Top stories from the Development and Aid Workers News Service–DAWNS Digest.

Kim Jong Il Is Dead. Long Live Kim Jong-un!

Late last night, the North Korean government announced that Kim Jong Il had died. Details are relatively sparse at this point, but he probably suffered a stroke. It looks like his 28-ish year old third son will inherit power in DPRK. ”A few hours after the announcement, the ruling Workers’ Party and other state institutions released a joint statement suggesting Mr. Kim’s chosen successor, his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, was in charge. The statement called the son ‘the great successor to the revolution” and “the eminent leader of the military and the people.’ It was the first time North Korea referred to the son as ‘leader’ since his ailing father pulled him out of obscurity in September last year and made him a four-star general and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party. The Workers’ Party said that “Under the leadership of our comrade Kim Jong-un, we have to turn sadness into strength and courage, and overcome today’s difficulties.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/vmYd2y)

Devastating Philippines Storm Kills At Least 650

Typhoon Washi wreaked unexpected havoc on The Philippines this weekend. “Rescuers searched for more than 800 people missing in the southern Philippines on Sunday after flash floods and landslides swept houses into rivers and out to sea, killing more than 650 people in areas ill-prepared to cope with storms. Cagayan de Oro and nearby Iligan cities on Mindanao island were worst hit when Typhoon Washi slammed ashore while people slept late on Friday and early Saturday, sending torrents of water and mud through villages and stripping mountainsides bare.” (Yahoo http://bit.ly/tOsq9X)

UN Condemns Violence in Egypt

At least 14 people have been killed in four successive days of clashes between security forces and protesters in central Cairo. With the situation threatening to spiral out of control, Ban Ki Moon condemned what he called the “excessive” use of force against protesters. “Ban is ‘very concerned by the resurgence of violence,’ his spokesman Martin Nesirky said on Sunday. ‘The secretary-general is highly alarmed by the excessive use of force employed by the security forces against protesters and calls for the transitional authorities to act with restraint and uphold human rights, including the right to peaceful protest.’” (SMH http://bit.ly/ulFzwN)

Vaclav Havel: 1936-2011

The celebrated leader of the Velvet Revolution passed away on Sunday at his home in the Czech Republic. “‘I am extremely moved,’ an emotional Prime Minister Petr Necas told Czech Television when told of Havel’s death. ‘He was a symbol and the face of our republic, and he is one of the most prominent figures of the politics of the last and the start of this century. His departure is a huge loss. He still had a lot to say in political and social life.’” (Reuters http://reut.rs/t3JBC7)

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