Kim Jong Un's ex-girlfriend executed by firing squad
The South Korean press is reporting on the execution of singer Hyon Song-wol and 11 others who had been arrested on August 17 for violating North Korea's laws against pornography. Hyon is North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's ex-girlfriend.
The paper reported that the condemned, all members of the performing groups Unhasu Orchestra and Wangjaesan Light Music Band, were accused of making videos of themselves having sex and selling the videos, which the paper reported were available in China.
"They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as well as the families of the victims looked on," a source told the paper. The source added that the victims' families appear to have all been sent to prison camps.
Kim Jong-un reportedly met Hyon Song-wol approximately 10 years ago, before he was married. The relationship between the two is believed to have ended after interference from Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, though the two had been rumored to be having an affair. Kim Jong-un's wife, Ri Sol-ju, was also a member of the Unhasu Orchestra before their marriage. It is not clear if she had any role in the executions.
On a more serious note, the Telegraph is reporting that army chief General Kim Kyok-sik has been purged and may have also been executed:
Kim Kyok-sik, who is believed to have been behind the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island in late 2010, has disappeared from the list of senior regime officials attending public events in recent weeks.
"We are closely watching developments in the North, believing that Kim Kyok-sik has been replaced by Ri Yong-gil, the chief of operations for the Army General Staff," a source in the South Korean government told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
North Korean media have also pictured Ri with new four-star insignia.
Analysts believe that Kim Kyok-sik has been replaced as Kim Jong-un attempts to stamp his own influence on the military and replace those who were loyal to his father's regime with his own hand-picked acolytes.
"Kim is phasing out the older generation of officers and he has learned that you have to manage your dictatorship carefully if you want to stay in power," Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea analyst with The International Crisis Group in Seoul, told The Daily Telegraph.
"He is gradually phasing out the people who potentially pose the greatest threat to his hold on power, and that would include professional military officers who have commanded lots of troops in the field," he said.
Note that the hawkish general is not being replaced because he attacked South Korea but because he may have designs on the throne. I doubt whether his replacement is any more dovish.