North Korea's day of the 'Big Cold' lives up to reputation

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- The date known on traditional calendars as the day of the "Big Cold" lived up to its reputation Wednesday in North Korea.

See Full Article

The country has been hit by a severe cold wave sending temperatures plummeting to minus 16 degrees Celsius -- or about minus 24 when the wind chill is calculated.

Wednesday was the coldest day of the year so far, though forecasters said the worst may be yet to come.

Some pedestrians in the capital Pyongyang walked backward to avoid facing into the biting wind, but the cold did not stop intrepid fishermen from squatting on the frozen Taedong River in the centre of the city in the hope of catching a local delicacy -- a fish called sokari in Korean, golden Mandarin fish in English.

They hack holes through 40 centimetres (16 inches) of ice to send thin lines into the water below.

Pyongyang's indoor ice skating rink has also been teeming with skaters, despite the freezing temperatures inside as well as out.

North Korea's power shortages mean that few public buildings, homes, offices or even hospitals have much heating, so it is hard to escape the cold, particularly in the countryside and in rural areas.

Getting from place to place also means walking or riding a bicycle for most people, so thermal underwear, multiple layers, big coats, furry hats and hoods, scarves and gloves to cover any remaining exposed skin are everyday necessities.

North Koreans are accustomed to the severity of their winters -- and often take pride in how hardy they are to endure it -- but this week's cold snap has been worse than usual.

"This kind of cold can come once or twice a year," said Ri Yong Nam, from North Korea's State Hydro-Meteorological Agency. ". It seems that the "Taehan" (big cold) has not forgotten and now it's here."

Ri said this winter is colder than the last, and temperatures likely would drop further over the weekend.

After that it should get warmer -- closer to the freezing point.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Human rights groups decry Philippine president's threat to bomb schools

    World News CBC News
    Human rights groups asked the Philippine president Wednesday to retract a threat to order airstrikes against tribal schools he accused of teaching students to become communist rebels, warning such an attack would constitute a war crime. Source
  • 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli won't stop talking, except to jury in trial

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli says on social media that he's being railroaded at his securities fraud trial, but he won't be defending himself in court. Jurors heard testimony from the government's last witness on Tuesday, a day after a lawyer for the former biotech CEO told the court that his client had chosen not to take the witness stand. Source
  • Ohio set to end 3-year hiatus with execution of child killer

    World News CTV News
    LUCASVILLE, Ohio -- Ohio is preparing to put a condemned child killer to death in the state's first execution in more than three years. Forty-three-year-old Ronald Phillips is scheduled to die Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Source
  • Rights groups ask Duterte to retract threat to bomb schools

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines -- Human rights groups asked the Philippine president Wednesday to retract a threat to order airstrikes against tribal schools he accused of teaching students to become communist rebels, warning such an attack would constitute a war crime. Source
  • Wild New Zealand rabbits surf on sheep to escape floodwaters

    World News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Three wild rabbits managed to escape rising floodwaters in New Zealand by clambering aboard a flock of sheep and surfing to safety on their woolly backs. Sixty-four-year-old Ferg Horne says he's been farming since he left school at age 15 and has never seen anything quite like it. Source
  • Orca whale repeatedly rams fishing boat, Alaska man says

    World News Toronto Sun
    SITKA, Alaska — An Alaska man said his boat was attacked over the weekend by an orca during a salmon fishing excursion with his 14-year-old son and two other people. Victor Littlefield of Sitka said the killer whale repeatedly rammed the boat, yanked its anchor line and slapped the boat’s bow with its tail. Source
  • Man accused of smuggling king cobras in potato chip cans

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — A man was arrested on federal smuggling charges Tuesday after customs officers intercepted a shipment with three live king cobras hidden inside potato chip canisters that were being mailed to his California home, U.S. Source
  • Europe rights court: Sex still important for older women

    World News CTV News
    LISBON, Portugal -- Judges in Portugal were guilty of sexual discrimination in a medical compensation case when they decided that the importance of sex diminished with the age of a woman, Europe's human rights court ruled in a judgment published Tuesday. Source
  • Toronto courier company offers work, support to those with developmental disabilities

    Canada News CTV News
    For many people with developmental disabilities, finding a full-time job that provides the necessary support is a major challenge. It’s estimated that more than 70 per cent of Canadian adults with developmental disabilities are unemployed, according to Statistics Canada. Source
  • Australia's highest-ranking Catholic in court to face sex charges

    World News CBC News
    The most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis made his first court appearance in Australia on Wednesday in a scandal that has stunned the Holy See and threatened to tarnish the pope's image as a crusader against abusive clergy. Source