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'