Sunday night here, and I take a last check of the news before shutting off the computer, which I probably should have done a while ago.
What do I find? An AP story informing me that Kim Jong Il has died and going on to say that the S. Korean military is on high alert and that Asian stock markets have moved down, fearful that this may mean increased "instability" on the Korean peninsula. N. Korea is of course a closed, highly authoritarian regime in which the leader had already handpicked a successor, who happens to be one of his sons. There may be jockeying for power among factions of N. Korea's elite, and the son in question is rather young. So what? Why should this mean more instability on the Korean peninsula? Does anyone actually think about these things or is this just a pre-scripted quasi-robotic scenario in which an editor on the AP desk says to one of his subordinates: "Hey Joe (or Mary, or Pedro, or Li or whoever), make sure you throw in the word 'instability'." And the subordinate replies: "aye aye sir, one reference to 'instability', coming right up."
Addendum (added later): Commentary over the last couple of days indicates people see various reasons for concern, including possible difficulties of the 'great successor' in consolidating his power. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.