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Former NBA star's lavish birthday gifts for 'friend for life' Kim Jong-un may have violated international sanctions imposed on North Korea

Guarding his anonymity: crime writer James Church

James Church: The man who knows too much about North Korea

The former CIA officer sets his crime novels in the Communist state after years of extraordinary access. Clifford Coonan met him in Beijing

Joo-il Kim, a North Korean defector who now lives in New Malden, Surrey

Q&A: So, North Korean defector Joo-il Kim, what was life like for you at home?

The Independent spoke to Joo-il Kim, a North Korean defector who now lives in New Malden, Surrey, about his life and the current political stand-off in Korea. His story of what led to him escaping is one of shocking sadness, but since coming to the UK - where he is working on a newspaper to smuggle into the country - he has been able to lead a much happier life.

Joo-il Kim defected from North Korea and now lives in New Malden

Never mind nuclear war, says North Korean defector Joo-il Kim, the reality of famine is bad enough

Joo-il Kim believes the rhetoric is just a distraction

Great Leader’ Kim Il-sung looks down on the Tumen bridge

Trading places: the decline of North Korea

Where once China bought electricity from its neighbour, now it sells used clothing. Clifford Coonan reports from Tumen

North Korea 'has nuclear weapon it can mount on rocket' warns US, as John Kerry warns missile launch would be 'huge mistake'

Mr Kerry arrived South Korea as part of a unusual diplomatic journey, traveling directly into a region bracing for a possible North Korean missile test

In an effort to firm up support and loyalty Kim Jong-un has to keep visiting his military bases

Spy claims Kim Jong-un is struggling to control the North Korean army

A former North Korean spy has claimed Pyongyang’s threats of military action are a sign that Kim Jong-un is struggling to control his armed forces.

A civil defence drill at a navy base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, yesterday. Around 500 South Koreans are still at the Kaesong industrial complex

North Korea: Pyongyang's isolation increases with closure of commercial complex shared with the South

Shutting border unit represents a major blow to heavily indebted economy of North

'Wanted, for threatening world peace and wasting money while his people starve to death': Hacks on official North Korea websites lampoon leader Kim Jong-Un amid nuclear tensions

Anonymous collective suspected to be behind attacks on Twitter, Flickr and official state information site

South Korea warn of retaliation against North's aggression

Kim Jong-un announced a 'state of war' over the weekend

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (centre) and military officers watching a live shell firing drill

Nuclear weapons are ‘life of the nation’, says North Korea

North Korea’s nuclear weapons are “the nation’s life” and will not be traded even for “billions of dollars”, the country’s ruling Workers’ Party said today.

Workers in the Kaesong industrial park, a source of foreign currency

Brinkmanship in Pyongyang baffles and alarms the US

Washington DC may not exactly be quaking in dread this early spring weekend at the prospect of a missile attack on the city, as threatened by North Korea. But the rarely precedented bluster and bellicosity from Pyongyang baffle and alarm the US officials and experts who have grappled with the country's erratic behaviour for decades.

North Korea threatens 'all-out war, a nuclear war' as it announces it is 'on war footing' with South

Kim Jong-un warns of 'an all-out war, a nuclear war'

Kim Jong-un watches a live ammunition firing drill by the Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment and the Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment

North Korea nuclear threat: Kim Jong-un personally supervises drone attack on simulated South Korea target

Drone strike successfully shot down a target mimicking a South Korean cruise missile, according to state media

Last month, North Korea launched its third nuclear test.

US to boost missile defences as North Korean nuclear threat grows

$1 billion move follows increasingly aggressive rhetoric from the secretive regime 

North Korea 'prepares to strike': Kim Jong-un supervises live artillery drill as inflammatory threats continue

North Korea held a live artillery drill close to its disputed border with South Korea, its official state news agency reported today.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans