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Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law is promoted as North Korea shuffles leadership

north korea

brother-in-law is promoted to kim's No. 2

Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law was elevated Monday to the second-most-powerful position in the leadership, a reshuffling of personnel intended to consolidate the ruling family's grip. The promotion of Jang Song Thaek, 64, long believed to be one of the most powerful men behind the scenes, was announced after an unexpected meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly, presided over by ailing Kim, 68. A longtime family confidante, 81-year-old Choe Yong Rim, was named prime minister, a largely ceremonial post. The reshuffling appears intended to pave the way for Kim's inexperienced and little-known youngest son, Kim Jong Un, to become the titular leader.

texas

One worker dead in gas line blast

Hood County emergency management coordinator Brian Fine said a utility worker's body was found several hours after a natural gas line exploded. Authorities searched by helicopter after the massive explosion near Cleburne, about 50 miles southwest of Dallas. They couldn't walk through the area until the fire was out and there was no danger. Thirteen other workers at the site were accounted for.

west virginia

Methane gas ignites, burns 7

A crew drilling a natural gas well through an abandoned coal mine hit a pocket of methane gas that ignited, triggering an explosion that burned seven workers. They were taken to West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh. Two were released by the end of the day and the others were walking around and talking with their families. The explosion happened in a rural area outside Moundsville, about 55 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

massachusetts

Canisters sicken clam boat crew

A New Bedford-based fishing boat dredging for clams off New York's Long Island pulled up 10 canisters, including one that broke open and released an unidentified chemical that caused two crew members to blister and struggle to breathe, the U.S. Coast Guard said. One remained hospitalized at Massachusetts General Hospital.

houston

Man gets 14 years in deadly smuggling

The last of the 14 people indicted for their roles in the deadliest human smuggling attempt in U.S. history was sentenced to prison, more than seven years after the bodies of nearly 20 illegal immigrants were discovered in a tractor-trailer. Octavio Torres-Ortega, 44, was given a 14-year term for participating in a smuggling ring that packed more than 70 into the back of the stifling truck in May 2003 and tried to transport them from southern Texas to Houston.

Elsewhere

Denmark: Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who caricatured the prophet Mohammed and caused outrage in the Muslim world, said he is quitting because he turns 75 on July 13.

Ohio: Lake Township police Chief Mark Hummer revised the tornado death toll downward from seven to five, saying some of the weekend victims were apparently double-counted.

Michigan: Federal authorities say a father and son, 73-year-old Russell Hesch of West Branch, Mich., and 50-year-old David Hesch of Loveland, Colo., are charged with conspiring to threaten U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak and his family because of the Democrat's crucial vote for the health care overhaul.

Times wires

Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law is promoted as North Korea shuffles leadership 06/08/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 12:24am]
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