Tech-savvy South Korea has developed a device that will repel sharks and prevent them from attacking humans, which are targeted about 100 times a year globally.
The Korean government said Wednesday that its Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries’ new shark-repelling device uses solar panels on top of floating buoys to send irritating signals to sharks. The device, which will likely be commercialized by 2015, was developed in collaboration with Kunsan National University.
“The country sees a considerable number of casualties from attacks by great white sharks each year,” the ministry said in a statement. “We hope the shark-repelling device will help allow our people to safely enjoy marine activities.” Continue Reading »
Photo via Korea JoongAng Daily.
Police in Gwangju, South Korea spotted an elderly man sleeping on the street in a below freezing temperatures last January, according to the Hankook Times. When an officer drove the 63-year-old Korean Chinese man, only identified by his last name Oh, to a local homeless shelter, the social worker told them that the shelter cannot take Oh because he was a foreigner.
“We have enough trouble supporting the Koreans,” a Ministry of Health and Welfare official told the JoongAng Daily. “It is hard to pay attention to the foreigners.”
Although Korea today is more racially-diverse than ever, its homeless foreigners cannot go to government-run shelters, which are for Korean citizens only. So instead of finding Oh a reliable shelter, a borough officer in Gwangju tried deporting Oh back to China, but even that wasn’t possible, because he was on a valid visa and didn’t violate the Immigration Control Act. Continue Reading »
North Korean leader’s ousted uncle alive and safe: South Korean minister
The uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is alive and appears to be safe, South Korea’s unification minister said on Wednesday, a day after the South’s National Intelligence Service said he had been removed from two powerful positions.
Jang Song Thaek, considered the second-most powerful man in the impoverished, reclusive North, was last seen in public in early November at a basketball match between North Korean and Japanese teams in Pyongyang.
“I understand that Jang Song Thaek is not in any physical danger,” Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told lawmakers gathered at an emergency sub-committee meeting in Seoul.
Signs of N.Korean Purge Spotted in September
The government is preparing to deal with the potential impact of the sacking of North Korea’s eminence grise Jang Song-taek for cross-border relations.
An intelligence official here said there are “no immediate signs of major changes in the North” and urged calm, but added that a “huge uncertainty” hangs over in the North Korean regime.
Intelligence officials had been monitoring Jang and his coterie since September. Not only had Jang’s public appearances with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un decreased significantly this year, but there were also rumors of a “bloody purge” targeting Jang’s circle.
NK leader following his father’s path in purging potential enemies: expert
North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, is apparently demonstrating swift ruthlessness in eliminating his potential political rivals with reports that his uncle Jang Song-thaek has been ousted from all of his key posts, a U.S. expert said Tuesday.
Alexandre Mansourov, who has long studied North Korean issues, said Kim seems to be following in his late father’s footsteps. His father, Kim Jong-il, purged his own uncle Kim Yong-ju, regarding him as a threat to his power bid in the mid-1970s, said Mansourov.
“If true, Jang’s removal from power will be a major development in North Korea’s post-Kim Jong-il history,” he told Yonhap News Agency.
South Korea in a daze over Chinese haze
Scientists in South Korea say the country must brace itself for a bank of smog rolling in across the sea from China, it’s reported.
The National Institute of Environmental Research says westerly winds are bearing a cloud laden with high levels of heavy metals such as arsenic and lead. They expect the whole country to be enveloped in what Choson Ilbo newspaper called the “new influx of toxic haze” that blanketed the western island of Baengnyeong at the weekend and went on to obscure the skyline of the capital Seoul.
Korea is the world’s top producer of unhappy school children
By many measures, Korea is doing incredibly well.
Unemployment is ridiculously low.
Exports are booming, driving the country’s record current account surplus.
And according to the just released-numbers from OECD, the Paris-based international think tank, South Korean students are some of the best performing in the world. Young South Koreans are especially far above average in math and reading, as measured by the percentage of students reaching the highest level of proficiency in those subjects according to the study of global student achievement known as the PISA.
But there is one measure of education where Korea is at the bottom of the list: happiness.
Can a Sunken Rock Unite Japan and Korea?
All the drama surrounding China’s declaration of a vast “air-defense identification zone” off its shores centers on the disputed islands known as the Senkaku by Japan, which administers them, and the Diaoyu by China, which challenges Tokyo’s claim. The new zone encompasses the airspace over the islands: Beijing wants any planes in the area to identify themselves beforehand or face unspecified, possibly military, action. Japan scoffs at this demand, as does the U.S., which has accused China of unilaterally trying to alter the status quo by threat of force.
The issue dominated U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Tokyo today — and will do the same when he travels to Beijing tomorrow. The Japanese have been pushing the U.S. — which has recommended that American airlines respect China’s rules even if the U.S. military will not — to take an even tougher stand against Beijing. If he really wants to undercut China, though, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should be focusing on another island entirely.
Lawyers for ex-State Dept. worker Stephen J. Kim urge Holder to drop leak charges
awyers for a former State Department employee accused of leaking sensitive defense secrets are urging Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to drop criminal charges, saying that the case might never have been pursued under current Justice Department guidelines on leak investigations.
Defense attorneys for former State Department arms expert Stephen J. Kim argue that the Department of Justice should abandon its case for multiple reasons — but largely because the new leak policy would have stopped investigators from obtaining some of the evidence they are now using to prosecute Kim.
Asian-Americans outspend other US households, Nielsen study shows
South China Morning Post
The spending habits of the mainland consumer have been well dissected, as have the buying preferences of their travellers. But what about their peers who go abroad and stay there?
Nielsen yesterday released the results of a study done on the consumption habits of Asian-Americans who come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Korean and Japanese.
It found that Asian-American households outspend US households in general by an average of 19 per cent. They are also the number one demographic among online shoppers.
Seventy-seven per cent of Asian-Americans had made an online purchase within the past year, as against 61 per cent of all Americans.
Twelve per cent of Asian Americans spent US$2,500 or more a year on internet shopping, almost double the amount for the general population in the United States.
U.S. Senators Say South Korea Should Not Hire China Firm
New York Times
Two leading senators have asked the Obama administration to warn South Korea against allowing Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications firm, to build large parts of a next-generation network for the capital city of Seoul, arguing that it could give the Chinese government a way to enter the networks of a major American ally.
The issue appears almost certain to come up when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrives in Seoul later this week, the last stop on his Asian trip.
At a moment when the United States is already protesting China’s establishment of an “air defense zone” over disputed territory in the East China Sea, the Huawei issue is bound to be another irritant in an increasingly contentious discussion with the government of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
Holiday Burdens from Korea
For those Koreans who live in the United States, it’s the price you have to pay for having friends or relatives in Korea. Sometimes you have no choice but to participate in the Black Friday frenzy.
Their requests keep on barging in every year, and it’s really no different than an uninvited guest popping up at your front door completely unannounced.
Only identified by last name and age here, 25-year old Los Angeles resident Kim says she had to buy five Coach brand purses last Friday at the Citadel Outlets. “It’s true that I saved as much as 60% since it was Black Friday, but they are not mine,” she explained. ”I was just doing favors for friends and relatives in Korea.”
Another Korean American, 36-year old Park, says she gets nervous when she gets text messages during this time of the year, especially on Kakao Talk, because of such requests. “They’ve either been here [before] to know, or heard about Black Friday sales through the media and they don’t hesitate to ask,” she says. “It’s not like I don’t have enough to do as it is, but it’s difficult to say ‘No.’”
Hotel Boom in South Korea Sparks Concern
Wall Street Journal (subscription req’d)
A record number of foreign tourists visiting South Korea in recent years has fueled in Seoul what property developers are calling the biggest hotel boom in the country’s history. But some industry participants say an overreliance on visitors from China and Japan leaves South Korea vulnerable to future overcapacity.
South Korea has seen its international profile as a tourist destination rise significantly in the past few years, helped by the splash Korean pop culture has made overseas.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Asia’s fourth-largest economy leapt past 11 million for the first time last year, according to the Korean Tourism Organization, marking the fourth consecutive year of double-digit percentage growth. By comparison, Japan, a neighbor almost four times the size of South Korea with similar climes, took in 8.36 million foreigners last year, according to Japan Tourism Marketing Co., a Tokyo-based tourism industry consultancy.
Amanda Seyfried puts on a stylish show in South Korea while Justin Long the supportive boyfriend waits in the wings
Daily Mail (U.K.)
She’s known as a screen siren, but Amanda Seyfried can also add ‘muse’ to her list of titles.
On Wednesday, Amanda Seyfried attended the Muse party in Seoul, an event that promoted cosmetic brand Clé de Peau Beaute.
As the official muse for the make-up brand, Seyfriend was the guest of honor at the shindig and held a press conference to welcome the media and fans.
From a young age, Sydney Chun, has been fascinated with the art of storytelling. However, it wasn’t until her college days at New York University that she found her medium: a camera. The graduating senior at NYU Kanbar Institute of Film and Television is now tackling on two very different projects as a filmmaker.
The first project is an underwater music video for up-and-coming artist Kiah Victoria’s new song “Breathing is Too Easy.”
The second is a feature-length documentary on the lives of a growing number of “sugar babies” on her own college campus. A sugar baby is “a young female or male who is financially pampered/cared for by a sugar daddy or sugar mama in exchange for companionship (i.e. sexual favors).”
In an interview with iamKoreAm.com, the 23-year-old filmmaker shared her artistic vision for these projects, as well as her future aspirations.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into filmmaking? Continue Reading »
A 31-year-old legislative official was sentenced to eight months in jail on Nov. 22 for secretly filming a teenage girl urinating inside a restroom with his smartphone, reports Newsis.
The mid-ranking public official, only identified by his last name Oh, was charged with the violation of the Anti-Sexual Violence Special Act and received a two-year suspended sentence and 40 hours of sexual crime prevention education.
Police arrested Oh on the evening of May 30, after he was caught filming a 19-year-old urinating in a bathroom stall of a public restroom inside a building in the Yeongdeungpo District of Seoul. Oh has been working in the legislative survey department of the National Assembly.
A graduate of Korean National Police University, Oh was once touted as an accomplished student after passing all three of Korea’s civil service exams in the legislative, judiciary and executive branches, which require highly rigorous preparation. Continue Reading »