N. Korea confirms army head ousted


North Korean state media confirmed Thursday that the nation’s hawkish, aging army chief has been replaced in a reshuffle that observers say sought to tighten leader Kim Jong Un’s grip over the military.

Rumors had circulated in August that Kim Kyok Sik, 75, had been replaced as chief of the army’s general staff by Ri Yong Gil. Kim was seen as a hard-liner who reportedly ordered the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010 when he commanded the North’s Fourth Army Corps.