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Kim Jong-un recently enjoyed a concert featuring (unlicensed versions of) Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Snow White, and Dumbo | Photo: KCNA, via Reuters
- Daily NK obtained information on plans for weak agricultural reforms, to be implemented in October.
- NK State TV has shown KJU enjoying a concert featuring dancers dressed as famous Disney characters including Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh. A Disney spokeswoman asserted that “this was not licensed or authorized by the Walt Disney Company.”
- Experts noted the appearance of a mystery woman seated next to KJU during the concert. She may either be his wife (perhaps former singer Hyon Song-wol) or sister (Kim Yeo-jong). She also visited the KIS mausoleum with KJU.
- The Bank of Korea estimates that the NKorean economy grew by 0.8% in 2011, following declines of 0.5 and 0.9 percent for 2010 and 2009 respectively. The report asserts that agriculture, forestry, and construction grew, while the manufacturing and heavily chemicals sectors continued to shrink.
- Good Friends’ newsletter comments on fertilizer, steel, and cloth production in NK.
FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY
- Heavy rains hit drought affected areas in North and South Hwanghae, helping alleviate drought conditions. However, an estimated 10-30% of this year’s crops in those regions have already been lost.
- The price of rice in NK reportedly has climbed above 5,000 won per kg, and continues to rise. The price rise is attributed to inflation, exchange rate increases, and the recent drought.
- Mission East, an organization currently distributing humanitarian aid, is describing severe hunger around Haeju. One doctor remarked this was the worst situation he had seen in 21 years of relief work. The organization also noted that the farms in the area appeared to have no effective irrigation system, and were using buckets to carry water from a nearby river.
- The annual NKHR Film Festival will take place in Washington, DC on 18th July, before moving to New York on the 19th and onward to LA on the 24th.
- Dozens of NKorean refugees have been arrested in SK on charges of insurance fraud.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY
- KCNA rejected reports that KJI planned to build a massive supply of uranium-based nuclear bombs.
- US Dept. of State is investigating alleged UN sanction violations relating to transfers of technology to NK by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a UN agency.
- The number of South Koreans visiting NK in the first five months of 2012 dropped by 7% to 47,432 compared with the same time period last year. The vast majority traveled for business, and 28 were reported for humanitarian projects or social-cultural exchanges. The number of inter-Korean visits peaked at 186,775 in 2008.
- Ro Su-hui, a “pro-NK activist”, fulfilled his promise to return to SK through the DMZ. The SK authorities fulfilled their promise to arrest him, leading to criticism that in doing so they gave a propaganda victory to Pyongyang. See Video.
- SK Ministry of Environment applied for the southern side of DMZ to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally the Ministry wanted to submit a joint application with its NKorean counterpart, but ended up acting unilaterally after receiving no reply from Pyongyang.
- Survey finds 74.6% of SKoreans believe NK will collapse in the next 30 years.
- A SKorean real estate agent was arrested for violating the NSL for making online comments praising KIS and KJI.
ANALYSIS & OPINION
- NK is sending 51 athletes to the Olympics.
- NK govt releases KJU’s official theme song, “Onwards Towards the Final Victory”.
- The British embassy in Pyongyang is funding a NKorean disabled swimmer’s participation in the 2012 Paralympics.
- The UN is to mediate talks aimed at creating united Korean teams for the 2015 World University Games. There is video of previous leaders KJI and NMH discussing the possibility of a unified Korean Olympics team here, revealing that KJI was the constraining factor (Korean only).
- Jimin Lee on artistic representations of NK.
NK News Brief acronyms.
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