A relentless North Korea will run nuclear tests for a third time; Wal-Mart faces a criminal investigation; clothing companies design gun-concealing apparel; a measure that would outlaw the death penalty makes the California ballot; Social Security will run out by 2033; and Gingrich hints at dropping out of the GOP race. Meanwhile, Kim and Kanye step out as a couple, as do Mila and Ashton; and Justin Bieber has a “Billie Jean” moment.
Exclusive: North Korea’s nuclear test ready “soon,” http://reut.rs/JnCoLw
North Korea is at it again. The reclusive country is testing its nuclear capabilities for a third time despite an embarrassing failed rocket launch last week. North Korea’s insistence on proving it’s a nuclear contender has caused hostility between it and the United States, as well as South Korea and China. Previous nuclear tests took place in 2006 and 2009.
Wal-Mart faces federal criminal probe tied to allegations of bribery in Mexico, http://wapo.st/J75dKb
The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into Wal-Mart after it was revealed that the store’s Mexican arm paid at least $24 million in bribes. Mexico provides a booming market for the retail chain, and Wal-Mart heads were paying bribes in return for quick building permits there. In December, Wal Mart voluntarily told the Justice Department that they believed its Mexican branch was taking part in bribery; however, that was long after the company had found out it was happening. In 2005, a whistleblower told Wal-Mart that bribes were taking place, but the company shut down the inquiry and did not inform law enforcement.
New Fashion Wrinkle: Stylishly Hiding the Gun, http://nyti.ms/JvjE0u
As more states pass concealed carry laws, clothing companies like Woolrich and Under Armour are designing clothing that will allow gun owners to discreetly carry and access their handguns. The apparel will look like everyday clothing and will not require a gun holster. “What we’ve tried to do is create a collection of garments that allows the end user to have stylish lifestyle apparel but have features in the garment that enable them to carry a weapon and draw the weapon quickly,” said the vice president of clothing company 5.11. Last year, 7 million Americans had a concealed-weapons permit, up 2 million people from 2008.
Measure that would end death penalty in California qualifies for ballot, http://lat.ms/IOFPuJ
A measure that would replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole has qualified for the ballot in California this November. If the measure passes, more than 700 people on death row would have their sentences commuted. California has one of the largest death rows in the United States. One of the reasons the measure has come up is that it would save the state a great deal of money. The legal process for those sentenced takes so long that most inmates die of old age before facing lethal injection. Not to mention, in the past 23 years, the 13 inmates that California executed cost taxpayers $4 billion.
Social Security moving toward insolvency even faster; officials say, as boomers start retiring, http://wapo.st/IBHrZE
The federal government revealed yesterday that Social Security may run out by 2033, three years earlier than previously predicted. The weak economy paired with a large number of aging baby boomers has contributed to the quickly dwindling funds, which lawmakers have not made moves to fix. Medicare will also be insolvent as early as 2024. Government officials have said that Congress must act quickly and drastically to save both Social Security and Medicare.
Gingrich hints he may drop from race this week, http://on.msnbc.com/IeQX35
Newt Gingrich told a crowd in Delaware yesterday that if he does not do well in the state’s primary he will “reassess” his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. Delaware is a winner-take-all state, but if Gingrich does not receive many votes in the primary he will “need to take a deep look at what [he is] doing.” Gingrich also noted that while Mitt Romney is the frontrunner “that doesn’t mean he is inevitable.”
Katrina vanden Heuvel wants to combat new voting laws in a “Vote for Universal Registration,” http://wapo.st/
Russell Brand Testifies on Drug Addiction, Calls It a Health Matter, http://eonli.ne/ImqzXx
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Step Out Holding Hands: Now Is It Official?, http://eonli.ne/I2X1Lz
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Spend Weekend Together, http://bit.ly/I6ZIRu
Demi Lovato says promoters gave her drugs and alcohol, http://cbsn.ws/JnHabW
Justin Bieber pens song about baby-claim fan Mariah Yeater, http://usat.ly/Iq2S18
Tags: 5.11, concealed carry laws, Justice Department, katrina vanden heuvel, Medicare, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Russell Brand, Social Security, the death penalty, under armour, universal registration, Wal-Mart, woolrich