|North and South Korea by night|
The preparations for the 2012 Earth Hour are in full swing. The Earth Hour website wants people to
"find out what’s happening around the world and hear some inspiring stories from countries and territories that have already taken Earth Hour Beyond the Hour".
However, for some strange reason the organizers have chosen not to include the most succesful "inspiring story" from the country that already for decades has "taken Earth Hour Beyond the Hour":
North Korea's capital faces its worst electricity shortages in years just as a new leadership takes power in the impoverished state and pushes ahead with lavish building projects to celebrate the centenary of its founder's birth.
The Pyongyang-based diplomat, who asked not to be named, said the city of 3 million and home to the leadership elite, has seen daily power supplies almost evaporate as freezing winter temperatures bite.
"Embassies and others with generators are using them most of the time to compensate both for poor quality and cuts, and I can tell you that power problems are a main issue of discussion," said the diplomat, one of a small number of foreigners allowed to live in the country.
"We certainly assess that there is more darkness on the streets and in the residential blocks in the evening than before/during the mourning period (for Kim Jong-il)."
The North is also struggling with chronic food shortages, with United Nations' food agencies estimating nearly 3 million people will need food assistance this year.
Media reports this week said that the North's main ally China sent food shipments after Kim Jong-il's death to stabilize the new leadership under his son.
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