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WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington honors America's closest friends by inviting their leaders to address a joint meeting of Congress. But until Thursday, when House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner invited Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, no Japanese leaders had been invited. That's striking considering the tight U.S.-Japan alliance in the 70 years since World War II ended. British, South Korean and German leaders have been invited multiple times. So have two Liberian presidents and a Latvian one - more than 100 invitations overall since the war. So why not Japan? The answers have to do with underlying friction that has been a part of U.S.-Japanese relations and, more recently, frequent changes of Japanese leaders.
A US student was charged Friday for putting a noose around the neck of a statue of his university's first black student, the Justice Department said. Graeme Phillip Harris, of the University of Mississippi, was indicted on two counts for conspiring to violate civil rights and threatening force to intimidate African Americans "because of their race or color," a Justice statement said. In February 2014 Harris and other students allegedly tied a rope and flag depicting the Confederate emblem around the neck of the statue of Civil Rights-era student James Meredith. The Confederate flag is seen by many as a symbol of racist oppression in the slavery-era South, which Mississippi was a part of.