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In brief: Confidants of Kim Jong Un’s uncle executed

Seoul, South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, the Pyongyang regime’s de facto No. 2 official, has probably been ousted from his posts, South Korea’s state spy agency said Tuesday.

In a report released at a meeting with lawmakers, the National Intelligence Service said that two close confidants of 67-year-old Jang Song Taek appear to have been publicly executed in late November for “anti-party activities.”

The intelligence agency concluded that the executions of Ri Yong Ha and Jang Soo Kil couldn’t have taken place unless Jang Song Taek, holding the position of vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, had lost his job. Jang is the husband of the late leader Kim Jong Il’s only full sibling, Kim Kyung Hui.

No-confidence vote fails in Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine – Ukraine’s opposition movement suffered a setback in their confrontation with the country’s Russian-backed president Tuesday when a vote of no confidence in the government failed in parliament.

Thousands of protesters who waited for several hours of the chilly afternoon outside the parliament building in Kiev angrily chanted “Shame!” and “Down with the gang!” However, they refrained from a threatened attack on the building, which was guarded by riot police, after they learned that the measure received 186 votes in favor, 40 short of what was needed.

Activist’s tweet alerts to arrest

Cairo –A prominent Egyptian political activist reported Tuesday he had been picked up by police, the latest in a string of arrests of secular Egyptians who helped spearhead the country’s 2011 uprising against ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

Ahmed Douma sent a tweet alerting followers of his arrest.

In the five months that the current military-backed government has been in power, most of the authorities’ wrath has been aimed at the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement that propelled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to power. He was deposed in a coup in July.

The move against the secularists picked up steam a little over a week ago.


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