North Korea has confirmed the dismissal of Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of dictator Kim Jong Un and the second most powerful man in the regime.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said Monday Jang had been purged for a string of criminal acts, including corruption, womanizing and drug-taking.
The young North Korean leader will now rule without a relative long considered Kim Jong Un's mentor as he consolidated power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, two years ago.
Jang is married to Kim Jong Un's aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, the younger sister of Kim Jong Il.
The decision to strip Jang of all posts and titles and expel him from the ruling Workers' Party was made at a meeting Sunday of the Political Bureau of the party's Central Committee.