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Fear of famine as North Korea freezes

Mark Willacy, North Asia correspondent

North Korea says it is experiencing its coldest winter on record, raising fears of worsening food shortages and famine.

The country's central newsagency says the average daily maximum for this month was minus five degrees Celsius, while Pyongyang hit a low of minus 18C.

It is the first time since records began in 1945 that temperatures have stayed below freezing for a whole month.

Pyongyang says the freezing winter will delay preparations for the spring planting, raising fears of disease outbreaks

Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

© ABC

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World + 11 others
Global Update - Food Security Monitoring, July - December 2010, Issue no. 4

The Global Update provides food security information in terms of trends in food access and utilization. The main food access indicators reported are food consumption, coping strategies and terms of trade: these indicators reflect food security status and so enable early identification of potential increases in food insecurity.

This update provides information on 35 countries for the period July–December 2010.

Three categories are used to classify food security trends: Improved, No Change and Deteriorated. A summary of the food security situation is presented below:

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Aid Groups Express Concern About North Korea's Harsh Winters

Report
Voice of America
Steve Herman | Seoul January 27, 2011

South Korean charities providing aid to North Korea are concerned that the harsh winter may be causing significant deaths in the impoverished communist state. The groups are optimistic, however, they will soon get permission from the South for a meeting in Pyongyang to discuss a full resumption of humanitarian aid.

The leader of an umbrella group for South Korean private aid organizations says unusually severe winter weather is taking its toll on North Koreans.

Park Hyun-seok is secretary general of

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North Korea Today No. 387

Rice Price Hits 3,000 KPW in Pyongyang

Food Prices Fluctuate due to the Forced Collection of Army Provisions Nationwide

Party Officials Not Exempt From Military Rice Obligations

"The nation cannot exist without soldiers" - Mobilizing Military Food Supply Daily

Central Party Directs to Take a "Bold and All-Out" Stance When Dealing with China

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China + 2 others
Transitional Justice in North Korea: Accountability for Human Rights Atrocities

Introduction

Around the 1990s the international community eventually directed its attention to the atrocities in North Korea (NK: hereinafter) when the realities of these atrocities began to surface, piece by piece, from the live testimony of slave labor workers in Siberia, a former guard and survivors in the concentration camps, and numerous defectors hiding mostly across the Chinese and Russian borders.

Human rights (HR: hereinafter) engagement against the NK regime so far has been no different from those that have

Center for Strategic and International Studies:

© The Center for Strategic & International Studies

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UN expert on Democratic People's Republic of Korea launches mission to Japan

GENEVA (20 January 2011) - The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Marzuki Darusman, will carry out an official visit to Japan from 25-28 January 2011. The DPRK Government has failed to accommodate all visit requests since the mandate to monitor and report on human rights in the country was created by the then UN Human Rights Commission in 2004.

"Since my latest request to enter the DPRK was rejected by the Government in October, I have launched missions

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Toxic Legacy: Hunger, Oppression, Migration, and Health in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - PEACEBRIEF 77

January 2011 | Peace Brief by Leonard S. Rubenstein

Summary

- During the 1990s, economic mismanagement, political oppression, natural disaster, and loss of external subsidies after the end of communism led to a calamitous decrease in food production in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The public health infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, drug distribution and supply chains, and local clinics and hospitals, also deteriorated. At least half a million people died of starvation and millions more suffered

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North Korea Today No. 386

Skyrocketing Food Prices

The price of rice in Pyongyang has exceeded 2,000 won/kilogram since the New Year, compared to its previous rate of 1,600 won/kilogram at the end of last year. On January 7th, rice traded at 2,100 won/kilogram. Yet, following the recent first bimonthly ration, prices dropped to 1,500 won/kilogram. Although it is presumed that holiday (Lunar New Year) ration distribution led to the decrease, prices are still surging in areas where food distribution has not taken place. In Hamheung, the price of rice was 1,500 won/kilogram on January 1st. By January 7th

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Afghanistan + 16 others
UNITED NATIONS CENTRAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND ALLOCATES $84 MILLION TO 15 UNDERFUNDED CRISES

(New York, 18 January 2011): The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, has allocated some US$84 million to boost humanitarian response in 15 neglected emergencies around the world, where people are suffering the effects of hunger, malnutrition, disease, displacement and conflict.

The funds were made available from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). They will be granted to United Nations humanitarian agencies, the International Organization for Migration, and to partner organizations, and through them to non-governmental organizations

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.

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Afghanistan + 16 others
Le Fonds d'urgence de l'ONU alloue 84 millions de dollars à 15 crises négligées

Report
UN News Service
18 janvier 2011 - La Secrétaire générale adjointe de l'ONU aux affaires humanitaires, Valerie Amos, a alloué 84 millions de dollars pour renforcer la réponse humanitaire dans 15 situations d'urgence négligées à travers le monde, où les populations souffrent de la guerre, de la faim, de la malnutrition et de maladies, a annoncé mardi le Bureau de la coordination des affaires humanitaires des Nations Unies (OCHA).

Les acteurs humanitaires en Somalie vont bénéficier de 15 millions de dollars, les agences des Nations Unies en

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Brazil + 3 others
PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON PRIORITIES FOR 2011

General Assembly President Joseph Deiss (Switzerland) expressed worries today over the escalation of violence and mayhem in Côte d'Ivoire resulting from Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to step down after losing that West African nation's November presidential election to Alassane Ouattara.

"I express my deep concern in relation to the situation in Côte d'Ivoire about the deteriorating situation on the ground," Mr. Deiss said at a Headquarters news conference called to outline the Assembly's priorities for the coming period. "I deplore

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North Korea Today No. 383

- Pyongyang Residents Nervous about Repeated Delays in Food Distribution

- <Table> Grain Price Change in Chungjin, N. Hamgyong Province

- Many Regions are Collecting Military Rice Again

- Central Party Official, "Ongoing economic cooperation with China will take time."

- Hwanghae Province Cracks Down on Poor Children

- Evaluation of 2010 New Year's Joint Editorial and Perspective for the Future

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North Korea pursues agriculture and mining investment

North Korea has adopted a 10-year economic development plan, vowing to invest $100-billion in key sectors such as mining and agriculture.

The new economic plan aims to revitalise North Korea's agriculture and mining sectors.

It also calls for the construction of thousands of kilometres of roads, the renovation of the rail network and the production of millions of tonnes of iron.

The closed communist state hopes to lure $100-billion in investment over the next decade.

A Chinese state company recently pumped $2-billion into establishing a free trade zone in the North.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

© ABC

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Inter-Korean Red Cross Liaison Office Reopens

Report
Chosun Ilbo
The inter-Korean Red Cross liaison office at the truce village of Panmunjom reopened on Wednesday after nearly eight months of suspension.

In response to Seoul's punitive measures against North Korea announced in May after the sinking of the corvette Cheonan, Pyongyang shut down the office and cut off all communication channels.

The South Korean Unification Ministry says North Korea informed Seoul by telephone of the office's resumed operations on Wednesday, and the South told its neighbor that the communication line must not be unilaterally disconnected again.

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Myanmar + 4 others
Freedom in the World 2011: The Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy

Report
Freedom House
Washington, D.C

January 13, 2011

Global freedom suffered its fifth consecutive year of decline in 2010, according to Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House's annual assessment of political rights and civil liberties around the world. This represents the longest continuous period of decline in the nearly 40-year history of the survey. The year featured drops in the number of Free countries and the number of electoral democracies, as well as an overall deterioration for freedom in the Middle East and North Africa region.

A total of 25 countries showed significant

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North Korea Today No. 385

  • Rice is Just a Window Display
  • Miso Soup with Corn and Rice Mix Meal Makes a Decent Holiday Meal
  • Overseas Chinese are Best Off in the National Border Area
  • The Prevalence of Acute Malnutrition among Children Patients in Hamheung City
  • Children Suffer from Malnutrition and Indigestion
  • Pyongyang Pediatricians Marvel at South Korean Most Popular TV Drama Series
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DPR Korea: North Side Sends Notices to South Side

Pyongyang, January 10 (KCNA) -- The Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, the chairman of the Central Committee of the DPRK Red Cross Society and the chief of the north side to the Consultative Office for North-South Economic Cooperation separately sent notices to the Ministry of Unification of the south side, the president of the south Korean Red Cross and the chief of the south side to the Consultative Office for North-South Economic Cooperation on Monday. They formally informed them of the practical measures as clarified in the important proposal set
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Côte d'Ivoire + 5 others
CrisisWatch N°89, 3 Jan 2011

Brussels | 3 Jan 2011

Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in December 2010, according to the latest issue of the International Crisis Group's monthly bulletin CrisisWatch released today.

Côte d'Ivoire was gripped by political crisis as incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power after losing to rival Alassane Outtara in the late-November presidential runoff polls. Post-election violence claimed the lives of at least 170 people and more than 15,000 fled to neighbouring countries.

Amid growing concern that the country