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What the World Has Learned This Week: Kim Jong-Un Has Much to Learn

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1. Kim Jong-Un has much to learn.

The young North Korea boss and trainee despot has an unenviably difficult task stepping into the crazy shoes of his bonkers father, and attempting to waddle around in them with a similarly jaunty gait. The late Kim Jong-Il was a self-proclaimed golf genius, a people-repressor extraordainaire, and a global-provocateur-about-town (provided that town was Pyongyang), whilst poor little Kim Jong-Un still exudes a sense that he would rather be locked away in a student flat playing Dungeons & Dragons than running a pariah state.

Last Friday's failed rocket launch proved how far the new Kim has to travel on the road of authoritarian lunacy before he can expect to have a 20-metre-high bronze statue of himself plonked up as soon as he pops his clogs (although the Kim Jong-Il statue unveiled at the weekend looks less an inspirational divinely-appointed supreme leader than a father half-arsedly appealing for offside at his son's football match in the park).

The much-trumpeted rocket failed to live up to its name, narrowly missing its target of going into orbit by approximately the distance between the orbit and the sea. Kim Jong-Il, with his decades of experience of lying to the world, his own people, and himself, would have passed off the rocket disintegrating and plummeting snout-first into the sea as "a glorious success of the universe's greatest ever dolphin-shoal-seeking self-shrapnelling missile - the must-have game-fishing accessory of the 21st-century."

The rookie Kim Jong-Un allowed news of the failure to seep into the outside world, showing that even with such an impressive blood-line as his, becoming a top-level crackpot can take time and experience. In a world that demands instant results, and with a nation that may soon wake up to the realisation that being institutionally oppressed is not as much fun as it is officially cracked up to be, that may be a problem for the 29-year-old basketball fan.

2. There may be a legal loophole for those seeking a dignified death through assisted suicide.


The Grand National proved that, if you put a race on television which guarantees the viewer a ready supply of spectacular horse crashes, 11 million British people will tune in to watch it. It also suggested that, for those seeking a dignified exit from life without having to trek all the way to Switzerland, hiring a pantomime horse outfit, entering the National, taking a dive at Becher's Brook, then waiting for the tarpaulin of mercy, could be a viable strategy.

The deaths of two horsies at Aintree prompted outrage that animals should be endangered for human entertainment across this nation of more than 30,000 restaurants, with a sausage industry worth £500 million a year.

3. The entire world benefits from space exploration, not just the astronauts who return from space with a lifetime supply of phenomenal chat-up lines.

The Space Shuttle departed the skies for the final time with a spectacular mid-air coupling with a jumbo jet in the skies above Washington, D.C.. If NASA's ambitious if controversial breeding programme bears fruit ‒ and one assumes the renowned space agency will have take care to select a lady jumbo was which was ovulating at the time of yesterday's mounting ‒ the Shumblo Jet could revolutionise long-haul travel for all of us.

Andy Zaltzman is one half of the worldwide hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

Andy is touring the UK with Armchair Revolutionary and performing Political Animal at the Soho Theatre. For tickets and info follow @hellobuglers

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