First ‘Yonsama’, Now ‘Byonsama’

 First 'Yonsama', Now 'Byonsama'

First ‘Yonsama’, Now ‘Byonsama’

More than 20 years ago, African statesman Jomo Kenyatta defied his inner circle and left power to a political novice, Daniel arap Moi. Now history is set to repeat itself as Moi prepares Kenyatta’s youngest son to take over the presidency. A Gemini correspondent reports on the controversy surrounding the candidacy of a man lampooned as a “mamma’s boy”.

Rising sea levels and coastal erosion have combined to disrupt life on Nigeria’s exclusive Victoria Island. Until recently a magnet for the rich and powerful, residents are now rushing off the flooded island. To stem the tide of escapees, the government has just agreed to pay for new, expensive installations that scientists think will solve the problem, reports Gemini. ‘A Bittersweet Life’ – the Beginner’s Guide

Some 450 reporters flocked to a promotional press conference for Lee Byung-hun’s film “Bittersweet Life” on Thursday – evidence that the Korean Wave continues unabated in the island country despite strained relations between the neighbors. There were 150 cameramen alone on the roof of the Shinjuku branch of the Isetan department store, in fierce competition to capture Lee’s slightest moves for posterity.
The Japanese press including the Sankei Shimbun and Nikkan Sports ran detailed reports of the press conference in their Friday editions as curiosity about “Byonsama” reached fever pitch.

Lee, dapper in a black suit and tie, said, “‘Bittersweet Life’ is an important work for me as an actor. I feel very strongly about it.” He charmed the Japanese press with his sense of humor as he discussed various episodes that occurred during the shooting of the film.

“When we shot the scene where I put the sugar in the espresso, the first two takes didn’t turn out well,” Lee said to polite laughter. “So director Kim Ji-woon tried dropping the sugar in himself, but he still didn’t like it, so I ended up trying it once again. In the final cut, however, it’s the director’s hand that you see. It seemed he really wanted to get into the film.”

Lee also appeared live on TBS and will return to Korea after an interview with Fuji TV on Sunday. “Bittersweet Life” will debut in Japan at the end of the month, and Lee is well on his way to becoming a household name. About 100 bodyguards were mobilized for the actor’s arrival at Narita Airport, and tickets to the preview of his film were selling for W400,000 (US$400) on Internet auction sites — a popularity exceeding that of even Hollywood stars.

Grief, Speculation Greet Mysterious Lee Eun-ju Suicide

 Grief, Speculation Greet Mysterious Lee Eun-ju Suicide

Grief, Speculation Greet Mysterious Lee Eun-ju Suicide

Top Actress’s Suicide Shocks Nation Entertainment World Says Goodbye to Lee Eun-ju

Grief and a hyperactive rumor mill have greeted the suicide of film star Lee Eun-ju, who was found dead in her apartment Tuesday. The Daum portal site’s most popular story on Wednesday afternoon was about Lee’s funeral scheduled for Thursday. Daum said users posted more than 250,000 replies to some 50 to 60 articles on Lee’s suicide on Feb. 22 and 23. More users read news articles about Lee’s suicide than about the abduction and killing of Kim Sun-il by Iraqi militants last year. The portal site temporarily crashed due to the sudden onslaught of traffic.

Five articles about Lee’s suicide got the most hits on portal site Naver.com. Only an hour or two after they were posted, more than 4,000 replies were attached to the articles. The Chosun Ilbo’s website was also inundated with more than 1,000 mourning messages for Lee.

Speculations over the cause of Lee’s suicide reached fever pitch. Although Lee left relatively detailed suicide notes, it was difficult for people who knew nothing about her personal life to understand her suicide.

“It is nice having money…I wanted to make money,” Lee wrote in a suicide note – sentences that baffled many, considering that Lee was a top advertising model earning hundreds of millions of won in fees.

“I want to return to the days one year ago,” Lee said in another note. Immediately after her suicide, Lee was said to have agonized over nude scenes she took for the film “The Scarlet Letter,” which were linked to her decision to take her life. But fans point out that Lee also did nude scenes for the film “Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors” after debuting in 1997.

One suicide note contains the enigmatic words, “The last call… Thank you. You told me that today is the right day.” Speculation to whom the note was addressed naturally ran high.

Kim Jong-shik of Lee’s management agency Namoo Actors said the company would explain the cause of her suicide after the funeral. Meanwhile, prosecutors and police closed their investigation into the suicide and ruled out foul play.

The mortuary at Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang where Lee’s body is being kept was crowded with fellow entertainers and reporters. Singers Bada and Jeon In-kwon, actors Park Jung-hun, Seol Kyung-ku, Lee Byung-heon and Cha Tae-hyun, and actress Kim Ji-su all came to pay their respects to Lee. Tanzania is to launch a malaria control project next year that will use the pesticide DDT in a bid to control mosquitoes that spread malaria. The move angers environmentalists, who argue that the controversial pesticide is harmful to humans. A Gemini News Service correspondent wades into the debate.

Sex, voyeurism, rape and murder – it all greets the people of Mauritius in their newspapers and radios every day. But complaints of unfair and sensational reporting on women and children have caused journalists to set up Mauritius Media Watch. As Gemini News Service reports, the media watchdog hopes to bring – without censorship – fairness and respectable reporting to both sexes. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) has been successfully ‘rebranded’ as the African Union. But is there more to this name-change than the mere cosmetic? A Gemini News Service correspondent leafs through the new African grouping’s plans and finds four promising reasons for hope of a more successful organisation – despite that dropped ‘O’. Winding its way through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the Zambezi River is a prized resource. Its waters provide fisheries, tourism, and increasingly, electricity. But as Gemini News Service reports, Mozambique’s attempt to dam the river is pushing environmentalists into the deep-end and could send Mozambique’s rural economy to sleep with the fishes.

‘NAME AND SHAME’ PLAN DIVIDES NATION TROUBLED BY CHILD SEX ABUSE

The South African government is considering introducing a sex-offenders register. But this has been contested by various organisations and experts – and has sparked heated debate. A Gemini News Service correspondent looks at both sides of the issue in a country where child sex abuse is skyrocketing.

It’s been three years since leprosy was brought under control in Senegal. Thanks to ambitious government programmes and partnerships, the disease is nearly eradicated and reintegration efforts have been set up for the patients. But, as Gemini News Service reports, overcoming leprosy’s major societal side effect – stigma – remains a long-term challenge. Swaziland is the last country in sub-Saharan Africa ruled by a hereditary king. The king also sets standards for such social customs as polygamy, but its popularity appears to be dipping outside the extended – and considerably large – royal world. Hindrances, reports Gemini News Service, include women’s desire to be free and the considerable burden of ‘bride price’.

New Updates Coming soon! 11/30/04

Human Rights

Human Rights

This website brings to you information that is not being well publicized as to what is happening in South and North Korea. It focuses on Korean politics, North Korean escapees/defectors, scandals, and overall relations with the United States. We have some links in Korean below.

This site is not affiliated with any religious, political, or idealogical group, and has the ultimate goal of peace on the Korean peninsula in a democratic form. How the Koreas get to that point is covered here. The world cannot stand by naively and ignore starving and tortured North Koreans being murdered through genocide. The time for action is now.

Peace on the Korean Peninsula needs to be in a Democratic form. Reunification with a hostile and corrupt North Korea is not possible, and those who call for the U.S. to leave South Korea are either very naive as to the lies and evilness of the North Korean regime or are openly in support of a unified Korea under the oppresive, brutal killing machine of Kim Jong Il.
PRAGUE, the Czech Republic – The Fourth International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees on March 4 launched a signature campaign Thursday, demanding that the deportation back home of North Korean refugees be stopped and that concentration camps in the North be abolished. Participants in the conference unanimously approved a resolution on the signature campaign, which Yoon Hyon, chairman of the Seoul-based Citizens Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea, proposed and singed. The adoption of the resolution came just before the three-day conference ended.
Nongovernmental organization representatives, human rights experts and politicians from a number of countries taking part in the conference are expected upon returning home to deliver the signed resolution to their respective parliaments and North Korean embassies in their countries. In addition, the signature campaign is to continue until the end of this year, when its outcome is to be delivered to the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Committee, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The launching of the signature campaign may not result in immediate and explicit pressure on either Pyongyang or Beijing. If it the campaign spreads to governments, parliaments and civic organizations in many countries as well as the U.N. human rights agencies, however, the serious human rights abuses in the North and the plight of North Korean refugees in China would become known widely in the international community, which, in turn could produce new pressure.

The international community might take up the issue of North Korean human rights and refugees as an international human rights agenda and apply pressure on North Korea and China. The issue has not yet attracted much world attention, but the signature campaign could contribute to making the problem a public issue.

The signature campaign could prompt the U.N. Human Rights Committee convening in Geneva in mid-March to adopt a North Korean human rights resolution, and appoint a “Special Rapporteur” on human rights in North Korea. A Special Rapporteur, if appointed, would herald human rights negotiations between the United Nations and North Korea and the annual submission of a report on the matter. The United Nations, based on the report, would debate human rights situation in the North and might adopt a resolution containing demands. A Special Rapporteur, if needed, could visit the North to conduct an on-the-spot inspection. Pyongyang could reject his or her entry, which, if done, would amount to on acknowledgement of human rights abuses in the North and could bring about sterner world pressure.

The signature campaign has increased the possibility for prominent nongovernmental organizations around the world to intervene in this question.

Rights Activists Make Demands for North Koreans

Ten resolutions were adopted at the conference for human rights for North Korea, now being held in Prague, the Czech Republic. Two of the demands were that China refrain from repatriating North Korean refugees, and that the North shut its concentration camps for political criminals. The 4th International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees began Monday and will run for four days. It is being held under the auspices of a South Korean NGO, the Citizens’ Alliance of North Korean Human Rights, and the Czech Republic’s People in Need Fund.

Along with the resolutions, a signature-seeking campaign was started to convince the international society to press ahead with the resolutions.

The resolution also said: “North Korea, as one of the nations to officially recognize international human rights, must ensure that its people’s human rights are respected,” and “We are determined to continue our efforts until the light of human rights shines upon the North Koreans.”

Representatives of NGOs, human rights experts and politicians signed the resolution as a way to participate in the signature-gathering campaign. The signatures of these people will be sent to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The campaign will continue until the end of this year.

North Korean and Chinese Embassies in Prague Hit with Protests

A Japanese participant in the Fourth International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees proposed that an international body inspect concentration camps in North Korea. A professor at Nishogakusha University in Japan, Haruhashi Okawa, said that human rights inspections of North Korean concentration camps are as necessary as are those of the country’s nuclear facilities. Participants made various proposals at the conference in the course of making presentations and conducting a debate on the status of concentration camps and the food shortages in the North. Hiroshi Kato, secretary general of Fund for Assisting North Korean Refugees, suggested waging a campaign boycotting of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in a bid to force China to improve the treatment of North Korean refugees in China. He also proposed that an international court be established to look into human rights abuses involving refugees from the North. Japanese lawmaker Masaharu Nakagawa put forward an idea of jointly setting up emergency humanitarian relief centers in the border areas between North Korea and China, and between North Korea and Russia, to look after refugees.

Watching a video showing severely how the human rights of North Korean refugees are infringed upon, the participants were aghast. “It makes my heart ache,” said Lucia Kbasova, a Slovakian radio reporter.

For about an hour at around 5:30 pm on March 4, the last day of the conference, over 60 participants held candlelight vigils in front of the embassies of Pyongyang and Beijing in Prague, in protest of North Korean and Chinese attitudes toward human rights and refugees.

In front of the Chinese embassy, which the protesters visited first, the participants, among them Yoon Hyun, secretary-general, Citizens Coalition for Human Rights in North Korea, and Mahurin Visonie, representative in Seoul of the organization Doctors without Border, read a list of North Korean refugees China has deported back to the north, and slipped into the embassy door an envelope containing personal information on the deportees.

Carrying lit candles, the protesters moved to the North Korean embassy, two blocks away, shouting slogans such as, “Shine the light of human rights on North Korea,” and “Free all political prisoners.” They then pushed under the embassy’s door a resolution adopted at the conference and signed by all the participants, and a letter addressed to Kim Jong Il.

The steel doors of both diplomatic premises were shut tight while the vigil was on. With the lights turned off, neither showed any reaction.