Tag Archives: South Korea

Cities worldwide celebrate Earth Hour

Cities in over 125 countries are officially taking part in the environment-friendly Earth Hour, which encourages everyone to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday at 8:30 pm local time. Iconic landmarks and sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Las Vegas Strip, and the Egyptian pyramids, among others, have agreed to turn off their lights for the initiative. One exception lies in the city of Bangkok, where officials have decided not to partake due to fear of violence from anti-government protesters, AFP.

Officials say they have found the decapitated head and body of Heriberto Cerda, the police chief of Agualeguas, Mexico. His brother, Jesus Cerda, was found dead in a truck nearby, but police have not reported his cause of death. The town’s deputy police chief and Cerda’s bodyguard were also murdered by gunmen hours before the discovery of the bodies belonging to the Cerda brothers. The crimes are believed to be related to drug and gang violence, which has killed 18,000 people in the country since 2006, AP.

The bloc of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has been declared the winner of the Iraqi parliamentary elections that took place two weeks ago, but it remains to be seen if Allawi will become the next prime minister. He has vowed to help bring peace to the Arab and Muslim world by accepting his former political rivals into the new government and promoting governmental secularism, AP.

The sinking of a South Korean naval ship may have been due to a mine explosion, new reports suggest. Of the 104 sailors onboard the ship, 58 have been rescued thus far, and officials say there is little reason to suspect North Korea was involved, Xinhau.

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Woman Stoned for Adultery in Somalia

A woman in Somali has been stoned to death for adultery. The 20 year-old woman had previously been married and was divorced but a strict reading of Sharia law does not allow even a divorced woman to have sex with another man. The woman’s boyfriend was given 100 lashes. Al-Shabab, the hard line Islamic group that controls much of southern Somalia, was responsible for the sentencing, BBC News.  More on the broken justice system in Somalia, BBC News.

Somali pirates once again attacked the Maersk Alabama, the U.S. ship that was hijacked last April, but the crew was able to repel the attack, MS-NBC.

The European Union will send 100 troops to train Somali forces in hopes that the forces will be able to stem the violence and restore order. The troops will train in Uganda next year, Reuters.

U.S. President Barack Obama finishes up his tour of Asia with a visit to South Korea, Yonhap. Analysis of President Obama’s visit to China, Associated Press.

The PBD series Frontline has a comprehensive look at the death of Neda Agha Soltan, including interviews with the doctor who tried to save her at the scene of the crime and information about the man who shot Neda. The show also provides a good review of the events of the disputed presidential election in Iran in June. A must watch for anyone who wants a better understanding of the situation. Watch the full program online. A transcript of the show will be available around November 24. Maps and video of the protests since June, BBC News. Frontline’s homepage for news on Iran, Tehran Bureau.

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Pakistan Militants Carry Out Coordinated Attacks

Pakistan was hard hit by 4 coordinated militant attacks yesterday on the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore and 3 police training centers, 2 in Lahore and 1 in northwestern Pakistan. 37 people died in the attacks, including military personnel, militants, and civilians. The attacks cast doubt on whether security forces can protect the country from militants, especially since it appears that previously unrelated militant groups are increasingly working together, Washington Post.  More on the attack on Pakistan’s military headquarters on October 12, BBC News.

South Korea and the European Union signed a free trade deal that will end or phrase out more than 96% of tariffs on foreign goods between the two. The agreement is expected to boost the South Korean economy, Yonhap.

Christopher Savoie, an American in the midst of a custody dispute case, was released in Japan without being charged with kidnapping. Savoie, who is a naturalized citizen of Japan, took the children from their mother as she walked them to school in late September. Savoie attempted to enter the American consulate to obtain passports for the children, but was arrested while still on Japanese soil. Savoie’s ex-wife had previously broken a custody agreement by fleeing to Japan from the U.S. with the children in August after the couple divorced, CNN.

A new report by the the Catlin Arctic Survey, based on a expedition led by Pen Hadow, says that the Arctic Ocean could be ice free during the summer in as little as 10 years, BBC News.

Pen Hadow said he was shocked by the image of how “in my lifetime we’re looking at changing how the planet looks from space.”

He also described how polar explorers were having to change their methods from the days when sledges could be pulled by dogs over the ice.

“Dogs can swim but they can’t tow a sledge through water which is what’s needed now.”

“Now we have to wear immersion suits and swim and we need sledges that can float. I can foresee needing sledges that are more like canoes that you also pull over the ice.”

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North Korea Releases Fishing Boat

A fishing boat that strayed into the waters of North Korea has been released after being held for a month, Yonhap.

On the surface, North Korea has taken steps to reconcile with South Korea, but the United Arab Emirates reported that they intercepted a North Korean ship carrying weapons to Iran two weeks ago, Al Jazeera.

Shia Muslim leader Abdul Aziz al-Hazim, leader of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, who opposed Saddam Hussein from exile for two decades, died on Wednesday. Thousands of Shia Iraqis lined the streets for his funeral in Baghdad, BBC News.

The funeral mass for Senator Edward Kennedy can be viewed on C-SPAN right now. President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy shortly. Edward Kenedy photo gallery, USA Today.

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S. Korean President to Meet With N. Korean Officials

South Korea’s president has agreed to meet with North Korean officials for the first time since taking office. Lee Myung-bak has invited the officials to attend the funeral of ex-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, and a meeting will take place hours before the funeral, BBC News.

Canadian authorities stepped up the manhunt for an American reality show contestant who is suspected of murdering his wife. Ryan Jenkins, 32, appeared on VH1’s “Megan Wants a Millionaire” and is believed to have strangled his wife, removed teeth and fingers from the body, and then stashed the remains in a suitcase before fleeing the U.S. Jasmine Fiore was found in a trash bin in California, AP.

Dozens of wildfires are raging near Athens, Greece, and several hundred people have been evacuated from nearby suburbs. The fire is contained in an area 25 miles wide and winds are calm today, but firefighters are afraid strong winds tomorrow could aid the fires, AP.

Hot Topic: Marines Fight With Little Aid From Afghans.

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Search for Ship Arctic Sea Continues

The search continues for missing cargo ship the Arctic Sea. The ship was carrying timber worth $1.8 billion from Finland and was last seen off the coast of France. The crew reported being boarded by 12 armed men as it passed through the Baltic Sea, but later reported that the men had left in an inflatable boat. Before loading in Finland, the ship, which has a 15  member Russian crew, sat for two weeks at a port in Kaliningrad, Russia leading some to speculate that unrecorded Russian cargo may be aboard or that the ship is part of a Russian commercial dispute, BBC News. Breaking: Reports that the vessel has been spotted near Gibraltar and is being shadowed by a Russian warship, Al Jazeera.

A South Korean Hyundai worker who has been held by North Korea for nearly five months has been released. Yu Seong-jin, work is a technician at a joint Hyundai Asan park that uses North Korean labor. Yu was accused of criticizing North Korea’s political system. North Korea also claims he was trying to persuade a North Korean woman to defect. The chairwoman of Hyundai Group, Hyun Jung-eun, traveled to Pyongyang to secure his release, Yonhap.

Germany and France both saw .3% growth in the second quarter, indicating that Europe might be pulling out of recession, Reuters.

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U.S. Says Half of Population Will Need H1N1 Vaccine

U.S. officials say about half of the country’s population should be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus. Health officials have been told to prepare 160 million vaccines and they are hoping to begin the vaccination process in October. The groups considered the most at risk are pregnant women and young adults with previous health problems, BBC News.

North Korea has detained a South Korean fishing vessel after it accidentally crossed the border separating the two countries. Four people who were on board are now in custody, BNO.

Algerian insurgents have killed at least 14 soldiers during an ambush in the Tipaza province. Unconfimred reports say 20 soldiers may actually be dead. Violence in Algeria has been increasing in the last two months with the rise of al-Qaeda in the country, New York Times.

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Worker Protests Continue in Asia

Protesters were arrested in South Korea yesterday after the demonstrations turned violent. The protesters were marching in support of employees of Ssangyong Motor Co. who have occupied the plant for the past two months, halting production. The workers are protesting layoffs. The protesters were trying to enter the plant to give the workers fresh water. Gas and water supplies to the plant have been shut off in an effort to end the sit-in, Yonhap.

30,000 workers at a steel plant in Tonghua, China rioted yesterday. The workers were protesting a possible merger deal. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, a Hong Kong human rights group, said that the protesters beat one of the company’s managers, Chen Guojun, to death, BBC News.

US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is in the middle of a Mid-East tour to generate support for peace talks. Mitchell met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus today. Syria cut off diplomatic relations with Israel earlier this year after Israel initiated a military assault on Hamas, Voice of America.

India launched its first nuclear submarine today, IBN.

The Associated Press has a report on the protests for human rights in Iran yesterday.

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