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Wed, October 4, 2023 | 19:03
Concern about economy
The already-moribund Korean economy is teetering on the brink of collapse as the power abuse scandal involving President Park Geun-hye’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil is escalating. There are a flurry of warnings that the current situation may be similar to that before the currency crisis in 1997. It’s obvious that the economy will be adrift if it is left untouched.
Confusion over NK nukes
The top American intelligence official’s remarks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program are creating a stir. Speaking at a seminar organized by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Tuesday, U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper said the notion of persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons was a “lost cause.’’
Urgent labor reform
The visiting head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has advised Korea to reform its labor market to revitalize the economy. During a meeting with Labor Minister Lee Ki-kwon, Tuesday, Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the economic club of rich countries, said Korea needs to make its labor market flexible. “Labor reform will not only strengthen Korea’s fundamentals but also make it easier for the country to counter external impacts,” Gurria was quoted as saying.
Worrisome rail safety
The railway strike is nearing one month, having already broken the longest walkout record last week. But the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL) and its labor union have yet to find even a clue to an agreement, while passengers feel greater inconvenience and cargo transport faces increasing disruptions. Most worrisome is that concerns about big accidents are rising as the protracted strike prompts replacement workers to feel more fatigued.
Harassment in art world
Sexual harassment cases involving famed writers and artists have been laid bare recently. These incidents make the public all the more furious in that weak persons have fallen prey to sexual molestation.
Options for objectors
For the first time ever, an appeals court has handed down a “not-guilty’’ verdict to three conscientious objectors for refusing to perform their obligatory military service. The ruling came as a surprise because many conscientious objectors have been acquitted in initial trials but were eventually convicted by appellate courts.
Fewer perks for lawmakers
After three months in operation, an ad-hoc committee under the direct control of the National Assembly speaker has finalized a plan to reduce the privileges of lawmakers. The reform blueprint, the brainchild of the committee consisting solely of civilians, contains some advanced measures.
Unfair prosecution
The integrity of the prosecution is coming under question again at a time when calls for its reform are mounting amid a flurry of corruption cases involving prosecutors. Last week the prosecution failed to indict ruling party lawmakers Kim Jin-tae and Yeom Dong-yeol out of the 12 incumbent legislators the National Election Commission (NEC) had charged with violating the election laws during the April general election. The NEC immediately asked the high court to review the prosecution’s decision not to indict the two lawmakers who allegedly are close to President Park Geun-hye.
China's brazen claims
Relations between South Korea and China look set to deteriorate as the latter has made incorrect claims after a Chinese fishing boat rammed into and sank one of the former’s Coast Guard speedboats last Friday. In a press briefing Wednesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman demanded that South Korea strengthen its control on law enforcement personnel, saying the incident occurred in an area where Chinese boats were allowed to fish under a bilateral fishing agreement. “Seoul’s Coast Guard should not have carried out law enforcement operations there,’’ the spokesman said, urging Korea to ha...
Looming jobless blues
The unemployment rate reached 3.6 percent in September, up 0.4 percentage points from the same month a year earlier. It is the highest rate for the month of September in 11 years.
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