Sunday, November 8, 2009

Korea news links for November 8, 2009: demos, downers, and Dear Leader

Well, thank you, Federation of Korean Trade Unions, for making this Sunday edition of KNL not a complete disaster (five stories in one edition is a record low). Is everybody home watching "Boys Before Flowers"... or whatever the hell is on in Korea nowadays? (Ah, maybe that's it... all the FKTU members protesting near the capitol meant they weren't committing crimes somewhere else. Just a theory.)

A lack of news stories partially explains why Kim Jong-il visiting a power plant (story #4) would even make the KNL. Yes, I realize that reporting that at all makes the list sounds all KCNA-ish, but in light of rumors that the Dear Leader is really a Dear Misleader, this is actually newsworthy, sort of.

The other noteworthy story is the banning of "downer" cows from slaughterhouses. A cow that is not able to walk on its own may in fact be suffering from BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, aka Mad Cow Disease) or some other ailment. It's really a wonder that this was not made illegal earlier (though the lack of homegrown BSE cases could explain it). It's also a bit of a wonder that protesters last year didn't speak up about it. Well, not that much of a wonder.

And now my news explanation is longer than the news, so I'll just get right into it.

  1. Tens of thousands of FKTU unionists gather for massive rally near National Assembly on Yŏŭido to protest new laws seen as an attempt by the Blue House to weaken labor organizations (AP via WaPo, Yonhap)
  2. South Korea bans "downer" cows from meat supply (Yonhap, Korea Times)
  3. World's largest producer of copper raises 2010 prices for South Korea and Japan due to increasing demand from China (Bloomberg)
  4. Kim Jong-il, accompanied by senior Workers' Party officials, visits newly constructed power plant and farm in southern DPRK (Yonhap, Korea Times)
  5. Parker Brothers™ releases Seoul-inspired commemorative edition of popular board game Monopoly™ (USA Today)

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