|Kim Jong Il|
In the wake of the death yesterday of Czech 'Velvet Revolution' hero Vaclav Havel, today the DPRK announced the passing of what amounts to his moral/historical opposite, Kim Jong Il. North Korea's eccentric and oppressive Stalinist leader is said to have died of heart failure (who knows they truth- the state long lied about were and when he was even born). Kim Jong Il was was 69 by most accounts, and is said to have suffered a stroke in 2008 that left him frail and looking to groom twenty-something son Kim Jong Un as a replacement.
The 'Hermit Kingdom's Kim Jong Il had actually appeared to be getting around OK on recent trips to China and Russia, yet it appears his taste for the high life at last did him in- he suffered from diabetes and heart disease.
A special announcement broke onto state TV to announce the death with a statement: "It is the biggest loss for the party ... and it is our people and nation's biggest sadness," an anchorwoman clad in black Korean traditional dress said in a voice choked with tears. She said the nation must "change our sadness to strength and overcome our difficulties."
Naturally the South Koreans had a little bit different take on events, and not just the lack of tears being shed: that country promptly put it's military on high alert as President Lee Myung-bak convened a national security council meeting after the news of death of 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong Il. The South was unable to confirm any of the reports.
Things largely appeared normal in Pyongyang, according to foreigners calling out of the North Korean capital- but Asian stock markets slipped on the news, as this all raises the possibility of increased instability in the nuclear-armed country (the Army -the real power in North Korea)- is said to not to favor peach-fuzzed Kim Jong Un)...