A pretty jarring report out of North Korea, which claims that Kim Jong Un's former girlfriend was executed by a machine gun-toting firing squad last week. Chosun Ilbo reports by way of sources in China that Hyon Song Wol (of "Electric Horse-Lady" fame) was arrested on Aug. 17 along with about a dozen others; Hyon was a singer, and a number of the others were members of the Unhasu Orchestra. They stood accused of making a sex tape and selling it and were shot three days later for violating the country's pornography laws.
Says a source, "Kim Jong Un has been viciously eliminating anyone who he deems a challenge to his authority," though it's not clear what challenge the musicians may have posed. Chosun Ilbo reports that it's also unclear if Kim's wife had anything to do with the deaths; before becoming the Dear Leader's spouse she was also in that same orchestra. Kim had reportedly known Hyon for about 10 years, and their relationship ended at the orders of Kim Jong Il, though rumors have persisted that the two were having an affair. New York magazine notes that while it's "frustratingly" difficult to verify reports like these, the fact that it's one of South Korea's main daily papers reporting it lends it a sliver of believability. (More harsh treatment in North Korea: A comedian was recently pulled from the stage and sent to a coal mine.)