News North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks past his uncle Jang Song Thaek - Jang Song Thaek is reported to have been executed for 'attempting to overthrow the state'

Claims that secretive communist regime has carried out a further brutal purge of those the young leader sees as a threat to his authority

Satellite rocket is ready for launch, says Pyongyang

Preparations for North Korea's planned satellite launch this week have been completed, according to space officials who denied it is a cover for a missile test.

North Korea ready for controversial rocket launch

North Korean space officials said today that all assembly and preparations for a planned satellite launch have been completed, while denying it is a cover for a missile test.

Kim Jong-il, right, and Kim Il-sung, the centenary of whose birth will be celebrated by a missile launch

South Korea accuses Pyongyang of planning nuclear weapons test

New allegations coincide with rocket launch to mark North Korean founder's centenary

GRAND MONUMENT ON MANSU HILL: 'The leader's image must always be placed in the centre of the architectural space,' writes Kim Jong-Il in his treatise On Architecture. 'Architectural space must be composed to ensure that the leader's image dominates all the elements of the space and that all the architectural components throw the leader's image in bold relief. This will help people to look up at the leader's image at all times and inspire them with the pride and consciousness that they are happy in the leader's embrace”

What do North Korea's buildings and landmarks tell us about the totalitarian state?

The country has some of the world's biggest – and most bizarre – buildings and landmarks.

New satellite images reveal North Korean rocket launch preparations

Satellite images of a North Korean rocket launch site show evidence of increased preparations for what the West believes is a cover for a long-range missile test.

Leading article: A reversion to type in North Korea

Less than a month ago, after bilateral talks with the US, North Korea agreed to a moratorium on its nuclear missile programme and the return of UN inspectors, in exchange for American food aid. Could it be, some wondered, that the pariah state's new leader Kim Jong-un was signalling a change of course, one that might lead to a resumption of disarmament talks and, perhaps, an end to his country's isolation? The answer, alas, appears to be no.

Russia urges North Korea to refrain from rocket launch

Russia expressed serious concern on Friday over North Korea's plan to launch a satellite and urged Pyongyang not to create hurdles to the revival of six-nation talks over its nuclear programme.

Kim Pyong-il hoped to succeed his father, Kim il-Sung (pictured)

Left out in the cold: the man who would be Kim

Kim Pyong-il, once viewed as North Korea's next leader, now lives in diplomatic exile in Poland. Shaun Walker goes in search of the secretive heir on the streets of Warsaw

Kim puts DMZ troops on alert

New leader Kim Jong-un ordered troops along the border with South Korea to be on high alert yesterday as he visited the demilitarised zone between the two countries.

Kim Jong-un, the new leader

Nuclear weapons programme halted in return for food

North Korea has agreed to halt its nuclear weapons programme in exchange for US food aid, in a surprise breakthrough in the first talks between the two countries since the death of Kim Jong-il and the succession of Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-un, the new leader

North Korea halts nuclear plan after US pressure

North Korea has agreed to halt its nuclear weapons programme in exchange for US food aid, in a surprise breakthrough in the first talks between the two countries since the death of Kim Jong-il and the succession of Kim Jong-un.

The discussions with North Korea’s new government (new leader Kim Jong Un pictured) is ready to agree to steps demanded by Washington and Pyongyang’s neighbours to restart disarmament talks

US and North Korea talk food and 'other topics'

The US and North Korea resumed talks yesterday that had been delayed by the death of North Korea's long-time leader Kim Jong-il two months ago, with the US envoy saying he and his counterpart covered US food aid and other topics.

US and North Korea resume talks

The United States and North Korea resumed talks today delayed by the death of North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il two months ago, with the US envoy saying he and his counterpart covered US food aid and other topics.

North Korean soldiers march and carry a portrait of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during a military parade at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang

New North Korean leader following in his father's goose steps

Goose-stepping soldiers marched by the memorial palace for North Korea's late leaders as Kim Jong-un yesterday presided over a military birthday commemoration for his father.

Birthday turns into memorial for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

North Korea commemorated Kim Jong-il's 70th birthday today with the flowers that bear his name, a military parade and pledges of loyalty to the son who has taken his place.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links