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Do a million mobiles change the political environment?

North Korea was, until recently, the country with the least mobile phones. Then it gave a license (3G no less) to Orascom. Now it has a million plus mobiles connections. The New York Times speculates that the presence of a million mobiles has made the big blatant lie no longer a viable option for the rulers of the hermit kingdom.

Mr. Kim wanted to mark his formal ascension to top political power — timed to the country’s biggest holiday in decades, the 100th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung — with fireworks, real and symbolic. Instead, the rocket carrying the satellite splintered harmlessly into the gray-blue waters of the Yellow Sea, and the North Korean government apparently concluded it had no choice but to tell its citizens the embarrassing news, which was bound to get around in a country that now has at least one million cellphones. It was the first time the country had admitted such a defeat.

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