North Korean leader Kim Jong Il hasn't appeared in public since his country test-fired missiles that drew international condemnation, leading to speculation of a possible sense of crisis inside the reclusive nation.Ah, spending money on miltiary items instead of food. That's a familiar sight in totalitarian regimes, like Cuba where food, medicine and other basic items are in short supply.
Kim attended a Russian art performance and visited a tire factory July 4, a day before the missile launches, and he hasn't appeared publicly since, according to South Korea's spy agency.
The North's propaganda machine hasn't reported on Kim's activities since the missile launches, but last week the country's official news agency said Kim sent a consolation message to ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Kim usually visits military units a few times a month to bolster his "songun," or "military-first," policy that rewards the 1.1 million-member military with the country's scarce resources despite chronic food shortages.
Fidel has been missing since undergoing an operation last week. His brother hasn't been seen either. No one knows what's going on there, but the US is boosting the number of broadcast transmissions into Cuba to give the Cubans some idea of what's going on because the Cuban state-controlled media isn't saying.