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AP: American space expert says satellite launch a ‘perfect success for North Korea’

11:01 PM

NORAD says N. Korean satellite appears to have achieved orbit after successful rocket launch - http://tinyurl.com/9wc4vkh

11:11 PM

Kyodo: No object orbiting in space after N. Korea launch: Japan defense chief

11:44 PM

Both NORAD and Japan could be right: NKorean satellite may have reached orbit but failed a complete orbit of Earth

11:46 PM


FLASH: White House says North Korean rocket launch is highly provocative act that threatens regional security, violates U.N. resolutions

11:43 PM

FLASH: U.S. to work with partners in six-party talks to pursue "appropriate action" on North Korea - White House

11:46 PM

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This really is a dangerous tipping point. Make no mistake, this is NOT a peaceful space program. If N Korea wants to put a satellite in orbit it would be 100 times cheaper to pay china or someone else to put it up for them. This is about building an ICBM, and with this launch they are pretty damned close to being able to hit the US.

Edited by Mad Mike
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Idk, I find North Korea fascinating. I can't wait until they collapse. That is going to be so fascinating to witness (and hopefully, god willing, there's no bloodshed as a result). The people that come in to clean our office here are Korean. I'm always talking to the older man about North Korea (I'm here late every ****ing day of my life). Just crazy stuff man. I thought maybe he'd be like how some West German's have now expressed regret about re-unification, but no, he really hopes one day Korea can be one. He knows it's going to be really, really hard though.

Here's an interview with an author who just wrote a book about North Korea's "underground railroad". Pretty interesting, I think


Escape from North Korea

The Untold Story of Asia’s Underground Railroad.

North Korea is #22 on the 2012 Failed State Index and it’s generally regarded as the world’s most repressive state. So it’s no surprise that inhabitants wish to leave. That’s easier said than done, though, as it’s a crime to leave the country without permission — and the most common way out is via the neighboring, but unwelcoming, country of China (which rejects North Koreans as criminals and doesn’t hesitate to repatriate refugees). Those individuals who make the choice to flee North Korea travel along an underground railroad — not unlike the one that brought fugitive slaves north in pre-Civil War America. It’s a harrowing and dangerous journey, one that typically requires help from human traffickers and members of Christian relief organizations, who work clandestinely and at great risk to their own lives.

In “Escape from North Korea” (Encounter Books), journalist Melanie Kirkpatrick tells the story of this new underground railroad through the eyes of the refugees. “People don’t know a lot about the human issues regarding North Korea,” said Kirkpatrick prior to the following Q&A with Failure, but that is changing thanks to the North Koreans who have escaped and are now telling their stories to the world — and to people back in their information-starved homeland. “We now know more about North Korean life than we ever have,” she continued, “and after sixty years of totalitarian oppression the fact that people are still hungry for freedom is a very positive sign.”

Can you paint a picture of what life is like for the average North Korean?

One of the things we’ve learned from the people who have escaped is what life is like there. When I started the research for the book I already knew a lot about North Korea — or thought I did — but the more people I interviewed the more I learned, and I learned that it is far worse than even I imagined. One way to describe how awful it is is that the government controls access to food. Those who are considered politically loyal and friendly to the regime are at the top of the list and those who aren’t are at the bottom. And a lot of people who live in the northern regions of the country — which is considered North Korea’s Siberia — are at the bottom of the list. The food shortages are particularly severe in the north.

Another thing we’ve learned about is the apartheid-like system in North Korea. Every individual is assigned to a political class — a social caste, really. That is determined mostly by one’s family background and political loyalty. So, for example, if your grandfather was a Christian and fought in the Korean War on the side of the south, you as a grandson or granddaughter would be given a very low position in this caste system. You can never outgrow your assigned caste. [it] determines the kind of education you get, the kind of job you are assigned to, and who is willing to marry you. Of course, no one is going to be interested in marrying someone in a low caste if they can aspire higher.

Finally, from interviewing people I’ve learned about the extraordinary brutality of life in North Korea. You’ve probably heard about the torture and food depravation and the harshness of life in the political prison camps, but those conditions apply to the other prisons as well. One team of American social scientists did a survey of North Koreans hiding out in China and discovered that an astonishing ninety-five percent of them had some violent encounter with the police or security agencies. [Police] can pull somebody off the street and take them in for questioning and rough them up. A North Korean has zero rights.

How do North Koreans escape the country? In the book you explain how it’s not as simple as crossing the DMZ.

Occasionally someone gets out by going across the DMZ. There have been two examples of that this fall — both North Korean soldiers who saw a chance and took it. In one case a soldier was at his guard post and shot two superior officers and ran across to the South Korean side. But the vast majority go to China, which shares a long border with North Korea. Once there they exchange one circle of hell for another circle of hell, because of Chinese policy of arresting and repatriating them.

If they want to get out of China they have to find help. That is largely a matter of luck. Getting out of China is not something a North Korean can do on his own. A North Korean already stands out because he doesn’t speak Chinese and doesn’t blend in to Chinese society. In many cases North Koreans are malnourished and physically stunted. One of the first survival tips that North Koreans learn is to find a church, because church people are the only people who are likely to help.

And since Kim Jong Il died [on December 17, 2011] his son, Kim Jong Un, the current dictator, has really cracked down on border crossings. So it is harder now for a person to get to China, and fewer people have reached South Korea this year than in the past few years.

Who are the people responsible for helping the refugees along the way?

Continued at the link...

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Kim Jong Un Is Time Readers' Person Of The Year

Or, more accurately, 4Chan readers' person of the year.

‘The Daily Show’ funny man Jon Stewart, Undocumented Immigrants, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas and Burmese leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie all made it into the top ten.

However, some of the highest vote tallies got a boost from members of Internet forums like 4Chan who launched a campaign to manipulate the results pushing North Korea’s supreme leader to the top of the list.

A few days ago, 4Chan readers also "hacked" the poll by using the first initials of the leaderboard's name to spell out “KJU GAS CHAMBERS,” a reference to the always offensive Hitler.


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The First North Korean Racing Game Is A Perfect Metaphor For Their Society

My tolerance for bad, primitive racing games is pretty high, as is my love for isolated Communist video games. So when I heard that a North Korean development house called Koryo Group made the first North Korean racing video game, Pyongyang Racer, I was delighted.

So I played it. And let me tell you, it's exactly what actually driving in Pyongyang is like: slow, wildly boring, empty, incredibly restricted, and at least a decade behind technologically. It's a perfect, irony-blind parody of itself. I loved it.


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  • 2 weeks later...

North Korean leader, in rare address, seeks end to confrontation with South

(Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for an end to confrontation between the two Koreas, technically still at war in the absence of a peace treaty to end their 1950-53 conflict, in a surprise New Year's broadcast on state media.

The address by Kim, who took power in the reclusive state after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011, appeared to take the place of the policy-setting New Year's editorial published annually in the past in leading state newspapers.

But North Korea has offered olive branches before and Kim's speech does not necessarily signify a change in tack from a country which vilifies the United States and U.S. ally South Korea at every chance.

Impoverished North Korea raised tensions in the region by launching a long-range rocket in December it said was aimed at putting a scientific satellite in orbit, drawing international condemnation.

North Korea, which considers the North and South one country, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is banned from testing missile or nuclear technology under U.N. sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons tests.

"An important issue in putting an end to the division of the country and achieving its reunification is to remove confrontation between the north and the south," Kim said in an address that appeared to be pre-recorded.

"Past records of inter-Korean relations show that confrontation between fellow countrymen leads to nothing but war," he said, speaking from an undisclosed location.

The New Year's address was the first in 19 years by a North Korean leader, following the death of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un's grandfather. Kim Jong-il rarely spoke in public and disclosed his national policy agenda in editorials in state newspapers.

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Some recent photos:

A Look Inside North Korea


North Korean farmer O Yong Ae sits at her home during an interview at the Migok Cooperative farm in Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province, North Korea, on September 23, 2012. Farmers would be able to keep a bigger share of their crops under proposed changes aiming to boost production by North Korea's collective farms, which have chronically struggled to provide enough food for the country's 24 million people. Current rules require them to turn everything over to the state beyond what farmers can keep to feed their families.


North Korean children carry hay on a road near Mount Kuwol in South Hwanghae province, on November 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)


Kim Jong-un visits the Thrice Three-Revolution Red Flag Kamnamu (persimmon tree) Company under the Korean People's Army Unit 4302 in this undated picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang, on August 24, 2012. (Reuters/KCNA)

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N.Korean leader sends sweet birthday gift to kids

SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has sent one kilo (2.2 pounds) of sweets to every child to mark his birthday on Tuesday, carrying on a tradition instigated by his grandfather, state media reported.

A radio report by the North Korean Central Broadcasting Station, monitored in Seoul on Monday, said Kim had mobilised aircraft to ensure that each child in the country aged 10 or under received the candy gift in time.

Villagers in outlying islands "exploded with joy" at the confectionery airlift, the report said.


N. Korean children explode with joy upon receiving sweets for Kim Jong Un's birthday

The giving of "birthday candy" was started in 1980 by Kim's grandfather and North Korea's founding leader Kim Il-Sung.

Kim's father Kim Jong-Il, who died in December 2011, continued the practise when he took over in 1994.

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  • 3 weeks later...


UN sharpens sanctions on North Korea following December missile launch

The United Nations (UN) Security Council on Tuesday sharpened its sanctions on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and demanded an end to its nuclear and ballistic tests.

In a statement, the UN said among those named as targets of the travel ban and asset freeze of the sanctions regime are officials of the country’s missile launch facility and the satellite control center, as well as a banking official involved in the construction of the missile. Companies and committees involved in the launch are also named as subjects to the asset freeze.

In addition, the Council also called on Member States to exercise “enhanced vigilance” in preventing the transfer of funds related to the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs. At the same time, it reaffirmed its desire for a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the situation and called for the resumption of the so-called Six Party Talks on the matter.


North Korea planning more rocket launches and planned nuclear test are "aimed" at U.S: KCNA news agency

10:20 PM

Edited by visionary
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We should schedule a random test of our anti-missile defense systems for the same period the Koreans schedule their test of a missile which could hit the U.S.

Afterwards we should schedule a test launch for all the Nuclear Submarines we have lurking in the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, etc.

Edited by No_Pressure
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North Korea reminds me a lot of a little kid. They like to keep pushing and pushing to see what they can get away with. Sooner or later they will push too far and we will drop the hammer on them. Im sorry but i dont care about their innocent people stuck in that county...what i care about is them developing WMD's and selling them to some other country....

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I think we have all realized at this point that at some point we will have to "severely" deal with North Korea. They have been given every chance to back off and they keep pushing. Even China has started to fade to the US side by backing our resolution given to the U.N. N Korea responded with China betrayed us so we will have to deal with them too. N Korea has no friends left. Perhaps its time we truly send them a message since they are so intent on sending us one.

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