Archive | December, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

31 Dec
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light of hope, originally uploaded by dolcevitalux.

Bribes for Hostages

31 Dec

The Seollal jeol is called 'sebae', and this tradition is strictly observed even today. On the official day of Seollal, Koreans change into Hanboks to symbolize new beginnings starting off with a clean body and heart where they pay their respects to the elders by bowing or doing sebae.Discussion about freeing abductees just shouldn’t include talk of money, or diplomatic relations. Somehow, though, the ROK Unification Ministry manages to make interstate diplomacy into a form of sebae.

South Korea has repeatedly offered cash to the North to return its citizens but Pyongyang has not accepted, Yonhap news agency quoted officials as saying.

The South’s Unification Ministry would not confirm the reports but said the return of its citizens was a top concern. Lee has said he was willing to pay to win their release but has never turned his idea into an official government program.

Yonhap said last week that the North, which denies holding South Koreans against their will, had approached Seoul about working out a plan to exchange South Koreans for cash and economic incentives.

Japan has hit North Korea with sanctions and suspended aid, demanding Pyongyang settle problems caused by its agents abducting Japanese nationals decades ago and holding them in the reclusive communist state.

North Korea, with estimated annual economic output of about $20 billion, has lost out on at least $1 billion in aid the South had been supplying each year because of the strain in ties.

Then again, it is the sort of thing Seoul would do to placate both the families of abductees and pro-unification voters.

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The Onion on the Space Shuttle

31 Dec

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