April 15, 2011

Korean happiness index ... 68.1 out of 100?

Money Today reported that 1 out of every 4 Korean adults (26.2%), both male and female, experience severe stress. The highest percentage of respondents said their major cause of stress were work-related issues, followed by financial worries, relationship issues, and personal health.

On April 7th, the Korean Neuropsychiatric Association reported that out of the 1006 adults surveyed last year from December to January, the highest percentage of respondents who said they were happy were in their 80s (24.7%), followed by people in their 70s at 21.6%, and those in their 50s at 21.5%.

The survey found that, for the group as a whole, 26.2% reported being either “stressed” or “very stressed.” Those who were the most stressed were also people who smoke, drink, or do not exercise on a regular basis, according to The Choson Ilbo.

Based on the survey responses, the best ways to relieve stress are exercise, drinking, talking, asking for advice, and sleeping.

Translated by Steven Wilson

April 7, 2011

Rear passengers obligated by law to buckle up

[Photo Captured from SBS NEWS]

Beginning April 1st, all passengers traveling in a car, including those in the back seat, must fasten their seat belts. This applies not only to cars traveling on the expressway, but also on motorways which are roads designated to automobiles such as those by the riverside. A penalty or fine will be imposed should passengers fail to buckle up.

According to Maeil Kyungje , the police announced on March 31st that from April 1st onwards, it is mandatory that all seat belts be worn by passengers in cars traveling on motorways in pursuant to the rules enforced by the Road Traffic Act. If drivers are found not wearing their seat belts when driving on these roads, they will be fined 30,000 Won. Should passengers in the same vehicle fail to wear their seat belts, the fine of 30,000 Won will be imposed on the driver.

The police emphasized that amongst the traffic accidents that happened in Seoul City in 2010, the fatality rate of accidents on motorways is 2.03%, which is twice as high compared to that of accidents on city streets (0.98%), thus highlighting the importance of the use of seat belts, reported The Hankyoreh.

Translated by tokkicheonsa

April 6, 2011

Law seizing collaborator's property found constitutional

[photo captured from Constitutional Court of Korea]

Maeil Gyungjaereported that the Constitutional Court has come to a 5 to 4 decision regarding the appeal of a special law that allows for the confiscation of property that belongs to the descendants of Koreans who collaborated with the Japanese while under occupation. "Considering the personality of betrayal exhibited by the collaborators, and based on the tradition of law that began with the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea during occupation, the seizure of property earned as a collaborator with the Japanese has been shown to be constitutional."

Yonhap News reported 40 descendants of collaborators with the Japanese responded as soon as the decision to seize real estate was announced. They asserted that the law, enacted after the fact, is in violation of constitutional restrictions on guilt-by-association legislation. Seven constitutional appeals have been filed and are currently awaiting a series of hearings.

Translated by Bret Chernoff

April 5, 2011

Lotteria start providing home delivery service

[Photo Captured from Lotteria]

Beginning April 1st, Lotteria started a trial of their home delivery service through their call center (1600-9999). According to Maeil Kyungje, the Lotteria home delivery service will operate from 10am to midnight and will be accepting orders through the Internet (homeservice.lotteria.com) and their smartphone applications.

160 Lotteria outlets are currently participating in the home delivery trial, and Lotteria adds that they plan to expand the number of participating outlets to 280 by the end of this year. While the home delivery service is available only for orders of 8000 Won and above, items such as Pat-bingsu (Red Bean Ice Shavings) and ice cream cannot be included in the orders.

Herald Business reported that Lotteria have also commissioned the development of smartphone applications to support their home delivery service. The Android version of the application is available for download, while the iPhone version is slated for submission to the AppStore in mid-April.

To commemorate the opening of their call center, every customer who makes an order of above 10,000 Won during the month of April will receive a free Teriyaki Burger.

Translated by Kaye Lam

April 1, 2011

Amnesty International report on status of death penalty in Korea

[Photo Captured from Amnesty Korea]

On the 28th, Amnesty International released it’s anuual report on the present status of the death penalty.

Korea currently has 61 inmates on death row; However, for the past 14 years, not one execution was carried out. Therefore, in its most recent report, Amnesty International classified Korea as a country which has abolished the death penalty. Munhwa Ilbo reported that the trend towards abolishing the death penalty continues, but debate continues to swell up each time a heinous crime occurs.

Furthermore, Yonhap News wrote that “Last year in North Korea, in accordance with domestic law, more than 60 people were executed, but that on occasion, the death penalty was given out even for crimes which it does not apply to.” North Korea, as well as Iran and Saudi Arabia, are the only countries, which continue to carry out public executions.

Translated by Steven Wilson

March 31, 2011

Burglary Syndicate Detained at Haeundae Police Station

[photo captured from Busan Haeunae Police Station]

No Cut Newsreported that a burglary syndicate which targeted mainly high-rise apartments around the country have been apprehended by the police. The suspects, who singled out and broke into empty apartments by climbing through the hallway windows into the veranda, have stolen a staggering 800 million won worth of money and valuables.

According to Yonhap News, Mr. Kim, 42, and three others were detained on March 25th at the Haeundae Police Station in Busan after being charged for breaking and entering and for stealing a large amount of money and valuables. Meanwhile, the Haeundae police have issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Park, 35, and three others for the sale of stolen goods.

The suspects were reported to have started colluding after they met in prison and are suspected to have broken into 350 houses, spanning across the country, from the capital city to Busan and Ulsan, and have stolen about 800 million won worth of money and valuables in total.

Investigations revealed that the suspects would ring the doorbells of high-rise apartments between 7 to 9 in the morning to verify that no one was home, after which one member of the team, whose height is above 180cm, would climb onto the veranda through the hallway window and enter the empty house.

Translated by Kaye Lam

March 28, 2011

KakaoTalk disputes reports that its service can be "sniffed."

KakaoTalk has strongly opposed assertions made by the media of problems regarding hacking. KakaoTalk is willing to take legal action against reports that KakaoTalk can be hacked, while supporting a public test of its services. Press reports have looked into whether or not the mobile messenger's internet phone, available on the iPhone and the Android, is prone to wiretapping and and 'sniffing', the act of stealing one's information, messages, etc.

The Digital Daily reported that tests for the iPhone proved that sniffing is impossible on the iPhone, while it is possible on the Android. According to ZDnet Korea, Kakao states that "messages can be transmitted safely not only on the iPhone but on the Android through the use of an SSl code, while emphasizing that "Sniffing is mostly impossible on the iPhone, Galaxy S, and other domestic smart phones". It was also revealed that Kakao "at the request of faithful security consulting requests, has intentions of disclosing to the public the security tests and the standard of security [Kakao] ensures".

Translated by Bret Chernoff

March 27, 2011

Home Plus celebrates 12 years with special promos

Mega retail store Home Plus announced that it will celebrate its 12th year of establishment by selling domestically-produced raw chicken at the super special price of 1,000 Won each starting on March 24th, Digital Times reported.

A total of 200,000 home-bred chickens were pledged to be sold by Home Plus for the event. This is about 10 times the number of raw chickens that are sold at Home Plus on any given day. Through this event, which will last from March 24 to March 30, the price of the 1,000 Won chicken is 80% cheaper than the normal selling price.

According to Kyunghyang Shinmun, as part of their one-month "Friendly Price" campaign to celebrate their 12th year of establishment, Home Plus began their campaign on March 3rd by freezing the price of products such as bean sprouts, tofu/bean curd, pork belly (sam-gyup-sal), Korean beef, LED TVs, and refrigerators as per industry rates for 5 weeks.

Translated by tokkicheonsa

March 25, 2011

Poll says eating out costs university students over 200,000 Won per month

According to the SBS CNBC job portal, in a survey conducted by Incruit covering 203 students currently attending classes at various universities, students spent an average of 243,000 Won per month on eating out. The survey revealed that male students spent 262,000 Won and female students spent 211,000 won.

Kyunghyan Shinmun reports that students who live separately from from their families spend 270,000 Won, whereas ones living at home only spend 214,000 Won on average. It was further reported that university students in the Seoul area spent an average of 262,000 Won per month, while students outside of Seoul spend 226,000 Won on eating out.

The average meal cost for students who ate out was 5,685 Won total. Men spent more than women each month, but for each meal, females spent an average of 5,913 Won while males spent only a 5,537 Won average per meal.

When asked about where they ate, 42.4% of students said they use the school cafeteria, 35.0% said they eat somewhere near the university, 11.3% said they eat at home, 8.9% get food from a convenience store or other small vendor, and 2.5% claimed "other," according to Kyunghyan Shinmun.

Translated by Steven Wilson

March 24, 2011

Universities to do away with part-time lecturers

Part-time lecturers, who conduct weekly lectures based on a fixed timetable and receive renumeration on an hourly basis, have been receiving substandard treatment from universities in Korea.

MK News reported that as universities phase out the system, existing part-time lecturers will be converted to full-time university staff, thus securing their job positions and improving their working conditions. In addition, their contract period will be extended from one semester to one full year.

Presently, 94.7% of all part-time lecturers have contracts of 6 months or less, and the hourly rate of part time lecturers in national universities is expected to increase from 42,500 Won to 60,000 Won in 2011, and then to 80,000 Won in 2013. The adjustment aims to raise the earnings of the part-time lecturers to 50% of their full-time counterparts.

According to Yonhap News, efforts are being made in the national, public, and private universities to ensure that the recruitment process and employment benefits for the lecturers will be in accordance with that of their full-time staff. However, as there are no measures in place to compel private universities to increase the wages of part-time lecturers, some have questioned the effectiveness of this move. Private universities currently employ 80% of all part-time lecturers.

Translated by Kaye Lam