To my disappointment, North Korean state media stated that Kim Jong Un did not use his family's mastery of magic to teleport or time travel out of the public eye.
“In fact, people can’t disappear and reappear by folding space," stated a report in the Rodong Shinmun, the newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea. From Mysterious Universe:
Chukjibop, literally a “method of shrinking the earth,” is described as the ability to quickly move towards the blind spot of an enemy at a speed so fast that the attacker seems to temporarily disappear. The mythical version of a concept in East Asian martial arts has been attributed to several figures in Chinese and Japanese mythology, and more recently depicted in Japanese animation, or through the use of special effects in Chinese Kung Fu movies.
According to myth, [Kim Jong Un's grandfather] Kim Il Sung was able to use the chukjibop technique to win a battle against imperial Japanese soldiers during the time when Korea was a colony of Japan (1910-1945), when he was purportedly leading Korean guerillas in exile[...]
[Last week's] report marked the first time that state media flatly denied that a Kim family myth was true, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said.
“We need to pay attention to the current leader’s denial of the mythification of his predecessors, including his criticism of them in October, at Mt. Kumgang,” a ministry official told reporters.
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From South Korea's Cheongwadae, the executive office and official residence of the Republic of Korea's head of state, a cryptic statement about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's recent absence from public life. Read the rest
No one really knows where Kim Jong-un is right now, but the New York Post and The Sun speculate that the supreme ruler of North Korea is at his seaside resort consorting with his "pleasure squad" of 2,000 sex slaves some as young as 13. "Foreign intelligence services think he's actually sheltering from the coronavirus pandemic in a secure luxury compound," reports The Sun:
The Pleasure Squad or Kippumjo began during the reign of North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung, who is still considered the country's Eternal President, despite dying in 1994.
In the late 1970s, at the height of his power, he sent out his officials to scour the nation for its most attractive young women and girls to act as singers and dancers.
Some of them also began working as maids, but the most sexually attractive were ordered to become "comfort women" for powerful officials.
Many were aged around 13 and 14, and were sometimes even recommended for the sick service by their schools.
Image: Korean Central News Agency/Flickr Public Domain. Read the rest
In a coronavirus briefing at the White House just now, impeached and manifestly unfit United States President Donald Trump wished North Korea's murderous dictator Kim Jong Un “good luck.”
In so doing, Trump expressed greater concern for Kim than he has at any point so far for the nearly 45,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19. Read the rest
A newspaper operated by defectors from North Korea claims that Kim Jong-Un is gravely ill following heart surgery.
Daily NK, a speciality website run mostly by North Korean defectors, cited unidentified sources inside the isolated state saying Kim is recovering at a villa in the Mount Kumgang resort county of Hyangsan on the east coast after getting the procedure on April 12.
CNN writes that US intelligence services are monitoring reports.
Kim recently missed the celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 15, which raised speculation about his well-being. He had been seen four days before that at a government meeting.The National Security Council and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment when reached by CNN on Monday. CNN has also reached out to the CIA and the State Department for comment and sought comment from the South Koreans.Gathering intelligence out of North Korea is notoriously difficult -- one of the most challenging targets for US intelligence.
Kim is only 36 years old, but South Korea's intelligence services claim he is increasingly obese and lives an unhealthy lifestyle of binge eating and drinking. Anna Fifield, the Washington Post's Beijing bureau chief, tweeted that his poor health is now obvious and wrote last year that he was a "heart attack waiting to happen."
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On Tuesday morning, North Korea launched short-range cruise missiles in the country's fifth weapons test this year. So we got that going for us. Which is nice. Read the rest
Wired has published another long excerpt from Sandworm, reporter Andy Greenberg's (previously) forthcoming book on the advanced Russian hacking team who took the US-Israeli Stuxnet program to the next level, attacking Ukrainian power infrastructure, literally blowing up key components of the country's power grid by attacking the embedded code in their microcontrollers.
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You're not a successful nation state until you've got a flag airline, baby! Air Canada! British Airways! Hell yeah!
That said, it appears that it is possible be a dramatically less-than-successful nation and still have a flag airline. In North Korea's case, that airline would be Air Koryo. Chances are, most of us will never be unfortunate enough to hop on one of their flights to one of its five far eastern destinations. I'm pretty sure that's not such a bad thing. Read the rest
An encyclopedic application will teach the Juche idea to a new generation of North Koreans, reports the BBC, which cites the state's official media organ thus: "People must try harder to learn the teachings of the founder Kim."
...this focus on doctrine seems to be part of a wider effort by the government to counter foreign influences that increasingly penetrate the isolated country through the proliferation of technology. The digitisation has seen a steady trickle of foreign news and entertainment entering North Korea on portable devices like USB memory sticks - something that presents a challenge for the authorities. North Korea's approach has been to embrace technology while making sure that it serves its purpose - to portray the state-sanctioned version of reality to the people.
Previously: Comrade Commodore Unicorn
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(PHOTO: Kim Hyok Chol, left, and Kim Yong Chol at Beijing airport on Jan. 17, 2019, KYODO NEWS)
Donald Trump appears to believe it is fun to yuk around with North Korea, but North Korea does not yuk around. Read the rest
In 2014, Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing a link to a leaked pre-release screener of his movie "The Hateful Eight." The ensuing court-case revealed that the screeners Tarantino's company had released had some forensic "traitor tracing" features to enable them to track down the identities of people who leaked copies.
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“Hiding behind fake profiles, a group linked to Pyongyang solicited technology work to send hard currency back home.” Read the rest
Inside North Korea collects Oliver Wainwright's gorgeous photos of the striking public aesthetic of a brutal dictatorship. Read the rest
“Do not travel” to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the U.S. State Department warned American citizens in a renewed advisory on Friday. Read the rest
Little Pyongyang made the festival rounds and his been picked up by The Guardian. It tells the story of how one soldier made his way to Europe's largest community of North Korean nationals after escaping the brutal regime.
Joong-wha Choi, a former soldier in North Korea, lives today with his wife and children in a sleepy London suburb, home to Europe's biggest North Korean population. Despite enjoying the new found comforts of his British life, and being emancipated from the pressures of the North Korean state, he has a desire to return to the land that betrayed him, and feels like his true home. Joong-wha reflects on both why he left North Korea and the state of his day to day life over the course of several months, in a portrait of loss, longing, and the complexities of healing from trauma.
Here's a nice Q&A with the filmmakers
• Little Pyongyang (YouTube / The Guardian) Read the rest
Journalist Ankit Panda has a bombshell report over at the Diplomat today that identifies the location of Kangson, a covert North Korean uranium enrichment site situated just outside the capital city of Pyongyang. Read the rest