N. Korea's Kim appointed to 3rd term as leader

North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament appointed Kim Jong Il to a third term Thursday as leader of one of the world's most reclusive nations, buoyed by a rocket launch heralded in state media as "historic" but assailed elsewhere as provocative. State media said lawmakers approved Kim as chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission at the opening session of the new parliament, an appointment that under the constitution makes him the nation's top leader. But there was no confirmation in a noon (0300 GMT) broadcast on state TV that Kim himself was presiding over the session in what would be his first major public appearance since reportedly suffering a stroke last August.