Kim Jong ... Ill?

The week's most fascinating story (or at least the most fascinating one not involving Gary Sheffield's wife) is probably the report from isolated and decidedly un-fun North Korea that several prominent photographs of dictator Kim Jong Il have been taken down. Meanwhile, state radio seems to have dropped the term "Dear Leader" when referring to the man in the beige suit.

For those concerned about Kim's health, or simply interested in obtaining a ... hmmmm ... "unique" view of world events, check out the Korea Central News Agency, the online arm of Pyongyang's propaganda apparatus.

There, one can scan the latest thoughtful editorial from the boys at the country's newspaper Rodong Sinmun, which reads:

"Lurking behind the U.S. imperialists' criminal moves to chill the growing desire of the Korean nation for independent reunification and bring the dark clouds of a nuclear war to hang over it is their wild ambition to realize their domination and hegemony."

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Well, duh!

There's also splendid news of the art exhibit in the North Korean capital that features works like "The First Footprints of Songun Leadership," and "Greeting Tree Planting Day among Soldiers," as well as "other paintings successfully depicting the great traits of leader Kim Jong Il who makes the endless long journey of Songun."

Plus, there are the exciting plans for the new Pyongyang Conservatoire, for which Kim chose the location and "indicated concrete orientation and ways for carrying out the project on the highest level in quality and sent a group of competent builders," KCNA reports.

"The soldier-builders of the Korean People's Security Forces in charge of the construction of the conservatoire," it adds, "have been fully displaying the might of the revolutionary army since the ground-breaking in March."

Fantastic! There's a lot wrong with the U.S. media, but at least on Friday afternoons, we have outlets like KCNA, Iran's Islamic Central News Agency and Syria's Arab News Agency to let us laugh at how much worse it is other places.


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