Driving up South Korea’s “freedom highway” north of Seoul, just after the turn off for the National Defense University, observant travelers will notice a collection of transmitter masts off to the right of the highway.
At first glance, the site looks like it might belong to a major broadcaster like KBS, but the truth appears to be much more interesting.
Seeing inside the site is impossible from the highway, but a neighboring hill provides a good outlook, as shown below.
The site contains 16 transmitter masts, all but one of which are contained in a large field. A single mast sits in the middle More >
A Washington, D.C.-based journalist and blogger has managed to obtain details on web traffic to the Korean Central News Agency’s website thanks to poor security on a previous version of the site.
Writing on his blog, Dino Beslagic said he was able to access the site traffic data through a hidden interface page on the KCNA website. Rather than block off access with a firewall, the site allowed access to the page after simply acknowledged a pop-up window.
Access to the data enabled Beslagic to produce a graph of daily visitors and number of hits for the period from April 2011 to More >
A North Korean Samjiyon (삼지연) tablet computer sold for the impressive price of $546 on Ebay.
The tablet first appeared on the site on November 7 with an opening bid of $4.15 — a likely reference to the April 15 birthday of Kim Il Sung — and attracted 53 bids over 10 days.
The Samjiyon, which appears to be available in several versions, has been reportedly sold to tourists for between $200 and $250, so the Ebay price represents somewhere between a doubling and tripling of the selling price.
The buyer isn’t identified but the seller is listed on Ebay by his or her More >
North Korea began construction this week on a new industrial zone in Kaesong that it hopes will attract high-tech companies.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the Kaesong Hi-Tech Industrial Park took place on Monday, less than a month after three foreign companies signed a deal with the government to work on design and construction of the park.
North Korea’s state media hasn’t said much about its plans for the zone since it announced it at an international conference on special economic zones that took place in Pyongyang in October.
But this week, state media reported on both the high-tech park and ground breaking.
“The park will have More >
One of the surprises in North Korea’s recently-launched Samjiyon (삼지연) tablet was the inclusion of Angry Birds, the globally-popular game that involves shooting animated birds to destroy structures and animated pigs.
In July, when I was reviewing the Samjiyon, I contacted game-maker Rovio to ask about its inclusion in the device. Despite several attempts to get comment, the company never replied.
Last week, The Washington Post managed to have a bit more luck.
A spokesman for the developer said via e-mail: “Angry Birds Rio has not been localized into Korean, and Rovio Entertainment has no affiliation with the version of the game being shown on the Samjiyon More >
A model of North Korea’s Samjiyon (삼지연) tablet is up for sale on Ebay.
It appeared on the morning on Thursday, November 7, and appears to have been listed by a Canadian account with a shipping location of Yanji in China. Yanji sits just across the border from North Korea.
Its appearance followed a second-round of publicity for the Samjiyon that coincided with a review published by 38 North.
The Android-based tablet debuted at an opening bid of $4.15 — a possible reference to April 15, the “Day of the Sun” holiday that marks Kim Il Sung’s birthday — and its price has been More >
The various public and private radio stations that aim broadcasts at North Korea have just refreshed their broadcast schedules for the winter season.
In addition to the publicly-funded outlets, there are several private stations. Their editorial balance at the stations differ although none are pro-regime stations. Some are jammed by North Korea making reception difficult — but not impossible — inside the country.
Given the right conditions, the broadcasts should be audible across a large part of Northeast Asia and, in some cases, around the world.
All times at UTC and all broadcasts in Korean unless noted.
== International Broadcasters ==
1200 to 1500 More >
The chair of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea called this week on the country to allow them access to areas of North Korea that are said to contain prison camps.
Speaking at a news conference in New York on Tuesday, Michael Kirby said, “We have asked for the permission to go and visit North Korea, to engage with its people. We have pointed out that the best way to respond to the contention that the testimony which has been recorded in our public hearings is false, would be More >
Regular visitors to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) might have noticed something different about the site in the last few days. The North Korean state-run news agency has begun publishing higher resolution photographers alongside articles.
The change was first noted by Frank Feinstein, the New Zealand-based researcher who runs the KCNA Watch service.
The most recent images offered by KCNA are more than double the resolution of previous images at 900 pixels by 620 pixels. In the past they were a relatively low 400 pixels by More >
KCNA Watch, a website that collects articles, pictures and video from the Korean Central News Agency, isn’t making friends on either side of the Korean border.
A communications regulator in South Korea has blocked access to the service while the North Korean government has restricted access to its services from New Zealand, apparently due to the way KCNA Watch collects its stories.
The South Korea block, which happened on Friday, was reported over the weekend by NK News. KCNA Watch currently operates as a part of NK News.
Visitors to the site More >