N. Korean leader sends sweet birthday gift to kids

Updated 08 January 2013
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N. Korean leader sends sweet birthday gift to kids

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has sent one kilo of sweets to every child to mark his birthday today, carrying on a tradition instigated by his grandfather, state media reported. A radio report by the North Korean Central Broadcasting Station, monitored in Seoul yesterday, said Kim had mobilized aircraft to ensure that each child in the country aged 10 or under received the candy gift in time.
Villagers in outlying islands “exploded with joy” at the confectionery airlift, the report said. The giving of “birthday candy” was started in 1980 by Kim’s grandfather and North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il-Sung. Kim’s father Kim Jong-Il, who died in December 2011, continued the practise when he took over in 1994.
The birthdays of the two late Kims are both celebrated as national holidays. Kim Jong-Un was born on Jan. 8, although there is some confusion about the year, with various reports that it was 1982, 1983 or 1984. “Such gifts to children are aimed to project an image as a benevolent, caring leader as the North seeks to build up a personality cult around the young leader,” said Cho Bong-Hyun, an analyst at the IBK Economic Research Institute in Seoul.


58 Australian fairy penguins slaughtered in suspected dog attack

Updated 17 min 47 sec ago
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58 Australian fairy penguins slaughtered in suspected dog attack

  • The grisly find comes just months after a dozen birds were found dead on a nearby beach, also in an alleged dog attack

SYDNEY: Wildlife officials in the southern Australia on Wednesday announced an investigation into the mass death of 58 penguins they believe were killed in a dog attack.
The carcases of the fairy penguins — the world’s smallest penguin species — were found strewn across a beach in Tasmania, a island-state off the mainland.
“We would like to remind dog owners of the need to take responsibility for their animals at all times as dogs have the capacity to do a lot of damage to penguin colonies in a short period of time,” Tasmania’s department of parks, water and environment said in a statement.
The latest grisly find comes just months after a dozen birds were found dead on a nearby beach, they too are believed to have been killed in a dog attack.
“All reports of alleged unlawful harming of wildlife are regarded extremely seriously by the department,” the government department said.
Fairy penguins — who grow to around just over a foot (30 centimeters) and can live for up to 24 years — are only found in southern Australia and New Zealand, with Tasmania supporting around half of the global population.
Fairy penguin colonies remain under threat from increasing urbanization, traffic and domestic animals.