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Kim Jong Il, the ruler of North Korea, has died at the age of 69. He took charge in 1994, at the death of his father, Kim Il Sung. No one else has ever governed the country, and the apparent next in line is Kim Jong Il’s son, Kim Jong-un. North Koreans were shown weeping openly in the streets today at news that their “Dear Leader” has died. We’ll hear about the brutal regime of Kim Jong Il and the prospects for change in the governance of a nuclear power.


Banner Image: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 19: South Koreans watch a television broadcast following the announcement of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, at the Seoul Railwat Station on December 19, 2011 in Seoul, South Korea. State television today announced Kim Jong Il, 69, died Saturday after reportedly suffering a heart attack. Reports claim mourners will be permitted to view the body between December 20 - 27, with a state funeral to be held on December 28. Il will be succeeded by his third son, Kim Jon Un. The death of the North Korean leader has brought uncertainty across the region both in terms of Asian financial markets, which fell overnight and militarily with the knowledge that North Korea has a nuclear program. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Making News House Republicans Say No Deal on Payroll Tax Cut 7 MIN, 47 SEC

Tonight, the Republican-dominated House is expected to reject the Senate’s hard-won compromise on a 2-month tax-cut and unemployment extension.  That could mean a 1000-dollar average tax increase for 160 million Americans on the first of the year.  Democrats, from Capitol Hill to the White House, are outraged—claiming that House Speaker John Boehner can’t control his Tea-Party members.  But Boehner this morning took a hard line…

Martin Kady, Politico (@mkady)

Main Topic The Sudden Death of Kim Jong Il 36 MIN, 4 SEC

Bill Clinton tried to establish relations with Kim Jong Il. George W. Bush called that “appeasement,” and made North Korea part of his “axis of evil.” Kim Jong Il responded by building—and testing—nuclear weapons. Now the big question is whether his young son and heir apparent can maintain control. China has urged economic reform on a country that can’t feed its people. South Korea worries about military action and the possibility of collapse. North Koreans were shown weeping openly in the streets today at news that their “Dear Leader” has died. We look at the prospects for transferring power in a country whose instability could have dangerous consequences.

Don Kirk, The Atlantic
Mike Chinoy, USC US-China Institute (@mikechinoy)
Michael Green, Center for Strategic and International Studies / Georgetown University (@CSIS)
Karin Lee, Executive director, The National Committee on North Korea

Reporter's Notebook Vaclav Havel 7 MIN, 9 SEC

Just eight days after the Berlin Wall came down in November of 1989, a poet and playwright joined other dissidents in what became Czechoslovakia's anti-Communist "Velvet Revolution." Vaclav Havel died last night at the age of 75.  Having served in prison for resisting Communist Party dogma, Havel became the first elected president of the new democracy created in the aftermath of Soviet control. He is remembered as a statesman who stood up for his convictions. 

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