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  2. I’m going to be the most famous person in the world when you see American people holding hands and hoping the doors can be opened. If they can. If they can. If they can. I’m going. I’m going back for his birthday. Special.
     

  3. Yesterday, Google Maps released a crowdsourced view of North Korea, which before was just white space.

    The big grey blob you see here? That’s Hwasong Gulag, a 212-square mile concentration camp. It houses 10,000 people, and reportedly, no one has ever escaped. 

     

  4. In which Kim Jong Un does his best impersonation of a James Bond villain

    North Korea disconcerted the global community this week by sending a satellite into orbit, which was seen as evidence that the nuclear-armed state is making progress in its effort to develop long-range missile technology. There is a method to North Korea’s madness — analysts say the launch is part of dictator Kim Jong Un’s effort to solidify his rule — but the rogue state’s wild provocations often reek of willful malevolence.

    And as if to cement his caricature as a villain from a James Bond movie, North Korean state media has released a photograph of Kim watching the launch as he coolly smokes a cigarette. He really does resemble an Asian Goldfinger, and even the giant monitor tracing the satellite’s path looks like a prop from the era of Connery. One almost expects the regime to release a ransom video in which Kim is holding a pinkie to his lips and demanding one million dollars.

     

  5. Cartoon of the day: Kim Jong Un’s sweet promises
    STEVE BREEN © 2012 Creators Syndicate

    More cartoons

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  6. "His first memory is an execution," begins a riveting excerpt from the new book Escape From Camp 14 about a young North Korean man born and raised in a work camp for political prisoners. The book, by journalist Blaine Harden, tells the astonishing story of Shin In Geun, believed to be the only person ever to escape from one of the isolated communist nation’s infamous gulagsRead his story here 

     

  7. It may just be a film short, says Stuart Heritage at the U.K.’s Guardian, but 2010’s The Adoption Agency "shows how easily comedy was able to co-opt Kim Jong Il into material." Entourage star Rex Lee played the dictator, transforming him into “a mercurial, banana-eating, Criss Angel-hating figure.”

    Kim Jong Il was a favorite target for spoofs on TV and in films. Here, some of his most memorable pop culture moments

     


  8. But opinion-makers wonder if we should give aid to a nuclear-armed rogue state

    In a highly unusual move, North Korea has instructed its embassies in 40 countries to beg for food aid. A severe winter has apparently left the secretive country far short of its food needs, and international aid organizations can’t bridge the gap. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is known to spend lavishly on himself, not to mention heavily on weapons and nuclear research. Should the international community bail him out?

    Some opinion:

    • This crisis could be the end of Kim: Koreans may starve without aid, but sitting this one out may be the right call, says Christopher Hill in Project Syndicate. Perhaps the “short-term cost in human lives is worth the potential long-term benefits” of a “famine-induced collapse” of Kim’s regime. Several experts believe this shortage “could prove too much” for a government that “has invested almost nothing” in irrigation and crop production but found a way to pay for “a modern, high-tech uranium-enrichment facility.”

    Of course, there’s the argument that we absolutely cannot just let innocent Koreans die. What’s to be done?