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2009/07/30 14:14 KST

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 1)

N.K. Mobilizes University Students, Housewives for '150-Day Battle'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea is mobilizing university students and even housewives for an economic campaign called the "150-day battle" as it strives to make the campaign a success, news reports said July 23.

   Students of tens of colleges and universities in Pyongyang and other major cities have been dispatched to cooperative farms, factories and enterprises in the fields of metal, coal, electricity and railway transportation, Rodong Sinmun said.

   The students, mostly engineering majors, helped workers desperate to exceed their production goals by rendering technological support, according to the newspaper of the Workers' Party.

   On the forefront of the "student science study group" activity were students of Kimchaek University of Technology, the most prestigious engineering school in North Korea, the report said.

   They contributed to improving the efficiency of a device used to normalize the production of an ultra high-power electric arc furnace. They also developed a device for automatically adjusting the temperature and humidity in an incubator for duck eggs, the newspaper said.

   In addition, housewives are working for about seven to 10 days at construction sites all over the country, Choson Sinbo said.

   "The fever for opening the door for constructing a Kangsong Taeguk, or strong, prosperous and powerful nation, by 2012 have changed the daily lives of women who have devoted themselves to housework without an outside job," said the newspaper of the pro-Pyongyang Koreans in Japan.

   "The (North) Korean Democratic Women's Union is organizing storm brigades with housewives and sending them to major economic units and construction sites," the report said.

   The North launched the intensive short-term campaign April 20 to advance its goal of building a Kangsong Taeguk by 2012. The year marks the centenary of former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung's death.

   The campaign for the 150-day battle ends Sept. 17.


North Korea Runs Class for Cultivating Dancers: Report

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea is running a class to cultivate the "world's top-level" dancers with support from leader Kim Jong-il, a pro-Pyongyang daily reported on July 23.

   The North's Korean Dancers' Union opened a class for professional dancers in February last year, Choson Sinbo, the newspaper of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, reported.

   Nine talented dancers who graduated from the Pyongyang University of Music and Dance are currently enrolled with the program, the report said. After undergoing three years of intensive education from five teachers, the trainees will be hired by state art troupes, it added.

   "But not all can succeed as a dancer simply because they attend the class," the daily said. "Those engaged in the dancing world say it would be great if one shining elite can be produced a year."

   North Korean leader Kim Jong-il watched performances by the nine dancers last February on the first anniversary of the beginning of the class and evaluated some of them, the newspaper said.

   Pyongyang's state media reported Feb. 6 that Kim attended a performance by an art troupe of South Hamgyong Province.


First 'Fast Food' Restaurant Opened in Pyongyang

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has opened its first "fast food" restaurant in its capital of Pyongyang, a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan said on July 25.

   Chosun Sinbo, a mouthpiece for the North Korean regime, said the restaurant is "becoming a subject of conversation among citizens who are sensitive to new things."

   The restaurant, named Samtaeseong, sells hamburgers, waffles and beer for prices ranging from 0.4 to 1.2 euros (US$0.57 to $1.70), according to the report.

   While the restaurant was set up by a company in Singapore, it is staffed by North Koreans and uses domestically sourced food, the report said.

   Croissants and hot dogs will be added to the menu in the near future, it said.

   The report emphasized that Samtaeseong is "localizing" itself for North Korean tastes rather than copying similar stores in foreign countries.

   North Korea suffers from chronic food shortages. Private analysts estimate that nearly 1 million North Koreans starved to death during the famine of the late 1990s.



New Modern Hotel Constructed in Hamhung

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea has built a "world-class" hotel with various modern facilities in a resort on the east coast, its state media reported July 28.

   A ceremony to mark the completion of the "Majon Hotel" was held on site the day before, with ranking Pyongyang officials attending, the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

   Located at the Majon recreation ground in Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province, the hotel has "all modern cultural and welfare facilities, such as bedrooms of various sizes and styles, restaurants, indoor swimming pool, saunas and bath facilities... and a bathing resort," the report said.

   "This is another edifice to be proud of in the Songun (military-first) era, a product of leader Kim Jong-il's love for the people as he has always worked hard to provide people with better conditions for their recreation," the North said.

   Soldiers finished the extensive construction project in a short period of time with the revolutionary soldier spirit, according to a report by the (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station on the same day.

   The reports did not give details about the size of the hotel and its subsidiary facilities.

   Present at the ceremony were Premier Kim Yong-il, Kim Yong-chun, minister of the people's armed forces, and Kim Ki-nam and Choe thae-bok, both secretaries of the Workers' Party.

   Built on 3 million square meters of land in the suburbs of Hamhung, the Majon recreation ground is known to be one of the leading resort complexes on the North's east coast. The ground also reportedly has 16 resort pavilions, 13 public buildings, a beach and a boat yard.