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23 August 2011 / SP

Weekly News Brief – 23 August 2011

NK INTERNAL

  • Daily NK and AsiaPress on the growth of private transit companies and free movement of labour between privately run coal mines.
  • KJI on the market: ideological aversion mixed with pragmatic acceptance if the markets can be kept under control (2008). KJI’s sister Kim Kyung-hui on the same topic.  
  • NK opened an international trade show in N. Hamgyeong Province.
  • IFRC: The floods have killed at least 57 and left over 24,720 homeless. One DPRK Red Cross volunteer gave up his life attempting to rescue two children. Breakdown of the flood damage and IFRC’s emergency appeal. The NK Red Cross has launched an international appeal for flood relief.
  • RFA: SKorean music videos are so popular among young people in Pyongyang that a dance instructor has reportedly started offering clandestine dance classes teaching them k-pop dance moves.
  • Daily NK: With a lack of popular support, the succession to KJU is marked by increased repression. For instance: The current border-region crackdown by a ‘storm trooper unit’ to root out smuggling, use of Chinese cell phones and defections has reportedly resulted in the exile of 50 families.  

FOOD AID & FOOD SECURITY

  • Daily NK: The price of rice is rising rapidly in the NK markets. This could be linked to a rise in the value of RMB, the floods affecting production, crackdowns on smugglers, and an expectation of shortages in the near future.
  • The USG is to provide 900,000 USD worth of flood relief aid to to Kangwon and North and South Hwanghae provinces through US NGOs. The US still has no plans to provide food.
  • Russia began delivering 50,000 tons of wheat to NK.
  • JoongAng Ilbo: During his May trip to China, KJI secured free fertiliser and discounted food.
  • NK has allowed video monitoring of food aid distribution by SKorean civic groups.
  • WFP: July’s daily rations were 200g per person, an increase on 150g given in June. However a healthy adult requires 700g per day.
  • 45m USD in food aid was sent to NK in the first 6 months of this year.

REFUGEES

  • Piece on Mr. Seok, a popular oriental medicine doctor who learnt his trade in the north.
  • NK refugee and pianist Kim Cheol-woong performed together with other top Korean pianists at a peace concert.

HUMAN RIGHTS

  • US State Dept 2010 Human Rights Report – DPRK.
  • KINU: Over 60 public executions took place in 2010, partly to maintain control following the unpopular currency reform in late 2009.  
  • SK’s GNP has drafted a new NKHR bill which includes calls for humanitarian aid to NK.
  • Several hundred citizens demonstrated against NK’s prison camps in Seoul. A larger  demonstration supporting progressive causes such as free school lunches attempted to use the same space, creating a tense atmosphere.

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS & SECURITY

MISC.

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