Web Reacts to Death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il

Melissa Knowles
December 19, 2011

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died Saturday reportedly of "physical exhaustion," and people around the world are having strong reactions to his death and questioning what lies ahead for the country. According to North Korean state-controlled television, the controversial dictator's death was kept secret for two days. Some believe that Kim actually died of a heart attack. The ruling Workers Party and other state institutions released a statement suggesting that Kim's son Kim Jong Un is now the leader of the country because his father handpicked him as his successor. The statement refers to the younger Kim as "the great successor to the revolution" and "the eminent leader of the military and the people." In September, Kim Jong Il made his son a four-star general and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers Party. When Kim's death made the news, one newscaster could barely contain her emotion during the newscast. The Workers Party also stated that now is a time for the country to "turn sadness into strength and courage." Multiple topics started trending on Twitter immediately after Kim's death was announced. There have been more than 194,000 mentions of his name within the past 24 hours. Many considered Kim a ruthless leader, and he was often joked about because of his eccentric behavior. The 2004 puppet movie "Team America: World Police" is also trending because it made fun of the leader. People are tweeting about the rumors surrounding Kim. For instance, it's alleged that when he played golf, he shot 38 under par with 11 holes in one. Also in the '90s, he was Hennessy's single-biggest client, consuming $800,000 in cognac each year. People are also pointing out on social media that 2011 has not been a good year for dictators, naming six who either have died or were ousted.

For our next story, Michelle Obama is the latest high-profile figure to accept an invitation to the Marine Corp Ball. Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron Leeks invited Michelle Obama to join him at next November's ball while she was volunteering at a Toys for Tots campaign at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. The 20-year-old serviceman said, "with your husband's permission of course." The first lady responded, "I'd love to," and then had an aide get Leeks's contact information to follow up. When asked about the invite, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "The first lady's commitment to military families is very strong . . . so I'm sure she was flattered by the invitation." Earlier this year, actors Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake also accompanied military service people to the Marine Corps Ball. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to ask the president's wife to accompany you to a gathering. People on social media could not agree more. On Twitter, people are saying Leeks is "courageous" and "brave" for being bold enough to ask out the first lady. Makes you wonder, who's the next celebrity on the invite list?