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Although the majority of North Korea does not have much in way of electricity at night, Kim Jong-il has no problem navigating the Internet.  (Source: Global Security)
Kim Jong-il claims to be the world's Internet expert; Al Gore jealous

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun this week in the North Korean city of Kaesong. This meeting is only the second ever meeting between North and South Korean leaders.

One topic of conversation during the meeting put forth by Roh was a request that South Korean companies operating in an industrial park in the North Korean city of Kaesong be allowed the use of the Internet.

The response from the Dear Leader, according to Yahoo! News, was, “I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired.”

Kim went on to say, “If that problem is addressed, there is no reason not to open [web access].” Kim did not elaborate on the "many problems" caused by opening Internet access to all of North Korea, though clearly the intention of Roh's suggestion is to increase North Korean exposure to South Korean and Western influence.

North Korea explicitly prohibits its 23 million citizens from accessing the Internet and mobile phones outside of government research groups. South Korea, by comparison, is one of the world's most digitally connected countries.

However, given the secretive nature of just about everything in North Korea, it's been difficult to even ascertain just how "connected" Kim actually is. Satellite photographs of North Korea at night reveal very few lights, indicating the country does not have a very high capacity for electricity, let alone computers or Internet.

What is known, is that Kim and the ruling party has a definitive taste for all things Western. Kim's son, Jong-nam, was arrested and expelled from Japan while trying to enter Disney Land in 2001.  Late last year, the U.S. imposed a ban on all luxuries originating from the U.S. destined for North Korea, including the Great Leader's beloved iPods.

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RE: Kim has a reason to be proud
By sinful on 10/7/2007 3:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
The potatoe famine WAS all about economics.
Potatoes were the "cash crop" of Ireland at the time.

The main issue was the country's main export was suddenly non-existant and, in the absence of any exportable goods, they could not afford to import goods (such as food).

This should be obvious - you can't live off of just potatoes, they're just starch.

The equivalent for the US would be if the tobacco crop had failed when it was the big cash crop in the southern US.
A crop failure would have meant farmers wouldn't have tobacco to trade/sell/barter for other food staples, such as corn, wheat, etc. or ANY product for that matter.

RE: Kim has a reason to be proud
By masher2 on 10/7/2007 4:41:56 PM , Rating: 3
> "This should be obvious - you can't live off of just potatoes, they're just starch."

Wrong. Three million peasants in Ireland can and did subside on nothing but potatoes. They're not just starch; they also contain protein and Vitamin C. They're one of the few monocultures one can live off of indefinitely. Combined with an occasional bit of milk for calcium, one can live off them your entire life...and many people did.

In fact, that was one of the primary problems...the relief grains that England shipped to Ireland were *not* foods one could live off entirely, and the starving peasants fed nothing but those grains soon developed scurvy and other health defects.

By AlmostExAMD on 10/9/2007 4:13:44 AM , Rating: 2
"you can't live off of just potatoes", ummm your wrong, that's pretty much all i eat.
In terms of human nutrition, starch is by far the most important of the polysaccharides. It constitutes more than half the carbohydrates even in many affluent diets, and much more in poorer diets.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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