Reuters blog archive
from Photographers' Blog:
As the year winds down in Seoul, highly-educated fighters dressed in business attire gather for a dramatic showdown. A sky-blue colored dome theater is the venue, and this year, it was again prepared for the upcoming event. Chairs, tables and other office furniture are stacked up on the floor to block people from entering rooms. Police officers stand guard as they surround the domed theater to prepare for any emergency situations. There are ambulances and medics. All entrances to the theater are closed, with tight security allowing only those with prior authorization to enter.
The match begins. Hundreds of people, who don't look like mixed martial arts fighters, gather in front of the gate of the main event room. They are defenders. They discuss and plan their strategies. Chanting “Keep the position," they form scrimmages. The opponent’s fighters roll up into the hall. The offenders also make a plan on how to break through defenders’ scrimmages. They stand ready to rush. Somebody from the attackers shouts “Let’s go.” All of the offenders including dozens of women make a dash. There’s pushing and shoving. The hall is filled with screams and shouts. Camera flashes are fired at them. It’s like a red carpet ceremony. Some fighters fall and collapse. One wounded person cries with pains. Immediately medics come and take her to a hospital.
When the bell rings to signal half time, both sides are separated for bracing up. Broken glasses, stray shoes, split ID cards and many belongings are scattered around the hall. A huge glass door at the main entrance is unsightly broken. All done? No! It was just the first round. There is more excitement to come. Now we are moving to the main theater, also known as ‘National Assembly plenary session hall.' From the comfortable seats in the gallery, we can watch the main event.
The terms of victory are simple. It is all about taking over the speaker’s seat. The ensuing fight is similar to the one during the first round. There are two sides; one wants to keep their position and another tries to break them. Dozens of defenders stand around the speaker’s seat. Offenders slowly tighten their circular formation around the defenders. The offenders rush and dispose of the defenders one by one. Shouting and screaming echoes everywhere. Water bottles and paper signs fly over them. Aged and experienced participants sitting at the back side enjoy the situation and exchange jokes. Finally the winner of the 2010 sky-blue colored dome match is the offenders.
from Russell Boyce:
This week the blog should be called A Week (and a few extra hours ) in Pictures as I wanted to share a couple of images that came in late last Sunday and evaded my net as I trawled through the file. Both are from Thailand and both were shot by Sukree Sukplang. The first is a strong portrait of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej as he leaves hospital in a wheelchair to attend a ceremony to celebrate his 83rd birthday. The picture seems to me to mirror the respect that the Thai people have for their King. What makes me think this I am not sure; maybe its the side light which creates studio-like modelling on the king's face highlighting every detail of his appearance, the crispness of the clothes, the beauty of the ceremonial medals and the rich colour of the royal sash. Or maybe it's just the way he is looking back into the lens, his eyes full of dignity and determination.
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej leaves the Siriraj Hospital for a ceremony at the Grand Palace in Bangkok December 5, 2010. King Bhumibol celebrates his 83rd birthday on Sunday. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
We'll be following all the presentations and the vote itself as FIFA's executive committee decides on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Spain/Portugal, Russia, England and Netherlands/Belgium are the four rival bids for 2018, while Australia, South Korea, Qatar, United States and Japan battle it out for 2022, with the vote to come on Thursday.
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
HONG KONG -- It is seven years since Lone Star bought into Korea Exchange Bank, and four years since the U.S. distressed-asset fund started trying to get out. Lone Star has finally agreed to sell its majority stake in the lender to domestic rival Hana Bank. The sizeable returns it has made explain why buyout groups like Blackstone and KKR are interested in South Korea, although Lone Star itself may not be rushing back.
from Russell Boyce:
I was listening to a radio programme about the history of military music (please bear with me) and a woman recounted a story about the first time she heard the "Last Post" being played at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday. The woman (sadly I don't remember her name), said that what really struck her was that after the moment of total silence was broken by the first notes of the Last Post she knew that every one of the thousands of people standing in Whitehall would be sharing the same thought - that of someone who they had loved and lost. Three stories this week put me in mind of this woman as I looked at images of people grieving for lost ones. The difference being that for each person lost the world was watching their story albeit only momentarily; the crushed people in Cambodia, the miners in New Zealand and the four people killed by the shelling by North Korea of the tiny island of Yeonpyeong.
People are crushed in a stampede on a bridge in Phnom Penh November 23, 2010. The stampede killed at least 339 people late on Monday and wounded nearly as many after thousands panicked on the last day of a water festival, authorities and state media said. REUTERS/Stringer
from Tales from the Trail:
Happy Thanksgiving! Washington Extra will return on Monday.
Here are our top stories from Washington today…
U.S. vows unified response to North Korea, eyes restraint
The U.S. urged restraint following a North Korean artillery attack on South Korea and vowed to forge a "measured and unified" response with major powers including China.
For more of this story by Phil Stewart and Andrew Quinn, read here.
N.Korea pulls U.S. back to a "land of lousy options"
North Korea's artillery attack on South Korea poses the second test in three days of Washington's vow that it will not reward what it deems bad behavior with diplomatic gestures, and underscores that options are limited without serious help from China.
from Gregg Easterbrook:
For a generation, the arc of international events has been mainly positive -- the Cold War concluded, the Germanys reunited, apartheid is over. But a few conflicts refuse to end, and one became worse today as North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire, killing two South Korean soldiers. It’s not yet clear how the incident began. Presumably the United States, which has substantial forces in South Korea, Japan and Guam, is at the moment watching closely.
South Korea is prosperous, reasonably free, a budding democracy, and supported by the most powerful government on earth. North Korea is impoverished, repressed and alone. Nearly all North Koreans would benefit immensely if the wall separating their country and South Korea was the world’s next wall to tumble. So why does the conflict between these two states refuse to end?
from Our Take on Your Take:
The silhouetted figure in the foreground and square crop differentiate this image from an underwear fashion show in Seoul. The crop gets rid of distracting elements on the sides and focuses the attention on the male models.
View this week's Your View showcase here.
from Tales from the Trail:
North Korea -- you have been warned.
The State Department on Monday held out the possibility that the isolated Stalinist state's belligerent rumblings could earn it a powerful new foe on the world stage: animal rights activist group PETA.
Asked at a news briefing about North Korea's latest move, which saw it fire a barrage of artillery shells into the ocean near South Korea, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was blunt: