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December 22, 2012

\’Gangnam Style\’ YouTube view count passes one billion

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

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The music video for “Gangnam Style“, a song by South Korean artist Psy, has become the first YouTube video to surpass one billion views. The video, which was uploaded to the video sharing website on July 15, became the most viewed of all time last month after overtaking the music video for “Baby“, a song by Canadian singer Justin Bieber, which was placed on YouTube two years ago.

Cquote1.svg [T]his song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they’re not Cquote2.svg

Park Jae-Sang

With more than 6.1 million likes, Guinness World Records has recognised “Gangnam Style” as being the most liked YouTube video ever; it also has over 449,000 dislikes. ‘officialpsy’, the YouTube channel upon which the video was uploaded, now has in excess of 2.1 million subscribers and has achieved over 1.4 billion video views overall. According to Google, the company which owns YouTube, the video has attracted between seven and ten million daily views on average since being uploaded to the site.

Park Jae-Sang, the actual name of Psy, explained the meaning of the song in an August 2012 interview with CNN. “People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are — it’s only the posers and wannabes that put on these airs and say that they are ‘Gangnam Style’ — so this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they’re not”, he said. Despite its international popularity, in a separate interview with Reuters earlier in August, Park Jae-Sang said “Gangnam Style” — a satire of consumerist aspects of the Gangnam District of the South Korean capital of Seoul — “never targeted foreign countries. It was for local fans”. His said his intention with the video “was to look uncool until the end. I achieved it.”

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“Gangnam Style” has inspired countless parody versions, prompting UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph to suggest it was “the most parodied video ever”. Among the parody versions are one performed by inmates of the Philippines’ Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, one with students from Eton College in the United Kingdom, one from Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and one created in the approach to the 2012 United States presidential election called “Mitt Romney Style”.

Numerous prominent figures have attempted to imitate the “Gangnam Style” dance — which involves crossing one’s wrists over each other and motioning as if “you’re riding an invisible horse in your lower body,” Park Jae-Sang explained — including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barack Obama and Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

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  • “‘Gangnam Style’ becomes most watched YouTube video ever” — Wikinews, November 25, 2012

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November 25, 2012

\’Gangnam Style\’ becomes most watched YouTube video ever

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon performing a “Gangnam Style” dance move alongside Psy
Image: VOA News/United Nations Webcast.

The music video for “Gangnam Style“, a song by South Korean artist Psy, has become the most viewed YouTube video of all time. The video, which now has over 816 million views since being uploaded in July, became the most watched after overtaking the music video for “Baby“, a song by Canadian singer Justin Bieber, which was placed on YouTube in 2010.

With approximately 5.4 million likes, “Gangnam Style” is the most liked YouTube video ever, as recognised by Guinness World Records. The video has averaged approximately six million daily views since its upload. Guinness World Records previously said about the video: “In years past it was unthinkable that something would be viewed a hundred million times, and now Gangnam Style has achieved more than twice this figure in just three months on YouTube.” Should its daily view count average rate continue, “Gangnam Style” could potentially pass one billion views by the start of 2013.

“Gangnam Style” satirises consumerist aspects of the Gangnam District of Seoul, the South Korean capital. The music video has influenced numerous parody versions, including one called “Mitt Romney Style”, which was created in the run-up to the 2012 United States presidential election.

Park Jae-Sang, Psy’s actual name, said “Gangnam Style” “never targeted foreign countries. It was for local fans”. He said his intention “was to look uncool” in the music video “until the end. I achieved it.”

The song has reached number one on music charts in about 30 countries. Its popularity has extended as far as US President Barack Obama; and Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who can be seen performing one of the dance moves to the song in the video above.

Psy has now signed with The Island Def Jam Music Group, a record label representing such acts as Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber.



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November 8, 2009

South Korean workers protest against labour laws

South Korean workers protest against labour laws

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

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Thousands of workers in South Korea have staged protests to demonstrate against plans by the government to alter the labour laws in the country.

According to Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) figures, up to 150,000 people attended the protests, held on Saturday in the capital of Seoul, although the police estimated the smaller figure of 60,000.

Under the government’s new plans, it will start enforcing laws in 2010 to stop companies from giving wages to full-time representatives of unions, and will allow multiple unions for each individual workplace. Such plans have been delayed for a decade due to opposition from labour groups.

“We, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, are here to defend the labour unions and labour movement in this land. We will thwart the government’s policy by mobilising every means possible. If necessary, we will stage a general strike,” said spokesman for FKTUK, Kang Choong-ho.

Riot police were present at the demonstrations; however, it was reported that there was no violence or clashes, and protesters later dispersed peacefully.

Media contacted the South Korean Labour Ministry seeking comment regarding the rally, but the Ministry did not immediately respond.



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April 25, 2008

Arsonist behind Namdaemun gate fire in Seoul imprisoned for 10 years

Arsonist behind Namdaemun gate fire in Seoul imprisoned for 10 years

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Firefighters extinguish the first portions of the fire.

February 11, 2008, the day after the fire.

The arsonist responsible for setting fire to the historic Sungnyemun gate (more commonly referred to as Namdaemun gate) in Seoul, South Korea in February has been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. The 600-year-old landmark was considred one of the nation’s greatest and most iconic, with some sources describing it as the single most important one in the country.

The 69-year-old male defendant has a previous conviction from two years ago for attempting to torch the Changgyeong palace, for which he received a suspended prison sentence and was fined. It is understood he destroyed the Namdaemun gate and attacked the palace over an unconnected land ownership dispute which had angered him. He felt that the compulsory purchase of his home a decade ago had been inadequatly compensated for by the state.

After the fire, residents left flowers at the scene and wrote grieving notes.

Chae Jong-Gi, who admitted the crime, was told of the seriousness of the offence in a statement by the Seoul district court. “A heavy sentence is inevitable as the accused inflicted unbearable agony on the people and damaged national pride… (The monument was) the treasure among all treasures which had survived all kinds of historic disasters. Even if restored, the gate’s originality will never return. Therefore, the nature and consequences of this crime are very serious,” said the statement.

The man is thought to have selected the gate as a target due to lax security measures. In the fire’s aftermath, officials have been criticised over this and concerns that firefighting efforts were ineffective, and the Cultural Heritage Administration’s chief resigned to show he accepted responsibility for the blaze.

The two storey gate in pagoda style was constructed in 1398 and despite a 1447 rebuild and multiple renovations still contained original timbers prior to the destruction in the fire. Only the stone base survived.

According to the Cultural Heritage Administration, a reconstruction effort will take two to three years and cost 20 billion won (US$21 million).



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February 11, 2008

Arson suspected in Namdaemun gate fire in Seoul

Arson suspected in Namdaemun gate fire in Seoul

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Firefighters extinguish the first portions of the fire.

February 11, 2008, the day after the fire.

Around 8:50 p.m. Korean Standard Time (11:50 UTC) on Sunday, a fire broke out at Sungnyemun Gate (more commonly referred to as Namdaemun Gate), one of the most iconic South Korean landmarks, located in the center of Seoul.

Approximately 30 firetrucks and 90 firefighters were sent to the site and were able to bring the initial blaze under control by around 10:30 p.m.

However, around 10:40 p.m., the fire rekindled at the second floor of the gate, as firefighters were in the process of extinguishing embers. By 11:00 p.m. the fire had spread over to the roof of the gate. The Korean Fire Department reports that the second blaze had started as the Department was seeking permission from the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration to dismantle parts of the gate in order to stop any possible further fires from spreading.

At about 12:40 a.m. of the 11th, the second floor had collapsed, and the fire was spreading to the first floor; at 1:50 a.m. the first floor collapsed.

Officials have yet to reach a conclusion on the origin of fire, and have presented three possibilities; arson, electric faults or accidental origins.

As the interior of the second floor of the Gate is off-limits to civilians, the Korean Fire Department initially eliminated the possibility of arson, and stated that an electric short or spark from the electric lighting could have been the cause. This possibility was later discarded as a firefighter reported, after examination, that there was no electric wiring on the second floor, as Korean Cultural Heritage Administration regulations prohibit it.

Three eye-witnesses have submitted testimonies. A taxi driver has reported seeing a man in his fifties climb up the staircase carrying a shopping bag, shortly after seeing sparks. Police have stated that the driver’s testimony differs in several crucial factors from the other two witnesses.

Firefighters have reported finding two cigarette lighters on the second floor, inceasing the possibility of arson as the cause.

Police have been unable to obtain evidence from the four closed circuit televisions(CCTVs) installed around the gate.

Officials of the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration have stated that restoration will take two to three years and will cost 20 billion won, equivalent of 21 million USD.

Officials report that no sprinklers or fire alarms were installed inside the gate, and only eight fire extinguishers were placed on both the first and second floor.

Namdaemun, built during the Joseon Dynasty, is the oldest wooden structure in Seoul and was entitled ‘National Treasure No. 1’ in 1962 after restoration.

In recent years, arsons started by evangelical Christians have damaged many Buddhist temples and Korean momuments.



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June 10, 2006

Plane lands safely in Seoul after losing radar, nose and windows in storm

Plane lands safely in Seoul after losing radar, nose and windows in storm

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

An Asiana Airlines Airbus aircraft made an emergency landing Friday night and landed safely without its nose, radar and windows. The plane landed at the airport of Seoul. The plane lost parts in a severe storm between Cheju island and Seoul.

Hail also destroyed the plane’s cockpit windows that were made of security glass. The windows remained in place but the pilots were unable to see through the glass. The radar could have solved the problem, but was also damaged by the storm. The pilots decided to use two very small windows on both sides of the cockpit.

The plane was carrying 200 people, including 177 students of primary education schools on a school trip, a spokesman of Asiana Airlines said Saturday.

The pilots Lee Chan-go and Kim Yong-ik will be rewarded because they landed the plane safely despite all the problems.

No one was injured in the incident.

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November 16, 2005

Farmers clash amidst high security at APEC summit in South Korea

Farmers clash amidst high security at APEC summit in South Korea

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This article is part of the series
APEC
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2005

General
Protests
  • 20,000 South Koreans take to the streets to protest APEC
  • Farmers clash amidst high security at APEC summit in Sth Korea
Background

In the lead-up to the APEC forum, thousands of South Korean farmers clashed with police on Tuesday in the capital, Seoul, to demand the withdrawal of a bill to open up the country’s rice market.

Local police said that about 40 farmers were arrested. Protesters drove back ranks of riot police in full combat gear as they marched towards the national assembly.

Police put the number of protesters and farm activists at about 10,000.The farmers were stopped just short of the assembly and entered in a standoff with the police, who used water cannon to subdue the farmers and disband the protest.

“No to WTO, No to APEC, No to BUSH,” the protesters chanted. A representative for the farmers said one activist suffered a severe eye injury. Three police buses were burned in the protest. South Korean media reports that 70 protesters and 10 police were injured in the action.

Busan Mayor, Hur Nam-sik, said the protests should be contained. “I cannot block all the protests and demonstrations at APEC at all,” he said. “If the protests and demonstrations happen, it has to be in an orderly way, not to harm the image and progress of APEC.”

South Korean farmers regularly take to the streets demanding protection for the domestic rice market from imports. The farmers oppose government’s plans for wider liberalization of the nation’s rice market.

“The government must come up with realistic policies for the rice market and the farming industry to allow farmers to live comfortably,” said the Korean Advanced Farmers Federation.

The rally follows the death of a South Korean farmer, who allegedly committed suicide last Friday in protest of APEC policies.

About 2,000 South Korean farm activists plan to travel to Hong Kong next month to protest during a meeting of global trade ministers.

Highest Security Alert

Amidst the street clashes, South Korea has taken steps to insure against potential terrorist attacks at the forum. Civil and military forces in Busan are on the highest alert with some 37,000 deployed in the area.

Twenty one international leaders, including US President George W. Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Russian President Vladimir Putin set to attend.

Trade and foreign ministers have begun two days of talks ahead of the main summit on Friday and Saturday. Authorities have designated security zones that will be off-limits to protesters.

Over 900 foreigners with criminal records have been banned from entering South Korea during the summit period. Police say 400 others will be deported if they engage in illegal demonstrations.

Organizers said they expected thousands of demonstrators to criticize the international trade policies, which they say favors rich countries over poorer ones. An anti-APEC rally in Seoul at the weekend drew around 20,000 people.

The main security focus during the summit is terrorist threats. Although there have been no specific threats, South Korea has sent troops to Iraq and was mentioned as a potential target by al-Qaeda.

US military declined to comment on whether their 32,500 American troops based in South Korea were helping bolster security for the APEC summit

Ships will be blocked from entering the area, officials said. Anti-aircraft missiles have been deployed around the city, and a no-fly zone designated above the summit venues.

Police have increased security at subway stations, department stores and cinemas. Thousands of volunteers nationwide are monitoring public transport for suspicious activity, and customs and security checks at all international airports have been increased.



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August 4, 2005

South Korean scientists clone dog for first time

South Korean scientists clone dog for first time

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Thursday, August 4, 2005

Seoul National University’s Hwang Woo-Suk has reported his findings in the Journal Nature after being involved in producing the first cloned dog.

The dog, named Snuppy, was born on April 24. He is an Afghan hound. The issue presents a whole host of ethical questions for researchers in the stem cell field.

Companies like Amgen are interested in the technology, as is accounted in Fortune Magazine for making human-safe pharmaceuticals. The business sector relies on technology improvements to make life saving realities.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that Snuppy came from the DNA of the tissue of the ear of the original canine.

According to ABC News Associated Press reporter JI-SOO KIM, Korea has declared that we are still a long way from creating clones of monkeys, which have a great deal more human-like traits.

Slashdot actually reported an RSS feed yesterday at 4:15 p.m. regarding the BBC and Reuters News articles which told of the two successful terms of gestation for Snuppy. “the South Korean team only obtained three pregnancies from more than 1,000 embryo transfers into 123 recipients.” (BBC).

Kennel experts, according to the BBC, agree that there will be many moral issues to contend with, especially among pet lovers.

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