Tag Archives | North Korea

North Korea Claims To Have Discovered Ancient Unicorn Habitat

The Guardian reports on North Korean cryptozoology:

The inimitable Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has now broken the incredible news that archaeologists in Pyongyang have discovered a unicorn’s lair.

Or rather, the report says that they have “recently reconfirmed” the lair of one of the unicorns ridden by the ancient Korean King Tongmyong, founder of a kingdom which ruled parts of China and the Korean peninsula from the the 3rd century BC to 7th century AD.

The KCNA goes on to state that the location happens to be 200 metres from a temple in the North Korean capital, adding: “A rectangular rock carved with words “Unicorn Lair” stands in front…The carved words are believed to date back to the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).” Archaeologists from the Academy of Social Sciences at North Korea’s History Institute were credited with making the discovery.

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North Korea Rising: Rare Earth Mineral Reserves Rival China

Picture: Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Via Russia Times:

The impoverished, isolationist nation of North Korea may be on the way to becoming even more of a geo-political hotspot than it already is with the discovery of enormous deposits of rare earth minerals. As demands rise and nations scramble to take their piece of the rare earth pie, Pyongyang might find itself in a position of unheralded economic strength. Or the next war-torn battlefield…

North Korea’s is set to have the world’s second-largest magnesite reserves, and its tungsten deposits are almost the world’s sixth-largest. The country also holds sizeable deposits of coal, iron ore, gold, zinc, copper, limestone, molybdenum, and graphite.

About 40% of the 138 Chinese companies registered as doing business in North Korea in 2010, are engaged in extracting minerals, according to the U.S. Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Rich rare earths deposits are considered the most lucrative piece of the North Korean resource pie.

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North Korea’s Cafepress Shop

Searching for a coffee mug or t-shirt celebrating the North Korean regime, or a giant flag to display on your front lawn? The official Cafepress shop of the Korean Friendship Association (a sort of overseas, public relations arm of the North Korean government) is here to fulfill all of your branded needs:

Official shop of the Korean Friendship Association. Here you can find official art merchandise from North Korea. Show your support to our country!!

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The Hunger Games In North Korea

imagesGrimly close to a real-life version of everyone's favorite dystopian novel/movie? Guernica on author Shin Dong-hyuk, who in 2005 slipped out of North Korea through a hole in an high-voltage fence:
Born into one of North Korea’s six “complete control districts” (labor camps), which have remained virtually unnoticed by the global community despite their visibility on Google Earth, Shin was born stripped of his humanity. Classified as “irredeemable” because of an uncle’s crime against the state (fleeing the country after the Korean War), Shin was regularly overworked, abused, and starved. In Camp 14, an isolated compound about 30 miles long, Shin was taught to believe that violence was normal and snitching a duty. When. at the age of 13, he discovered that his mother and older brother were planning an escape attempt, he promptly told a prison guard. Shin’s mother and brother were brought in front of the crowded camp and shot.
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Meet The Jongettes: North Korea’s First Girl Band

Can they compete with our own Supremes? No word on where to download their hit song ‘We Will Defend General Kim Jong Un at the Risk of Our Lives’. The Daily Mail reports on the debut of North Korea’s first girl pop act, who sang, played, and engaged in synchronized swimming:

Meet North Korea’s first girl band. Decked out in military uniform and close to tears, [they] played live in capital Pyongyang to celebrate the 70th birthday of Kim Jong il, who died two months ago.

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Is North Korea Addicted To Meth?

meth-in-ruili-yunnanCould between a quarter and half of the North Korean population be meth users? SINO-NK reports:

Though the North Korean government would never admit to outsiders that there is a drug problem in the country, the Daily NK has filed many reports over the past several years suggesting that “bingdu” (meth) is available practically at epidemic levels inside the DPRK. Articles claim, among other things, that commodity prices rise and fall depending on the harshness of ongoing crackdowns on bingdu; that middle schoolers in Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province, were caught producing bingdu; that teenagers give it as a birthday gift to peers; and, most recently, that Kim Jong-Un had ordered a crackdown on bingdu producers, sellers, and users.

Quotes from defectors and sources who spoke to the Daily NK report that anywhere from ¼ to ½ of the population in North Korea are using the drug. And as reported by Isaac Stone Fish in Newsweek, bingdu is often taken as a replacement for medicine in the DPRK.

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Chinese ‘Twitter’ Claims North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Assassinated

Dead TwitterReports Lucas Shaw via Reuters:
Did social media just prematurely kill off the leader of North Korea? Rumors that Kim Jong-un, the country’s supreme leader, has been assassinated just months after he took power originated on Chinese microblogging service Weibo and have now spread all over Twitter. Others are reporting that Jong-un, believed to be 28 years old, may be on the run rather than dead, but both reports claim that some kind of coup is taking place. One person on Weibo wrote (loose translation): "north korea's biggest leader kim jung un, this morning in beijing time 2:45 am, had his residence broken into and was assassinated by unidentified people, who were shot dead by his bodyguards in korea's embassy in beijing, vehicles are rapidly increasing in number, and have surpassed 30 of them, this sort of battle formation hasn't been seen in over two years. please verify this."
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Is North Koreans’ Grief Authentic?

nkoreaWig & Pen ponders whether the intense displays of mass, hysterical mourning of the death of Kim Jong Il are genuine, and the facials “tells” for faked sadness:

Two weeks ago, while gazing at photos of North Koreans in mourning–including grown men chewing the scenery–I recalled head shots depicting emotional states in the books and training materials of Paul Ekman. What, I wondered, would Professor Ekman, our leading authority on “reading” emotions from facial expressions, make of that frenzy of facial contortions from the Hermit Kingdom?

Kim Jong Il…knew exactly how the [his] population lined up: loyal core, 5-25%; wavering, 50-75%; hostile, 8-27%. But those who dissented–even in a whisper, even by hanging his portrait askew–ended in prison camps, subjected to forced labor and starvation.

How might Dr. Ekman audit the “grief cred” of our North Korean subjects? He’d certainly have us look for any upward angling of the eyebrows’ inner corners.

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Kim Jong-il’s Photoshopped Funeral Picture

A few stragglers were removed from the right-hand photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency. (Compare the left sides of both pictures.) The chilling thing is, why bother altering the truth over such a minor detail? Do all totalitarian regimes display the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or just North Korea’s? Via TIME Magazine:

The big question is why did the North Koreans alter the image? Aesthetically, the doctored photograph is tad bit cleaner, lines straightened, but hardly improved. Psychologically speaking though, the clone job adds order to an already tidy scene. I’ve been examining photographs released by the KCNA for years and many are strikingly beautiful—enormous, perfectly-positioned crowds, immaculate and intricately composed. Now we may know why.

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