Kim Jong Un, heir apparent to North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il, faces formidable challenges in the isolated communist nation.
Hundreds of North Koreans queue up to mourn the death of Kim Jong Il in front of a portrait of him in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square on Wednesday. With preparations for next week's state funeral still under way, attention is turning to Kim's son and heir apparent, Kim Jong Un.
While North Korea is preparing for the state funeral of longtime leader Kim Jong Il next week, attention is quickly turning to his son and heir apparent, Kim Jong Un. Even veteran Pyongyang watchers know little about the successor. But it's clear what he's inheriting: a country in dire economic straits, and a tough fight to consolidate his political power and legitimacy.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Linda Wertheimer. In Syria, this week has been one of the bloodiest reported in months. Activists and groups monitoring Syria say hundreds have been killed as the government moves against villages and towns near the Turkish border. The Syrian government acknowledges the campaign but calls it a fight against terrorists.
Renee Montagne speaks with Alex Thier who oversees projects in Afghanistan for the U.S. Agency for International Development. They discuss the tremendous efforts that have been made to improve medical care in that country over the last decade.
If the company's board approves, Yahoo could receive about $17 billion in a deal that would shed most of its Asian assets. That means Yahoo would dramatically decrease its valuable stake in Ali-baba — China's largest Internet company. The deal would get the company some much-needed cash.
We've been following the Dark Horse Battalion this year. NPR's Tom Bowman has brought us a series of stories on the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment of the Marine Corps. They fought in the deadliest place in Afghanistan, Sangan in Helmand Province.
The Dark Horse Battalion is home this Christmas and we reached out to one of them. Staff Sergeant James Foley joined us by phone from Camp Pendleton here in Southern California and shared memories of what he was doing this time last year.
Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio was first performed in Leipzig on Christmas Day in 1734. In Germany, no matter what the economic and political times, it's the Christmas work. In the oldest functioning church in Berlin, the 13th-century Saint Mary's, performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio is a fixed tradition.
Any discussion of Newt Gingrich's journey to Catholicism begins with his wife.
"I have always been a very spiritual person," Callista Gingrich told the Christian Broadcasting Network this year. "I start each day with a prayer, and pray throughout the day, because I am grateful for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us."
Relations between the U.S. military and the Pakistan military have become even more strained since American forces were involved in a shooting last month that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. Here, Pakistani soldiers march during a ceremony in September.
Credit Asif Hassan / AFP/Getty Images
Students shout anti-U.S. slogans during a protest in Karachi this month. Pakistanis say that NATO force deliberately killed Pakistani soldiers last month, while the Americans have called it a tragic accident.
In Pakistan, transit routes for NATO supply trucks heading to Afghanistan remain shut. The CIA drone missile program has gone quiet in Pakistan's tribal area. Pakistan's government has called for a re-negotiation of its troubled relationship with the U.S.
All of this is fallout from an attack on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last month in which NATO fire from helicopter gunships killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.