Sunday, November 2, 2008
SEOUL - NORTH Korea released a photograph Sunday showing leader Kim Jong Il smiling and watching a football match - the latest apparent attempt to calm intense speculation over the health of the country's absolute ruler.
Mr Kim, 66, reportedly suffered a stroke and underwent brain surgery in August. North Korea has denied he is ill and has in recent weeks released news reports, photos and footage portraying the leader as active and able.
On Sunday afternoon, North Korean state television showed an undated still photo of what it said is Mr Kim watching a football match between two army-affiliated teams.
The photo shows Mr Kim sitting with other people and watching something from what appears to be a special viewing stand inside a building. Mr Kim is shown smiling, wearing his trademark sunglasses with a brown jacket and black pants, but scenes of any football match are not visible.
-Singapore Straits Times