News: North Korean dictator is dead

Kim Jong-Il

North Korean dictator dead, says official agency

North Korea’s ‘dear leader’ Kim Jong-Il has reportedly died of fatigue in a train carriage. The New York Times reported: Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but appeared relatively vigorous in photos and video from recent trips to China and Russia and in numerous trips around the country carefully documented by state media. The leader, reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine, was believed to have had diabetes and heart disease.

The news came as North Korea prepared for a hereditary succession. Kim Jong Il inherited power after his father, revered North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. In September 2010, Kim Jong Il unveiled his third son, the twenty-something Kim Jong Un, as his successor, putting him in high-ranking posts.

Former Miss Venezuela Eva Ekvall passes away

Eva Ekvall then and after her diagnosis

She was just 28 years old and passed away two days ago from breast cancer. Eva was diagnosed last year at the age of 27. Eva Ekvall was the winner of Miss Venezuela and a finalist in the Miss Universe contest. “Sadly, cancer had the last word,” her management said. The SMH reported: The former beauty queen, who wrote a book after being diagnosed with breast cancer last year, used her public profile to raise awareness of the disease. “In Venezuela we invest a lot of money in looking beautiful and not in health care,” the former model said. “There’s a huge taboo around breast cancer. But in this country people get their boobs done every day, so I don’t understand how breast cancer can be a problem when everybody’s showing their breasts.”

Poor sales force Myer to shrink and close stores

Sales are struggling and stores that aren’t performing are being dealt with. That’s the new reality for department store Myer as it announced stores in Tuggeranong (ACT) and Forest Hill in Melbourne would close next year. Two more stores in Wollongong and Dandenong Plaza in Melbourne also might go. Other stores would reduce in either size or offerings to cope with sales forecasts. But more stores would open in boom areas,

Last US soldiers leave Iraq, war over

The final four convoys of American soldiers have left Iraq, crossing over the Kuwait border early Sunday morning. It’s the scene that backs up announcements made by the President last week. Barack Obama has previously announced the end of the war but left troops in place to continue vital work. Until now. The only troops who remain are a handful at the Baghdad embassy. At one time there were 170,000 troops in Iraq. The war, which began in 2003 with the ‘shock and awe’ campaign of missile fire has cost $800 billion and resulted in the loss of 100,000 Iraqi lives and 4500 American troops.

A child rescued from the ocean after the boat sank

More than 160 dead and missing as asylum boat sinks

Just days after the Christmas Island anniversary in which up to 50 asylum seekers died off Christmas Island, another boat destined for Australia has sunk off Indonesia on Saturday night. There were about 250 people on board, including 40 children, and at last count around 87 had been rescued. The Australian Government became involved in the rescue effort on Sunday morning but it had been hampered by poor weather. The people on board were mostly from the Middle East.

Molly Meldrum

Brother wants Molly awake for Christmas

Molly Meldrum’s brother Brian said it was not a case of ‘if’ Molly would wake up, but ‘when’. “I am totally optimistic he will pull through this and the future will look after itself then,” he said. Molly was left fighting for his life after he fell down a ladder (or very steep stairs, as some have suggested) while placing Christmas decorations and hit his head. He has been in a coma since the accident and doctors are waiting for swelling on the brain to subside. “It is a waiting game, but it is going to plan … he could not be in a better place in all the world than The Alfred hospital.”

Police crackdown on drinking minors, parents don’t show up

A weekend police operation in Sydney caught 21 teenagers drinking illegally in the city centre from 9pm on Saturday night until 4am Sunday morning. But when cops called their parents, only 4 turned up to collect their kids. “A number of parents who were spoken to by police were shocked to discover their kids had lied about where they were going and were instead out drinking and causing trouble,” said Detective Inspector Chris Craner. “Raising kids is a hard job but parents need to take responsibility.”