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North Korea willing to accept displaced Libyans
(Pyongyang) Egypt, Tunisia and Italy have borne the brunt of the wave of Libyans fleeing leader Moammar Gaddafi's crackdown on the country's anti-regime movement, but now they have help from an unexpected source. Kim Jong-Il today announced North Korea is "eager" to receive refugees from Libya, "especially if they bring food."
"The peasants are hungering to help, and will welcome with open woks their North African brothers and sisters and their Afri-Italian-Mediterranean cuisine, such lamb with olives, onions and spices," Kim told detained western journalists in the port city of Wonsan.
Kim said any Libyans wishing to make the two week journey would receive discounted flights on state-owned Air Koryo, a public-private partnership between North Korea and Southwest Air. "If they purchase tickets with gold during the next 72 hours, they will be entitled to bring a second carry-on at no charge, if that carry-on contains food," added the Dear Leader.
Kim emphasized the initiative is motivated by a desire to help the displaced, not by decades-long cycles of chronic food shortages. "The North Korean people are hard-working and productive, and do not have to eat cats as is often claimed in the decadent western press," he said.
"And anyway, cats have been extinct in North Korea since 1998," Kim said.
CSPAN to carry Clarence Thomas' thought balloons
In an abrupt departure from its history of limiting media coverage of its proceedings, the Supreme Court will allow Associate Justice Clarence Thomas' thought balloons to be carried on television, the high court announced today.
After March 31, the CSPAN public affairs channel will carry the Thomas feed. When court is in session, CSPAN 3 will place Thomas' words in thought balloons superimposed over a photograph of him.
A webcam view of Thomas is ruled out because the court continues to disallow video coverage. Despite this limitation, the change is being made to bring the court into the modern age, said spokesman Lowder D. Wiig. "The court recognizes the new ways the public accesses information today, and also wants to respond to overwhelming interest in what Justice Thomas has to say or, as the case may be, to not say," he said.
The innovation is made possible by a helmet equipped with encephalometric sensors keyed to Thomas' brainwave patterns. Thoughts are translated into English and transmitted wirelessly into the Library of Congress computer network, where it is picked up by CSPAN.
"It could be anything that he thinks -- 'hey, my wife works for the party of the first part,' 'I could really use a Coke right now,' or even, 'that lady lawyer sure is fine'," said Wiig, emphasizing that a three-second delay button will be used to keep the thought balloons family friendly.
"The button will be controlled by former Justice David Souter, who will use it according to the 'I Know It When I See It' standard in Miller v. California," Wiig said.
Thomas had no comment on this story.
Praise for Gulf spill compensation fund
"My claim was paid quickly," Tony Hayward says
Support was voiced today for the fund responsible for compensating people and businesses impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The public praise stands in contrast to recent sharp criticism of the fund, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), and Kenneth Feinberg, the fund's federally-appointed administrator.
"My experience with the fund was a good one," said Tony Hayward, 53. Hayward submitted a $50 million claim for lost wages last year, soon after being laid off from his job at a large company operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I didn't have much hope I would ever see a penny, but my claim was paid quickly and in full," he said.
"The check arrived only a week after I sent in my claim, and it was like I got my life back," Hayward said, describing how he had been preparing to sell some of his family's most precious possessions -- including listing his 52-foot yacht, 'Bob,' with a broker.
Fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg called the story of Hayward's experience "wonderful and heartwarming," adding that it proves the GCCF is achieving its goals. "The money is getting to people who need it, and protecting yacht crew jobs, some of which are American," Feinberg said.
Update: Hayward has since found part-time work in Russia.
Hefner cuts diplomatic relations with Berlusconi
Violations of Mojo control treaty claimed
Hugh Hefner abruptedly severed diplomatic relations with Silvio Berlusconi last night and each expelled the others' ambassadors, an escalation in the long running Mojo War.
The Playboy magnate, 84, took the action over the latest evidence Italian prime minister Berlusconi, 74, is conducting a mistress race with Hefner. Today Berlusconi was indicted on charges of abuse of power and having sex with Karima "Ruby Heartbreaker" El Mahrough, a dancer, when she was 17.
"Rubygate is final proof of Berlusconi's program to close the Mojo gap with Hefner," said Playboy's Foreign Secretary Of The Month Mandi Kissinger.
In response, Berlusconi Ambassador Sophia Doppiodee -- returning to Rome after being declared persona non grata -- denied Kissinger's charges. "There is no unauthorized production of Mojo, and Silvio is not engaged in a mistress race," said Doppiodee, 20.
Playboy has long alleged Berlusconi has been violating the Playboy-Italy Mojo limitation treaty, the 2007 pact which locked-in Hefner's 10-to-1 dominance over the Italian in Mojo deployment. At the time, the world agreed that Hefner was the only superpower responsible enough to possess a large arsenal of Mojo.
Violations have never been found, despite repeated inspections by Hans Blix and the Swedish Bikini Team. In November 2010, Blix failed to find unauthorized mistresses in hidden bunkers.
Leading diplomats today are urging both sides remain calm. Former President Bill Clinton, the world's leading Mojo control expert, said he is ready to open shuttle diplomacy between Los Angeles and Rome.
Mubarak deposed while working as EgyptAir hostess on "Undercover Boss"
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was in seclusion in the Los Angeles area this afternoon, after being toppled by the popular uprising that began January 25.
Mubarak, 85, was out of Egypt working as a flight attendent for state-owned EgyptAir, part of his participation in the NBC reality program "Undercover Boss."
The program was following Mubarak as he posed as female flight attendant 'Debbie Rashid.' That Mubarak's Boeing 767 airliner took off from Cairo only minutes before Vice President Omar Suleiman announced control of the government had been turned over to the military was "purely coincidental," according to NBC spokesman Philip Taylor.
"The president is saddened that his effort to learn about the everyday challenges faced by working people gave other working people an opening to overthrow his government," Taylor said.
"President Mubarak is distraught to be stranded abroad during this crisis," continued Taylor, "having been looking forward to returning home, after overnighting in the "Undercover Boss" Marina Del Rey luxury condo with Suzi, Sandi, Sandra, Jason, and other members of the flight crew."
The State Department says Mubarak has yet to contact it for help. But Felix Leiter of the Office of Protocol expects the now former head of state to request asylum, "as soon as he is out of the Jacuzzi."
Seattle named to Most Livable City list by Mole People Monthly
Long recognized for the Space Needle, monorail, festivals, parks, and other above ground attractions, Seattle is now being celebrated for what lies beneath, with a major magazine for Mole People putting the Emerald City on its annual list of Most Livable Cities.
"Seattle is a visionary metropolis with plentiful underground passages," according to Talia Soricomore in the Mole People Monthly cover story, "Seattle: Eternal City of Tunnels."
"Don't be fooled by superficial vistas of water, mountains and grand architecture, this town has subterranean beauty by the shovelful," writes Soricomore. "Mole People families will love Seattle's downtown transit tunnel, Red Square parking garage on the UW campus, light rail tunnels, Brightwater sewage treatment tunnel, and five public golf courses."
She also writes: "There is also extensive burrowing planned for the future -- such as the Capitol Hill rail tunnel, a lidded Highway 520 interchange in Montlake, and $2 billion central waterfront tunnel -- confirming the Seattle commitment to underground living is for real."
Reached at Mole People Monthly offices in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Soricomore said she expects Seattle to become a popular destination for Mole People tourism and conventions.
"Seattle has everything Mole People look for," she said. "Tourist attractions such as the Underground Seattle Tour in Pioneer Square and Down Under area of Pike Place Market are already popular with the daylight crowd, you just need to market them better."
"Hopefully this article will help make Mole People aware of these civic treasures. You might even see more Mole People moving into the area," Soricomore added.
Seattle debuts on the list at #3. Perennial #1 New York City retains the top spot due to its extensive subway system, while the "Big Dig" megaproject keeps Boston at #2 for the fourth straight year.
Arizona to allow citizenship for illegal babies who can take oath
Arizona lawmakers today passed a compromise immigration bill that puts a stop to so-called anchor babies, the practice of granting automatic citizenship to children of noncitizens born in the state. If signed by Governor Jan Brewer, SB 2525 stops short of banning such citizenship outright.
"This corrects the problem of anchor babies -- granting US citizenship like a door prize, created by what SB 2525 supporters believe is an erroneous interpretation of the 14th Amendment," said State Sen. Jack Ash (R-Raisin).
"But no one wants innocent children treated unfairly, least of all Arizona, so we have built-in a path to citizenship for the most deserving cases," Ash explained. "Basically, if the baby can say the citizenship oath, it's welcome to America amigo."
SB 2525 provides for an alternative for children unable to speak, which Ash explained was a concession to the Americans With Disabilities Act. An infant can choose to write out the oath, or spell it out using alphabet blocks or magnetic letters on a board. "If it's in English, we'll take them," Ash said.
Joan Gasee of the Phoenix-based think tank Free Arizona Reform Taskforce (FART) thinks the law will be good for the Grand Canyon state. "Newborn babies who can say the oath, maybe even write it out, in English? You bet we'll take them! Our 8th graders rank forty-second in the country in reading," Gassee said.
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