Washington, D.C., has joined dozens of other jurisdictions across the country that are suing online travel companies for tens of millions of dollars in what they claim to be unpaid hotel taxes.
The Internet travel industry is growing fast. Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz raked in more than $7 billion last year. Revenue from hotel bookings on Orbitz alone shot up more than 10 percent to about $200 million.
Like millions of Americans, Jerome Hicks, an assistant property manager in Rockville, Md., makes all his hotel and plane reservations on the Internet.
The United Nations is warning that 6 million North Koreans — a quarter of the population — could be at risk of starvation. It's warning of a likely humanitarian crisis, with North Korea's public distribution system set to run out of food in May.
North Korean food shortages are no longer news, but this year Pyongyang has made unusually public pleas for food aid, raising fears as well as suspicions.
In North Korea, from May until July is called the "lean season." This year they're already using other Orwellian euphemisms, too, like "alternative food."