Friday, April 10, 2009

Ambassador to a Pariah State

I know things are tough for the Palestinians but what do they expect to get out of having an ambassador to North Korea?

Pyongyang, April 6 (KCNA) -- Pak Ui Chun, minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, met and had a talk with Ismail Ahmed Mohamed Hasan, new Palestinian ambassador to the DPRK who paid a courtesy call on him on Monday.

That said, there seem to be a large number of countries with Palestinian embassies, as this map from Wikipedia shows?

Is Ismail Ahmed Mohamed Hasan a member of the PA or of Hamas?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Ballad of a Thin Man

Last month it was reported that Kim Jong-il was looking thinner, as these photographs show:

Doesn't the picture on the left of him look a bit like Bob Dylan? Has anyone ever seen the two of them in the same room?

He's now taking his new wizened appearance on the road making an appearance at the North Korean Parliament.

Utterly disgusting...

I really can't believe that this story in the Guardian is true:

About 700,000 Americans were sacked in March. In the past month three men who recently lost their jobs went on gun rampages, killing a total of 26 people. What to do with such grim news? Turn it into a reality TV show, of course.

Bright sparks at Endemol USA, the American branch of the brand that brought you Big Brother, have come up with a new idea: to wallow in the misery of America's threatened workers.

Each week, the show, Someone's Gotta Go, sets itself up in a small business where times are hard and redundancies have to be made. The employees - usually 15 to 20 of them - will be allowed to see the firm's books, and will be told how much each of them earns.

Then they will reveal what they think of each other. They will be fighting for their livelihoods, for at the climax of the episode the employees will vote to decide which of them is added to the pile of unemployed. And you thought Alan Sugar's "You're fired!" was brutal.

More than 5 million Americans have been let go since the recession started in December 2007, and the unemployment rate now stands at 8.5%.

"We're always trying to find the next thing that is topical and timely in the zeitgeist," Endemol's North American director, David Goldberg, told Variety.

He went on to suggest the TV show would be doing hard-pressed employers a favour: "For a lot of people, it takes the pressure off them. As a boss myself, I don't want to have to make those decisions. It's safe to say it hasn't been difficult to find companies willing to participate."

I think any of the "hard-pressed" employers who find it a good idea to set their own employees against each other in such a morale-enhancing way would benefit from seeing the world from a more elevated perspective by swinging from a lamp-post.

Leading by example should be the head of Endemol USA.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Official Story

General Secretary Kim Jong Il visited the General Satellite Control and Command Centre to watch the process of launching the experimental communications satellite Kwangmyongsong-2 on Sunday.
He acquainted himself with the preparations made for the satellite launch.
After being briefed on the satellite launch, he observed the whole process of the satellite launch at the centre.
At 11:20 a.m. the satellite Kwangmyongsong-2, a shining product of self-reliance, soared into space by carrier rocket Unha-2. It was smoothly and accurately put into its orbit 9 minutes and 2 seconds after being completely separated from the carrier rocket.
Expressing great satisfaction over the fact that scientists and technicians of the DPRK successfully launched the satellite with their own wisdom and technology, he highly appreciated their feats and extended thanks to them.
It is a striking demonstration of the might of our Juche-oriented science and technology that our scientists and technicians developed both the multistage carrier rocket and the satellite with their own wisdom and technology 100 percent and accurately put the satellite into orbit at one go, he noted, repeatedly praising the patriotic devotion of the scientists and technicians who are playing a vanguard role in the drive to open the gate to a great prosperous and powerful nation.
Stressing the need to bring about a new turn in conquering outer space and making a peaceful use of it on the basis of the successful launch of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-2, he set forth the important tasks to be fulfilled to do so.
He met with the scientists and technicians who have contributed to the satellite launch by devoting all their wisdom and enthusiasm with ardent patriotism and warmly encouraged them before having a photograph taken with them.


Of course there are always crackpot conspiracy theorists, deniers and naysayers who are ready to pounce on the achievements of others and even cast doubt on the credibility of a government.

North Korean rocket launch "fails"

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Experts say there are several possible reasons why North Korea is launching a rocket. Jack Garrity, the executive director of the Asia Society, in Washington, says the government in Pyongyang wants to send a message overseas. "The prime objective is to show their independence to the outside world, and to make a point of undermining both the spirit and agreements of the six-party talks," he said.

Nicholas Eberstadt, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, believes there is also a domestic political reason for the launch. "[launching the rocket] stands to indicate the success of the regime's military-first politics program, and to strengthen the position of certain groups within the government," he said.
And there is likely a military incentive for the North to conduct this test, according to Gordon Flake, executive director of the Washington-based Mansfield Foundation. "It would introduce a lot more complexity into the security calculations for countries like the United States or China or others dealing with North Korea, because it extends the reach of their delivery capacity. That delivery capacity is far more important today than it was a couple of years ago, because of North Korea's successful nuclear test," he said. The rocket North Korea is expected to launch in the coming days is theoretically capable of reaching the western United States.

Two previous Taepodong missile launches were unsuccessful, and Eberstadt and Garrity agree that a failed attempt would be a large setback for Pyongyang's nuclear program. The United States has warned North Korea that it would face consequences if it launches a missile. But the Obama administration also says a path to return to international negotiations on an aid-for disarmament deal remains open.

Digital ChosunIlbo

My own two won's worth says North Korea aren't going to abandon their rocket/missile program given that they've already refused aid from the US.

Just an Urban Myth

In support of...

Look at the bile and the sniggering aimed at two women who were trying to do their jobs as real journalists. Why is it that these two are considered "idiots" or "fools" when the same people who deride these brave women would be slobbering about the disgrace of keeping US spies deployed in aircraft or navy vessels captive for real spying?

Nutbag Alert: M*****

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Brigandish Yankees give DPRK Benefit of the Doubt

A long-range rocket North Korea is expected to launch within days appears to have a bulb-shaped nose cone consistent with a satellite payload, rather than a warhead, U.S. defence officials said on Tuesday.

North Korea insists it is putting a communications satellite into orbit, but it is still expected to be accused of testing a ballistic missile in violation of U.N. sanctions.