Nothing to Envy
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il celebrated his 68th birthday this week in an extravagant display of gun salutes and cheering crowds. This glittering façade masks the reality of life in the world's most secretive state. American journalist Barbara Demick was determined to understand more when she was posted to Seoul for the Los Angeles Times. There she spoke to defectors who had fled their country in search of a better life. Their personal stories revealed the grim heart of ordinary life in across the border.

Close encounter with a twister
Ghis and Adrian Gallo from Australia recently made the headlines when they filmed a twister as it tore through their farm in north Queensland. The remarkable footage made it onto internet sites and TV stations around the world and shows the tornado ripping through a cornfield. Ghis Gallo tells Outlook about the moment the tornado hit.

Defying the Russian authorities
Ludmila Alekseyeva grew up during Stalin's purges and has been a thorn in the side of the authorities for decades. At 19, she was reported to a Communist party secretary for reciting banned poetry. Soon after she turned 40, she volunteered to type the Chronicle of Current Events, a dissident journal - an extremely risky undertaking. She told Lucy Ash how she had faced more than 30 interrogations and still kept her nerve.

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Mon 22 Feb 2010 12:05 GMT

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