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Posts by Martyn Williams
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification will launch on Monday a new web portal focused on North Korea.
The North Korea Information Portal, or NK Info for short, is intended to provide South Koreans with up to date information on the DPRK, the Unification Ministry said.
Information on the site will be divided in several main sections: political, military, economic, social, cultural and education.
Within those sections, subsections will further organize the available data.
For example, within the political category there will be sections covering the main ideology of the DPRK, its political system, its power structure and significant figures and its efforts in diplomacy.
One of More >
The verdict, which likely comes as no surprise to anyone that watches the country, was included in the New York-based group’s annual “World Report” on human rights in countries around the world.
“The government continues to impose totalitarian rule,” the report said.
Five pages are devoted to North Korea and sum up the government’s use of torture and executions, prison camps, restrictions on movement, refugees and labor rights.
On the issue of freedom of access to information, the report More >
Bitcoin has arrived in North Korea … sort of.
A tourist on a trip to Pyongyang used the Koryolink mobile Internet service to make what is supposedly the first transaction in the country using the virtual currency.
But it wasn’t a payment to anyone in the DPRK.
The US$100 payment (just under 104 milliBitcoins) was sent to Seans Outpost, a homeless outreach center in Florida that has been raising money via Bitcoin.
The user posted a picture to prove their presence in Pyongyang and explained they were part of the Koryo Tours trip to see Dennis Rodman’s basketball game.
“What better use case of Bitcoin More >
The U.S. government’s case against two Taiwanese businessmen accused of attempting to illegally exporting machinery to North Korea continues its slow path towards a trial.
Hsien Tai “Alex” Tsai, 67, and his son, Yueh Hsun “Gary” Tsai, 36, were arrested and charged in May last year. Alex Tsai was in Estonia at the time and subsequently extradited to the U.S.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations laid out in indictments a plan to obtain and export precision metal fabrication equipment from the U.S. with assistance of several companies in Taiwan. The machinery could be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction, according to the More >
Twenty balloons, each carrying several large bags of propaganda materials, were launched on Wednesday from Paju, close to the inter-Korean border, according to Human Rights Foundation, a New York-based NGO that focuses on closed societies.
“These balloons are an information lifeline to ordinary North Koreans, who have no means to learn about the world beyond the lies of their government,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF in a statement.
The bags collectively contained around 500,000 leaflets, DVDs with South Korean TV More >
The European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea (EAHRNK) says the BBC can’t prove whether a hypothetical Korean service would be jammed or not.
Jamming is the deliberate broadcasting of an interfering radio signal on the same channel as a targeted program so it becomes unlistenable.
Shortwave radio is one of the few ways that up-to-date information gets into North Korea and the government engages in aggressive jamming against most broadcasts.
The possibility of jamming and the inability More >
The app, iJuche, was developed and published in late 2013 and was highlighted on NorthKoreaTech earlier this week. That publicity was apparently enough to get it blocked.
“I just got a call from a person at Apple informing me that iJuche has been found to be in violation of South Korea’s “National Security Law” and has been removed from the South Korean App Store,” said Peter Curtis, the developer of the app.
Users in South Korea that have already downloaded a More >
The harsh, closed world of North Korea and the lengths the state goes to keep people under control reached primetime television in the U.S. on Tuesday evening. Frontline, the premiere news documentary program of the U.S. Public Broadcasting System (PBS) network, aired an edition focused on the DPRK called “Secret State of North Korea.”
For North Korea to get such primetime coverage is relatively rare in the U.S. The country typically only breaks onto American television screens when the North Korean government says something particularly provocative, and then its fodder for the non-stop news networks.
In its Tuesday evening documentary, Frontline did More >
The decision was relayed in a letter from British Foreign Secretary William Hague to the U.K. Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The BBC World Service is currently funded by a grant from the Hague’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, although that’s about to change.
“The World Service has re-examined the case for broadcasts into North Korea, considering both the feasibility of such broadcasts and how effective they would be in reaching North Korean audiences,” More >
If you use an Apple iPhone or iPad, there’s a new app that lets you stay current with news from the Korean Central News Agency.
IJuche is the product of work by Peter Curtis, who says he became fascinated with the DPRK after reading Andrew Holloway’s “A Year in Pyongyang.”
“When I decided that I wanted to try my hand at iOS app development, I asked myself what sort of app I’d like to see on my iPhone and iPad that nobody else had written already,” he said.
And so came the idea to focus on North Korea.
“As your readers most likely know, More >