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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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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?