Out of the Picture?

Despite rumors of Kim Jong Il's demise--specifically, of getting shot in the head by his nephew--the North Korean leader appears to be intact but as mystifying as ever. According to the Korean Central News Agency, the Dear Leader visited an army unit last week not only to hear soldiers recite poetry but also to present the young bards with gifts of automatic rifles. (Note to Kim: Fire your event planners.) But as reports trickle in from the hermetic communist kingdom that Kim's portraits are disappearing from public buildings, there are other signs the dictator is facing unaccustomed challenges to his grip...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!