Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

from Andrew Marshall:

Risks to watch in Asia: Country guides

For Reuters analysis of risks to watch in Asian countries, kept updated in real time and with graphics and video, click on the links below.

AustraliaChinaIndiaIndonesia/

JapanMalaysiaMongoliaNew Zealand

PakistanPhilippinesSingapore/South Korea

Sri LankaTaiwanThailandVietnam

from Tales from the Trail:

State Dept seeks new ally vs. North Korea: PETA

North Korea -- you have been warned.

The State Department on Monday held out the possibility that the isolated Stalinist state's belligerent rumblings could earn it a powerful new foe on the world stage:  animal rights activist group PETA.

RTRFRGY_CompAsked at a news briefing about North Korea's latest move, which saw it fire a barrage of artillery shells into the ocean near South Korea, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was blunt:

Defiant North Korea takes case to UN press corps

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- North Korea's UN Ambassador Sin Son-ho (center)

North Korea's UN Ambassador Sin Son-ho (center) speaks to reporters at UN headquarters.

Officials working for the government of communist North Korea seldom appear in public — especially in front of reporters from countries they view as hostile. But Pyongyang’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sin Son-ho, turned to the U.N. press corps in New York on Tuesday to defend his nation against Seoul’s allegtions that the North Korean military torpedoed a South Korean naval ship on March 26, killing 46 sailors.

How Ill is Kim Jong-il?

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Photo:A compilation by Reuters of pool photographs and images provided by North Korea’s KCNA news agency showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il from 2004 to 2009. The photograph in the lower right was released this week by KCNA

By Jon Herskovitz

The image the world once had of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, with a trademark paunch, platform shoes and a bouffant hair-do, is gone and may never come back. He has now become a gaunt figure with thinning hair who has trouble walking in normal shoes, let alone ones with heels 8-10 centimetres (3-4 inches) high like he used to wear.

An Interview With South Korea’s Box Office Champ Director Bong Joon-ho

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The South Korean director whose movie about a mutant river monster became the country’s biggest box office hit has a new film on what might be an even more terrifying subject — an maniacally obsessive mother.

Bong Joon-ho sat down last week for an interview with Reuters about his new movie called “Mother”that debuted last month at the Cannes International Film Festival and has quickly become one of South Korea’s biggest hits of the year.

North Korean Revolutionary Tunes Sink to Bottom of the Sea

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                                              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.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-il: Proof of life

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                                                          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.

The kinder, gentler side of North Korean communists

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                                 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. 

Greater freedom in Pyongyang than Seoul?

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                                                           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.

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