Nation and World briefs for March 8

Trump shuffle: Suddenly trade guru Navarro takes spotlight

WASHINGTON — In the squabbling Trump White House, no insider is ever above rebuke and no one blacklisted beyond redemption. Trade adviser Peter Navarro, once barred from sending private emails and spotted skulking in West Wing hallways, has emerged from the chaos ascendant.

With his chief ideological rival, Gary Cohn, now headed for the exit, Navarro and his protectionist trade policies are taking center stage as President Donald Trump prepares to impose the steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that Navarro has long championed.

Navarro, a 68-year-old former economics professor whose ideas were once considered well outside the mainstream, joined the Trump campaign in 2016 after one of his books on China happened to catch the eye of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner during an internet search.

From the presidential campaign, Navarro made the leap to the new administration to head a new White House National Trade Council. But he was quickly sidelined by chief of staff John Kelly and closely managed by former staff secretary Rob Porter.

As alliances shifted and staffers departed, though, Navarro made his move, encouraging Trump to embrace a plan that many economists, lawmakers and White House aides warn could lead to a trade war and imperil U.S. economic gains.

Alabama: 1 dead, another student hurt in school shooting

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A 17-year-old girl was killed in a shooting at dismissal time Wednesday at an Alabama high school and a 17-year-old male student was injured, authorities said, adding they were investigating it as accidental.

Birmingham Interim Police Chief Orlando Wilson said his department is seeking to determine the circumstances of the shooting shortly before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Huffman High School, adding investigators had already begun seeking out witnesses and would examine school surveillance video.

“At this particular time, we are considering this accidental,” the police chief said at a news conference. “Right now we have a lot of unanswered questions.”

Wednesday’s shooting prompted a brief lockdown at the school in Alabama’s largest city but students were then released and authorities said they had determined that the shooting was not perpetrated by “someone from the outside” who entered the school. Wilson declined to say who fired the gun or to identify what firearm was retrieved by authorities. No arrests were immediately reported.

He did confirm metal detectors were in place and functioning in the school.

Jeff Sessions, California governor clash as feud escalates

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions dramatically escalated the Trump administration’s war with California on Wednesday, suing over its so-called sanctuary state law and clashing with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in a fiery exchange of words.

Sessions was defiant as he spoke to local law enforcement officials about the lawsuit, citing a series of California laws that he says are unconstitutional and violate common sense.

“I can’t sit by idly while the lawful authority of federal officers are being blocked by legislative acts and politicians,” he said, straying from his prepared remarks.

Brown didn’t hold back in his response, calling Sessions a liar and saying it was unprecedented for the attorney general to “act more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer.” He accused Sessions of “going to war” with California to appease President Donald Trump.

“What Jeff Sessions said is simply not true and I call upon him to apologize to the people of California for bringing the mendacity of Washington to California,” the governor told reporters.

What to make of N. Korean offer for nuke talks

SEOUL, South Korea — At first glance it seems like a blockbuster: North Korea has reportedly offered up its nukes for negotiation, an abrupt reversal from its repeated vows never to relinquish the “treasured sword” it sees as protection against constant U.S. “hostility.”

Experts reading between the lines, however, believe the North may be falling back on a well-worn position when confronting the United States. Essentially: You want our nukes? Then give us credible security guarantees.

This has been seen in the past to mean the removal of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed as a deterrent against the North in South Korea and a halt to annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises that the North claims are invasion preparations.

Washington is unlikely to accept any of this, but momentum in inter-Korean ties — South Korea’s president has agreed to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un next month — means there’s a real chance that negotiations could take place.

Here then is a look at the North’s latest offer, which has raised hopes for better days on the Korean Peninsula after a year of nuclear and missile tests by the North and threats of war: