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Report: North Korean leaders eaten alive by pack of dogs
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Report: North Korean leaders eaten alive by pack of dogs

Report: North Korean leaders eaten alive by pack of dogs
Photo Credit: AP Photo
Jong-un (right) had his uncle, Jang Song Thaek (left), executed for alleged corruption.

Report: North Korean leaders eaten alive by pack of dogs

The purging of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle and his aides may have been even more cruel and barbaric than initially thought.

According to a report by a Chinese state-backed newspaper, Jong-un had the six men stripped naked and eaten alive by a huge pack of ravenous dogs.

Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po newspaper reports that Jang Song Thaek and five of his associates met their demise in the horrific manner as hundreds of North Koreans watched on. The report was picked up by several U.S. media sites and quickly spread across social media Friday.

UPDATE: The Washington Post and NPR have published stories on their websites Friday afternoon casting doubt on the gruesome details of Jang Song Thaek's demise. Washington Post's Max Fisher wrote that the fact Chinese and South Korean media have not picked up on the story are reasons to be suspicious.

The report from Wen Wei Po said a group of 120 hunting dogs were starved for three days and then set upon the men with the ordeal lasting up to an hour.

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Jang Song Thaek was at one time believed to be a close confidant to Kim. But earlier this month, Jang was arrested for allegedly committing treason in what may have been the result of a power struggle within the leadership of the communist nation. 

Upon announcing Jang's arrest North Korean state media described Jang as “despicable human scum, worse than a dog.”  

Previously it had been reported that some of Jang’s aides were executed with anti-aircraft machine guns. North Korean state media has not confirmed how all of the executions were conducted.

It is believed up to eight men were killed in the purge.

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  • Prosecutors are building a money trail of deposits, withdrawals, and lavish spending allegedly benefiting former Congresswoman Corrine Brown and a few others, through the testimony of an FBI Special Agent. But Brown’s defense says, at no time, did she have control of the account in question. Deputy Chief of the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Criminal Division Eric Olshan’s questioning of FBI Special Agent Vanessa Stelly spanned two days of Brown’s federal fraud trial. Stelly was assigned to this investigation as part of her work in the white collar crime division. She told the court she had worked through bank and business records for Brown, as well as the alleged “sham” charity One Door For Education, which Brown and a few others are accused of funneling money through. Stelly confirmed that at no time was One Door registered in either Florida or Virginia- where it was incorporated as a business- to solicit charitable donations as a 501(c)(3) organization. One Door’s President, Carla Wiley, opened a bank account for the organization in 2011, but it closed about a year later because of a negative balance. Wiley opened another account with a $250 initial deposit, and there was no activity until August 2012, when Stelly says there was a $25,000 check deposited by a Political Action Committee based in Virginia. That PAC is backed by a lobbying firm where Brown’s daughter, Shantrel Brown, works. Corrine and Shantrel Brown share a home in Virginia. FULL COVERAGE: The federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown One of the points that prosecutors are trying to hammer in is that there was a habit of using One Door donations for the personal expenses of Brown and a few others. To do that, Olshan first walked Stelly through repeated instances where bank records show hundreds of dollars at a time being taken from the One Door account at an ATM near the Laurel, MD home of Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons, with a like sum soon after deposited in one of Brown’s accounts- also in Laurel. Prosecutors further showed a surveillance photo of Simmons making at least one withdrawal and deposit. Prosecutors alleged Simmons would sometimes withdraw the cash and give it directly to Brown, and there was a surveillance photo of Brown herself making one deposit. Brown’s attorney, James Smith III, jumped on the charted expenses though, pointing out with Stelly that only about $3,000 of the roughly $26,000 One Door Funds allegedly deposited in to Brown’s account are suspected to have been deposited by her, with the majority done by Simmons. As he works to show Simmons betrayed Brown’s trust, Smith guided Stelly through cross examination, where she confirmed Brown did not have access to the One Door account, did not have the debit card, and was not formally affiliated with the governance or running of the organization. Another focus of the prosecution is a trip by Brown and her daughter to the Bahamas, and later Los Angeles. A July 2013 check for $3,000 from the One Door account made out to a specific Bank of America bank account said in the memo line that it was for children’s summer camps. Stelly says bank records show $3,000 being deposited around the same time in to Shantrel Brown’s bank account, and $1,000 being transferred from Shantrel Brown’s account to that of her mother. At the same time, Stelly says bank records show several cash withdrawals from One Door’s account in Simmons’ city of residence amounting to $3,000, the same sum which was then deposited in to Brown’s account as well. This all happened as Brown and her daughter first spent time at a resort in the Bahamas and then traveled to the Los Angeles-area, where they did a significant amount of shopping, according to Stelly’s analysis. When Stelly’s testimony resumed Thursday, the focus turned to more than $330,000 in One Door funds that the US Attorney’s Office says funded events hosted by Brown or in Brown’s honor which didn’t actually result in any kind of scholarship fundraising. There were several events Stelly says were represented as being paid for by another group, like Friends of Corrine Brown, but actually had at least some One Door dollars. Still other events were largely entirely funded by One Door, but prosecutors allege that’s not what the donations were intended for. They pulled out fliers for the events, which generally listed One Door as a sponsor or gave more detailed explanation of the organization. Smith questioned whether there were any documents that had been introduced as evidence which specifically said donations would only be going toward education scholarships, though, and Stelly said there were none. Smith further questioned whether Stelly could be sure there were no scholarships or opportunities created as a result of the networking done at these events. Stelly could only confirm One Door had not given out scholarships at the events or raised money for scholarships they would distribute. Olshan added that it was not Stelly’s job to investigate other charity and scholarship organizations. GALLERY: One Door For Education’s website A substantial amount of time was also spent on the Congresswoman Corrine Brown Invitational Golf Tournament which was advertised as sponsored by One Door to benefit a scholarship fund and other community non-profits. Stelly says $55,594.55 in One Door funds were used to put on the event. Among the expenses charged to One Door, though, are hotel nights for Brown in the days leading up to the event- at a hotel about five miles from her Jacksonville home- and several nights for her and a few others at a hotel near the golf tournament- about 25 miles from her home. The hotel nights alone added to a little more than $1,400. Prosecutors also took the time to look at the charitable giving One Door touted on its website. In all, over about two years, Stelly says she found just $10,408 she identified as “possible charitable contributions”, which includes everything from $30 to the Town of Eatonville to $1,500 for the Jacksonville Men Who Cook Fundraiser. WOKV is inside of the federal courthouse as the testimony in this trial continues. Check back frequently at wokv.com.
  • There have been seven different witnesses, but one consistent answer- those who donated or orchestrated donations to One Door For Education wouldn’t have done so if they knew the money wouldn’t be going to charity, as prosecutors claim. A flurry of witnesses has been led through questioning by the US Attorney’s Office prosecuting team during the first two days of the federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown. Among the seven over the two days, the theme emerging is that donors and those helping them believed in Brown, and were willing to take her at her word as she vouched for One Door. Prosecutors say instead of the donations going toward scholarship and opportunities for children, though, the money was going to events and the personal expenses of Brown and a few others. As each witness took the stand to speak of the trust they had in Brown, her defense attorney continued to push his own theme- that Brown herself wouldn’t have had any reason to believe anything wrong was taking place. FULL COVERAGE: The federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown John and Bob Picerne are brothers in the Central Florida area. Bob Picerne says he met Brown about 20 years ago and gradually formed a professional and personal relationship. He has a passion for helping children who are going through foster care and helping families who want to adopt, but can’t afford it. When his company gave to One Door, Picerne believed it would be toward advancing educational opportunities. He didn’t deal with many of the details of the transactions or with personally writing the checks, but in all, the company gave about $90,000 over three years, including $5,000 to cover printing for a commemorative edition of a magazine featuring Brown- a check that they made out to One Door, with the cover ultimately marking the magazine as funded by a re-election campaign. John Picerne met Brown through his brother, and he says she was able to help his business using her relationship with Naval Station Mayport. She asked him for charitable giving two or three times, and there was a $10,000 check from Picerne to One Door. He says he gave that money because he trusted Brown and believed she was doing good things. The defense continues to try to drive a wedge between Brown and any knowledge of wrongdoing with One Door funds, and Bob Picerne confirmed that he never spoke with Brown about One Door specifically. John Picerne said he believes he found out about One Door through Brown, but most of his communication about the donations would have been with Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons. In fact, Brown’s reputation appears to have kept donations flowing, even after potential signs of problems. Gasper Lazzara- a longtime orthodontist turned business man who has developed orthodontic schools and operates a family foundation focused on healthcare and education for children- says he’s known Brown for about 15 years, since they met at a Jacksonville University groundbreaking. Since then, she has solicited him for donations to summer camps, Edward Waters College, and other causes. In 2012, he says Brown talked to him about a new charity- One Door- and he agreed to invest in a specific program he believed would provide computers to students during the summer session. When his daughter took over the family foundation, she raised two issues. The first was when Simmons apparently asked them to make the above mentioned check out to One Door, instead of the school district. An email from Lazzara’s daughter to Simmons said they didn’t understand Simmons request to pay the Community Rehabilitation Center, and they just wanted to make sure the money was actually going toward computers for students. Simmons responded that he would get with the Congresswoman, but then never responded. The second issue surfaced when Lazzara’s daughter started doing research and found One Door was not, in fact, a registered 501(c)(3), as they had represented themselves. Despite that, Lazzara says he kept donating to the group, because he “absolutely” trusted Brown. This was another area where Smith jumped, asking what Lazzara did when he learned One Door was not a registered 501(c)(3). Lazzara couldn’t remember telling Brown directly, believing instead that his daughter communicated the problem with Simmons. Some on Brown’s staff apparently not only told these prospective donors that One Door was a registered non-profit, but put forward some documentation.  The first big check in One Door’s account came from a PAC backed by a lobbying firm where Brown’s daughter, Shantrel Brown, worked. Tandy Bondi worked with some of the administrative elements of that PAC and did some of research ahead of the $25,000 donation. Bondi says she couldn’t find that the group was a registered 501(c)(3), and when she asked Simmons, he sent her an attachment about One Door’s IRS Employer Identification Number- which does not grant non-profit status- and a one-page note about the history of the group that explicitly said they were a 501(c)(3). Another person who orchestrated a donation- Husein Cumber with Florida East Coast industry- says Brown approached him first about a donation to her legal fund to help her redistricting fight, and when he declined, she asked instead for a donation for One Door. Cumber says the way Brown described the group seemed to be a “natural fit” for the business’s charitable giving, so he said to send a W9 and they would consider and process a donation. Cumber says a W9 is required under their corporate guidelines to help ensure the organization is properly registered. Ultimately, that W9 was sent, and Cumber allowed a $10,000 donation. The legal fund was also apparently the destination for a small number of high value donations that went instead to One Door. Susie Wiles, a Public Affairs Consultant, says Brown approached her at an August 2015 meeting in Orlando, telling Wiles that she needed help funding a battle she was mounting against Congressional redistricting- which substantially changed Brown’s district from one that stretched from Jacksonville south to Orlando, to one that stretched west instead. Wiles agreed to help Brown put together a small fundraiser, and Brown suggested reaching out to the head of Haskell, Steve Halverson, to host the event at his office. When Wiles did, she says Halverson believed he could bring in the money Brown was seeking without even needing to hold an event. Wiles says Brown checked in once, and Wiles told her things were moving along. When Halverson came back with checks, Wiles asked Simmons what the “Pay To” line should say. When he didn’t answer right away, Wiles reached out to another Brown aide, Vonn Alexander. Alexander told her to have them made out to One Door, and sent to an address that turned out to be Simmons’ home. Simmons would later respond to make the check to him, and to send them to his home address.  Again there was cross examination, with Smith pointing out that Brown solicited for her legal fund and was not herself involved in any of the communication on where to ultimately send the money. One of the people solicited by Halverson is retiring CSX CEO Michael Ward. He wrote a $5,000 check he believed to be in some way going toward Brown’s re-election efforts, although wasn’t sure exactly where. He did not believe the money would ultimately be flagged for One Door. He had personally given $30,000 to One Door though. Ward was animated and passionate as he described for the court some of CSX’s charitable giving and his own, which focuses on improving neighborhoods where the railroad operates. “Education is the best gift you can give anyone,” he says. His tone was much more subdued when prosecutors started asking specifically about One Door, though. He first heard about the group from Brown, when she was asking for funding for a golf tournament sponsored by One Door. When he ultimately donated $10,000, though, Ward says he believed his money was going toward iPads for students and not the event. His wife ultimately signed another $10,000 check, but again, Ward says they believed their money was specifically for helping children. Ward would later give another $10,000 to Brown’s effort to send students to China on a cultural exchange. While prosecutors say donor money did, in fact, go toward the trip, the tens of thousands of dollars in excess funds were never returned. The response was the same across the board- all of these witnesses either donated or orchestrated the donation because of their trust in Brown, and none of them would have signed the checks if they believed the money wouldn’t be going to charity. WOKV is inside of the federal courthouse and will continue to bring you full details on the testimony. Follow our reporter Stephanie Brown on Twitter for updates during court recesses.
  • Two brothers allegedly killed their uncle because he “was coming between them,” authorities said.  Jacob Johnson, 20, and his brother Liam, 18, both of New Mexico, allegedly “lured” their uncle outside and beat him to death with a sledgehammer, KRQE reported. >> Florida man allegedly stuffed puppies into pillow cases, left them in drain The brothers dumped the body on the Mesa, where it was later discovered by a jogger, KRQE reported.  >> Read more trending news  The older brother admitted to hitting his uncle and said his brother also struck him “two or three additional times,” according to KRQE.  The brothers said they did it as a “bonding activity” and were “justified” because their uncle was “disrupting” them, KRQE reported.  The two are charged with murder.  Read more at KRQE.
  • Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today. What to know now: 1. Not that easy: In an interview in advance of his 100th day in office, President Donald Trump said he imagined the job as president would be easier than it has turned out to be. In the interview with Reuters, Trump said he missed his life before he took office. 'I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.' Trump also said he was surprised at how little privacy he has. “You're really into your own little cocoon because you have such massive protection that you really can't go anywhere.” 2. Funding the government: Congress is set to pass a bill on Friday that will prevent the government from shutting down services. The legislation, introduced earlier this week, would extend the funding of government services through May 5. The extension would give Congress more time to work out a bill to fund the government for the rest of the year. 3. United settlement: The passenger who was dragged off a United Airlines flight for refusing to give up his seat has reached a financial settlement with the airline. David Dao suffered a broken nose, a concussion, and other injuries when he was removed from an overbooked flight by being dragged from his seat and down the aisle of the plane before it took off from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport earlier this month. The amount of the settlement will remain confidential, Dao’s attorney said. Dao had not yet filed suit against United.  4. North Korean video: A propaganda video released by North Korea shows a simulated attack on the White House as tensions between the two countries grows. The video shows the White House as a target in crosshairs, then switches to an aircraft carrier exploding. Trump said Thursday he could see a chance for a major conflict with North Korea. 5. Warren on Obama speech: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Massachusetts), says she has a problem with the $400,000 fee former President Barack Obama will be getting to address a Wall Street conference on health care this fall. 'I was troubled by that,' Warren said during an interview on SiriusXM, Warren was being interviewed about her new book. 'One of the things I talk about in the book ('This Fight is Our Fight') is the influence of money,' she said. 'I describe it as a snake that slithers through Washington. And that it shows up in so many different ways here in Washington.'  And one more Myles Garrett, a defensive end for Texas A&M, was the first pick in the 2017 NFL draft Thursday. The Cleveland Browns chose Garrett, who averaged 10 sacks per season during three years of college play. The draft continues Friday and concludes on Saturday.  In case you missed it
  • Jacksonville officers are looking for a man accused of shooting a Popeyes employee in the leg Wednesday night.  According to the police report, officers were called to Popeyes Chicken on North Edgewood Avenue at about 9 p.m. in reference to an employee who was shot in the leg.  Officers interviewed the restaurant's employees, who said a man pulled up to the restaurant in a dark-colored pickup truck.  The man tried to place an order inside the restaurant but had to order at the drive-thru because the store was closed, employees said.  The man ordered his food but was upset that his meal 'cost too much.' He drove from the drive-thru but stopped his car in front of the store. The police report said the employees were in the lobby when the man entered the restaurant.  An employee said the man walked up to another employee, punched him in the face and shot him once.   The man fled the scene.  The injured employee was taken to UF Health with non life-threatening injuries.  Officers are looking for the man and believe he was last seen in an older-model Ford pickup truck with a standard cab and a tool box in the back.

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