News Bytes 10/31/2012

By , October 31, 2012 4:44 pm


Happy Halloween! And a few bits of news from around Korea for your reading enjoyment:

  • Last week Google made South Korea angry by labelling some rocks  in the Sea of Japan (South Koreas would likely get angry at me since they like to think of that body of water as the “East Sea”) as Liancourt Rocks rather than Dokdo.   This week, South Korea is angry at Apple because the new iOS maps label the rocks as both Dokdo and Takeshima, the name Japan uses for the same rocks, which, by the way, claim the rocks as their own.  Poor South Korea; they just can’t win the name game. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, USA, a Japanese man has been identified for defacing a monument to Korean comfort women with Dokdo/Takeshima related information.
  • Korea is getting better about divorces and children.  A new laws forces parents with minor children to undergo counselling to understand better about the psychological effects on children of divorced parents. Counselling will also include help on arranging child support and visitation.  Anything would be better than the one-parent-takes-all approach that has been the norm in Korea.
  • With last Friday’s cancellation of Korea’s first rocket launch (two previous attempts failed) the Science Ministry says it will try again in November. A successful launch will be great for Korea. Another failure….laughing stock of the entire planet. Last week’s cancellation is blamed on a gas leak.
  • Please send pity and condolences cards to Uganda. Recently the two governments signed an agreement for South Korea to provide E-Government technology. Uganda will undoubtedly have to suffer through Internet-Explorer only websites that will require a half-dozen security downloads and cause untold cases of epilepsy from all the flashing GIF images.
  • In general, things are getting slow in Korea. Manufacturing is is growing at only 1.6%, the lowest in 3 years. That’s close to zero growth in economic terms. A recent stimulus offered by the Korean government has failed to increase demand – which is to be expected since demand is created abroad in an export-driven economy.  Meanwhile, the KRW/USD rate continues to drop with the latest being 1019 KRW to the dollar.. At that level, increased demand abroad means less  money back home for Korean exporters.
  • And finally, Korean labelled “Moderate” in English proficiency, scoring 21 out of 54 countries. However, a big-ass grain of salt should taken with that result – the article mentions that the poll respondents were younger and more urban than the general population. That means the score would almost certainly go down given a generic cross section of Koreans.

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