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Tourists say situation ‘normal’ in North Korea

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The situation on the ground in North Korea appears normal and calm, tourists and guides say, despite high international tensions and Pyongyang warning diplomats to consider leaving.

With the Korean peninsula in crisis and Pyongyang threatening a nuclear strike against the US, North Korean authorities have told embassies they would be unable to guarantee their safety if a conflict breaks out.

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But tourists are still visiting the largely isolated state, with several groups on board a flight back to Beijing on Saturday.

“We’re glad to be back but we didn’t feel frightened when we were there,” said Tina Krabbe, from Denmark, who spent five days in the country.

“It didn’t feel like there was much tension in the city. We were OK actually.”

A 15-year-old from Hong Kong on a school trip said: “My mum thought a war was going to break out or something like that.”

But he added: “What we saw was all peaceful. There was absolutely no conflict… there was no unrest.”

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Visitors said they had been able to watch BBC news in their foreigner-only hotels.

A man and woman with American accents, carrying hand luggage only and no souvenirs, declined to be interviewed and said they were not allowed to talk to the media.

Nicholas Bonner, founder of Koryo Tours, who has been organising trips to North Korea for 20 years and visited last week, said life was “carrying on as normal”.

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“It is certainly tense, but people are going on with their daily work and tourism is continuing and people have been very hospitable,” he said.

“Everyone just hopes that it’ll blow over.”

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Western tourism to North Korea remains small-scale, with the country’s marginalised nature acting as a draw for some travellers, but is only possible as part of an organised tour with local escorts.


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WATCH: Trump looks on as Turkey’s Erdo?an denies the Armenian Genocide ever occurred

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President Donald Trump looked on as Turkish President Recep Erdo?an denied the Armenian Genocide during a joint press conference at the White House.

Trump allowed Erdo?an's visit despite Turkey's ethnic cleansing of America's Kurdish allies in northern Syria.

Onlookers were shocked that Erdo?an did this in front of the president and multiple Republican senators.

From the White House, Erdogan is ranting about the Armenian Genocide, saying it didn’t happen and that he wants to set up a “history commission.”

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‘The country got an education’: Nicolle Wallace explains why impeachment could move public opinion

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MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace offered her analysis after the day of televised hearings in the impeachment inquiry.

Wallace, who served as White House communications director under President George W. Bush, drew upon her experience as a top Republican strategist.

"Listen, I haven’t spent a nanosecond in a courtroom, but I’ve spent my career in the court of public opinion. And if you look at what the Democrats have set out to do and you look at why this has swung public opinion in a way the Mueller probe never did is that they have laid brick on top of brick on top of brick," Wallace explained.

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Room erupts in laughter as Democrat Peter Welch destroys Jim Jordan during impeachment hearing

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There was a moment of levity four-hours into the first televised hearing in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the bombastic Freedom Caucus member who was added to the committee at the last moment by Republicans, had argued that the White House whistleblower started the scandal.

"There’s one witness, one witness that they won’t bring in front of us, they won’t bring in front of the American people, and that’s the guy who started it all, the whistleblower," Jordan argued.

Unfortunately for the wrestling coach turned politician, Jordan was followed by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).

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