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For once you'll want to know where the emergency exits are
For once you'll want to know where the emergency exits are
Michael Hegenauer

Results from the world’s large largest airline rating portal Skytrax give high marks in Asia: Exactly seven airlines in the world have been give five-star ratings: ANA (All Nippon Airways), Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Hainan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.

But at the other end of the scale is another Asian carrier: North Korea’s Air Koryo, the only airline on the planet to earn only one star. Passengers on the world’s worst airline have reported everything from military music being played during takeoff and landing, to propaganda films being shown and flyers being distributed during flights, and luggage littered all over the cabin because there’s not enough room in the hold.

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And the food ...! — Photo: Kristoferb

Skytrax also notes Air Koryo’s aged fleet of carriers (average age 28.4 years) and its frequency of canceled and late flights. But the economy comfort class gets three stars, and the cabin crew’s level of service and “enthusiasm” gets two stars. “Friendliness and hospitality” even earn two-and-a-half stars.

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At Beijing airport — Photo: shimin

The North Korean national airline is not in a position to live up to its slogan “Air Koryo — To the World!” because since 2006 its planes have not been allowed to land in Europe. The routes it currently runs are Pyongyang, North Korea and various destinations in China, and Vladivostok, Russia. The ban on landing in Europe does not apply to the airline’s two relatively new Tupolev TU-204 planes, but so far Air Koryo has not acted on that possibility.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Along The "New Border" Of Ukraine, Annexation Has Just Doubled The Danger

Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Ukrainian territories in a ceremony in the Kremlin. In a village just a few kilometers away from what is now the Ukraine-Russia "border" in Putin's eyes, life continues amid constant shelling and the fear of what comes next.

Ukrainian soldiers are stationed in the village of Inhulka, near Kherson.

Stefan Schocher

INHULKA — The trail leads over a gravel road, a rickety pontoon bridge past a checkpoint. Here in the remote village of Inhulka near Kherson in southern Ukraine, soldiers sit in front of the village shop. Inside, two women run back and forth behind the counter, making coffee, selling sausages, weighing tomatoes. "Natalochka, where are the cookies," calls a dark-haired lady across the room.

But Natalochka, her colleague, is about to lose her nerve. "What kind of life is that?" she says, finally reaching up to grab the cookies from the top of a shelf. What kind of life can it be, she asks, when something is constantly exploding next to you and you don't know if you'll wake up in the morning.

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Inhulka is the center of a rural community. 1,587 inhabitants, as the village chief says, one school, one kindergarten, one doctor, two stores. Since March, nothing here is as it used to be. That was when the Russian army came to the village.

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