SEOUL, South Korea – For the first time in three years, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wasn’t on a list of dignitaries at today’s celebration of the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party. The apparent no-show will add to mounting speculation that something is amiss with the authoritarian leader, who hasn’t been seen publicly in more than a month.
An official state media dispatch listed senior government, military and party officials who paid their respects at an event marking the party’s 69th anniversary, but not Kim. It said a flower basket with Kim’s name on it was placed before statues of his father and grandfather, both of whom also ruled North Korea. State media earlier said that the might of the party “is growing stronger under the seasoned guidance of Marshal Kim Jong Un.”
Kim, who is thought to be 31, hasn’t been seen performing his customary public duties in state media since he attended a concert Sept. 3. He had been walking with a limp and was more overweight than usual in images that aired before that. An official documentary from late last month described him as dealing with “discomfort,” which led to international speculation that he may be ill.
More mass graves found in Mexico
TIXTLA, Mexico – Two weeks after 43 students disappeared in a clash with police in rural southern Mexico, authorities say the suspects have led them to more mass graves, though Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam did not say how many bodies are there.
Dozens of anxious parents have gathered at a teachers college that was supposed to be their sons’ escape from life as subsistence farmers. They wait for any word on the fate of their children.
On Thursday, Murillo Karam announced the arrest of four more people, putting the total at 34, including 26 police officers. The suspects led investigators to four new burial pits near the southern city of Iguala, where authorities unearthed 28 sets of badly burned bodies last weekend.
Forensic tests are being carried out to determine whether any are the missing students.
Suicide bombings leave dozens dead
SANAA, Yemen – Two suicide bombings in Yemen killed nearly 70 people on Thursday, with one targeting an anti-government rally by Shiite rebels who control Sanaa, leaving body parts strewn across a street in the heart of the capital and escalating sectarian tensions in a country gripped by turmoil.
The suicide bomber in Sanaa detonated his explosives-laden belt as he approached a security checkpoint run by Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, outside the anti-government rally, killing 47 people and wounding 75.
Hours later, a suicide car bomber rammed a security outpost on the outskirts of the Arabian Sea port city of Mukalla, killing 20 soldiers and wounding 15.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida’s powerful local affiliate, which for years has waged a campaign of suicide bombings and other attacks against security forces and government facilities despite U.S. drone strikes targeting its leaders.
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