Tag Archives | North Korea

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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Two Icons, Two Deaths, Two Worlds: The Media Simplified Them Both

Jong-Il / HavelThe world has said goodbye to two leaders who were worlds apart. One was a widely celebrated anti-communist, the other a widely despised communist. However, both the lives and thoughts of the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel, and North Korea’s Kim Jung-il were given short shrift.

The playwright turned President Havel who parlayed human rights activism into becoming Czechoslovakia‘s post-Communist President was a leader for the pro-democracy Charter 77 Movement, not just a Red-hating politician on a power trip.

Yet, the press praised him more for what he opposed than what he believed. The people who loved him adored him for both.

One report: “Thousands of silent mourners have accompanied the body of Vaclav Havel through central Prague as the Czech Republic began three days of national mourning for the icon of the Velvet Revolution.

About 10,000 mourners mostly in black, some carrying Czech or Slovak flags, joined a solemn procession taking the former president’s coffin from a church through narrow cobbled streets to Prague Castle, the seat of Czech presidents, on Wednesday.”

Havel was an intellectual, a non-violent revolutionary who also presided over the break up of his country into two: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.… Read the rest

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North Korean Leader Kim Jong-il Dead

Kim Jong-ilReports David Chance and Jack Kim of Reuters:
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack while on a train trip, state media reported on Monday, sparking immediate concern over who is in control of the reclusive state and its nuclear program. A tearful television announcer dressed in black said the 69-year old had died on Saturday of physical and mental over-work on his way to give "field guidance" — a reference to advice dispensed by the "Dear Leader" on his trips to factories, farms and military bases. Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il's youngest son, was named by North Korea's official news agency KCNA as the "great successor" to his father, which lauded him as "the outstanding leader of our party, army and people."
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Activists Hijack North Korean Tweets

It seems North Korea’s internet borders are the only ones capable of being breached. Via BBC News:

Hackers have taken over social media sites associated with the North Korean regime, to make derogatory posts.

On 8 January, a Twitter account affiliated to the North’s regime began posting messages calling for an uprising.

Meanwhile a video appeared on the regime’s YouTube channel, depicting heir-apparent Kim Jong-un driving his sports car into women and children.

Users of a popular South Korean website have claimed responsibility.

The attacks coincided with Jong-un’s birthday.

[Continues at BBC News]

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North Korea’s Most Sought-After Consumer Items: Skinny Jeans, Ramen, Porn, And Human Manure

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Wondering what objects people ruled by the world’s most repressive dictatorship would like to get their hands on? A Seoul-based professor who interviewed recent North Korean defectors was told that the hottest consumer goods from the past year include skinny jeans, ramen soup, porn films, and even human feces. The Korea Herald has the story:

Skinny jeans, blue crabs, pig-intestine rolls and even human manure were some of the hottest items among North Korean consumers this year, according to a South Korean professor who has interviewed recent defectors from the communist country.

Kim Young-soo, a political science professor at Seoul’s Sogang University, said in a conference on Tuesday that adult movies, television dramas and instant noodle “ramen” made in South Korea are also selling “like hot cakes” in North Korea.

Skinny jeans refer to slim-fit pants that have gained popularity around the world, said Kim who interviewed about 2,000 defectors this year as part of a research project for the government.

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WikiLeaks Revelation: Israel Bombed Syrian Nuclear Facility in 2007

Israel / SyriaThe Jerusalem Post reports:

Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria, apparently built with North Korea’s help, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said to State Department officials in April 2008, according to Yediot Aharonot quoting a cable recently released by Wikileaks.

The cable is the first official confirmation of the incident, and details the intelligence gathered before the attack, the collaboration between the US and Israel, the government’s move to bomb the Syrian reactor and concern that Syrian President Bashar Assad would retaliate with war, Yediot Aharonot reported, quoting the cable.

“We have avoided sharing this information with you until now for fear of and in an attempt to avoid a conflict,” Rice says in the cable.

“I would like to inform you that the Israeli attack was aimed at destroying the secret reactor built by Syria in a desert area in the east of the country called al-Kibar,” the cable quotes her as saying.

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