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Friday, October 31, 2014

Army sergeant gets 45 years in jail for abuse

A military court Thursday sentenced a 26-year-old sergeant to 45 years in jail on charges of beating a private first class to death, saying that his crime, “close to murder,” deserves a heavy punishment.

The 3rd Army’s court in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, slapped the five other soldiers, who were accused in the high-profile abuse case, with heavy sentences ranging from 25 years in jail to a suspended jail term of three years.

The case has drawn keen media attention due to public outrage over the death of the victim, identified only by his surname Yun. Yun died on April 7 after suffering physical and mental abuse at his unit of the Army’s 28th Division in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province.

The military prosecution pressed murder charges against three of the accused including the sergeant, but the court cleared them of the charges, saying that the investigative authorities failed to completely prove that the accused had homicidal intent when they assaulted Yun.
Family members of Pfc Yun hold a news conference after a military court’s verdict on a sergeant who beat him to death. (Yonhap)

The prosecution said that it would appeal the ruling.

Last Friday, the prosecution demanded the death penalty for the sergeant and life imprisonment for three other soldiers.

The prosecution pressed murder charges against three of them rather than the manslaughter charges they initially sought. Prosecutors reversed their position amid rising public criticism over the persistent abuses at Army barracks. 

The accused are alleged to have repeatedly beaten Yun because they thought he was too slow in responding to their questions and often grimaced. They also allegedly forced Yun to lick phlegm from the floor and act like a dog, and prevented him from filing a complaint with senior officials. 

The prosecution noted that the cause of Yun’s death was “crush syndrome” and “secondary shock.” It initially said that he died after the defendants forced him to swallow dumplings, which caused his airway to be blocked and led to brain damage. 

“Crush syndrome” refers to a medical condition in which various organs malfunction as toxic substances that are created due to the damaged muscle tissues enter the bloodstream. Secondary shock results from a massive blood loss. 

A series of hazing and abuse cases have triggered public outrage. To shore up public confidence, the military set up a panel to reform the outmoded barracks culture and stamp out abuses, particularly at front-line units.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Is Giant Rubber Duck Masking an Environmental Disaster?


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Florentijn Hofman's rubber duck in Taiwan. Photo via www.florentijnhofman.nl
Florentijn Hofman's rubber duck in Taiwan. 
Via: www.florentijnhofman.nl
Florentijn Hofman's rubber duck is at it again. This time, the giant inflatable art piece is in Seoul, sitting in the middle of a controversial$3.3 billion development project. According to the artist, his rubber duck is an artistic “catalyst" and won't be hijacked for PR stunts. But is that really so? 
The Lotte Group is constructing what it hopes will be Asia's largest shopping mall in a landmark 123-story-tall structure, dubbed the Lotte World Tower. It is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. But the project hit a snag when sinkholes began to appear in the area and the water level of nearby Seokchon Lake began to decline, sparking intense public scrutiny over the safety of the development.
So far there is no confirmed link between the environmental problems and the construction site. The project won approval from authorities to open its first phase on October 14 and the rubber duck floated on the troubled Seokchon Lake to mark the occasion.
Dutch artist Hofman insists that the environmental issues were all “purely coincidental" and that Lotte had contacted him as early as last year to bring the sculpture to Seoul.
"Each project rubber duck in the world needs a sponsor, and in this case it's Lotte. And that's it," the Dutch artist told reporters in Korea on Tuesday, according to Yonhap News. 
The blow-up bird has toured the world, becoming a smash-hit in each city it visits, including Hong Kong, Sydney, and Sao Paolo (see "Giant Rubber Duck Vanishes in Chinese Flood"). So far, more than 700,000 people have visited the duck's month-long outing in Seoul, according to the Songpa Ward office that co-hosts the project. Five thousand miniature versions of the duck, each signed by the artist, have mostly sold out.
Hofman said he had expected the rubber duck to be provocative: "I always say that the rubber duck is a catalyst. It simply shows what's here. If there are problems in the vicinity because of the tower, it simply shows it and starts a conversation."
He also told Korean media that he hopes his public artwork can help to relieve the mass grief following April's Sewol ferry tragedy in which more than 300 people died, most of them high school students heading for a school field trip (see "Artist-Owner of Sewol Ferry Found Dead"). 
"I feel very connected because it was on my birthday. It's an honor to bring this project here, and if it can help relieve some grief and sadness, I'll be very happy," says Hofman.
The artist explained that he chose to exhibit the rubber duck on the controversial Seokchon Lake because it offered a close-up, 360-degree view of the sculpture.
When asked further about the problem of sponsorship for his massive installations, Hofman said: “If you look at a museum, it's also paid by companies. A museum also brings in people, they want money to show art … I think a commissioner who brings a rubber duck has benefits; I'm not blind. But they respect the art to stand alone."

Social problems revealed in Korean Ferry disaster.


  1. ARIRANG NEWS 20:00 Korean ferry disaster: Sum-up
  2.  A passenger ship from Incheon ferry terminal to Jeju island named Sewol belong to Chonghaejin Marine Co., Ltd. sinked in front of Jin-do island and hundreds people died and missed. The number of passengers was 476, but only 172 people were rescued and over 300 people died and missed. Especially, in sewol ferry, 324 of high school students who went to field trip to Jeju Island embarked. Therefore, many young student sacrificed at that time.+
  3. sewol-fatal-timeline
    sewol-fatal-timeline
  4. BBC News: South Korea Sewol ferry What we know
  5.  After this disaster, many people living all over the world, pray for victims.
  6. Pray For South Korea-Sewol Ferry Victims
  7. Pray For The Sewol Ferry Survivors.. South Korean Boat Capsizing
  8. Prayers For Sewol Ferry Victims - South Korea [Sri Lanka & India]
  9.  Also, many korean include celbrities participated in Yellow Ribbon campaign.
  10. Koreans spread yellow ribbon message of hope
  11. Movement to commemorate Sewol ho victims starts in U S
  12. Yellow Ribbons Symbolize Hope
  13.  However, if you see causes of sinking, you can know that disaster may predicted.
  14. Sewol-ho crew members investigation; cause of the sinking
  15. Newstapa(KCIJ) - 'Golden Time' for SEWOL ferry - There was no 'State'[Eng sub]
  16.  If you see that upper video, you can know the social problem. Because of this accident, many people, espicially korean, cannot believe announced of government.
  17.  In this accident, government lost their trust, therefore over 30.000 protester marched down the streets of central Seoul, South Korea on may 31 as part of a continuing nationwide movement rallying against the government's handling of the Sewol ferry disaster last month. Demonstrators toted candles and placards and shouted fiercely in support of the families of more than 300 victims.
  18.  A victim's father of Sewol ferry disaster, named Kim Young on protest a hunger strike alone to suggest clear cause about the accident and official position about government.
  19.  The protestor demand special law to president Park Geun-hye who is first female president in Korea.
  20.  For this candlelight vigil, government was controlled by police.
  21.   Overall, in korea society, the public cannot believe government. It is a huge social problem. Not only this case, according to research, most people will not allow the order of government.