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Baptist Pastor Links North Korean War Threats to Gay Marriage, Debate Over Boy Scouts: AUDIO

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Fred Luter, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, agreed with religious right talk show host Rick Wiles late last week that there is probably a connection between Kim Jong-un's sabre-rattling against the United States and the Supreme Court's consideration of marriage equality and the debate over gays in the Boy Scouts, Right Wing Watch reports:

KimjongunWiles: You know at precisely the same time the Supreme Court is hearing these arguments on same-sex marriage in Asia a crazy man in possession of nuclear weapons, Kim Jong-un, is openly saying: I have ordered our military to position our rockets on US targets in Hawaii, Japan, Guam and the mainland of the United States. He has gone into a full state of war this week. I don’t know, Pastor Luter, I don’t know if anybody is — I know they’re not — they’re just not putting this together. You got this happening over here and you got this happening over here: could the two be connected? Could our slide into immorality be what is unleashing this mad man over here in Asia to punish us?

Luter: It could be a possibility, I’m not that strong in prophecy but I would not be surprised that there’s not a connection there simply because of the fact we’ve seen it happen in scripture before. I would not be surprised that at the time when we are debating same-sex marriage, at a time when we are debating whether or not we should have gays leading the Boy Scout movement, I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that we have a mad man in Asia who is saying some of the things that he’s saying.

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...

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North Korea Conducts Third Nuclear Test: VIDEO

Quake

The international community reacted swiftly after a false earthquake in North Korea was confirmed to be a long-threatened third nuclear test, the NYT reports:

North_koreaThe KCNA said it used a “miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously” and that the test “did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment.”

The test drew a crescendo of international condemnation Tuesday, with President Obama calling it a “highly provocative act” that demands “swift and credible action by the international community” against North Korea. Russia, Britain, South Korea and the United Nations similarly quickly condemned the blast. The head of the international nuclear watchdog called the test “deeply regrettable”and the United Nations Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting at 9 a.m. New York time to take up the matter.

Preliminary estimates by South Korea suggested the test was much more powerful than the previous two conducted by the North.

The map at top shows the "earthquake" recorded early Tuesday. North Korea confirmed a "successful" nuclear test on State TV.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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North Korea Releases Propaganda Video Featuring Attack on U.S. City, 'We Are the World': VIDEO

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North Korea's official website, Uriminzokkiri, uploaded a bizarre new propaganda video on Saturday.

NkThe Telegraph explains:

The video is shot as a dream sequence, with a young man seeing himself on board a North Korean space shuttle launched into orbit by the same type of rocket Pyongyang successfully tested in December.

As the shuttle circles the globe - to the tune of "We Are the World" - the video zooms in on countries below, including a joyfully re-unified Korea.

In contrast, the focus then switches to a city - shrouded in the US flag - under apparent missile attack with its skyscrapers, including what appears to be the Empire State Building, either on fire or in ruins.

"Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing," runs the caption across the screen.
"It seems that the nest of wickedness is ablaze with the fire started by itself," it added.

The video ends with the young man concluding that his dream will "surely come true".

"Despite all kinds of attempts by imperialists to isolate and crush us... never will anyone be able to stop the people marching toward a final victory," it said.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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North Korea Launches Long Range Rocket, Claims to Put Satellite in Orbit: VIDEO

Nkorea

North Korea launched a long-range rocket and claimed to have launched a satellite into space yesterday, in a move that angered the world community, particularly South Korea and Japan, which the rocket's path traversed, NBC News reports:

U.S. officials told NBC News that it appeared the North Koreans had indeed launched an object, possibly a satellite, into space.

In a statement, the White House said the rocket launch was a highly provocative act that threatens regional security and violates U.N. resolutions. A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he "deplores" the launch.

Ban said it was "all the more regrettable because it defies the unified and strong call from the international community." He added that he was "in close touch with the government concerned."

Missile warning systems detected the launch at 7:49 p.m. ET, and initial reports indicate that the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea. The second stage was predicted to fall into the Philippine Sea, according to a statement issued by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency said earlier that the rocket was fired from the Sohae Satellite Launch Center on the secretive country's west coast, and said that the Kwangmyongsong weather satellite went into orbit as planned.

Watch RT's report and the Japanese and South Korean reaction, AFTER THE JUMP...

The White House has condemned the launch. Said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor:

"North Korea is only further isolating itself by engaging in such provocative acts. Devoting scarce resources to the development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons has not brought it security and acceptance by the international community — and never will. North Korea will only truly strengthen itself by abiding by international norms, living up to its commitments and international obligations, and working to feed its citizens, to educate its children, and to win the trust of its neighbors."

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NEWS: Coke In Pyongyang, Hantavirus In Yosemite, Mitt In Action

Soggy-Louisiana-slowly-recovers-from-Isaac-AR26MDQT-x-large

Towleroad-roadicon Isaac's aftermath.

Towleroad-roadicon Mitt ... helps? ... a woman who's lost her house to the storm.

S-RREED-largeTowleroad-roadicon The revenant Ralph Reed.

Towleroad-roadicon Augmented cell phones will soon be able to screen for HIV:

The gadget, called Smartscope, is a small 1-millimeter (0.04-inch) microscope and light which clips over a smartphone's camera.

A standard chip with a blood sample then slides into the gadget in front of the microscope. Next, a special phone programme photographs the sample and analyses the cells.

The team hopes that trials in clinics may start next year ...

The new technology is destined for AIDS treatment in remote communities in South Africa and Swaziland, where clinics often don't have the technology to do these tests effectively.

Towleroad-roadicon A lonely Greek gay boy's imaginary friend comes to life, looking rather like Maria Callas circa 1972.

Towleroad-roadicon Two dead, thousands at risk from hantavirus after a stay in Yosemite:

Yosemite officials earlier this week shut down all 91 of the insulated tent cabins after finding deer mice, which carry the disease and can burrow through holes the size of pencil erasers, nesting between the [cabins'] double walls.

Park authorities said on Friday that they had contacted approximately 3,000 parties of visitors who stayed in the tent cabins since mid-June, advising them to seek immediate medical attention if they have symptoms of hantavirus.

Towleroad-roadicon Coca-Cola reaches Pyongyang. Freedom can't be far behind.

Towleroad-roadicon California's John Perez, the first openly-gay speaker of a state legislature, to speak at the Democratic National Convention.

Towleroad-roadicon Frank Bruni on the RNC:

... you certainly didn’t see anyone openly gay on the stage in Tampa. More to the point, you didn’t hear mention of gays and lesbians. Scratch that: Mike Huckabee, who has completed a ratings-minded transformation from genial pol to dyspeptic pundit, made a derisive reference to President Obama’s support for same-sex marriage. We were thus allowed a fleeting moment inside the tent, only to be flogged and sent back out into the cold.

ZimmermanIt was striking not because a convention or political party should make a list of minority groups and dutifully put a check mark beside each ... It was striking because the Republicans went so emphatically far, in terms of stagecraft and storytelling, to profess inclusivenes ...

Towleroad-roadicon Republicans to descend on DNC for counter-convention, because ... they're unhappy with the one they just had?

... as many as 50 “communicators” ... will be stationed right outside the gates of the Time Warner Cable Arena. And there will be plenty of gimmicks and props, including “You Build It” Legos, “You Build It” Monopoly and plenty of Kleenex “because breaking up is hard to do.”

Towleroad-roadicon You've heard folkie Roy Zimmerman's not-quite-hit "Defenders of Marriage"? Or his "Romney Mitt: The Demon Barber Of Wall Street"? Well -- do, if you haven't. And AFTER THE JUMP, find out what he learned at the RNC ...

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Two Terrible Centennials: VIDEO

KimilTitanic

On April 15th, 1912, the Titanic sank in the icy north Atlantic. Some 1,500 human beings lost their lives to drowning and hypothermia. On April 15, 2012, hundreds of other human beings take to the oceans to pay their respects.

At the same time, thousands of North Koreans take to the Pyongyang streets to mark the 100th birthday of Kim il-Sung in Mangyeongdaeguyeok. Though it made fewer headlines at the time, hindsight has proven the birth of Kim il-Sung a far crueler tragedy than the Titanic's sinking; Kim and his progeny have killed well over a thousand Titanics' worth of human beings through starvation, war, and political oppression. Nevertheless, the commemorations of the birth are rather less somber than those of the sinking. Watch an excerpt from North Korean TV AFTER THE JUMP ...

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