North Korean Leader Says Nuclear Weapons Guarantee Peace
North Korean nuclear weapons act as a deterrent to potential aggressors and as a foundation for its prosperity, the country’s leader said in a speech delivered on Sunday and published in full by the country’s KCNA news agency on Tuesday.
“Our nuclear strength is a reliable war deterrent and a guarantee to protect our sovereignty,” Kim Jong-un said in a speech delivered to the central committee meeting of the ruling Workers Party of Korea.
The speech appeared to emphasize a shift to economic development and accused the United States of seeking to drag North Korea into an arms race in a bid to create obstacles to economic improvement.
Photo Credit: (Reuters / KCNA)
Dig for Survivors After Tibet Mudslide Buries 83
Searchers were continuing to look for miners buried when a landslide swept through a gold mine in an extensively cleared area of Tibet, but authorities said chances were slim any survivors would be found. Some 83 workers were buried.
It might not get you all the way to Cardassia Prime, but NASA hopes its newly launched solar-sail Sunjammer program will lead to a future where propellantless space craft are used for a multitude of functions beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
“Once proven, solar sail technology could enable a host of versatile space missions, including flying an advanced space-weather warning system to more quickly and accurately alert satellite operators and utilities on Earth of geomagnetic storms caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun,” NASA said in a release.
Additionally, NASA sees the project as something that can work to help clean up the piles of floating space garbage in orbit.
Photo Credit: (NASA)
American taxpayers spent $3.7 million last year on four surviving presidents, and one presidential widow, according to a new report by the Congressional Research Service.
Syrian Crisis: ‘Bloody March’ Was Conflict’s Deadliest Month
More than 6,000 people died in Syria in March, the deadliest month since protests against the government began two years ago, activists say.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based activist group, said it recorded 6,005 deaths last month.
It said victims included at least 291 women, 298 children, 1,486 rebel fighters and army defectors, and 1,464 government troops.
The other casualties were unidentified civilians and fighters, it added.
The anti-government group, which monitors human rights violations on both sides of the conflict via a network of contacts across Syria, said the total toll was much higher than the 62,554 deaths it has documented.
“We estimate it is actually around 120,000 people,” Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the group, told Reuters news agency.
“Many death tolls are more difficult to document so we are not officially including them yet.”
The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began.
Photo Credit: (Reuters)
New Search for 9/11 Victim Remains Underway
The New York City medical examiner says it has started sifting recently uncovered construction debris from the World Trade Center site in an effort to find any human remains from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Prosecutors To Seek Death Penalty For Accused Aurora Theater Shooter
Prosecutors in Colorado sent a clear message to James Holmes and his defense team on Monday: Only the ultimate punishment will suffice.
George Brauchler, the Arapahoe County district attorney, said that the state would pursue the death penalty for the alleged shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre.
Brauchler said that his office reached out to more than 800 victims and family members to make a decision.
“It’s my determination and my intention that in this case for James Eagan Holmes justice is death,” Brauchler told the court.
The announcement wraps up days of maneuvering between the prosecution and defense attorneys.
In a court document released Thursday, prosecutors rejected the defense offer of a plea deal for life in prison without parole. At the time, prosecutors insisted that the defense denied the state information necessary to complete a comprehensive evaluation of Holmes and his alleged acts, making it “extremely unlikely” that a plea deal would be reached, according to court documents.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo)
North Korean Propaganda Mill Serves Up Soft Side of Kim
The outside world focuses on the messages of doom and gloom from North Korea: bombastic threats of nuclear war, fantasy videos of U.S. cities in flames, digitally altered photos of leader Kim Jong Un guiding military drills. But back home, North Koreans get a decidedly softer dose of propaganda: Kim portrayed as a young, energetic leader, a people person and family man.
Mixed in with the images showing Kim aboard a speeding boat on a tour of front-line islands, or handing out commemorative rifles to smartly saluting soldiers, are those of Kim and his wife clapping at a dolphin show or linking arms with weeping North Korean children.
The pictures can look odd or obviously staged to outsiders. But they’re carefully crafted propaganda meant to give North Koreans an image of a country governed by a leader who is as comfortable overseeing a powerful military as he is mingling with the people.
Analysts say the images also hint at something that often gets lost amid the threatening rhetoric: North Korea’s supreme commander isn’t an all-powerful, isolated monarch who can govern without considering his people’s approval. Kim is still busy building his reputation at home.
“Even dictatorships respond to public opinion and public pressure,” said John Delury, a North Korea analyst at Seoul’s Yonsei University. “He’s expected to pay attention to and make improvements in the common people’s standard of living. They’ve put that promise out in their domestic propaganda.”
Photo Credit: (AP Photo)
Signed copy of The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s’ album auctions for $290,500
A signed copy of The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ has sold at auction for $290,500 (£191,000).
The record was purchased by an anonymous buyer at an auction in Dallas, US on Saturday (March 30). The sale was originally estimated to be around $35,000, with the final price shattering the previous record for a similar item, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The UK Parlophone copy of the record, with high gloss cover and gatefold, is believed to have been signed by all members of the Fab Four around the album’s original release date in 1967.
According to Rolling Stone, the item was originally priced at $15,000 but early pre-auction pushed the price up to $110,000 a week before the auction date. Gary Shrum, consignment director of Heritage Auctions, which ran the sale, said that the bidding had “taken on a life of its own”.
Photo Credit: (billboard.com)
Rolling Stones Expected to Announce Tour on Wednesday
The Rolling Stones are expected to make a big announcement on Wednesday, and it’s presumably about their long-rumored American summer tour. Billboards stating “Start Me Up” and other song titles alongside the Stones’ tongue logo have gone up around the country, and their Facebook, Twitter and official app have been counting down to #StartMeUpWednesday for a few days.
The group is already confirmed for the Glastonbury Festival on June 29th, and their other tour plans have been just about the worst-kept secret in rock. Late last month, Rolling Stone reported the band had signed on with AEG for an 18-date North American run. They will receive between $4 million and $5 million per show, meaning top tickets will cost about $500 to $650. Those numbers may be eye-popping, but they’re actually slightly less than the top-tier seats from the band’s brief 2012 tour.
It’s unclear how the tour will be announced on Wednesday. Many of the Stones’ past tours were announced with gigantic press conferences, but their 2012 dates were announced by press release.
The Rolling Stones are going to play London’s Hyde Park this summer and will probably add other European dates, but it seems likely this will be a significantly smaller tour than the marathon outings of the past. “Are the Stones going to do anything after this? I doubt it,” an industry source told Rolling Stone. “Look, anything’s possible. But it’s Mick and Keith’s show, so we don’t know.”
Photo Credit: (Ethan Miller/WireImage)
Lollapalooza 2013 Lineup: Nine Inch Nails, the Cure, Mumford & Sons
Nine Inch Nails, the Cure and Mumford & Sons are among the big names set for this year’s Lollapalooza. Phoenix, the Killers, Vampire Weekend, Queens of the Stone Age, the National, New Order and the reunited Postal Service will also play the Chicago festival, which will take place August 2nd-4th.
It’ll mark the first Lollapalooza appearance for the Cure, a band long desired by festival founder and Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell. “The first time I ran into Robert Smith of the Cure was 1997 in New York City,” Farrell said in a statement. “We were both going into the same club; and it was Halloween. I was dressed as myself and so was he. I am so happy the Cure have finally arrived at Lolla in Chicago!”
Nine Inch Nails will tour this year for the first time since 2009. In addition to Lollapalooza and various festival dates in Europe and Asia, Trent Reznor plans a U.S. arena tour this fall.
Kendrick Lamar, Ellie Goulding, Swedish House Mafia’s Steve Angello, the Lumineers, Major Lazer, Hot Chip, Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses, Eric Church and Lana Del Rey are also among those set to perform at Lollapalooza. Though three-day passes are already sold out, a limited number of single day passes will go on sale on April 3rd at 9 a.m. EST. Visit Lollapalooza’s website for more information.
Photo Credit: (L. Cohen/WireImage; Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage; Bill McCay/WireImage)
6 Sadistically Awesome April Fools Day Pranks
Ah, April Fools Day. It’s the one day of the year when you can act like a total psychopath in the name of humor and no one can give you a hard time about it. Sometimes though, when we finally have the chance to unleash our inner sadists on those nearest and dearest to us, we can’t even think of the epic prank we want to play. Luckily for you, we’ve solved this problem by compiling 6 classic pranks to get you in the trickster frame of mind.
As per tradition, Google unveiled their latest April Fools’ Day prank to celebrate the practical joke-based holiday.
Google Nose BETA, the company’s new fictional product, promises “to offer the sharpest olfactory experience available.”
YouTube also got in on the fun. The popular video-sharing website quietly released a video Sunday morning titled, “YouTube’s ready to select a winner.” In it, employees from YouTube explain that, starting at midnight tonight, the site will go offline. They’ll then begin narrowing down the best video, with a winner announced when YouTube goes back online in — wait for it — 2023.
Woman Among Leading Contenders For FBI Director
The Obama administration has begun to search for a replacement for FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, and for the first time one of the leading contenders is a woman.
One of several people under consideration, according to current and past administration officials, is Lisa Monaco, who left a senior post at the Justice Department this month to become President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser.
Mueller, 68, will step down Sept. 4 after 12 years on the job. Since taking the helm a week before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Mueller has overseen the bureau’s transformation into a worldwide counterterrorism operation.
Photo Credit: (Getty Images)
Ex-Reagan Adviser: Bush’s Policies Bankrupt The Country
A former adviser of Ronald Reagan has some choice words for George W. Bush.
David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director from 1981 to 1985, slammed Bush and his former boss in an op-ed in The New York Times Sunday. Stockman argued in the piece that Reagan’s view on the deficit “created a template for the Republicans’ utter abandonment of the balanced-budget policies of Calvin Coolidge.”
“(Reagan’s deficit policies) allowed George W. Bush to dive into the deep end, bankrupting the nation through two misbegotten and unfinanced wars, a giant expansion of Medicare and a tax-cutting spree for the wealthy that turned K Street lobbyists into the de facto office of national tax policy,” Stockman wrote.
Click here read Stockman’s full op-ed.
Photo Credit: (TIME)