Friday, December 31, 2010

Korea May Now Only Have Two Seasons Say Scientists

Korean scientists have announced that this year Korea, world famous for having four seasons, actually only had two, ‘Summer’ and ‘Winter’.

59-year-old Professor Kim, from the National Institute of Environmental Research, said that the period between what scientists technically term ‘very hot’ conditions, and ‘very cold’, was so short this year that they didn’t qualify for season status. With no Spring or Fall, the official State records must record the occurrence of only two seasons in 2010.

While many countries throughout the world have different seasons, Korea is known to be unique in experiencing all four during the course of a year, a fact which has been taught in school textbooks since the 1950s. Indeed, Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, who visited Seoul in 1722 to learn traditional forms of Korean music which he later renamed ‘Baroque’ for his domestic audience, was so moved by the country’s four distinct seasons that he named a concerto in honor of it.

The scientists led by Professor Kim, writing in The Korea Climate Change Assessment Report 2010, said that while global temperatures have risen by 0.6 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years, the rise in Korea has been 1.5 degrees, not all of which can be explained by fallout from North Korea’s nuclear testing. It is believed that changing temperatures have resulted in shifting El Nino climatic patterns, causing Korea to have colder winters and hotter summers, with little in-between.

The Report claims the news isn’t all bad. “By 2040 the streets of Seoul could be lined with tangerine trees.” reads a bold headline, although hidden in the notes at the back is the acceptance that it will no longer be possible to grow napa cabbages in Korea, a main ingredient of kimchi.

It is feared that the revelation that Korea no longer has four seasons is likely to cause shock and bewilderment among ordinary Koreans. Fearing social unrest, the Government has already stressed how the rise in temperatures and sea levels can be used as an opportunity for job creation and the development of new business opportunities by cultivating subtropical plants and offering eco-friendly tourism. Plans are already in place to develop Daegu as a port city with building work expected to commence later next year, and diving trips to coral reefs in the submerged city of Busan are expected to be a big hit with international visitors.

But the Ministry of Public Manipulation and Insecurity has been instructed to further investigate the disappearance of Korea’s two missing seasons. Many in the Government are skeptical of the climate change theory, and some have suggested the missing seasons may have been stolen by Japan. “If this is the case” a Government spokesman told us “we shall immediately demand their return.”

Related Links
Climate change quicker than expected on Korean Peninsula
Cold Snap Brings Record Low Spring Temperatures
Largest number of tropical nights in 10 years
Economy is burdened by changes in climate
Japan’s return of treasures incomplete: scholars

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Friday, December 24, 2010

"Jesus Was Korean" Says Seoul Church

Italian Propaganda Poster
A Seoul church has claimed that Jesus Christ, a West Bank hipster who lived 2,000 years ago and whose egalitarian anti-establishment teachings still command a global following among establishment figures and people with money, may have been Korean, rather than white, as is commonly believed.

Religious scholars working for the church have pointed to Jesus’s ‘darker complexion’, and ‘evenings spent drinking with male friends after work’ as potential clues to his Korean origins. He was also known to have mixed with prostitutes and brought an apparently dead man back to life - a feat often accomplished by Koreans in the streets of Seoul after a heavy night’s drinking.

Jesus met with an unfortunate end after the Catholic Church of the era, which at that time only numbered fourteen official members, allowed him to be taken into custody by the occupying military regime, which tried and executed him for being a liberal. Ironically, had the political roles been reversed, it appears likely from numerous later examples that the Catholic Church would have hidden and protected Jesus, rather than giving him up. Despite his execution, Jesus was said to have returned from the dead to claim eternal life, although the Church has consistently distanced itself from this accusation of zombieism despite the symbolic eating of human flesh - and the vampire-like drinking of blood - which is now incorporated into the 'Holy Communion' part of Catholic Mass.

The claims that Jesus is still alive may be boosted by the large number of people in Korea who claim to have “found Jesus” while living in the country. 57-year-old Kim, a law professor from Seoul International University says that while direct evidence may still be lacking “the large number of eyewitness reports seem to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus has at least been living in Korea for some time.”

Since many people believe it would be unlikely for Jesus to be living in Korea unless he had family in the country, this is also offered as proof of his Korean heritage. Professor Kim added “Korea’s tough visa restrictions for people from the Middle East make it likely that Jesus must be in Korea on a family visa, because otherwise it isn’t clear what visa he would be eligible for.” Two years ago rumors swept Naver forums that Jesus was in fact teaching English in a backstreet Daegu hagwon, but after crowds flocked to the location it transpired to be a foreigner, known locally as Brian, who hadn’t shaved for a month.

Unfortunately very few photographs remain from Biblical Times, as the newspaper has long since ceased publication, but intriguingly some images are still held by its descendant religious publication, The Korea Times, which finally revealed two of them publicly in 2008. One image shows the birth of Jesus, in which his mother Mary is clearly wearing a hanbok, while the second image shows Jesus – who by this time is clearly Korean in appearance - being baptized. On the back of the first image the faded words 'Jesus of Namyangju' is written in Hangeul, using a type of Chinese ink unique to Korea at the time. The release of the images was controversial because it was feared Christianity in Korea would plummet in popularity if it were seen as being domestically originated rather than foreign and aspirational. Since then, more Biblical-era photographs have been released, all clearly showing Jesus to be living in Korea, probably in the vicinity of what is now the Gangnam district of the capital. "Jesus talked a lot about the eternal Seoul" said one of the Korean Biblical scholars.

Staff at The Catholic Corporation S.r.l., a limited liability company located in Rome which trades under the name The Catholic Church and is simply known as The Church when it is trying to frighten people, say the images were clearly Photoshopped in medieval times and should be ignored. The Corporation has consistently depicted Jesus as Italian for several hundred years as it is believed to be reluctant to move to Seoul, partly because of the weather but mostly because of the food. Followers of the 13th Apostle, Rufus, who was gradually edited out of early editions of the Bible due to his African ethnicity, have fought a long-running battle with The Church claiming that Jesus was also black, but researchers from the newly incorporated First Church of Christ the Corean in Seoul say that Rufus may have been generalizing because Jesus’s Korean skin was darker than that of an Italian.

Related Links
Paintings Depict Jesus Christ in Korea
Birth of Jesus in Korea
Jesus is KOREAN---- The Real Story of Jesus (Video)
The Gospel According to Rufus

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

South Korea Rejects Japan’s Offer to Help Invade North

Wildly inaccurate but great built-in TV system
While many people in South Korea worry about an invasion by the Chinese-backed North, it is generally believed that American air power will ensure that the invading army is quickly repelled with only moderate devastation to Seoul.

However, there is growing concern in political circles that the United States, weakened by two wars designed to distract voter attention away from economic and social problems at home, is finally realizing that trying to relive its glory days of empire is actually accelerating the process of a collapse into obscurity, a scenario known informally in Washington as “the British eventuality”. This has led to fears that the American military presence in Korea will gradually be scaled back, clearing the way for China's planned invasion of the peninsula, using North Korea as its proxy.

Some defense experts have urged the Korean government to start arming itself, but currently – according to World Bank figures - only 2.9% of national GDP was designated towards military expenditure last year, compared to 4.6% in the United States. Officially, this still compares well to 2% for China and 1% for Japan, but according to confidential figures leaked in diplomatic cables recently, once the headline ‘pre-waste’ South Korean expenditure figure is adjusted, actual expenditure is only 0.2% of GDP. The remaining 2.7% is classed by the World Bank as ‘a masked state subsidy’, because rather than buying in high-quality American weapons, Korean chaebols develop the nation’s armaments for domestic use, and most of this defense expenditure is actually used to subsidize LCD prices in order to undercut Japan in the TV market.

Seongsan, which developed the 'Canine Blunder' howitzer that recently devastated large areas of water near the North Korean coast in retaliation for the attack on Yeonpyeong Island, has denied that its domestically developed weapons are inferior to foreign equivalents. “They have the best high-definition tactical screens in the world” a spokesman told us. However, while many government officials in Seoul were said to be privately appalled by the weapon’s lack of accuracy, the favored solution is to pay the cheabols more money to develop a new range of weapons which will counter the Northern threat. Unfortunately however these will not be ready until 2015 at the earliest, three years after the North’s planned invasion date, although it will mean cheaper TV prices in the meantime.

The Japanese government, shocked by Seoul’s defeatist attitude and an impending occupation of South Korea which will place Chinese troops within visual range of the Japanese coast for the first time in hundreds of years, has decided that more radical action is required. Despite being hampered by his nation’s pacifist constitution, this month’s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, has devised a cunning plan to assist in the defense of South Korea by using any ‘destabilizing event’ on the peninsula as a pretext to mount a rescue mission for Japanese nationals that were abducted from Japan and taken to North Korea in the 1970s and 80s.

Despite being designated as a search and rescue mission, the Kan Plan calls for 60% of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to be mobilized for ‘operations in North Korea’ alongside South Korean troops. There is still some debate in Tokyo as to whether this breaches the Japanese Constitution, but Kan is also proposing a change in order to allow for it.

Politicians in Seoul were said to be appalled when Kan’s representatives tried to to talk about the idea with them, and they have refused to discuss it further. “I don't know in what context Prime Minister Kan's remarks were made," an official at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said, adding that “they may not have come after thorough consideration” - a phrase which is widely regarded as diplomatic speak for “he’s talking out of his ass”. The Korean Government is extremely sensitive to the idea of having Japanese troops on its territory, given Japan’s previous occupation of the peninsula and government-backed school textbooks which teach children that Japanese people are evil.

One government official seemed to capture the mood in Seoul political circles when he told us “I’d rather be killed by a (North) Korean, than saved by a Japanese.”

Related Links
Kan tells families he will compile plan to rescue abductees in N Korea
Japan's era of postwar pacifism may be coming to an end
Most shells failed to hit their target in the North
Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder
Korean Nationalism Blamed on the Japanese

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Runaway Mayor Captured Nine Days After Escape

A mayor who escaped from his office in the outskirts of Seoul was captured Wednesday having eluded police officers and political staffers for nine days.

A search team climbed Mt. Cheonggye at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning to check traps. At around 8.30 a.m., the team found the 62-year-old male caught inside one of the traps. The mayor appears to be healthy, officials said.

Police had installed seven traps containing money, wine and fish – the favorite food of the missing mayor – in the areas surrounding all the peaks of the mountain range.

“The mayor appears to be in good shape. We think he was lured into a trap by the money, and was then locked inside the moment he stepped in. He was immediately given soju to calm him down.” a police official said. “However, officers faced difficulty in anesthetizing the major as the soju was initially frozen, due to low temperatures.” he added.

Over the past nine days, the mayor was spotted several times by police helicopters at the top of the mountain, but police officers and political staff failed to catch him. On Monday morning, a food cart selling instant noodles, snacks and beverages to mountain climbers at the top of the mountain was found to have been damaged, apparently by the runaway mayor.

The mayor is wanted for questioning by police in connection with a large amount of money which is believed to have been embezzled from local municipal bank accounts. The mayor denied he had stolen any more than the customary 1% of the city’s gross revenue which is allowed by legal precedent. However, a further 22% of city funds are unaccounted for, an amount so large it can not be explained away by the normal embezzling activities of other staff and elected officials. As police closed in on the mayor’s office Wednesday, he is believed to have escaped through a window which had been left open by a member of staff, sparking the massive hunt.

Related Links
Runaway bear captured nine days after escape

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Woman Admits New Foreign Husband May Be “Really Dumb”

If you passed her on the street, there would appear to be nothing unusual about urbane 24-year-old Seoul resident Kim, but she hides a dark secret. “I married a foreigner last year,” says Kim, eyes slightly lowered towards the ground, “he seemed so exotic and different, so much more interesting than Korean men”. Now Kim is beginning to realize that her husband, who she’s asked us not to name even though he never reads Korean newspapers because he can't, might not be as clever as his college degree from a minor State university in America implies. “I expected him to learn Korean, help take care of my parents, and work hard for our family, but he doesn’t study, he argues about family responsibilities, and if he’s offered work for less than 25,000 won per hour he won’t take it, even though that would be good pay for a Korean. All he ever says is ‘I’m not Korean’... it’s his answer for everything”.

The first cracks in the relationship appeared when Kim’s husband met her parents. He learned enough to formally introduce himself but after they’d approved the marriage things really went downhill. “I thought he understood he was marrying into a Korean family, but sometimes he doesn’t even seem to realize that he’s living in Korea.” She went on to explain how he still navigates the Seoul subway system using the English signs and spends his evenings watching American TV shows downloaded from the Internet. “All his friends are foreigners.” she adds, sadly.

Kim is now facing up to the possibility that, despite the college degree, her husband is ‘really dumb’. “He often talks about returning to ‘The States’ and how much better life is there because of the open spaces and the guns. I’m beginning to think he isn’t learning Korean because he thinks he doesn’t have to.” Kim is also realizing that while earning a university degree in Korea involves an entire childhood of studying long hours just to gain entry, not to mention the post-entry studies, initiation ceremonies and the trading of sexual favors with professors to increase grades, a college degree in the United States, with its no-child-left-behind refusal to acknowledge failure, is often awarded mostly for turning up at classes, and sometimes not even that. “Now I know that one-in-five Americans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, I worry that there’s a one-in-five chance that I married someone who - in Korea - might be classed as mentally retarded and properly hidden away from society afterwards.” she said. “In America, it seems that they celebrate intellectual sub-normalcy, and let them out into society with no way of warning people.”

Kim says that next time she plans to marry a Canadian.

Related Links
Foreigner Admits New Wife May Be “Really Dumb”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chaebols Hatch Plan to Blame Future Fires on Rats

Blame the rats
A fire which extensively damaged twin 38-story apartment blocks in the newly-discovered city of Busan in October has left South Korea’s powerful chaebols facing difficult questions over the construction quality of their buildings.

Following the fire, the National Emergency Management Agency organized inspections of 4,955 buildings across the country, discovering that over 20 percent had non-functioning sprinklers or were inadequately protected against fire. Numerous safety violations were cited in the resulting report.

Over the last two years, fires in apartment buildings have killed 86 people and injured 555, but most importantly the resulting financial losses to businesses were 20.8 billion won. The Minister of Construction admitted to us that "people die all the time, but clearly financial losses to the country’s businesses need to be avoided." The losses would be much higher if people were not discouraged from having property insurance, but fortunately Korea’s insurance industry is fully aware of the potential risks of insuring the nation’s badly-built homes.

No figures are available for the number of people killed by accidents resulting from poor construction quality. However, statistics recently discovered at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory within the Ministry of Health and Welfare show that last year under the category of fatal household accidents, 9,036 people died from electrocution within their apartments, 484 from fitted oven-related explosions, 204 from ‘gravitational failures’ (which further investigation revealed comprised of ‘internal structural collapses’ and 32 incidents designated as ‘floor failures’), 83 suicides were attributed to gas poisoning, 62 suicides were logged after the victim ‘unscrewed’ their balcony rail or full-length window fitting before jumping to their deaths, 26 single people died after becoming trapped in their bathrooms, 20 people disappeared leaving their garbage disposal units on, and 12 people were killed by ‘exploding door handles’ though there was no further explanation for this. The little-read left-wing newspaper The Hankyoreh has even alleged that the high number of deaths this year attributed to ‘weather-related’ accidents seem to mainly have occurred beneath tall buildings, fueling suspicions that the ‘concrete-rain’ phenomena of recent years may not originate from China as the Korean Meteorological Association has claimed.

Some say that with growing numbers of people sharing stories online, it is becoming much more difficult for Korea’s chaebols to claim that the nation’s apartment blocks are the safest and most harmonious in the entire world, but a spokesman for the Korea Chaebol Construction Association (KCCA) has reacted angrily to recent attacks on it by citizen groups. "Our employees work 16-hour days, often long into the night in stifling heat and biting cold, on apartments they could never afford themselves, just to make sure that people have somewhere to live quickly. Before they complain, people should think about how many of our workers have died to put them in apartments that enhance their prestige." Indeed, Korea has the highest number of construction deaths attributed to suicides, alcohol-related accidents and 'Newtonian incidents' in the OECD, although the KCCA dismiss this as reflective of the large number of construction projects going on due to Korea's superiority over other nations.

The KCCA is also angry that the National Emergency Management Agency’s investigation has broken long-standing financial agreements between the chaebols and local building inspectors to pass any building leaning at less than a ten-degree angle as safe. The National Building Inspectors Union has threatened to strike if they can no longer supplement their incomes with ‘appreciation payments’ from the chaebols. Citizen groups refuse to be silenced however, claiming that that long working hours and a culture of corruption are leading to more deaths than are acceptable.

In an attempt to reduce the unfounded criticisms against them, the construction chaebols say they have investigated the large number of fires occurring in their buildings and found that almost all of them are caused by rats. A chaebol spokesman told us "It is well known that rats often gnaw on wood or cables. Rodents’ teeth grow continuously and they nibble on surfaces to maintain the length of them. As they gnaw electrical cables, they can cut off electricity or induce sparks, resulting in a fire." The construction chaebols have asked Korea’s media chaebols to ensure that people are made properly aware of the facts. "In future, when there is a fire, rather than blaming Korea’s construction companies just because they built their apartments, people should understand that its probably rats which are to blame" added the spokesman.

A university lecturer was arrested recently for spray-painting the image of a large rat representing the President on several G-20 posters.

Related Links
413 tall buildings fail fire check
Surging number of rats invading homes in Seoul
Arrest warrant for drawing rat on G20 promotion poster

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Foreigner Admits New Wife May Be “Really Dumb”

“I came here five years ago as an English teacher”, says Craig, 28, “but I got worried about the constant visa renewals and started thinking about marrying one of my girlfriends.” It seemed like a perfect solution, one which would enable the young American, who entered Korea on an E-2 visa, to keep teaching private lessons, but this time on a legal basis as a F-2 holding foreign spouse. But then the Korean dream began to sour. “I met a lot of girls out at clubs and they were always a lot of fun, so when I met Kim (24) and things became a little more serious, I thought maybe she’s the one. But after we married I began to think she might not be that bright.”

Craig admits he was initially thrown off by Kim’s English ability, which was “a little poor but still functional, in a cute sort of way”. He believed that his future wife, having mastered the basics of a foreign language, which had eluded him personally after four years, must have “a reasonable amount of intelligence.” But after the wedding, as his wife’s English slowly improved to average and Craig began attending Korean lessons, he began to realize that his wife’s vocabulary consisted mainly of soap opera and shopping references. “She wore very short skirts while dancing” he laments, “but in retrospect my assumption that her mind was as attractive as her body was wrong.” Kim, who’s expecting their first child next month, plans to spend her life as a homemaker, while Craig worries that the the most philosophical conversation he’s ever likely to share with his spouse in future is over whether green or red handbags go better with her eyes.

These days, Craig regrets the marriage, but admits that it makes job-hunting easier and, he says “she’s still kind of cute, so for the next few years, at least I’ll be able to show her off to my other foreigner friends who don’t speak Korean, because they won’t realize how really dumb she is either.”

Related Links
Woman Admits New Foreign Husband May Be “Really Dumb”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Marxist Dalai Lama Poses Problem For South Korean Government

Praying for a revolution?
The admission by the Dalai Lama earlier this year that he is a Marxist is continuing to vex the South Korean Government. As a highly prominent Buddhist, the spiritual leader commands a lot of respect from South Korea’s large Buddhist population, but since millions of Koreans have died at the hands of followers of Marxism, and South Korea is still threatened by countries such as North Korea and China which still claim to adhere to Marxist-derived philosophies, the Government are not keen to encourage promotion of the Marxist Lama’s views, which include quotes such as “Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation”, even if many academics have said that if it does, it must be a form of ‘tough love’.

The problem is made more immediate because of the widespread availability of the Dalai Lama’s books in South Korea. Books on Marxist ideology were originally banned decades ago by the military government in Seoul, and while South Korea has been notionally democratic since 1987, they continue to be banned under new freedom of speech laws. A spokesman for The Ministry of Public Manipulation and Insecurity told us that “this is a man that talks peace but admits he believes in an ideology which supports the violent overthrow of the State – well you can’t have it both ways.” The Ministry wants to find a way of banning the Marxist Lama’s books – which are ostensibly about religion but are widely viewed as ‘Trojan Horse Marxism’ - without angering Korean Buddhists. The Dalai Lama – which is a revolutionary alias - his real name is said to be Tenzin Gyatso or even Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso – has not commented on the potential Korean book ban.

As a young man, Tenzin Gyatso, if that is his real name, studied Marxist theory in Beijing where he expressed a wish to become a Communist Party member. However, his position as a spiritual leader in Tibet – a territory which China did not directly control - made this extremely difficult. The Government in Beijing applied Marxist theory to the problem of young Tenzin’s prospective Communist Party membership, fostering a violent revolution which resulted in the annexation of Tibet, clearing the way for his Party application. However, rather than welcome the Marxist encroachment he was so supportive of, Tenzin reacted badly, as young people are given to do, and eventually led a band of committed non-reactionary cadres out of Tibet and into exile in India, where he has been free to espouse his ‘true Marxist’ views.

While the internal debate continues about the banning of the Dalai Lama’s books, the Korean Government may be prepared to play a waiting game. Tenzin is not a young man, and Buddhist philosophy teaches that when he dies he will be reincarnated. The Ministry of Public Manipulation and Insecurity is hoping that when this happens, Tenzin will be reincarnated as a South Korean. “If that happens” the spokesman told us “we will be able to arrest him.”

Related Links
'I'm a Marxist' says Dalai Lama, but agrees capitalism has helped China
Wikipedia: 'Tenzin Gyatso'
Wikipedia: Tough Love

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Foreign Teachers Move to Wrong Korea, Set up Socialist Group Anyway

Tiffany at a recent ILPS meeting
Growing up in her parents' 3-bedroom house in Upper New York State, Tiffany – 24-years old and an only child – said she became acutely aware of society’s unfairness – most of her friends’ parents had 4-bedroom houses. “I asked myself, isn’t there a better way?”

After graduating in Art History from college, Tiffany decided to move to a less fortunate country where she could teach ethnic people to speak English. She thought Korea would be an excellent choice, since she’d seen the way the small nation was continually persecuted by the Western hegemonic military-industrial complex, when clearly it was trying to do the best for its people by building a workers’ utopia - despite continual acts of sabotage perpetrated by the ideologically corrupt Western capitalist system.

“I almost didn’t come because the salary was very low, and I was concerned that my surplus value was being exploited” explains Tiffany, but she admitted that she wasn’t sure what the average Korean salary was. “Money and the accumulation of material goods is decadent” she adds, pausing to take a call from a comrade on her cellphone.

These days Tiffany is a very busy woman. Having initially joined the Association in Korea for English Teachers or AKET as it’s known, she quickly clashed with its leadership over its failure to adopt her proposed campaign of hagwon occupations and violent revolution. She still tried to implement the campaign, but was cautioned by the police for being drunk in a public place, a charge she denies. Gradually though, she met a small number of other teachers who rejected the ‘bourgeoisie' politics of mediation and negotiation, and helped co-found the Association in Corea for English Teachers (ACET). But that didn’t work out. A bar fight in Seoul between the senior leaderships of AKET and ACET, which led to several deportations, decimated the leadership of both organisations, and by this time Tiffany had come to see the remaining members of ACET as reactionary paper-tigers anyway.

Her new group, the Collectivized Response for English Teachers In Need (CRETIN), which she runs as elected General Secretary For Life on the basis of Democratic Centralism, in solidarity with a trusted comrade, now tries to re-invigorate the Revolution by issuing demands to the Government over the suspected purges of comrades in other unions who have become an embarrassment to the Party. As an active member of the World Socialist Movement she is shocked at how weak the Revolution has become “I even saw American soldiers here once” she says. Her group has since issued demands that the American military withdraw immediately from the country, and is awaiting a response.

CRETIN has moved quickly to ally itself with the anti-imperialist group TEA-KOR. TEA-KOR - Teacher's of English Abroad in Korea - is a member organization of the ILPS, the International League of Peoples' Struggles, which is allied with the Justice League of America and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In addition to furthering The Revolution, TEA-KOR - which shares the anger of, but is not yet officially part of the Tea Party Movement - is designed to "reduce abuse" and enable foreigners "to get to know other teachers in Korea" - goals which many say are contradictory.

Former AKET colleagues have suggested that Tiffany may have traveled to the wrong Korea based on an incomplete reading of the news and lack of understanding of the history of the country’s division, but she rejects this: “I majored in Art History and heard nothing about it”. This appears to support the results of a recent survey conducted by Korea’s Presidential Council on National Branding. At a recent meeting, the head of the council, Kim Jong-un, said “we found many foreigners were still confused in distinguishing the two Koreas”.

In addition to furthering The Revolution, a statement of goals on the CRETIN website includes 'the social integration of foreigners into Korea', describing the organization as inclusive regardless of ethnicity. The site, which is only available in English, allows interested English-speakers to sign up for membership, although the Korean Immigration Service reminds foreigners of the importance of registering any political affiliations with them, particularly for Socialist or Marxist groups.

Related Links
The International League of Peoples' Struggles
More airing of grievances by those who want to lead English teachers
South says to the world: We aren’t like the North
Too much coffee can induce aggression and paranoia

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Aid Sent to North Korea as Soldiers Too Hungry to Invade

The Korea National Red Cross in Seoul has responded to urgent pleas from the North Korean government, who are afraid their soldiers are becoming too hungry to invade the South, by sending 5,000 tons of rice and three million instant cup noodles.

Officially the donation is intended to help North Korea feed flood victims, but it is commonly understood that all humanitarian aid sent to the North goes through the military as a matter of course. Occasionally, aid does reach the intended victims, but only if they purchase it from the military, government officials, or illegal market stall owners who have purchased from the military or government in bulk. The money is used to build weapons and conduct research into WMDs which it is hoped will eventually kill everyone in the south.

In addition to food, 10,000 tons of cement is being shipped by the South Korean government to the North, which authorities in Pyongyang say will help build bunkers to protect government officials from retaliatory strikes when they invade the South.

The North officially portrays itself as politically communist for historical reasons, but is in fact an extreme right-wing military regime with no interest in sharing the benefits of the means of production with its people. In recent years it has been feeling increasingly threatened by continued liberal acts of donation from the South, leading the North's leadership to suspect that many people across the border in their southern neighbor may secretly be communists who represent a threat to the North's right-wing regime. Once South Korea is invaded, Pyongyang's military leaders plan to imprison and execute these 'liberal elements', and it is hopeful that the food aid may help them in ultimately accomplishing this goal.

The North Korean Government say the instant cup noodles will be particularly useful to their front line soldiers, since each cup represents a complete meal. The problem with rice is that there is no longer anything in the north to eat with it, aside from political prisoners, who generally aren't kept in border areas. It's unusual for instant cup noodles to be available in numbers large enough to send to the North, but the Korea National Red Cross said an anonymous corporation donated a large amount of stock recently.

Related Links
Larvae found in Nongshim noodles
Rice and noodles shipped out to North Korea
S. Korea delays rice aid to N. Korea due to bad weather

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Friday, December 3, 2010

New Tourism Slogan Is “Korea, Better Than You”

Following on from “Korea, Be Inspired”, “Dynamic Korea”, “Korea, Sparkling”, “Well-Being Dreamhub Korea”, “Korea, birthplace of Kim Yu-na”, and “Korea, Fighting!”, the Ministry of Tourism has announced its new slogan for ‘Visit Korea Year 2011-2013’. “Korea, Better Than You” was selected yesterday from short-list submitted and voted upon by members of the public.

“People were asked to consider the most essential aspect of Korean culture which could quickly be conveyed to a foreign audience.” said Minister of Culture, 49-year-old Kim. “I think making the slogan a public competition has delivered a wonderful result which is really going to intrigue people in other countries and make them want visit Korea so they can properly educate themselves about this country.”

Kim admitted that it was unfortunate that foreigners living in Korea had not been able to participate in the process due to problems with the online recognition of Alien Registration Numbers, and immigration rules which prevent many foreigners from undertaking non-approved work in Korea, which thinking of a slogan could be classed as. But he hoped that these problems could be resolved in time for Visit Korea Year 2013-2015. “Korea is increasingly a multicultural country and the Ministry of Culture and the Korean Immigration Service certainly want to know the views of foreigners living here when it is convenient.” he said.

“Korea, Better Than You” will begin appearing on all buses in Seoul, and in other prominent public places where foreigners are likely to see them, from 2011. The Ministry of Tourism may also for the first time consider running the Visit Korea Year adverts outside Korea.

Related Links
Visit Korea Year 2010-2012

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mentally Ill People to be Eligible to Drive

The Cabinet has approved a bill that would allow people with mental conditions to obtain a driver’s license, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Welfare has said. The bill is aimed at giving mental patients more opportunities for rehabilitation, and will allow those suffering from temporary mental conditions to drive home from hospital after receiving treatments. Surprise has been expressed by some citizens on hearing the news – the extremely poor quality of driving in Korea and the regular use of the nation’s sidewalks by car drivers and motorcyclists had led many to believe that mentally ill people were already eligible to drive in South Korea.

The bill will also force hospitals to discharge patients who decide not to receive medical treatment, even if medical professionals judge them to be a danger to society. Members of the Cabinet have been worried that as the law currently stands, they may be at risk of being held without trial, although the new law will benefit other people as well as protecting them. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, the Cabinet continue to deny they are a danger to society.

While Koreans who are judged to be at risk of hurting themselves or others will be free to refuse medical treatment and must be released into society, the bill takes the opposite approach to foreigners living in Korea; the new law allows for the forced hospitalization of foreign residents who are judged to be dangerous.

The Ministry of Justice, which overseas immigration-related matters as part of its criminal remit, shares a belief - along with most of the Korean media - that many foreigners are potentially dangerous, and it welcomes the introduction of a law that will enable these drug-taking sexually depraved individuals to be quietly removed en masse from society depending on the political or media climate. By introducing the anti-foreigner legislation under the guise of driving license bill, Korean politicians are hoping that the foreign community living in Korea will be unaware of the government’s new ability to detain them without trial.

The bill has been welcomed on Internet forums frequented by women who are married to foreigners. 24-year-old Seoul resident Kim wrote "Now I can trick my non-Korean speaking husband into attending the hospital on some pretext, explain some of his habits to the doctors, and get rid of him."

Related Links
People with minor mental illnesses to be eligible to drive
Number of Mental Health Patients on the Rise
Wikipedia: Sarah Louise Palin
Vietnamese woman killed by husband after 8 days in Korea

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Police Want to Question Sarah Palin Over North Korea Comments

'Red Sarah'
Famous American narcissist and future President-Elect Sarah Palin shocked South Koreans this week by pledging her support for North Korea after its attack on Yeonpyeong Island, stoking long-held fears among South Koreans that the maverick politician, whose runaway success has been based on having no firm beliefs of her own, will lead America into abandoning its former allies and maybe even taking the other side.

The Supreme Prosecutors' Office in Seoul, which has started a probe into false rumors and statements sympathetic to North Korea in the wake of the Yeonpyeong Island bombing, says it has directed the National Police Agency to work with Interpol in order seek to question Ms. Palin over her statements. Under freedom of speech laws, North Korean web sites and books about Marxism are banned in South Korea, leaving many South Korean citizens unaware of just how ideologically bankrupt the North has become.

Some in America have dismissed the 'North Korean allies' comment as a mistake on Palin’s part, but Palin has tried to avoid discussing the matter further, fueling speculation that she prematurely revealed an important aspect of her Presidential campaign, which is expected pursue an isolationist foreign policy. Members of the Democratic Party’s ‘Birther’ movement, which maintains Sarah Louise Palin - whose middle name is French - endangered her most recent baby’s health by traveling home to Alaska from Texas despite being in labor, have seized on the comment as providing proof of what they have long suspected – that Palin is a socialist.

But the slip – if it was a slip – seems to be indicative of a growing problem in America, which is an inability to distinguish between the two Koreas. Many South Koreans studying in America report being constantly asked about life under Communism ‘back home’. Some academics have pointed to this as a condemning indictment of the decline in the American education system, while others say that Mademoiselle Palin’s rise to power - despite her apparent disinterest in almost anything except herself - represents a more pressing danger to the former superpower.

South Korean academics say that the confusion is partly the fault of politicians and bureaucrats in Seoul. 55-year-old Professor Kim from Korea International University told us in an email interview “The government doesn’t do enough to distinguish between the two Koreas. Right now, it’s running a major international tourism campaign titled ‘Visit Korea Year 2010-2012’. Well, which Korea? If you don’t want people to confuse the two Koreas, tourism campaigns should emphasize that this is ‘South Korea’”

Despite the request through Interpol, it is thought unlikely that Sarah Louise Palin will come to Korea to answer police questions as she doesn’t have a passport. Her cousin, Monty Python member Michael Palin, said in a press statement after the comments “We would ask people for their understanding at what is obviously a difficult time for our family. While I believe Sarah would make an extremely funny President in the best traditions of Python humour, we think such a performance would best be left to film and not played out in reality.”

Related Links
Sarah Palin’s North Korea slip
Palin's Medical Records II
Wikipedia: Sarah Louise Palin
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South says to the world: We aren’t like the North
Visit Korea Year 2010-2012

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fearing Arrest, Chinese Foreign Minister Cancels South Korea Trip

Hit and run
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi canceled a scheduled trip to South Korea on Friday, citing “scheduling” issues. However, we understand from senior government sources in Beijing that with the trip coming only three days after the communist shelling of a South Korean village on Yeonpyeong Island, the Minister secretly feared arrest on reaching Seoul under international war crimes legislation. While arresting a foreign government official protected by diplomatic immunity is almost unheard of, in recent years the legal principle supporting this has been established in a variety of war crimes cases.

The standing International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, which is currently investigating the shelling of the civilian village on Yeonpyeong, is reluctant to discuss specifics, but privately we understand that the Chinese Foreign Minister has been named as a ‘person of interest’ in the case, along with several other members of the Chinese Politburo.

The attack on Yeonpyeong Island originated from China’s North Korean province, which is notionally independent but actually operates as a Chinese supported protectorate. The shells didn't use conventional explosives but instead contained thermobaric or 'fuel-air' warheads designed to maximize civilian casualties. It was the worst attack on civilians since a ceasefire was agreed with the Chinese at the end of the Korean War in 1953. Over 400,000 Chinese soldiers were killed attacking South Korea and its allies during the war, and many believe China is still seeking retribution. While China’s North Korean province is directly supported from Beijing politically, economically and militarily, the limited autonomy the province is afforded allows Beijing to claim deniability when its proxy state threatens South Korea, Japan and the United States in order to further China’s long-term foreign policy goal, which is to create a Chinese ‘sphere of influence' across Asia dubbed the ‘Greater China Co-Prosperity Sphere’.

The South Korean Government has also supported China’s North Korean province economically for many years in the form of protection payments, particularly under the ‘Sunshine Policy’, named after the nuclear fire which sunshine is associated with - and which the policy was expected to lead to.

South Korean citizens had criticized the Chinese Foreign Minister’s invitation, which was not withdrawn by the Government after the bombing of Yeonpyeong. 32-year-old Kim, an office worker in Seoul appeared to typify the views of many when he told us “I know diplomacy demands that we sit down and talk with our enemies, but this was too soon after the attack.” But people also dismissed the Minister’s fears of arrest; while many South Koreans had family killed by the Chinese military in the War, they expect many more to be killed by the Chinese if China is ever directly called to account for the attacks against South Korea. But despite the South Korean Government's reluctance to criticize China, China has continued to directly blame South Korea for the attack, saying that South Korea must do more to ensure peace in the region. One Chinese newspaper editorial even praised the regional government in Pyongyang for showing what it called "toughness" during the skirmish.

Despite widespread political realism about South Korea's powerlessness, Internet forum users have still expressed anger over China's stance. "What if the North launches a nuclear missile to Seoul? China would say that both nations need to settle problems through talks while turning blind eyes to the assault." an Internet user posted on a news site. But the Chinese Government say that if Seoul is destroyed in a nuclear attack it will probably be because the people living there deserve it.

Some refugees from Yeonpyeong, who fled to Incheon on boats during the shelling - fearing it was part of an invasion of the island - are now reluctant to return. Many homes have been destroyed and since property insurance is not common in Korea – especially among the poor - most of the families lost everything in the bombardment. 32-year-old Kim says she’s thinking of starting a new life on the mainland “The military obviously can’t protect us... the government is weak – they give economic aid to the enemy and we get bombed in return. Why go back to be bombed again?” Kim is also concerned for the mental wellbeing of her 5-year-old daughter, who doctors have said has been deeply traumatized by both the shelling - which narrowly missed the family as they escaped - and the loss of the family’s pet dog in the initial confusion following the attack. “She hasn’t stopped crying since the attack,” explains Kim “she really loved our dog - they played together all the time - and she wants to know why we left him behind on the island. Our house burned down and our neighbor who stayed on the island hasn’t seen him. This morning I had to tell her that he might have gone to Heaven.”

Related Links
Destruction on island at center of Korean barrage
Soldiers move in as locals evacuate Yeonpyeong island
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Anti-Chinese sentiment boiling under surface
N.K. believed to have used fuel-air shells

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Disney Sues Arirang Over Korea Coverage

Kim Yu-na
Disney Corporation, the American purveyor of wholesome family values, has lodged a lawsuit against Arirang in Seoul District Court, claiming that its relentlessly positive portrayal of Korea is, in effect, presenting a 'Disneyfied' view of the country, infringing its copyright.

Arirang, which is officially owned by large chaebols on a not-for-profit basis, but which many people consider to be the propaganda arm of the Government secretly funded by the Ministry of Culture, broadcasts in English to inform foreigners of the superior nature of South Korea. Arirang's sister organization, the Korean Central News Agency, provides a similar service for North Korea, but it is not part of the lawsuit.

The Ministry of Culture have denied its Arirang unit has infringed Disney's look and feel in any way, stating that it portrays both sides of life in Korea, good and bad, by having a mix of programs showing Koreans and foreigners. However, foreigners are only allowed on Arirang if they say good things about Korea.

The Ministry is planning to countersue Disney, claiming that it was Disney that modeled its output on Korean life, not vice-versa. Privately, they are said to be readying a test case against a prominent Disney movie, which is believed to be a fictionalized reworking of the Arirang classic "Kim Yu-na and the Seven Migrant Workers".

Further cases may follow. Arirang believes the plots of other Korean movies, such as "Gangnam Girl and the Native-English Teacher", "One Hundred and One Meat Dishes" and "Pirates of the East Sea: The Curse of the Japanese" may also have been copied by Disney.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

China Urged to Return To Negotiating Table After Attack

China has been urged to return to the negotiating table after the shelling of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island earlier this week. Politicians in Beijing, which refused to condemn the military attack, said that South Korea must do more to ensure peace in the region.

Over sixty years since China invaded Korea in October 1950, South Korea continues to be threatened by communist forces in the northern half of the divided peninsula. After the attack many international leaders urged China to reject violence and return to the negotiating table. But the state run news agency in Pyongyang appeared belligerent, announcing that "revolutionary armed forces... ...standing guard over the inviolable territorial waters of the country... ...took such decisive military step as reacting to the military provocation of the puppet group with a prompt powerful physical strike."

The puppet government in Seoul promised a "stern response" if the South was attacked again, repeating the phrase used after the sinking of the naval vessel Cheonan in March and numerous earlier military strikes. It is now widely believed that in Beijing that the South Korean government's idea of a 'stern response' is to use the words 'stern response' in reaction to subsequent military attacks. The sharp words are not believed to cause significant damage to the attacking forces, although one enemy soldier acting as an artillery spotter said he was slightly hurt by the words as he directed his unit towards the location of a primary school. South Korean military forces did fire a limited number of artillery rounds in response to the bombing of their civilians, but a military spokesman refused to say whether any targets had been hit because they deliberately missed, fearing the consequences of angering Beijing further. In another apparent sign that the puppet government in Seoul isn’t serious about a response, the South Korean president indicated the precise enemy target that would be struck in the event of further attacks, essentially ensuring that any attempts by South Korean forces to hit the missile base would be unsuccessful and therefore not worth attempting.

It is widely accepted that South Korea's rules of engagement prevent a military response unless the civilians bombed are from Seoul, and while Seoul's puppet government will use harsh words against the military aggression for several days, they will not criticize China directly despite the attack. Even though the inhabitants of Yeonpyeong Island are South Korean citizens, they are mainly poor fishermen who many in Seoul privately think are not worth risking the capital's designer shopping stores over, and it is widely accepted that a war with China will devastate the country, leaving the puppet government in Seoul with few options.

Political analysts predict that after Seoul's usual threats to halt the food shipments that keep the enemy's soldiers loyal and ready to fight, the government will resume them in a few weeks after the South Korean public completely forget about the attack on the non-Seoulites. The government will also threaten to withdraw workers from the Kaeseong Industrial Complex, but this is considered unlikely since it generates important foreign currency earnings for the enemy and South Korean chaebols.

Experts from the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention have urged South Korea to seek counseling to try and break out of the cycle of abuse, which is characterized by sudden bursts of anger, poor impulse control, and poor self-esteem by its abuser. It is thought that the South's attacker regularly exhibits diagnosable psychopathology in 80% of its behavior. But as the violence becomes more severe and chronic in the relationship, studies suggest the likelihood of psychopathology will likely approach 100%. Like many victims of domestic abuse, South Korea is said to be suffering from high amounts of stress, fear, anxiety and depression.

It is not known how President-Elect Palin will react when she assumes office after the 2012 election. Some analysts believe she will retaliate against China with a full nuclear assault, while others believe she will abandon Korea and pursue an isolationist foreign policy on the grounds that she doesn't understand foreign policy issues, leaving South Korea without any protection from Beijing. Even sources close to the future leader of the declining superpower admit she is difficult to predict, with many decisions being made on the spur of the moment depending on what type of coffee she drank for breakfast.

Related Links
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Wikipedia: Kaeseong Industrial Complex
Wikipedia: Domestic Violence
Too much coffee can induce aggression and paranoia

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anti-Korean Wave Sweeps Taiwan

The Korean Wave, a popular game among South Korea’s journalists, now has a rival. The Anti-Korean Wave began sweeping Taiwan last week after Taiwanese martial artist, Yang Shu-chun, who was about to face a Vietnamese competitor in a Taekwondo competition, was found to have extra sensors in her socks. A Korean technician made the discovery, which would have resulted in her attaining higher scores, and she was immediately disqualified.

According to news reports, in the wake of the disqualification - which has been dubbed 'sockgate' - eggs were thrown at a South Korean school in Taipai on Thursday, much to the disappointment of the nearby North Korean school. In Fengyuan, the owner of an electronics store used a hammer to smash some old plasma-screen televisions which he’d been trying to sell for a year, and workers at a cosmetics store threw Korean products on the floor and stomped on them, apparently resulting in some foot irritations. Later, South Korean flags were burned outside Taiwan’s Sports Affairs Council, escalating the protests into a diplomatic incident. Korean flags, which will eventually have to be replaced, are made in China and their burning will not benefit the Korean economy.

Taiwanese hackers proceeded to successfully attack the website of the Asian Taekwondo Union, replacing the homepage with a picture of a large hand giving a raised finger to a Korean and Chinese flag. Yang's main rival in the competition was Wu Jingyu - the Chinese gold medalist from the Beijing Olympics. She is now expected to win the competition. Curiously, at first glance the hand giving the finger to the flags appears to be that of a Caucasian rather than a Taiwanese citizen, but there was no explanation of this. Taiwanese technology site ‘Techbang’ posted screen shots of the online vandalism, which almost all Taiwanese commentators described as a ‘good job’.

Operating under Seoul’s tough media restrictions, Korean newspapers were told not to report the protests last week as they escalated. However, the media ban was lifted when foreign news organizations began picking up the story.

The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that Taiwan’s government now accepts that the disqualification is not related to Korea, even if the technician who noticed the extra sensors was technically a Korean national. “The technician involved is not believed to be from Seoul, so he probably isn’t a pure-blooded Korean, or at least, he isn’t treated as an equal by most Koreans” explained the Ministry.

The Ministry is privately not too concerned by the threat by many Taiwanese Chinese to boycott Korean products. Speaking to us off the record, 58-year-old Minister Kim told us that if Taiwanese Chinese want to buy inferior Japanese and mainland Chinese products, they were only hurting themselves.

While some Taiwanese Chinese are said to be unhappy that the Korean official discovered the devices used for cheating, others were angry that he had been looking inside the woman’s socks in the first place, but this has been dismissed by the Korean government as lacking a cultural understanding of the habits of Korean men.

As diplomatic tension mounted, China, which intends to make Taiwan and South Korea future provinces under the ‘Greater China Co-Prosperity Sphere’ plan, said it was reluctant to involve itself in mediating between the two states, which are still notionally independent, even if they are increasingly falling under Greater China’s economic hegemony. Taiwanese citizens failed to burn Chinese flags, despite the disqualification benefiting Yang's Chinese rival, partly on the grounds of racial solidarity but mostly because that would have led to immediate invasion and execution.

While in recent years the Ministry of Culture in Seoul has sought to widen international participation in Korea's martial art as part of the Korean Wave, officials say that is inevitable that future controversies in the sport will lead to Korea being blamed because "Taekwondo is our territory".

Related Links
Taiwanese burn Korean flags over taekwondo
Why Are the Taiwanese Angry at Korea?
Techbang - Asian Tawkwondo Union was Hacked
Wikipedia: Anti-Korean Wave
Wikipedia: Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Koreans Discover Another City Full of Koreans on Southern Coast

Geographers from Seoul unexpectedly discovered another city full of Koreans on the southern coast of the peninsula last month, but details are only now coming to light as the government is concerned how its citizens might react. The city, which locals call “Busan”, may be one of several located beyond Seoul’s borders, states a leaked government report from the Ministry of Public Manipulation and Insecurity.

A Government Minister, speaking on the strict understanding that he wouldn’t be quoted until the Government had formulated a response, said that he “really didn’t know what to make of it, but it would explain the explosive growth of Seoul’s population which it’s long been speculated couldn’t be explained by birthrates alone.” Korea was previously thought to consist of only of Seoul, Mount Baekdu and Dokdo.

We understand there is some debate already however within Government circles over whether the people discovered in Busan can really be described as being ‘pure-blooded’ Koreans. Professor Kim from Seoul International University, whose research has specialized in hereditary genetics, suggested that extensive and expensive research may have to be undertaken to discover if the so-called 'Busan-Koreans' were really ethnically Koreans, or merely a mix of Korean, Chinese and Japanese who therefore might not be afforded the same legal rights and status in society as pure-blooded Koreans.

The Government is not expected to formulate a response until the middle of next year at the earliest. Meanwhile citizens of the newly discovered city who spoke to us in passable – though not perfect – Korean, confirmed a vague awareness of other so-called Korean settlements beyond Busan’s borders, although they suggested that the people living there might not be pure-blooded and they almost certainly weren’t worth thinking about.

Related Links
Pure blood theory in Korea

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Korea Times Sentenced Over Foreigner Attack

The Korea Times, which describes itself as "a gateway to Korea for foreigners" and so attacks them on a regular basis, was sentenced in Seoul Central Court yesterday after being caught on CCTV assaulting a foreigner at 11pm in a Hongdae neighborhood street earlier this year.

Initially the Korea Times denied the charge, and produced 20 witnesses who stated that the foreigner was drunk and started the incident first. However, after being arrested in hospital, friends of the foreigner who visited the location of the incident for their blog write-ups, noticed that the street was covered by a CCTV camera. After five months of legal wrangling, the tapes were finally handed over. Those involved in the case say that the video clearly shows The Korea Times sneaking down the street in the shadows before running up behind the foreigner and beginning the vicious attack. The video shows no other people nearby and the 20 witnesses have withdrawn their evidence, stating that they may have been mistaken.

The Korea Times continued to protest its innocence, portraying the teacher as a drug-pushing serial sex offender. although in court they finally admitted they knew nothing about the foreigner's background. Other major newspapers sided with The Korea Times, with The Chosun Ilbo running caricatures of the foreigner every day in their newspaper depicting him as a gang member chasing schoolgirls with knives.

58-year-old Judge Kim, presiding, said that it was a difficult judgment. "On the one hand, we know that everything we read in the newspapers in Korea is true, but on the other hand, we also know that the camera does not lie, and everything we see on film is true. This was a case where one disagreed with the other, so I had to decide which type of media is more important."

The judge handed down a fine of 50,000 won. The Korea Times said it will appeal the decision. 43-year-old in-house attorney Kim said that the ruling clearly ignores Chaebol-law which guarantees legal immunity for large Korean corporations, and he expects to get it overturned in a higher court.

The foreigner was not available for comment as he was deported for the crime three months ago.

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외국인 범죄 급증

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Ministry of Justice Warns Gay Infection May Spread Through TVs

The Ministry of Justice warned consumers yesterday that there is a danger they may catch homosexuality from their television sets.

The warning comes after TV network SBS broadcast a new drama “Life is Beautiful”, which features a sexual relationship between two men. The Ministry immediately ordered prisons not to show any more episodes to inmates, expressing the fear that it may cause them to become gay due to their isolation from women. “Prisoners are thought to be particularly susceptible to developing homosexual feelings and we must prevent this perverted behavior spreading” said a spokesman. There is no word yet on whether the drama will be also banned from being shown to young Korean men doing their national military service - a code of silence has long reigned over sexual practices in the army.

Before his arrest, a member of Chingusai – one of the largest gay networks in Korea with as many as twenty members – said the move was an obvious discrimination against minorities in society.

But some residential viewers have expressed strong support for the warning. In response to the program a group of parents ran an advert on the front page of a local newspaper which read “The drama beautified lives of gay men, which are morally and ethically wrong.” In the advert, one woman wrote “If my son becomes gay after watching the drama, develops AIDS and dies, the program producers should take full responsibility for it.” But the program producers have denied they are responsible for her son’s death in 2023, which will be officially attributed to asphyxiation due to sleeping in a closed room with an electric fan on - while actually being caused by suicide brought about by academic stress, the development of which the mother will actively cultivate.

Some politicians have expressed concerns that gay infection may not be limited to programs on television. “This is just one form of drama, what about the theater?” asked a senior legislator. Indeed, the fear that homosexuality may spread via cultural events has seen attendances drop by up to 30% at several recent International Festivals. Officials have tried to take action but results have been mixed. A no-physical contact rule at a recent music concert was ultimately not successful and parents’ groups estimate that the AIDS-related death-toll from this one event alone may eventually be as high as one-hundred.

Meanwhile, Korean TV manufacturer, FQ, have promised their new models will all come with anti-gay features “which will ensure gayness and other diseases can not be caught while using our product.” But Seongsan say they are working on a TV that will not only prevent gayness, but will actually cure homosexual family members making them heterosexual again. Foreign-made TVs, which lack anti-gay technology are expected to plunge in unpopularity, and The Ministry of Justice is considering banning their sale altogether on public safety grounds.

Related Links
Ban on 'gay drama' in prison creates stir
Debate erupts over ban on homosexuality in barracks

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

G-20 Special: Summit Already a “Huge Success”

The G-20 Summit in Seoul has already been hailed a huge success hours before the meeting actually began, after it enabled the Government to pass a range of laws banning protests and public dissent. The laws, which are unlikely to repealed once the meeting has ended, are believed by many to be the real reason Government ministers have embraced the summit so enthusiastically, and explain why so little attention has been paid to the actual G-20 body itself that the Government’s G-20 logo - which can be seen everywhere in Korea - actually omits the hyphen and incorrectly titles it the ‘G20’.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Manipulation and Insecurity said “For a long time the world’s most powerful countries have used international conferences such as the G-20 as a cover to suppress civil liberties, now we too can join this exclusive and very beneficial club.” Amnesty International have condemned the Korean move - “Compared to three years ago, the freedoms not only of assembly and expression, but in civil society as a whole have been greatly curtailed,” said an Amnesty representative.

Recent months have seen crackdowns on homeless people, the socially disadvantaged, people who 'look different', and anyone who failed to heed our Great Leader’s call for national unity ahead of the Summit by voicing opposition to the GNP’s patriotic policies. “Korea must present a modern image in front of its powerful new friends” said the Great Leader President “not look like some kind of old-fashioned 20th Century liberal democracy”. A university lecturer was detained Sunday for spray-painting the image of a large rat representing the President on several G-20 posters. Police asked prosecutors to file an arrest warrant against the lecturer for violence and revealing state secrets.

Senior members of the government are hopeful that the meeting will help accelerate Korea’s plan to return to the golden age of strong authoritarianism and social order seen in the 1960s and 70s. Indeed, Korea is hoping to use the Summit not only to taunt lesser nations who are not part of the G-20, but also to urge them to adopt Korea’s highly successful development model. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is particularly keen to export Korea’s development model to Africa, since many African countries have repressive military governments, no rule of law and widespread police torture. “They already have most of the elements of Korea’s development model in place” explained a Ministry spokesman.

Where military governments don’t already exist, the Ministry is willing to help organize coups and even minor armed incidents with neighboring countries, but it says that the widespread use of torture should be considered optional since studies have shown this had “limited economic impact” in Korea, despite its recreational value.

The Korea Times has supported the export of Korea's development model by running a 60 article series this year on what it calls the country's "fairy-tale success story", although it regretted that planned articles covering political suppression and human rights abuses - which the newspaper characterizes as 'byproducts' of the successful military government - clashed with the World Cup and ultimately were not published.

Related Links
Arrest warrant for drawing rat on G20 promotion poster?
Lee calls for national unity ahead of G20
S.Korea receives unfavorable human rights assessment
Korea’s rise sets model for developing nations
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Wikipedia G-20 Seoul Summit

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Government Plan To Eliminate Poverty Aims at Nuts and Berries

The Government have announced plans to punish collectors of nuts and berries in national parks with fines of up to 30 million won ($27,000) or jail terms of up to three years.

Although according to official statistics nobody in Korea is really poor – at least no-one worth speaking of – collecting nuts and berries from parks has long been a source of nutrition for the country’s homeless, who forage in the wild before sleeping out in the open for lack of anything else to consume or anywhere else to stay due to Korea’s enlightened social security policies.

Officially, the Government say the new ‘nuts and berries’ directive is aimed at preserving acorns, which are needed by “squirrels and bears” - even though the only bears in Korea are the ones held in captivity and farmed for meat and virility rituals. But unofficially a Government spokesman admitted to us that the threat of jail terms are intended to solve Korea’s chronic homelessness by finally removing these embarrassing individuals from public view, or starving them to death as an act of kindness, preferably before the G20 summit is held in the capital.

Fearing that the homeless may find alternative food sources, Seoul authorities have announced fines for people who let their dogs off their leashes in the city’s parks.

While in future jail terms as long as three years will be imposed on individuals found picking up acorns from the ground, the Government has promised that politicians caught embezzling funds, and Chaebol owners making corrupt payments, will continue to receive suspended sentences or escape punishment entirely in line with Korean cultural traditions and Constitutional guarantees that protect the rich and powerful.

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Acorn pickers to be slapped fines
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Dokdo missing on iPhone, Galaxy S

While toying with her newly-acquired iPhone, Kim, a 23-year-old Seoul college student, investigated its maps feature, and was shocked to discover that although Dokdo could be located, it wasn't given a name. "Dokdo is our territory where our people reside. Then, how come the map services do not identify its name? Does the iPhone regard Dokdo as the island of ghosts?", she foamed. "I don't know what Apple or KT think about it. When you sell a product in Korea, you have to care about local tastes. They should learn how sensitive Koreans are about the Dokdo issue."

Situated some 90 kilometers east of Korea's Ulleung Island and much further away from any Japanese island of significance, Dokdo is clearly Korean territory, but this hasn't stopped Japan, which officially regards Korea as a rogue province, trying to repeat the mistakes of its colonialist history by claiming it without any justification.

KT, Korea's largest telecoms provider, reacted angrily to Kim’s statement and threatened to sue her and her ancestors. “Chaebols do not have to care about local tastes - our right to operate a ‘you-take-what-you-get-given’ consumer policy is guaranteed by the Constitution, to demand otherwise is anti-corporate and possibly a sign of communist sympathies.” a spokesdroid told us.

Kim emailed Steve Jobs, Apple’s Chairman and CEO-for-life, to complain, but received the message back “Don’t care about Dokdok. Stop bothering us. Sent from my iPhone”.

In fact the maps on Apple's iPhone and Android devices such as the Galaxy S are provided by Google Maps, which means that as Android grows in popularity this misinformation is only going to spread.

When contacted, Google Korea said that the company makes it a rule not to identify any disputed territory and this policy applies to Dokdo. Recently, after several high-profile UFO sightings around the world, Google removed the word “Earth” from their maps, causing panic in several countries, but that was caused by an error the company said. However, they told us that the omission of Dokdo - which is a deep insult to Koreans - was intentional. Curiously, in a further insult, the Korean island of Daemado – which is currently illegally occupied by Japanese forces and incorrectly called ‘Tsushima’, is clearly labeled as ‘Tsushima’ on Google Maps despite Korea's rightful ownership of the territory. Naver however, properly marks the island as ‘Daemado’.

Members of VANK, which harasses foreign organizations and conducts cyber-attacks against them, sent thousands of emails to Google to protest the measure but to little avail. VANK intends to continue mail-bombing Google though - “If we do not continually protest, Google or others will think that we are admitting Dokdo’s sovereignty is in dispute.” said VANK’s official founder. However, in what some cyber-security experts have dubbed a ‘spectacular failure to understand the effectiveness of Google’s anti-spam technology’, he added “We will continue to clog the inbox of Google with emails or letters”.

VANK describes themselves as “a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting a positive image of Korea”, although it always achieves the exact opposite. Some have suggested VANK (which some foreigners call the ‘Various Agents of North Korea’) may be a front for North Korean intelligence services attempting to make other countries less sympathetic towards South Korea when it is invaded by the North in 2012.

Related Links
Dokdo missing on iPhone, Galaxy S – Korea Times

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Government Seeks to Put Overseas Koreans Out of Business

The Korean Government has announced a plan to put overseas Koreans out of business in revenge for them emigrating from the country.

A pilot test of the plan will begin in Manhattan, New York, where Government researchers concluded there were a high number of small Korean restaurants run by people who have abandoned the motherland. Under the scheme, the Government will open a huge Korean restaurant which will be owned and run by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Seoul. It is hoped that this ‘mega-restaurant’, subsidized by Korean taxpayers, will put the smaller independent Korean restaurant owners out of business. A senior source in the Ministry told us that once the Koreans in New York are put out of business, it is hoped that they will have no choice but to return to Korea.

Because driving overseas Koreans out of business may be perceived as wrong by Korean voters, the Government is officially calling the move part of a wider project to globalize Korean food, which is known as ‘hansik’ in Korea. Under the slogan “Come and get hansik”, the Government is hoping New Yorkers will stop visiting restaurants run by people who have betrayed their country, and the restaurant’s catchy name “Globalized Korean Government International Superior Safe Food Wellbeing Ubiquitous Dokdo Is Korean Territory Restaurant” will see people flocking through the doors.

The move has caused some debate in Seoul political circles however. Since there are already a large number Korean restaurants in New York which are promoting Korean food, some politicians doubt that Korean taxpayers are going to fall for such a flimsy cover story, even if it is dressed up in nationalist language, which usually prevents voters from thinking on the grounds that independent thought is unpatriotic. So far though, the tightly controlled media has pushed the Government line and ensured there is no dissent. The Dokdo Times, which falls outside Seoul's tough media restrictions due to Dokdo's older laws taking precedent over Republic of Korea law, can reveal the restaurant is expected to lose approximately $5 million per year.

44-year-old Kim, who runs the nearby Kum Gang Restaurant, admitted he was worried that the Government-run restaurant would use taxpayer money to subsidize food and drive him out of business, but he’s hopeful that much like Korean politics, the restaurant would ultimately fail due to rampant corruption, nepotism and appallingly slow service. He also doubts the Government’s explanation that it is opening the restaurant to promote Korean food. “We’ve been around for more than 20 years. Does the government think we haven’t tried all kinds of measures?”

Indeed, according to one prominent New York restaurant critic who has recently had to seek police protection and can not therefore be named, Korean food is always destined to remain a niche because “it really isn’t that great”, but Korean people are unable to accept the idea that it doesn’t particularly appeal to Western palates. “When several month-old cabbage is considered the signature dish of your cuisine, Korean food is always going to be a tough sell” he is reported as saying before he went into hiding. The Government admitted that the old cabbage, which is called kimchi in Korea, will be part of every dish on the menu.

If the restaurant is a success the Government is planning to open similar schemes in other cities where Koreans living overseas operate restaurants, and eventually they hope to use Korean taxpayer money to put more expatriate Koreans out of business. A move into the U.S. convenience store business is already secretly being trialled in Los Angeles. With each restaurant projected to lose $5 million per year, the Government estimates it can open 1,000 such restaurants around the world before the amount exceeds the annual budgetary loss to corruption and reaches a level which might incur public scrutiny. However, as the project is aimed at people who have betrayed the Republic by leaving, the expenditure might eventually be given a blanket 'National Security' heading in Government accounts to disguise its actual use.

Off the record, the Minister of Culture told us that he hopes to send a strong message to Koreans everywhere that traitors who leave Korea in order to try and build a better life for themselves “will be hunted down like dogs - which also taste very nice even though we aren’t supposed to talk about that any more.” In an extremely rare concession to foreign sentiment, dogmeat will officially be omitted from the New York menu.

Related Links
'Too many Korean restaurants in NY'

Friday, October 29, 2010

G20 Meeting Failure 'Lucky Escape for Seoul and Korea'

It has been revealed that high-ranking financial regulators from 27 countries, who convened in Seoul earlier this month before the main G20 summit, failed to reach agreement on naming a tough new global banking regime the ‘Seoul Initiative’, instead retaining the original name, Basel III.

Regulators from Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service, which really exists despite a long-held view among many economic commentators that it is actually an urban myth, argued that since Basel III covered standards on banking liquidity and leverage, in addition to capital adequacy, a more encompassing and grander sounding name than Basel should be found. Basel is a small insignificant city in a small insignificant country, whereas Seoul is much bigger city in the most important country in the world, the regulators factually stated.

However, while attendees at the meeting in Seoul agreed that it was a very good idea, it was pointed out that the ‘Seoul Initiative’ is already the name of a ‘green growth’ program run by Korea’s Ministry of Environment, which also really exists and is not an urban myth. Furthermore, ‘Seoul Initiative’ is the name of an underground strip club frequented by perverted foreigners and never any Korean men in Seoul’s Itaewon district. It was felt this might cause additional problems for international bankers, for whom sex and money are often confused. At least one attendee also pointed out in closed sessions that Seoul had its own capital adequacy issues and so the proposed name might be seen as unintentionally ironic, but the Korean Government deny Seoul is an inadequate capital, despite the Sejong City project.

However, several prominent economists said that the failure to brand the new regulations as the ‘Seoul Initiative’ was actually a lucky escape for Seoul and South Korea. The tightened rules are expected to further constrain the ability of banks to lend to businesses and individuals, causing worldwide property crashes, business failures, mass unemployment, sovereign debt defaults, severe austerity programs and war between the U.S. and China, although the latter was scheduled anyway. They said that on reflection, Korean bureaucrats and politicians would probably see that having the name ‘Seoul’ associated with a double-dip recession followed by a catastrophic economic collapse was not the kind of image that Korea’s capital city wanted to promote as part of its tourism drive. Tourism Seoul denied this, saying that “Seoul – the end of the world began here” could be a good way of attracting overseas visitors. possibly in conjunction with an annual End of the World International Festival.

Senior Korean politicians have not been discouraged by the set-back, and are hoping to associate Korean place names with other disasters. It has been suggested that a deadly heatwave might be caused a ‘Daegu’, an industrial accident an ‘Ulsan’, and a worldwide cataclysm necessitating the survival of the rich while the poor are abandoned and left to die – such as the one depicted in the movie ‘2012’, could be called a ‘Gangnam’.

Related Links
'Seoul Initiative' offered for banking supervisory reform