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from Global News Journal:

The kinder, gentler side of North Korean communists

 

                                 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. 

We had been told by the officials from the group in the South that arranged the trip to avoid any discussion of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il because this highly sensitive subject would invariably lead to awkward discussions and raise tension.

But there was enough time to get a glimpse of the softer, human side of North Korean officials who were supposed to be tough, propaganda-conscious apparatchiks armed with skills to respond to any kind of challenge to the communist state’s leadership or its ideology.

from Global News Journal:

Greater freedom in Pyongyang than Seoul?

                                                           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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