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Driven to distraction: Pyongyang's 'traffic ladies'Snapping their heads from side to side, marching into the roads in close-fitting blue uniforms and black heels, the "traffic ladies" who marshal vehicles at the intersections of Pyongyang are an emblematic image of the North Korean capital. The 300-odd ladies are unique to Pyongyang, which North Korean authorities are always keen to present in the best possible light despite their nuclear-armed country's impoverished status, and ensure a steady supply of photogenic young women who are the favorite subject of visiting tourists and journalists.The traffic ladies were originally introduced in the 1980s, when vehicles were a rarity on the streets of Pyongyang and remained so for decades, giving rise to the surreal sight of them directing – with precision and energy – non-existent cars on wide but deserted boulevards.The traffic ladies are "second to none" as a photo subject for tourists visiting Pyongyang, said Simon Cockerell, general manager of specialist travel agency Koryo Tours, who has been leading trips to North Korea for more than 15 years.
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