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How do you photograph one of the most secretive countries in the world?

For Charlie Crane the answer was simple, photograph what they want you to see. If there is no possibility of getting underneath the surface then the answer was to photograph the surface itself. This series is taken from a larger body of work in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea.

Although not commonly thought of as a holiday destination all these photographs have been taken at tourist sites throughout the city.

Given the images people see on TV and the headlines written about Afghanistan over the past three decades of war, many conclude the country never made it out of the Middle Ages.

But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. I grew up in Kabul in the 1950s and '60s. When I was in middle school, I remember that on one visit to a city market, I bought a photobook about the country published by Afghanistan's planning ministry. Most of the images dated from the 1950s. I had largely forgotten about that book until recently [...]. But recently, I decided to seek out another copy. Stirred by the fact that news portrayals of the country's history didn't mesh with my own memories, I wanted to discover the truth. Through a colleague, I received a copy of the book and recognized it as a time capsule of the Afghanistan I had once known -- perhaps a little airbrushed by government officials, but a far more realistic picture of my homeland than one often sees today.

South Korea's military has been dropping leaflets into North Korea about democracy protests in Egypt and also sent food, medicines and radios for residents as part of a psychological campaign, a legislator said on Friday.

The campaign was aimed at encouraging North Koreans to think about change, conservative South Korean parliament member Song Young-sun said.

Here is an unofficial translation of the amended and supplemented socialist constitution of the DPRK which was adopted on Sept. 5 by the first session of the 10th Supreme People’s Assembly.

The robot theme park, which the government says is the first of its kind in the world, will feature a number of attractions such as entertainment facilities, exhibition halls, research and development centers, education buildings and industrial support facilities, officials said.

...

The Incheon robot theme park will cost 784.5 billion won ($562.3 million), of which 680.5 billion won comes from private investors, 52 billion won from the central government, and the other 52 billion won from the local government, according to ministry officials. The construction will begin in 2010 and be completed by 2013, they said.

This second Edo era may sound like a poetic utopia, but it has some influence: Sakakibara observes that Japanese students do not study abroad anymore, and that “nobody learns English.” At a time when South Koreans are becoming more globalized, learning English, and welcoming a growing number of immigrants, Japan is entering a “de-globalization process.”

That is a worrying trend, and not only for Japan: South Korea can hardly stand alone as the lone Asian democracy. If the Japanese do not wake up from their Edo dream, Asia might very well become a Chinese empire.

New Delhi - India's environment minister has linked the popularity of boy wizard Harry Potter to the widespread illegal trade in owls that threatens the birds in the country, news reports said Wednesday.

Jairam Ramesh said there was a 'strange fascination' among the affluent classes in India with giving owls to their children, inspired by the Harry Potter films and books that feature his feathered companion Hedwig, an IANS news agency report said.

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