News you may have missed #0010

  • Kim Jong Il’s son to head North Korea secret police. Since 1987, Kim Jong Il has been the official leader of the State Security Department of North Korea. However, South Korea’s Dong-a Ilbo reports that Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il’s third son, has now been named as the agency’s head. There are rumors in South Korea that the move could signify that a handover of power in Pyongyang may be imminent.
  • First US economic espionage trial winds down. A US court is preparing to sentence Dongfan “Greg” Chung, a Chinese-born engineer accused of passing critical trade secrets on the US space program to China for three decades. 
  • US and Venezuela to restore expelled ambassadors. The move appears to be a thawing gesture toward the new leadership in Washington by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The Latin American leader has toned down his criticism of US foreign policy since Barack Obama took office in January, partly because the US president is popular in Latin America in contrast to his predecessor George W. Bush. 
  • US to send ambassador to Damascus. Washington has confirmed it is to send an ambassador to Damascus, ending a four-year diplomatic absence in Syria. The US envoy in Syria was withdrawn in 2005, following the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Rafiq Hariri. 
  • Cuban Five spy case an obstacle to US-Cuban thaw, says Havana. The Cuban Five were arrested in 1998 and convicted of spying on anti-Castro exile groups on behalf of Havana. Cuba regards them as political prisoners and has lobbied intensively for their release. Cuban President Raúl Castro has said he would be willing to swap jailed political dissidents for the Five, but the US government has rejected the idea.
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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to News you may have missed #0010

  1. 迷你倉 says:

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has cancer and may not live more than five years, a South Korean cable news channel reported.

    Seoul’s unification ministry said it had no information on the YTN report, which came days after Kim, 67, appeared on television looking gaunt.

    The TV news channel said the leader of the isolated nuclear-armed nation was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around the time of his suspected stroke last August. It cited intelligence sources in Seoul and Washington.

    YTN, quoting medical sources in Beijing, said Kim may not live more than five years given the high mortality rate for such a cancer and his advanced age.

    Seoul’s National Intelligence Service said it could not confirm the report, which came three days after Japanese TV network TBS reported Kim is suffering from a “serious disorder” of the pancreas.

    TBS reported that Kim has been resting and is being treated at his villa in the southeastern area of Wonsan by a team of specialists.

    Kim’s health is the subject of intense international attention since there has been no announcement to the outside world about who would succeed him.

    Seoul intelligence officials have been quoted as saying that Kim has nominated his youngest son Jong-Un, 26, as his successor.

    State TV last week showed Kim limping slightly and with thinning hair when he made a televised appearance to pay homage to his late father Kim Il-Sung at a national memorial service.

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