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N Korea power cuts ruin Olympics viewing

August 3, 2012
SEOUL: North Korea has extended its television coverage of the Olympics to an unusual five hours a day, but many people are still unable to watch due to serious power shortages, a report said.

Pyongyang, which previously aired just 15 minutes a day of Olympic sporting events, extended the coverage after its athletes achieved unexpected success, the head of the North’s media delegation to London has said.

After the seventh day of competition, the impoverished state of 24 million people had raked in four golds – three from weightlifting and one from judo – and one bronze, to rank eighth in the medals table.

The successes prompted a “tumult of joy” and a flood of congratulatory phone calls to the sports ministry, the official news agency said this week.

But many residents are missing much of the recorded TV coverage due to an unreliable mains power supply, said the Daily NK, a Seoul-based online newspaper run by North Korean defectors, in an article posted yesterday.

Due to the lack of electricity in the country “only a small percentage of the population is actually able to watch the Olympics”, it quoted a source as saying.

North Korea has for years suffered serious power shortages. However a foreign resident of the showpiece capital Pyongyang told AFP the supply there had been “very good in general” since April.

Some locals mentioned they had watched the July 28 women’s football game between the North and France, which the North lost 5-0, the resident added.

-Reuters


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