WBEZ | North Korea http://www.wbez.org/tags/north-korea Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Worldview 4.13.12 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-13/worldview-41312-98198 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP120414060.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Smuggled out of Iran in a cake for its world premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, <a href="http://thisisnotafilm.net/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;"><em>This is Not a Film</em></a> captures Iranian filmmaker <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0070159/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Jafar Panahi</a> in passive-resistant defiance after Iranian authorities sentenced him to a six-year prison term and a 20-year ban on filmmaking. Contributor Milos Stehlik shares his thoughts on the film.</p><p>Then, North Korea claimed its failed rocket launch only meant to put a satellite in orbit, but the U.S. and other countries are skeptical. <em>Worldview</em> talks with <a href="http://history.uchicago.edu/faculty/cumings.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Bruce Cumings</a>, chair of the University of Chicago's history department and author of <em>The Korean War: A History</em>.</p><p>And it's time for another edition of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/weekend-passport" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Weekend Passport</a>. Global citizen Narimon Safavi helps listeners plan their international weekend.</p></p> Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:24:08 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-13/worldview-41312-98198 Worldview 1.12.12 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-11212-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2012-january/2012-01-12/korea2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Before Kim Jong-il's death the United States offered to provide food aid to North Korea if it halted its uranium enrichment program. North Korea has indicated it may be open to negotiations on such a deal. And, the Obama administration says it plans to shift its military policy toward Asia. <em>Worldview</em> talks with University of Chicago professor <a href="http://history.uchicago.edu/faculty/cumings.shtml" target="_blank">Bruce Cumings</a> about what it all means.<strong>&nbsp; </strong>And WBEZ's<a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/alison-cuddy" target="_blank"> Alison Cuddy</a> tells <em>Worldview </em>about a host of French film initiatives in Chicago, including “The Tournees Festival of New French Cinema,” at the University of Chicago. The latest film in the series, <em>A Screaming Man</em>, shows Friday night. The film explores the personal and political fall-out of civil war in Chad.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 21:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-11212-0 U of C professor talks North Korea, Obama's beefed up Asia-Pacific policy http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-13/u-c-professor-talks-north-korea-obamas-beefed-asia-pacific-policy-95512 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/korea3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>North Korea’s government-run Central News Agency announced yesterday that the body of Kim Jong-il will be embalmed and laid in state next to Kim Jong-un, his father and founder of the communist state.&nbsp; The regime also alleges it will build “smiling portraits” of Kim and “towers to his immortality.” The efforts reinforce the power of the Kim dynasty, as Kim Jong-il’s son Kim Jong-un takes over as the new “Supreme Leader.”</p><p>Before Kim Jong-il's death the United States offered to provide food aid to North Korea if it halted its uranium enrichment program.&nbsp; North Korea has indicated it may be open to negotiations on such a deal. And, the Obama administration says it plans to shift its military policy toward Asia, away from the Middle East.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Worldview</em> talks with<a href="http://history.uchicago.edu/faculty/cumings.shtml" target="_blank"> Bruce Cumings</a>,&nbsp; chairman of the University of Chicago's history department and author of several books, including, most recently, <em>The Korean War: A History</em>, about what it all means.<br> &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 18:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-13/u-c-professor-talks-north-korea-obamas-beefed-asia-pacific-policy-95512 Gates' Warns About  North Korea; Hopes To Restart Talks http://www.wbez.org/story/asia/gates-warns-about-%C2%A0north-korea-hopes-restart-talks <p><p>There's been a flurry of reports today about <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=132828761" target="_blank">U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying</a> that North Korea could have a missile capable of reaching the western coast of the United States within five years.</p><p>And, the Pentagon chief said while in Beijing, because of its "continuing development of nuclear weapons" and its work on an inter-continental ballistic missile, "North Korea is becoming a direct threat to the United States, and we have to take that into account."</p><p>On <em>All Things Considered</em> today, NPR's Rachel Martin will report that the key concern is the potential combination of a nuclear weapon and a long-range missile.</p><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/12/world/asia/12military.html?_r=1&hp" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em> adds that</a>:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"Mr. Gates is a former director of the C.I.A., and his statement, officials said, reflected both a new assessment by American intelligence officials and his own concern that Washington had consistently underestimated the pace at which the North was developing nuclear and missile technologies."</p><p></blockquote></p><p>Meanwhile, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/11/AR2011011103260.html" target="_blank"><em>The Washington Post</em> says that</a>:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"In a first for a U.S. senior official, Gates also gave North Korea some concrete suggestions about what the United States wants it to do in order to restart stalled talks over its nuclear weapons program: declare a moratorium on both missile and nuclear tests."</p><p></blockquote></p><p>According to Rachel, getting back to the negotiating table is important in Gates' view because, "he wants to avoid what's become an unending crisis -- North Korea acts aggressively and the international community scrambles to avert a crisis." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1294780932?&gn=Gates%27+Warns+About+%C2%A0North+Korea%3B+Hopes+To+Restart+Talks&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=North+Korea,Defense+Secretary+Robert+Gates,Military,Foreign+News,The+Two-Way,Asia,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=132839253&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110111&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 11 Jan 2011 14:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/asia/gates-warns-about-%C2%A0north-korea-hopes-restart-talks Reading between the lines of the Korean Peninsula’s recent standoff http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/reading-between-lines-korean-peninsula%E2%80%99s-recent-standoff <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/1346339.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>North Korea has been very busy.</p><p>In July they sunk a South Korean naval vessel. On November 23rd they shelled a South Korean island. And recently, U.S. academics were shown North Korea's new uranium enrichment facility.</p><p>Peter Hayes is the executive director of the <a href="http://www.nautilus.org/">Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development</a>. He helps us to understand what's behind the Korean Peninsula's recent escalation in tension. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 08 Dec 2010 17:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/reading-between-lines-korean-peninsula%E2%80%99s-recent-standoff North Korea greets its next leader http://www.wbez.org/story/asia/north-korea-greets-its-next-leader <p><p>North Korea introduced its heir apparent, Kim Jong Un, to its people in a massive military parade Sunday. The reclusive country marked the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party with a celebration that was televised live -- for the first time ever -- underlining the importance of the coming-out party.</p><p>The day was all about North Korea putting on a show for the world. The world's press had been invited along to see the goose-stepping soldiers cradling their rifles, the military bands, the tanks and missiles trundling past. Most of all, everyone was waiting to see the debut on the world stage of the man known as the &quot;Young General,&quot; Kim Jong Il's third son, Kim Jong Un.</p><p>Thousands upon thousands of people took part in the parade through Pyongyang's main square.&nbsp; Until two weeks ago, they had no idea what Kim Jong Un even looked like.&nbsp; But now, the 20-something has become a four-star general -- and has been installed as official successor. A guide for the foreign journalists, Kim Chong Gil, described how North Koreans think of the man who will be their next leader.</p><p>&quot;He is very young,&quot; he says. &quot;Wise leadership, and he loves the people and all our country. We, all Koreans, like him.&quot;</p><p>After a long wait at Kim Il Sung Plaza, parade spectators suddenly stood and faced the rostrum in hopes of seeing Kim Jong Il. The big question was whether his son and heir would appear with him -- and whether he might say his first words in public.</p><p>Kim Jong Un did indeed appear, surrounded by military, wearing a black suit and clapping his hands. The crowd roared, clapped and cheered. Kim Jong Il, too, appeared at his son's side.</p><p>The father and son stood a short distance apart; Kim Jong Il looked frail, and after an hour and a half had to hold onto the railings for support.&nbsp; The 68-year-old is believed to have suffered a stroke two years ago.</p><p>The moment of pure political theater was highly symbolic. James Miles, of <em>The Economist, </em>first visited Pyongyang 14 years ago; he says Kim Jong Un's first public appearance was designed for domestic consumption.</p><p>&quot;The choreography of this clearly suggested this was all about presenting him to the public,&quot; Miles says. &quot;Having him stand next to his father, right over the portrait of the great founder of North Korea, president Kim Il Sung -- the father of Kim Jong Il, the grandfather of Kim Jong Un. This was all about showing the family to the people of North Korea.&quot;</p><p>Interestingly, a senior Chinese official, Zhou Yongkang, sat next to Kim Jong Il for the entire ceremony, signaling Beijing's continuing support for its traditional ally. On this occasion, neither of the Kims spoke in public. But this is only the start of the succession process.</p><p>Very little is known about Kim Jong Un, who studied at a Swiss boarding school.&nbsp; But as the state propaganda machine gears up, the younger Kim will have to work to build up his legitimacy.</p><p>&quot;Kim Jong Il has gone out with his son to inspect new housing in Pyongyang. That's the only thing we've seen of him taking part in something that looks like a leadership role,&quot; Miles says. &quot;Even though he's No. 2 in military hierarchy, all that he's done in a military sense is stand up there on the podium and look at tanks and missiles rumble past.&quot;</p><p>As the enormous rally drew to an end, thousands of civilians waving red and pink flowers lined up in Kim Il Sung Plaza, singing a patriotic song.&nbsp; Some of the men wept openly as they stared at their leaders. For them, this was a political show -- a test of their loyalty to the regime. And for North Korea, it's a display of internal strength and unity, of the people rallying behind their leaders, present and future. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img alt="" src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1286990970?&amp;gn=North+Korea+Greets+Its+Next+Leader&amp;ev=event2&amp;ch=1125&amp;h1=Asia,World+Story+of+the+Day,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=130469051&amp;c7=1125&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1125&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101010&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c21=10&amp;v21=D%3Dc2&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" /> Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img alt="" src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1286990975?&amp;gn=North+Korea+Greets+Its+Next+Leader&amp;ev=event2&amp;h1=Asia,World+Story+of+the+Day,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=130469051&amp;c7=1125&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1125&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101010&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c21=10&amp;v21=D%3Dc2&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" /></p></p> Sun, 10 Oct 2010 07:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/asia/north-korea-greets-its-next-leader