Thursday, June 30, 2011

mine found in Gangwon- not a coal mine, either

UPDATED: I'm updating this on Aug 1, 2011, after a week of nightmarish rain and deadly floods in Seoul and Gangwondo.  Mudslides occurred in various mine fields and there are now mines that are not accounted for.  We don't know where they are.  Friends of mine wonder how the mines could have been tumbled in a multi-ton mess of mud and not have gone off.  I do too, but they were first to bring it up.  I suppose these are old and unstable mines.  Hit them with a hammer enough and something might happen on the twentieth try even if it didn't the previous 19 times.

From Marmot's Hole, The Herald and the Joongang.

Joongang: The areas where the search is focused on include air-defense entrenchments in Mount Umyeon, Gyeonggi and Gangwon, as well as some areas in Yangju, Gyeonggi. The border areas where North Korea’s wooden land mines are often discovered at a time of flooding were also included. 
Note that Umyeon is in Seoul, just south of the Han.  I lived near Sadang Station and learned the danso at the Korean Traditional Performing Arts Centre just below Umyeon mountain.

The Joongang reports that recent storms in North Korea have washed land mines -the exploding kind, if you really didn't know -into South Korea.  It appears that two mines drifted in the ocean and landed on South Korean islands, but the one in Gangwondo was carried by a river.

I have heard that mines shifted by storms, floods and mudslides are a problem in South Korea, too.  Without being able to recall the specifics, I do recall hearing that some mine fields in South Korea are impassible to South Koreans because the current locations of the mines is unknown.

Arirang is also reporting on the story.
Hmm.  the Joongang seems to describe the Gangwon mine as being in a river:
One mine was found on Gyodong Island, one on Bolum Island in Incheon, and the other in Suip Creek in Yanggu District in Gangwon.

...but Arirang states that it was found at sea:
Two were discovered in waters off the west coast near Incheon and the other on the east coast off Gangwon Province.
  I have discussed cross-border flooding before.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Surfers from Gangwon - and elsewhere - try to compete in Busan

The original post is here at my new blog.  Note the final few paragraphs where I discuss the typhoon's effect on Gangwondo and nationally.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Who is protected by Korea's libel laws?

The Joongang has an article about 'bad universities' and how they maintain their enrollment.

A reporter recently visited one of the schools, a four-year university in Jeju. The campus was eerily quiet, despite it being final exam time. “It’s a ghost town,” said a 72-year-old Jeju resident.

When the reporter finally caught up with some students, he couldn’t understand what they were saying because they were from China.
“It’s become so difficult to recruit students domestically, so the faculty and staff went to China and toured around its cities, pitching half-priced tuition for Chinese students,” said a university official.
Around 30 percent of the school’s 490 students are from China. The figure is 50 percent if you include students taking short-term Korean-language courses. Most of the Korean students pay 6.1 million won ($5,629) annually, an expensive sum by Korean standards. The Chinese pay half.

If a university's enrollment falls below a certain number, it loses out on government funding, so shipping in Chinese students to fill seats might work.  On the other hand, the Korean students are paying double!

The problem for me -well, the price is a problem, too - is that we can't be told what university this is. We also can't know the name of the university that here is "forced to cut costs to the bone. “The toilet in one building has no toilet paper, so students have to bring it with them,” said a 23-year-old student at a college in Gangwon. "

The university in Gangwon that I worked at had toilet paper back in 2009, so this article probably isn't about it.  Students, and their parents, should be able to learn these things, though.  It sounds like the Joongang attempted some good investigative journalism here, but the attempt is useless without the names.
Sorta Related:  GI Korea wonders if Koreans are paying too much tuition.