'Nuclear war may break out any moment': North Korea intensifies rhetoric against USA

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 7:15 PM

North Korea: 'Nuclear War May Break Out Any Moment'

North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.”

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Kim In Ryong told the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to “such an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the United States since the 1970s -- and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defense.

He pointed to large-scale military exercises every year using “nuclear assets” and said what is more dangerous is what he called a U.S. plan to stage a “secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership.”

This year, Kim said, North Korea completed its “state nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets.”

“The entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range and if the U.S. dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe,” he warned.

Kim’s speech follows escalating threats between North Korea and the United States, and increasingly tough U.N. sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that his country is curtailing economic, scientific and other ties with North Korea in line with U.N. sanctions, and the European Union announced new sanctions on Pyongyang for developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis “will continue until the first bomb drops.” His commitment to diplomacy came despite President Donald Trump’s tweets several weeks ago that his chief envoy was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom he derisively referred to as “Little Rocket Man.”

North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador called his country’s nuclear and missile arsenal “a precious strategic asset that cannot be reversed or bartered for anything.”

“Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the U.S. is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table under any circumstances,” Kim said.

He told the disarmament committee that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -- North Korea’s official name -- had hoped for a nuclear-free world.

Instead, Kim said, all nuclear states are accelerating the modernization of their weapons and “reviving a nuclear arms race reminiscent of (the) Cold War era.” He noted that the nuclear weapon states, including the United States, boycotted negotiations for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was approved in July by 122 countries at the United Nations.

“The DPRK consistently supports the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the efforts for denuclearization of the entire world,” he said. But as long as the United States rejects the treaty and “constantly threatens and blackmails the DPRK with nuclear weapons … the DPRK is not in position to accede to the treaty.”

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Don't try this at home: Top home repairs that aren't DIY

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 10:47 PM

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Everyone wants to feel self-sufficient, and even those with deep pockets find it's a good idea to stick to some kind of home maintenance budget. If you chuckled at the thought of having "deep pockets," you're probably even more concerned with controlling costs on the home front.

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But frugal isn't always better, even if you have monster DIY skills. "When it comes to doing your own home repairs, there's a thin line between being fearless and foolish," noted Joseph Truini of Popular Mechanics.

Sometimes you have to go all in with the home repair budget, whether it's to avoid bigger, more costly disasters, to assure home safety or to protect your investment. These are six times you should never skimp on home repairs, even if you must hire a pro to get the desired results:

Involved electrical work.

Feel free to install dimmer switches or replace an old ceiling light with a new ceiling fan, Truini advised. "Upgrading existing devices and fixtures is relatively easy and safe, as long as you remember to first turn off the electricity." But anything more complicated than that and it's time to call the pros (and heave a sigh as you get out your wallet). "When it comes to extending existing electrical circuits or adding new ones, call in an experienced, licensed electrician," he said. "When homeowners start messing around with electrical circuits and running new cables, there are two likely outcomes and both are potentially lethal: electrical shock and fire."A leaky roof.

Those drip-drips on the floor, even if it's only the attic floor, can indicate big problems for a homeowner who ignores them. They include possible structural damage, mold or loss of personal property, according to The Balance. "It's nothing to mess with. Address roof leaks as soon as you discover them, and you'll save yourself a ton of cash," it added.

Roof problems can be caused by weather, which can decay roof materials, or a simple lack of maintenance, which most commonly makes a flat or low-sloped roof uneven, so it accumulates water that can destroy roofing material. While a few adjustments can be made by an amateur, the most important roof area to inspect is the flashing, which is supposed to provide a watertight seal between your roof's sections and other parts of the building, according to The Balance. If you try to install, adjust or replace the flashing yourself, you're risking a disaster. "Incorrect installation procedure or attachment, and improper sealing of the flashing will allow the water to enter between the roofing systems and the roof structure."

If the problem is the roof's design, including the slope, drainage or incompatible materials, you should also get an expert roofer involved before the leaks start leaving impressive levels of destruction. While design adjustments are expensive to correct and have to happen while another roofing material is happening, ignoring them will cost many more do-overs and potential roof failures.

Defective water-based plumbing appliances.

Being a homeowner requires a little bit of DIY plumbing for the occasional leaky faucet, clogged drain or stopped-up toilet, according to the Louisville, Kentucky-based Tom Sondergeld Plumbing. "These basic projects can be finished in a couple of hours and don't require any specialized skill," the owner admitted.

But there are larger plumbing issues that can't be ignored, or tackled by a homeowner who's handy with the wrench. One time not to skimp is when a water heater, sump pump or other water-based appliance stops functioning properly. "When these appliances need maintenance or replacement, it can be an extensive process," TSP advised. "A licensed plumber can either repair or replace the appliance properly."

Standing water.

All jokes about hourly rates and attire malfunctions aside, sometimes a plumber's efforts can prevent out and out disasters. One of these instances is when you spot standing water in the house, according to TSP. (Mysterious standing water, that is, not the result of a recent large dog being bathed or a spill you recognize.) The standing water can be close to a water heater, toilet or sink, but the damage may be far more extensive. "A plumber can see if there is more than meets the eye," TSP said. "Typically, standing water is a sign of a much larger problem. Before you start digging into the issue, call a professional and let them use their expertise to diagnose and treat the issue before your home becomes a splash park."

A dirty chimney.

Due to the potential for fires and dangerous fumes, sweeping the chimney annually is not optional, according to the Balance. "Hire a professional chimney sweep once a year to make sure your chimney is free of creosote, bird nests and other flammables," the site recommended.

Clogged gutters.

It may not seem like something worth paying someone to climb up on the roof for, but clogged gutters, downspouts that don't direct away from the house and improper grading can all lead to drainage problems. "All of them put your home's foundation at risk and invite water indoors," noted The Balance. "Now, not later, is the time to tackle those rainwater woes."

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Funeral arrangements for evangelist Billy Graham are set, public viewing scheduled

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 9:55 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 9:55 PM

Billy Graham Dead at 99

Famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, who counseled several presidents and preached to millions of people worldwide, died Wednesday, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was 99.

Funeral arrangements have now been finalized and a public viewing is scheduled for early next week.

READ MORE: Photos: Billy Graham through the yearsPhotos: Notable deaths 2018Billy Graham quotes: He made Christian principles accessible to millionsBilly Graham named among 10 most admired men for 59th timeMORE 

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Mysterious, unknown humming noise driving residents crazy for years

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 6:23 PM

Residents Driven Crazy For Years By Unknown, Humming Noise

Residents of a Canadian town have been plagued with a bizarre humming noise for years and say it’s completely wreaking havoc on the city.

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The persisting humming has been going on for years and has been described as a similar sound as a truck idling or distant thunder. Some residents even say that the noise has damaged their quality of life and people’s health. Residents have also called the Canadian House of Commons and complained of headaches, irritability, depression and sleeplessness from the noise.

Some residents even claim that the odd sound has been bothering their pets and has rattled windows in their homes.

But it’s not just limited to the city of Windsor, Ontario, either. The New York Times reports that it can be heard on the Detroit River and there have even been reports from McGregor, Ontario, 20 miles to the south.

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But, tracing the origin of the noise has been difficult because, apparently, not everyone can hear it. It could also be difficult to get the government to do anything about the hum as regulations typically only cover decibel levels that could lead to hearing damage or loss. Though, Dr. Darius Kohan, a neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital said that it is unlikely a low-frequency hum could cause damage to one’s hearing.

Sleuths have been looking for answers as to where the hum is actually coming from and have reportedly narrowed it down to furnace operations on Zug Island near the Detroit River. United States Steel, which operates the furnaces, have allegedly been “uncooperative and secretive” when it comes to inquiries about the hum.

Though Mike Provost, a resident of the city refuses to give up and has devoted six years to running a Facebook page that focuses on finding the source of the hum and debunking theories about it.

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I’ve got to keep going,” he told the NYT. “I’m not going to quit this.”

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Goodbye, margaritas? The world is headed toward a tequila shortage

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 2:56 PM

Refreshing Facts about the Margarita

There has been a spate of headlines over the past week heralding something pretty awful -- potentially less tequila on the liquor shelves.

“A Tequila Shortage Could Be on the Horizon,” a Fortune article announced on Feb. 1. Stories from other news outlets quickly followed, and they all have a similar doom-filled message.

Essentially, tequila producers can’t keep up with demand. That’s led to the skyrocketing cost for agave -- the Mexican plant from which tequila is distilled -- which has shot up six-fold in the past two years. That price squeezes the margins for smaller distillers and causes worry that even the bigger companies will be affected, according to Reuters.

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Since the plant takes seven to eight years to reach full maturity, the ideal point at which agave farmers harvest them for tequila, some farmers have resorted to pulling their plants early, before the agave is fully mature. The young agave doesn’t yield as much tequila, producing a cascading problem of supply.

The shortages are expected to be much worse this year, and they might not get better until 2021, “as improved planting strategies take years to bear fruit,” according to Reuters. In that time, small producers might not have the capital to stay in business.

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“Already, the 17.7 million blue agaves planted in 2011 in Mexico for use this year fall far short of the 42 million the industry needs to supply 140 registered companies,” the Reuters story said.

Finding sustainability in the tequila industry has been an ongoing issue. Though tequila was once that cheap liquor we took shots of in college with some lime and salt, in recent years, it has been recognized globally as an artisanal spirit made from a particular species of Mexican plant. With that recognition has come greater demand for tequila — and thus, a greater strain on the Agave tequilana plant.

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Mezcal and sotol have similarly found popularity, primarily in the U.S. because of our proximity to the Mexican border. But the demand isn’t nearly as high for them, and mezcal can be made from a wider range of agave plants. Tequila, which is technically a type of mezcal, comes specifically from blue agave.

What does all that mean for us? Well, we’ll probably still be able to order a margarita from our neighborhood bar in the coming year. But the price of our drinks and our bottles at the liquor store might depend upon whether the large producers, like Patron, experience the pinch that smaller tequila makers are already enduring. 

Industry insiders forecast that they will and that the problem isn’t about to let up soon.

“We are sure this will have a strong impact on the big firms such as Cuervo or Sauza,” Raul Garcia, president of the National Committee for Agave Production in Tequila, told Reuters, which noted those firms haven’t yet had problems paying for agave. 

An Austin-based brand, Dulce Vida Tequila, has also managed to stay afloat in the turbulent industry.

Tequila brands like the Austin-based Dulce Vida are finding ways to deal with skyrocketing agave prices, though many in the industry worry about a coming tequila shortage.(Thao Nguyen/Austin American-Statesman)

“Dulce Vida is mindful of its consumers when developing products and pricing,” according to a PR representative. “Amidst this initial shift, the brand has opted to remain consistent with their current pricing and premium-quality product.”

In 2016, Dulce Vida sold to Milestone Brands, a beverage development company formed by two former Deep Eddy Vodka executives. Other tequila brands have been consolidating as of late: Patron, from Austin billionaire John Paul DeJoria, recently sold to Bacardi, while George Clooney’s Casamigos was acquired by Diageo last year for $1 billion.

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