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from Tales from the Trail:

The First Draft: Obama recipe – take crisis-filled agenda, add one Iran

There is a new crisis on the agenda for President Barack Obama.

While trying to revitalize a nosediving economy, rebuild the collapsing auto industry, rein in North Korea's unpredictable Kim Jong-il and overhaul the costly healthcare system, Obama now can ponder his response to an Iran reeling from a disputed election and the biggest street protests since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Several leading Republicans have hammered Obama for what they say is a too cautious approach to the disputed vote that gave hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a big win over former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi. Obama said on Monday he was "deeply troubled" by the post-election violence but it was up to the Iranians to work out who their leaders will be.

Republicans say that is not good enough.

"He should speak out that this is a corrupt, fraud, sham of an election.  The Iranian people have been deprived of their rights," Senator John McCain said on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday.

While Obama considers his next move on Iran, however, he will also grapple with North Korea during a White House meeting on Tuesday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The South Korean leader has taken a tough line on North Korea even before Pyongyong ratched up tension in recent weeks by test-firing missiles, restarting a plant to produce weapons-grade plutonium and holding a May 25 nuclear test.

from Global News Journal:

An Interview With South Korea’s Box Office Champ Director Bong Joon-ho

The South Korean director whose movie about a mutant river monster became the country's biggest box office hit has a new film on what might be an even more terrifying subject -- an maniacally obsessive mother.

Bong Joon-ho sat down last week for an interview with Reuters about his new movie called "Mother"that debuted last month at the Cannes International Film Festival and has quickly become one of South Korea's biggest hits of the year.

from Raw Japan:

North Korea’s test of wills

Japan, perhaps the most nervous neighbor of unpredictable North Korea, is also the least able to overtly make its fears felt, after this week's nuclear test.

Analysts point out the combination of Tokyo's history of antagonism with the North and the fact that Pyongyang boasts missiles that could hit almost anywhere in Japan pose particular risks for the world's second largest economy.

from DealZone:

Coke, eBay activity in Asia

CHINA-ECONOMY/PROPERTYIs it a sign of recovery that cross-Pacific deals are making a comeback? Certainly the mighty dollar makes overseas assets cheap, and foreign governments are probably more willing to create less friction on inflows with investment markets quiet.

In a deal that only a month ago was dead in the water, with a big protectionist steak through the heart, Coca-Cola’s bid to get into the Chinese market appears to be coming back to life. The company is now reported to be holding informal talks with China Huiyuan Juice to weigh partnership options after the $2.4 billion deal -- the largest-ever buyout of a Chinese company by a foreign rival – was scuppered.

from Global News Journal:

North Korean Revolutionary Tunes Sink to Bottom of the Sea

                                              By Jon Herskovitz

North Korea says somewhere up in the sky, a satellite it launched at the weekend is beaming to earth two revolutionary paeans: "Song of General Kim Il-sung" for the founder of the reclusive state and "Song of General Kim Jong-il," for the son who succeeded him when he died.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

South Korea rejects North Korea poisoning claim

South Korea has rejected claims by North Korea that it poisoned its players before last week's 2010 World Cup qualifier in Seoul, as tensions mounted over the North's long-range rocket launch on Sunday.

Kim Joo-sung, (South) Korean Football Association (KFA) international affairs chief, said the accusations were politically motivated and baseless.

from The Great Debate:

What Asia needs from the G20 meeting

stanchartJaspal Bindra is Chief Executive, Asia, for Standard Chartered Bank. The views expressed are his own.

Asia has come of age. When leaders from the Group of 20 nations converge in London, Asia's rising powers - China, India,  Korea and Indonesia - will be sitting at the global high table to decide on ways to reshape the world's financial and economic order.

from Raw Japan:

Asia’s baseball classic

BASEBALL-WORLD/Say, Amen, somebody!

The creators of the World Baseball Classic envisioned a global tournament spread over at least two continents and multiple time zones, featuring the greatest players and national teams possible.

That baseball aim, largely achieved in the inaugural 2006 event and even more so this year, may not completely jibe with the all-Asian WBC final between Japan and South Korea in LA on Monday, but no fan of the sport's finest would complain after an thrilling extra-inning game that ended in a 5-3 win to Japan.

from Global News Journal:

North Korea’s Kim Jong-il: Proof of life

                                                          By Jon Herskovitz

It is not often that I am reminded of Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan in our coverage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.  But I thought of the 2000 movie starring Ryan and Crowe called “Proof of Life”   North Korea this week when  served up pictures of its Dear leader Kim and a communist party newspaper with a clearly marked Tuesday date.

from Our Take on Your Take:

Why the long face?

Photography is so often about being on the lookout for that strange moment and being ready to capture it, which is exactly what Kyungwon Kuk has done in this image from South Korea.

View this week's You Witness slideshow here.

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