Submit a link Features Reviews Podcasts Video Forums More ▾

North Korean students must now all wear Kim Jong Un's "Chinese smuggler" haircut


A disturbing new turn in the North Korean Official Haircut Story: men male students can no longer choose from 18 approved haircuts and must henceforth all sport the same haircut as Kim Jong Un. This haircut is locally known as the "Chinese smuggler haircut."

Update: The BBC has since updated its story: the haircut mandate applies only to students, not all men.

Read the rest

Official haircuts of North Korea

There are 28 official state-approved haircuts in North Korea, and there is renewed emphasis on the official coiffure parameters under its new leader, Kim Jong Un. Ironically, Kim's own haircut is not on the official list. Cory 14

Meth offered 'as casually as a cup of tea' in North Korea

There's not much stigma attached to meth use in harsh North Korea, writes Los Angeles Times reporter Barbara Demick, interviewing North Koreans in China.

Some take it to treat colds or boost their energy; students take it to work late. The drug also helps curb appetites in a country where food is scarce. It is offered up as casually as a cup of tea, North Koreans say. "If you go to somebody's house it is a polite way to greet somebody by offering them a sniff," said Lee Saera, 43, of Hoeryong, also interviewed in China. "It is like drinking coffee when you're sleepy, but ice is so much better."

More: LA Times.

Kim Jong Un laughing alone on ski-lift


Rodong Sinmun, courtesy photo

North Korea faxes south to notify it that attack will occur "without notice"

I'll have to add "repeated extra-large provocations" to the North Korea Press Release Generator. [Fox News] Rob 20

The silent soccer matches of North Korea

North Korea's coach, Kim Jong-Hun, received tactical advice during matches from Kim Jong-Il himself using mobile phones that are not visible to the naked eye. [Tim Hartley / BBC] Rob

Kim Jong Un wants Obama to Call Him Maybe, says new bestie Dennis Rodman after Vice mag North Korea junket

From "North Korea Has a Friend in Dennis Rodman and VICE." Not 'shopped; you can tell by the pixels.

Argo 2.0? Former NBA star and noted weirdo Dennis Rodman told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos today that he returned from a trip to North Korea arranged by VICE with a message for President Obama from Kim Jong Un:

“He wants Obama to do one thing: Call him,” Rodman told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.” “He said, ‘If you can, Dennis – I don’t want [to] do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”

Read the rest

North Korea uses western video game music in propaganda

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea used Jeremy Soule's theme tune from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion in a fiery propaganda video. [Kotaku] Previously: Modern Warfare 3 clips used in NK propaganda. Rob

U.S. bombed in North Korean propaganda video

Please enjoy this North Korean propaganda video, which features dreams of happiness and space travel, a stirring instrumental rendition of We Are The World, and America engulfed in flames. [Video link: LiveLeak]

Google adds North Korean death-camps to maps


Google Maps has added notorious, secretive North Korean prison camps to its maps of the country. The data is gleaned from user contributions, including a first-person account of Shin Dong-Hyuk, who escaped from Camp 14, a death camp where he was born and raised.

Called Map Maker, Google’s information for the country’s layout comes primarily from visitors and from former citizens who defected, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The mapping idea stemmed in part from a 28-year-old South Korean who tried to use Google maps on a trip to Laos four years ago, but found it unhelpful, at best. He ultimately helped devise the Google map application for North Korea.

“I thought if I could fill in information on North Korea, it might be useful in an emergency or tragedy if Google can provide a map for aid agencies,” the South Korean told the Wall Street Journal.

Google maps North Korea, including prison camps [Cheryl K. Chumley/Washington Times] (via /.)

Photos of a simpler time ... in North Korea

Retro DPRK is a blog that collects images of North Korea from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Getting into North Korea from the United States and Western Europe is not easy today. But up until the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was even more difficult. If you weren't also from a Communist country, chances were good that you weren't going to get even a glimpse of the place.

But, at the same time, North Korea was also promoting itself through propaganda, and as a tourist destination for citizens of the USSR. Christopher Graper — who leads tours into North Korea today from Canada — has scanned scenes from postcards and tourism brochures — rare peeks into the little-documented history of a secretive country.

The collection blends familiar scenes that wouldn't look terribly different from American advertisements of the same era with an amusingly odd sensibility (who wouldn't want a whole book of postcards documenting every detail of Pyongyang's new gymnasium?) and quietly disconcerting scenes like the one above, where a seaside resort town appears eerily empty — like a theme park before opening time.

Retro DPRK

Thanks for pointing me toward this, Gidjlet!

Two things that would thaw Walt Disney with the heat of his own rage

What you are about to see is a bunch of stultifyingly counterfeit Disney characters performing at a concert where Dear Leader, Jr. of North Korea, Kim Jung Un, was in attendance. I'm wondering if he was, perhaps, slightly underwhelmed.

Bonus: right smack in the center of an "Oh SNAP" bullseye. The following is an image of several "rejected" designs for Mickey Mouse, a most beloved creation of Walt Disney because he'd always considered the happy little rodent a reflection of himself. Warning: one of these Mickeys has a penis.

Read the rest

WIPO caught secretly funneling cash to North Korea to buy patent database computers


A trusted insider source writes, "A real blockbuster of bizarre at WIPO [ed: The World Intellectual Trade Organization, the UN body responsible for copyright and patent treaties]. It seems that [WIPO director general] Francis Gurry has personally approved payment for new computer equipment to go to North Korea to modernise their patent office, and that WIPO have tried to do it by going around the UN office in South Korea designed to ensure that UN sanctions are not broken. The only thing that stopped this transaction taking place was that the Bank of America was prevented from transferring WIPO's money to China. The bizarre bit is that WIPO is trying to argue that what they were doing is inherently legal because it is development assistance. Development assistance, in this case, designed to help a rogue state violate patent protection, is what it looks like. The US and a few other countries are objecting to this, for obvious reasons, but it seems to me this is an example of WIPO doing the opposite of what is in the interest of patent holders and really everyone else as well."

In that letter, also obtained by Fox News, Kateb declared that so far as WIPO staffers could tell, WIPO’s member states “had not been consulted and have no knowledge of this project. Thus, they were not given an opportunity to review or object to it.” The project, Kateb said, “was allegedly approved directly by the director general.”

Gurry denied at the meeting with diplomats that WIPO’s technology transfer violated any international sanctions efforts. He subsequently circulated to the attending ambassadors a WIPO legal memorandum -- written by the office of WIPO legal counsel Edward Kwakwa -- which claimed that the computer exports were “part of WIPO’s technical assistance program,” which “does not violate any U.N. Security Council sanctions.”

The memo acknowledged that payment for the computers had been blocked by U.S. sanctions laws “enacted in part to implement” the binding U.N. sanctions. But it also declared that “WIPO, as an international organization, is not bound by the U.S. national law in this matter” and was still looking for ways to pay for the shipment.

EXCLUSIVE: Cash for computers: Is the U.N. busting its own sanctions in North Korea?

Kim Jong-Un got a Gun

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un aims a rifle at the Sporting Bullet Factory, built in 1996 at the order of the North's late leader Kim Jong-il. The factory produces "sporting bullets" for developing military sports. Its exact location is undisclosed. Undated picture released by the North's KCNA news agency in Pyongyang, on February 23, 2012. Wonder what sort of computers those are, and what they're running? (REUTERS/KCNA)

North Korean party rock anthem

Ain't no party like a Pyongyang party, 'cause a Pyongyang party is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY. Perhaps all those synchronized marching demonstrations for Kim Jong-Il were because he just wanted to get down.

[Video Link] via Submitterator. Thanks letterj and Dannel!