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World/National News

December 14, 2013

Around the World and Nation

(Continued)

Execution of North Korean leader’s uncle smacks of 20th century-style purge by dictators

PARIS (AP) — For people familiar with the way that dictators such as Stalin, Hitler and Mao methodically ousted their opponents, the purging and execution of the No. 2 official in North Korea is nothing new.

In recent history, Saddam Hussein also was skilled at such tactics to seize and consolidate his power in Iraq.

North Korea’s execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle in the impoverished, closed and nuclear-armed country suggests that its leader has learned how to rule that way.

The execution of Jang Song Thaek, portrayed in North Korean state media as a morally corrupt traitor, rid Kim of one potential rival. It also may have been designed to sow fear among any others.

Here’s a look at how some despots of yesteryear used purges to quash dissent and cement their lock-hold on power.

Senate sets vote next week on budget legislation; passage expected

WASHINGTON (AP) — One day after winning lopsided House approval, bipartisan legislation to ease across-the-board spending cuts and reduce economy-rattling budget brinkmanship appears likely to command the 60 votes necessary to clear the Senate, officials in both parties said Friday.

Yet unlike in the House, significantly more Senate Republicans are expected to oppose the legislation than vote for it, highlighting the different political forces at work at opposite ends of the Capitol.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced a test vote for Tuesday on the measure, which cleared the House on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 332-94.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars joined the ranks of the bill’s opponents during the day, citing a provision to reduce cost of living increases for military retirees until they reach age 62. The result could mean “a cumulative loss in retirement income of $80,000” for a sergeant first class who retires at age 40, the group said.

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