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TOPIC: kim il sung

This Happened

This Happened—December 28: The Original Strongman Of North Korea

After serving in World War II as a Korean-contingent major in the Soviet Army, Kim Il-Sung became the first premier of the newly formed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Years later, he would become the nation’s supreme ruler.

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Syria Truce Dying, Ivory Burning, One-Minute Workout


Few had dared to consider the five-year-long conflict in Syria over. Yet for the past two months a fragile truce among some, though not all, the warring sides had offered a bit of hope that peace might not be too far off. Casualties were down, diplomats were talking, life was even returning to normal in the capital, Damascus. But recent events appear to be pointing Syria decidedly back toward all-out war. At least 20 civilians were killed yesterday in regime strikes in the country's largest city Aleppo, the latest brutal news on the ground as warring factions intensify attacks. Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy to Syria, said this morning that the the partial truce is "barely alive" pleading with the U.S. and Russia to salvage ongoing peace talks.

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A Chilling Tale Of Ordinary Japanese Abducted By North Korean Spies

AGEO - Shigeo Iizuka still has the black-and-white photo of his little sister, Yaeko, stuck on the inside cover of his pocket diary. It was June 1978, when the 22-year-old suddently disappeared, taken from the bustling heart of Tokyo and transferred to North Korea to be used as a teacher of Japanese language and customs for the spies of Kim Jong-il, the son of the leader of the time, Kim Il-sung.

"No one can imagine the tragedy that we have been through. I still yearn for the years I spent with my sister," sighs Iizuka, a Japanese engineer who is still working at the age of 75.

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North Korean Celluloid: Welcome To The Pyongyang Film Festival

PYONGYANG - The austere, angular façade of the Taedongmun movie theater, surmounted by large statues depicting a worker, a soldier and a peasant, gives off an air of power and authority.

The date of construction, 1955, is carved into the building, which stands close to Kim Il-sung Square, near the center of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. A hostess greets us in traditional garb - a long pink jogori coat covered with flowers embroidered in gold. She takes us through the renovated lobby, lit by a crystal chandelier. In the theater, the chairs are red velvet. The lights go off, the movie starts.

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North Korea
Philippe Pons

Is North Korea Moving Toward A Post-Totalitarian Regime?

Recent pictures of Kim Jong-un and his wife attending public events is just one sign that has insiders wondering whether North Korea has started to shift toward a 'post-totalitarian' regime.

Beyond the eye-catching anecdotal – Kim Jong-un and his wife linking arms while attending a Walt Disney show at the opening ceremony of a theme park – one may seriously begin to ask if North Korea is quietly shifting toward a post-totalitarian regime.

The answer to that question won’t come from Pyongyang: the propaganda media have just swept away all speculations over the country initiating “reforms”, referring to them as “hallucinations” – a statement that is not to be taken literally as the politically loaded word “reform” is prohibited in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Since everything in the DPRK is “perfect”, those can only be called “adjustments.” Yet, it is undeniable that the country is changing. But to what extent?

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