April 3, 2013 |
Kim Jong Un is an absurdly comical figure. If he were not holding the fate of millions of people in his hands, the North Korean dictator would provide us all with nothing but laughs. He runs a country that, thanks to the ruinous communist policies of his father and grandfather, is an economic basket case where mass starvation is always as close as tomorrow. He has almost no friends in the world, except for the similarly outcast nutcases that run Iran. His closest allies, the Chinese, are so disgusted with him that they have signed on to United Nations sanctions against his country.
February 24, 2008 |
Not since 1950 when the U.S. Army briefly captured Pyongyang during the Korean War have so many Americans descended on the world's most reclusive, anti-U.S. capital. This time, though, the invasion is not military, but musical. A 747 jumbo jet from Beijing is scheduled to arrive Monday in Pyongyang carrying a full symphony orchestra -- 130 members of the New York Philharmonic and their instruments, minus only the piano.
August 29, 2013 |
A North Korean firing squad last week executed a former girlfriend of leader Kim Jong Un and 11 other entertainers for allegedly violating laws banning pornography, a South Korean newspaper reported Thursday. The report by Chosun Ilbo , an English-language newspaper of a Seoul media conglomerate, deemed the reported Aug. 20 executions a death blow to expectations that Kim would oversee a transition of his isolated and tyrannized people into a more open era. Among the dozen performers shot to death while their families and former band members were forced to watch was Hyon Song Wol, a singer Kim reportedly courted a decade ago but was forced to abandon by his dictatorial father, Kim Jong Il. Hyon was pictured by North Korean state television performing at a concert Aug. 8 in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, less than two weeks before her execution, Chosun Ilbo reported, posting a picture of the singer juxtaposed against one of Kim applauding at the concert.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 28, 1989 |
As a beloved ex-President, Ronald Reagan almost always gets what he wants these days. But this week, one of Reagan's personal wishes was blocked by a federal convict with a typewriter. Last Friday, Reagan personally telephoned the National Park Service in Washington to add his support to proposed national historic landmark status for a mitten-shaped hill in the Santa Monica Mountains that includes prized Chumash Indian cave paintings. But on Monday, when the Park Service's advisory board met, it concluded that its hands were tied.
April 3, 2013
Re "Reaching out to Pyongyang," Opinion, April 1 I am not a trained diplomat or a politician, but as one who is preparing for his fourth invited visit to Pyongyang since 2009, I have come to appreciate the value of one-on-one discussions with the North Koreans that Donald Gregg is advocating. Each time I leave, I am told: "We are aware of the tensions between your country and ours, and yet you dare to come. You are always welcome here. " In 2012 I was able to take to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea a delegation of American magicians as the first step in a hoped-for people-to-people exchange.
April 10, 2010
World Cup 2010: NORTH KOREA FIFA ranking: 105 Overall World Cup record: 1-2-1 Coach: Kim Jong-Hun Best performance: Quarterfinals, 1966 Overview: Making their first appearance in the World Cup finals in 44 years, the North Koreans face long odds in South Africa, where they are included with Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast in the so-called "group of death" in the first round. Although the North Koreans are big and fast, they are painfully short on international experience, fielding a roster made up almost entirely of players from domestic leagues.