- The Chicago Sun Times reports that a 24-year-old Korean-American woman was arrested after she was caught having sex with a 15-year-old boy from her youth group. No, I didn’t go looking for this one—it was the second-most looked-at piece in the international news section of the Chosun Ilbo.
- The fun over the KORUS FTA begins, with the Democratic Party and the Democratic Labor Party occupying the chairman’s chair at a National Assembly committee meeting to prevent the GNP from pushing through the ratification of the treaty. This has the potential of getting really, ahem, interesting. The Chosun Ilbo, needless to say, had some nasty things to say about some Democratic Party figures who supported the FTA when late President Roh was pushing it but oppose it now, while praising possible opposition presidential candidate Moon Jae-in for not expressing opposition to fundamentalist opposition to the agreement. The Kyunghyang Shinmun, on the other hand, sees no reason for the government to force through a ratification in October.
- DP chairman Sohn Hak-kyu is calling for the deal to be renegotiated:
He also reiterated the DP’s long-standing list of requests, the so-called “10 plus 2 FTA re-renegotiation.” The 10 points include issues that need changing in the final version of the free trade agreement such as postponing the date for eliminating tariffs on agricultural and livestock-related products. And the “plus two” include backup measures for people negatively affected by the trade agreement that could be implemented through establishing domestic laws.
- Seoul mayoral candidate Park Won-soon apparently doesn’t like the GNP’s negative attacks. This gave the Dong-A Ilbo a chuckle, noting that in 2000, Park spearheaded illegal campaigns to sink candidates his group didn’t like.
- A joint poll on the mayoral race by major broadcasters MBC, KBS and SBS has Park Won-soon at 38.2% and Na Kyung-won at 40.5%, a gap within the margin of error. With likely voters, the gap was even smaller—Park at 42.9% and Na at 49.0%.
- No, I’m not doing the whole “Koreans are even worse!” thing, but I am trying to picture USFK petitioning a court to go easy on a GI caught sexually assaulting a handicapped teen because he was a good soldier and the head of his household.
- Now, you won’t hear me take anything away from Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s speech to the US Congress. You will hear the Hankyoreh take something away from it, though, citing a Washington Post blog post that notes that some of the applause might have been, well, mobilized:
As is often the case during joint meetings, not all lawmakers were present. But one complicating factor on Thursday was that Lee’s speech was the first by a foreign leader since the elimination of the House Page Program. For decades, the pages — high-school juniors who serve as errand-runners for members of Congress — typically had been called upon to fill the seats of the chamber in case too few lawmakers are present.
On Thursday, there were few empty seats in the chamber. Most were occupied not by pages or lawmakers, but by Capitol staffers and members of the Korean delegation.
- Speaking of Lee’s speech, check out Prof. Robert Kelly’s post on the speech Lee should have given. No, I don’t agree with all of it, obviously, but it’s worth reading.