Where is North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un?
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has not been seen in public for three weeks and speculation about the leader's health - or the stability of his regime - is running rampant.
A documentary on Kim broadcast last night casually mentioned that he is suffering "discomfort":
He had been seen walking with a limp since an event with key officials in July and in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast by state media on Thursday appeared to have difficulty walking.
"The wealth and prosperity of our socialism is thanks to the painstaking efforts of our marshal, who keeps lighting the path for the people, like the flicker of a flame, despite suffering discomfort," a voice over for the hour-long documentary said.
The documentary was followed by a pre-recorded broadcast of a North Korean Supreme People's Assembly meeting from which Kim Jong Un was notably absent.
Kim has rapidly gained weight since coming to power after his father died of a heart attack in 2011, photos released by state media show.
North Korea observers speculate Kim's weight and family background may have contributed to his condition.
"Based on his gait, it appears he has gout - something (due to) diet and genetic predisposition that has affected other members of the Kim family," said Michael Madden, an expert on the North Korean leadership and contributor to the 38 North website.
Is he really ill? In America, we allude to living in a "dog eat dog" world or work in an industry with "cutthroat competition." Those terms have life and death meaning in North Korea. Early this year, Kim had his uncle - the second most powerful man in the regime - executed for trying to overthrow his government.
He and several of his blood relatives were thrown into a pit with 120 dogs who hadn't been fed for 5 days.
The fact that the victim in this case could very easily have been Kim himself being fed to the dogs makes us look closely at all of these smoke signals coming from the hermit regime.