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National Post

nationalpostsports:

Dennis Rodman sang “Happy Birthday” to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un before leading a squad of former NBA stars in a friendly game Wednesday as part of his “basketball diplomacy” that has been criticized in the United States as naive and laughable.Rodman dedicated the game to his “best friend” Kim, who along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives watched from a special seating area. The capacity crowd of about 14,000 at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium clapped loudly as Rodman sang a verse from the birthday song. (Photo: Kim Kwang Hyon/The Associated Press)

nationalpostsports:

Dennis Rodman sang “Happy Birthday” to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un before leading a squad of former NBA stars in a friendly game Wednesday as part of his “basketball diplomacy” that has been criticized in the United States as naive and laughable.

Rodman dedicated the game to his “best friend” Kim, who along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives watched from a special seating area. The capacity crowd of about 14,000 at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium clapped loudly as Rodman sang a verse from the birthday song. (Photo: Kim Kwang Hyon/The Associated Press)

North Korea faxes South to threaten ‘merciless’ attack ‘without notice’
North Korea sent its neighbour to the south a fax on Friday threatening “merciless” attack “without notice.”
South Korea replied with a fax of its own, vowing to “sternly react” to any such attack.
“The reply was sent through wired message and in the fax message, we warned that if North Korea is to carry out provocation, we will firmly retaliate,” said Kim Min-seok, the spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of National Defence. (Photo: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

North Korea faxes South to threaten ‘merciless’ attack ‘without notice’

North Korea sent its neighbour to the south a fax on Friday threatening “merciless” attack “without notice.”

South Korea replied with a fax of its own, vowing to “sternly react” to any such attack.

“The reply was sent through wired message and in the fax message, we warned that if North Korea is to carry out provocation, we will firmly retaliate,” said Kim Min-seok, the spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of National Defence. (Photo: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Kim Jong-un’s ‘traitor’ uncle and former mentor pictured in court with head bowed moments before his execution
North Korea said Friday that it executed Kim Jong-un’s uncle as a traitor for trying to seize supreme power, a stunning end for the leader’s former mentor, long considered the country’s No. 2.
In a sharp reversal of the popular image of Jang Song Thaek as a kindly uncle guiding young leader Kim Jong-un as he consolidated power, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency indicated that Jang instead saw the death of Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, in December 2011 as an opportunity to challenge his nephew and win power.
It is North Korean custom that executions are carried out by firing squad, although the method of Jang’s death was not publicly released. Images from state-owned media showed Jang in a special military court with his hands bound. After the guilty verdict he was dragged from court and executed. (Photo: YONHAPYONHAP/AFP/Getty Images)

Kim Jong-un’s ‘traitor’ uncle and former mentor pictured in court with head bowed moments before his execution

North Korea said Friday that it executed Kim Jong-un’s uncle as a traitor for trying to seize supreme power, a stunning end for the leader’s former mentor, long considered the country’s No. 2.

In a sharp reversal of the popular image of Jang Song Thaek as a kindly uncle guiding young leader Kim Jong-un as he consolidated power, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency indicated that Jang instead saw the death of Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, in December 2011 as an opportunity to challenge his nephew and win power.

It is North Korean custom that executions are carried out by firing squad, although the method of Jang’s death was not publicly released. Images from state-owned media showed Jang in a special military court with his hands bound. After the guilty verdict he was dragged from court and executed. (Photo: YONHAPYONHAP/AFP/Getty Images)

Jonathan Kay: North Korean prison guard who escaped the gulag sketches its staggering inhumanity 

Of all the defectors who have escaped North Korea, few know more about Pyongyang’s methods for crushing human souls than Ahn Myong-Chol, who worked as a guard at four North Korean prison camps before fleeing to China, and then South Korea, in 1994. Last month, I met him in Toronto, and he told me his story.

During training, Ahn was taught to treat gulag prisoners as expendable subhumans: They were to be kept alive only insofar as their labour output justified the gulags’ cost of operation.

On rare occasions, conditions become so hideous that starving prisoners stage local revolts. This happened, Ahn says, in 1985, at Camp 12 (one of four camps where he worked). “A guard was berating a prisoner who has collapsed, and when one of the prisoner’s relatives went to attend the fallen man, a guard killed him,” Ahn tells me, through a translator. “There was a large crowd of prisoners watching. Many of them went into a sort of rage. They attacked the local security village where the guards lived, killing 200 family members of the guard corps. When word spread, all the guards from Camp 12 and neighbouring Camp 13 joined forces to slaughter all the prisoners. No one knows how many people died. Eventually, they dismantled both camps.”

Stories like this help explain why more North Koreans do not rise up against the regime, or flee into China: Collective punishment is the norm. (Illustrations: Ahn Myong-Chol)

North Korean firing squads reportedly execute 80 for watching foreign films
Eighty people have been executed by firing squad in North Korea for watching foreign films, according to a newspaper report.
South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported that the co-ordinated public executions took place in seven separate cities earlier this month.
In one case, the local authorities rounded up 10,000 people, including children, and forced them to watch, it reported. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

North Korean firing squads reportedly execute 80 for watching foreign films

Eighty people have been executed by firing squad in North Korea for watching foreign films, according to a newspaper report.

South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported that the co-ordinated public executions took place in seven separate cities earlier this month.

In one case, the local authorities rounded up 10,000 people, including children, and forced them to watch, it reported. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Tagged with:  #news  #North Korea  #Kim Jong-un

North Korea rushes to finish lavish ski resort for Kim Jong-un, country’s 5,000 other skiers

The secretary-general of North Korea’s ski association views the sprawling alpine landscape before him with unabashed pride. Facing a strong, cold wind, he points to a dip in the rugged, tree-covered mountains and says the sunrise there is a sight of unmatched beauty, worthy of the nation’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un.

This is the Masik Pass ski resort, North Korea’s latest megaproject, the product of 10 months of furious labor intended to show that this country, so often derided for its poverty and isolation, is as civilized and culturally advanced as any other.

The complex of ski runs, resort chalets and sleigh rides will formally open Thursday, though late last month the main hotels appeared to be little more than shells, potholes filled the access roads and foundations were still being dug for secondary buildings. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

nationalpostsports:

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman checks in at a check in counter at the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing on his way to North Korea; Rodman, third right, arrives at Pyongyang airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013.

Rodman said he plans to hang out with authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, have a good time and maybe bridge some cultural gaps — but not be a diplomat.

Rodman was greeted at Pyongyang’s airport by Son Kwang Ho, vice-chairman of North Korea’s Olympic Committee, just days after Pyongyang rejected a visit by a U.S. envoy who had hoped to bring home Kenneth Bae, an American missionary jailed there. The North abruptly called off the official visit because it said the U.S. had ruined the atmosphere for talks by holding a drill over South Korea with nuclear-capable B-52 bombers.

Rodman said the purpose of his visit was to display his friendship for Kim and North Korea and to “show people around the world that we as Americans can actually get along with North Korea.” (Photos: Andy Wong/The Associated Press, Jon Chol Jin/The Associated Press)

Kim Jong-un’s ex-lover, famous singer in North Korea, reportedly executed by firing squadSouth Korean news sources are reporting that singer Hyon Song-wol, reputed ex-lover of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was among a dozen artists who were executed for violating anti-pornography laws.South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper said Hyon, a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was arrested with 11 others on August 17. All 12 were machine-gunned down by a firing squad three days later, while members of their immediate family were forced to watch, the paper reported.The family members were then sent to prison camps.“They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as well as the families of the victims looked on,” a Chinese source said in the report.

Kim Jong-un’s ex-lover, famous singer in North Korea, reportedly executed by firing squad
South Korean news sources are reporting that singer Hyon Song-wol, reputed ex-lover of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was among a dozen artists who were executed for violating anti-pornography laws.

South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper said Hyon, a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was arrested with 11 others on August 17. All 12 were machine-gunned down by a firing squad three days later, while members of their immediate family were forced to watch, the paper reported.

The family members were then sent to prison camps.

“They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as well as the families of the victims looked on,” a Chinese source said in the report.

Tagged with:  #news  #North Korea  #Kim Jong-un
In North Korea, Pyongyang now glitters, while the rest of the country shivers in the darkThe heart of this city, once famous for its Dickensian darkness, now pulsates with neon. Glossy new construction downtown has altered the Pyongyang skyline. Inside supermarkets where shopgirls wear faux French designer labels, people with money can buy Italian wine, Swiss chocolates, kiwifruit imported from New Zealand and fresh-baked croissants. They can get facials, lie in tanning booths, play a round of mini golf or sip cappuccinos.Nearly 2 million people are using cell phones. Computer shops can’t keep up with demand for North Korea’s locally distributed tablet computer, popularly known here as “iPads.” A shiny new cancer institute features a $900,000 X-ray machine imported from Europe.Beyond the paved main streets of the capital, life remains grindingly tough. Food is rationed, electricity is a precious commodity and people get around by walking, cycling or hopping into the backs of trucks. Most homes lack running water or plumbing. Health care is free, but aid workers say medicine is in short supply. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

In North Korea, Pyongyang now glitters, while the rest of the country shivers in the dark
The heart of this city, once famous for its Dickensian darkness, now pulsates with neon. Glossy new construction downtown has altered the Pyongyang skyline. Inside supermarkets where shopgirls wear faux French designer labels, people with money can buy Italian wine, Swiss chocolates, kiwifruit imported from New Zealand and fresh-baked croissants. They can get facials, lie in tanning booths, play a round of mini golf or sip cappuccinos.

Nearly 2 million people are using cell phones. Computer shops can’t keep up with demand for North Korea’s locally distributed tablet computer, popularly known here as “iPads.” A shiny new cancer institute features a $900,000 X-ray machine imported from Europe.

Beyond the paved main streets of the capital, life remains grindingly tough. Food is rationed, electricity is a precious commodity and people get around by walking, cycling or hopping into the backs of trucks. Most homes lack running water or plumbing. Health care is free, but aid workers say medicine is in short supply. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Tagged with:  #news  #North Korea
Graphic: The Military Balance on the Korean PeninsulaTensions in the Korean Peninsula have soared with a series of provocations from North Korea as well as a revelation in a U.S. intelligence report that suggested the Hermit Kingdom now has the ability to arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead —  even if the weapons would lack reliability. Some analysts fear a miscalculation by Kim Jong-un, or an accident, could provoke a regional war dragging in even China and Russia.

Graphic: The Military Balance on the Korean Peninsula
Tensions in the Korean Peninsula have soared with a series of provocations from North Korea as well as a revelation in a U.S. intelligence report that suggested the Hermit Kingdom now has the ability to arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead — even if the weapons would lack reliability. Some analysts fear a miscalculation by Kim Jong-un, or an accident, could provoke a regional war dragging in even China and Russia.

politicalprof:

“Scary” North Korea. Or, you know, not.

So this posthas been running around the interwebs, graphically depicting the size of North Korea’s…

View Post

Of course the graphic wasn’t created to imply North Korea is a threat to the U.S., but to suggest an answer to the question of "why no one has started bombing them yet?"
With the world staring down the barrel of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, intercontinental missiles, and biological and chemical weapons, sane people might be wondering why no one has started bombing them yet? The answer is simple.
The repercussions would be disastrous. While North Korean arms are mostly antiquated, much of it dating back half a century, what they lack in modernity they make up for in both volume and location.

politicalprof:

“Scary” North Korea. Or, you know, not.

So this posthas been running around the interwebs, graphically depicting the size of North Korea’s…

View Post

Of course the graphic wasn’t created to imply North Korea is a threat to the U.S., but to suggest an answer to the question of "why no one has started bombing them yet?"

With the world staring down the barrel of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, intercontinental missiles, and biological and chemical weapons, sane people might be wondering why no one has started bombing them yet? The answer is simple.

The repercussions would be disastrous. While North Korean arms are mostly antiquated, much of it dating back half a century, what they lack in modernity they make up for in both volume and location.

Tagged with:  #North Korea  #infographic