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North Korea

Spotlight: Happy Birthday Kim Jong-Un!?

A Kim Jong-un sticker in Washington, D.C.
A Kim Jong-un sticker in Washington, D.C.

Kim Jong-un will be celebrating his 33rd birthday this Sunday. Wishes and presents are usually in order on this type of occasion, but it's difficult to see any desire the North Korean dictator hasn't already seen fulfilled in his five years in power.

For starters, the cult of personality has never been bigger in North Korea. As NK News recently reported, Kim's approach when it comes to imposing his image is "quantitative, not qualitative." New statues of the young leader rise on a regular basis in squares around the country, and his "Image of the Sun" portrait has been copied tens of thousands of times. More recently, Kim even seems to have managed to ban Christmas, replacing it with his grandmother's birthday.

His purge among the country's elite seems to be going just fine too, though it's been some time since he last had an official executed by an anti-aircraft gun. Though the economy still suffers from absolute state control and international isolation, Kim has managed to bring ATMs to Pyongyang and North Korean food is finding a niche or two overseas.

But perhaps of most relevance for the rest of the world, is what U.S. intelligence sources call a "qualitative" improvement in North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities. Kim used New Year's Day to boast that his country was preparing a test of its first intercontinental ballistic missile, which could reach the continental United States. To this vow, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted back his resolution: "It won't happen!"

Exclamation points have never meant so much, and so little.

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Violence Against Women, The Patriarchy And Responsibility Of The Good Men Too

The femicide of Giulia Cecchettin has shaken Italy, and beyond. Argentine journalist Ignacio Pereyra looks at what lies behind femicides and why all men must take more responsibility.

photo of a young man holding a sign: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

A protester's sign referring to the alleged killer reads: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press
Ignacio Pereyra

Updated Dec. 3, 2023 at 10:40 p.m.


ATHENS — Are you going to write about what happened in Italy?, Irene, my partner, asks me. I have no idea what she's talking about. She tells me: a case of femicide has shaken the country and has been causing a stir for two weeks.

As if the fact in itself were not enough, I ask what is different about this murder compared to the other 105 women murdered this year in Italy (or those that happen every day around the world).

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We are talking about a country where the expression "fai l'uomo" (be a man) abounds, with a society so prone to drama and tragedy and so fond of crime stories as few others, where the expression "crime of passion" is still mistakenly overused.

In this context, the sister of the victim reacted in an unexpected way for a country where femicide is not a crime recognized in the penal code, contrary to what happens, for example, in almost all of Latin America.

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