North Korea is expected to register the 1 millionth cell phone user by the end of the year, barely four years after people were thrown into prison camps, or possibly even executed, for owning one.
Most of the users are in the capital of Pyongyang, home to the impoverished country’s elite and powerful who have the cash to splash out for a device and the calling fees.
The authoritarian government ended a ban on cell phones in 2008, signing a four-year deal with Egyptian company Orascom to build the 3G network in partnership with the government.
A report this month by the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability said 60 percent of people ages 20 to 50 use cell phones in Pyongyang, a city of around 3 million people who are strictly vetted by the state for residency permits. Calling fees have fallen this year, driving the surge in demand, reports say.
But you cannot dial into or out of the country, and there is no Internet. The government still keeps a stranglehold on all news flows into the destitute state.
Cell phones and the Internet have been used to rally a revolutionary wave of protests and civil wars that have brought down iron rulers from Hosni Mubarak to Muammar Qaddafi. But analysts say this is unlikely to happen in North Korea because strict state media controls limit what people know about the outside world.
1. splash out v. phr.
揮霍 (hui1 huo4)
例: Her boyfriend doesn’t mind her splashing out.
2. stranglehold n.
管制 (guan3 zhi4)
例: In France, supermarkets have less of a stranglehold on food supplies.
3. bring down v. phr.
拉下；使…失敗 (la1 xia4; shi3…shi1 bai4)
例: This scandal may well bring the president down at the next election.
Stonehenge, a Neolithic wonder in southern England, has vexed historians and archaeologists for centuries with its many mysteries: How was it built? What purpose did it serve? Where did its towering sandstone boulders come from? That last question may finally have an answer after a study published on July 29 found that most of the giant stones — known as sarsens — seem to share a common origin 25km away in West Woods, an area that teemed with prehistoric activity. The finding boosts the theory that the megaliths were brought to Stonehenge about the same time: around 2,500 BC, the monument’s second
A bowl of grass jelly, and the childhood memories associated with it, is perfect for taking the edge off of the sweltering summer heat. Grass jelly is made by boiling dried mesona plants and adding a gelling agent such as agar to the mesona tea. This summer, the traditional treat has been given an artistic, dreamy new look with the National Palace Museum’s (NPM) “Ink-painting Jelly,” a collaboration with the Taiwanese company BlackBall Grass Jelly. When cream is poured over the jelly, a mountain design imprinted on the top of the black jelly emerges, forming a mountain scene with
I Weirdo, Asia’s first iPhone-shot feature film, hit the screens nationwide on Friday. Starring Taiwan’s Golden Horse Award-winning actor Austin Lin and actress Nikki Hsieh, the story is about a couple with “obsessive-compulsive disorder” (OCD) trying to fit in to “normal” society. Filmed and edited by director Liao Ming-yi using his iPhone XS Max, the movie has received much attention. As Variety magazine says, “Who would have thought a romantic comedy on the pain of being different could become such ironic and timely viewing in a global pandemic?” adding that the so-called “weirdos” with a fear of getting dirty in the