1. North Korea has the world's fourth-largest standing army (1.1 million)
2. 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth Kim Jong Il's father, the revered Kim Il Sung
3. Kim Jong Il will officially be 70 in 2012
4. North Korea’s GDP per head is about 6% that of South Korea’s
5. The South Korean central bank has put the cost of reunification of the two countries as high as $900 billion over four decades
6. Following the evidence that a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo that sank a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, on March 26th with the loss of 46 sailors’ lives, South Korea has responded by shutting off the South’s sea lanes to North Korean ships, halting much of the $1.7 billion in inter-Korean trade and reintroducing propaganda broadcasts hurled at the north
7. Famine led to the deaths of some 1m people, or nearly 5% of the population, in the 1990s
8. Some missionaries, even American ones, are allowed in and out of the country, provided they do not evangelise.
Consider: Steven Levitt of "Freakonomics" fame shares similar views as me about health care reform challenges:
"A reasonable health care reform would shift the incentives so that when I go and get expensive health care, I pay enough of the costs to get me to think twice about whether the benefits outweigh the costs. It makes sense to have catastrophic coverage. That's the idea behind insurance: When someone is unlucky, you don't want that to ruin their life financially. But we as a society often will spend vast sums at the end of a life trying to keep someone alive for an extra month. It's not something society likes to talk about, but I think people should face a tradeoff: Do I want my mother to live another week, or do I want to have enough money to send my kids to college?"
Watch: A video postcard from one man's visit to Shanghai. The second half does a good job of showing some street food I enjoyed while I was there.
Watch: Only have a minute? Then check out this video of Shanghai in one minute
Watch: The Care Bears are Back, and They Aren't Taking any Prisoners