The schoolyard of international politics just got even pettier - if that was possible.

The US government has drawn up a list of North Korean supremo Kim Jong Il's favourite things, and is banning them from being shipped to North Korea.

The list includes items that Kim Jong Il is known to personally favour, as well as luxury items he has given members of his communist regime in the past.

The list includes Apple iPods, cognac, artwork, expensive cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles, Rolex watches, cigarettes, and even jetskis.

It seems to be a sanction designed purposely to irritate a foreign leader - and certainly gives a subtle new dimension to the term 'diplomacy'.

So whatever will Kim Jong Il do without a new iPod this Christmas? Well, he could always just buy a Creative Zen Vision:w from Singapore... James Rivington