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North Korean man to be executed for smuggling ‘Squid Game’

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A North Korean man has been sentenced to death by firing squad after smuggling a digital copy of the Netflix hit TV show Squid Game, it has been reported.

The man, a student, is believed to have brought the series back on a hidden USB stick from China.

North Korean authorities reportedly caught him after receiving a tip-off from an unidentified source that he was selling copies to several people including fellow students.

He has since been sentenced to death by firing squad, Radio Free Asia has reported.

Another student who bought a drive has reportedly been handed a life sentence, while six others who watched the show have been sentenced to five years hard labour.

Teachers and school administrators have also been fired and risk being sent to work in coal mines or exiled to rural parts of the country, sources told RFA.

It is believed that the arrests took place in the country’s North Hamgyong province over the last week.

The recent arrests of the seven students mark the first time the North Korean government has applied the law on the “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture” in a case involving minors, according to a source in law enforcement in North Hamgyong province.

Under the recently-passed law, any person found watching, keeping, or distributing media from capitalist countries, particularly from South Korea and the U.S, may be sentenced to death.

“Residents are engulfed by anxiety, as the seven will be mercilessly interrogated until the authorities can find out how the drama was smuggled in with the border closed due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the source told RFA.

It was reported last week that copies of Squid Game are being spread across North Korea after being smuggled over the border on memory sticks and other electrical devices.

“Squid Game has been able to enter the country on memory storage devices such as USB flash drives and SD cards, which are smuggled in by ship, and then make their way inland,” a resident of the city of Pyongsong told RFA.

The resident felt that the show is particularly relevant for state officials who do their jobs for money but they also face the risk of death.

“They think the show’s plot kind of parallels their own reality, where they know they could be executed at any time if the government decides to make an example out of them for making too much money, but they all continue to make as much money as possible,” said the source.

“It not only resonates with the rich people, but also with Pyongyang’s youth, because they are drawn to the unusually violent scenes. Also, one of the characters is a North Korean escapee and they can relate to her.”

People in North Korea secretly watch the show under blankets at night, using portable media players, the source added.

Smugglers have seen the popularity for Squid Games who also risk their lives to get the series into North Korea, and also relate to it, said a second RFA source.

The secretive state strictly censors its media with Western series and films banned under leader Kim Jong-un.

Rules are rigidly enforced in the repressed society and people breaking them could face the death penalty.

In October, North Korea’s state media slammed Squid Game, saying it is an example of the “beastly” nature of “South Korean capitalist society where mankind is annihilated by extreme competition”.

Security on the border with China has become more strict since the Covid outbreak with it typically having been not so difficult to cross. Now there is a kilometre long “kill zone” at the border along with land miles which smugglers have to negotiate.

SOURCE: MIRROR

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UK Rapper Pa Salieu sentenced to 33 months in prison

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Rapper Pa Salieu has been jailed after he admitted a charge of violent disorder, Sky News reports. (more…)

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Football legend Pele moved to ‘end of life care’

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Legendary football star Pele has been transferred to an end-of-life care unit at a Brazilian hospital, according to reports. (more…)

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Is Cristiano Ronaldo worth what’s being offered?

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If asked who the greatest football player of the modern era is, most people will say Lionel Messi of Argentina. A large minority will instead name the Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo. A significant proportion of those in both camps – especially those under the age of fifty – will say that Messi and Ronaldo are the two greatest players of all time, eclipsing even Pele and Diego Maradona. Both men have lit up the world football stage for the past two decades, but both are entering the twilight of their careers. Messi will play another season for Paris Saint Germain before deciding what he wants to do next. Ronaldo’s future is less clear. He’s currently playing at the 2022 Qatar World Cup as a free agent, having been released early from his Manchester United contract after falling out with the club.

When Ronaldo first asked to leave Manchester United over the summer, the reason given was that he wanted to continue playing in the UEFA Champions League, which is an experience the Red Devils were unable to offer him this season after their poor performance in the 2021/2022 season. At the age of 37, Ronaldo is aware that he cannot defy the effects of ageing forever, and he doesn’t have long left at the peak of his game. That’s why he wanted to ensure that he had the chance to play at the highest level of them all for as long as he could – but it’s beginning to sound like an enormous cash offer might have turned his head.

As has been reported on numerous websites, including our own, Ronaldo has received an offer from the Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr that would make him the highest-paid athlete in the history of world sport. The deal would last for three years, taking him to the age of forty and, presumably, retirement, and would pay him £173m per year. There are even rumours that another Saudi Arabian club will attempt to beat that offer. Ronaldo is already rich, but offers of that kind are difficult to turn down. Spending three years earning such a figure would mean that not only is Cristiano Ronaldo financially secure for life, but he could ensure the same for his children, his grandchildren, and perhaps generations of the Ronaldo family beyond that. Furthermore, becoming the highest-paid athlete in history would suit Ronaldo’s already-inflated ego.

The big question we’re asking in this article is whether there’s any metric that would make Cristiano Ronaldo worth that kind of money. He’s a global star, of course – he’s the most followed man on Instagram, and as we’ve already said, he’s one of the greatest football players of all time. It would be an incredible boost for football in Saudi Arabia to have him play in the country. It’s difficult to see how Al-Nassr could bring him in without violating FIFA’s financial fair play rules, but the effect of those rules appears to be minimal in Saudi Arabia. The club would have more people at its games than ever before and would also sell more replica shirts next season than in every previous season combined, but that might still not be enough to recoup such a monstrous spend.

To fully get its money’s worth out of Ronaldo, Al-Nassr would have to explore other commercial activities involving the superstar forward’s likeness and image. Eyecon, a casino game development company, has demonstrated how to do this without even holding an official licence. The company operates a casino game called “Striker Goes Wild,” starring a player who looks virtually identical to Cristiano Ronaldo. There are dozens of football-themed slots and games available to casino networks and their sister sites, but “Striker Goes Wild” is one of the most popular of them. Some of the credit for that can be laid at the feet of its Ronaldo clone, even if it isn’t Ronaldo himself. We can only imagine how much more money could be made by a casino game that stars the real Ronaldo. Maradona’s name and license have been used to sell casino games in the past year, so this might be something Al-Nassr could consider for Ronaldo, too.

There’s no way that the Saudi Arabian club could make its money back on the pitch. Even if television viewership increased by fifty per cent for Al-Nassr games because of Ronaldo’s presence – which is probably too much to hope for – it wouldn’t make a meaningful dent in the club’s costs. Shirt sales, as we touched on earlier, would improve, but there’s still the question of whether football fans outside Saudi Arabia would spend money on a replica shirt for a Saudi Arabian team. The answer to that might be a hard “no” regardless of the fame of the name and number on its back. Ultimately, what this might come down to is how much Al-Nassr might be willing to pay purely for the privilege and bragging rights of having Ronaldo line up for the team – and we already know the answer to this question.

In the end, it’s possible that none of this will matter. It was initially reported that Ronaldo was interested in the move, but more recently, that’s been refuted by Piers Morgan – the man to whom Ronaldo gave the interview that brought his Manchester United career to an end. Morgan believes that the Portuguese is steadfast in his desire to play for a club in the European Champions League, and that would rule all but the top teams in Europe out of contention. The question then becomes one of which big European club might take him at this stage of his career, with questions about his form and attitude. One of the leading contenders is Chelsea. How Ronaldo would fit into Graham Potter’s team is unknown, but the club’s (relatively) new owner Todd Boehly is known to be a huge Ronaldo fan and would view him as a marquee signing regardless of his age. Bayern Munich is another possible – but less likely – solution.

In the end, nothing’s ever boring where Ronaldo is concerned. His is a name that’s always in the headlines and always attracts attention – and perhaps that explains why Al-Nassr is willing to pay such big money better than anything else.

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From Apple Music With Love: DJ Khaled’s Ultimate 2022 MegaMix in Spatial

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Apple Music is getting into the giving spirit this holiday season with the return of From Apple Music With Love, a special countdown to the holidays. Each day at 8:00a PST from November 25 – 30, Apple Music subscribers will receive exclusive gifts from some of the biggest and brightest names in music, stamped with love and ready for unwrapping. This year, gifts range from live concert recordings, new renditions of favorite songs, a classic album rerelease alongside a brand new holiday album, and party-crushing mixes to close out the year. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the musical experiences we’ve put together with Apple Music listeners in mind.

Today’s exclusive gift comes from DJ Khaled. Following up 2021’s year-ending MegaMix, Khaled returns with a final holiday gift for Apple Music subscribers. “I was just thinking of this year and all the great hits that came out,” he tells Apple Music. “It was real special because this was the first year in a while that we all been back outside! Know what I’m saying—from the pandemic, and dodging all this corona and all that. First of all, God is the greatest, and we blessed—so when I got this opportunity to make this MegaMix, I was like, ‘It’s only right that we do it big and play nothing but all the hits of the whole year,’ know what I’m saying?”

Look back at all of the From Apple Music With Love gifts this year, and hear Khaled’s MegaMix now, which includes smashes from Taylor Swift, Jack Harlow, Lizzo, and Beyoncé—plus a couple of Khaled’s own highlights from 2022 HERE

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Kanye West and Kim Kardashian settle divorce, Ye to pay $200k a month in child support

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Kim Kardashian and Ye have reached a settlement in their divorce, averting a trial that had been set for next month, court documents filed Tuesday showed. (more…)

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Future Releases Music Video For “712pm” Directed By Travis Scott

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– Ready to blow up the internet yet again, Future presents the blockbuster music video for “712PM” directed by none other than fellow game-changer Travis Scott. Watch “712PM”

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