Bad news if you're hoping that Beijing will turn off the spigot on the gravy train and force DPRK's leadership to make an honest living (well, they could just as easily end up stepping up their dishonest living... methamphetamine, arms, counterfeit money, etc.). That's because PRC Defense Minister Liang Guanglie is in Pyongyang meeting with his counter part, Kim Youngchun, getting all kissy-kissy with the big-hatted one and expressing his (and China's) undying love and support for North Korea. Nice.
Good news if you're hoping for some reform in the South Korean schools. Regulations are being passed that will make it easier to fire teachers who have engaged in sexually molesting their students but who were not prosecuted (and what the hell is up with that?). Ditto with teachers who perform corporal punishment, take bribes from parents, or fudge grades. Sure, no rules or laws will ever get rid of these things completely, but in a face-saving hierarchical society like the ROK, it gives a pretext for uneasy teachers to reject these things: "I could lose my job, Mrs Kim." Of course, the new rules also leave teachers open to blackmail and other abuse by kids who would go so far as to fabricate allegations, but that's another matter.
- PRC and DPRK defense ministers stress strength of alliance and undying love (links here)
- US Chamber of Commerce urges President Obama to take action on trade pacts with South Korea and other countries as a way to boost jobs at home (Reuters via WaPo, Yonhap)
- Teachers who are caught sexually molesting students but who are not prosecuted will be dropped from rehiring lists (Korea Times, Joongang Daily)
- Record high 7 million tourists visit South Korea this year (Korea Herald)
- Health ministers from Japan, PRC, and ROK agree to step up efforts to ensure food safety following concerns over pesticide-tainted dumplings, called mandu or gyoza (AFP)
- Consumer sentiment in November drops slightly from seven-year high in October (Reuters, Bloomberg, Yonhap)
- ROK President Lee Myungbak promises to double aid to Africa (Yonhap, Korea Times, Korea Herald)
- National Assembly committee extends ROK Navy's anti-piracy mission off Somali coast by one year (Korea Times)
- Seoul Metropolitan Council halts plans to ban cell phones in schools (Korea Times, Korea Herald)
- UN Development Program plans to resume projects in North Korea next year (Yonhap)
- Two lawmakers, one each from Democratic Party and Democratic Labor Party, fined for violence in the National Assembly during passage of FTA with US (Yonhap)
- Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries says South Korea aims to develop kelp as an anergy resource by 2013 (Yonhap)
- Three killed in crash of forestry helicopter (Yonhap)
- Obama lauds Korean parents for their enthusiasm for educating their children (Yonhap)
- An embarrassed US President Obama tells Japanese PM Hatoyama he welcomes Tokyo's expanded role in a changing Asia, but he's just not ready for a metrosexual relationship (AFP)
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