Wed, 22nd February 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report


Archives of “korean peninsula” Tag

Young South Korean entrepreneur to sell world’s first braille smartwatch

Since Apple’s Steve Jobs launched the iPhone 10 years ago, smartphones have changed people’s lives drastically. For many, it is now hard to imagine living without a device that, as well as making calls, allows you to connect with friends online, search for news, check the weather and watch movies.

However, at least one group of people has been unable to fully participate in the smartphone revolution — the visually-impaired. Eric Kim, chief executive of South Korean startup Dot, recognized this imbalance. In South Korea, 253,000 people were registered as visually-impaired in 2015, according to data from Statistics Korea. And with some 285 million visually-impaired people registered around the world, Kim realized there was a market to bring a more appropriate device to them. 

Now, after two years of ups and downs, the company is making final preparations to release the result of Kim’s quest — the first braille smartwatch. The Dot Watch, which will be priced at $290 before tax when it goes on sale in the next few months, has drawn more than 150,000 pre-orders from 15 countries, including one from musician Stevie Wonder, according to the company. It enables visually-impaired people to check messages, the time and set alarms via a Bluetooth connection to other smart devices.

Former UN Secretary-General’s Brother/Nephew Indicted In U.S. On Bribery Charges

Less than two weeks after stepping down as U.N. Secretary-General, a move many interpreted as an indication of his intention to run for the Presidency of South Korea, two of Ban Ki-Moon’s relatives have been indicted in the U.S. on charges of bribery.  According to the Daily Mail, Ban Ki-Moon’s brother, Ban Ki-sang, and nephew, Joo Hyun “Dennis” Bahn who is a New York real estate broker, have been indicted for an alleged scheme to bribe a Middle Eastern official to use his country’s sovereign wealth fund to purchase a struggling $800 million real estate complex in Vietnam.  Joo Hyun Bahn has been arrested in New York City and is expected to appear in court later today according to the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

 Two relatives of former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have been indicted on U.S. charges that they engaged in a scheme to bribe a Middle Eastern official in connection with the attempted $800 million sale of a building complex in Vietnam.

Joo Hyun “Dennis” Bahn, a New York real estate broker who is Ban Ki-Moon’s nephew, and his father Ban Ki-sang, Ban Ki-moon’s brother who was a senior executive at South Korean construction firm Keangnam Enterprises Co Ltd, were charged in an indictment unsealed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.

Bahn is in custody and expected to appear in court later on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. Defense lawyers could not immediately be identified.


S Korea Equips F-16 Jets With Bombs Capable of Hitting DPRK Underground Targets

According to the Yonhap news agency, the F-16 fighter jets will be equipped with the US GBU-31JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) air-to-ground guided bombs capable of hitting underground facilities, and AIM-120 mid-range air-to-air missiles capable of downing aircraft at a range of 50 to 180 kilometers.

The F-16 Peace Bridge Upgrade (PBU) project was established in November 2009, when South Korea authorities signed a deal with the US aerospace defense company Lockheed Martin on upgrading its frontline jets. A total of 30 jets have been reportedly  improved since October 2013.

On December 12, North Korea threatened to launch an airstrike on Seoul, after South Korea and the United States conducted their annual aerial exercise, which lasted until December 5 amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

NAND flash memory prices at 2-year high

Prices for NAND flash memory used in smartphones and memory cards continue to climb, recently rising above $3 per chip for the first time in two years.

Bellwether 64-gigabit multi-level cell (MLC) chips are currently selling for around $3.30 apiece, 6% more than in September. The price last topped the $3 benchmark when it reached $3.10 in November 2014. The price of 128-gigabit memory is up 1% from September to around $4.10.

 Memory prices typically fall with the passage of time accompanying advances in manufacturing technology. It is extremely unusual for prices to climb as far as the same level as two years earlier.

Driving the increase is a surge in demand. One major factor is the decision by South Korea’s Samsung Electronics to halt sales of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, which was plagued by exploding batteries.

NAND flash memory was already headed toward a shortage, since it is used to increase memory capacity as smartphone functionality expands. Now, Samsung’s rivals are seizing the offensive, taking the South Korean company’s woes as an opportunity to expand market share. In particular, the Chinese manufacturers behind the Oppo and Vivo brands are competing to secure NAND flash memory.

In the U.S., companies engaged in finance and e-commerce are increasing investment in servers. This has contributed to the rise in NAND prices by driving up demand for solid-state memory, a type of memory that incorporates NAND and helps speed data throughput while reducing operating costs.

Russia Opens Fire On North Korean ‘Fishing Vessel’ In Sea Of Japan; 1 Dead, 9 Injured

As tensions escalate in and around Syria, Russia just added another straw to the camel’s back of ‘proxy’ wars between Washington and the rest. One Russian border patrol officer and nine North Korean fishermen were injured after Russian border patrol was forced to open fire during inspection of a North Korean fishing vessel whose crew resisted search, behaved aggressively, and tried to flee.

One of the injured fishermen later died in the hospital.

The incident happened on Friday evening at 22:20 Moscow time (19:20 GMT) in Russia’s exclusive economic zone in the country’s Far East, according to the FSB statement, released online on Saturday. The term “exclusive economic zone” describes an area of coastal water in a certain distance from the country’s shore, where the respective state has exclusive rights for fishing and other economic activities.

According to Federal Security Service website statement:

ALERT- North Korea threatens another nuclear test

North Korea has suggested the possibility of either conducting its sixth nuclear detonation or test-firing a long-range ballistic missile next month.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Friday slammed the U.S. and South Korea as “outright aggressive and invasive” for staging two joint military exercises this year. 

 Ri said North Korea “will continue with a policy to strengthen our nuclear capabilities in terms of quantity and quality” to counter U.S.-led sanctions and “threats” against the country.

He called North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear warheads a “self defense” measure.

During his 15-minute speech, he referred to the U.S. 25 times in a manner that suggested North Korea has pitted itself against the U.S. He hammered the point that Pyongyang will continue pursuing its nuclear and missile programs despite sanctions imposed by a large part of the global community.

Pyongyang wants the U.S. to recognize North Korea as a nuclear power. To realize this, the country believes it needs nuclear warheads and missiles that can deliver them to the mainland of the U.S.

N Korean Military Threatens to Use Nuclear Weapons Against Seoul, Guam US Base

South Koreans watch a TV news program airing file footage of a North Korean rocket launch at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.On Wednesday, the US Pacific Command (PACOM) reported that a US B-1B strategic bomber flew from the military base located in Guam and landed at the Osan airbase in South Korea for the first time since 1996. The US military reported that the move aimed to show the US readiness to “defend and to preserve the security of the Korean Peninsula and the region.”

A representative from the North Korean General Staff said that the activities of the United States and South Korea dragged the Korean Peninsula toward potential nuclear war, as cited by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) Friday. According to the statement, Pyongyang’s warheads would destroy Seoul, as well as the US base if the US bombers continued their flights. North Korea has been under pressure from the international community since its January nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch in February, which resulted in tightening sanctions against Pyongyang in the new UN Security Council resolution in March. On September 9, Pyongyang carried out a nuclear test at its northeastern nuclear test site. The nuclear experiment is believed to be the fifth and the largest since North Korea started pursuing nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Second North Korea Nuclear Test in a Matter of Days is Imminent

Image result for nuclear test koreaPyongyang has completed preparations for its second nuclear test in just a week after the unhinged regime of Kim Jong-un sent shockwaves through the world following a major test blast.

Yonhap News Agency reports that the government of Kim Jong-un has completed preparations for its second nuclear test in a matter of days according to South Korean government sources who believe that Pyongyang plans to employ a previously unused tunnel at its mountainous testing site.

The news of an imminent test follows in the wake of Pyongyang’s massive nuclear test blast on Friday, the most powerful atomic detonation by the regime to date.

The rumors of an upcoming second test blast also follows indications by the North Korean government and independent defense analysts that Kim Jong-un’s government has mastered the miniaturization process necessary to mount a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile raising the stakes. “Indications have been gathered that the North has completed preparations to conduct a nuclear test at any time in the third tunnel that has not been used previously,” according to an anonymous South Korean government official. The North Korean regime vowed to continue its doomsday march towards nuclear dominance despite a fresh round of UN imposed sanctions in the wake of Friday’s test blast with a spokesperson for Kim Jong-un calling the economic measures “laughable.”

Pyongyang Vows to Continue Boosting Its Nuclear Might After Latest Test

A sales assistant watches TV sets broadcasting a news report on North Korea's fifth nuclear test, in Seoul, South Korea, September 9, 2016.North Korea carried out the latest nuclear test in retaliation to the threat of sanctions and pressure from the United States, the North Korean Embassy in Russia said in a statement Friday.

“The nuclear warhead explosion test is a demonstration of the toughest will of the WPK [ruling party] and the Korean people to get themselves always ready to retaliate against the enemies if they make provocation as it is part of practical countermeasures to the racket of threat and sanctions against the DPRK kicked by the US-led hostile forces,” the documents reads. It cites Washington’s “desperate” efforts to “find fault with the sovereign state’s exercise of the right to self-defense while categorically denying the DPRK’s strategic position as a full-fledged nuclear weapons state.” Nuclear Test Confirms Capacity of Ballistic Missile-Mounted Warheads Pyongyang’s latest nuclear tests confirmed the capacity of nuclear warheads to be mounted on ballistic missiles, the North Korean Embassy said.

North Korea say nuclear test was in response to threats and sanctions by hostile elements

Statement just out via KCNA following further missile testing 9 Sept

  • nuclear test was in response to threats and sanctions by hostile elements inc the US

US assistant sec of state Russel says:

  • US is committed to working closely with Japan, China, Russia and S. Korea to put tough pressure on N.Korea
  • US sees accelerated pattern of very serious provocation by N. Korea that violates intl law

UN security council have said they will meet Friday afternoon to discuss.

Eamonn also had this earlier on the story, and more comments in his wrap.

Whether its all handbags at this point still the situation remains one of real concern.