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Ministry puts end to karaoke

SEOUL — North Korea will close its karaoke bars in an attempt to stem foreign influences on the isolated communist country, a South Korean civic group revealed this week.

The North’s Ministry of People’s Security said in a directive last week that silencing the karaoke outlets was a “mopping-up operation to prevent the ideological and cultural permeation of anti-socialism,” according to the Seoul-based Good Friends aid agency.

Violators were warned they would face punishment, including deportation to other North Korean regions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports