An uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been executed for trying to overthrow the government, as reported early Friday. Jang Song-thaek, until recently, had been regarded as the nation's second-most powerful figure. The story said that a special military tribunal had been held Thursday against the "traitor for all ages," who was accused of trying to overthrow the state "by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods.“ Once he was found guilty of treason through a military trial, Jang was apparently immediately executed. It is not known how the sentence was carried out. Jang, who was married to Kim's aunt, had served as vice chairman of North Korea's top military body and had often been pictured beside the 30-year-old leader, who has ruled North Korea since the death in 2011 of his father, Kim Jong-il. One U.S. expert said of the situation, "This is about as brutal and ruthless a signal that could possibly be conveyed -- that Kim Jong-un is in charge and that anybody who seeks to create any kind of alternative power center is going to get destroyed politically and, in the case of Jang Song-thaek, physically as well.“ North Korea is officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
In Other News • In a much-anticipated report, the United Nations has concluded that chemical weapons have been used in the Syrian conflict. Experts investigated seven instances of alleged use and found that chemical weapons were either used, or likely used, in five of those instances. The case that was most clear to inspectors was an August incident near the capital, Damascus. Blood and urine samples from patients there tested positive for sari. Anti-government activist groups say many of them women and children. The report did not specify whether the government or opposition groups were responsible for the alleged attacks, which happened between March and August this year. The United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 people overall have died since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. It began with a government crackdown on peaceful protesters during the Arab Spring movement, then slowly spiraled into a bloody, full-blown civil war. • Several people were stabbed Thursday night in a parking lot outside the Denver Broncos football game. One of the victims was in critical condition. The incident occurred at about 10 p.m. MT, but it was unclear what started the altercation. • Ford ,a Michigan-based automaker, said Thursday it's on the brink of "the fastest and most aggressive manufacturing expansion the company has undergone in 50 years." It plans to add 5,000 new jobs in the U.S. next year, including 3,300 salaried positions. The company also plans to open new factories in Brazil and China, and will introduce 23 new vehicles globally. • Light bulb manufacturers will cease making traditional 40 and 60-watt light bulbs -- the most popular in the country -- at the start of 2014. This comes after the controversial phasing out of incandescent 75 and 100-watt light bulbs at the beginning of 2013. In their place will be halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs and high efficiency incandescents -- which are just regular incandescents that have the filament wrapped in gas. All are significantly more expensive than traditional light bulbs, but offer significant energy and costs savings over the long run. (Some specialty incandescents -- such as three-way bulbs -- will still be available.) The rules were signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007. They are designed to address gross inefficiencies with old light bulbs -- only 10% of the energy they use is converted into light, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But the rules have drawn fire from a number of circles -- mainly conservatives and libertarians who are unhappy about the government telling people what light bulbs they can use. They argue that if the new ones really are so good, people will buy them on their own without being forced to do so. The Republican-controlled House first tried to overturn the law. When that failed, Congress prevented the Department of Energy from spending money to enforce the new rules. But light bulb makers still have no plans to make the old bulbs after the first of the year, noting the law is still the law.