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Mourners fill snowy streets of Pyongyang for Kim Jong-il's funeral

The funeral of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il unfolded across the snow-laden streets of Pyongyang, a three-hour event that displayed the secretive regime's ability to choreograph elaborate state ceremonies.

(CNN) Pyongyang - A North Korean state television broadcast of the services showed a tearful Kim Jong Un, the son and chosen successor of Kim Jong Il, trudging through the snow alongside the procession as it began at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where Kim Jong-il's body had been lying in state since his death earlier this month.

One black car carried on its roof a coffin draped in the flag of the nation's Worker's Party. Another transported a giant portrait of a smiling Kim.

Senior officials accompanied the younger Kim, including Jang Song Taek, his uncle and a vice chairman of the National Defense Commission.

Soldiers stood with their heads bowed, their caps in hand. Their green uniforms contrasted starkly with the bright white snow as mournful music played.

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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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