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
Crowds cheer below Mount Paektu on Kim Jong Il's 67th birthday.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
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(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.