BY SHELLY YANG
His interests include travel, wine, and spas. His favorite film is “Love Actually.” Believe it or not, we’re talking about the grandson of North Korea’s Dear Leader.
South Korean media claim they’ve uncovered the Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube accounts of Kim Jong-Il’s grandson. The 16-year-old, Kim Han-Sol, is reportedly the son of Kim Jong-Nam, the leader’s exiled oldest son. Photos show the teenager sporting dyed hair, wearing earrings, necklaces and trendy glasses, a far cry from the jumpsuited ruler. (Video source: iFeng)
Kim Han-Sol’s Facebook page even had a poll pitting communism against democracy, with the boy saying he preferred democracy. The Guardian says there is obviously a big generational, political and cultural gap between the North Korean dictator and his grandson.
“After all, North Korea's Dear Leader is probably not a fan of cross-shaped pendants, syrupy romcoms, or, for that matter, democracy…Kim Han-sol cuts a more modern, gregarious and less lonely figure than his grandfather, whose tastes are rumoured to run more to Hollywood action movies and cognac than Richard Curtis films and spa treatments.”
The South Korea newspaper Chosun Ilbo also noticed the boy might have a religious belief -- which is banned in North Korea.
“[He] identifies his religion as ‘Christian-other’ on his MySpace profile page … In his Facebook profile photo, Kim Han-sol wears a necklace with a pendant that looks like a crucifix. And on his YouTube channel, he identified himself as ‘Pro-Religious Rights.’ But when he subscribed to AsiaFind… he introduced himself as an agnostic.”
But for all their differences, the International Business Times says the boy and his grandfather share the same views on one thing: Americans.
“He reportedly engaged in an argument with a Facebook user called NickyAmerican where he expressed his disgust for ‘universally shared’ American characteristics -- such as being fat, stupid and eating cheeseburgers.”
AsiaNews reports the Fourth Kim has enrolled at United World College in Bosnia, where he will take a course called "How to rebuild a country after a conflict."
Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, is pushing ahead with plans to engage with Taliban leaders.
He said he has the full backing of the international community following a conference in London last week that discussed ways to curb rampant corruption in the war-torn country.
World leaders also pledged millions of dollars for a new fund to pay fighters to lay down arms.
However, the Taliban leaders are still refusing to openly engage with the governmnet.
Al Jazeera's David Chater reports.
Feb 02, 2010
Doctors and experts are baffled by an Indian man who claims not to have eaten or drunk anything for 70 years - but is still in perfect health.
A team of scientists and doctors in Sterling Hospital, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, are studying the claims of Prahlad Jani, a local holy man, who is over 70 years old.
He claims to have been blessed by a goddess when he was 8-years-old, which has enabled him to survive without sustenance and that he derives energy through meditation.
Most people can live without food for several weeks, with the body drawing on its fat and protein stores. But the average human can survive for only three to four days without water.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports.
Red shirt protesters in Thailand have warned they will launch a serious retaliation against the government after an opposition television channel was banned.
On Friday, the demonstrators managed to break through security forces to reach the headquarters for the People TV Channel.
Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from the Thai town of Pathum thani, on how the protesters are fighting to have their voice broadcasted once again.
[April 10, 2010]
Clashes have turned increasingly violent between anti-government protesters and troops in Thailand
The soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets on Saturday at the so-called red-shirts, who want parliament immediately dissolved and fresh elections called.
Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports from Bangkok.
[April 10, 2010]
Najib Abdul Razak, Malaysia's prime minister, is set to present on Tuesday a new economic policy, a controversial socio-economic initiative that aims to give equal treatment to all ethnic groups in the country.
But for decades many ethnic Chinese and Indian groups have long grieved of institutionalised discrimination and alleged the country's ethnic majority enjoy special advantages in housing, education and employment.
Waves of ethnic Chinese and Indians left the country between 2008 and 2009 to seek a better life abroad.
Although Najib is vowing equality for all, minority communities are pessimistic.
Laura Kyle reports from Kuala Lumpur.
[March 29, 2010]
Philippine police have killed a former police officer that took hostage 15 Hong Kong tourists on a bus in Manila, the capital, on Monday.
Rolando Mendoza, who was armed with an M16 rifle when he hijacked the vehicle, had been dismissed from the police force in 2008 over corruption allegations and was demanding to be reinstated.
At least seven hostages died during the 11-hour crisis, but several others survived.
Al Jazeera Nicole Johnston reports.
Hundreds of people have died in northwestern Pakistan after floods triggered by monsoon rains swept through the region.
More than a million people have been affected and thousands forced to flee their homes as bloated rivers washed away villages and triggered devastating landslides.
Rescue operations are under way to save the stranded, but submerged roads and destroyed infrastructure are proving to be major obstacles.
Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman reports from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.
According to a study on road safety, of the 3,500 people who die in traffic accidents every day, 85 per cent come from poor countries.
A report by the FIA Foundation, a UK motoring charity, said the figure will rise to more than 5,700 a day in 10 years time, unless governments take stronger action.
In Bangladesh, which already has a high road death toll, experts are predicting such accidents could become the biggest killer there in the future.
Nicolas Haque reports.
Black magic has been big business for years in Indonesia.
People seek help of witch doctors to fulfil their goals and dreams and remedy their problems - be it personal, financial or political.
But now there is growing fear that sorcery has gone out of control and some believe the government should regulate it.
Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen reports from Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, where she met Ki Joko Bodo, the most successful witch doctor in the country.
[June 13, 2010]
India has described the first official visit of the Bangladeshi prime minister as a 'path-breaking and historic opportunity'.
The two nations are striving to build bridges after years of mistrust.
India has often blamed Bangladesh for sheltering separatist rebels while Dhaka has accused New Delhi of harbouring its criminal fugitives.
Al Jazeera's Prerna Suri reports from New Delhi, India's capital.
Jan 11, 2010
Trains providing public transportation in Bangladesh are usually filled beyond capacity.
So many people - mostly adolescents - who for one reason or another can not get a hold of a ticket, often illegally resort to the roof to get a ride.
But the 'roof riding' practice, which dates back to 1947, has become one of the leading causes of child deaths in the country because it often leads to accidents.
And as people visit their families for the Islamic holiday of Eid, the trains are even more overcrowded than usual.
Nicolas Haque reports from Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital.
[August 31, 2010]
China has offered to buy Greek government bonds, in a show of support for the country whose debt burden pushed the euro zone into a financial crisis.
Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, made the offer before Greece's parliament on Saturday at the start of a two-day visit to the country.
But his offer has also called into question China's own financial policies.
Gerald Tan reports.
This week marks 100 years since the birth of Mother Teresa - the Catholic nun who dedicated her life to humanitarian missions in India as well as more than 100 other countries.
Her most famous project is a centre in the Indian city of Kolkatta that gives food, shelter, and care to the critically ill poor that can not afford hospital treatment.
But what has been called the "home of the dying" is also one of Teresa's most controversial missions, as Prerna Suri reports.
[August 25, 2010]
Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, has one of the highest rates of traffic accidents in the world.
Its roads are dominated by thousands of old and dangerous vehicles, which police are now trying to get rid of.
Among the old vehicles are dilapidated public buses, that many Bangladeshis say are the cheapest way to get around.
Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque reports.
In Bangladesh, "eve-teasing" is a somewhat innocent name given to sexual harassment.
But the illegal practice is becoming a greater problem as more girls start to go to school and women work outside the home.
Because of sexual bullying, the school drop out rate is higher than ever.
Nicolas Haque reports from a school in Dhaka. Bangladesh's capital.
[October 5, 2010]