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2009/01/08 10:50 KST
NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 36 (January 8, 2009)


SEOUL (Yonhap) -- The following is a chronological review of major developments related to North Korea from Dec.25, 2008-Jan.7, 2009.

25 A closing ceremony of the Osandok Prize athletic meet is held in Pyongyang with Party Secretary Kim Jung-rin attending. The event opened on Dec. 12 to celebrate the 91st birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's late mother Kim Jong-suk.

   26 A national ceremony is held to mark the 60th anniversary of the Academy of Agricultural Science at the People's Palace of Culture, in attendance with Premier Kim Yong-il.

   27 Choson Sinbo, a publication of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan or Chongryon, says a section of the 22km-long tramway between Mangyongdae and Pyongyang stations opened following the completion of the first-stage of repair work.

   27 The KCNA says Kim Jong-il inspected the Korean People's Army (KPA) Air Force Unit 1017.

   27 The KCNA says Kim Jong-il inspected the command of KPA Unit 323 to mark the Day of the Socialist Constitution.

   28 The workers of the Chollima Steel Complex in South Pyongan Province hold a rally to resolve to bring about "a new great revolutionary surge" in response to the instructions given by Kim Jong-il during his latest on-site guidance to the complex reportedly made on Dec. 24. Premier Kim Yong-il attends the rally.

   28 The KCNA says Kim watched a performance by the State Symphony Orchestra.

   29 Winter sports events of the 11th "people's athletic competition" are held at three separate venues, including Pyongyang.

   29 The WPK Central Committee and the DPRK government arrange a meeting to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the victory of the Cuban revolution at the Taedong River Club for the Diplomatic Corps in Pyongyang with Ambassador Jose Manuel Galego Montano and staff members of the Cuban embassy attending.

   30 A foreign ministry spokesman blasted, in an interview with the KCNA, Israel's continuing air raids on Gaza as "barbaric" and called for immediate suspension of the deadly attacks.

   31 Kim Jong-il sends a message to Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz congratulating him on the 50th year of the Cuban Revolution.

   31 State Merited Chorus holds a New Year's concert at East Pyongyang Grand Theater.

1 The annual joint editorial for the New Year was published by three major newspaper, including Rodong Sinmun for the Workers Party, Joson Inmingun for the (North) Korean People's Army and Chongnyon Jonwi for the Kimilsung Socialist Youth League. The editorial vows to rebuild its ailing economy and aim for denuclearization.

   1 Kim Jong-il exchanges New Year's greetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

   1 Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, sends a message to So Man-sul, chairman of Chongryon, in celebration of the New Year.

   1 Senior officials of the central government, party and social organizations visit the Kumsusan Memorial Palace where the late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's embalmed body lies in state on the New Year's Day.

   2 The KCNA says Kim Jong-il inspected Guard Seoul Ryu Kyong Su Tank Division 105 of the KPA and congratulated its servicepersons on the New Year.

   3 Premier Kim Yong-il sends a congratulatory message to Myanmarese prime minister Thein Sein on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the country's independence.

   5 About 100,000 Pyongyang citizens hold a mass rally at the Kimilsung Square vowing to fully carry out tasks laid down in the joint New Year editorial. Attending the rally were leading officials of ministries, national institutions and working people's organizations, including Premier Kim Yong-il and Party Secretaries, Choe Thae-bok and Kim Jung-rin.

   5 The KCNA says Kim Jong-il inspected Unit 1489 under the Artillery Command of the KPA.

   6 The KCNA says Kim Jong-il inspected the newly built Wonsan Youth Power Station to encourage the working class there with the start of the New Year.

   6 Local officials, workers and students in Jagang, South Hwanghae, Kangwon and Ryanggang provinces hold mass rallies vowing to fulfill tasks presented in the New Year's joint editorial.

   6 The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) holds a plenary session and issues a decree stating that an election of SPA deputies will be held on March 8.

   6 Kim Jong-il sends a wreath to the bier of Om Yong-chun, a people's actor and chief member of a national art troupe, expressing deep condolences over his death.

   7 Mass rallies are held in South Pyongan, North Pyongan, North Hwanghae and South Hamgyong provinces to resolve to thoroughly fullfill tasks presented in the New Year's joint editorial.