Monday, November 23, 2009

Daily Kor for November 23, 2009: Minds of killers

I'm no fan of capital punishment, but if a convicted mass murderer on death row wants to off himself and do it quietly (i.e., not take anybody else out with him), then I'm not going to raise objections. Well, I guess if he hadn't provided the authorities with all the details of who he killed so that families could get closure, I suppose that would be a reason to object. Anyway, the in-cell suicide by hanging of forty-year-old Jeong Namgyu is all over the Korean media and is being carried by most major international media as well.

In other mass murderer news, Pyongyang is trying to entice Seoul back to the negotiation table vis-à-vis Kŭmgangsan tours by promising to let ROK officials tour the scene where a South Korean tourist was killed. Nice.

On a happier note, the iPhone will be available to folks back in South Korea starting on November 28. Expect some lines, even if the iPhone doesn't turn out to be the oh-my-god-hugest-thing-ever gadget in South Korea (South Korean phones have long been able to do the neato stuff that iPhones can now do, so the thrill and excitement just isn't there in large amounts).
Oh, and heed my warning about buying it (short version: don't). In a nutshell, the iPhone may let Anglophones finally do what Korean speakers have been able to do for years, but you'd better make sure that iPhones in Korea can do all the cool things that make an iPhone cool. Trust me on this. Take a breather and wait a bit, but go to the Apple Store and play with it. Hey, that rhymes.

  1. Man convicted in 2007 of murdering 13 people and robbing, raping, and assaulting 20 others hangs himself in his cell while awaiting execution (BBC, Telegraph, Korea Times, Yonhap, Korea Herald, Joongang Daily, Reuters)
  2. North Korea proposes inter-Korean dialogue that may include Seoul officials being allowed to visit site of tourist shooting in Kŭmgangsan area (Bloomberg, Yonhap, XinhuaJoongang Daily)
  3. Korea Telecom announces November 28 date for start of iPhone sales (AP via NPR, Bloomberg, Reuters, Korea Times, Joongang Daily)
  4. State-run Korea Development Institute predicts growth of 5.5 percent in 2010, the highest in eight years (Reuters via CNBC, Bloomberg); KDI prediction for 2009 is 0.2 percent growth (Yonhap)
  5. KDI proposes hiking key interest rate next quarter (Korea Times)
  6. At ceremony in Kwangju marking start of Four Rivers Project, ROK President Lee Myungbak says the massive and controversial undertaking will produce "more-than-expected" value akin to Ch'ŏnggyech'ŏn River restoration in Seoul (Yonhap, Korea Herald
  7. Health insurance premiums to rise 6% (Korea Times); Health Minister to visit Japan to coordinate efforts to curtail H1N1 pandemic (Korea Times)
  8. Police reveal identity of PRC national responsible for Saipan shooting, say South Koreans were not specifically targeted (AP via WaPo)
  9. North Korean strongman Kim Jong-il reportedly visits nation's security force headquarters in bid to further tighten his control, wears matching gloves with gray-beige parka (AFP)
  10. US Senate unanimously approves Robert King as President Obama's special envoy for North Korean human rights (Korea Times, Yonhap)
  11. Zambia massacres North Korea, 4-1, in international match seen as preparation for upcoming World Cup in South Africa (BBC)
  12. Association of ob/gyn specialists holds rally against abortion (Korea Times)
  13. Amnesty International chief meets with families of protesters killed in fire during clash with riot police in Yongsan Ward in January and promises to watch government handling of case carefully (Yonhap, Korea Herald)
  14. Pyongyang orders Mass Games participants carrying dark blue placards to spread across North Korea in effort to thwart Google Earth spy satellites (AFP)

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