Home > 1 Daily News Brief > News Brief January 18-20, 2011

News Brief January 18-20, 2011

News Brief                                                                                                                                January 18, 2011
Unemployment Rate Remains at Crisis Level 

Despite economic recovery and the National Employment Strategy Council’s efforts, the unemployment rate continues to fall. A senior researcher was quoted stating, “the closer we move toward being an advanced nation, the higher the employment rate should be, but South Korea has been stagnating” and “not only are our job creation capabilities falling as the South Korean economy engages in export-led growth, but every time the employment rate seems set to recover there is another employment shock with the eruption of a financial crisis.”

Free Meals Taken to Court 

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has taken the disputed free meals for students program to court in order to nullify ordinances passed by the Seoul Metropolitan Council. The Seoul Metropolitan Government filed a lawsuit against the Seoul Metropolitan Council claiming that the Seoul Metropolitan Council forced Seoul mayor, Oh Se-Hoon, to implement the free meals for students program against his will.

Paris Baguette Demands Compensation 

Seven branches of the bakery franchise, Paris Baguette filed a lawsuit against a man, surname Kim, who posted a picture of a loaf of bread with a rat inside it, claiming the loaf of bread was from Paris Baguette. The lawsuit claimed that, “since this affair, the branding of Paris Baguette has been hugely damaged and sales have also rapidly fallen” and demanded 15 million KRW (13,461USD) each for damages. Kim admitted to posting the picture on the internet in an attempt to better his own bakery business, Tous Les Jours.

Southeast Asians Polled to be the Most Discriminated against in Korea 

The Seoul Development Institute reported that Southeast Asians are the most discriminated against, citing pointing in public, harsh language, difficulties in renting accommodations, taking taxis, and seeking jobs. According to reports, 25.9% of residents from Southeast Asia experienced discrimination, while 20% of Northeast Asians (including Chinese and Taiwanese) and 8.2% of residents

from OECD countries (including the U.S., Japan, and Europe) feel discriminated against.

January 19, 2011
Korea to Consult Ambassadors on International Marriages 

The government plans to create a consulting council in order to discuss policies regarding international marriages and multiculturalism. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family plans to hold an inaugural meeting inviting diplomats from Asian countries where a growing number of women seek marriage with Koreans. Concern over international marriages has grown due to the increasing number of

divorces and cases of abuse in international marriages. The consulting council included Ambassadors from the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and Thailand.

North Korea’s Political Prison Camps 

A South Korean government source claimed that North Korea still operates six political prison camps with around 154,000 inmates. The source claimed that North Korea originally operated ten political prison camps, but closed four near the Chinese boarder due to international attention. There are assumed to be two types of camps: permanent camps where prisoners spend their entire lives and

re-education camps where prisoners are released after severe hard labor; the source claims there is only one re-education camp and the rest are permanent, routinely involving torture. North Korea denies the existence of such camps.

North Korea’s Military Requests Food 

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that for the third time in its history, North Korea has requested provisions from its people in order to feed its 1.2 million troops. RFA reported that “on Jan. 10, the Workers’ Party has sent out a written order to plants, companies and labor groups, urging them to donate foodstuffs to the military from Jan. 12.” The RFA cited sources within North Korea.

January 20, 2011
Fired After Being Sexually Harassed Then Fired For Filing Petition 

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) investigated and concluded that women at a distribution company in the South Choongchung Province were sexually harassed by superiors at the company then fired after reporting the abuse.  NHRCK recommended that the executive pay up to 900 thousand won ($10,000) in compensation to the female workers.

Yongsan Tragedy 2 Year Anniversy 

January 20th marks the 2 year anniversary of the Yongsan Tragedy in Seoul, Korea. Although, two years passed since the tragedy when five civilians and one police officer were killed due to police force used to stop demonstrators with combustibles protesting a new redevelopment plan in the Yongsan area that would force them to lose their homes and businesses. There are still many unanswered human rights questions and wounds that have yet to heal through this tragedy.

Experience and Wisdom That Comes With Age Does Not Matter Anymore 

Studies have showed that there has been an increase of early retirement among teachers in South Korea. With the start of the new school year, it was stated that many parents requests a change in homeroom teachers due to their old age. As the parents, feel

NHRCK Appoints 2 New Non-Standing Committee Members 

It was reported on January 20th by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea appointed 2 new non-standing committee members. Through the nomination of  Professor of Law at Seoul National University Ms. Yang Hyun-Ah and Professor of Law at Korea University Mr. Yoon Nam Keun.

More Migrant Wives Seek Divorce Counseling 

An increasing amount of migrant wives are seeking divorce counseling, raising concerns on the difficulties faced in multicultural families. In 2009, divorce in multicultural marriages already accounted for 10% of Korea’s divorces, increasing the percentage to a third of all multicultural marriages ending in divorce. There has been a 50% increase in migrant wives seeking divorce counseling this year, bringing the percentage up to 23% of multicultural marriages.

Marital Abuse Leads to Suicide of Migrant Wife 

A migrant wife from the Philippines, Deocades, married to a Korean man through a marriage broker committed suicide a year after the marriage. Deocades reportedly made calls to her family in the Philippines asking them to send her money so that she could return home; Deocades stated that she was being abused by her husband and in-laws, including her husband attempting to force her into prostitution. Friends and family became worried for her safety when calls to and from the migrant wife were unavailable or interrupted. Deocades was found hung in her home in Gongju. Though authorities ruled Deocades’ death a suicide, friends and family suspect foul play.

Longer Sentence for Murder 

The Supreme Court proposed a new set of guidelines increasing the sentencing for murder charges to a maximum of 50 years. The new guidelines also dealt with fraud, document fabrication, narcotics and obstruction of official duties.

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