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Posts by Martyn Williams
Imports of digital TV sets to North Korea are sharply higher in the first few months of this year compared to last year, according to Yonhap News.
Citing data from the Korea International Trade Association, Yonhap said China shipped just under $18 million worth of digital TVs to North Korea in the first four months of 2014, up 338 percent from the $4 million in the same period of 2013.
Yonhap tied the rise to earlier reports than North Korea is planning to introduce digital TV broadcasting.
In March 2013, a report on the Naenara website said trial broadcasting had begun in 2012.
“On the basis of the trial introduction of digital TV broadcasting last year the ministry is working to lay the material and technical foundation for applying it stage by stage while developing programs and introducing facilities,” it said.
A visit to North Korea by the executive director of the UN World Food Programme this week has provided a glimpse inside a handful of state-run establishments that care for babies and new mothers.
The pictures, shot by the WFP on May 20, showed several stops on the visit by Ertharin Cousin, which lasted from May 19 to May 21.
The children in the images don’t appear to be suffering from some of the chronic malnutrition witnessed in the past in North Korea, but their ages are unclear and it’s not known whether the facilities were given notice of Cousin’s visit or the locations were selected by the government.
Cousin was in North Korea to gain a better understanding of the humanitarian needs and food security situation in the country and to see some of her organization’s work. The WFP produces specialized nutritious food and supplies it to children in hospitals, baby homes, nurseries and schools but its operations in the DPRK are only 24 percent funded. More >
Singapore-based photographer Aram Pan is providing a new way to look at Pyongyang through some spectacular panoramic images and GoPro videos.
I brought along a Nikon D800 and a D7000,” he said.
“You don’t need specialized cameras to shoot great panoramas at all. In fact, even a cheap DSLR in the right hands produces far better panoramas than anything those expensive Google street view systems can achieve. You really can’t ever take the photographer out of the equation when it comes to good image capturing.” More >
The revelation by North Korean state media on Sunday that Pyongyang suffered a major construction accident underlines how strong the regime’s grip on information flow remains, despite cracks appearing in recent years.
The accident occurred on Tuesday, according to the domestic media reports, but the world didn’t hear anything about the incident until those first reports were published on Sunday. By then, the rescue efforts had been completed and, apparent from images, the site had already been cleared of all debris.
The reports were unclear about the exact accident and number of casualties, but it appears likely an entire apartment block collapsed causing many tens of deaths.
The 17th annual Pyongyang’s Spring International Trade Fair (평양봄철국제상품전람회) was held last week and attracted around 300 companies, according to domestic media reports.
The 2014 fair appears to have significantly grown in size from 140 companies in 2013 and for the first time occupied two halls at the Three-Revolution Exhibition House: the New Technology Innovation Hall and the Heavy Industry Hall.
“The fair is more diverse in style of display than the past, and it witnesses more active consultation among companies for economic and technological exchanges and businesses,” KCNA reported.
An Atlanta-based start-up game studio has set North Korea as the ambitious target of its first video game.
Moneyhorse Games revealed some demonstration gameplay video and screenshots from the game, “Glorious Leader,” earlier this week. It’s due out towards the end of 2014 and will be available on Android and possibly other platforms, according to Jeff Miller, who runs the company.
Miller said his inspiration for the game came from an interest with North Korea.
Gamers will play the role of Kim Jong Un who, as he prepares to play a friendly basketball game against Dennis Rodman and friends, is forced to give up his invincibility. The game involves a series of battles through which Kim Jong Un battles to regain that invincibility, he said.
North Korea got what might have been its first look at Google Glass in April.
That’s when Kenny Zhu went on a four-day trip and recorded various video and photo scenes with the high-tech pair of glasses. Zhu later supplied some of the pictures and video to CNN through its iReport website.
CNN said Zhu visited the DPRK for work, although he seems to have taken in many of the major tourist attractions, including a trip to Kaesong and Panmunjon. More >
Whether you’re heading to Pyongyang on an organized tour or fancy a spot of armchair North Korean travel, there’s now an app for that.
Last week, London-based Uniquely Travel launched what it calls the “ultimate travel guide” to the DPRK. The app, available for iOS and Android, contains details on just over 350 items of interest for tourists, including hotels, restaurants, museums and beauty spots.
You can delve into the entries in the app in two ways. One is through a comprehensive alphabetical list organized by category and the other is by region, divided by North Korean county and then major cities.
The app provides information on all these items of interest that ranges from the basic to comprehensive. The location of each is marked on an embedded Google Map alongside neighboring attractions and a “tips” section lists some on-the-ground information from Simon Cockerell, one of the people behind Beijing-based North Korea travel specialists Koryo Tours.