≡ Delays Expected To Ease After 8PM
Delays continue on the nation's highways heading out of the capital region for the Chuseok holiday.
At this hour, the estimated drive time from Seoul to Gangneung is a little over three hours, two hours to Daejeon and nearly four and a half hours to Daegu.
If you're headed to Ulsan or Busan, it will take you around five hours and five and a half hours to Mokpo.
Traffic is expected to ease around 8 p.m.
The heaviest delays are expected tomorrow, both heading in and out of Seoul, as people make their way back home as well as visit ancestral graves.
Also, all expressways are toll-free during the extended holiday.
In addition, buses and subways in the capital will run until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday to accommodate holiday travelers.■
≡ Working-Level Talks Between US, N. Korea Aimed At Drafting Agreement: Pro-Pyongyang Newspaper
A pro-Pyongyang newspaper says working-level talks between the United States and North Korea, which could open late this month, are part of a process to draft an agreement to be signed between President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong-un at their next summit.
The Japan-based Choson Sinbo said in a report today that negotiating teams from both sides bear a heavy responsibility.
It added that if another meeting between Trump and Kim takes place, it will be a chance for the two countries to take the first step toward establishing a new relationship while resolving security concerns.
Earlier this week, the North expressed a willingness to hold working-level talks with the U.S. in late September.■
≡ Social Cohesion Key To Tackling Hate Speech: Human Rights Lawyer
Hate speech is a growing problem in South Korea where not just politicians but also ordinary people lash out with abusive words toward social minorities.
Rosalind Croucher, chairwoman of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, says social cohesion is key to tackling the issue.
Our Hyeryeon Chung had an interview with her on the sidelines of an APF conference in Seoul last week and sends us this report.
Croucher said hate and discrimination against minorities is a serious problem that not only violates the rights of victims but also has a devastating effect on the entire community.
"It is a challenge that all of us face across the Asian Pacific regions where migrant communities, even the divisions within communities whether it is class, race, or religion or just being new; these tensions can lead to a lack of respect and that can slide into hate and violence."
She stressed that nurturing social cohesion should be prioritized to protect people from discrimination.
"The answer is cultural change and social cohesion. You do need law and you do need bodies likely the human rights commissions to hold government to account but that's only a top level."
The Australian human rights lawyer noted how education on social harmony and cohesion should happen from a very early age.
A recent report by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea showed that children and teenagers are more likely to engage in hate speech when they are exposed to discriminatory words on social media and online gaming chat rooms.
A often used term that makes its way into hate speech is the Korean suffix "choong," which technically means insect but more often is associated with a derogatory connotation.
Croucher emphasized the importance of learning from history.
"The Jews in Germany were described as 'rats.' The African countries the other communities were described as 'cockroaches' really animal words. If you do not listen to history you are destined to repeat it."
Hyeryeon Chung, eFM News.■[2019.09.12]
≡ Seoul Sends Investigators To US For Joint Probe Into Capsized Ship
The government has sent investigators to the United States for a joint probe into the capsizing of a cargo vessel off the coast of the state of Georgia earlier this week.
Seoul's ocean ministry said four officials will team up with the U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board to find the exact cause of the accident.
The investigation is aimed at preventing a recurrence.
On Sunday, the Golden Ray started to list and caught fire after leaving a port in Georgia.
Nineteen of 23 people on board the ship were immediately rescued while the remaining four South Korean crewmembers were extracted some 40 hours later.■
≡ Japan's New Trade Minister Denies Export Curbs Violate WTO Rules
New Japanese Trade Minister Isshu Sugawara has claimed that Tokyo did not violate any World Trade Organization rules on its export restrictions against South Korea.
Sugawara, who was appointed in a Cabinet reshuffle yesterday, said at an inaugural news conference today that the measure is in line with WTO rules and that he will work to make it known among the international community.
Seoul's trade ministry said Wednesday it was filing a complaint with the WTO on Japan's export curbs, accusing Tokyo of a politically motivated move.
Tokyo's trade ministry said it had received a request from Seoul to begin bilateral consultations, the first step of the WTO's dispute settlement process.■