Important Update added on February 12, 2016:
North Korea Proclaims the Successful Launch of a Satellite.
Summary of the Chinese text:
On February 7, the North Korean Central News Agency reported the successful launch of its newly built Earth observation satellite "Bright Star No.4" in the morning of that day.
According to a spokesman of [N Korea's] foreign ministry, the vice-minister of foreign affairs should have had an urgent meeting with [N Korea's] ambassador to China the day before. Therefore [it seems that] N Korea might be using its ballistic missile technology to advance negotiations.
The satellite was launched on February 7 at 09:00 in the morning (i.e. 08:30 Beijing time) from N Korea's satellite launch pad in the north-western part of the country. Ten minutes later, the satellite was put on its trajectory with an orbit inclination of 97.4 degrees. Its distance from Earth being 494.6-500 km (perigee-apogee), the satellite needs 94 minutes 24 seconds for orbiting the Earth.
According to a spokesman of the South Korean ministry of defense, the North should have launched a "long-range missile" which decomposed into more than 270 debris parts landing in the western sea area of the Korean peninsula. At 09:36 [the missile or parts of it] disappeared from South Korean radar.
[Source: SINA 新闻中心 on February 8, 2016]
Location of North Korea's satellite launch pad.
North Korean media discussing a satellite image
that is showing N Korea as an area of darkness:
Lighting should not reflect society's qualities.
[Source: Chinanews 中国新闻网 on February 3, 2015]
Breaking News on February 11, 2016:
North Korean chief of general staff reportedly executed.
According to Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, North Korea’s Chief of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) General Staff Ri Yong Gil was reportedly executed sometime earlier this month. He should have been in office since 2013 until his disappearance after January 10, 2016.
However, it should not be taken for granted that General Ri has really been executed. There were other North Korean officials before him who reappeared in public after rumours of their execution.
Under the assumption that Ri was executed, the purge might have taken place due to his expression of dissatisfaction over the increasing Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) control over the KPA and prioritizing the party over the military.
Recently, Kim Jong Un held an “enlarged joint meeting” on February 2-3, just three days before North Korea’s recent rocket launch. During the meeting, Kim pointed out his intent to bring about changes to the KPA.
“The KPA must head only in the direction where the supreme leader points,” Kim said during the speech. “The whole of the party and our military must put up a struggle to exterminate the practices of seeking privileges, misuse of authority, abuse of power and bureaucratism.”
Basketball champion and former NBA star Dennis Rodman said
he and other former National Basketball Association players are
planning a match in North Korea that will be a "birthday present"
for one of their most unlikely fans: Kim Jong Un. [6 January 2014]
Rodman reveals Kim Jong Un's luxurious private life:
Possession of private islands and a pleasure boat.
[Source: XinHua 新华 on 24 December 2013]
Kim Jong Un's private yacht is worth some £4.5 million.
[Text: Daily Telegraph - Picture: N Korean news agency]