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Sophie In North Korea

Sophie In North Korea
The longer I think about what we saw and heard, the less sure I am about what any of it actually meant. Top Level Take-aways: Go to North Korea if you can. It is very, very strange. If it is January, disregard the above. I can't express how cold it was. Ordinary North Koreans live in a near-total information bubble, without any true frame of reference. The best description we could come up with: it's like The Truman Show, at country scale. I. We picked up visas at the check-in desk: slips of paper with our pictures taped on, which they then took back upon arrival at Pyongyang. Our flight was the only one coming into Pyongyang that day. We also met our handlers, two men from the Foreign Ministry, whom we gave code names. It was hard to reconcile this with our notion of hermetically-sealed North Koreans: Did it mean they'd passed the ultimate loyalty test? As minders go, they were alright. View of Juche Tower, downtown Pyongyang And those beds? The pastels (below) are a nice touch. Related:  North Korea: Behind the Curtain, Life in NK

'Very, very cold and very, very strange' What Google boss's daughter thought of North Korea as diary of her recent visit to the secretive communist country appears online Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt visited the country earlier this month with his daughter Sophie who blogged about the 'strange' experience According to Ms Schmidt the visit was full of 'highly-staged encounters' Exact reason for Schmidt's visit is still unknown and described as 'private' By Beth Stebner and Tara Brady Published: 18:57 GMT, 21 January 2013 | Updated: 15:39 GMT, 22 January 2013 As one of the most secretive nations North Korea remains something of an enigma to the outside world. But one teenage girl, who happens to be the daughter of Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, has been able to capture a rare glimpse of what life is like in the communist state and posted a revealing account along with pictures on her blog. Sophie Schmidt, 19, was allowed to visit the country earlier this month with her father to promote the use of the internet. Scroll down for video Real or make-believe? 'I can't think of any reaction to that except absolute sympathy. 'Were they really students?

Google boss Eric Schmidt stops to take a picture of old-fashioned computers during trip to North Korea Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt visited Kim Il Sung universityHe watched students use the search engine on old HP computersExact reason for Schmidt's visit is still unknown and described as 'private'Internet use is widely regulated in the communist country By Mario Ledwith Published: 23:14 GMT, 8 January 2013 | Updated: 12:43 GMT, 9 January 2013 As executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt clearly likes computers - in fact, he likes them so much that he even takes photos of them, as was evident on a recent trip to North Korea. The businessman felt compelled to photograph the machines while visiting a university library in the region. During the tour of Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, Schmidt watched students browsing the internet - even using his company's own search engine. Scroll down for video Intrigue: Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt takes a picture of computers at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang Concentration: Students working at the computers.

Kim Jong-il's regime is even weirder and more despicable than you thought Visiting North Korea some years ago, I was lucky to have a fairly genial "minder" whom I'll call Mr. Chae. He guided me patiently around the ruined and starving country, explaining things away by means of a sort of denial mechanism and never seeming to lose interest in the gargantuan monuments to the world's most hysterical and operatic leader-cult. One evening, as we tried to dine on some gristly bits of duck, he mentioned yet another reason why the day should not long be postponed when the whole peninsula was united under the beaming rule of the Dear Leader. The people of South Korea, he pointed out, were becoming mongrelized. They wedded foreigners—even black American soldiers, or so he'd heard to his evident disgust—and were losing their purity and distinction. Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of Arguably, a collection of essays. All of us who scrutinize North Korean affairs are preoccupied with one question.

Google Fills In Some Blanks on Its North Korea Map When Google executive Eric Schmidt visited North Korea earlier this month with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, they urged the isolated totalitarian state to open itself up to the Internet. Now Google has used the Internet to open North Korea up a little more to the rest of the world. The company announced Monday that it was updating its online map of North Korea with far more details of the Hermit Kingdom, which had previously appeared as a largely featureless void on the Google Maps service. In a blog post, Google explained that the map had been filled in by years of effort by citizen cartographers using Google Map Maker, which allows volunteers to add detail to a group-edited map. (MORE: In North Korea, Google Exec Sees an Internet Open for the Very Few) Google highlighted the map’s new detail of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, including the addition of roads and parks. PHOTOS: A New Look at North Korea

5 Things We Hope Dennis Rodman Learned About North Korea When Dennis Rodman landed in Pyongyang, the isolated capital of the world’s most isolated country, he announced his arrival with a tweet: “I come in peace. I love the people of North Korea!” One wonders whom the 51-year-old former basketball star thought he was reaching. No ordinary North Korean is on the Internet, nor has access to the recently installed 3G network through which Rodman presumably sent his tweet. (MORE: Strange, But True: Dennis Rodman Is Going to North Korea) One hopes there’s a hidden punchline here, that Rodman’s North Korea trip isn’t just the strange publicity grab of a faded celebrity and an irreverent media enterprise. 1. (MORE: Dennis Rodman May Not Know Which Korea He’s In) 2. 3. (PHOTOS: A New Look at North Korea) 4. 5. We hope he learned these things. MORE: North Korea Confirms ‘Successful’ Nuclear Test

North Korea and Google Maps: The 10 Best New Images ©2013 Google Officer of Gulag Director, Hoeryong Gulag, North Hamgyong, North Korea. Camp 14, South Pyongan, North Korea. Chongjin Gulag, North Hamgyong, North Korea. Bukchang Gulag, South Pyongan, North Korea. Kim il-Sung Square, Pyongyang, North Korea Kim il-Sung Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea Nuclear Test Facility, North Hamgyong, North Korea.

The secret lives of North Korea - Asia - World In between wrestling with these issues, and despite the efforts of the North Korean regime to block contacts between its citizens and foreigners, I managed to get to know some North Koreans reasonably well – at least to the extent that they were prepared to discuss with me their lives and how they saw the world. In particular, I realised that while many, even some experts, viewed North Koreans as identical automatons who obeyed unquestioningly every order of their leaders, this was simply wrong. North Korea is not like that at all. It is a real country with real people, whose everyday concerns are often not so very different from our own: their friends, how their children are doing at school, their jobs, and making enough money to get by. Above all, North Koreans are sharply differentiated human beings, with a good sense of humour and are often fun to be with. The North Koreans whom I got to know were from the outer elite of Pyongyang. Then they would face the commute home.

Inside North Korea: A rare dispatch from deep within the lunatic rogue state enslaved by Zombie and Sons John Sweeney enters the secretive state to see 'the true North Korea'Travelled undercover as journalists are barred from entering itHe found the regime 'a more frightening tyranny than Saddam's Iraq'North Korea hosted a marathon event to mark the birthday of the late leader Kim Il Sung By John Sweeney In Pyongyang, North Korea Published: 21:46 GMT, 13 April 2013 | Updated: 10:14 GMT, 14 April 2013 Down, down inside the Pyongyang Metro stands a statue of the Eternal Ruler of North Korea, Generalissimo Kim Il Sung – dead these past 19 years but still calling the shots. Brainwashing cast in bronze. The regime’s florid propaganda blares from loudspeakers: ‘The pure white snows of our sacred mountains’ artillery will wipe the filthy enemy from existence.’ The newspaper racks on the platforms detail the latest from the ‘American imperialist aggressors’ and warn of thermo-nuclear war. Inside: Panorama reporter John Sweeney with a North Korean colonel overlooking the De-Militarised Zone

Revealing pictures show North Korea's flatpack factories, empty motorways and glittering Hotel Of Doom Swedish photographer Björn Bergman, 59, spent nine days travelling the world's most secretive stateIt took him two years to obtain a tourist's visa and was escorted round on an official tourbus By Helen Lawson Published: 16:04 GMT, 18 April 2013 | Updated: 15:29 GMT, 19 April 2013 These revealing images shed light on life inside North Korea, the world's most secretive state. The images were captured by Björn Bergman, 59, who spent nine days travelling around the nation. There he saw motorways devoid of any traffic, mass military displays by choreographed troops ,and rural poverty. Scroll down for video An official regime photographer waits for the birthday anniversary celebrations of the country's founder Kim Il-Sung, who is commemorated every April at his statue in Pyongyang, which has a raised arm greeting the nation The 1,082ft Ryugyong hotel is an empty shell in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. The Soft Drink restaurants are private enterprises in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The Dolphins of Pyongyang - Max Fisher Why Kim Jong Un build aquariums as his people starve. Trained dolphins perform in a new Pyongyang aquarium. (KCNA) When youthful dictator Kim Jong Un spent who knows how much money building and populating a state-of-the-art dolphin aquarium, opened to great fanfare in Pyongyang this week, it would certainly seem like another moment of madness and unhinged narcissism by a regime that is singularly talented at both. But there's an internal logic to these obviously wasteful extravagances, a method to the Kim family madness that is both crueler and shrewder than it might seem. Back in the Cold War, when the Soviet Union generously bolstered its easternmost satellite, North Korea was wealthier than South Korea. The other side of this propaganda worldview means playing up North Korea's wealth. High-quality dolphinariums and amusement parks, on the other hand -- the latter of which are, by all accounts, state of the art -- are absolute signs of wealth; you have them or you don't.

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