Slovenian band Laibach, known for their ambiguous martial pop reworkings of Europe's The Final Countdown, Queen's One Vision, and Edwin Starr's War, to name but three (along with the many original tracks you hear over the course of their live set), are due to be the the first foreign band to play North Korea. [more inside]
North Korea has warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang that it cannot guarantee their safety from the threat of conflict after 10 April, and has advised them to consider pulling their staff out of the capital. This follows North Korea blocking South Korean Workers from the Kaesong industrial complex - a sign that this might be more material than the usual posturing, warning that a 'moment of explosion' is nearing and moving missiles with "considerable range" to its east coast. Though the US is playing down the threat and the UK and Russia have no plans of moving their diplomats the possibility of an accident or miscalculation leading to war looms. North Korea has earned the reprobation of Russia and Fidel Castro in recent days and even longtime supporter China is beginning to lose patience with it - something some say is not before time.
Welcome to Pyongyang! "Koryo Tours commissioned a DPRK (North Korea) gaming company to develop a racing game that lets you drive around Pyongyang in a locally made Pyonghwa Motors vehicle, see some of the sites and compete for a good race time! Collect fuel along the way, avoid the attentions of Pyongyang's traffic ladies, and try not to crash into any of the local cars, or the DHL vans! This unique game is currently online exclusively on Koryo Tours' website (do note that it may take some time to load properly - so do stay patient before starting)." [more inside]
The small village of Siem Reap, Cambodia has mushroomed since the 19th century French discovery of Angkor Wat. It is now Southeast Asia's most visited tourist destination, notably among South Koreans. In 2010, they accounted for 12% of foreign visitors to the region, ranking just below neighboring Vietnam. But the sprawling temples of Angkor may not be the first stop on every South Korean's itinerary.
On the frosty Korean Peninsula, relations between North and South are perennially tense. But here amid the balmy breezes of this Cambodian tourist town, Koreans from both sides of the border are enthusiastically fraternizing at the North Korean restaurant as if reunification were just days away [NYT].[more inside]
"Excuse me while I rock out to the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble and The Wangjaesan Light Music Band." The human face of communism. It's a Pyongyang thang.
Filming in North Korea is a bit of an iffy task, and you never know when a minder may decide to confiscate your memory cards or camera. That was a risk I didn’t want to take, so I decided not to reveal to them the fact that my 5D was capable of shooting video. I taped up the back screen with black electrical tape. Pyongyang Style – North Korean Haircut
Pyongyang Rocks! If you are a band playing any kind of rock, including heavy metal, then you can participate in 'ROCK FOR PEACE' in North Korea. What a blast!
The Ryungyong Hotel is a nearly 1,000 foot tall abandoned pyramid in the heart of Pyongyang that North Korea has officially tried to forget. [discussed previously here] The architecture magazine Domus had over 200 entries to a contest to repurpose the Ryungong, a similar project is also underway elsewhere on the web, though some architects think the effort is a bad idea. [For Domus, use:mefier/mefite]
Today, Bush met with Kang Chol Hwan, a survivor of the North Korean prison camps and author of The Aquariums of Pyongyang, a book Bush has read and given to his staffers.
"The haggis was pronounced excellent by all that ate it, foreigners and Koreans, including the Vice-Minister." A diplomat describes opening the British embassy in Pyongyang. Direct link (rtf) here.
We deliver to Pyongyang in 30 minutes or it's free. Well, not quite. But this is what happens when Kim Jong Il orders a pizza.
Former N. Korean Nuclear Contractors are "pretty sure that at some point Don was involved," since it was not unusual to seek help from board members "when we needed contacts with the U.S. government." An article in yesterday's Fortune mentions and quotes a number of former employees/contractors for a Swiss engineering firm -- headed by Donald Rumsfeld at the time that Pyongyang began getting its nuke on. Nevertheless, Today Rumsfeld, riding high after the Iraq war, is reportedly discussing a plan for "regime change" in North Korea. But his silence about the nuclear reactors raises questions about what he did--or didn't do--as an ABB director. unsurprisingly, the media is not exactly all over this.
The Pyongyang Metro.[more]
Pyongyang's crosshairs on US Capital "A propaganda poster released by North Korea depicts the country's struggle with the United States over the North's nuclear program." - poster shows North Korean soldier with large shells looking at Capital building crumbling from a large explosion. (NYT)
The 300m (984ft) Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea isn't a hotel - it's a metaphor. (pictures, comparative diagram)