Tuesday, April 01, 2008

[The Chosun Ilbo, April 1 2008] Chosun Ilbo to Sponsor Young Artists’ Festival

The old Seoul Station will get a new injection of life in the form of an art festival. The Chosun Ilbo and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will host the Asian Students and Young Artists Art Festival there from Aug. 6 to 17.
[The Chosun Ilbo, April 1 2008] Foreign Affairs Ministry Begins Issuing E-Passports

The Foreign Ministry began issuing Korea's first-ever electronic passports on this Monday. The so-called e-passport contains a microchip that holds the passport holder's personal information.

Officials say that embedding the chip in the passport will prevent forgeries and satisfy a key reirement for joining the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 31 2008] 3-D Technology to Create Virtual Monument

The Graduate School of Culture Technology of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology said Sunday that it will use digital technology to build a virtual version of the Sungnyemun. The nation's no. 1 national treasure, more commonly known as Namdaemun, was destroyed in a fire last month. A three-dimensional digital reproduction will enable the public to experience and learn about the treasure in detail.

The technology is designed to help restore cultural assets. For existing cultural assets that need restoration, such as the Seokguram Grotto, an ancient hermitage in Gyeongju, it creates 3-D data by beaming lasers onto the item. For treasures whose original forms were destroyed, such as the nine-story wooden pagoda of Hwangryongsa Temple from the Shilla Dynasty, it fills out the original form based on excavated corner stones and tiles. Both methods will be used for the Sungnyemun, since parts of it survived the fire. The school will announce details of plan after a second meeting of experts.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 31 2008] E-Passports to Be Issued on Trial Basis

The government will begin issuing electronic passports for diplomats and government officials on a trial basis from March 31. The issuance of e-passports is a precondition to joining the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. E-passports will be available for the general public starting around August.

President Lee Myung-bak, who is traveling to the U.S. next month on his first overseas trip since his inauguration, will reportedly carry an e-passport in an effort to persuade the U.S. to include South Korea in the VWP.

The back cover of the e-passport contains an embedded microchip that carries the holder's basic personal information, including date of birth and his or her facial information. This makes the back cover of the e-passport a little thicker than that of conventional passports, but otherwise there is almost no difference in the outward appearance between the two. From 2010, the e-passport will also carry the holder's fingerprint information.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 28 2008] Police Plan to Install GPS in All Cell Phones

Christmas Eve, 2007, two young girls aged 10 and eight disappeared from their neighborhood in Anyang city, Gyeonggi Province. Three months later the body of at least one girl was found on a nearby mountain and pieces of the other girl's body in a nearby lake.

The brutal murder was committed by a neighbor who lived some 130 m from their homes. Investigations are ongoing with more charges from past cases involving the murderer coming to light. And with it, the nation's police are being scrutinized for incompetence.

In response on Wednesday the National Police Agency announced its plan to install GPS or Global Positioning System on all cell phones nationwide while introducing Radio Frequency Identification Tags.

Under the current law, the police do not have access to phone GPS and they say this law needs to be revised. Only 20 percent of the nation's mobile phone users have GPS installed, making it difficult for the police to track the location of people while they are being abducted.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 26 2008] Chosun Ilbo’s Border Film Screened at U.S. State Dept

U.S. State Department officials on Monday watched a segment of "On The Border", a documentary on North Korean refugees produced by the Chosun Ilbo as part of its global cross-media program. The film was shown at the request of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and watched by some dozen officials involved in the North Korean refugee issue.

The segment they watched contained scenes of a North Korean woman sold to China across the Duman (or Tumen) River for W46,000 (US$1=W977), a North Korean drug dealer crossing the river naked, and the suffering of North Korean women suffering hardships after being sold to Chinese men.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 26 2008] New Samsung Phone Offers Touch Feedback

Samsung Electronics on Tuesday unveiled a new digital mobile phone with a display that offers sense of touch, or haptic, feedback.

When turning up the volume on the touch-screen, for example, the user feels and hears the "clicks" of a dial being turned. Called the Anycall Haptic SCH-W420, it features 22 different kinds of vibrations that users can choose from.

The multimedia phone also features a customizable menu screen, a digital broadcast TV receiver and a 2-megapixel camera. The gadget is priced at some W700,000 (US$1=W977).
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 26 2008] New Services to Simplify Mobile Net Access

Wireless operators will soon introduce a new service that allows mobile phone users to surf the Internet by phone as easily as on a computer. The service enables users to access the Internet directly, rather than having to go through a website programmed in the phone.

SK Telecom said Tuesday that it will launch the service next month. A company source explained that users of the new service will see websites that they designate, such as Chosun.com, open up in three to five seconds. Using wireless Internet phones with large displays and Internet software, users will easily be able to browse the web.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 24 2008] LCD TV Market Boom Expected This Year

The market for liquid crystal display televisions is seeing tremendous growth, leaving manufacturers scrambling to secure enough LCD panels.

This is a different story from early last year when LCD manufacturers were struggling from an oversupply of the panels.

According to U.S.-based market researcher DisplaySearch, this year's global LCD TV market is expected to increase 32 percent to 150 million sets from last year's 79 million.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 21 2008] Mobile Providers to Lift Lock-In on SIM Cards

The nation's two largest telecom providers SK Telecom and KTF will lift the "lock-in" function on SIM cards in handsets for third-generation mobile service subscribers. Subscribers to 3G services like SK's T Live and KTF's SHOW will no longer have to go through an authentication and opening process all over again when they want to change mobile phones from March 27 and will be able to start using a new handset immediately if they take the SIM card out of the old handset and put it in a new one.

Customers also can choose which handset they want to use according to their outfit and occasion. If the batteries are exhausted, they can borrow their friend's cell phone and put their SIM card in the borrowed phone to use it for a short while. The sharing of SIM cards, however, will be limited in the early stage to handsets linked to the same service provider. Those who want to share their card among phones linked to different carriers will have to wait until the second half of this year.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 21 2008] Samsung Elec. to Build Handset Plant in Vietnam

Samsung Electronics on Friday will unveil a plan to build a large mobile phone plant in Vietnam with an annual production capacity of 100 million units. Samsung has been pushing for the plan over the past year under a strategy of building a global mobile phone production system.

The new plant will be built in Bac Ninh Province where Samsung has reportedly obtained land for the facility. Samsung aims to begin operating a first-stage plant with an annual production capacity of 30 million handsets either late this year or early next year. The company will then expand the factory gradually, with a view to raising its annual production capacity to 100 million units.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 20 2008] Peak Performance: LG Display Takes On the Himalayas

LG Display, formerly LG.Phillips LCD, plans to take its staff to the Himalaya mountains. As part of an extreme challenge project to make itself into the liquid crystal display industry's global leader, it will select 15 of its employees to climb to Annapurna Base Camp in the Himalayas, some 4,130 m above sea level, from March 28 to April 3.

In addition to serving as a staff bonding experience, the trek is meant to symbolize the company's goal to rise from its second place ranking in the LCD market to the summit. The idea was so compelling that 296 employees applied to become one of the lucky 15 who will go. The expedition will train in a camp for a week before making the ascent under the guidance of a professional climber.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 20 2008] Web Mall Auction to Face Class Action Suits

Korea's largest online shopping mall Auction with some 18 million subscribers could face class action suits from members in connection with a leak of their personal information. Attorneys Kim Hyun-sung of law firm Sangsun and Park Jin-shik of law firm Next Law on Wednesday said they will separately file for damages in early April against Auction.

The two lawyers are now recruiting litigants online. As of Wednesday, Kim had recruited some 3,200 litigants and Park about 1,700 for their respective suits. Legal insiders predict each of the litigants could get between W200,000 (US$1=W1,009) and W1 million in compensation.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 20 2008] SKT Looking to Buy Chinese Video Game Maker

SK Telecom has rolled up its sleeves to enter the Chinese video game market. An SK Telecom executive said Wednesday that the company has formed a task force and is working to acquire a Chinese game company.

The Korean company has turned its eyes to Chinese gamers as the game market in the world's most populous country is growing at a breathtaking rate. According to the Korea Game Development & Promotion Institute, the Chinese game industry posted total sales of no more than 11.34 billion yuan last year, but it grew a whopping 59.1 percent from the previous year. It is estimated that sales will reach some 26.23 billion yuan (W3.7 trillion, US$1=W1,009) by 2012.

SK is reportedly in talks with three or four Chinese game makers which are listed or are preparing to list on the Hong Kong stock market.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 19 2008] Space Advertising Plan Thrown in Doubt

Korea's plans to advertise in space are in limbo after Russia abruptly changed its mind on the idea.

An official with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute on Tuesday said Russia changed its mind recently and decided not to allow the Korean astronauts to carry corporate logos on their space suits in order to maintain their dignity as astronauts.


Corporate ads have been sent into space several times already, including on space probes and the international space station.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 19 2008] LG's Prada Phone Turns One Year Old

LG Electronics has marked the first anniversary of the release of its Prada Phone, the high-end mobile phone developed in partnership with Italian luxury fashion label Prada. The phone has sold some 800,000 units worldwide, including 250,000 in Korea, generating W100 billion (US$1=W1,014) in operating profit.

When they cooperate with luxury fashion brands to develop premium phones, handset makers are usually looking to strengthen their brand image rather than increase their profits. But the Prada Phone is significant -- it has succeeded in enhancing both.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 19 2008] Capital Punishment Reconsidered

South Korea became a capital punishment “abolitionist in practice” on Dec. 30 last year. Though legally maintaining the death penalty for capital crimes like murder, it has in effect abolished the penalty by not executing it for a decade. The title is given by Amnesty International. The executions of 23 people on death row on Dec. 30, 1997 under the Kim Young-sam administration were the last of their kind. Fifty-eight convicts remain theoretically on death row.


Indignant voices are being raised on the Internet over a series of recent brutal murders, so that does not necessarily seem to be the case. Websites concerning the murder of a mother and her three daughters by a former professional baseball player and that of two schoolgirls in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province are flooded with angry comments. The criminals must be executed, they demand. This is not the first case of this kind. It is repeated whenever particularly brutal murders take place, like the murder of 21 people by the serial killer Yoo Young-chul.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 18 2008] Korean WiBro Supplier to Expand Venezuela Network

Korean-developed wireless broadband equipment will be exported to South America. POSDATA said Monday that it has signed a contract to provide a complete WiBro solution to Venezuelan WiBro operator Omnivision.

Under the deal, the Korean WiBro equipment supplier will provide 300 base stations, 30,000 USB-type laptop modems, and network management software by the end of the year. It will also build the system.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 17 2008] Blu-Ray Vs. IPTV: an Unequal Battle

The battlefield in new media is moving to a showdown between Internet protocol (IP) TV and Blu-ray discs now the Blu-ray camp appears set to declare victory over the rival HD DVD camp in the next-generation data storage format war. The National Assembly recently passed a law on IPTV, while domestic home appliance makers are preparing to introduce Blu-ray products, this being the camp Korean electronics manufacturers wisely bet on.

Both IPTV and Blu-ray are new formats enabling consumers to watch movies at home as and when they want. But they are hugely different in terms of customer convenience and image quality.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 17 2008] Daring Movie Tells Plight of N.Korean Refugees

Amid growing interest from the global community in the Chosun Ilbo documentary "On the Border," another Korean film about North Korean refugees is set to be released in May.

"Crossing" is the first Korean feature film to deal with the miserable reality faced by North Korean defectors, including laborers in a logging camp and teenagers who survive by begging and stealing. The 2006 movie "South of the Border" dealt with the story of separated North Korean lovers, but "Crossing" focuses on the refugees' struggle to survive.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 17 2008] S.Korean Comic Book Is 'Anti-Semitic' - U.S.

A South Korean comic book has been defined as anti-Semitic in a U.S. State Department report. The book is from a series called "Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries" and is about the U.S.

In a report on contemporary global anti-semitism submitted to the U.S. Congress on Saturday, the State Department said the book "recycles various Jewish conspiracy theories, such as Jewish control of the media, Jews profiting from war, and Jews causing the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks."
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 17 2008] Hiddink to Appear in Samsung Elec. Ad in Russia

Guus Hiddink left South Korea after leading the national soccer squad to the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Now the head coach of Russia's national soccer team, Hiddink will reaffirm his deep personal relationship with South Korea by promoting Samsung Electronics in Russia.

Hiddink, 61, signed a deal in Moscow on March 8 to appear in advertisements for Samsung's Kino premium digital TVs, targeting high-spending Russian consumers.
[The Chosun Ilbo, March 14 2008] Korean Films Win Recognition in Europe

Korean films are gaining increasing recognition on the international stage, winning numerous awards and honorable mentions in various film festivals.

Park Chan-wook's "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK" received an Honorable Mention at the FantasPorto 2008, the 28th edition of the Oporto International Film Festival, which opened March 9 in Portugal.

The film takes place in a mental hospital, where a girl who thinks she's a cyborg falls in love with another mental patient.

Park is one of the most acclaimed directors in Korea today and is famous for his "vengeance trilogy," which includes the films "Old Boy" and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance."

The film "Breath" by director Kim Ki-duk is a story about a death-row inmate who falls in love with a married woman. It won the Jury's Special Award in the Orient Express section for Asian films at the festival in Portugal.

Monday, March 31, 2008

`Flight-Mode' Policy Confuses Passengers(The Korea Times)

`Flight-Mode' Policy Confuses Passengers (The Korea Times, 25.3.2008):
"Phone makers are producing handsets that enable airline passengers to either listen to music or play games but many airlines do not allow the in-flight use of mobile phones."

News hint by http://www.futurizekorea.com/96