Posts Tagged ‘South Korea’

There are awful Governments in the world, and then there are awful Governments.We could rage on about civil rights abuses in Iran – or Israel, for that matter. About the plight of minorities and women throughout much of the middle East. Of endemic corruption in the sub-continent. Of poverty and the breakdown of the rule of law in Africa, and parts of South America. Of poverty and injustice in rich countries like the USA and Britain.

But in yet more hideous news coming out of the brutal fascist dictatorship that is the world’s last unreformed Maoist society – North Korea – reports are emerging that as many as 80 people have been executed “pour encourager les autres”, to dissuade people from accessing media from overseas.

So paranoid is the regime that its own people would rise against it if they knew what life in other countries is really like, especially across the border in the West-leaning capitalist South, that every effort is made to prevent them watching TV shows from outside the country’s borders.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un.

(The following report is from Yahoo and others, originating with AFP.)

North Korea publicly executed around 80 people earlier this month, many for watching smuggled South Korean TV shows, a South Korean newspaper has reported.

The conservative newspaper JoongAng Ilbo cited a single, unidentified source.

But at least one North Korean defector group said it had heard rumours that lent credibility to the front-page report.

The source, said to be “familiar” with the North’s internal affairs and recently returned from the country, said the executions were carried out in seven cities on November 3.

In the eastern port of Wonsan, the authorities gathered 10,000 people in a sports stadium to watch the execution of eight people by firing squad, the source quoted one eyewitness as saying.

Most were charged with watching illicit South Korean TV dramas, and some with prostitution.


North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un attends a parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and a mass rally in Pyongyang, September 9 2013. Photo: Reuters

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un attends a parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and a mass rally in Pyongyang, September 9 2013. Photo: Reuters


Several of the cities, including Wonsan and Pyongsong in the west, have been designated as special economic zones aimed at attracting foreign investment to boost the North’s moribund economy.

The Seoul-based news website, Daily NK, which is run by North Korean defectors and has a wide network of sources, said it had no information on the executions.

But another defector-run website, North Korea Intellectual Solidarity, said its sources had reported several months ago on plans for a wave of public executions.

“The regime is obviously afraid of potential changes in people’s mindsets and is pre-emptively trying to scare people off,” said one website official.


A parade marks the 1948 establishment of North Korea. Photo: Reuters

A parade marks the 1948 establishment of North Korea. Photo: Reuters


Watching unsanctioned foreign films or TV – especially those from the capitalist South – is a serious offence in North Korea.

However, efforts to control their distribution have been circumvented by technology, with an increasing number being smuggled in on DVDs, flash drives and mp3 players.

As well as South Korean soap operas, American shows like Desperate Housewives are believed to have a small but avid following.

Mark: it is not news broadcasts or propaganda that the North Korean regime is so frightened of. It is anything that reveals, just hrough pictures of furnishings, food, or street-scapes, how much better off the West is than North Korea. North Korea today is “1984” come to life. Surely it cannot be much longer before this dreadful regime implodes. Once again we all look to China, apparently the only country to whom the North’s regime ever pays any attention, to exercise its influence to ameliorate the behaviour of Kim and his cronies.

But what is particularly frightening is that the North Koreans seem to have even stopped listening to China. Someone needs a viable plan to get rid of the kleptocracy that rules North Korea in comfort while its people live in poverty, ignorance and sheer terror. And fast.

Er … oops. “Shome mishtake, shurely?” as Private Eye would have had it.

Yahoo and others

Regular readers of the blog will know that I am a big fan of my iPhone. Frankly, I love it to bits. I have a relationship with my iPhone. It is the single most brilliant and useful piece of equipment I have ever owned.

So I was interested to read and pass along that Apple have won more than $1 billion in a massive victory Friday over South Korean giant Samsung, in one of the biggest patent cases in decades – a verdict that could have huge market repercussions.

A BILLION dollars. That’s serious money, even by global finance standards.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung Electronics said it would contest the verdict.

“We will move immediately to file post-verdict motions to overturn this decision in this court and if we are not successful, we will appeal this decision to the Court of Appeals,” it said in a statement.

A jury in San Jose, California rejected Samsung’s counterclaims against Apple, according to media reports – a big win for the Silicon Valley giant, which had claimed its iconic iPhone and iPad had been illegally copied.

The jury, which had examined infringement claims and counter-claims by Apple and Samsung, ruled the South Korean electronics giant had infringed on a number of patents, the tech websites Cnet and The Verge said in live courtroom blogs.

The verdict affects patents on a range of Samsung products including some of its popular Galaxy smartphones and its Galaxy 10 tablet — devices alleged to have been copied from the iPhone and iPad.

“This is a huge, crushing win for Apple,” said Brian Love, a professor of patent law at Santa Clara University.

“All of its patents were held valid, and all but one were held to be infringed by most or all accused Samsung products. Even better for the company, five of the seven patents were held to be willfully infringed by Samsung.”

Love said this means that Judge Lucy Koh “now has the discretion to triple Apple’s damages award, which is already a monstrous and unprecedented $1.051 billion.”

Technology analyst Jeff Kagan said of the verdict: “This is a great day for Apple. And it will turn into a very expensive day for Samsung.”

Kagan said it was not immediately clear if Samsung would be able to continue to use the technology and pay Apple for the right to do so, or if they must pull their devices and re-design them.

In any case, the verdict in the case – one of several pending in global courts – is likely to have massive repercussions in the hottest part of the technology sector, smartphones and tablets.

Even a delay in sales could endanger Samsung’s position in the US market, where it is currently the top seller of smartphones.

A survey by research firm IDC showed Samsung shipped 50.2 million smartphones globally in the April-June period, while Apple sold 26 million iPhones. IDC said Samsung held 32.6 percent of the market to 16.9 percent for Apple.

The jury reached its verdict after deliberating for less than three days, examining claims of infringement by both sides. The trial heard evidence during 10 days over a three-week period.

Samsung had steadfastly denied the charges by Apple, claiming it developed its devices independently, and countersued in the case, seeking more than $400 million for infringement on its wireless patents.

The verdict came the same day a South Korean court ruled Apple and Samsung infringed on each other’s patents on mobile devices, awarding damages to both technology giants and imposing a partial ban on product sales in South Korea.

The court banned sales in South Korea of Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad 2, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy SII among other products.

Do not encourage live squid into your mouth at inappropriate moments. I’m sorry, it obviously has to be made clear to some people.

Look, don’t blame me. I didn’t start this.

My responsibility to you, Dear Reader, requires that I reproduce the story, in case, you know, you missed it. Or you threw up the first time you clicked past it, and now need the detail. Whatevs.

A 63-year old woman woman from South Korea became pregnant with 12 baby squid while eating a portion of cooked squid, claims a scientific paper from the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in Maryland, USA.

She claimed to have felt a pricking sensation (oo-er, missus) in her mouth while chewing on the sperm sacks of squid, which forcefully shoot sperm that try to embed themselves when they land.

The lady went to doctors complaining of what they described as ‘bug-like organisms’ in her mouth.

In fact, doctors found baby cephalopods, which are small pods covered in adhesive to make them stick.

Doctors were only able to formally identify the pods as squid spermatophores after they removed them from the victim’s gums, tongue and cheek.

The bizarre claim in the NCBI’s paper says:

“She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately.

She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity.

“Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva [gums] were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa.

“On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.”

In western countries, the organs of squid are generally removed before being served to eat. (And in civilised western countries they are turned into neat little circles of white flesh encased in batter. I mean, come ON, people.)

Incidents involving the ‘impregnation’ of human mouths are more or less confined to areas where raw fish is eaten.

(Thanks to Yahoo7 and others, and sub editors everywhere.)

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