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2008/05/01 09:54 KST

   *** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

North Korea marks anniversary with threats to crush 'enemies'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea marked a key military anniversary on April 25 with its latest barrage of criticism of South Korea and the U.S., threatening to crush any attempt by the two countries to attack the communist state.

   "Our military will unleash a resolute strike if the enemies attack us," the Rodong Sinmun, organ of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said, referring to the U.S. and South Korea.

   "Today, the U.S. imperialists are involved in war crimes and frequent acts of invasion on the international stage and the South Korean regime hurriedly takes the path of anachronistic anti-DPRK (North Korea) confrontation," it said.

   In the editorial to mark the 76th anniversary of the founding of the military, the newspaper also called on the country's military servicemen to "maintain a full combat readiness to shamelessly squash any invasive attempts by the sworn enemies."
North Korea renewed its threat of a preemptive strike against the South on the eve of the anniversary.

   Kim Il-chol, the North's people's armed forces minister, said April 24 in a ceremony to mark the occasion that the military is "fully prepared to counter any slightest move of the enemies for 'preemptive strike' with advanced preemptive blows of its own style."
Tensions have risen between the two Koreas since the North began to unleash harsh criticism and threats to protest Seoul's tough position toward the communist neighbor.

   North Korea recently threatened to turn South Korea into "ashes" with a swift preemptive strike and cut off dialogue. It has also fired short-range missiles into the West Sea and expelled South Korean officials from the Kaesong joint industrial complex and Mt. Kumgang.


Pyongyang pledges to protect intellectual property

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea pledged to protect intellectual property (IP) in line with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on the occasion of World IP day, which falls on April 26.

   The Minju Joson, organ of the North's Cabinet, said on that day, "The well-regulated system for the protection of IP in the DPRK (North Korea) serves the purpose of strictly protecting by law the intellectual gains made by all working people and helps them make a positive contribution to the building of a great prosperous powerful nation."

  Earlier, North Korea held its national seminar on protecting IP, which has included a WIPO delegation since 2006, on April 23 and 24 in Pyongyang. The socialist country also displayed two inventions at an exhibition of the WIPO based in Geneva in early April.

   In August 1974, North Korea became a member state of the WIPO, which consists of least 180 countries. The 35th meeting of the WIPO held in 2000 set April 26 as World IP Day.

   The scope of IP is growing as science and technology make progress worldwide and research to protect and develop it is being intensified, the newspaper said. It added that the socialist constitution in the DPRK clearly stipulates the legal protection of copy and patent rights.


North Korea holds Olympic torch relay for first time

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The Olympic torch's first-ever relay in North Korea, one of the closest communist allies of China, was marked by enthusiasm on April 28, media reports said, unlike previous legs marred by anti-Chinese protests.

   The torch travelled a 20-km route through the capital Pyongyang where about 400,000 citizens lined the city's main streets, waving paper flowers and small flags, according to the North's news outlets.

    Pyongyang has criticized worldwide demonstrations against the Beijing Olympics and supported China's hosting of the event.

   North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was not seen at the ceremony. But he "is paying great interest in the success of the Olympic torch relay," Pak Hak-son, chairman of the country's Olympic committee, was quoted by Kyodo News as saying in the opening ceremony.

   "We express our basic position that while some impure forces have opposed China's hosting of the event and have been disruptive, we believe that consists of a challenge to the Olympic idea," Pak said.

   Kim Yong-nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly who serves as the North's ceremonial head of state, presided over the ceremony attended by about 10,000 people, the Choson Sinbo, newspaper of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, said on April 29.

   Kim passed the torch to the first runner Pak Du-ik, a former striker who led the North's soccer team to the quarterfinals of the 1966 World Cup in England.

   Eighty people, 56 North Koreans and 24 Chinese, carried the torch before it reached Kim Il-sung Stadium for a closing ceremony, according to the Choson Sinbo.

   Jong Song-ok, who became a national hero in the North after winning the gold in the women's marathon at the 1999 World Athletics Championships in Seville, Spain, was the last runner, reports said.

   The flame arrived in Pyongyang's Sunan Airport before dawn aboard a chartered flight from South Korea over the West Sea.

   The torch was flown to Vietnam in the evening before the next legs in Hong Kong and Macau.


N.K. forms emergency office to prevent bird flu outbreak: report

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has established an emergency state committee overseeing efforts to prevent a possible outbreak of bird flu, which has inflicted serious damage worldwide, according to North Korean television on April 29.

   "The emergency state quarantine committee was formed to work out national plans to prevent a possible outbreak of bird flu," the North's state-run Central TV Broadcasting Station said. The development came at the instruction of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the report added.

   The North has banned South Korean poultry products and eggs from the joint industrial complex in Kaesong, just north of the inter-Korean border, since April 26 to prevent a cross-border spread of the disease.

   The TV station said the committee is orchestrating provincial administrations' sanitation measures, livestock quarantines and other programs to prevent bird flu. The report, however, did not mention when the committee was established.

   When North Korea destroyed 210,000 chickens during a bird flu outbreak in 2005, the State Emergency Anti-epidemic Committee spearheaded the campaign to prevent the spread of the disease.

   North Korea also has since actively taken part in anti-epidemic programs offered by the World Health Organization.


North Korea planting trees for fruit oil

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea is intensively planting trees across the country to provide badly needed oil from their berries, the North's official news agency said on April 30.

   North Korea, which has suffered from a chronic oil shortage, has created Tetradium tree forests covering tens of thousands of hectares in several regions near the western and eastern coasts during the national tree-planting season, according to the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

   Some provincial administrations have set up offices to help residents properly understand the economic value of the trees and how to grow them, the KCNA added.

   Fully mature Tetradium trees, also known as Evodia or Bee Bee trees, can each produce 7-10 kilograms of small berries composed of 38 percent oil. North Koreans use the oil, traditionally used as lamp oil, to make cooking oil, drugs and soaps, according to the KCNA.