Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Despite the seriousness with which the world takes North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests, the isolated country remains a rich source of humour for cartoonists, satirists and comedians around the world.
The diminutive, bouffant-haired leader, Kim Jong-il, has already been the star of a satirical full length cartoon, plaintively singing “I’m so ronery” in Team America, while plotting to blow up the world.
These days, it seems, every time North Korea rattles its sabres, the noise can be heard via the Internet.
Kim and North Korea are most frequently a subject of discussion on the various late night TV chat shows so popular in the United States.
Insiders say Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was rather reticent and stiff in public when he took the job in 1997. He’d spent decades below the radar in Egypt’s foreign service, U.S. academia and the U.N. nuclear watchdog as head of the legal and external relations divisions.
But Mohamed ElBaradei evolved into a politically outspoken tribune for international peace and fair play.
from Africa News blog:
We often hear of the human cost of war. We don't often see the cash cost laid out so baldly as in the price list that went with my colleague Abdi Sheikh's feature from Mogadishu on the arms market that thrives in the city amid Somalia's tragedy.
Among popular weapons, a 120 mm mortar costs $700, plus $55 for each mortar bomb. A 23 mm anti-aircraft gun (truck mounted), fetches a hefty $20,000.
Finance ministers and other executives busy discussing the future of Eastern European transition economies at a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development meeting were reminded of a country far from Europe which needs aid to transform its economy.
South Korea thinks its Stalinist neighbour should receive aid from the London-based lender, set up in 1991 to help former communist countries make the transition to market economies.
By Jon Herskovitz
There is almost no such thing as a happy retirement for South Korea’s former presidents.
Former President Roh Moo-hyun, who left office a little more than a year ago, joined the club of troubled ex-leaders on Thursday when he appeared before prosecutors to answer questions about their suspicions his family received at least $1 million in bribes from a shoe company CEO.
By Jon Herskovitz
North Korea says somewhere up in the sky, a satellite it launched at the weekend is beaming to earth two revolutionary paeans: “Song of General Kim Il-sung” for the founder of the reclusive state and “Song of General Kim Jong-il,” for the son who succeeded him when he died.
The end of the Bush administration will likely bring an end to one of my favourite guilty pleasures of reporting on North Korea, which is the verbal battle between Washington and Pyongyang. Prickly North Korea will undoubtedly fire rhetorical volleys at Barack Obama’s team but it may be hard to match the vitriolic language it has levelled at the administration of outgoing President George W. Bush, which in North Korean parlance is “a bunch of tricksters and political imbeciles who are the center of a plot breeding fraud and swindle”.
The Bush administration came into office pledging to take a tough line toward Pyongyang to force it to end its nuclear weapons programme, stop threatening its neighbours with ballistic missiles and halt human rights abuses that are regarded as some of the worst in the world. North Korea bristles at any criticism of its leaders or its communist system. It unleashed its first insults directed at Bush weeks into his presidency in 2001, after his team labelled the North a dangerous state.
By Jon Herskovitz
It is not often that I am reminded of Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan in our coverage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. But I thought of the 2000 movie starring Ryan and Crowe called “Proof of Life” North Korea this week when served up pictures of its Dear leader Kim and a communist party newspaper with a clearly marked Tuesday date.
By Jack Kim
North and South Koreans have been divided for more than 50 years by one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders. When we come into contact, it is almost always in small and carefully arranged visits.
I was a part of a South Korean group that recently spent four days in the North. Over the course of countless hours of contact with the North Korean minders assigned to our group, conversation turned from heated discussion over international politics and inter-Korean troubles to nationalism and sports.
By Jack Kim
For about eight straight years I’ve been covering North Korea, one of the world’s most closed countries with a human rights record that is roundly criticised as one of the worst on the globe.
So it came as a surprise when a North Korean “guide” said on my seventh visit to the communist state that when it comes to restricting freedom of movement, South Korea’s spy agency makes life tougher for North Korean visitors to the capitalist neighbour.