Pyongyang: Sky Glowed Red Before Kim's Death

Ice cracked and Manchurian crane circled, state media claims

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 22, 2011 3:21 AM CST | Updated Dec 22, 2011 6:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Weird and wonderful events surrounded the death of Kim Jong Il, according to North Korea's state-run media. The country's official news agency claims that a snowstorm suddenly ceased and the sky glowed red over the sacred Mount Paektu minutes before Kim departed. A frozen lake cracked with a loud rupture, and a Manchurian crane circled a statute of Kim's father, Kim Il Sung, before flying off toward Pyongyang.

Foreign dignitaries hoping to travel to Pyongyang for Kim's funeral next week and perhaps witness some wondrous events for themselves are out of luck, however. Pyongyang has banned foreigners from visiting the country to pay their respects, with only a handful of exceptions, the Wall Street Journal reports. South Korea says a former president's wife and the chairwoman of Hyundai have been granted approval to travel to North Korea. Japanese magician Princess Tenko is also expected to be at the funeral.

Crowds cheer below Mount Paektu on Kim Jong Il's 67th birthday.
Crowds cheer below Mount Paektu on Kim Jong Il's 67th birthday.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
This newly released North Korean postage stamp celebrates Kim Jong Il's military career.
This newly released North Korean postage stamp celebrates Kim Jong Il's military career.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
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