Monday, September 08, 2014

Monday Post

Mmmm... Chuseok...
A pleasant Chuseok to all y'all...


The traditions of Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving are changing fast as modern lifestyles loosen the hold of ancient customs.

According to a survey by the Korea Transport Institute of 9,000 households last month, only 25.5 percent will spend three or more nights in their ancestral hometown during the Chuseok holidays, compared to 40.3 percent a decade ago.

On the other hand, some 12.4 percent said they will make just a one-day trip to their hometown, as against 10.4 percent in 2004. The proportion who only want to stay overnight also rose 7.1 percentage points and of those spending two nights 5.7 percentage points.

This is what Chuseok is all about, Charlie Brown:

Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving celebrates nature's bounty. At a time of the year when rice paddies and other plots of farmland are filled with bumper crops, even the poorest farmers make rice wine and pick the ripest fruit and present them on altars for ancestral rites.

Koreans in the past chose the best times of the year for holidays and prepared sumptuous tables to honor their ancestors and share the food with their family and friends. 

CSIS is watching a Chinese-language school connected to the Confucius Institute:

Agents of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have attempted to speak to the director of a Chinese language school located at Dawson College in Montreal on three different occasions, Meng Rong told CBC Montreal in an exclusive interview.

"We told them very clearly, (the school) has nothing to do with politics or spying," said Rong, who heads the Confucius Institute in Quebec.

Dawson College signed an agreement with the Chinese government and Université de Sherbrooke to house the Confucius school in 2007.

Rong said CSIS agents first interrogated her on the day of the opening ceremony itself, attended by Jean Charest who was the Quebec premier at the time.

She said they didn't stop there. 

"They came to my home, which is not right," she said. Rong was shown a list of names, and asked if she could identify anybody.

(Sidebar: it's also not right to jail dissidents. Carry on.)

She said — besides obvious ones, like Canada's ambassador to China — no names stood out.

In 2008, she said CSIS visited her again, but left her alone after she threatened to file a human rights complaint.

This Confucius Institute:

North Korea’s relations with China haven’t gotten much press lately, outside of reports that the diplomatic staff at the DPRK Embassy in Beijing are being shuffled, along with more rumors of exclusive and wide-spread access to North Korean ports and minerals by Chinese companies.

So it’s nice to run across this story dating from summer 2009 which describes how, under the auspices of Beijing University’s Confucius Institute (e.g., the Institute for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language), ten North Korean teachers of Chinese spent a month at the university honing their knowledge.

Keep in mind how China really feels about Korea.

With the ceasefire dwindling away, it's time for Russia to be more provocative:

Russia's military acted in an "unnecessarily provocative" manner when its aircraft circled a Canadian ship in the Black Sea on Sunday, says Canada's minister of national defence.

"The acts perpetrated by Russia were unnecessarily provocative and are likely to increase tensions further," said Rob Nicholson in a written statement, saying it did not matter if the aircraft circling HMCS Toronto had posed no threat.

The ship was circled by one surveillance plane and two fighter jets, according to the defence minister's office.

The frigate HMCS Toronto left Halifax in late July to replace HMCS Regina, which has been a part of the Standing NATO Maritime Forces since May.

"Canada and its allies are involved in security measures taken by the acts of military aggression perpetrated by the Putin regime and because of the invasion of Ukraine," he said, calling on Russia to stop its "irresponsible actions."

People actually want to vote for him:

And there's this:

Yeah, he's a liar and has no ruddy idea what to do about ISIS. What else is new?

President Barack Obama is interviewed by NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press."

At least one prominent fact-checking organization is calling out President Barack Obama for falsely claiming he "wasn't specifically referring to" Islamic State militants when he dismissed them as a "JV" team.

During an interview on Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Obama was pressed on the comments, published in a January profile in The New Yorker. In the piece, Obama was asked about the jihadist militants who had just captured Fallujah, Iraq. He replied: "The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant."

Obama told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that he was speaking broadly at the time and not specifically about the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which has recently killed two American journalists and is threatening still more violence.

"Keep in mind I wasn't specifically referring to ISIL. I've said that, regionally, there were a whole series of organizations that were focused primarily locally," Obama said, according to an NBC transcript. "And I was very specific at that time. What I said was, not every regional terrorist organization is automatically a threat to us that would call for a major offensive."

But Politifact, a leading fact-checking organization, subsequently rated Obama's recollection as "false." Politifact even reached out to the author of The New Yorker story to confirm the specific context of Obama's quote: the capture of Fallujah just days before.

"At the time, Islamic State (often referred to as by its acronyms ISIS or ISIL) was not a household name. It was often referred to as an Al Qaeda-linked group in press reports. But reports from the time clearly indicate that the group was responsible for taking over the city," Politifact reported. "We rate the statement False."

That's nice:

Prince William said on Monday he and wife Kate were thrilled to be expecting their second baby ...

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