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N. Koreans To Mark Kim Jong Il’s Birth

Tue., Feb. 7, 1995, midnight

In the clearest sign yet that Kim Jong Il has become North Korea’s new leader, the communist country on Tuesday officially designated his birthday as the nation’s “greatest holiday.”

North Korea’s previous “greatest holiday” was the birthday of late President Kim Il Sung on April 15. The North says it now is being replaced by his son’s birthday on Feb. 16

The decree gives North Korea’s 22 million people Feb. 16 and 17 off and orders them to hoist national flags.

The 52-year-old Kim is believed to be in firm control of the hardline Marxist country, but he has not formally taken over since his father died of heart failure on July 8 at age 82.

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