North Korea’s state news agency said Saturday that the country plans to launch a satellite later in the month.
The launch will be the second the country has attempted this year. The last, in April, ended in failure when the rocket failed to make it to orbit.
Confirmation comes after several days of speculation the country was preparing for a launch at the Sohae-ri Satellite Launch Facility in the country’s north. Satellite images of the launch facility had showed increased activity consistent with a launch.
North Korea launched a new radio broadcast targeted at South Korea on Saturday morning. The two-hour long “Echo of Unification” broadcast is expected to be broadcast three times a day and will go out over some transmitters that usually carry state radio programs.
Details of the broadcast were first made public on the Uriminzokkiri website, a China-based site with official ties to North Korea.
As can be seen from the graphic (below), the program broadcasts in the morning from 7am to 9am, in the afternoon from 1pm to 3pm, and in the evening from 9pm to 11pm.
The frequencies in use are shortwave More >
Both of the major private satellite imagery providers, GeoEye and DigitalGlobe, have captured images of the North Korean satellite launch facility in the last month and both images show changes from earlier this year.
Earlier this year, satellite images from the companies were one of the first indications that North Korea was preparing for a rocket launch and now that talk has restarted. It’s in part due to DigitalGlobe’s own analysis of its latest image and an article on 38 North that looks at an image from September.
So, what do the images show is happening at Sohae, also known as Tongchang-ri launch More >
Park Jung-geun, a Seoul-based photographer and free-speech activist, has received a 10-month suspended prison sentence for retweeting North Korean tweets.
The case, one of several that has drawn international attention to South Korean Internet censorship, has been going on for the better part of a year and was being closely watched for its interpretation of how South Korea’s National Security Act extends to Twitter.
The law targets those who “praise, encourage, disseminate or cooperate” with anti-social groups, in this case the North Korean government. Access to many North Korean websites and other Internet resources are blocked to South Korean Internet connections under the law.
Blocking Twitter More >
The newspaper, which quoted an anonymous South Korean military official, said a powerful signal sent from a location near Pyongyang caused interference to military communications on the Koreasat 5 satellite in March this year.
However, as usual with such leaks from the Korean government to the local media, what actually happened remains far from clear.
Koreasat 5 was launched in 2006 and carries a mixed commercial and military payload.
South Korea, like many countries, is coming towards the end of a transition from analog to digital broadcasting and ending analog transmissions region by region.
The process began in August but didn’t affect North Korean viewers until October 25, when analog TV was switched off in Gangwon province. The second stage that will affect North Korea is the final step in the process, when analog TV in the Seoul metropolitan area and Gyonggi province will end on December More >
A lot of the stories have noted the airline’s one-star rating on Skytrax, a web site which generates ranking from user reviews, although it should be noted there are plenty of positive reviews on the site. No one’s talking about the booking web site yet so there’s not much to go on, but it does have a couple of technical problems.
The site appears to be running on its own web server in Pyongyang. That’s interesting More >
Many international radio stations, including the Voice of Korea, just made their semi-annual schedule change to accomodate seasonal broadcasting conditions.
The radio station broadcasts two programs a day, each around 57 minutes long. Program one is carried on broadcasts aimed at South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, South Africa and Central and South America. Program two is carried on broadcasts for Europe, North America and North East Asia.
Each of these programs includes the same core features: the news, editorials and the reminiscences of Kim Il Sung. Music and other features sometimes differ between the two broadcasts.
They broadly follow More >
North Korea’s main evening news bulletin reported on Saturday evening about big-screen Japanese televisions.
The report was contained as one of the brief foreign news items sometimes included at the end of the program and followed reports about a speech made by the Russian foreign minister at the UN General Assembly and a protest in Okinawa against the deployment by U.S. forces of Osprey aircraft.
The LCD TV report appears to contain footage of Sony and Panasonic televisions and looks like it was shot at the IFA consumer electronics, which took place in Berlin in late August and early September. That makes More >
It was a place I never managed to get to when I lived in Tokyo, so I decided to visit last week when I was back in Japan.
I had imagined the place would be bigger, but it’s really no larger than an average size room. (Click images below for larger versions)
There are three lines of bookcases with books in Korean and Japanese. There’s also some audiovisual content, which I’ll More >