North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un paid his third visit to a typhoon-ravaged region to tour a “socialist fairyland” that was erected by soldiers in the wake of the destruction, state media reported Tuesday.
Kim met with soldiers to praise them for helping quickly rebuild the Kangbuk-ri village in the North Hwanghae Province, south of Pyongyang, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
The state media outlet said that soldiers had “removed all the traces of the natural disaster” and rebuilt the surrounding villages as a “socialist fairyland.”
Kim was quoted as saying that those in charge of the efforts were the “creators of all miracles on this land.”
“The genuine might of the People’s Army lies not in the number of troops and the might of ammunitions but in their ardent love for their country and people and their mental power,” he said in a statement released by KCNA.
He was also photographed days earlier checking on a region hit hard by floods in the same province, which has seen three consecutive typhoons in recent weeks.
The despot has been seen in public only a handful of times this year, fueling rumors that he’s either dead, in a coma or recovering from a botched heart operation.
There’s also been speculation that photos of Kim were doctored or fake as online sleuths point to discrepancies in facial, hairline and dental features from earlier appearances.
With Post wires
GOP Sen. Murkowski opposes SCOTUS nominee vote before election
Sen. Lisa Murkowski said on Sunday that she opposes having the Senate vote on President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the Supreme Court before the election — the second Republican senator to object to filling the seat before Nov. 3.
“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,” the Alaska senator said in a statement.
“I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia. We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply,” the statement continued.
On Saturday, Sen. Susan Collins, who is running for re-election in Maine, said she would be against pushing through the nomination in the 44 days before the November election.
“In order for the American people to have in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently – no matter which political party is in power,” Collins said in a statement posted on Twitter, saying she has no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee reviewing the nominee’s credentials.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election. In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected in November 3,” Collins said.
Trump made his feelings about Murkowski’s decision earlier Sunday when news reports said that she would be against taking up the nomination.
He remarked “No thanks!” to a tweet from the Alaska Chamber announcing that Murkowski would take part in a town hall on Sept. 22.
Murkowski and Collins objecting to a vote on the nomination before the election jeopardizes the majority that the Republicans would need to approve a nominee, lowering the 53-47 advantage they have to 51.
It would take four GOP senators to oppose the nominee to get beyond Vice President Mike Pence’s potential tie-breaking vote.
Other GOP senators, like Mitt Romney, who bucked Republicans in February and voted to impeach Trump over his dealings with the Ukraine president, and Cory Gardener, who’s in a knock-down, drag-out election fight in Colorado, could also defect but have so far been quiet about their intentions.
Murkowski and Collins were referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holding up former President Barack Obama’s nominating Merrick Garland in 2016 to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
McConnell said the nomination should not go through in an election year.
With Post wires
NYC subway station sign altered in Ruth Bader Ginsburg tribute
It’s the “supreme” tribute for a New York-born icon.
A tile sign for Manhattan’s 50th Street station on the C/E line was doctored to read “Ruth St.” in memory of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at 87 from complications of pancreatic cancer.
Twitter account Plannedalism blasted out a video of the handiwork late Saturday — in which the “50” was altered into an “RU” — though it wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the guerrilla memorial, or if it remained intact Sunday.
In the clip, a straphanger is seen using her phone to take a photo of the subterranean tribute to a lion of the highest court in the land.
There’s precedent for the memorial.
Soul great Aretha Franklin was similarly honored after her 2018 passing — with fans altering signs at the Franklin Street 1-train station in Manhattan, and the Franklin Avenue A/C station in Brooklyn — while fellow music legend Prince was memorialized at Manhattan’s Prince Street R/W station in 2016.
The MTA liked the impromptu Franklin tribute so much that they made it official, adding stickers at the station reading “Respect.”
Brooklyn born and raised, Ginsburg had served on the Supreme Court since 1993 and was remembered as a champion of equal rights.
Hundreds of mourners assembled outside a Lower Manhattan courthouse late Saturday to pay their respects to the jurist.
Six accused of starting Oregon blazes amid wildfire season
At least six men in Oregon have been accused of intentionally setting blazes during the state’s devastating wildfire season, according to a report.
There is no evidence that the suspects were motivated by politics, despite conspiracies that such an animus has fueled the fires that have burned more than a million acres, Oregon Lives reported.
Instead, some of the blazes were attributed to petty beef, relationship troubles and enjoying the “smell of smoke,” officials said.
One of the alleged arsonists, Jedediah Ezekiel Fulton, 39, was discovered setting fires July 28 in the woods outside Glide after he became upset with a member of a local forest protection organization, the outlet reported.
“Jedediah was mad because the guy from (the Douglas Forest Protection Association) would not help him and not give him a ride to town,” authorities wrote in a probable cause affidavit.
Then, Elias Newton Pendergrass, 44, was busted in connection with the Sweet Creek Fires on Aug. 30 after threatening to burn down the town of Mapletown if his girlfriend broke up with him, the outlet reported.
Others appear to have troubled backgrounds.
Jonathan Wayne Maas, 44, was busted for starting a blaze Sept. 9 near a disc golf course in Dexter, about 20 miles from the Holiday Farm fire that has spread to 170,000 acres.
Maas — whose rap sheet includes convictions for forgery, burglary and firearm possession – confessed to authorities that he tossed a flare into a forested area in the hopes of starting a fire, the outlet reported.
Then two days later, 53-year-old Samuel Piatt, who is homeless, told officers that he “likes the smell of smoke” when he was busted for lighting a large pile of leaves in Oregon City, the report said.
Another homeless man, Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, was accused of going on a 12-hour spree that began Sept. 13 in which he set multiple brush fires along Interstate 2015 in Portland, the outlet reported.
He admitted to the fires and was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, authorities said.
Glenn Corbett, a professor of fire science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said the wildfire coverage could be motivating those with incendiary tendencies to commit the crimes.
“All that people are talking about right now is these fires, it’s on TV and in the newspapers,” Glenn told the outlet. “I would imagine this could be sort of a motivator for people who had those types of tendencies to begin with. It can certainly move them to becoming a participant.”
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