North Korean authorities are planning a surprising development project: an underwater hotel.
The Pyongyang Times reports that authorities have confirmed the construction of an underwater hotel in the city of Wonsan, on the country's east coast. The goal is to make Wonsan a "tourist city." Other plans for the area include a flower park as well as "towers and other modern-style buildings."
However, not all North Koreans are happy with the expansion project, which was reportedly greenlit in November 2013. The World Food Program recently announced that North Korea's aid programs have a "critical" lack of funding.
"The last thing the hungry people of North Korea need is an underwater hotel that is, at best, years from seeing its first guest," Joshua Stanton, author of the One Free Korea blog, told NK News. "North Korea is not a poor country, and hunger there is the direct consequence of Kim Jong-un's choices." Others joked that underwater hotels were perfect for the country, since escape would be difficult.
Meanwhile, the Korean International Travel Company declined to provide NK News with details about the hotel construction's scale or funding. Meghan DeMaria
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday said that while he believes sexual orientation is an inborn trait, he still opposes same-sex marriage.
"I don't believe same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right. I also don't believe that your sexual preferences are a choice for the vast and enormous majority of people," Rubio said on Face the Nation, adding that "sexual preference is something that people are born with."
Rubio said states have traditionally regulated marriage, and that he believes they should continue to do so without interference from the courts. —Jon Terbush
Jon Stewart says his decision to leave The Daily Show after a 16-year run was not based on concerns with the show's direction, but rather the result of him no longer "getting the same satisfaction" from his work.
"These things are cyclical," he told the Guardian. "You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it's OK. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that's when you realize, 'OK, I'm on the back side of it now.'"
Patti Smith on Saturday delivered a teary-eyed speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's induction ceremony for the late Lou Reed, saying the famed musician's "consciousness infiltrated and illuminated our cultural voice."
Smith spoke about a decades-long friendship with Reed that began as both artists developed in the New York City music scene of the 1970s. And describing the day Reed died, Smith said she realized the Velvet Underground frontman was "not only my friend, he was the friend of New York City."
"True poets must often stand alone," she said. "As a poet, he must be counted as a solitary artist. So, Lou, thank you for brutally and benevolently injecting your poetry into music." —Jon Terbush
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday accused the U.S. of fabricating tales of Iranian nuclear weapons.
"They created the myth of nuclear weapons so they could say the Islamic Republic is a source of threat," Khamenei said in an address to military commanders. "No, the source of threat is America itself, with its unrestrained, destabilizing interventions."
The remark came one day before nuclear negotiations between Iran, the U.S., and five world powers were to resume. The negotiators have until June 30 to reach a final accord. Jon Terbush
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says he will almost certainly get into the 2016 White House race.
"If I can raise the money, I'll do it," Graham said on Fox News Sunday. When pressed to say how seriously he was considering a presidential bid, Graham pegged his odds of running at the oddly specific "91 percent."
In January, Graham launched a presidential exploratory committee. Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Marco Rubio (Fla.) are the only major GOP candidates to formally declare their candidacies for the White House. Jon Terbush
Poland on Sunday summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest FBI Director James Comey's recent comment casting some blame on Poland for the Holocaust.
"The murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn't do something evil," Comey said in a speech last week, which was then adapted as an opinion piece in The Washington Post. "They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do."
Poland's ambassador to the U.S. denounced the comment as "unacceptable" and a "falsification of history." Soon after, the U.S. Ambassador in Warsaw, Stephen Mull, told reporters that suggestions anyone "apart from the Nazi Germany was responsible for the Holocaust are wrong, harmful and offensive." Jon Terbush
A slew of declared and potential Republican presidential candidates trekked to New Hampshire this weekend for the two-day Republican Leadership Summit. Close to 20 prospective candidates — ranging from establishment types like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, to bottom-tier hopefuls like Donald Trump and John Bolton — used their stage time to discuss policy, ding the president, and assail presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
"When Hillary Clinton travels, there's going to need to be two planes," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. "One for her and her entourage, and one for her baggage."
Also at the event, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Clinton represented "the third term of Barack Obama," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee denounced the "Clinton political machine," and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) quipped that Clinton was not at the event because it was not being bankrolled by foreign interests. Jon Terbush