Dennis Rodman’s bizarre trip to North Korea: Is it also unethical?

February 26, 2013 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Asia, Culture, Economy, Expats (Whacky), Info, North Korea, Soft Power, Trade, Travel, U.S. Policy 

American basketball star Dennis Rodman and several members of the Harlem Globetrotters are in North Korea, where they will film for a forthcoming Vice/HBO program and promote some “basketball diplomacy,” including pick-up games in Pyongyang.

Whatever the trip’s impact, it reminds me of a debate that I’ve heard many times among people who work on issues relating to North Korea: What are the ethical pros and cons of visiting the world’s most oppressive country? Although there is no consensus view and a significant numer of North Korea-watchers say that visiting the country helps to open it up, I most frequently hear experts argue that tourism is unethical because it directly funds and offers free propaganda to the regime.

Read more:

Japanese holiday ‘celebrating’ disputed islands sparks backlash in South Korea

South Korean national police guard the Takeshima islands in pairs positioned at various lookout points. (Chico Harlan/The Washington Post)

Web users in both Japan and South Korea are up in arms over Japanese celebrations on Friday of Takeshima Day — a quasi-official holiday designed, appropriately, to mark an old territorial spat between Japan and South Korea.

Read more:

As Families Change, Korea’s Elderly Are Turning to Suicide

February 17, 2013 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Asia, Culture, Economy, History, Info, U.S. Policy 

SEOUL, South Korea — Even with the explosive growth of suicides in South Korea, the case of the 78-year-old widow was shocking enough to merit attention in the recent presidential election and hand-wringing in the news media.

Rather than quietly taking her life at home as many South Koreans do, the woman staged her death as a final act of public protest against a society she said had abandoned her. She drank pesticide overnight in front of her city hall after officials stopped her welfare checks, saying they were no longer obligated to support her now that her son-in-law had found work.

Read more:

High anxiety in S. Korea over surging won

February 4, 2013 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Economy, Info, Trade, U.S. Policy 

SEOUL—A surging won and waning yen are eroding the bottom lines of South Korea’s export powerhouses, which are feeling the pinch after years of gobbling up global market share from their Japanese rivals.

The South Korean currency has soared 27 percent against the yen since the beginning of 2012, as anticipation of monetary easing promised by Japan’s new leader Shinzo Abe weakened the yen across the board.

And the won gained 8.6 percent against the US dollar over the same period, touching a 17-month high of 1,054.49 on January 15. In contrast, the yen slumped this week to its weakest level against the greenback.

Read more:

Revealing N Korea’s gulag and nuclear sites

Google’s newly updated maps show unprecedented detail in aerial imagery of isolated labour camps and missile launch pad.
Read more:


Click on images




The ‘very, very strange’ world of North Korea, as blogged by daughter of Google boss

January 21, 2013 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Culture, Economy, Education, Film, Food, History, Info, North Korea, Science, Technology, Trade, Travel, U.S. Policy, Women & Men

Bank of Korea urges more relaxed immigration policy

January 14, 2013 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Asia, Criminals, Culture, Economy, History, Info, Trade, Travel I cannot disagree more. This only benefits the few at the top, while forcing the sheeple to pick-up the direct and indirect expenses of hiring foreign workers. Instead, subsidize Korean workers. Then you don’t have to immigrate, socialize (aka, welfare), police, and subsidize foreign labor. Most Korean workers spend and keep their money in Korea. Most foreign workers spend minimally while in Korea and send the rest home.

Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-soo yesterday stressed the need to ease immigration policy and bring more foreign workers to a country whose rapidly aging population poses a serious economic challenge.

Speaking to foreign journalists in Seoul, Kim said Asia’s fourth-largest economy needed to “embrace more migrant workers” in order to drive future growth.

“For instance, the US welcomes 1 million, even up to 2 million immigrants a year, which helps its demographics remain so young and maintain economic vitality,” Kim said.

After years of promoting family planning in a crowded country of 50 million, South Korea has a chronically low birth rate that will halve the size of its youth population by 2060 and decimate its workforce.

One obvious way out was the adoption of “more future-oriented and open immigration policies,” Kim said. “By doing so we will be able to utilize these workers … in the right places of the economy and retain social vitality at the same time.”

By 2050, South Koreans aged 60 years or older will account for 39 percent of the population, up from 17 percent last year, data from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs show.

South Korea’s fertility rate — the average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime — stood at just 1.01 in 2011, compared with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average of 1.71.

With South Koreans increasingly shunning low-paying manual jobs, Seoul in 2004 adopted legislation allowing companies to hire manual workers from 15 countries — mostly Southeast Asia. As of last year, more than 500,000 registered migrant workers — mostly from China and Southeast Asia — were working in the country.

Once an economic juggernaut that grew nearly 7 percent a year on average since the end of the Korean War in 1953, South Korea has in recent years entered a phase of more measured growth.

The economy is expected to grow 2.8 percent this year after expanding 2 percent last year, Kim said.

Delegation to North Korea Urges More Access to Internet and Cellphones

January 9, 2013 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Asia, Censorhip, Culture, Economy, Education, Espionage, Info, North Korea, Science, Soft Power, Technology, U.S. Policy 

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A private delegation including Google’s executive chairman, Eric E. Schmidt, is urging North Korea to allow more open Internet access and cellphones to benefit its citizens, during its visit to the country, which has some of the world’s tightest controls on information.

Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor leading the delegation, said on Wednesday in an interview in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, that his nine-member group had also called on North Korea to put a moratorium on missile launchings and nuclear tests that have prompted United Nations sanctions. He said the group had also asked for “fair and humane treatment” for Kenneth Bae, a naturalized American citizen born in South Korea who was detained by the North in November and charged with unspecified “hostile acts.”

The delegation’s visit has been criticized for appearing to hijack United States diplomacy and bolster North Korea’s profile after its latest, widely condemned rocket launching less than a month ago. The State Department criticized the trip as unhelpful at a time when the United States is rallying support for action by the United Nations Security Council.

Read more:

American Delegation Arrives in North Korea on Controversial Private Trip

January 7, 2013 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Asia, Culture, Economy, Education, Espionage, History, Info, North Korea, Science, Soft Power, Technology, Trade, U.S. Policy, Unification 

SEOUL, South Korea — Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, led a private delegation including Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, to North Korea on Monday, a controversial trip to a country that is among the most hostile to the Internet.

Mr. Richardson, who has visited North Korea several times, called his four-day trip a private humanitarian mission and said he would try to meet with Kenneth Bae, a 44-year-old South Korea-born American citizen who was arrested on charges of “hostile acts” against North Korea after entering the country as a tourist in early November.

“I heard from his son who lives in Washington State, who asked me to bring him back,” Mr. Richardson said in Beijing before boarding a plane bound for Pyongyang. “I doubt we can do it on this trip.”

In a one-sentence dispatch, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency confirmed the American group’s arrival in Pyongyang, calling it “a Google delegation.”

Read more:

Korea Seen Resisting Rate Cut as Won Threatens Exports

January 7, 2013 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Asia, Economy, Info, Trade If you’re working in Korea and sending a part of your paycheck abroad, expect that amount to stay the same or increase.

The Bank of Korea may refrain from cutting rates at its first meeting since President Park Geun Hye’s election even as Asia’s best-performing currency of the past year threatens exports and a weakening yen aids Japan.

All 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast borrowing costs will remain at 2.75 percent on Jan. 11. At the same time, seven of 16 economists in a separate survey see a 25 basis-point reduction by March.

The government led by incoming President Park already plans a fiscal boost in the first half of the year by allocating 72 percent of budget spending for 2013, or about $200 billion. In Japan, new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is driving down a yen that has fallen around 20 percent against the won in the past year, aiding Japanese exporters of cars and electronics. South Korea’s currency is up 9.3 percent against the dollar.

Read more:

« Previous PageNext Page »