World News Brief, Tuesday December 20

Kim Jong-un announced as North Korea's leader after Jong-Il dies; US and South Korea "monitoring" events (+ analysis); Mass burial for 650 Filipino flood victims, hundreds still missing; Pakistan military tensions prompt Zadari return from Dubai; 13 dead after four days of Cairo crackdown; Playwright and President – Czech leader Havel dies; and more

Top of the Agenda: North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il Dies

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il died Saturday of a heart attack at the age of sixty nine, even as the government kept his death a secret for nearly two days. The ruling Workers' Party announced that Kim's youngest son (NYT), Kim Jong-un, would replace his father as the country's leader.

The United States said it was "closely monitoring" (WSJ) the news of Kim's death. The authoritarian and nuclear-armed North Korean regime has posed significant foreign policy obstacles to Washington and its allies over the past decade.

South Korea placed all military units on emergency alert following news of Kim's death, as the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command (Yonhap) increased monitoring efforts along the border with the North.


Kim Jong-Il's death has prompted discussion about the future of the isolated country and its nuclear weapons program. Experts cited in this CFR Backgrounder believe a post-Kim regime in North Korea would remain a tough nuclear negotiator.

After the fall of the Dear Leader, his third son aims to fulfill succession plans--but challenges loom ahead for this young, untested ruler, writes TIME's Bill Powell.

Over half a century since the Korean War's end, conflict persists on the peninsula. Explore the military, economic, and nuclear dimensions of this frozen conflict with this CFR Crisis Guide.

This CFR Task Force report identifies three elements of an internationally coordinated response to the threat posed by North Korea: first, denuclearization of the Korean peninsula; second, regional cohesion, enabled by close US-South Korea relations; and third, China's cooperation and active engagement.



Mass Burial in Philippines after Flash Floods

Filipino officials organized a mass burial for the over six hundred-and-fifty people killed by flash floods on the southern island of Mindanao (BBC) over the weekend. At least eight hundred others are still missing.



Zadari dashes home from op as Pakistan tensions rise

Cairo violence enters fourth day; 13 dead

Fmr Czech President Vaclav Havel dies



 This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on