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29 Feb 2012 10:32


World: U.S. scores diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea

  • the deal The U.S. got North Korea to agree to curb its nuclear testing and enrichment processes and allow outside investigators to monitor its main reactor, which is a fairly major breakthrough for the countries.
  • the perk In exchange, North Korea will get 240,000 metric tons of food aid. While the U.S. has long considered offering aid for purely humanitarian reasons, North Korea insisted that it be tied to this deal. source
  • » Significant, if “limited”: This result came after a set of talks last week that initially did not seem to go well, but later proved be palatable for the North Koreans. The two countries previously were close to some sort of deal before Kim Jong-il’s death, but the latest development seems to have gone over. “The United States still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behavior across a wide range of areas,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, “but today’s announcement reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these.”

12 Jan 2012 15:41


World: Kim Jong-Il’s oldest son doesn’t buy his brother’s new rule

  • I expect the existing ruling elite to follow in the footsteps of my father while keeping the young successor as a symbolic figure. It is difficult to accept a third-generation succession under a normal reasoning.
  • Kim Jong Nam, eldest son of Kim Jong-Il • Remarks made in an email to the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, on the subject of his young brother Kim Jong-Un’s ascendancy to power in North Korea. It’s worth noting a couple things in his analysis — for one, he was shirked in the Kim line of succession for, of all things, traveling to Japan on a fake passport in an effort to visit Disneyland. As a result, he no longer lives in North Korea, which means he probably can’t be as informed as he once was; North Korea is one of the most opaque nations on earth. However, when a family this bizarre, powerful, and hugely important gets to feuding, it merits attention. source

28 Dec 2011 10:27


World: In case you missed it: Kim Jong-Il’s highly-choreographed funeral

  • Last night was just strange: Euronews’ “No Comment” YouTube channel did us a favor and edited down this meandering feed, where (in one scene) the camera focused on a building for ten minutes, down to two minutes that really give you the gist. We’ll choose not to debate on whether the tears were real. Instead, let’s discuss what this shows about North Korean culture. The Telegraph argues that it shows that North Korea is really a monarchy or royal dynasty, despite its reputation as a communist nation — and that Kim Jong-Un is without a doubt the country’s leader. And the Christian Science Monitor disputes (in a slideshow) that the country is really as isolated as the West has come to believe. And MSNBC parses the funeral through the eyes of South Korea — and what they find is a giant bout of disinterest. What did you get out of this? source

22 Dec 2011 20:39


World: North Korean state media: Jimmy Carter offered condolences

For some reason, right-leaning blogs and news sites are obsessed with this story. Mind you, this is also the same North Korean media which has been using extremely figurative language to describe Dear Leader’s death. source

21 Dec 2011 10:46


World: Kim Jong-Un: Fully in charge of the North Korean military

  • He will, however, share power with his uncle … at first. Just before the death of his father was announced Monday, Kim Jong-Un issued his first military order. He told all members of the North Korean military to quit their training exercises and return to their bases. This is a biggish deal because South Korean officials didn’t actually think he was in complete control of the military. Meanwhile, as the country currently has no military strongman, it’s likely that Kim will share power with Jang Song-thaek, the brother-in-law of Kim Jong-Il, and the North Korean military. It’ll be interesting to see what changes in the country’s dynamic after this. source

20 Dec 2011 10:42


World: Kim Jong-Il lies in state; Kim Jong-Un amongst the mourners

  • A fallen leader makes way for an untested one: On Tuesday, North Koreans mourned the loss of Kim Jong-Il, an official whose outward appearances to the West perhaps didn’t match the sorrow those who lived in the region felt for his loss. (State television was full of images, much like the one above, of the leader lying in a glass coffin.) All of which leaves new leader Kim Jong-Un with some pretty big shoes to fill — especially for a country that has both incredible hardships and nuclear weapons at its disposal. Not that the country didn’t appear optimistic about his chances: “The respected comrade Kim Jong-un’s ideology equals General Kim Jong-il’s ideology and will,” a North Korean state radio report claimed. source

19 Dec 2011 01:04


World: Three things you didn’t know about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il


04 Aug 2011 15:38


World: Unprecedented access of the day: Crazy photos from North Korea

  • The Associated Press got unprecedented access to North Korea. The photos from The Atlantic website are absolutely stunning and show a different side to North Korea. Easily the most interesting thing you’ll see today. (Thanks to ProducerMatthew for these!)source

07 Jul 2011 02:02


World: Over one-third of human beings aren’t free

  • The tree-hugging hippies over at Freedom House have released their “Worst of the Worst” report, detailing the world’s most egregious violators of human rights, political expression, and other basic freedoms. The usual suspects are all there: North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Uzbekistan, Libya, Burma (Myanmar), and Tibet top the list, with China, Cuba, and several others not far behind. The organization concluded that 35% of the world’s population lives in “Not Free” states, while 45% of countries can be considered “Free,” a 14% increase from thirty years ago. The full report is well-worth the read. source

29 Jun 2011 14:32


World: North Korea is looking to avert a revolution

  • fear North Korea seems afraid of a revolution similar to those we’ve seen in the Middle East. They bought a lot of anti-riot gear from China, and there’s been extra police forces around. But where do the revolutions usually start? With the kids in college.
  • reaction North Korea has closed all of their universities until April 2012, blaming it on their ailing economy — all the students have to go work in factories. This might be true, but more than likely it’s not — they’re trying to keep those most likely to revolt from doing it. source