Saturday, September 15, 2007

[ News, Foreign Relations, September 11 2007] Experts from three Asian countries to discuss open source software development in Seoul

Tech officials and experts from three Asian countries will gather this week in Korea to discuss ways to boost development and improve use of open source software, also called freeware, Seoul officials said Tuesday (Sept.11).

Open source software refers to computer programs that can be available for free, with users allowed to modify and share them by using disclosed software codes. It can be compared with proprietary-style software such as Microsoft's Windows operating system.
[ News, Nation, September 13 2007] British embassy in Seoul to open new visa center with changes to process

The British Embassy in Korea will no longer accept visa applications at the embassy, while its new visa application center will start collecting biometric data, including fingerprints, of people wishing to visit Britain for a period of six months or longer, the embassy said Thursday (Sept. 13) in a press release.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, September 11 2007] Where KBS Should Get its Subscription Fees

Despite opposition, the board at KBS bypassed a vote in deciding on a 60 percent hike in the monthly subscription fee it charges the public, from W2,500 to W4,000 (US$1=W939).
According to minutes of the meeting made public by Grand National Party lawmaker Park Chan-sook, one KBS board member opposed the fee hike saying that the public broadcaster’s top priority should be addressing the issue of fairness, while its next priority should be dealing with its reckless spending. The board member cited the fact that many KBS viewers were opposed to paying even the existing subscription fee. Two other board members pointed out that the existing management at KBS, including its president, should have kept their wages frozen.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 11 2007] LG Unveils New, Lighter Laptop

LG Electronics has released a new series of notebook computers named the X Note E200 series with 12.1 inch LCD screens, the company said Monday. The series has 20 percent improved data processing speed compared to the existing PCs due to Intel’s Napa platform. It comes with a detachable optical disk drive (ODD) that reduces the weight to 1.8 kg. It is also equipped with a 1.3 million megapixel smart cam, enabling users to join video chats and conferences.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 11 2007] May Lee on the Stresses of Being a Media Entrepreneur

Following a long career as a news anchor with major broadcasters like CNN and ABC, May Lee has transformed into a media entrepreneur. The 41-year-old Korean-American earned the nickname "Asia's Oprah Winfrey" when she launched the "The May Lee Show" earlier this year.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 11 2007] Koreans May Need E-Passports to Enter U.S.

The U.S. will allow only Koreans with e-passports to enter the country even if Korea joins the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) next year, Korea's foreign affairs and trade ministry said on Monday.
Under the VWP, those with e-passports, which have a chip containing fingerprint and other personal information, will be able to enter the U.S. without a visa. However those without e-passports will have to apply for a visa to enter.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 11 2007] Korean Chipmakers 'Undervalued' - Bloomberg

The stock prices of Korean chipmakers including Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor are undervalued after sharp declines brought on by the subprime lending crisis in the U.S., according to Bloomberg news agency on Monday.
"Samsung Electronics, the top maker of memory chips, was valued last month at the cheapest versus U.S. chipmakers since July 2004", a Bloomberg report said.
[Tha Chosun Ilbo, September 10 2007] Samsung, LG Set Sights on Middle East, Africa

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are set to penetrate markets in the Middle East and Africa.
According to the industry on Sunday, Samsung got nods for the Middle Eastern and African markets by participating in the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), which opened on Saturday in Dubai and goes until Sept. 12.
The Middle East's biggest IT exhibition has brought together some 3,300 companies from 40 countries. Samsung displayed 204 products from 183 categories including items displayed in the 2007 IFA in Berlin recently, including the 70-inch LCD TV, the Duo HD player and the Ultra Edition II mobile phone.

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Journalists give protest letter to Blue House

AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Journalists give protest letter to Blue House:

"The Journalists Association of Korea voices opposition to President Roh's open disdain and restrictive policy towards the media

The Korea Times Tuesday, September 11, 2007
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia

The Journalists Association of Korea (JAK) on Tuesday visited Cheong Wa Dae, to demand President Roh Moo-hyun revoke his repressive media policy. Chung Il-yong, chairman of the Journalist Association of Korea, and other members of the journalist group also demanded Roh apologize for his remarks last week belittling journalists. Seven representatives from the association went to the Cheong Wa Dae to read and present their 3-page letter to the President."
AsiaMedia :: KOREA: Naver faces dilemma over online libel:

"Popular Korean web portals face debates about online censorship

The Korea Times Friday, September 7, 2007 By Cho Jin-seo A debate has flared up on the legitimacy of Internet censorship as portal sites began to remove sensitive articles from their sites without the agreement of posters and users."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

[The Hankyoreh, September 5 2007] Staples sales

Post Office Shopping, an on-line retail subsidiary of Korea Post, begins to sell agricultural produce and marine products at discount prices at Gwanghwamun Post Office in Seoul on Sept. 4. The discount sales are aimed at consumers who buy a variety of produce to send or take home for Chuseok, Korean version of Thanksgiving Day by Lunar calendar, which falls on Sept. 23 this year.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 30 2007] Parliamentary Parties Urge Gov't to Scrap Press Controls

The floor leaders of the five parliamentary parties held talks on Wednesday and agreed that government’s new press controls infringe on the public’s right to know. The United New Democratic Party, Grand National Party, Democratic Party, Democratic Labor Party and People First Party urged the government immediately to scrap the rules, which restrict media access to officials and merge newsrooms into handful of centralized briefing rooms. The national assembly is expected to take action against the controls when its regular session starts next month.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 28 2007] Korean Games Popular Abroad

A Korean online martial-arts game featuring flying monsters and slashing swords has been popular in China for three years running.

"Yulgang" has become a mega-hit on the mainland counting more than 50 million fans.

A Korean online dance game and the online racing game Kart Rider have also become hit products in China, battling it out for 1st and 2nd slots in a game market boasting over a hundred million potential gamers.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 27 2007] Journalist Groups Denounce Press Controls

The Korean Association of Newspapers in a statement on Sunday denounced the Government Information Agency's shut-down of all but a handful of briefing rooms at government agencies and restrictions on reporters' access to government officials. Titled "Don't infringe on the people's right to know," the statement urges the GIA to withdraw its attempt to block free news coverage.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 24 2007] A Second Press Crisis

omething preposterous is happening. Are there any pressing circumstances compelling the administration to shut down the press rooms in administrative agencies in such haste and control news coverage? Why in the world is an administration burdened with a plethora of urgent policy tasks and with only a few months left in office doing this? The cynically named “strategy for advanced news coverage support” puts the cart before the horse.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 24 2007] GNP Steps Up Campaign Against New Press Controls

The Grand National Party on Thursday denounced the government’s draconian new press policy as “a scheme to cover up its policy failures” ahead of the presidential election.

The opposition party pledged to take those responsible for “oppressing the press” to account if it takes power.In a meeting with reporters, GNP presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak said, "Our view is different from the government's. This is an open society, not a closed one. It's necessary to approach this issue from the standpoint of guaranteeing the public’s right to know." He reaffirmed an earlier promise to restore press rooms at government offices now being closed down if he becomes president.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, August 23 2007] Lies and Media Control

In July of 2005, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs announced that only 28.7 percent of Koreans owned their own land. The reason why the ministry made that announcement was to underscore the inequality in land ownership in Korea, where 71.3 percent of the public does not own even a small plot of land. And according to this script, a government-run website publicizing the Roh Moo-hyun administration’s achievements wrote that many Koreans were feeling despondent and painfully felt the wide gap between the rich and the poor.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 7 2007] Apple Rolls Out Revamped Ipod

Apple has unveiled the latest version of its flagship iPod MP3 player, jacking up the competition with its rivals in the digital music market. Called the iPod touch, the new device marries the features of a PDA to the popular music player.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 7 2007] Korean Soaps in Crisis

Korean soaps, once at the crest of the Korean Wave all across East Asia, are facing a crisis.

The pay scale of stars is going through the roof, with production firms complaining they are on the verge of going bust. More seriously still, there are signs that overseas demand is dropping while domestic viewers are turning their backs.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 6 2007] LG Chem Boosting Capacity at Battery Plants

LG Chem, Korea's largest chemical firm, is planning to expand its rechargeable battery plants at home and abroad.

The company will expand its polymer battery facility in Nanjing, China by one million cells per month in the second half of this year.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 6 2007] Hynix Surprises Industry With 24-Stack NAND Chip

Hynix Semiconductor said it has developed the world's first multi-chip package with 24 stacks of NAND flash memory.

NAND flash memory chips are used for storage in digital cameras and mobile phones. NAND chips can hold data even when the power is off.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 6 2007] Samsung Building Digital TV Plant in Russia

Samsung Electronics has broken ground on a plant in Moscow that will produce digital TVs for the vast Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States market.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 6 2007] Gov't Seeks to Lower Cell Phone Costs for Poor

The government has set out to lower cell-phone costs for low-income families and youths.

Korea is among the world's most-wired countries and more than seven out of ten Koreans own cell phones, many offering cutting-edge services from movies to real-time traffic information.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 5 2007] Microsoft Adds Chosun Ilbo Feature to Messenger Program

Microsoft Korea said Tuesday that it will offer a new instant messenger news service from Wednesday in cooperation with the Chosun Ilbo's affiliate Digital Chosun. The service allows MSN Messenger users to easily send interesting news articles from the online edition of the Chosun Ilbo to other people via MSN Messenger with a simple mouse-click.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 5 2007] LG to Outsource Small LCD TV Production

LG Electronics has launched a massive restructuring of its display division. The company will directly produce and sell only high value-added liquid crystal display TVs larger than 30 inches in Europe. Small- and mid-sized TVs will be sourced from outside manufacturers and sold under the LG brand.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 5 2007] Police Shut Down Group Sex Website

Police have arrested scores of men and women who engaged in group sex encounters arranged through a commercial website. They include a substantial number of social leaders such as professors, doctors, civil servants, middle school workers and senior executives of a large corporation. Married couples and lovers engaged in partner swapping through the website, police said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 5 2007] E-Passports Coming Next Year

The government will start issuing electronic passports as early as the second half of next year. The change is part of a revision to the passport law which was approved at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

People who want a new passport will have to visit district offices in person, since their fingerprints must be taken to be contained in the new document. Until now, it has been possible to get passports through proxies like travel agencies or other family members.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 5 2007] Next Big Thing in Software is Online Services

Following moves by Google and several Web 2.0 start-ups, Microsoft and Naver, Korea's largest web portal, will soon provide software services delivered through the Internet. The efforts are being closely watched by avid software users.

◆ Microsoft to provide suite of online software
◆ Naver to provide Think Free online office services
◆ Google's online services evolving
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 5 2007] Wireless Providers Battle Over Phone Digits

Three digits of a cell phone number. They lie at the heart of a battle royal between two of Korea's biggest wireless service operators.

Number two KTF has aligned itself with the government's policy of unifying the country's cell-phone numbers under the same first three digits of 010.

Not so fast, says number three LG Telecom. As it gears up to launch its own platform of third-generation cellular service in Seoul later this month LG says its 3G users should be allowed to keep the 019 protocol.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 4 2007] GNP Wants Spymaster to Resign Over Media Exposure

The Grand National Party (GNP) has called on Kim Man-bok, director of National Intelligence Service (NIS) to resign over what it says were excessive media appearances when the hostage crisis in Afghanistan came to an end.

Rep. Lee Jae-oh told a meeting of the GNP supreme leadership committee the spymaster was attempting to use the hostage crisis “as a political opportunity to pave the way for his victory in the 18th general election” next year. Kim also distributed press releases on the hostage issue.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 4 2007] Harmful Viruses Spreading Through Messenger Programs

While the total number of computer infections in Korea fell last month, the number of instant messaging program-related infections is surging.

According to computer security company New Technology Wave, the number of PCs infected with malicious codes in August dropped by 16.8 percent from a month earlier. That's the second month of decreasing infections. In particular, the number of newly found malicious codes fell by 29.7 percent.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 4 2007] 'D-War' Director Returns Home Triumphant

Director Shim Hyung-rae of the controversial film "D-War" has finally made a public appearance in Korea. The 49-year old filmmaker, who had left for the U.S. after just a brief stage greeting on the opening day of his movie, came back to face the local press. He had refused to give any interviews until now. On Monday, however, Shim had something to show the press: a picture of him and a Sony Pictures executive signing a deal for the DVD distribution of "D-War" and a contract containing the signature of the company's chief executive.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 4 2007] Korea Lags Japan in Hybrid Car Battery Tech

Toyota announced on Sunday that it's planning to introduce its Lexus hybrid sedan in Korea for around W200 million (US$1=W937). Hybrid cars are powered by both a gasoline engine and an electric battery. With increased fuel efficiency, the eco-friendly hybrids are currently in the limelight.


While Japan is focused on developing NiMH batteries, the domestic industry is pouring its effort into lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Currently most batteries used in mobile phones and laptops are now being replaced with Li-ion batteries.

However, according to statistics from the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) on Monday, between 1999 and 2005, Korean companies applied for less than 200 patents related to Li-ion batteries, about 10 percent of the Li-ion applications filed in Japan. Even worse, there is wide gap between the two nations not only in quantity but also in quality.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 3 2007] Actor Calls Untrue Diploma Info a 'Mistake'

Korean-American model and actor Daniel Henney has said that his academic background as currently reported on some web portals is wrong. Henney stars in the new film "My Father" to be released on Sept. 6.
[The Chosun Ilbo, September 3 2007] 2nd Migrant Worker Film Festival Opens in Seoul

For migrant workers the hardships of being away from friends and family are compounded by what is usually a life of grueling labor and struggles.

But the Migrant Worker Film Festival helps migrant workers tell their stories. The film festival in its second year started on last Friday for a three day run.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 31 2007] Under the Buttocks of Power, by Kang Chang-suk

Although more than 30 minutes passed since the meeting was convened, the participants were still killing time bad-mouthing a colleague who had narrowly got promoted on account of favoritism; it was all sour grapes and grumbling about how the investigation allowances were too small. Naturally, the public servants also cursed the press. One group assault continued for quite a while: the target was a reporter who had written that a police box collected regular bribes from nearby restaurants and bars, and thereby caused the dismissal of one of their own.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 31 2007] Resolution Adopted at an Emergency Meeting of Managing and Chief News Editors

The following is the resolution adopted in an emergency meeting of managing and chief news editors on Thursday regarding the government’s new press controls.

Reporters on their beats are crying out every day to point out and resist the injustice of the government's anti-democratic anti-press measures.

We, the chief editors of media companies nationwide in charge of covering, editing and reporting news stories, have called this meeting because we decided we could no longer tolerate the government's unilateral implementation of anti-press measures and the consequent unnatural standoff between the government and reporters in the press rooms.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 31 2007] News Editors Urge Gov't to Scrap Press Controls

The managing and chief news editors of newspapers, broadcasters and news agencies in an emergency meeting at the Korea Press Center in Seoul on Thursday morning adopted a resolution urging the government to scrap draconian new press control. “We refuse to accept the government's anti-press measures and will defend the people's right to know by resisting government oppression whatever the difficulties and sacrifices,” they said.
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 31 2007] 'Assembly' to Open Pusan Film Fest

The 12th Pusan International Film Festival scheduled from Oct. 4 to 12 has selected its opening and closing films. PIFF will open with the world premiere of Chinese director Feng Xuaogang’s new movie “Assembly.”
[The Chosun Ilbo, August 31 2007] Korean Electronics Makers Flourish Products at 2007 IFA

The world's largest consumer electronics trade show kicked off in Berlin, Germany on Thursday. The 2007 Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) has brought together some 1,050 exhibitors from 32 countries.


Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Daewoo Electronics have built large booths to display their goods and technologies to consumers and rivals.

Nineteen smaller Korean businesses including Novatron, Diostech, Aprotech, Oracom and Mtron are showcasing their products in a separate Korean Pavilion.

Samsung filled its 3,900-sq.m booth with 331 products from 82 categories, such as its 120-Hz full-HD TV.