The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, located in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering South Korea and China. Its capital, Pyongyang, is the country's largest city by both land area and population. It is a single-party state led by the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), and governed by Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un since 2012. It has a population of 24,052,231 (UN-assisted DPRK census 2008) made up of Koreans and a smaller Chinese minority. Japan 'opened' Korea in 1876 and annexed it in 1910. The Republic of Korea (ROK) was founded with US support in the south in August 1948 and the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north in September that year.
Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories . . .
Japan and North Korea hold talks
Senior negotiators from North Korea and Japan hold talks in Beijing as Pyongyang continues to plan a missile test that has alarmed its neighbours. Officials from the two nations held their first senior-level talks in four years in Mongolia last month. Besides the test, the trajectory of which is expected to take the missile close to Okinawa, the negotiations are expected to include discussion of the kidnapping of Japanese nationals by North Korea in the 1970s and '80s.
Ferry inquiry panel meets
The commission of inquiry investigating the National Day Lamma ferry tragedy holds a preliminary meeting. The commission, chaired by Mr Justice Michael Lunn, will set procedures and a timetable for its inquiry. The commission is due to report within six months on the cause of the disaster, which claimed 39 lives, and make recommendations on how maritime safety in the city can be improved.
Grammy Awards shortlists unveiled
The countdown begins to one of the biggest days in the music calendar, with the shortlists for the Grammy Awards being unveiled at an all-star concert in Nashville, Tennessee. Maroon 5 tops the bill for the gig, which will be hosted by former Grammy winners LL Cool J and Taylor Swift. The awards themselves will be handed out in Los Angeles in February.
India votes on foreign supermarkets
India's parliament votes on a contentious plan to allow foreign supermarket chains to set up shop in the country. The plan to allow in firms such as Wal-Mart, which would be limited to a 51 per cent investment in stores in the country, has been attacked by opposition parties and traders, which argued that the move would cost jobs. A previous attempt to lift the ban was scrapped last year due to widespread opposition.
Chancellor bids to lift UK economy
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is under pressure to offer more to help the flagging British economy when he delivers his autumn economic statement to Parliament. While Britain's double-dip recession ended in the third quarter, lifted by the effects of the London Olympic Games, the economy is still struggling to gain traction.
Thai king celebrates 85th birthday
Thailand's beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej turns 85 as fears persist about the health of the monarch, who remains one of the few uniting factors in the strife-torn and politically divided state. Bhumibol, the world's longest-serving monarch, has lived in hospital since 2009 and suffered a minor brain bleed in July. His public appearances have been limited, but he did meet US President Barack Obama last month.