught the two leaders talking as they headed toward the area designated for a group photograph, Reuters reported.

Putin said he had a normal dialogue with Trump and described  the President as civil, well-educated, and comfortable to deal with.

Trump is in Vietnam on the fourth leg of a 12-day tour of Asia.

‘America first,’ Trump tells leaders at Pacific Rim economic summit

Vowing not to let the United States “be taken advantage of anymore,” President Donald Trump issued a stern warning at an economic summit of Pacific Rim leaders on Friday, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

“I am always going to put America first, the same way I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first,” Trump said in a speech at the start of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Trump repeated his criticism of previous U.S. administrations, saying they ignored imbalances in trading practices.

“The current trade imbalance is not acceptable,” Trump said. “I do not blame China, or any other country, of which there are many, for taking advantage of the United States on trade. If their representatives are able to get away with it, they are just doing their jobs."

"I wish previous administrations in my country saw what was happening and did something about it," Trump said.

LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted

Shoplifting is a relatively minor infraction in the United States, but not so in China. It could lead to a long prison sentence, according to multiple outlets — and that could be bad news for the three UCLA men’s basketball players reportedly accused of committing the crime Tuesday in Shanghai.

Bruins freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley could be sentenced to three to 10 years if convicted of “robbing public or private property using force, coercion or other methods,” according to Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel, citing the website for the Chinese mission to the United Nations.

The trio were detained Tuesday after allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel where UCLA is staying ahead of its season opener Friday against Georgia Tech. The most notable of the players is Ball, the younger brother of former UCLA star (and current Los Angeles Lakers rookie) Lonzo Ball and son of LaVar Ball.

>> Read more trending news 

LaVar Ball, who had planned a press conference but canceled it on the advice of his legal counsel, released the following statement:

"It is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball Family, and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time. We will comment shortly," he said, per ESPN's Arash Markazi.

William Nee, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International, told Wetzel that those detained for crimes in China could “be detained for more than a month without American-style bail before local prosecutors even decide whether to press charges.” Nee added that the United States consulate could intervene to try and negotiate a quicker resolution to the case.

Nee added that the charges could also be greatly reduced and thus warrant a much more lenient sentence.

Jay Z, T.I., and others slam Meek Mill sentence as ‘unjust and heavy-handed’

Rapper Meek Mill is making headlines this week, but it’s not for his music. The musician was recently sentenced to two to four years in Pennsylvania state prison Monday after violating probation.

» RELATED: Meek Mill sentenced to at least two years in Pennsylvania state prison

The 30-year-old, known legally as Robert Rihmeek William, was already under probation for a drug and weapons case and has been arrested twice this year. 

In March in St. Louis, he was charged with a misdemeanor for an altercation with two airport employees, and in August, he was illegally riding his dirt bike in the Inwood section of Manhattan.

When news of his hearing broke, many were shocked and took to social media to share their thoughts. 

Several said the judge was too harsh, comparing his punishment to that of those who received less time for what they called bigger crimes.

Even some celebrities, including Jay Z, didn’t think the punishment fit the crime.

»RELATED: Judge ignores recommendation, sends Meek Mill to prison

On the other hand, a couple believed the sentencing was spot-on, considering Mill’s lengthy history with law enforcement.

And a few, like T.I. and Kevin Hart, just wanted to offer their support. 

»RELATED: Georgia rapper arrested at 'Welcome home' from prison party 

Iran parades ballistic missile on 38th anniversary of hostage crisis

Iran marked the 38th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy Saturday with a ballistic missile on display as thousands marched in celebration, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news

Meanwhile, a senior Iranian official accused President Donald Trump of a “crazy” return to confrontation with Tehran, Reuters reported.

Iran and the United States severed diplomatic relations soon after the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah, during which hardline students seized the embassy and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

The hostages remained in captivity from Nov. 4, 1979, to Jan. 20, 1981.

Attendance for Saturday’s event appeared to be higher, Reuters reported. Last month, Trump refused to recertify Iran’s compliance in a 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, Reuters reported.

Under the terms of the 2015 deal, most international sanctions against Iran were lifted in exchange for the Tehran government curbing its nuclear activity.

Iranians assumed a defiant tone Saturday. Iran officials have insisted that any missile programs it had was for defensive purposes and was not negotiable

“All the governments confirm that the American president is a crazy individual who is taking others toward the direction of suicide,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, told a rally in Tehran, state media reported.

“Trump’s policies against the people of Iran have brought them out into the streets today,” Shamkhani said.

A Ghadr ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km was put on display near the ex-U.S. embassy in Tehran, now a cultural center, during Saturday’s street demonstration, Tasnim news agency said.

“That America thinks Iran is going to put aside its military power is a childish dream,” said Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of its elite Revolutionary Guards who oversees the missile development, according to Tasnim.

China extends national anthem disrespect law to Hong Kong

Protesters considering taking a knee -- or even booing -- during the Chinese national anthem in Hong Kong will be arrested and jailed, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news

China’s parliament on Saturday formally extended a law banning disrespect of the “March of the Volunteers” to cover Hong Kong, Reuters reported.

During the past few years, soccer fans in Hong Kong have booed the national anthem during World Cup qualifiers and other matches. The Chinese parliament passed a law in September mandating a 15-day jail term for anyone who mocks the country’s national anthem. That covers the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau, Reuters reported.

The National Anthem Law, which took effect on Oct. 1, has now been included in an annex of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency..

Hong Kong is a former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, but has retained a high degree of autonomy, Reuters reported. China’s legislation has caused some tension among citizens in Hong Kong.

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