WBEZ | North Korea http://www.wbez.org/tags/north-korea Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en North and South Korea avert crisis, but what's next? http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-24/north-and-south-korea-avert-crisis-whats-next-112715 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/220712357&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">North and South Korea avert further escalation</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>North and South Korea are still holding high level talks in an attempt to defuse the tension between the two nations, which has escalated in recent weeks over a series of incidents. South Korea&rsquo;s presidents says she wants the North Koreans to apologize for recent provocations, including landmine blasts that badly wounded two South Korean soldiers. Last week, the North Koreans fired shells that seemed to be aimed at loudspeakers blaring propaganda messages near the border. North Korea has also deployed more artillery, soldiers and submarines along the border, as the talks are taking place. We&rsquo;ll discuss the tension and potential for conflict between North and South Korea with Charles K Armstrong, a global fellow at The Wilson Center.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong><em>&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-1741a482-6176-ce07-1f6d-46d4816fbdb3">Charles K Armstrong is a global fellow at The Wilson Center and author of several books on North and South Korea, including, most recently </span>Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992</em>.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/220712849&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Police brutality rises in Brazil</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Brazil has one of the world&rsquo;s highest murder rates. A disproportionate number of Brazil&rsquo;s murder victims (77 percent) are black. Afro-Brazilians make up about 50 percent of the country&rsquo;s population. On-duty police officers are responsible for 15 percent of all murders in Rio De Janeiro, according to government statistics. Amnesty International tracks and researches murders in Brazil. Their new report is called You Killed My Son: Homicides by Military Police in the City of Rio De Janeiro. Renata Neder is an advisor for Amnesty International-Brazil. She&rsquo;ll talk about what she calls the &ldquo;shocking behavior&rdquo; of Rio police and the&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/tags/BlackYouthAlive">#BlackYouthAlive</a>&nbsp;movement and social media campaign, similar to&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/tags/BlackLivesMatter">#BlackLivesMatter</a>&nbsp;campaign in the U.S that is taking place in Rio. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-1741a482-617c-13d7-c4b3-4f391ed69bcc"><a href="http://twitter.com/renataneder">Renata Neder</a> is an &nbsp;advisor for Amnesty International-Brazil.&nbsp;</span></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 15:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-24/north-and-south-korea-avert-crisis-whats-next-112715 Obama Visits Kenya http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-24/obama-visits-kenya-112475 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Obama pic 3.jpg" title="U.S. President Barack Obama waves after being greeted by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, on his arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya Friday, July 24, 2015. Obama began his first visit to Kenya as U.S. president Friday. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216187008&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false " width="100%"></iframe></p><p><strong style="font-size: 24px;">Obama Vists Kenya as President</strong></p><p>President Obama heads to Kenya today. This is the first time he will visit his father&rsquo;s home country since he was elected president. The visit is filled with anticipation. There was discussion of making the visit a national holiday. In the town of Funyula in Busia County, which by borders Siaya County, the home area of President Obama&#39;s late father, the radio station there is calling today &ldquo;Obama Day.&rdquo; We&rsquo;ll check in with Phylis Nasubo Magina who is in Funyula. She&rsquo;s the managing director of The ABCs of Sex Education, where she leads a team of 49 community educators providing sex education and HIV prevention. Ken Opalo, an assistant professor at Georgetown University also joins us to discuss Obama&rsquo;s visit. He&rsquo;s originally from Kenya.</p><p><strong>Guests: </strong></p><p>Phylis Nasubo Magina is the Kenya Country Director of The ABCs of Sex Education</p><p>Ken Opalo Ken Opalo is an assistant professor at Georgetown University&rsquo;s School of Foreign Service and a blogger. He&rsquo;s originally from Kenya.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216187612&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false " width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Weekend Passport:</strong></span></p><p>Each week global citizen Nari Safavi helps listeners plan their international weekend. This week he&rsquo;ll tell us about an exhibit on North Korea, the film Hiroshima Mon Amor and Bomba Estereo: Album Release Show</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p>Nari Safavi is co-founder of Pasfarda Arts and Cultural Exchange</p><p>Alice Wielinga is a participating artist in North Korean Perspectives</p><p>Marc Prüst] is curator of North Korean Perspectives<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/216188449&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false " width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>Milos Stehlik talks with Omar Sy, star of the film &#39;Samba&#39;</strong></span></p><p>Film contributor Milos Stehlik sits down with Omar Sy, star of the new film &ldquo;Samba.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s the latest film by the team that brought us &ldquo;The Intouchables. &#39;Samba&#39; tells the story of an undocumented kitchen worker who&rsquo;s battling deportation. The movie follows his struggles and budding romance with the immigration case worker who&rsquo;s trying to help him stay in France.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p>Omar Sy, French actor and comedian, star of the film &ldquo;Samba&rdquo;</p><p>Milos Stehlik is WBEZ&rsquo;s film contributor and director of Facets Multimedia</p></p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-24/obama-visits-kenya-112475 Kim Jong Un reportedly kills defense chief with missile http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-05-15/kim-jong-un-reportedly-kills-defense-chief-missile-112039 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP-Ahn%20Young-oon.jpg" title="South Korean men pass by a TV news program showing images published in North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper of North Korea's ballistic missile believed to have been launched from underwater and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at Seoul Railway station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, May 9, 2015. (AP- Ahn Young-oon)" /></div><p><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205641964&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe>Kim Jong Un reportedly kills his defense chief with missile</span></span></p><p>North Korea has reportedly executed &nbsp;Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol by anti-aircraft guns. Reports say he was put to death, in part, because he was disrespectful to North Korea&rsquo;s leader Kim Jong Un, doing things like falling asleep at military events. The reports come from South Korea&rsquo;s intelligence agency, but have not been verified. History professor, Bruce Cumings<em> </em>joins us to discuss the latest news out of North Korea.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong></p><p>Bruce Cumings, professor of history at the University of Chicago and author of <em>Parallax Visions: Making Sense of American-East Asian Relations at the End of the Century</em>, <em>The Korean War: A Histor</em>y and <em>North Korea: Another Country, </em>joins us to discuss the latest news out of North Korea.</p><p><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205642483&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe>Milos Stehlik on opening night of Cannes film festival</span></span></p><p>Film Contributor, Milos Stehlik, reports from the Cannes International Film Festival. He&rsquo;ll tell us about the latest happenings, &nbsp;including a festival ban on celebrity selfies, the Auschwitz-themed movie <em>Son of Saul</em> by first-time director Laszlo Nemes and of course, he&rsquo;ll tell us why he hated the <em>Mad Max</em> reboot.</p><p><strong>Guest: </strong></p><p>Milos Stehlik, WBEZ film contributor and director of Facets Multimedia</p><p><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205642992&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe>Weekend Passport: &#39;Tasso&#39;s Journey&#39; A Greek love story</span></span></p><p>Each week global citizen Nari Safavi helps listeners plan their international weekend. &nbsp;This week he&rsquo;ll tell us about a book reading at the National Hellenic Museum that takes us back to Greece during World War II.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p>Nari Safavi, WBEZ contributor and co-founder of Pasfarda Arts and Cultural Exchange</p><p><a href="http://seasonsofsun.com/">Paula Burzawa</a>, author of the book, <em>Tasso&#39;s Journey, A Novel</em>.</p></p> Fri, 15 May 2015 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-05-15/kim-jong-un-reportedly-kills-defense-chief-missile-112039 Obama says Sony should not have pulled film over hacking http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/obama-says-sony-should-not-have-pulled-film-over-hacking-111277 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP809914660283_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama called Sony&#39;s decision to pull its film&nbsp;The Interview&nbsp;over a hacking by North Korea a &quot;mistake.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,&quot; the president&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/19/371881952/live-obamas-year-end-news-conference">said in his year-end news conference</a>.</p><p>He added that he was &quot;sympathetic&quot; about their concerns, but, &quot;I wish they would have spoken to me first.&quot;</p><p>Earlier Friday, the FBI said it has enough information to confirm that North Korea was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures.</p><p>The agency tied the attack to North Korea because the malware used in the attack had the hallmarks of software written by the country in the past.</p><p>&quot;For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks,&quot; the FBI said in a statement.</p><p>The tools used, the agency said, also had similarities to a cyberattack that took place in March of last year against banks in South Korea.</p><p>The hack has caused serious repercussions for Sony. The stolen data have made public some embarrassing emails written by its executives. Hackers also leaked unreleased movies and scripts.</p><p>The group that took responsibility for the attack, &quot;Guardians of Peace,&quot; said it was responding to Sony Pictures&#39; comedy about an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.</p><p>After the group issued threats to attack movie theaters that show the film, major movie chains pulled&nbsp;The Interview&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/17/371477960/major-theater-chains-wont-screen-the-interview-amid-threats">Sony decided against a Christmas Day release</a>.</p><p>&quot;We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private-sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there,&quot; the FBI said. &quot;Further, North Korea&#39;s attack on [Sony] reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States.&quot;</p><p>In a separate statement, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the hack &quot;underscores the importance of good cybersecurity practices to rapidly detect cyber intrusions and promote resilience throughout all of our networks.</p><p>&quot;Every CEO should take this opportunity to assess their company&#39;s cybersecurity,&quot; he added.</p><p>Immediately following the FBI announcement, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., criticized the White House for not imposing tough financial sanctions on North Korea.</p><p>&quot;North Korea is attacking our infrastructure,&quot; Royce said in a statement. &quot;It is also attacking our values. The decision to pull &#39;The Interview&#39; from theatres unfortunately is a North Korean victory in its attack on our freedom. We better quickly respond comprehensively to defend freedom of speech in the face of terrorist threats and cyber attacks.&quot;</p><p>Options, though, are limited. The U.S. could impose new financial sanctions on Pyongyang and boost military support to South Korea. Yet these moves have had little impact on the heavily sanctioned country in the past.</p><p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/19/media/insde-sony-hack-interview/index.html?hpt=hp_t1">CNN reported earlier today</a>&nbsp;that the hackers behind the attack issued another statement today, praising Sony for pulling the movie. Removing it from screens, the hackers said in an email to Sony executives, was a &quot;very wise&quot; decision.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/19/371894427/fbi-formally-accuses-north-korea-in-sony-hacking"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/obama-says-sony-should-not-have-pulled-film-over-hacking-111277 With Sony hack, nation-state attacks go from quiet to overt http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sony-hack-nation-state-attacks-go-quiet-overt-111264 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP809914660283.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NPR has confirmed from U.S. intelligence officials that North Korea was centrally involved with the recent attacks against Sony Pictures. And the company says it is pulling its comedy film The Interview from the box office. It was supposed to debut on Christmas. These are major developments in what we may now call cyberwarfare.</p><p>The White House hasn&#39;t come out and said it yet, but intelligence officials tell us that the North Korean government was in fact involved in this hack against Sony, where everything from social security numbers to executive salaries and celebrity gossip got leaked.</p><p>Yes, it&#39;s the confirmation that many people have been waiting for. Though it&#39;s also really important to note that we don&#39;t exactly know what that means &mdash; and I&#39;ve spoken with security experts who remain skeptical.</p><p>That said, if it&#39;s true, it really is extraordinary. North Korea is one of the poorest countries on Earth. Its people don&#39;t go online &mdash; they&#39;re cut off from the Internet. But its government has allegedly launched an overt cyberattack &mdash; and even secured a decisive victory &mdash; against one of the biggest companies on Earth.</p><p>Repeat: overt.</p><p>That&#39;s a key part here &mdash; the fact that you and I and everyone else knows about it.</p><p>I want to compare this with another cyberattack &mdash; one that was carried out by nation-state actors: Stuxnet in 2010. That&#39;s when the U.S. and Israel used some very sophisticated code to dig their way into nuclear facilities in Iran and damage the actual physical centrifuges.</p><p>In that case, the hackers caused physical damage in the real world &mdash; but they did it covertly. While the news eventually broke, it&#39;s not like the U.S. was sending out press releases.</p><p>In this case, the hackers &mdash; who might be North Korean officials or backed by the regime &mdash; have been very vocal from the get. Using the name &quot;Guardians of Peace,&quot; they&#39;ve even threatened to hurt people who go to see the movie in theaters.</p><p>Theater chains that were supposed to screen The Interview decided not to, and Sony canceled the Christmas Day release.</p><p>So, effectively, the hackers grabbed a ton of attention through an online attack &mdash; one that was nowhere near as sophisticated as Stuxnet. And they leveraged all that attention, that power, to pivot &mdash; and make a physical threat that people suddenly felt was credible.</p><p>This whole chain of events has experts inside the cybersecurity industry really concerned. I talked to a few people whose job it is to ward off these kinds of attacks. And they have different takes on whether Sony, by caving, made the right decision for itself.</p><p>But across the board, they&#39;re worried that the company is sending the wrong message by handing off a huge win to a disgruntled state with very limited resources.</p><p>So the concern is that we&#39;re going to see copycats or a new trend on the horizon.</p><p>Cyberattacks happen every day. At this point, they&#39;re nothing new.</p><p>I was talking to this one security expert in Moscow, who pointed out that during the height of tensions between Russia and Ukraine, there were plenty of cyberattacks &mdash; online skirmishes with one side taking down the other side&#39;s media outlet or defacing websites.</p><p>Now this Sony episode is showing what a disproportionate impact a small, angry entity can have &mdash; and how an attack online can spill over to physical-world consequences.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/12/18/371581401/with-sony-hack-nation-state-attacks-go-from-quiet-to-overt" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/sony-hack-nation-state-attacks-go-quiet-overt-111264 Where was North Korea's leader? http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-10-15/where-was-north-koreas-leader-110937 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP152139437879.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The month-long absence of North Korea&#39;s leader Kim Jong-Un prompted speculation about possible health issues or even a coup. We&#39;ll assess the various theories about why he was out of the public eye with historian Bruce Cumings.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-23/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-23.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-23" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Where was North Korea's leader?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-10-15/where-was-north-koreas-leader-110937 Americans held in North Korea http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-09-03/americans-held-north-korea-110742 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP368245844425.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Three Americans are being held as prisoners in North Korea. In interviews with U.S. media, they&#39;ve asked for official negotiations for their release. We&#39;ll find out how likely it is the U.S. would engage in such negotiations with historian Bruce Cumings.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-americans-held-in-north-korea/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-americans-held-in-north-korea.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-americans-held-in-north-korea" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Americans held in North Korea" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 11:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-09-03/americans-held-north-korea-110742 On Presidents' Day, comparing national holidays around the world http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-02-18/presidents-day-comparing-national-holidays-around-world-105590 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79823063&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>In the United States, we have 10 public holidays, including today, Presidents&rsquo; Day.</p><p>That&rsquo;s about an average number if you consider the world over. But, for wealthier, industrialized countries, it&rsquo;s actually slightly below average.</p><p>But it is hard to make much of a judgment on a country based on how many holidays it has.</p><p>Based on a <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073511/Workers-UK-fewest-public-holidays-Europe-generous-statutory-holiday-entitlement.html" target="_blank">2011 study</a> done of <a href="http://www.mercer.com/press-releases/holiday-entitlements-around-the-world" target="_blank">62 major industrialized countries</a>, the country with the most public holidays is Colombia, with 18. Colombia has a reputation for being a pretty conservative country.&nbsp; But <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/guess-country-holidays/story?id=17388505" target="_blank">according to ABC News</a>, in the last year or two, Colombia has been passed by its fellow South American country, Argentina, which is developing a markedly left-wing reputation.&nbsp; Under Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the country now has 19 public holidays.</p><p>But even some countries known as being left wing have fewer holidays than the U.S.&nbsp; For instance, Communist <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/cuba.htm" target="_blank">Cuba</a> has only 9, along with more leftist or liberal countries like Ecuador, Denmark, Switzerland, and Canada. The Netherlands and the United Kingdom both have only 8.</p><p>Yet, some of the world&rsquo;s most repressive countries actually have more public holidays than we do. Most of them weren&rsquo;t covered by that 2011 study, but I did a little checking myself.</p><p>A lot of countries have holidays that are confined to specific regions, ethnic groups, or religions. Sometimes, there will be government holidays not always acknowledged by the private sector.&nbsp; Nevertheless, the results are still surprising.</p><p>Iran, a Shi&rsquo;ite Islam religious theocracy, has <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/iraq.htm" target="_blank">as many as 18 public holidays</a>.&nbsp; And the country with the most holidays I found anywhere in the world was Saudi Arabia, Iran&rsquo;s Sunni nemesis, with <a href="http://www.saudiembassy.net/about/country-information/facts_and_figures/" target="_blank">as many as</a> <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/saudi_arabia.htm" target="_blank">22 government holidays</a> every year in some regions.</p><p>A lot of these days come from two Muslim holidays that take multiple days, and are observed throughout the Middle East. (Which is why Lebanon rates so high in the 2011 study, with 16 public holidays).</p><p>But it&rsquo;s not just in the Middle East.&nbsp; In Asia, one country with a surprisingly strong showing is none other than international pariah North Korea, arguably the most repressive government anywhere in the world right now, with <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/north_korea.htm" target="_blank">no fewer than 20 public holidays every year</a>, according to one source.</p><p>Even <a href="http://www.qppstudio.net/publicholidays2013/belarus.htm" target="_blank">Belarus</a> narrowly beats the United States, with 11 public holidays to our 10.</p><p>So, the level of freedom, liberalism, conservatism, or economic prosperity has, in the end, very little to do with how many days a year people get to take a break.&nbsp; So, when you&rsquo;re annoyed to find your bank closed today, just think: in some countries, where the quality of life is far worse than here, it happens even more often.</p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 15:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-02-18/presidents-day-comparing-national-holidays-around-world-105590 Obama to stress jobs, Afghan war troop withdrawal in State of the Union http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-stress-jobs-afghan-war-troop-withdrawal-state-union-105479 <p><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; Still hampered by the vulnerable economy, President Barack Obama is using his State of the Union address to appeal for new spending to create jobs while also pledging to cut the federal deficit, in part by raising taxes &mdash; issues Republicans are likely to oppose.</p><p>Speaking before a divided Congress Tuesday night, Obama also will announce a major reduction in U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, withdrawing 34,000 troops within a year, half the total deployed there. And he&#39;ll sharply rebuke North Korea for defying the international community and launching a nuclear test hours before Obama&#39;s remarks.</p><p>But it&#39;s the economy at center stage, as it has been each time Obama has stood before lawmakers and a national TV audience for the annual address. Despite marked improvements since he took office four years ago, the unemployment rate is still hovering around 8 percent and consumer confidence has slipped.</p><p>White House officials said Obama would offer the public an outline for job creation, though much of his blueprint will include elements Americans have heard before, including spending more money to boost manufacturing and improve infrastructure. Getting that new spending through Congress appears unlikely, given that it would require support from Republicans who blocked similar measures during Obama&#39;s first term.</p><p>The president is expected to be uncompromising in his calls for lawmakers to offset across-the-board spending cuts that are scheduled to begin March 1 with a mix of tax increases and targeted budget cuts.</p><p>The president hasn&#39;t detailed where he wants lawmakers to take action, though he and his aides often mention as examples of unnecessary tax breaks a benefit for owners of private jets and tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. Such measures are modest, however. Ending the corporate plane and oil and gas breaks would generate about $43 billion in revenue over 10 years.</p><p>That appeal for new revenue is getting stiff-armed by Republicans, who reluctantly agreed at the start of the year to increase tax rates on the wealthiest Americans in exchange for extending Bush-era tax rates for the rest of taxpayers.</p><p>&quot;He&#39;s gotten all the revenue he&#39;s going to get,&quot; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. &quot;Been there, done that.&quot;</p><p>Still, buoyed by re-election, the president and his top aides are confident that Americans back their vision for the economy. Immediately following his speech, Obama will hold a conference call with supporters to urge them to pressure lawmakers to back his agenda. He&#39;ll also seek to rally public support with trips this week to North Carolina, Georgia and Illinois.</p><p>Also Tuesday night:</p><p>&mdash; The president will press Congress to overhaul immigration laws and tackle climate change.</p><p>&mdash; His wish-list will include expanding early childhood education and making it easier for voters to cast ballots in elections.</p><p>&mdash; Obama is expected to make an impassioned plea for stricter gun laws, including universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons.</p><p>First lady Michelle Obama will sit with the parents of a Chicago teenager shot and killed just days after she performed at the president&#39;s inauguration. Twenty-two House members have invited people affected by gun violence, according to Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., who helped with the effort. And Republican Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas says he&#39;s invited rocker Ted Nugent, a long-time gun control opponent who last year said he would end up &quot;dead or in jail&quot; if Obama won re-election.</p><p>Though Obama is devoting less time to foreign policy this year, his announcement on the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is highly anticipated and puts the nation on pace to formally finish the protracted war by the end of 2014.</p><p>On North Korea, the White House said Obama would make the case that the impoverished nation&#39;s nuclear program has only further isolated it from the international community. North Korea said Tuesday that it successfully detonated a nuclear device in defiance of U.N. warnings.</p></p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 09:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-stress-jobs-afghan-war-troop-withdrawal-state-union-105479 North Korea’s satellite launch a big flop http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-13/segment/north-korea%E2%80%99s-satellite-launch-big-flop-98202 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP120413013489.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After days of media hype and international anticipation, North Korea’s attempt to put a satellite in orbit was a flop. The rocket carrying the satellite exploded in midair about a minute after liftoff. The U.S. and other countries saw this as a test of the country’s long-range missile technology.&nbsp; Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the launch raised doubts about North Korea's claims that it wants improved ties with its neighbors. <a href="http://history.uchicago.edu/faculty/cumings.shtml" target="_blank">Bruce Cumings</a>, author of <em>The Korean War: A History</em> and history professor at University of Chicago discusses the political implications of North Korea's actions.</p></p> Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:41:05 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-13/segment/north-korea%E2%80%99s-satellite-launch-big-flop-98202