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2009/07/09 11:26 KST

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

N. Korean Leader Makes Record Public Appearances

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-il made a record number of public appearances in the first half of 2009 compared to previous years and increased inspections of economic sites, a tally of North Korean media reports showed on July 2.

   The number of Kim's public outings, as reported by the North's news outlets, totaled 77 during the period, up from 49 last year.

   The figure marks a significant increase since 1995, after Kim Il-sung, Kim's father and North Korea's founder, died in 1994. He made 15 public appearances during the first six months of that year. The previous record was 60 appearances in 2002.

   North Korea usually does not give the date of Kim's on-site inspections, apparently for security reasons.

   The North's official news agency, television stations and other media reported 31 inspections of economic sites and activities, including visits to factories and farms, which accounted for some 40 percent of all of Kim's public appearances.

   Military unit inspections and the attending of arts and cultural exhibitions accounted for 28.5 percent of his reported visits. In the past, Kim's trips to military units accounted for 60 to 70 percent of his public appearances.


New National Cemetery for Patriots Built in Hamhung

SEOUL (Yonhap) - North Korea has constructed a new national cemetery in its eastern port city of Hamhung to bury bodies of local men of merit, state media reported on July 2.

   The Hamhung Martyrs' Cemetery was built at the foot of a mountain in Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

   "Buried in the cemetery were remains of martyrs, officials and working people who dedicated themselves to the struggle for the freedom and liberation of the people and national reunification and prosperity, remaining intensely loyal to the party and the leader in the past," the KCNA report said.

   The construction brought to four the number of national cemeteries in North Korea. The Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery on Mt. Taesong in Pyongyang is the top-level national cemetery where mostly late North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's anti-Japanese guerrilla troops are laid.

   The Patriotic Martyrs' Cemetery at Sinmi-ri in the outskirts of Pyongyang is for figures who contributed to the foundation of the North's socialist regime after the 1945 Korean liberation from the Japanese colonial rule.

   Another cemetery for "patriotic martyrs" was reportedly built late last year in Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province.


North Korea Opens Website for Mobile Phone Users

SEOUL (Yonhap) - Isolated North Korea has opened an Internet site for mobile phone users, Yonhap News Agency learned on July 7, a move intended to allow outsiders access to its propaganda materials at anytime and anywhere.

   On service at Ryomyong's Website were the North's major newspapers, photos and videos praising leader Kim Jong-il and featuring the country's tourist attractions, historical relics and special products.

   Ryomyong (http://www.ryomyong.com) is run by the National Reconciliation Council, the North Korean government's arm for cooperation programs with the South.

   In South Korea, access to the Internet site as well as the North's official Website Uriminzokkiri, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and other state media is banned for security reasons. But access to Ryomyong using mobile phone handsets was available.

   Ryomyong put a notice saying people anywhere in the world can connect to its site using a mobile phone and see major articles of Rodong Sinmun, organ of the Workers' Party, the KCNA and Minju Joson, newspaper of the Cabinet. Photos and videos featuring beauty of the socialist nation and reunification of the two Koreas are also currently available, the notice said.

   North Korea's folk and modern music and various other contents will also go on service in the future, the notice added.