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10 Countries With a Serious Fake News Problem

Fake news has become something of a hot topic in recent months. So much so that Collins dictionary even announced “fake news” as their word of the year for 2017.

The Western democracies can at least boast a comparatively good record when it comes to freedom of the press. Journalists can expect to do their job without fear of imprisonment or execution. That’s by no means the case everywhere.

Reporters Without Borders ranks 180 countries based on their commitment to press freedom. This list will dive to the murky depths of those rankings, taking a closer look at those countries where the government exerts control over the media and attempts to crush any alternative point of view.

10. Equatorial Guinea

The African nation of Equatorial Guinea gained its independence from Spain in 1968. Unfortunately, this just meant swapping one dictator for another, and Francisco Macias Nguema proved to be a significant downgrade from Francisco Franco. Nguema claimed to be a sorcerer, amassed a huge collection of human skulls, and took great pleasure in torturing political opponents. It’s even been suggested that he may have been a cannibal. Needless to say, Macias was not a supporter of a free press; to be a journalist was in and of itself a crime punishable by death.

With a third of the population having already fled the country, Nguema was overthrown and executed by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in 1979. Equatorial Guinea’s soldiers were so afraid of Nguema’s supposed magical powers that a firing squad had to be hired from Morocco.

The discovery of vast oil reserves in 1995 should have made the people of Equatorial Guinea very wealthy. While per capita income is now comparable to the likes of Great Britain and South Korea, the oil riches have not been shared out evenly. Some three-quarters of the population still live in grinding poverty.

The plight of the people of Equatorial Guinea is rarely reported on, not least because Mbasogo’s government routinely denies visas to foreign journalists. Those who are allowed to enter are closely monitored. Any misstep can be punished, and even taking photographs can result in imprisonment.

While the international community suspects Mbasogo of corruption on a massive scale, Equatorial Guinea’s compliant media paints a glowing picture of benevolent governance. This is not particularly surprising, since the country’s television and radio stations are run by either the state or trusted members of Mbasogo’s family.

9. Djibouti

The small African nation of Djibouti is quite possibly the least democratic democracy in the world. Its president, Ismail Omar Guellah, came to power in 1999. Since then he has won three elections, none of which could reasonably be described as a free and open contest.

In 2005 the opposition parties believed the process was so rigged against them that they boycotted the election altogether, leaving Guellah to romp home with 100% of the vote. Guellah’s announcement that he would stand again in 2011 was met by a wave of popular protest. The police responded by arresting hundreds of protestors, including the leaders of the opposition parties. In 2016 a team of BBC journalists were kicked out of the country just days after their arrival. Guellah, to nobody’s surprise, went on to win another landslide victory.

Guellah’s party retains a tight grip on the media. Radio and television are owned by the state, and only 10% of the population have access to the internet. Strict libel and slander laws keep journalists in check, and few would ever dare to raise issues the government might deem controversial. More determined and vocal opponents of the government tend to find themselves treated to a lengthy stay in one of Djibouti’s prison facilities.

Despite widespread evidence of Guellah’s suppression of opposing political parties, he is regarded as a good friend of the West. Djibouti’s relative stability, and its location at the gateway to the Suez Canal, lend it a certain strategic significance. The United States of America, France, Japan, Italy and Spain all have military bases in Djibouti, which might explain their reluctance to criticize Guellah and his apparent subversion of democracy.

8. Cuba

The particular strain of Communism pursued by Cuba is generally regarded as a softer, friendlier variety than that which infected the Soviet Union and North Korea. Fidel Castro, and to a lesser extent his brother and successor Raul Castro, are reviled in some quarters, but draw an equal amount of praise. Fidel was a dictator, but he is often remembered as a relatively benign one. Whether this is an accurate assessment is questionable at best.

It’s certainly true that Cuba under the Castro brothers has achieved some quite remarkable feats. Despite US sanctions that have been in place since 1960, Cuba boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The nation’s health service is internationally acclaimed, and has even been studied by experts from Western democracies such as Great Britain. Life expectancy is higher than in many far wealthier nations, including the United States of America.

Cuba has done these things well, but history has shown that Communist governments rarely embrace criticism, constructive or otherwise. Unfortunately, that’s very much the case in Cuba too. Freedom of speech is protected under the Cuban constitution only if it “conforms to the aims of a socialist society.” Essentially, Cubans are free to say whatever they like, so long as the government likes what they say. Fidel Castro made considerable use of these sweeping powers. Over the course of his rule thousands of journalists and human rights activists were imprisoned, many of them without the luxury of a trial.

7. Sudan

Sudan is Africa’s third largest country, and one of its most troubled. Since 1989 it has been ruled over by President Omar al-Bashir, who swept into power in a bloodless military coup. Since then he has been accused of murder, rape, genocide, and war crimes against his own people. He even shares the distinction of being one of only two current heads of state to have had charges leveled against them by the International Criminal Court; the other being Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, although the charges against him have since been dropped.

So long as al-Bashir remains in power, there seems to be little chance of him being brought to trial. His travel options are nonetheless somewhat limited if he wants to be sure of avoiding arrest. In 2015 he was forced to make a hasty retreat from South Africa when the authorities there considered enforcing the ICC’s arrest warrant.

Al-Bashir maintains that he is the victim of a Western smear campaign. He can at least take some comfort in a personal fortune of at least $1 billion, and perhaps a good deal more. The average Sudanese is far less fortunate. With an income of just $960 per-annum and a life expectancy of little more than 60 years they are amongst the poorest people in the world.

6. Vietnam

The US Government went to war in Vietnam out of a fear that Communism might take over the world. The domino theory held that when one nation became infected with Communism its neighbors would soon follow, falling like dominoes. It was instead Communist governments that proved unstable and prone to collapse. Vietnam is now one of only five Communist states left standing – Laos being the only one that doesn’t appear on this list.

Traditional media such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines are firmly under government control. However, more than two-thirds of the population now have access to the internet, and the authorities are struggling to maintain their monopoly on information as Vietnam enters the digital age.

Bloggers who dare to criticize the government risk harassment, intimidation, physical violence, and arrest. To take just one example amongst many, in November 2017 a blogger was sentenced to seven years in prison. His crime was to report on a toxic spill at a steel mill, which dumped cyanide and carbolic into the sea and saw 70 tons of dead fish washed up on the shore.

The strong-arm tactics employed by Vietnam’s one-party dictatorship have nonetheless failed to prevent bloggers from criticizing the government. Nor has the government been successful in preventing an increasing number of people from bypassing traditional media and turning to the internet for news.

5. China

China has more people online than any other nation on Earth – some 751 million of them. But they also face some of the tightest restrictions on just what they can access. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all blocked by China’s “Great Firewall.” Internet users are instead encouraged to sign up to government-run equivalents, where content is tightly controlled and monitored. More enterprising individuals have worked their way around the restrictions by signing up to Virtual Private Networks, but even these are now being targeted by the authorities. In December 2017 a Chinese businessman was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for running a VPN.

If this all sounds alarmingly Orwellian, then much worse is just around the corner. In 2020 the Chinese government plans to assign each citizen a “social ranking” determined by a complex computer algorithm. Each individual’s score will be based on a multitude of factors such as the things they buy, whether they pay their bills on time, and their performance in their job. Almost every aspect of a person’s life will impact their ranking, even their friends. People who associate with high-scoring, compliant citizens will have their own ranking pulled up, but the reverse will also apply.

With each individual’s social ranking score made public, those at the lower end of the scale will be impacted in their ability to obtain loans, housing, work, and even foreign travel. Details of exactly how the algorithm will work have not been released, but it has been revealed that a person’s behavior will be factored into their score. Compliance will be rewarded, and it’s more than likely that any criticism of the government will be punished.

4. Syria

President Bashar al-Assad came to power in Syria following the death of his ruthless father in June 2000. In those early days of his rule, hopes were high that the former eye doctor would emerge as a champion of freedom and democracy. Assad promised change and democracy, granting permission for Syria’s first independent newspaper to begin publishing. He even released anti-government activists and closed Syria’s notorious Mezzeh Prison, where political prisoners were reportedly beaten and tortured.

Within just a year everything changed. Released prisoners were rounded up and imprisoned again, promised reforms canceled, police and security officials retained the right to torture suspects and prisoners, and Syria’s brief flirtation with an independent press ended. It may have been that Assad was forced to change track by elements within his own party. Another possibility is that the so-called Damascus spring was always conceived as a plan to lure political opponents into the open.

If Assad did take office with good intentions, then things have gone rapidly downhill from there. With Syria locked in a vicious and complex civil war since 2012, the Assad regime has been accused of the torture and murder of prisoners, besieging and starving rebel-held cities, and crimes against humanity. However, it does appear that Assad’s brutal methods have been successful in keeping him in power.

The World Bank estimates the cost of rebuilding Syria will be in excess of $200 billion. Given his record so far, it seems unlikely that Assad will want to build a new Syria based on openness and freedom.

3. Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then it’s gained a reputation for being one of the most authoritarian, and downright strange, countries in the world.

Saparmurat Niyavoz, Turkmenistan’s president until his death in December 2006, combined eccentricity with an iron fist. Ballet, opera, and circuses were all banned. As were beards, facial hair, and gold teeth, which Niyavoz condemned as being unhygienic. Enough paintings, pictures, and statues of Niyavoz were plastered around Turkmenistan as to outnumber the country’s five-million inhabitants. He named the month of January, several cities, and even a breed of horses after himself. His mother was not forgotten, and both the month of April and, bizarrely, bread were renamed in her honor.

Niyavoz’s successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, reined in some of the strangeness, but his authoritarian instincts seem to be as strong as his predecessor’s. With complete control of the media, Berdimuhamedow has fashioned himself as the “protector” of the people. A recent video featuring Berdimuhamedow dressed in army fatigues as he shows off his skills with an assault rifle has been widely mocked and parodied.

2. Eritrea

Sometimes referred to as Africa’s Hermit Kingdom, Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1961. Since then Eritreans have had just one president, a grand total of zero elections, and years of wars and border disputes with their Ethiopian neighbor.

The Ministry of Information controls the entire media, which devotes much of its energy towards showering praise on President Isaias Afwerki. Eritrea’s impoverished people have the lowest proportion of internet connections in the world, and thus almost no opportunity to access alternative points of view.

While the government claims that Eritrea is an oasis of peace and tranquility, many of those who have fled the country claim they had been effectively enslaved by the state.

At the age of 18 every Eritrean becomes eligible for national service with the military. In theory this should last for 18 months, but in practice it can go on indefinitely. Until such time as they are released, conscripts have almost no control over their lives. They are not permitted to marry, could be stationed anywhere in the country, and are put to work on government infrastructure projects such as building roads. In return they receive a meager wage that’s scarcely enough to fend off starvation.

Any hint of insubordination is dealt with ruthlessly. Asking for leave, complaining, and even praying can lead to arrest and detention. Thousands of Eritreans attempt to flee the country every year. The official penalty for desertion is five years imprisonment, but there are reports that a shoot to kill policy is in place.

1. North Korea

It’s with good reason that North Korea is sometimes referred to as the Hermit Kingdom. Since its creation in 1948, one family has passed down power from father to son. Each member of the Kim dynasty has wielded that power in the manner of a despotic medieval monarch. There were some hopes that Kim Jong Un, who was educated in the West, might prove to be more open and conciliatory than his father and grandfather. He has instead continued in the family tradition of murdering rivals and loudly threatening South Korea and the United States of America with destruction.

North Korean media is devoted to portraying the Kim family as benevolent godlike geniuses. North Koreans are told they are the wealthiest and most fortunate people in the world. This was demonstrably false even in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the economy was outperforming that of their South Korean neighbor. It’s an even harder sell now that South Korea has become one of the wealthiest nations in the world, while the North Korean economy collapsed to the point that as many as 3 million people may have died of starvation in the 1990s.

If the North Korean people ever realize the extent of the lie perpetrated on them, it might prove impossible for the government to retain its grip on power. The Kim family’s solution has been to create a sealed society, with little information allowed in or out. Any North Korean found listening to a foreign radio station, watching a foreign movie, or in possession of a foreign book or newspaper risks arrest, torture, and deportation to one of North Korea’s brutal prison camps.

Shop Related Products

The aggressive rhetoric and bizarre claims coming out of North Korea on a regular basis are such that a satirical Twitter account, purporting to be North Korea’s official news service, has been mistaken for the real thing by several respectable media outlets.

10 Countries With a Serious Fake News Problem

Fake news has become something of a hot topic in recent months. So much so that Collins dictionary even announced “fake news” as their word of the year for 2017.

The Western democracies can at least boast a comparatively good record when it comes to freedom of the press. Journalists can expect to do their job without fear of imprisonment or execution. That’s by no means the case everywhere.

Reporters Without Borders ranks 180 countries based on their commitment to press freedom. This list will dive to the murky depths of those rankings, taking a closer look at those countries where the government exerts control over the media and attempts to crush any alternative point of view.

10. Equatorial Guinea

The African nation of Equatorial Guinea gained its independence from Spain in 1968. Unfortunately, this just meant swapping one dictator for another, and Francisco Macias Nguema proved to be a significant downgrade from Francisco Franco. Nguema claimed to be a sorcerer, amassed a huge collection of human skulls, and took great pleasure in torturing political opponents. It’s even been suggested that he may have been a cannibal. Needless to say, Macias was not a supporter of a free press; to be a journalist was in and of itself a crime punishable by death.

With a third of the population having already fled the country, Nguema was overthrown and executed by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in 1979. Equatorial Guinea’s soldiers were so afraid of Nguema’s supposed magical powers that a firing squad had to be hired from Morocco.

The discovery of vast oil reserves in 1995 should have made the people of Equatorial Guinea very wealthy. While per capita income is now comparable to the likes of Great Britain and South Korea, the oil riches have not been shared out evenly. Some three-quarters of the population still live in grinding poverty.

The plight of the people of Equatorial Guinea is rarely reported on, not least because Mbasogo’s government routinely denies visas to foreign journalists. Those who are allowed to enter are closely monitored. Any misstep can be punished, and even taking photographs can result in imprisonment.

While the international community suspects Mbasogo of corruption on a massive scale, Equatorial Guinea’s compliant media paints a glowing picture of benevolent governance. This is not particularly surprising, since the country’s television and radio stations are run by either the state or trusted members of Mbasogo’s family.

9. Djibouti

The small African nation of Djibouti is quite possibly the least democratic democracy in the world. Its president, Ismail Omar Guellah, came to power in 1999. Since then he has won three elections, none of which could reasonably be described as a free and open contest.

In 2005 the opposition parties believed the process was so rigged against them that they boycotted the election altogether, leaving Guellah to romp home with 100% of the vote. Guellah’s announcement that he would stand again in 2011 was met by a wave of popular protest. The police responded by arresting hundreds of protestors, including the leaders of the opposition parties. In 2016 a team of BBC journalists were kicked out of the country just days after their arrival. Guellah, to nobody’s surprise, went on to win another landslide victory.

Guellah’s party retains a tight grip on the media. Radio and television are owned by the state, and only 10% of the population have access to the internet. Strict libel and slander laws keep journalists in check, and few would ever dare to raise issues the government might deem controversial. More determined and vocal opponents of the government tend to find themselves treated to a lengthy stay in one of Djibouti’s prison facilities.

Despite widespread evidence of Guellah’s suppression of opposing political parties, he is regarded as a good friend of the West. Djibouti’s relative stability, and its location at the gateway to the Suez Canal, lend it a certain strategic significance. The United States of America, France, Japan, Italy and Spain all have military bases in Djibouti, which might explain their reluctance to criticize Guellah and his apparent subversion of democracy.

8. Cuba

The particular strain of Communism pursued by Cuba is generally regarded as a softer, friendlier variety than that which infected the Soviet Union and North Korea. Fidel Castro, and to a lesser extent his brother and successor Raul Castro, are reviled in some quarters, but draw an equal amount of praise. Fidel was a dictator, but he is often remembered as a relatively benign one. Whether this is an accurate assessment is questionable at best.

It’s certainly true that Cuba under the Castro brothers has achieved some quite remarkable feats. Despite US sanctions that have been in place since 1960, Cuba boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world. The nation’s health service is internationally acclaimed, and has even been studied by experts from Western democracies such as Great Britain. Life expectancy is higher than in many far wealthier nations, including the United States of America.

Cuba has done these things well, but history has shown that Communist governments rarely embrace criticism, constructive or otherwise. Unfortunately, that’s very much the case in Cuba too. Freedom of speech is protected under the Cuban constitution only if it “conforms to the aims of a socialist society.” Essentially, Cubans are free to say whatever they like, so long as the government likes what they say. Fidel Castro made considerable use of these sweeping powers. Over the course of his rule thousands of journalists and human rights activists were imprisoned, many of them without the luxury of a trial.

7. Sudan

Sudan is Africa’s third largest country, and one of its most troubled. Since 1989 it has been ruled over by President Omar al-Bashir, who swept into power in a bloodless military coup. Since then he has been accused of murder, rape, genocide, and war crimes against his own people. He even shares the distinction of being one of only two current heads of state to have had charges leveled against them by the International Criminal Court; the other being Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, although the charges against him have since been dropped.

So long as al-Bashir remains in power, there seems to be little chance of him being brought to trial. His travel options are nonetheless somewhat limited if he wants to be sure of avoiding arrest. In 2015 he was forced to make a hasty retreat from South Africa when the authorities there considered enforcing the ICC’s arrest warrant.

Al-Bashir maintains that he is the victim of a Western smear campaign. He can at least take some comfort in a personal fortune of at least $1 billion, and perhaps a good deal more. The average Sudanese is far less fortunate. With an income of just $960 per-annum and a life expectancy of little more than 60 years they are amongst the poorest people in the world.

6. Vietnam

The US Government went to war in Vietnam out of a fear that Communism might take over the world. The domino theory held that when one nation became infected with Communism its neighbors would soon follow, falling like dominoes. It was instead Communist governments that proved unstable and prone to collapse. Vietnam is now one of only five Communist states left standing – Laos being the only one that doesn’t appear on this list.

Traditional media such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines are firmly under government control. However, more than two-thirds of the population now have access to the internet, and the authorities are struggling to maintain their monopoly on information as Vietnam enters the digital age.

Bloggers who dare to criticize the government risk harassment, intimidation, physical violence, and arrest. To take just one example amongst many, in November 2017 a blogger was sentenced to seven years in prison. His crime was to report on a toxic spill at a steel mill, which dumped cyanide and carbolic into the sea and saw 70 tons of dead fish washed up on the shore.

The strong-arm tactics employed by Vietnam’s one-party dictatorship have nonetheless failed to prevent bloggers from criticizing the government. Nor has the government been successful in preventing an increasing number of people from bypassing traditional media and turning to the internet for news.

5. China

China has more people online than any other nation on Earth – some 751 million of them. But they also face some of the tightest restrictions on just what they can access. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all blocked by China’s “Great Firewall.” Internet users are instead encouraged to sign up to government-run equivalents, where content is tightly controlled and monitored. More enterprising individuals have worked their way around the restrictions by signing up to Virtual Private Networks, but even these are now being targeted by the authorities. In December 2017 a Chinese businessman was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for running a VPN.

If this all sounds alarmingly Orwellian, then much worse is just around the corner. In 2020 the Chinese government plans to assign each citizen a “social ranking” determined by a complex computer algorithm. Each individual’s score will be based on a multitude of factors such as the things they buy, whether they pay their bills on time, and their performance in their job. Almost every aspect of a person’s life will impact their ranking, even their friends. People who associate with high-scoring, compliant citizens will have their own ranking pulled up, but the reverse will also apply.

With each individual’s social ranking score made public, those at the lower end of the scale will be impacted in their ability to obtain loans, housing, work, and even foreign travel. Details of exactly how the algorithm will work have not been released, but it has been revealed that a person’s behavior will be factored into their score. Compliance will be rewarded, and it’s more than likely that any criticism of the government will be punished.

4. Syria

President Bashar al-Assad came to power in Syria following the death of his ruthless father in June 2000. In those early days of his rule, hopes were high that the former eye doctor would emerge as a champion of freedom and democracy. Assad promised change and democracy, granting permission for Syria’s first independent newspaper to begin publishing. He even released anti-government activists and closed Syria’s notorious Mezzeh Prison, where political prisoners were reportedly beaten and tortured.

Within just a year everything changed. Released prisoners were rounded up and imprisoned again, promised reforms canceled, police and security officials retained the right to torture suspects and prisoners, and Syria’s brief flirtation with an independent press ended. It may have been that Assad was forced to change track by elements within his own party. Another possibility is that the so-called Damascus spring was always conceived as a plan to lure political opponents into the open.

If Assad did take office with good intentions, then things have gone rapidly downhill from there. With Syria locked in a vicious and complex civil war since 2012, the Assad regime has been accused of the torture and murder of prisoners, besieging and starving rebel-held cities, and crimes against humanity. However, it does appear that Assad’s brutal methods have been successful in keeping him in power.

The World Bank estimates the cost of rebuilding Syria will be in excess of $200 billion. Given his record so far, it seems unlikely that Assad will want to build a new Syria based on openness and freedom.

3. Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then it’s gained a reputation for being one of the most authoritarian, and downright strange, countries in the world.

Saparmurat Niyavoz, Turkmenistan’s president until his death in December 2006, combined eccentricity with an iron fist. Ballet, opera, and circuses were all banned. As were beards, facial hair, and gold teeth, which Niyavoz condemned as being unhygienic. Enough paintings, pictures, and statues of Niyavoz were plastered around Turkmenistan as to outnumber the country’s five-million inhabitants. He named the month of January, several cities, and even a breed of horses after himself. His mother was not forgotten, and both the month of April and, bizarrely, bread were renamed in her honor.

Niyavoz’s successor, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, reined in some of the strangeness, but his authoritarian instincts seem to be as strong as his predecessor’s. With complete control of the media, Berdimuhamedow has fashioned himself as the “protector” of the people. A recent video featuring Berdimuhamedow dressed in army fatigues as he shows off his skills with an assault rifle has been widely mocked and parodied.

2. Eritrea

Sometimes referred to as Africa’s Hermit Kingdom, Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1961. Since then Eritreans have had just one president, a grand total of zero elections, and years of wars and border disputes with their Ethiopian neighbor.

The Ministry of Information controls the entire media, which devotes much of its energy towards showering praise on President Isaias Afwerki. Eritrea’s impoverished people have the lowest proportion of internet connections in the world, and thus almost no opportunity to access alternative points of view.

While the government claims that Eritrea is an oasis of peace and tranquility, many of those who have fled the country claim they had been effectively enslaved by the state.

At the age of 18 every Eritrean becomes eligible for national service with the military. In theory this should last for 18 months, but in practice it can go on indefinitely. Until such time as they are released, conscripts have almost no control over their lives. They are not permitted to marry, could be stationed anywhere in the country, and are put to work on government infrastructure projects such as building roads. In return they receive a meager wage that’s scarcely enough to fend off starvation.

Any hint of insubordination is dealt with ruthlessly. Asking for leave, complaining, and even praying can lead to arrest and detention. Thousands of Eritreans attempt to flee the country every year. The official penalty for desertion is five years imprisonment, but there are reports that a shoot to kill policy is in place.

1. North Korea

It’s with good reason that North Korea is sometimes referred to as the Hermit Kingdom. Since its creation in 1948, one family has passed down power from father to son. Each member of the Kim dynasty has wielded that power in the manner of a despotic medieval monarch. There were some hopes that Kim Jong Un, who was educated in the West, might prove to be more open and conciliatory than his father and grandfather. He has instead continued in the family tradition of murdering rivals and loudly threatening South Korea and the United States of America with destruction.

North Korean media is devoted to portraying the Kim family as benevolent godlike geniuses. North Koreans are told they are the wealthiest and most fortunate people in the world. This was demonstrably false even in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the economy was outperforming that of their South Korean neighbor. It’s an even harder sell now that South Korea has become one of the wealthiest nations in the world, while the North Korean economy collapsed to the point that as many as 3 million people may have died of starvation in the 1990s.

If the North Korean people ever realize the extent of the lie perpetrated on them, it might prove impossible for the government to retain its grip on power. The Kim family’s solution has been to create a sealed society, with little information allowed in or out. Any North Korean found listening to a foreign radio station, watching a foreign movie, or in possession of a foreign book or newspaper risks arrest, torture, and deportation to one of North Korea’s brutal prison camps.

Shop Related Products

The aggressive rhetoric and bizarre claims coming out of North Korea on a regular basis are such that a satirical Twitter account, purporting to be North Korea’s official news service, has been mistaken for the real thing by several respectable media outlets.

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees

There is nothing as nice as sweetness in this world. Whenever there is sweet eatable or when a person speaks with sweet tine, everyone just loves it. Honey is the sweetest ingredient on the planet and it has thousands of benefits for human beings. It is the fruit of hard work of many years. The honey bees collect nectar from the various flowers and then make the honey.

Whenever a honey bee bites us, a strong pain arises on that part of the body. It is one of the most dangerous insects but one of the most useful creatures for humans as it produces honey. There are so many interesting facts of which we have listed Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees.

10 Members Of Family Of Honey Bees

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Family Of Honey Bees — Photo via Pinterest

Do you know that honey bees live in colonies? The members of the honey bees are divided into 3 kinds, Queen, Workers and Drones. The Queen is the protector of the bee-hive and makes the chemicals to guide the behavior of other members of the bee hive.

Workers collect the nectar from different flowers and they often fly from hives. They purify as well as circulate the air. The last kind Drones mate with the new queen to produce new bees during the summer and spring and they leave in the winter.


9 Physical Structure Of Honey Bees

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Physical Structure Of Honey Bees — Photo via healthywithhoney.com

The honey bees have total 6 legs, 2 round and compound eyes which have thousands of small lenses which are situated on each side of the head. They have another 3 simple eyes on the top of the head, 2 pair of wings, a stomach and a nectar pouch where it collects nectar from flowers.

Honey bees have about 170 receptors and they have many abilities in them. Honey bees can recognize anything better than any other creature. They have sharp sense of smell which can identity numerous varieties of flowers while collecting nectar.


8 Production Of Honey

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Production Of Honey — Photo via iterji.com

We all know that honey bees produce honey. They collect the nectar from hundreds of different flowers for their food as well as preparing honey. While making honey, honey bees store some amount of food so that they can eat in winter season when there are no flowers grown.

Honey bees produce 3 to 4 times more honey for humans. They collect the whole year nectar from the flowers and provide us the honey which is so delicious!!


7 Flying Speed Of Honey Bees

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Flying Speed Of Honey Bees — Photo via vimeo.com

With their small wings, honey bees have the fast speed of flying. They can fly at a speed of 15 miles in one hour. They can fly at a fast speed in short distances. Their wings flap approximately 12,000 times in one minute.

They flap their wings to remain on the top of the flowers while collecting nectar from the flowers. In the bug world, the flying speed of the honey bees is very slow when compared to other bees and insects.


6 The Language Of Honey Bees

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Language Of Honey Bees — Photo via buzzingacrossamerica.com

The honey bees have very difficult language to communicate with each other. They contain about million neurons in their brains which are of cubic millimeter. They use these neurons for performing different activities in their whole lives. The honey bees can recognize different types of flowers to collect honey and their food.

After collecting the food, the honey bees return to their homes and they communicate with other bees about the information of their findings. The language of the honey bees is called as the waggle dance.


5 Decrease In Population Of Honey Bees

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Population Of Honey Bees — Photo via madhavasweeteners.com

It is very sad to know that the population of honey bees is constantly decreasing day by day. From last few years, the bee hives are vanishing form our planet and the scientists and researchers are not able to find the reason behind it. The continuous decreasing of the colonies of the honey bees is called “colony collapse disorder”.

After leaving the bee hives, these honey bees never return back to their homes and it is surprising to know that about 90% of the honey bees have vanished till now.


4 Sharp Brain

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Sharp Brain — Photo via discovermagazine.com

The honey bees have very sharp brain. It is oval in shape and it has the size of a sesame seed. The brain of honey bees can remember even the minute details about their travelling distance on flowers while collecting food from them. They can learn many new things and make complex calculations also. The honey bees can communicate with other members of the bee hive about the foraging efficiency.

They can also recognize many flowers by their smell while collecting nectar. In spite of having a small sized brain, the honey bees can perform many intelligent activities.


3 The Temperature Of The Bee Hives

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Temperature Of The Bee Hives — Photo via todayifoundout.com

The honey bees keep a temperature of about 93 degree F around the bee hive. During very cold season, the members of the bee hive stay closer to one another to stay warm. They form a large group around the queen to keep her warm too.

While in summer, the workers circulate the air in the group with their wings to provide air to the queen. They make the hum sound also from a considerable distance which they make in summer and winter seasons.


2 Amount Of Honey

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Amount Of Honey — Photo via indiaunimagined.com

Do you know that one worker honey bee can produce only 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her entire life? The honey bees are one of the busiest creatures and they remain busy in collecting nectar whole year for making honey and collecting their food. The honey what we eat is the hard work of millions of honey bees.


1 Beeswax

Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees
Beeswax — Photo via waxingkara.com

The youngest worker creates the beeswax and on that, other workers build the honeycomb. The glands on the abdomens of the workers make wax droplets which become hard when they come in contact with the air. They soften the wax flakes and turn into workable construction material.

The honey bees are one of the most hard-working insects on the earth and they give the sweetest thing of the world-Honey.


Top 10 Facts About Honey Bees

1. Beeswax

2. Amount Of Honey

3. The Temperature Of The Bee Hives

4. Sharp Brain

5. Decrease In Population Of Honey Bees

6. The Language Of Honey Bees

7. Flying Speed Of Honey Bees

8. Production Of Honey

9. Physical Structure Of Honey Bees

10. Members Of Family Of Honey Bees

10 Fascinating Documents From the Vatican Secret Archives

There are many dubious claims about what might lie hidden in the Vatican Secret Archives – from alien remains and time travel devices to prophecies of impending Apocalypse – all of which position the Holy See as an implausibly powerful agent in the history and fate of mankind.

But a handful of historical documents made public by the Vatican really do show how much power the pope has wielded, and how influential his decisions have been – not just within Christendom but all over the world. Correspondence with heads of state, aspiring heads of state, and other important figures, as well as ancient records, papal bulls, and dogmas, all shine a light on the pivotal role of the pope. Here are 10 of the most intriguing.

10. Henry VIII’s Request for Divorce

When Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn, he found himself mired in Vatican red tape. So he sent them some of his own: a petition signed by more than 80 clergymen and lords and appended with all of their seals – each dangling impressively from a row of scarlet ribbons.

The message was clear: If the pope refused to grant a divorce, England was poised to rebel. The manuscript was strongly worded too, threatening “extreme measures” should the king be denied his request. Clearly, he expected resistance. And that’s exactly what he got; Pope Clement VII’s response came back as an unequivocal “no.”

But what’s interesting about the king’s letter, discovered under a chair in 1927, is that it marked a major turning point in British history. In response to the pope’s refusal to grant the divorce, the country turned its back on the continent in a way that’s arguably echoed in Brexit today. The Church of England, or Anglicanism, re-allocated divine right to the king instead of the pope and set off a bitter religious feud that would rage for centuries afterward.

9. Transcripts from the Trial of Galileo

Famously hauled before the Inquisition in 1633, Galileo was rebuked (not for the first time) for the “absurd, philosophically false” proposition that the Earth orbits the Sun. But he wasn’t the only one working on the theory. Despite appearing to contradict bible passages in which the sun stops moving in the sky, the old Copernican theory was gaining traction within the Church. Even Pope Urban VIII, who ordered Galileo’s trial, had at one time praised him for his work.

However, the Church was going through a turbulent time, and it was now in the pope’s interests to make an example out of Galileo. For one thing, it sent a message to the astronomer’s patrons, the powerful Medicis, warning them not to take sides in the ongoing Thirty Years War. For another, it demonstrated to Urban VIII’s more conservative political critics that he was no radical thinker himself.

For many within the Church, though, a more fundamental concern was that Galileo was undermining Aristotelianism. They didn’t really care whether the Earth orbited the Sun or the Sun orbited the Earth; what mattered to them was upholding the validity of classical Greek logic, since it was upon this framework that Christian theology was based. If Aristotelian philosophy came apart, they feared, the whole Catholic system would go with it.

In the end, no doubt thanks to friends in high places, the Vatican settled for burning Galileo’s books in lieu of his body. He did, however, spend his final years under house arrest, and it wasn’t until 1992 that a pope finally apologized for the error.

8. Letter from the Pope to the Seventh Dalai Lama (1708-1757)

Showing the true extent of the Vatican’s global reach, even from relatively early on, is an 18th century letter sent by Clement XII to the seventh Dalai Lama. In it, the pope politely requests that a mission of European friars be allowed to preach in Tibet and, as such, the letter also represents an evolving attitude of interfaith tolerance within the Vatican.

On this occasion, however, the missionaries were overreaching. While they were initially welcomed by the Dalai Lama and even allowed to build a church, they were met with hostility in the end. Their decision to set themselves up in the capital ultimately proved too ambitious, since they stood a better chance “saving souls” among the relatively uneducated folk of the country.

The missionaries did manage to convert a small number of youngsters in Lhasa, but that only provoked conflict with the elders. In the end, the friars left Tibet for Nepal and were eventually forced to give up there as well. Clearly, they underestimated the deep conviction of Buddhists and Hindus, just as they had elsewhere – hence the limited spread of Catholicism in Asia, despite its unlimited reach.

7. Letter from the Grand Empress Dowager Helena Wang

That said, not all Catholic missions to the Orient were so profoundly unsuccessful. In China, for instance, the Jesuits had been able to convert even the Grand Empress Dowager Wang to the faith, bestowing upon her the Christian name Helena in 1648. This conversion was actually part of a wider strategy to spread Christianity through China starting from the top.

The Jesuits were historically more organized than other missionary groups, and could be relied upon to carry out such plans. When Jesuit priest Andreas Koffler arrived in China through present-day Vietnam, several key figures of the Southern Ming dynasty had already been converted by his colleagues. And when Koffler converted the Grand Empress Dowager, a number of others followed – the Empress Dowager Ma (renamed Maria), the Empress Wang (renamed Anna), and the future Yongli Emperor himself (who was baptized and renamed Constantine).

Unfortunately for the Church, the rival Qing dynasty were relentless in their campaign to destroy the Yongli court, and the latter were forced into hiding. It was during this time that Helena personally wrote to Pope Innocent X. Her attractive letter – written on silk and scrolled inside a bamboo tube emblazoned with a black dragon – expressed her devotion to Jesus Christ and urged the pope to send more Jesuits into China. It also requested that he intercede with God on her behalf to ensure her family’s protection in exile. The letter was entrusted to a messenger who returned with it to Rome. However, by the time it reached the Vatican, Pope Innocent X was already dead. And by the time the messenger returned to China with a note from Pope Alexander, so were the Grand Empress Dowager and most of her court.

6. Papal Bull Splitting the New World in Two

In addition to venturing east, the Vatican set its sights west – dividing and distributing lands in the New World just as it had in the Old. Following Spain’s discovery of South America and the rivalry this provoked with Portugal, Pope Alexander VI issued a papal bull splitting the new land in two.

His “inter caetera” was drawn up in 1493 and was basically just a line between the North Pole and the South Pole “one hundred leagues” west of Cape Verde and the Azores. The pope declared that everything on the far side was Spanish and everything on the near side Portuguese. However, given that 100 leagues is only around 550 kilometers, and that the Azores and Cape Verde are much closer to Europe than America, it doesn’t take a map to realize how unfair this decision was. All Portugal got was Brazil, while Spain got everything else – even the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, the papal bull stipulated that anyone found trespassing on the Spanish side would be excommunicated and sent to Hell.

Unsurprisingly, Pope Alexander VI, a Borgia, was essentially just a puppet for Spain – not just Spanish himself but also in need of their support.

And that wasn’t the only thing that was unfair about this decision that shaped the world. The pope had also bestowed rights – almost orders, in fact – to overthrow the “barbarous nations” already established in the New World, to colonize, convert, and enslave the natives, in other words. Since the 1990s, those natives have campaigned to get it revoked.

5. Letter from Native American Ojibwe

400 years after calling for their subjugation, the Vatican was sent letters of thanks from Native Americans themselves. One of the Vatican Archives’ most unusual documents is an 1887 letter addressed to Pope Leo XIII from the Ojibwe tribe of Grassy Lake, Ontario. Written on birch bark, the letter addresses the pope as “the Great Master of Prayer,” and thanks him for sending a bishop their way.

Although written in the Ojibwe language, the letter was translated into French by the missionary, who also corrected the date. Instead of May, the Ojibwe had datelined the document: “where there is much grass, in the month of flowers.”

The Ojibwe, or Chippewa, are among the most numerous and widely distributed Native American populations, referring to themselves simply as “the people” (“anishinaabe”). While they and many other groups have adopted Christianity, they have also tended to indigenize it, fusing it with their own belief in “Great Spirit” Giche Manidoo.

4. The Doctrine of Immaculate Conception

The belief in the Immaculate Conception – that Mary gave birth to Jesus as a virgin, free of “original sin” – is fundamental to the Catholic faith. It underpins attitudes of purity, devotion, and grace, and exalts the mother of Christ as the impossible ideal of Christian femininity. In many countries, reverence for the Blessed Virgin even borders on idolatry.

So it’s surprising to find that Christ’s virgin birth wasn’t official Catholic doctrine until well into the mid-nineteenth century. Pope Pius IX only published the Apostolic Constitution of the Immaculate Conception in December 1854. Before this, the faithful weren’t bound to accept the dogma as true. Only now was it said to have come directly from God.

However, there’s a slight problem with this: there’s apparently no mention whatsoever of a virgin birth in the Bible. On the contrary, in Luke 1:47 Mary addresses God as her “savior,” implying that she was just as sinful as the rest of us.

3. Letter from Pope Pius IX to the President of the Confederate States of America

During the American Civil War, Italy was in much the same state, split between those in favor of unification (the Piedmontese in the north) and those who were dead set against it (the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in the south).

Self-styled “Confederate President” Jefferson Davis therefore saw in Pope Pius IX a fellow victim of northern oppression and a potentially powerful ally. However, there was one crucial difference: while the conflict in Italy had much wider political motives than slavery, it was the northern Italians, not the southern, who objected to its abolition.

Nevertheless, Davis wrote to the besieged Vatican in the 1860s in a bid to forge diplomatic ties. Claiming to share the pope’s grief at the devastation the Civil War had caused, he stressed his authority as “President” to lead. And it came as a pleasant surprise for Davis (and a deeply unpleasant one for Lincoln) when Pius IX sent a letter back addressing him, in Latin, as the President of the Confederate States of America and expressing his desire that “America might again enjoy mutual peace and concord.”

Although the pope never explicitly supported Davis’s cause, this undoubtedly gave it a boost. General Robert E. Lee apparently idolized him for it, declaring Pius IX to be “the only sovereign … in Europe who recognized our poor Confederacy.”

2. Letter to Genghis Khan’s Grandson

For all its worldly influence and wealth, the papacy met its match in the Mongols – at least in pomposity and hubris.

By the 13th century, having conquered China and overrun Persia, the Mongols were turning on Europe. Attacks launched against Christian countries by Ogedei, Genghis Khan’s son and successor, were on the rise and things were looking bleak. The Mongol horde appeared to be unstoppable.

When Ogedei died, however, the Mongols were brought to a halt. In accordance with tradition, they were all called back to the capital to decide on a suitable new leader. This unique window of opportunity gave Pope Innocent IV a chance to exercise his influence – or so he thought. Dispatching an elderly Italian friar on a donkey to intercede on his behalf, he hoped to save Christendom by rebuking the future Khan with a letter. This was in brazen contrast to the approach taken by other diplomats, who typically sent barrels overflowing with silver and gold.

While they were impressed enough by the friar’s journey to grant him an audience with the Khan, he was forced to wait four months before an actual response was forthcoming. The letter he eventually returned to Rome with, after two and a half years, was not at all what the pope was expecting. Addressed directly to Innocent IV, it asserted the divine right of the Grand Khan Guyuk (Genghis Khan‘s grandson) to rule the world. It also ordered the pontiff to come to Asia himself, with all of his kings, and pay homage in submission to the Mongols. Otherwise, the letter threatened, he would be considered an enemy.

1. Transcripts from the Trials of the Knights Templar

For more than 700 years, the Knights Templar have been tarnished by accusations of heresy. Obscure rumors abound of devil worship, sodomy, usury, and the possession of magical artifacts – including the Holy Grail, parts of the Cross, and even the Ark of the Covenant. But for much of the middle ages the Templars were highly respected, even revered.

Having been instrumental in conquering Jerusalem, for instance, they chaperoned pilgrims across it. They’re also said to have destroyed an army of 26,000 with only 500 men of their own, amassed a fortune from noble families, and become a key financier behind European monarchs and their wars.

So where did it all go wrong?

Somewhat surprisingly, it was Philip IV of France, and not the “infidel” Muslims, who hastened the Templars’ demise (though strategic losses in the Holy Land didn’t help). Heavily in debt to the order, the French king seized upon their decline as an opportunity to get out of paying them. Accusing the knights of heresy, he petitioned Pope Clement V to arrest them and put them to trial. And, since the pope was under French protection at the time, there was considerable pressure to do so.

The Chinon parchment, exhibited in 2007 after decades “lost in a drawer,” is the detailed, 60-meter transcript of the trials of the Knights Templar between 1307 and 1313. It lists a range of damning confessions, including treason, idolatry, homosexual “kissing rites,” and spitting or urinating on the Cross, among other charges dreamt up by the king.

But the transcripts also reveal a softer than previously thought verdict from the pope, who declared the order not to be heretical but merely immoral. While this might seem a trivial difference at first glance in canon law it meant the difference between excommunication and effectively a spiritual pardon.

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Of course, they were burned at the stake either way, but it’s obvious why the Vatican has kept quiet. In the wake of the parchment’s exhibition, the Templars’ self-styled “heirs” tried to sue the Church for more than $150 billion — the estimated value of the assets wrongfully seized by Pope Clement V. These included crown jewels, thousands of estates, and several entire kingdoms. Of course, the claimants haven’t been able to retrieve any of it – but only because they’ve been unable to prove any blood relation to the order (for now at least).

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey

The beauty is one such blessing which we should value and maintain at its best. A beautiful face is the first thing which attracts any person in the world. A person with a pretty face will surely impress everyone around it wherever that person goes. Beauty should be maintained by proper care and treatment otherwise it starts to deteriorate at a young age. Honey is the most delicious thing in the planet and its sweetness can just mesmerize a person on just one drop.

Honey has been one of the most effective and important beauty products since thousands of years. It is used in preparing face washes and face scrubs. Along with that, honey also has numerous benefits for human beings of which we have list Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey.

10 Good For Skin

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Good For Skin — Photo via Youtube

Honey is best known for its qualities in enhancing beauty. It has antimicrobial properties which help in having a healthy and shiny skin. It also removes blemishes and wrinkles from the face if applied regularly on the face. You can also apply honey to treat various skin problems such as itching, dryness and eczema.


9 Good Immune System

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Good Immune System — Photo via justinhealth.com

If you consume honey daily, you will have a strong immune system. It contains nutraceuticals which will remove all the impurities and toxins from the body and help to build a good immune system. It has anti-microbial properties which will help in strengthening the immune system and to have a powerful body without any illness.

So, in order to have a strong physique, consume few drops of honey with warm water or milk every day and you will have no complains of indigestion or constipation.


8 Treatment Of Cough

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Treatment Of Cough — Photo via urbol.com

Cough and sore throats are one of the most common problems seen in both children and youngsters. To treat cough, we take plenty of medicines from doctor but still there are no effective remedies. Honey cures the cough quickly as it has antibacterial properties which can cure sore throats and cough easily.

If you have regular problem of cough, then drink freshly prepared lemon juice with some drops of honey daily. This drink will not only provide you energy but also treat your throat infection fast and quick.


7 Weight Loss

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Weight Loss — Photo via blogflickr.com

Tired of trying thousands of ways to get a slim and fit body? Try taking honey each day to have a weight loss. The honey has the power to consume the fats which are stored within our body due to which the weight can be controlled. You should daily consume honey with lemon juice and cinnamon to have a perfect figure.

This drink will also solve the problems of your stomach. So, don’t waste too much money on losing the weight and have a sexy body by consuming honey every day.


6 Controls Sugar

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Controls Sugar — Photo via Soundofheart.org

If you have diabetes then you can consume honey daily. It helps in regulating the blood sugar levels in the body. It contains both fructose and glucose which will help in controlling the sugar level in the body. There are many kinds of honey and many of them have a low hypoglycemic level to regulate your blood sugar level.

The persons suffering from diabetes can consume honey raw or with fresh lime water or warm water. The honey also has many minerals and vitamins which are good for the diabetic patients in regulating blood sugar levels.


5 Energy Booster

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Energy Booster — Photo via mywishhub.com

When you want to have something sweet, consume honey as it will crave your hunger for sweet. It contains natural sugars due to which you can get a high level of energy for performing all the activities during the whole day. It supplies calories when you feel weak at any time.

Even if you eat raw honey daily, you will not gain any weight and you can also enjoy sweet craving feel of your tongue. You can consume honey in water, milk or with any other dessert. You will really feel energetic after eating 1 teaspoon of honey each day.


4 Reduce Ulcers And Cancers

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Ulcers And Cancers — Photo via bedfordviewedenvalenews.co.za

Honey is also one of the best remedies to cure ulcers and cancers both. It has many antioxidants as well as flavonoids which will not let cancer cells grow in the body and they also prevent the heart diseases in humans. If a person regularly consumes honey, then it cures the ulcers and also gastroenteritis.

Honey helps in curing many types of cancers such as lung cancer, stomach cancer and many others. There are less chances of getting a heart stroke at a later age if a person consumes honey daily in his meals.


3 Effective For Body

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Effective For Body — Photo via Besthomeremedies.com

Honey has been used for preparing many medicines and health products in the world from thousands of years. Honey has abundant health benefits which you cannot just count. The person who consumes honey regularly has good eyesight. Even the weight can be controlled by consuming raw honey or by drinking with warm water.

It can cure various other disorders such as bronchial asthma, urinary infections, diarrhea and nausea. It has the power to reach in the deepest tissues of the human body.


2 Healing Power

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Healing Power — Photo via dabur.com

Do you know honey can cure burns and wounds? It has the powerful effect on strong burns and injuries. The antifungal properties present in honey stop the bacteria from growing and the infection will not spread much in your body after applying honey on your burns.

It gives a soothing feel when you have itching and pain on any part of the body. So, whenever you get injured or cuts on your body, apply some drops of honey on that area and they will soon be cured leaving your skin without any marks or burns.

 


1 Strong Digestive System

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey
Strong Digestive System
— Photo via healthscribble.com

If you have an acidity and gas problems, then consume honey before having your meals. After waking up from the bed, drink a glass of warm water with honey and it will help in removing impurities from the body by cleaning your bowels. Daily consumption of honey will make your digestive system strong and healthy.

So now that you know the honey facts, try taking it daily to avoid innumerable health problems.


Top 10 Health Benefits Of Honey

1. Strong Digestive System

2. Healing Power

3. Effective For Body

4. Reduce Ulcers And Cancers

5. Energy Booster

6. Controls Sugar

7. Weight Loss

8. Treatment Of Cough

9. Good Immune System

10. Good For Skin