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Rainbows run on time for N. Korea's leader

Kim Jong-il
The leader lets the train takes the strain  

SEOUL, South Korea -- Rainbows and waterspouts have marked the epic rail trip across Russia by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, according to official media.

The official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said a series of "natural wonders" took place in the communist country during Kim's three-week, 20,000-km (12,000-mile) railway tour to St Petersburg and back.

On August 4, a 20-metre (66 ft) high "waterspout" rose, mushroom-like, in the centre of a North Korean lake. The freak fountain, some 40 metres (130 ft) in diameter, was visible for 10 minutes, KCNA said.

At a glance: North Korea

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Two days later, a rainbow appeared over one of the many monuments to the ruling Kim family "as if congratulating Kim Jong-il on his outstanding revolutionary activities to glorify president Kim Il-sung's revolutionary cause," it said.

The Pyongyang rainbow followed an "unprecedented" appearance on July 31 of a double rainbow three times in 30 minutes over the northwestern city of Shinuiji, the official agency said.

State media often invoke natural phenomena as evidence of divine support for Kim Jong-il, who inherited control of North Korea when his father Kim Il-sung died in 1994 in the communist world's first hereditary succession.

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