Terror Plot in Australia, Journalist Sent to Prison, President Park is Done


Audio version:

Monday | April 20, 2015

Police arrest five teenagers in Australia as they plan out an ISIS inspired terrorist attack. A Chinese journalist is sentenced for leaking documents. Plus Police clash with protestors in Seoul over the Sewol ferry as problems worsen for Park’s administration.

Australia Thwarts Terror Plot

Police in Australia arrested five teenagers suspected of plotting a terrorist attack inspired by the Islamic State. Authorities believe it wasn’t a beheading attack, but one scheduled to take place on ANZAC Day.

Chinese Journalist Sentenced

This past Friday, a Chinese court has sentenced a journalist to seven years in prison for leaking an internal Communist Party document to a foreign website. Gao Yu, who was tried behind closed doors last November, was convicted of providing state secrets to foreign contacts. This wasn’t the first time she had been arrested and convicted for such activities.

More Problems for Park

After skipping town on the anniversary of the Sewol ferry’s sinking, the political problems for South Korean President Park continue to mount – and I’m just not speaking about her plummeting approval raking.

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Sources

Slavery and human rights in the Koreas


 Labor camps, harsh working conditions, and people fleeing for their lives. Those are stories we usually associate with human rights in North Korea. But these are recent events from South Korea.  The state of human rights on the Korean peninsula is one conversation taking place in Asia… now.

Labor camps, harsh working conditions, and people fleeing for their lives. Those are stories we usually associate with human rights in North Korea. But these are recent events from South Korea.  The state of human rights on the Korean peninsula is one conversation taking place in Asia… now.

Joining me this week is Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, to answer the questions of where North Korea’s human rights stand, how they compare to South Korea, and how South Korea compares to the rest of Asia.

As we move forward this year, what changes do you think need to take place to ensure adequate human rights for all?

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Sources

120 Korean Schools won’t get new students

The Korea Times Podcast

Today on The Korea Times Podcast: President Park’s Prime Minister nominee gets grilled during confirmation hearings while she opposes tax hiking measures to fund welfare projects. Plus Korea’s young women struggle with eating disorders and schools are about to start with no new students.

I Found Honey Butter Chips



They are the most elusive snacks in Korea: Haitai’s Honey Butter Chips. The bags in this video sell for only W1,500 (about $1.36), but on the open market some are charging as much as $50.

Yeah.

So imagine my surprise when I was out and about walking and found three bags – not at a store, but inside a “claw” game.

I of course had to give it a shot.

Air Asia Down; More Arrested in HK; 72 Dead in India; Korea and Japan to Share Intel; The Tsunami 10 Years On


Arrests in Hong Kong as pro-democracy protests return and over 70 die in India. Plus South Korea and Japan are to enter into an intelligence sharing agreement and the great tsunami, ten years later.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Air Asia down, arrests in Hong Kong as pro-democracy protests return and over 70 die in India. Plus South Korea and Japan are to enter into an intelligence sharing agreement and the great tsunami, ten years later.

Air Asia Flight Missing

AirAsia Flight QZ8501, lost contact with flight control operations about 42 minutes after take off. The plane was en route from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore when it asked for permission to deviate from its planned course because of inclement weather. 162 people were on board. The plane is believed to be downed somewhere in the area of Belitung.

Protests return to Hong Kong

Hong Kong police arrested 12 as pro-democracy demonstrators returned to the Mong Kok neighborhood where hundreds had camped out for more than two months. Police used pepper spray and batons in overnight clashes last week. They arrested demonstrators on charges ranging from assaulting a police officer to failing to produce ID.

Over 70 dead in India

It was a bloody Christmas in northeast India, where over 70 died and thousands fled their homes. According to officials, separatist rebels killed dozens of villagers, some children.

Officials say the death toll has climbed to 72 and parts of the region remain under curfew. Prime Minister Modi called the attack “an act of cowardice” while President Mukherjee condemned the attacks on his Twitter account, saying “such acts of terror and violence must be put down with a firm hand.”

East Asia Trilateral Security Agreement

South Korean officials say Seoul, the United States, and Japan have agreed on a trilateral intelligence-sharing pact to deal with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. The proposed plan would enable the three allies to quickly respond to any North Korean provocation at a time of increasing tensions.

The Indian Ocean tsunami, ten years on

On December 26, 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed more than 220,000 in 14 different countries. This past Friday, beach side memorials, moments of silence, and religious services were held across Asia commemorating the event’s tenth anniversary.

Shamika Sirimanne, who focuses on disaster risk reduction at the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific said, “End-to-end early warning systems need to be put in place. A lot more needs to be done. This is an unfinished agenda.”

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The Asia Brief is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Korea Times Podcast: 2014-12-26



Today on The Korea Times Podcast: The Constitutional Court prepares to rule on a number of laws which could have wide ranging impact on Korean society and experts chime in on the four-rivers projects. Plus school owners feel the government’s plan to ban English teachers may hurt students and an unbelievable price for a bag of potato chips.

Sewol captain not guilty of murder, effectively gets death sentence; Will Hong Kong clear the streets?


The verdict of Sewol Captain Lee was handed down. While not guilty of murder, his sentence will put him to death, eventually. With APEC over, will HK clear their streets?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday afternoon, South Korea’s Gwangju District Court found Captain Lee Jun-Seok guilty for abandoning the Sewol ferry that sank April 16th, claiming more than 300 lives, most of whom were high school students. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty, but judges presiding over the case, cleared Lee of homicide charges and found him guilty of negligence. While the families still seek death for Captain Lee, it’s important to reflect on the nature of this sentence and accept South Korea hasn’t executed anyone since 1997. The verdict may read 36 years in prison, but the reality of the situation is this is a death sentence. In related Sewol news, South Korea formally ended search operations for the last nine bodies yet to be recovered from the accident site.

In Hong Kong, courts have authorized bailiffs to use police to clear out protest sites if pro-democracy demonstrators refuse to clear out. Lam said, “I strongly urge protesters who are still staying in the occupied areas – whether the areas are covered by the injunctions or not – they should voluntarily and peacefully leave as soon as possible.” As I previously mentioned, with eyes on Beijing for the APEC summit, little action would take place to resolve the stand-off. Now that leaders are poised to move, expect Hong Kong officials to take the action they’re promising and for clashes to occur.

The Asia Brief is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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TAB: North Korea developing nuclear launch sub and more


Reports are surfacing that the DPRK is refitting Soviet ballistic subs, capable of firing nuclear weapons. Plus an update on the gruesome murder in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In what’s sure to further to disrupt tensions in and around the Korean Peninsula, the DPRK is said to be modernizing a decommissioned Soviet Golf II class diesel submarines in order to carry ballistic missiles. According to South Korea’s Yonhap news, “The new submarine is 67 meters long with a beam of 6.6 meters, and has a dive displacement in the 3,000-tonne range.” It was only September when top military officials said it was doubtful North Korea had a sub capable of firing missiles such of these, in light of this new information it stands to reason we will see more militaristic activity, and perhaps soon.

Rurik Jutting is the 29-year-old securities trader said to have previously worked for Bank of America Merrill Lynch who has been arrested and charged with a grusome double homicide in Hong Kong. Reports indicate that Jutting showed no emotions when charges were being levied against him. At Monday’s hearing, Jutting’s lawyer, Martyn Richmond, alleged his client was denied contact with British consular officials and his defense attorney. Jutting has not sought bail.

The Asia Brief is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Download the show notes here.