Where in the world
Some news from the Korean peninsula
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korean leader Kim Jong Il hasn't appeared in public since his country test-fired missiles that drew international condemnation, leading to speculation of a possible sense of crisis inside the reclusive nation.This is interesting for Kim Jong II has never been known to keep a low profile since taking over from his father.
Kim attended a Russian art performance and visited a tire factory July 4, a day before the missile launches, and he hasn't appeared publicly since, according to South Korea's spy agency.
The North's propaganda machine hasn't reported on Kim's activities since the missile launches, but last week the country's official news agency said Kim sent a consolation message to ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Kim usually visits military units a few times a month to bolster his "songun," or "military-first," policy that rewards the 1.1 million-member military with the country's scarce resources despite chronic food shortages.
Of Kim's 131 public activities last year, 70 events were military-related, according to South Korea's Unification Ministry. So far this year, 52 of 69 public activities were connected to the military, the backbone of Kim's totalitarian rule.
Some North Korea watchers have speculated that Kim might be in a bunker, since the country is believed to have imposed a quasi-war footing after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution condemning the missile tests and calling for nations to stop any missile-related trade with it.
Then there's this news
Cuba's communist government said on Friday that Raul Castro was firmly in charge of the country but uncertainty over its political future grew as the new acting president still did not appear in public.Raul Castro is missing too. Some people don't believe much in coincidences. Did both these leaders abandon their countries?
The ruling Communist Party newspaper Granma provided no new details on the condition of ailing leader Fidel Castro four days after he handed over power temporarily to his brother after surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding.
"Raul is firmly at the helm of the nation and the armed forces," Granma said.
Rejecting calls by United States President George Bush for a transition to multi-party democracy after 47 years under Fidel Castro, the newspaper said the situation in Cuba was totally calm.
"The word transition does not exist in the vocabulary of Cubans here," Granma said, dismissing Bush's statement on Thursday as "unacceptable".
Many Cubans wondered when Raul (75) would speak to the nation after Fidel ceded power to him.
"Raul will have to appear at some point. That is what we are all waiting for," said Antonio Cabana, a worker in Central Havana.
The only sign of the younger Castro was a photo on Granma's front-page of his arrest at age 22 following the near-suicidal assault led by his brother on the Moncada garrison in Santiago in 1953 with a story recounting his heroism.
The Granma statement was issued one day after Bush made his first public statement on Cuba since Fidel gave power to his brother.
If they did, it shouldn't be hard to locate them. Look for a place with a strong smell of Havana cigars and Kimchi present. Maybe somewhere not too far from where this guy lives.
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