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dear leader
July 30, 2014
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Recent news out of North Korea has mostly been of the scary sort: It's threatening to nuke the White House! It's firing missiles into the sea! It's opening up a summer camp!

But here's the thing: The North Korean military is not in great shape. Despite its bluster, it's actually quite decrepit, plagued by "antiquated" and "outdated" equipment, according to a 22-page report released by the Pentagon in March. For the latest illustration, you need look back no further than today.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports that the North has had to ground half its fighter jet drills after three of its MiG-19s crashed due to "aged fuselages," according to an unidentified source. The MiG-19, for the uninitiated, is a Soviet fighter jet from the 1950s — and such museum-ready MiGs make up about three quarters of its fighters. Now, the North Korean military is increasingly counting on commandos, hackers, and nukes to make up for its aging conventional forces — but still, it's flying out your grandfather's air force.

And these crashes aren't even unusual:

It is 'far from unusual for North Korea's fighters as well as military choppers to crash,' another source said, noting frequent accidents 'are partly behind its leader Kim Jong-un's inspection tours to the air force units this year.'

'The series of visits to the air force units or events seems to be aimed at not only countering the annual joint Max Thunder air drills between South Korea and the United States in April, but to encourage airmen demoralized by crash accidents,' the source added. [Yonhap]

Oof. Nico Lauricella

you're fired
12:00 p.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

NASCAR joined a long list of companies cutting ties with billionaire and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump following his controversial remarks last month about Mexican people. The auto racing governing body will not hold its Xfinity and Camping World Truck series banquets at the Trump National Doral Miami as originally planned, USA Today reports.

"Our company will not stand to support any person or organization that associates with such beliefs and we feel strongly about distancing ourselves from any negative and discriminatory comments made against any gender, ethnicity, age group or so forth," said Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, who vowed to not attend the awards if held at Trump's hotel. "I would hope that the entire NASCAR organization would agree with my sentiments."

In his campaign kickoff, Trump classified most Mexicans immigrating to the U.S. as rapists and drug users. NASCAR joins companies like NBC Universal, Univision, and Macy's in denouncing the comments. Julie Kliegman

Awwww
11:35 a.m. ET

A Florida judge had one unusual question for the burglary suspect in her bond court: Did you go to middle school with me?

Arthur Booth, 49, was arrested in Hialeah on charges of burglary, grand theft, fleeing, and resisting arrest, NBC 6 South Florida reports. Judge and former middle school classmate Mindy Glazer's question shocked him. He immediately teared up, held his head, and repeated "Oh my goodness."

Glazer had some encouraging words for the man she called "the nicest kid in middle school."

"Good luck to you sir," she said. "I hope you are able to come out of this OK and just lead a lawful life."

Watch the full encounter below. Julie Kliegman

Cuba Libre
11:05 a.m. ET
Matthew Hinton/AFP/Getty Images

JetBlue ran its first official direct flight from New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport to Havana's José Martí International Airport on Friday, the first in a planned series of weekly charter flights.

It's the first major airline to do so, though smaller outfit Sun Country was the first to start servicing the two cities, Time reports.

JetBlue also runs flights to Cuba from Florida cities following the easing of travel restrictions earlier this year as the two nations work to restore diplomatic ties after half a century without relations. Julie Kliegman

downvote
10:45 a.m. ET
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Reddit users shut down hundreds of the site's sub-sections Friday following the alleged removal of Victoria Taylor, the online discussion board's director of talent and supervisor of the popular Ask Me Anything function connecting Redditors with famous people, Mashable reports. Moderators, often Reddit community members as opposed to employees, set subreddits to private in protest.

"I want to apologize to our community for yesterday," interim CEO Ellen Pao told Time on Friday. "We handled the transition in a way that caused some disruption, and we should have done a better job."

The site appointed staff member Kristen Fasnacht to communicate with subreddit moderators. Julie Kliegman

nukes
8:40 a.m. ET
Christian Bruner/AFP/Getty Images

Iran has reached a tentative agreement with the U.S. and five other world powers, anonymous diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday. The deal, which hasn't yet been officially signed, is expected to relieve some international economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing their nuclear program over the next decade

Negotiators face a July 7 deadline, extended from June 30 after more than a year of talks. Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a YouTube video Friday negotiations had "never been closer to a lasting outcome." Julie Kliegman

terrorism
7:52 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Governors and law enforcement officials are increasing security Saturday in light of State Department warnings of a heightened risk for a July Fourth terrorist attack, CNN reports. Authorities didn't have one specific threat to highlight, but are especially mindful of any attacks from suspected ISIS supporters in the country.

In particular, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday he is upping security statewide for various holiday-related events.

"We are keenly aware that New York State remains a top target for terrorists," he said. Julie Kliegman

Only in America
July 3, 2015
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A Little Rock, Arkansas, man lodged a complaint with the local NBC affiliate over its peacock logo, charging it included "colors of gays" to show support for the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling. Don Stair said the logo was "a disgrace" and vowed to switch to ABC. The station responded that its multicolored NBC peacock — which dates from 1956 — is the "same logo as always." The Week Staff

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