Olympic torch begins first-ever relay in North Korea

The Olympic torch launched its first-ever run Monday in authoritarian North Korea, where the flame was assured of a trouble-free trip unlike other stops worldwide. An attentive and peaceful crowd of thousands watched the start of the relay in Pyongyang, some waving Chinese flags, in live footage from broadcaster APTN. The event was presided over by the head of the country's rubber-stamp parliament who often acts as a ceremonial state leader, Kim Yong Nam. The North, an ally of communist neighbor China, has been critical of disruptions to the torch relay elsewhere and has supported Beijing in its crackdown against violent protests in Tibet.