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PUBLISHED: Jun 12, 2014 1:29pm

N.Korea’s Kim blasts weather service for ‘incorrect’ forecasts


Source: AFP Source:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspercting the Hydro-meteorological Service in Pyongyang. — AFP pic

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SEOUL, June 12:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has censured his country’s weather service for “incorrect” forecasts in a rare public dressing down of a government body in the reclusive nation, which suffers regular natural disasters.

Kim criticised the science used in observations and called for the use of modern equipment in the unusual rebuke, which came during an inspection of the Hydro-meteorological Service, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Tuesday.

“There are many incorrect forecasts as the meteorological observation has not been put on a modern and scientific basis,” Kim said, urging the agency to “fundamentally” improve its work and equipment.

Accurate forecasts are needed to protect the “lives and properties” of people from disasters caused by “abnormal climatic phenomenon”, he said.

Calling the weather service “very important work directly affecting the overall economic affairs”, Kim also underscored the need to “modernise meteorological observation equipment at a high level”, KCNA said.

It was not clear when Kim visited the agency, but public criticism of government officials during field trips by North Korean leaders is extremely rare.

Undated pictures released by KCNA showed Kim giving “field guidance” inside the weather service in the capital, some of his audience standing attentively with arms by the side.

North Korea has suffered regular chronic food shortages under the ruling Kim dynasty, with the situation exacerbated by floods, droughts and mismanagement.

In May, state media reported that North Korea was hit by its worst spring drought in more than three decades, threatening thousands of acres of staple crops.

During a famine in the mid to late-1990s, hundreds of thousands died.

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“If there are quarters which say there’s restriction on expression of opinions and views, the RoS can provide empirical evidence that the registered organisations are proof that the government gives such freedom. There is freedom of speech and movement; you can be as vociferous as you want so long as you do not threaten public order. Go on and gather as many members as you want so long as you do not touch on sensitive matters and violate the law, including the Sedition Act.”

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi saying the government has never restricted freedom of speech, pointing out that 116,000 organisations were registered with the Registrar of Societies (RoS).


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