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North Korea

The Last Temptation Of Pyongyang

A visit to North Korea reveals fears about the Internet's pernicious influence on youth, but also a big push in computer science training. The market economy calls, but 'social control' is at risk.

Pyongyang Taedong River at sunset
Pyongyang Taedong River at sunset
Philippe Pons

PYONGYANG — This restaurant with a local clientele, where diners place their orders on a touchscreen, is never empty despite prices that scant North Koreans can afford. In the street, little shops sell vegetables, fruit, drinks, frozen products and imported cosmetics. Their signs are lit until around 10 p.m. — late for Pyongyang. Taking advantage of the urban light, sparse as it is, young couples walk hand in hand. The An Sang Taek quarter, with its skyscrapers for the elite, doesn't have the flashy look of a city center, but it does reveal two noticeable features of the North Korean capital: the development of electronic communication and the taste for consumption.

North Koreans are far from able to navigate freely on the Internet. But that doesn't mean that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has any less presence online — just that it avoids the "corrosive" influence from the outside and integrates information technology into its system of social control.

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Economy

The Bogus Concept Of "Carbon-Neutral" Oil

The Colombian president recently said that the country had exported one million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset oil. But in an unregulated carbon market, such a claim is pure greenwashing.

People walk in the streets of Bogotá

María Mónica Monsalve Sánchez

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ - In March this year, various national and corporate leaders met in Houston, Texas, for CERAWeek, an annual conference to discuss the world's energy challenges. Colombia's President Iván Duque took the opportunity to remind participants that his country produced just 0.6% of the world's carbon emissions even as it had raised crude production to one million barrels a day.

He said oil should not be seen as an enemy, since the fight was really against greenhouse gas emissions. He also revealed at the event that the country's national oil firm, Ecopetrol, had sold the Asian market its first million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset crude, consisting of the entire extraction, production and exportation chain.

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