Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

Refugees with leprosy or HIV to be prevented from emigrating to Australia

May 31st, 2007 . by Matt

Finally, some common sense. What is puzzling is why that was accepted in the first place.

Prime Minister John Howard has indicated he would prefer to shut the door on migrants and refugees with serious contagious diseases.

The Australian National Audit Office found that the Immigration Department has knowingly approved visas for migrants with serious communicable conditions, despite authorities’ inability to monitor them.

Mr Howard today said a review of the situation was imminent and the best outcome would be a ban on migrants and refugees who were HIV positive or who had leprosy from entering the country.

“My view is the best result is that no one with those sort of ailments is allowed into the country,” Mr Howard told Macquarie Radio.

“I’m going to review the current position, and I want procedures put in place that see as far as possible that that doesn’t happen.

What is strange is that there are actually organisations and supporters of bringing people with these kind of diseases here as immigrants.

Nationalist ads

May 30th, 2007 . by Matt

Nationalist ads are being used to sell products. I find it kind of funny, slandering a company as being owned by foreigners, or secretly under Japanese control.

The Fair Trade Commission has ordered Hite Brewery Co., the nation’s top beer maker, to stop trying to arouse nationalist fervor against its rival, Oriental Brewery Co., while falsely claiming that Hite is “the only Korean beermaker.”
The agency yesterday ordered Hite to correct “slanderous” advertisements pitched against OB. In the offending ads, Hite said if consumers purchased OB beer, it would “only feed foreigners.” Belgium-based InBev has a 100-percent stake in OB.
Hite also claimed the foreign investor would “run away after getting all the profit for itself” and denounced an OB stock buyback in 2004 as a move benefiting only the foreign shareholder.
Hite’s claim to be “a company with 100-percent local capital” was also ruled false by the agency, which noted that foreigners have more than a 30 percent stake in Hite.
According to the agency, Hite distributed pamphlets carrying the false claims and charges to cars passing three tollgates in Seoul in September and October 2006, during the Chuseok holidays.
Ironically, Hite’s soju affiliate Jinro Ltd., in November, sued the marketing agency of its rival Doosan Co. for 10 billion won ($10.8 million), alleging that it was the target of a rumor that Jinro is owned by a Japanese company. Jinro, the nation’s top producer of soju, a Korean distilled liquor, argued that Doosan made use of anti-Japanese sentiment to damage Jinro. A ruling is yet to be issued.

Taiwanese high school girls vs. Korean high school girls

May 29th, 2007 . by Matt

Now this was funny. I wonder if its going to spark a netizen between Korea and Taiwan.

Wikipedia Switches from “Dokdo” to “Liancourt Rocks”

May 29th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Last week, Korea’s Chosun Ilbo warned Korean “netizens” that there was a vote being taken at the online encyclopedia “Wikipedia” to use the name “Liancourt Rocks” instead of “Dokdo” as the name of the article describing the dispute between Japan and Korea over a small group of rocky islets in the Sea of Japan. (See the Wikipedia article here.) You can find a translation of the Chosun Ilbo article here.

Even though the Chosun Ilbo article seemed to have mobilized a great many Korean netizens to go to the Wikipedia site to try to influence the vote, it appears their efforts were in vain because when I checked the Wikipedia site this morning, I noticed that “Liancourt Rocks” had replaced “Dokdo” as the name of the article describing the dispute. Now, even if you type “Dokdo” in the search window at the site, you are directed to the “Liancourt Rocks” article.

I think it was a good decision on the part of Wikipedia since “Liancourt Rocks” is a more neutral name than “Dokdo,” the Korean name for the islets. The Japanese name for the islets is “Takeshima.” Even though I believe that Japan is the rightful owner of the islets, I think Liancourt Rocks should be used until the dispute is settled.

Foul sushi factory in Sydney

May 29th, 2007 . by Matt

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article titled “Rat droppings everywhere in sushi factory” describing the atrocious conditions at a sushi factory in Sydney. The name of the factory is “Sushi Nara”, which means “Sushi Country” in Korean.

THE pest inspector Bill Lincoln smelt the rats before he saw them when he visited the Sushi World’s factory in Camperdown to quote on fixing the rodent problem last year.

“It was horrific … the stench of rat urine was bad,” he said of the premises the Herald revealed this week had been fined 11 times, and closed for a second time early this month, for breaching hygiene laws.

As Mr Lincoln walked through the premises in Larkin Street last year, he was stunned by what he found. “There were rats in the rice cases; there was shredded paper on the ground where they were making nests; there were droppings everywhere,” he said.

Mr Lincoln said he had seen many food businesses with rat infestations but none as bad as the Larkin Street factory.

Details of the repeated hygiene breaches by one of Sydney’s biggest sushi suppliers came as the Government promised to end the secrecy that has prevented the public finding out about food businesses that have been fined for breaching food safety laws. After a year-long attempt by the Herald using freedom of information laws to get access to details of fines imposed on restaurants and businesses like Sushi World, the NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, promised to amend the Food Act within months to ensure fines will be made public.

“I am totally happy to do it. I would hope to have it finalised in the spring session of Parliament, ” he told the Herald yesterday.

Mr Macdonald said he was committed to publishing inspection results in line with practice in other countries but said he had yet to decide what system to use.

A “short review” by the NSW Food Authority would consider displaying hygiene scores in restaurant windows, as happens in Los Angeles, or to put details on the internet, as happens in New York, the minister said.

The review would consider if restaurant owners should be able to add their own comments to reports about inspection results, as happens overseas.

The Government’s promise came as Mr Lincoln, who worked for Alliance First pest control company, detailed what he saw when he did his inspection.

“In the [sushi] preparation area I saw a food preparation glove that had been chewed out the night before. There were droppings on the benches.

“There was a storage cupboard on the wall and you could see the smearings on it where the rats jumped down. There was a dead rat caught halfway through a wall. He was quite fresh; I think probably three or four days old.”

The Camperdown factory used to supply some businesses operating as Sushi World. Fourteen outlets – at Bondi Junction, Campsie, Castle Hill, Chatswood, Centrepoint Tower, Hurstville, Northbridge Plaza, Randwick Plaza, Sydney Airport and Warringah Mall – operate under a company called Sushi Nara Australia. A lawyer for Sushi Nara said the Camperdown factory had not supplied those businesses for the past 18 months.

What is most horrible about this is that I have actually bought take away sushi from some of those shops.

Background on movement to remove ‘So Far From the Bamboo Grove’ from US schools

May 28th, 2007 . by Matt

mr huh

The Choson Ilbo has an article about one of the people behind the attempt to ban ‘So Far From the Bamboo Grove’, a semi-fictional novel that describes a Japanese family fleeing the Korean peninsula in the wake of WW2.

It was a Korean junior high school teacher who ensured that 171 schools in Prince George’s County of the U.S. state of Maryland no longer teach a controversial novel portraying the Japanese as victims of Korean abuse at the end of World War II. As a result of the efforts of Bob Huh, a permanent resident in the U.S., the county education authorities decided on May 15 that “So Far From the Bamboo Grove”, a fictional account of the last days of the Japanese occupation of Korea from a Japanese perspective, can no longer be used as teaching material in elementary schools and junior high schools in the area.

Huh teaches English at Kenmoor Middle School, one of many schools in the county where the novel by the Japanese-American author Yoko Kawashawa Watkins was being taught. He didn’t realize his students were studying the book until reading an article about it in January. “I was so ashamed,” Huh says. “I’m a Korean, and I didn’t even realize that my students were learning with this book. Koreans were victims of the 36 years of the Japanese occupation, and I was angry about how the book portrays Koreans as evil and abusing the harmless Japanese.”

Huh, determined to get the novel out of schools, drew up a list of inaccuracies in the book. He first persuaded the head English teacher and the principal of his own school to stop teaching “So Far.” Then he wrote to Maryland Senator Ben Cardin and the Maryland State Department of Education but was told to talk to the county Board of Education, since selection of textbooks is not a matter for the state government. Huh wrote dozens of letters to education officials saying schools shuld not teach incorrect history to students.

Mr Huh seems to be lost in the victim/oppressor dichotomy. Any victim can become an oppressor given the right conditions, like those described in ‘So Far From the Bamboo Grove’. Saying that Japanese that were killed, raped, or had their property stolen after the Japanese surrender are not victims is equating individuals with policies of a government that they may not have agreed with, and is the same as saying those Japanese individuals (which includes children) had it coming to them.

For more information on the controversy, see guest writer Sonagi’s thorough review of ‘So Far From the Bamboo Grove’.

Australian English teacher blacklisted

May 28th, 2007 . by Matt

An Australian teacher has been blacklisted by the Korean government for an email in which he which he suggested that he might be HIV positive, and wished his ex-girlfriend would contract AIDS from their sexual contact.

Allegations of improper conduct against expatriate English instructors in Korea refuse to go away. The Korea Foreign Teacher Recruiting Association estimates that about 10 percent of the 20,000-30,000 foreign instructors working here are fired after they were found to have committed sexual improprieties or refused to teach classes.

It cites the case of a Korean woman identified as Kim who says she met an English instructor from Australia at a friend’s birthday party. Kim went out with him for several months. When she broke up with him, the Australian sent her an e-mail in February saying he had had sex with two prostitutes in the Philippines without using condoms in 2006 and Kim had been his next date. He said he was so afraid that he could not tell her about it, and had not had an HIV test. The instructor said Kim “deserved” to get AIDS considering what she did to him.

The KFTRA has added the instructor to a blacklist of 68 foreign instructors accused of sexual harassment and contract breaches. The association told institutes not to hire the Australian.

I wonder what she “did” to him that was so bad?

UPDATE: Commenter macdonaldduck questioned the authenticity of the email (pictured below) in an as yet unpublished letter to the Choson Ilbo.

suspect email

Dear Editor,

I am writing to lodge a vigorous protest against your recent article “Australian English Teacher Blacklisted for AIDS Threat” (May 28, 2007).

The article is equally erroneous and unfair. In fact, it is constructed entirely upon a transparent lie.

A quick reading of the email supposedly sent by the English teacher in question reveals that it was unmistakably NOT written by a native speaker of English. Within just five lines of text, the writer omits essential articles (”the,” “a”) in three places. In fact, upon rereading, it appears that the email does not contain even one article: in every single place where an English-speaker would unfailingly use one, the writer omits to do so. It’s a very simple deduction that the true author of the inflammatory email is in fact the estranged girlfriend–not the English teacher.

Having demonstrated that your article, based entirely upon a fraud, is erroneous in its entirety, I wish also to address its patent unfairness. Not content to expose this one English teacher to public humiliation, you generalize, in your opening line, about “allegations of improper conduct against expatriate English instructors in Korea.” This is the journalistic equivalent of examining the Cho Seung-Hui case under a heading of “Korean criminality.” It is grossly and transparently wrong.

Further, your choice to black out the name of the Korean “recipient” while leaving unblacked the name of the foreign “sender” indicates a desire to protect members of your own race while exposing others to harm. Worse, your exposure of the teacher’s name in such a public way–without making allowance for his possible innocence–can only, at best, be taken as bad journalistic practice.

But the astonishing, overriding irony at work here is that you at the Chosun Ilbo, together with the KFTRA and the unnamed woman in question, while all conspiring to make foreigners look bad, have only shown yourselves to be idiots and bad actors. So far from demonstrating that Koreans are victims of foreign misconduct, you unknowingly, unintentionally prove the exact opposite in this case.

I demand that you retract this article and issue a public apology to the English teacher in question.

A false accusation of this sort, however, is not simply a breach of good conduct; it is also a criminal matter. The Chosun Ilbo, together with the other guilty parties in this affair, stand to face criminal charges for slander. If the foreign teacher you have sought to harm does not himself prosecute, expect that others may, on his behalf.

Yours sincerely,

Donald Webber
Seoul, Korea

UPDATE 2: Robert from the Marmots Hole received an email from the teacher in question.

US trade with N. Korea “dipped” to $3,000 in 2006

May 27th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Link to the article

Is this guy sneaking a peek?

May 27th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers


Woman exonerated for South Korea murder sues FBI

May 26th, 2007 . by Matt

A woman is suing the FBI for forcing her to confess to the murder of a friend in South Korea.

A former Marshall University student who spent nearly two years in prison before being exonerated in the 2001 killing of an exchange student in South Korea, has sued the FBI, claiming federal agents violated her constitutional rights by coercing her to confess.

Kenzi Snider, 25, claims FBI agents wrongly focused on her as a suspect in the March 2001 death of Jamie Lynn Penich, 21, while ignoring evidence that suggested Penich was sexually assaulted and stomped to death by one or two men.

Snider was arrested by FBI agents in West Virginia in February 2002 and sent to Seoul in December that year.

A Seoul District Court acquitted her in June 2003, and South Korea’s highest court upheld the ruling in January 2006. Snider, formerly of St. Cloud, Minn., now lives in Wayne County.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the FBI, agents Marc DiVittis and Seung Lee and Army Criminal Investigation Agent Mark F. Mansfield.

FBI spokesman Rob Ambrosini said Friday the agency is aware of the lawsuit, but does not comment on pending litigation as a matter of policy. Snider’s lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

Snider and Penich, a University of Pittsburgh student from Derry Township, Pa., were among a group of seven exchange students in South Korea in the spring of 2001. They attended Keimyung University in southern South Korea.

After the group went out for dinner and drinks on March 17, 2001, Snider and Penich ran into several American soldiers at a pub before walking back to their hotel together.

The next morning Penich’s naked body was found inside a hotel room, her face covered with a black cloth.

Snider’s lawsuit said FBI agents zeroed in on Snider as their primary suspect after drumming up a “lesbian angle” as a possible motive. During three days of questioning, the agents misled Snider into believing she had repressed memories about killing Penich until she “finally accepted the version of the murder proffered by the defendants.”

“Other than the coerced false confession, no evidence was developed or introduced tying Ms. Snider to the murder,” says the lawsuit, filed by Chicago lawyer J. Samuel Tenebaum. “In fact, physical evidence and eyewitness statements known to the defendants, but ignored by them at the time of their interrogation, strongly indicated Ms. Snider’s innocence.”

Initial forensics reports found semen in Penich’s vagina. Witnesses also reported seeing and hearing men outside her room around the time of her death, according to the lawsuit. The brutal nature of the attack also suggests that the killer was a man.

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