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from Raw Japan:

Asia’s baseball classic

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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.

Back home in Japan and South Korea, it was office hours on Tuesday but work stopped as fans gathered in TV stores, in front of huge stadium screens or around TV-equipped mobile phones to watch the two Asian rivals slug it out.  South Korea overturned a day-time television ban to let prison inmates watch the game while forex trading in Seoul trading rooms ground to a halt from the opening pitch.

 

Obviously, some holes remain in the tournament, such as MLB team buy-in and particularly scheduling, which led to an incredible fifth pairing of the Asian rivals in a 16-team tournament.

from Global News Journal:

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

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                                                          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?

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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.

from Ask...:

Place your bets on 2009′s top stories

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As part of our Year in Review package, we're inviting you to place a virtual bet on the outcome of what we think will be some of the top stories in 2009. Clicking on one of the questions below will take you to the Hubdub news prediction site, where you can place a bet on the outcome and peruse other questions set by Reuters.

The graphs below reflect the current betting by the Hubdub community. We're also inviting you to set your own questions on 2009 events, either via Hubdub or via the comments field below. We'll feature the best ones here and add more of our own questions in coming days. If you create a 2009 question on Hubdub, you can flag it to us by sending a challenge to the Reuters account. We're 100 percent likely to check it out.

from Global News Journal:

The kinder, gentler side of North Korean communists

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                                 By Jack Kim
North and South Koreans have been divided for more than 50 years by one of the world’s most heavily fortified borders. When we come into contact, it is almost always in small and carefully arranged visits.

I was a part of a South Korean group that recently spent four days in the North. Over the course of countless hours of contact with the North Korean minders assigned to our group, conversation turned from heated discussion over international politics and inter-Korean troubles to nationalism and sports. 

from Global News Journal:

Greater freedom in Pyongyang than Seoul?

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                                                           By Jack Kim
For about eight straight years I’ve been covering North Korea, one of the world’s most closed countries with a human rights record that is roundly criticised as one of the worst on the globe.

So it came as a surprise when a North Korean “guide” said on my seventh visit to the communist state that when it comes to restricting freedom of movement, South Korea’s spy agency makes life tougher for North Korean visitors to the capitalist neighbour.

from Changing China:

Story of the day: Blind archer targets fuzzy yellow, gold

Legally blind archer

Peter Rutherford had an interview today with South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun, who has already won one gold medal at these Games and is favourite for the individual title despite being legally blind.

Im's eyesight is listed at 20/200 by the Korea Archery Federation, which basically means he can see at 20 feet what a person with perfect vision can see at 200 feet.

from DealZone:

What goes around…

lehman3.jpgLehman Brothers is looking for fresh capital in South Korea, the Wall Street Journal reports. If the investment bank does end up tapping South Korea, it will have taken slightly over a decade for the 1997 multibillion loan from the IMF, backed by Wall Street and the Federal Reserve, to come full circle. The Journal says Lehman is looking to state-run Korea Development Bank and Woori Financial Group as it searches for funds to ward off a Bear Stearnsian crisis of confidence. The IMF demanded strict economic reforms for its money. A South Korean lender, like the Chinese and Arab investors bailing out Citi and Merrill Lynch, might just want a juicier cut.

The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup -- with a side of Smuckers jelly. The maker of Jif peanut butter and Crisco oil said it would buy Folgers from Procter & Gamble for stock valued at $2.95 billion plus the assumption of $350 million in debt. J.M. Smucker & Co also acquired Jif and Crisco from P&G.

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