The Marmot's Hole

Korea... in Blog Format

Author: Brendon Carr (page 1 of 3)

Reminder: Next Week Your Office Will Be Cold

Just a quick reminder: From next Thursday, Jan. 3, the Korean government has decreed that your office must turn down its thermostat to save electricity. If you haven’t done so already, this weekend would be a good time to make sure you have some long underwear and warm socks to get through the next two months of winter.

Open Thread #272

Baby it’s cold outside.

Hot Christmas-in-Korea Gift Idea: Long Underwear, Warm Socks

To save energy this winter, Yonhap News reports the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) has decreed that from Jan. 3 to Feb. 22, corporations’ office buildings shall be required to keep the thermometer set not higher than 20° Celsius, or a brisk 68° Fahrenheit, and ban the use of personal electric heaters in the workplace. For those who work in a public-agency building, the plan is to freeze you out at 18° Celsius, or an even brisker 64° Fahrenheit. Dress warmly!

Mornings, especially, should be fun, as MKE has also directed that between 10:00 a.m. and noon, the heat should be on for 30 minutes and then off for 30 minutes, in order to reduce demand at the peak time while offices are trying to warm up after the cold, cold night. Additionally, neon signs must be switched off during peak hours of 5:00-7:00 p.m. and businesses will be prohibited from leaving doors open while running the heat (we’re looking at you, Myong-dong!).

By these measures, MKE hopes to compel a 3-10% reduction in energy consumption at 6000 workplaces nationwide which use more than 3000 gW of electricity per month.

Some facilities, such as airports, public transportation facilities, hospitals, schools, kindergartens, public housing, religious facilities, and traditional markets are exempt from energy-use restrictions. Of course they are. So the subway can be just as hot as it’s always been. Work up a sweat before you freeze your balls off in the office!

I’m not allowed to mention why Korea faces a power emergency this winter, lest I be accused of Raaaaacism! but it has something to do with Bribe Club.

Lone Star Funds Commences Investor-State Dispute v. Gov’t of Korea

Korea’s Voice of People website reports that the Korean Government has confirmed investor Lone Star Funds delivered its complaint to the World Bank’s ICSID, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. Lone Star claims damage due to “arbitrary and discriminatory taxation measures” and the Korean government’s repeated and persistent delays in approving Lone Star’s sale of its stake in Korea Exchange Bank.

Last May 22, Lone Star’s Belgian holding company LSF-KEB Holdings delivered, through the Belgian Embassy in Seoul, its notice to the Republic of Korea of the investor-state dispute. After a mandatory six-month “cooling-off period” intended for the parties to seek compromise, the dispute is now being taken up for formal resolution by ICSID. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

This is the first time Korea has been involved in an investor-state dispute resolution process under an investor-protection treaty. Both the EUKOR (European Union) and KORUS (United States) FTAs The KORUS (United States) FTA and many of the existing Bilateral Investment Treaties with EU states including Belgium include investor-state dispute provisions, so it may be expected that such disputes may become commonplace in the future.

Early Weekend Open Thread #263

Say, did anyone happen to catch the Romney-Obama debate?

Open Thread #261

You didn’t build that, bro.

Open Thread #260: President Awesome Edition

Go ahead, fuckers, tell me how wonderful your boyfriend Barry is.

Open Thread #246: Early Weekend Edition

We’re opening the Open Thread with an hour remaining on Friday night, so as to accommodate that much more critical debate over Dokdo, comfort women, Canadian potheads, and the stench of failure emanating from the Obama White House.

Early Open Thread #306 (OMG Edition!!!11!)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will headline the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul Oct. 11-13, 2011. An array of lesser stars will be there too — Gordon Brown, Larry Summers, the “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua… Foreigners’ registration for the three-day conference will be US$800, which is discounted 60% on account of it’s nice to have a few non-Korean faces in the promotional brochure for next year’s conference. Or free, if one can cadge a complimentary ticket from an event sponsor.

An appearance by Sarah Palin will give the public another opportunity to gauge the reclusive, mysterious Alaska Governor. The Associated Press today has an article which highlights, among other things:

Palin’s consideration period has been as unconventional as her presidential campaign seemingly would be.

She would stay quiet for weeks, only to pop up just when an official Republican candidate was going to own the spotlight. Over Memorial Day weekend she launched an East Coast bus tour that included New Hampshire — on the same day and in the same state that Mitt Romney announced his candidacy.

She visited Iowa a day before the statewide straw poll and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entrance into the race. A week later, she rolled out a campaign-style web video showcasing that visit and promising Iowans she’d see them again in a few weeks.

Her approach has allowed her to stay in the conversation without exposing herself to the rigors of the campaign trail or the scrutiny befitting a full-fledged presidential candidate.

Yes, I’ve noticed that the mainstream media really hasn’t scrutinized Sarah Palin very hard.

Anyway, I knew the Sarah Palin news would be a hit so I thought I’d kick this mother off early.

Greta Van Susteren in North Korea This Week

Greta Van Susteren stand-up shot at Taedong Riverfront, PyongyangFOX News’ Greta Van Susteren has been in North Korea with evangelist Franklin Graham and his Samaritan’s Purse charity (although Greta is known to be a Scientologist, she sure seems to get along well with evangelical Christian types) on a tour intended to spread the word on North Korea’s impending starvation emergency expected when North Korea runs out of food in June. Again.

Her FOX News blog Greta Wire is full of photos and comments from site visitors, many of whom are new to the issues around North Korea’s perennial famines. Check out her first six-minute video report from her nightly program On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, which will be featuring North Korea all week. Should be interesting viewing.

Greta does not seem to be well-informed on North Korea or the reasons for its perennial starvation, although she does allude to one possibility in her video report and blog commentary where she highlights the contrast between skyscrapers going up in the Chinese city of Dandong and the poverty of North Korea’s wretched Sinuiju, just across the river from each other on North Korea’s northwest border with China. But to be fair, she’s not a Koreanist but rather a generalist trying to catch up.

I’ve got mixed feelings on the issue myself. Even though I live in Seoul, where the artillery shells will fall, and pay taxes here — which will go up in the event of a North Korean collapse — I still think the best course would be to go to war today. Because that would bring a rapid and decisive end to the current mode of North Korean suffering. Still, it might be cheaper just to pay Kim Jong Il and family members US$10 billion and guarantee them Secret Service protection and immunity from prosecution.

Once that crew is out of the way, organizations like Samaritan’s Purse can get to work providing not just palliative care, but real reform and development to the masses in North Korea.

Open Thread #201

I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Open Thread (#196?)

Whatever. Robert’s too lazy to put up the thread. Maybe his government check came in and he’s off enjoying his human rights.

Open Thread #182

Open Thread #166

What would a weekend be without the Open Thread at the Marmot’s Hole?

I’ll start. Does anyone remember when that loon Brendon Carr was saying last year that Obama was wearing out his welcome fast and that Democrats would be running away from him in the midterms as if he were radioactive? Ha, ha! What a dope. Other topics are, of course, welcome but this one is my favorite.

Anyway, I’m going to lunch. Have at it.

Prepare for Coming March 2009 Financial Crisis

How do we know an additional financial shock will hit Korea in March 2009? Because Finance Minister Kang Man Soo says These aren’t the droids you’re looking for, the same tactic he used to such success in staving off the September 2008 financial crisis.

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