Tuesday, August 21, 2007

[Korea.net News, Nation, August 7 2007] Korea tops e-government ranking two years in a row

Korea has ranked first for two consecutive years in a global e-Government study undertaken by Brown University, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs said Monday (August 6).

In the seventh such annual survey this year, Korea scored 74.9 points out of 100, far ahead of the 54 of the second winner Singapore.

Korea ranked top last year with 60.3 points and the increase by more than ten points is attributable to improvement in online service and security policies.
[Korea.net News, Nation, July 27 2007] S. Korea, U.S. set for world's largest simulation exercise

The United States Forces Korea (USFK) informed North Korea Friday (July 27) of its plan to hold a joint military exercise with the South Korean military next month, a USFK spokesman said.

The Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL) training, to take place on Aug. 20-31 this year, is the world's largest computerized command and control exercise to foster the allies' joint defense capability against a possible North Korean attack.
[Korea.net News, Nation, July 24 2007] Korea plans to issue electronic passports in December

Korea plans to issue electronic passports on a trial basis in December, in a move that is one of the prerequisites to join the U.S. visa waiver program (VWP), the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday (July 24).
[Korea.net News, Nation, July 20 2007] Korea unveils first dual purpose mini-hydro power dam

Korea on Friday (July 20) unveiled its first dual purpose mini-hydro electric station that can provide irrigation water and generate power.
[Korea.net News, Government Press Releases, July 20 2007] Vocational Education CEOs Trained at Seoul National University

From July 18 to 27, 2007, the Ministry of Education is providing the 5th annual CEO training program for potential leaders in the field of vocational education. Under a consignment arrangement, the program is being held at the Secondary Education Training Institute of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Seoul National University, and includes an overseas session in Tokyo, Japan.

The training comes as an endeavor to help spur Korea’s human resources development and cultivate vocational education CEOs who possess expertise, leadership and professional capacity. Over the ten-day program, participants will work to define the role of a vocational education CEO, set the direction and targets for vocational education, strengthen leadership required for CEOs in the digital era, and create personal contacts and exchange channels between CEOs.
[Korea.net News, Government Press Releases, July 20 2007] IT youth competition motivates young aspiring engineers

The fifth annual IT Youth Competition drew the participation of over 15,000 primary and middle school students nationwide on July 13, 2007, under the joint organization of the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, Korean Broadcasting System and Samsung SDS.

Through multiple stages of e-tests and IT knowledge evaluations commenced earlier in May, the ministry made a final selection of 20 youths this month, to award as the most highly gifted students in information and communications technology. The comprehensive e-test consisted of various questions designed to assess students’ skills in Internet usage, information searching, MS Word, Excel and others.
[Korea.net News, Government Press Releases, July 13 2007] 30 Billion to Support 19 New Lifelong Learning Cities

On July 9, 2007, the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development announced its selection of 19 new lifelong learning cities, adding to the current 57 cities under operation. The number of lifelong cities now amounts to 76, accounting for one third of the 232 local governments nationwide.

For selected cities, the ministry will provide 11.4 billion Korean won over a three-year period starting 2007, plus a matching fund of 19.7 billion won from local governments. In total, approximately 31.1 billion won will be invested in building lifelong education infrastructure for the cities, developing diverse programs for adults, employing staff to operate programs, organizing administrative bodies and establishing lifelong learning networks.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 21 2007] POSCO, KEPCO Join Hands to Build Fuel Cells

POSCO and the Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) have formed a partnership to develop hydrogen fuel cell generators, a promising future growth item.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 21 2007] Korea Makes Big Strides in Global Character Industry

Korea is home to Pororo, an animated penguin whose only dream is to be able to fly. In 2004, when the cartoon "Pororo the Little Penguin" hit television screens in France through TF1, the country's most popular network, the aspiring penguin was welcomed with a record-high 47 percent viewing rate.


As the success of Pororo and Pucca illustrates, Korea has become a rising star in the global character business, the very core of the cultural content industry. More and more Koreans are turning their eyes to this promising and growing business as it marches towards success not only in Asia but also in Europe, the U.S. and Japan.


Experts say the overseas success can be attributed to a combination of global strategy and Korean IT. Chicaloca, a fashion character created in 2005 by Project 109, a character-specialist firm, will meet Japanese consumers in the apparel market following her success in Greece, Russia, Australia and New Zealand through licensing deals for stationery and bags. The firm plans to take Chicaloca to the U.S. next year.


Korea's advanced information technology did its part in the development of the character. Korean characters are mostly created with 3D computer software. Characters used to be created through a laborious system of drawing on paper, but IT advancements enable much easier creation of elaborate images.

Jung Mi-kyeong, executive director of Iconix Entertainment, the creator of Pororo said, "Right now 3D is 'it' in the business. 3D characters are much more versatile than the 2D characters popular in Japan."
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 20 2007] Hostage Families Continue Plea with 5th Video Clip

Families of the 19 Korean captives are still waiting in earnest for signs that their loved ones may be coming home soon. Though it's been an exhausting month, family members are continuing their plea releasing their fifth homemade video clip.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 20 2007] Rotem to Supply Electric Trains to Sao Paolo

Hyundai Motor’s rolling stock partner Rotem on Sunday said it formed a consortium with Siemens to provide 84 automatic electric trains at US$160 million in concert with Sao Paulo’s no.4 subway line private investor ViaQuatro. With the deal, Rotem takes the largest share of Brazil’s electric train market.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 20 2007] Experts Predict Weather Services to Grow in Korea

"Weather dictates the U.S. stock market." The saying stems from the fact that U.S. granaries serve as a key food suppliers for the world. When irregular weather patterns drive the price of U.S. crops upward, that takes a toll on the world economy.


According to a study by Professor Gang In-shik of Seoul National University, Korea's weather information service saves businesses up to W3.5 trillion (US$1=W950) annually. Once the service usage reaches the level of advanced nations, the estimated benefit is expected to reach about W6.5 trillion.
[The Hankyoreh, August 20 2007] S. Korea and US kick off war game to foster joint defense

South Korea and the United States began Monday their annual computer-based war game exercise with few field activities, snubbing North Korea's warning that the exercise will trigger a "catastrophic impact."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

[Korea.net News, Opinion, July 14 2007] Korea to lead global science and technology industry

Korea's competitiveness in science is continually increasing. According to the World Competitiveness Rankings 2007 released by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD), one of the top graduate business schools in the world, Korea placed 7th and 6th, respectively, in scientific and technology infrastructures.
[Korea.net News, Opinion, June 19 2007] Roh's policy pushes media into the present


Right now, the prevailing opinion is that the move is a vindictive attack on press freedom, akin to those made on the other side of the world by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who has closed a TV station that criticized him.

But there are two more viewpoints to consider. One is the government's and the other is “the people's.” How will they benefit or lose from the new policy?

My view is that all sides can win. President Roh is making a historic move here, cutting the umbilical cord with the media, just as he cut the judiciary and ruling party from the executive Blue House when he came into office.


This perception comes from a natural anger that the level of access to government is going to change. Now reporters will have to meet with official spokespersons only and formally apply for interviews with other officials, rather than just drop into their offices, but it does not mean their freedom is being curtailed. What is really infringed upon is the reporter's right to roam rather than the public's right to know.
[Korea.net News, Opinion, June 7 2007] 'Press room regulations deserve balanced criticism'

The Measures for Developing an Advanced Media Support System, which were announced by the Government Information Agency on May 22, have been subject to an intense, unkind second-guessing by many people in the press and other quarters of Korean society. The critics argue that the measures are intended to merge and close down reporters' rooms, curbing the newsgathering activities of reporters and limiting the people's right to know. However, much of the criticism is misleading and camouflages the truth.


Attacks on the new Media Support System are not warranted for the following three reasons:

First, the new Combined or Consolidated Press Briefing Centers will be comprised of multiple numbers of briefing rooms and reporters' rooms with an aim of becoming a one-stop service for the media seeking information on the government. ...

Second, the government's electronic briefing service is another important feature of the new system. When introduced, it will complement on-site briefings and provide thorough information on the daily operation of the government. ...

Third, some people allege that the new policy bans reporters from contacting government officials, but this is far from true. The government's new policy simply calls for reporters to make prior arrangements before meeting with civil servants for newsgathering purposes, which is a universally accepted norm in the Western world. Following relatively simple steps, they will be free to contact and interview any official. ...
[Korea.net News, Opinions, June 3 2007] Korean automarket enthusiasts set sights on standardizing new technology


Good news: In the 21st century, we're all a little closer to getting into the driver's seat of a car like KITT, at least those attending the Seoul Motor Show 2007 in April, where several artificial intelligence, hybrid, hydrogen-powered, and environmentally-friendly cars were showcased.


The Korean government, the automobile industry and academia will make concerted efforts to place the nation among the world's leading automakers.