Reports from inside the country claim a 200% increase in coal yield ‘spurred by hatred’ and ‘more than 1 million’ new volunteers to the army
By Maeve Shearlaw, The Guardian
Emergency negotiations between North and South Korea enter their third day after two landmines exploded near the demilitarised zone (DMZ) earlier this month, escalating tensions between two countries technically at war.
With talks ongoing, the Associated Press reported that imminent conflict has been avoided the path to a peaceful and full resolution will be rocky: South Korea wants an apology for the landmine attack, for which North Korea have denied any responsibility.
In reporting events the authoritarian regime defaulted to its usual bellicose rhetoric. Since Friday, KCNA Watch, a media tracking service operated by NK News, has been dominated by stories littered with overblown statements and calls for retribution that have become North Korean media’s trademark.
North Korea’s new time zone, Pyongyang Time, went into effect early Friday and changes are already being seen.
The new time zone shifts time in North Korea so it’s half an hour later than the time in Seoul and Tokyo and half an hour close to Beijing. It was announced last week and was introduced on August 15 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan.
It sure seems like 2015 is the year of the North Korea book. There have already been a number of high profile autobiographies by defectors and journalists and specialists continue to turn out books that look at the country, its leader and its future.
So, to bring all these books together into one place and to help pay my server bills, I’m launching a North Korea Book Store.
Books are organized by subject and there’s a list of upcoming titles, so you can place pre-orders before they are published.
The design of the website of North Korea’s main daily newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, was refreshed on Monday.
The new site has fewer pictures on the front page and leads with a list of stories.
And being North Korean, features detailing the work of Kim Jong Un receive top billing.
Tokyo’s best source of North Korean books is no more.
The Korea Book Center has shuttered its website a month after its physical store was closed.
The store in the Hakusan neighborhood was operated by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, better known locally as “Chosen Soren,” and provided a place to pick up books, CD-ROMs, VHS tapes and DVDs published in North Korea.
There was a little bit of excitement among North Korea watchers, myself included, earlier this year when the state TV broadcaster, Korean Central Television, took its first step towards high-definition broadcasting.
It was signaled by a switch in satellite transmission formats that increased the available screen resolution by more than five times, from just over 414,000 pixels to more than 2 million pixels.
That’s a big deal because getting information out of North Korea is difficult. Sharper, clearer pictures provide a look at North Korea that’s literally much more detailed. It will be easier to see the faces of officials several steps behind Kim Jong Un, the writing on posters and signs on walls and the daily changes taking place in Pyongyang.
To get an idea of the difference, take a look at these images. First the conventional standard definition image:
North Korean TV news doesn’t change very much.
Centrally programmed from Pyongyang, the news can be counted on the provide an update of the work of Kim Jong Un (usually depicted in still photos rather than video), commentary on issues in South Korea and the U.S., reports on innovation in industry, medicine, education and farming, and then the weather report.
There’s not much more to it, so when something changes, it’s worth noting no matter how small the change.
Recently, I spotted a couple of reports that do away with the stale graphics of the past for something that looks a bit more modern. They are part of a gradual modernization of the look of North Korean TV that began in 2012 with the donation of US$800,000 worth of equipment from China Central Television and recently included an update to the opening sequence of the main evening news.
A couple of weeks ago I reported that satellite monitors had found a new feed of Korean Central Television on Intelsat 21, a satellite above the Atlantic that covers all of the Americas and west Europe.
Today I had a chance to check it out.