Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Korea news links for October 27, 2009: About face

Not long after US President Barack Hussein Obama has declared H1N1 to be a national emergency, we see some similar activity here in South Korea. South Korea's death toll has climbed to twenty-five, a tiny fraction of those in the US (even when one takes into account population size), but ROK health officials worry that South Korea could be on the cusp of a new pandemic. Meanwhile, the Lee administration has made an about-face on aid to North Korea and has decided to send some humanitarian aid to the DPRK. Some corn, powdered milk, and medicine, but much lower than the many tons of fertilizer and rice of past administrations.
  1. Seoul shifts gears and offers modest shipment of humanitarian aid to North Korea; 10,000 tons of corn would be first such assistance in two years (NYT, BBC, VOA, Reuters, AP via WaPo, Korea Times, Korea Herald, Xinhua)
  2. Disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woosuk found guilty of fraud; veterinarian receives a suspended sentence (links here)
  3. Five more deaths, including six children and two women in their seventies, bring South Korea's H1N1 "swine flu" death toll to 25; President Lee orders government agencies to step up efforts to stop its spread as worry grows that it is becoming a pandemic (Yonhap, Korea Times, Korea Herald)
  4. Childbirths in South Korea fall, year on year, for eighteenth consecutive month (Yonhap)
  5. Asian markets rise on expectation-beating growth in Korea (Reuters via NYT, AP via WaPo, Bloomberg)
  6. Federation of Korean Industries survey predicts KRW will strengthen to 1125 next year (Joongang Daily)
  7. South Korean officials say North Korea has completed construction on a base in Tongch'ang-ni capable of handling improved intercontinental ballistic missiles (Yonhap, UPI)
  8. American paper reports that some USFK troops could be moved to Afghanistan (Korea Times, Korea Herald); Seoul denies such a move (Joongang Daily)
  9. Actress Kang Hyejung marries Epik High leader Tablo (Korea Times)
  10. To simplify service in times of crisis, government consolidates emergency numbers for fire, police, ambulance into one: 032-947-8516, extension 4679; press 23 for Korean, 52 for English (Yonhap)


  1. "Federation of Korean Industries survey predicts KRW will strengthen to 1125 next year..."

    Well that's quite a bold claim since it's October and already at 1175 a dollar... :P

    1050 won to a dollar by end of 2009 Q4 or 2010 Q1.

  2. One of the links, I believe, including a prediction that it could be down to 975.

    I don't know that these are bold predictions so much as they're expectations of direction.

    That is, a slight strengthening is not a weakening, nor is it a strong strengthening, any of which would be useful information.


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