Speed Reads

Now You Know

Kim Jong-un didn't have his ex-girlfriend machine-gunned to death

YouTube/North Korea

Last August, the world learned that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had ordered the execution of pop star Hyon Song-wol, a reputed former girlfriend, and 11 other popular performers for making pornographic videos; their bandmates and loved ones were forced to watch the machine-gun firing squad carry out the order, before being shipped off to prison camps themselves. Or not.

On Friday, Hyon appeared on national television to laud "the heavenly trust and warm care of the Dear Marshal," Kim. Her speech is in Korean, but you can watch it yourself.

Celebrities, porn, the Kim family, and machine-gun firing squads? This would fall in the journalism sand trap (and internet mainstay) of "too good to check." Unless Pyongyang has mastered the art of hologram performance, it's a good reminder to take North Korean rumors — even when reported by heavyweight newspapers like South Korea's Chosun Ilbo or Japan's Asahi Shimbun — with a healthy dose of salt.

Luckily, we can celebrate the not-dead Hyon by watching her performing one of her hits, "A Girl In The Saddle Of A Steed." --Peter Weber