26 Surprising facts about North Korea

North Korea is officially the most corrupt country in the World. The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks every country in the world from 0 to 100, based on how corrupt it is, with a score of 0 being very corrupt and 100 meaning very clean. Every year North Korea ties with Somalia for last place. Let's uncover the most disturbing facts about the World's favourite hermit kingdom. North Korea, or more officially known as the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, has the fourth largest army in the world, with 1.2 million active members, not far behind America with it's military of 1.4 million. There are 28 state approved haircuts in North Korea. Women are allowed to choose from one of 18 styles. Married women are instructed to choose shorter styles, whilst single ladies are permitted to let loose with a longer style. Men on the other hand are allowed to choose from 10 state approved hair cuts, all of which are short. All North Korean men are prohibited from growing their hair longer than 5 centimetres. North Korea has an impressive 100% literacy rate. Literacy is defined as individuals aged 15 and over who can read and write. There are 25,554 kilometres of roads in North Korea, but only 724 km are paved, that's a measly 2.83%. The Korean Demilitarised Zone, or DMZ. Is a strip of land 250 kilometres long that separates South Korea from North Korea. It was setup as a neutral zone where the two countries can safely discuss matters, at the end of Korean War in 1953. Despite its name, it is the most heavily militarised border in the world. Soldiers guarding the DMZ are ordered to shoot anyone trying to sneak in our out of the country. Making China the most popular escape route for North Koreans. 80% of defectors are women. But an unlikely good has come out of such a heavily militarised border, the Korean DMZ strip is home to some of the most critically endangered species of animals and plants on Earth. Whom have found an unlikely haven, protected from any human contact. Extremely rare species such as the Korean Tiger, the elusive Amur leopard and Asiatic black bear have all found a home here amongst the landmines and listening posts. Ecologists have identified some 2,900 plant species, 70 types of mammals and 320 kinds of birds within this narrow strip of land. The South Korea government has campaigned to UNESCO numerous times to turn the DMZ into a nature reserve to protect the endangered animals, but every time North Korea has declined to make such an agreement. In the 50s, North Korea built Kijong-Dong on North Korea's side of the DMZ, so it was easily visible from South Korea. Which North Korea claimed was the perfect city, the city supposedly contained a childcare centre, kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, and a hospital. The idea was to make the city appear so attractive that it enticed South Koreans to defect to North Korea. However, after observation from the South Korean side of the DMZ, it became obvious that the city is actually completely uninhabited, and has remained so ever since it was built. It has since come to be known as 'Propaganda Village'. In the 1980s the South Korean government built a 98 metre tall flagpole on the south side of the DMZ, close to the border. The North Korean government responded by building an ever taller one in Kijong-Dong, in what some have called the "flagpole war". At the time it was the second tallest flagpole in the world. In the last 60 years, over 23,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea. Whereas only two South Koreans have gone north of the border. North Korea has its own operating system called Red Star OS, a fork of linux. Most of the software on there, such as the web browser, text editor and firewall are custom programs written by North Korea. In 1974, Kim Il-Sung took 1,000 Volvo sedans from Sweden to North Korea and never paid for them. In 2013 current North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un executed his uncle along with five of his aides by locking them in a cage and feeding them to a starving pack of 120 dogs. But what had Kim's uncle done to deserve such a horrific demise? Kim accused his uncle of mismanaging the economy, corruption, womanising and taking drugs. Marijuana is completely legal in North Korea and is not even classified as a drug. It is commonly used for medicinal purposes. North Korea is the only nation on Earth to currently have a US Navy ship captured. It isn't 2015 in North Korea, it is the year 104. Counted after the birth of Kim Jong Un's grandfather, and founder of the DPRK, Kim Il-Sung. North Korea is home to the world's largest stadium. The impressive May Day Stadium seats 150,000 people. It is home to the annual Arirang games, which is one of the most spectacular displays of coordination and choreography on Earth. The Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea is a 105 story building that for 20 years held the title of the world's tallest hotel. Construction began in 1987, but was halted before it was finished in 1992, as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis following the fall of the Soviet Union. The monstrosity now towers over Pyongyang and stands completely empty. The only people allowed to own vehicles in North Korea are the military and government officials. Transport in general is tightly controlled, North Korean citizens are generally restricted from travelling anywhere at all, even inside their own country. North Korea's space agency is called "NADA", which in Spanish means "nothing". It stands for National Aerospace Development Administration. The program only has a 20% success rate. Wearing jeans is illegal in North Korea because denim symbolises the DPRK's enemy, the United States. Every 5 years North Korea holds a general election, in which the ballots paper lists only one candidate. In 2012 North Korea officially announced that it had discovered a unicorn lair. The DPRK's official news agency released a statement claiming they had found a cave 200 metres from Pyongyang City, with a rectangular rock in front of it with the words "Unicorn Lair" conveniently carved into it. They believe the unicorn was rode by an ancient Korean king named King Tongmyong. North Korea is dotted with prison labor camps. Where prisoners are reportedly subjected to horrific inhumane treatment. Prisoners of these concentration camps suffer a level of slavery, torture and experimentation comparable with the holocaust. Although North Korea denies the existence of such camps, insider sources claim there are 16 such camps, home to 200,000 prisoners. North Korea also has a three generations of punishment law. This means that anyone sent to a prison camp is sent along with their entire family, regardless if they were involved in the crime or not. Also any family members born whilst in prison will live their entire lives there, as well as any children they may have whilst in prison. North Koreans are subject to a six day work week, as well as a seventh day of supposed "volunteer" work, which is also strictly enforced. Meaning North Koreans have virtually no free time. Official records show that Kim Jong il learnt to walk at the age of three weeks, and was talking at eight weeks. Whilst studying at Kim il Sung university, he reportedly wrote 1,500 books over a period of three years, along with six full operas. According to his official biography, all of his operas are "better than any in the history of music." It is also written in Kim Jong il's biography that he was born under a double rainbow, and to mark his birth there was a new star and a swallow in the sky. It is also written that he could control the weather and make it rain on command, depending on his mood. In fact, the list of questionable claims and feats of prowess surrounding the former North Korean leader are endless. School children are required to learn everything about their current leader as well as his two predecessors. Even if the so called facts may be a bit on the fabricated side.

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