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lots of room at the inn
August 4, 2014
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Are you looking for a relaxing place to stay in Hildale, Utah, with enough room for you and your 20 wives? Then you're in luck: the compound built for polygamous leader Warren Jeffs has been turned into America's Most Wanted Suites and Bed & Breakfast.

Now serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting a young girl he considered his bride, Jeffs ordered his followers in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) to build the compound for him in 2011. Jeffs never actually lived there, and it was purchased at auction for $3.6 million by former bodyguard and FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop. Jessop, who bought the property after he won a lawsuit against FLDS church leaders, kept many original features, including a 12-foot concrete fence, intact.

"I left it there so people could go and see how paranoid he was," Jessop told NBC News. "It was my hope that the walls would help as a reminder to the community that if you need walls like this, you're probably doing something wrong."

The inn is near Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and the Grand Canyon, and boasts 14 rooms with smart TVs and wi-fi. Rooms run from $85 for a standard room to $200 for a king suite. Jessop's goal is to attract "people of all walks of life who'd like to come to the community and feel welcome," he said. "[It's] something that could be positive instead of sinister." Catherine Garcia

Awkward
10:49 a.m. ET
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Per the calculations of economist Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute, the Obama White House maintains a 15.8 percent wage gap, with women earning 84.2 cents for every dollar male staffers take home. Perry used the White House's self-reported salary data to tabulate this gap, which marks a slight decrease compared to last year's 17.9 percent. Still, it translates to an average of $12,350 less for female employees each year.

Perry argues that the disparity can be explained either by alleging the president participates in the wage discrimination he has so often decried — or by admitting that other factors, like "age, years of continuous work experience, education, differences in positions, hours worked, marital status, number of children, workplace environment and safety, industry differences, etc." may tend to give women lower average salaries than men.

A number of recent surveys have found that many women value flexible schedules and work-life balance more than high salaries, and women are also more likely to take significant time off work or even turn down promotions for child-rearing activities. Women gravitate toward low-paying college majors as well, while men dominate the more remunerative hard sciences. Bonnie Kristian

survey says
10:24 a.m. ET
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A new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that fully one third of likely voters say states should be able to ignore federal court decisions. A bare majority — 52 percent — disagrees, with 15 percent undecided. As recently as February, fewer than a quarter of likely voters said states should be able to disregard federal courts.

Not surprisingly — given conservative uproar over the recent Supreme Court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage and the president's health care program — Republicans were significantly more likely than average to endorse state overrides, offering 50 percent support. However, defiance of Washington rose among Democrats and independents as well in recent months. Bonnie Kristian

jeb!
10:22 a.m. ET

For some reason, 2016 GOP candidate Jeb Bush wants you to know he likes Katy Perry better than Miley Cyrus, mustard better than ketchup, and Bud Light better than just plain old Bud.

That's from his "4th of July favorites list" posted to his YouTube channel. In it, you can watch a bewildered Bush respond decisively to all manner of pointless questions lobbed at him by staffers.

Oh, and just in case you thought that Bush was able to shake his patrician family legacy by moving to low-key Florida, he says he prefers boat shoes to flip-flops. Jeb! Nico Lauricella

dear leader
9:16 a.m. ET
Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images

A North Korean biological weapons scientist has reportedly defected to Finland, taking with him 15 gigabytes of data detailing experiments on human.

The 47 year old — identified only by his surname Lee — fled a research facility near North Korea's border with China in June, The Independent reports. Citing a humans rights group, South Korean newspaper Yonhap says he plans to present his data to the EU in July. There is reason for caution, however: Neither his defection nor his planned presentation have been confirmed by European authorities.

Greg Scarlatoiun, director of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, reportedly told a Finnish newspaper that the story is at least plausible.

“We have been told similar stories in the past that human experiments are carried out in prison camps,” he said, adding that the experiments in question likely involved chemical weapons testing on humans. Nico Lauricella

Terror in Tunisia
7:51 a.m. ET
Brendan Smialowksi/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. officials said Thursday that Tunisia's most wanted jihadist — Seifallah Ben Hassine, also known as Abu Ayadh — was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Libya last month. The strike targeted another al Qaeda leader. Ben Hassine's death, if confirmed, would mark a major success for Tunisia, which has been battling insurgents in its western border region. Last Friday militants massacred 38 people, most of them British, in an attack on a beach resort. Ben Hassine was suspected of masterminding several terrorist attacks and assassinations. Harold Maass

This just in
7:47 a.m. ET

Health insurer Aetna said Friday that it would buy smaller rival Humana for $37 billion in the insurance industry's biggest deal ever. Antitrust regulators will have to review how the acquisition would affect competition. If the deal goes through, the combined company will have about $115 billion and 33 million members, nearly as many as No. 2 carrier Anthem. The deal could be the start of a wave of consolidation that was on hold before last week's Supreme Court ruling upholding ObamaCare subsidies nationwide. Harold Maass

This just in
7:30 a.m. ET
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In a gambit to shake up the debt crisis talks last Saturday, Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras called for a national vote on July 5 to decide whether Greece should accept the terms of its creditors' bailout deal. The move appears to be backfiring.

The dea in question is off the table. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stopped negotiations until after the referendum. The polls are neck and neck. And a Greek court might decide that the whole thing is unconstitutional anyway.

On Friday, the 50-person court is slated to hear an appeal alleging that the vote violates Article 44 of the Greek constitution, which bars referendums on “the management of fiscal policy and issues that affect the financial situation of the state." The claimants also argue the question posed to voters is too confusing. The Greek government reportedly doesn't intend to offer a rebuttal in court. Nico Lauricella

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