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Editors’ Note: This article contains the contents of one of the first editions of KOMMON. While we are proud of this work, you may notice that it is a different style than our current publications. In this phase of KOMMON, we were still experimenting to find what style worked the best for us. Additionally, if you were an early subscriber, you may notice that this post differs slightly from the original version; we have gone back and edited for clarity, consistency, and accuracy.

Edited by: Fred McNulty and Amal Kadir


💣 COVID-19 again

[Illustrated by O.T.O]

Collective COVID-19 infection once again 😬

The hottest issue that hit last week was the re-proliferation of COVID-19 from Sarang-jeil Church (사랑제일교회). A large-scale group infection occurred in Sarang-jeil Church led by Pastor Jeon Kwang Hoon (전광훈). A member of the church was first confirmed on the 12th, and up to today, a total of 915 cases have been confirmed.

“The 915 cases are manipulated”

A group infection in Sarang-jeil Church is known to have occurred from a group camp where they did not follow the quarantine guidelines. However, the church refused to pass the list of its members upon the request of the quarantine authorities. It even did not acknowledge the confirmed cases and instead protested that “the government is manipulating the test results of [our] members,”, before ultimately suing the government.

In particular, the most talked about is their anti-government protests held on August 15, Liberation Day (광복절). Sarang-jeil Church and Pastor Jeon Kwang Hoon have been criticized for increasing the spread of COVID-19 on Liberation Day by ignoring the quarantine guidelines that banned large-scale rallies..

💭 Anti-government protests in the church

Unlike other churches, believers of Sarang-jeil Church gather from all over the country. Considering that Koreans usually go to churches near their homes, this is out of the ordinary.

Why do these believers go to Sarang-jeil Church then? The answer lies in Pastor Jeon Kwang Hoon's actions over the past few years. Having poured out remarks of extreme right disposition, he emerged as an “icon of far-right.” His remarks are usually critical of President Moon Jae-in (문재인 대통령) and his administration, asserting that they are "communizing" South Korea. Members who sympathized with his political remarks gathered from all over the province and eventually became a large church.

There are claims that conservative parties are also responsible for his rise. After the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye (박근혜 대통령), conservative forces in crisis have tried to unite their supporters, leaning against the extreme claims made by Pastor Jeon Kwang Hoon.

In fact, the Liberty Korea Party (자유한국당), predecessor of the Future Unified Party (미래통합당) went on to do local campaigning with him, and some former and current lawmakers of the Future Unified Party also attended the Gwanghwamun rally and faced criticism. In addition, the Democratic Party (더불어민주당) insisted that the Future Unified Party have to apologize for this incident as well. Meanwhile, the Future Unified Party claimed the group's infections have nothing to do with political purposes.

Some argued that the government should take responsibility for quarantine failure. There are voices of criticism for the government lifting the ban on small church groups in late July.

🎓Learn more: Why did group infections occur often in the church?
Remember last February, a huge number of confirmed cases due to Shincheonji (신천지)? Don’t remember? Check out our past newsletter!
1. 174 cases related to a church (우리제일교회) in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do
2. 17 cases related to a church (열매맺는교회) in Namdong-gu, Incheon
3. 25 cases confirmed at Yeouido Full Gospel Church (여의도순복음교회), the world's largest church 
4. 21 confirmed cases at another church (갈릴리장로교회) in Bupyeong-gu Incheon

😯 But why "Church" though? 

Reason 1. Protestantism in Korea
Protestant churches in Korea strongly encourage their members to participate in face-to-face gatherings. That's why believers are reluctant to worship online. Churches also worry about the decrease in their offerings, which are an important part of their finances, if people do not participate in face-to-face worship.
Reason 2. The huge influence of individual churches on believers
In many Korean churches, the senior pastor reigns over ordinary members. Some argue that this is a  social problem, which leads to anti-intellectualism, in which followers distrust the words of medical experts.
Reason 3. No centralized denomination
Unlike Catholicism or Buddhism, individual churches in Korea do not have their own hierarchy of control. So it is difficult to monitor whether they are following quarantine guidelines or not.


Ongoing Medical Strike

Doctors went on strike against the expansion of medical school quotas and the establishment of public universities.

[Illustrated by O.T.O]

Government vs. Doctors

The Korean government recently announced a new medical policy to increase the number of admission quotas of medical schools in order to increase the number of insufficient doctors. This policy also includes the founding of public medical schools to train medical doctors who will work in rural regions, consider specific subjects, and practice vital medical fields.

👍The government implements the policy because...

1. Korea has an insufficient number of doctors: Average number of doctors per 1,000 people in Korea is only 2.3 while the OECD average is 3.5. 2. The number of doctors per population in rural regions is half of that of the capital metropolitan. 43.4% of Korean regions can't handle urgent medical cases successfully. 3. More doctors in vital and special medical subjects are needed.

👎Meanwhile, doctors are opposing the policy because...

1. It is true that the number of Korean doctors is lower than other countries but Korea’s medical accessibility is deemed sufficient enough. 2. They argue that there are better ways to solve the problem. These include: 🍀Improving both the harsh working condition of local hospitals and the image of unpopular medical subjects. 🍀The lack of doctors in unpopular subjects should be solved by adjusting the medical fees for unpopular care.

The status of the strike

The government has announced that it will withhold its policy and urged doctors to stop the strike as the COVID-19 re-proliferation has left the medical staff in short supply. The medical staff said they will still go ahead with the strike to cancel the government's plan but agreed to leave essential doctors to the field. Some are worried that this strike may make COVID-19 situation worse.

Social Distance Wisely 🙋

Editor’s Note: These guidelines were applicable when they were initially published, but are currently outdated. We are keeping them up for reasons of historical value. Please check the most up-to-date guidelines on applicable government websites.

Social distancing has been upgraded. What will be different?

1. No meetings with more than 50 people indoors, and no more than 100 people outdoors 2. Business suspension of 12 “high-risk” categories of facilities including clubs, karaoke rooms, indoor group sports, and buffets. 3. For multi-use facilities such as restaurants and wedding halls, you are obliged to wear a mask and check-in with your personal QR code. 4. All professional sports such as soccer and baseball are held without spectators. 5. Suspension of indoor national public facilities. 6. Only non-face-to-face worship services in churches located in Seoul (서울), Gyeonggi-do (경기도), and Incheon (인천) are allowed

* In the event of violating the measures, a fine of ₩3 million may be imposed, and in the event of a confirmed case, the right to indemnify hospitalization, treatment, and quarantine expenses may be claimed by government.

Is there any criterion for elevating the social distancing stage?

💁Social distancing stage 1 👉 stage 2

1. When the average daily number of confirmed cases per week in Korea exceeds the criteria set for each region. Currently, that is 40 people in the Seoul Capital Area (수도권), 25 people in Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도), 20 people in Honam/Gyeongsangbuk-do/Chungcheong area (호남, 경상북도, 충청도), 10 people in Jeju-do/Gangwon (제주도, 강원도) area. 2. When doubling (confirmed cases increased twice more than the previous day) occurs more than two times within a week AND the number of confirmed cases occurring in local communities is more than 10 per day.

💁Social distancing stage 2 👉 stage 3

1. More than 100-200 confirmed cases per day (in Korea) on average for two weeks in a specific region 2. Doubling occurs more than twice within a week 3. The upgrade to stage 3 will be decided after collecting sufficient public input and taking into account medical capabilities, socio-economic costs, and characteristics of epidemic areas. * Given the current situation in Korea, there are many experts saying that social distancing should be upgraded to stage 3. Doctors also agreed that it's needed. The government also said that it is considering stage 3 as the current state of emergency.

Other things that have changed due to the re-proliferation of COVID-19.

  1. Reservist training, for the first time in 52 years, has stopped (Link)

  2. Democratic Party is reviewing the second disaster support fund (Link)

  3. Review of extension of ban on short-selling in the stock market (Link)


Vocab for daily use😀

Korean Slang '내로남불’ [Naeronambul] Origin: Abbreviation of '가 하면맨스, 이 하면륜' (If I do it, it is romance, if others do it, it is an affair). This refers to the situation in which someone blames the others but is generous to themself. You can use it when someone has a double standard against others.

Example: 왜 나한테만 그래? 완전 내로남불이네 [Wae na-han-te-man geurae? Wan-jeon-nae-ro-nam-burine] : Why do you only blame me? This is truly a double standard.


Miscellaneous Headlines

Expats👪 News #1. The National Human Rights Commission said on August 19 that it advised the local government to pay disaster relief to the non-citizen spouse of a Korean national as it is unfair to exclude them just because the couple is childless. 👉Link #2. New non-Korean COVID-19 patients are required to share the costs of their treatment if they are found to have violated quarantine rules. 👉 Link #3. The secondary stage population policy task force is considering giving E-7 visas to foreign students who graduated from a science and engineering college. However, the plan excludes junior college graduates and they are therefore facing opposition. 👉 Link (Korean) #4. While universities have canceled their graduation ceremonies in the first half of the year due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Hongik University (홍익대학교) held a"Drive-in Graduation Ceremony on the 21st at Hongik University's Seoul Campus Stadium. 👉 Link #5. Naver started an online marketplace grocery delivery platform called Jangbogi (네이버장보기). Customers can buy groceries from Homeplus (홈플러스), GS retail (GS리테일), Hanaro Mart (한아름마트), traditional marketplaces, and Hyundai Department Stores (현대백화점) on the platform. 👉 Link #6. One of Korea’s famous low-cost carrier companies Eastar Jet Co. (이스타 항공) will lay off 70% of its employees. Eastar Jet Co. will cut down on its workforce to find a new owner after Jeju Air Co. (제주항공) scrapped its plan to acquire the smaller budget carrier amid the corona virus’s impact on the airline business. 👉 Link



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Editors’ Note: This article contains the contents of one of the first editions of KOMMON. While we are proud of this work, you may notice that it is a different style than our current publications. In this phase of KOMMON, we were still experimenting to find what style worked the best for us. Additionally, if you were an early subscriber, you may notice that this post differs slightly from the original version; we have gone back and edited for clarity, consistency, and accuracy.

Edited by: Fred McNulty and Amal Kadir

Hi, friend! 🍀 Today, we have two issues in Korea for you.

1. Controversy over a legislator's pink polka dot dress👗

2. The death of an athlete changed the concept of the sport🏂.


😮Before we start,

💁Corrections from last week's newsletter

1) We did not introduce the main arguments in favor of nuclear energy enough.

We introduced the arguments people have against de-nuclearization in favor of nuclear energy last week, but we did not feel that our coverage was as balanced as it should have been. Here are some additional arguments.

1. Nuclear energy prevents as much carbon dioxide from being generated as by coal power plants.

2. Nuclear energy is a stable source of energy supply because uranium (base material for nuclear energy) exists in various countries, plus it is easy to transport and store them.

2) We gave you insufficient information about the gypsy moth.

We introduced gypsy moths as a harmful insect. This is true since the hairs on their wings can cause allergic reactions . However, it is the caterpillar that is more dangerous. The fur of gypsy moth caterpillars is toxic and can cause dermatitis. Also, the caterpillar feeds on leaf tissue as quickly as possible and destroys the ecosystem.

Editor’s Note: Since publication, the term “gypsy moth,” referring to the lymantria dispar dispar insect, has fallen into disuse. The reason for this is the term “gypsy” has long been considered to be a slur against people of Roma origin. Its contemporary common term is now the “spongy moth.”


👗 Heated Debate over Rep. Ryu Ho Jung’s Dress

[Photo by Newsis]

What's going on😵?

Rep. Ryu Ho Jeong (류호정) is a proportional representative of the Justice Party (정의당) and is the youngest female legislator in the history of the National Assembly. On the 4th, Rep. Ryu appeared at the plenary session of the National Assembly wearing a pink polka dot dress. She said she wanted to break the practice, saying, "In every plenary session, most (lawmakers) are male, middle-aged, and show up in a suit.” However, her chosen attire has sparked controversy over whether it was a suitable outfit.

Why was it controversial?

Currently, there is no separate regulation on the attire of lawmakers in the National Assembly. Only a comprehensive provision of “regulation for maintaining dignity as a member of the National Assembly” exists. However, some argue that the dress was just “too much👎". They argued that her outfit was inappropriate considering the “TPO” (“time, place, occasion”) and that wearing a suit is one of the ways for lawmakers to respect the plenary session of the National Assembly. But others advocated👍 for the “freedom of the dress.” They also argued that lawmakers should be evaluated by their work rather than their clothing. Some mentioned that her dress is a symbol of defying authoritarianism at the National Assembly. Sim Sang Jeong (심상정), Chair of Justice Party, supported Ryu by saying, "A dress is an outfit that many women love to wear to work." Rep. Ryu said🙋 that she did not know why her clothing was controversial and why she should even need to clarify regarding this matter.

What else has happened...😶

There were also reportedly sexist remarks made about Ryu's clothes. Inappropriate comments such as “Be careful of the male legislators” or referring to Ryu as a “prostitute” were posted on social media such as Facebook. Even when Rep. Ryu visited the flood-damaged places on the 8th, reporters were still only asking about the dress.

This is not the first time

Ryu has done similar actions in the past. On July 16, she attended a plenary session wearing shorts and a jacket, and four days later she paired up jeans with a white shirt.

Meanwhile, there was another lawmaker who appeared in similar clothing in 2003. LegislatorYoo Si Min (유시민) appeared at the National Assembly wearing cotton pants. However, after receiving a huge backlash from other lawmakers, he decided to wear a suit and tie the next day.

How about in other countries?

🍀 In November of last year, Catherine Dorion of Canada was dressed in a hoodie and jeans at the Quebec Parliament to commemorate Halloween and was dismissed for the day. But it is said that she still loves casual attire.

🍀 The National Assembly of France is known for having a strict dress code. In 2012, when Cécile Duflot, the Minister of Territorial Equality and Housing, appeared in a parliamentary speech in a blue floral dress, several male lawmakers were whistling at her. She responded by saying, "If my clothes cause anger, I will take my clothes off right now."

🍀 In the United States, in 2017, Senator Martha McSally wore a sleeveless dress. Her decision  was a protest against the case where female reporters of CBS were expelled from the Capitol for wearing clothes with exposed shoulders.


Sport for the Nation? 🙅

[Photo by Newsis]

Death of promising triathlete by severe abuse😡

Amid Korean athletes’ exclusive, outcome-based culture, human rights violations are a common occurrence among elite athletes. The suicide of Choi Suk Hyun (최석현) proved that the Korean athlete’s community has failed to reform itself. Choi Suk Hyun, a promising triathlete, who had suffered for many years from physical and psychological abuse by her coach, teammates, and team’s doctor, committed suicide on June 26.

Consecutive abuses in Korean athletes

Since ex-tennis player Kim Eun Hui’s (김은희) sexual abuse became an issue in public in 2016, there have been various #MeToo movements among athletes. Shim Suk Hee (심숙희), a member of the short-track speedskating national team and Olympic gold medal winner publicized her coach Cho Jae Beom’s (조재범) sexual abuse in 2019. Recently, the assault allegation of Lee Seung Hoon (이승훈) - a member of the national Speed skating team - towards his teammates, became an issue.

“Structure matters, not the individual” 👪

Some argue that the causes of successive abuse are due to the “state-centric” and “outcome-based” culture that pervades the Korean sports world. Before the amendment of ‘The law of national sports promotion’, it was stated in Article 1 that the purpose of the law was “to increase the fitness of people by promoting national sports and to assist people to lead a happy life by cultivating a sound mind, and further to contribute to the promotion of national prestige through sports.”The emphasis on promoting national prestige in order to gain an international reputation as a sports powerhouse turn these Korean sports into a tool to rapidly produce elite athletes who win medals. To win a competition, adolescent athletes are put under enormous pressure up to the point that they end up missing most of the classes in school🎓, which deprives them of other careers outside of sports. Under these circumstances, adolescent athletes and their parents depend on coaches to promote their careers, which gives the coach a great amount of power. The trust given to the coaches became a perfect environment for physical and psychological abuse. What makes it worse is the pervasive military atmosphere that allows physical punishment. According to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea’s (국가인권위원회) survey on 2019 November, 33% of university athletes experienced physical violence and 9.6% said that they experienced sexual abuse.

😨 No one was listening

Choi had tried to seek help since last February, filing complaints and petitions with the authorities with the risk of ruining her career, but was only confronted with dead ends. Amid dissimulating the atmosphere among authorities, the victim became isolated with despair.

🏂 Sport for everyone👪?

On August 4, the National Assembly voted for an amendment which attempted to reform how sports are configured.

🍀“Enhancing national prestigefrom the law’s first clause was replaced with “solidarity”, “fairness”, “human rights” and “happiness”.

🍀Instead of sport human rights centers under the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee, a new sport ethics center which is independent of the sports world will be established. 

🍀A penalty to the team and coach related to irregularity, such as physical violence, will be strengthened. They could be punished by noncooperation to investigate if they fail to prove a justifiable reason. The period of suspension of qualification will be increased from 1 year to 5 years for the coach if found to be guilty.


💘What's trending now

Boknal (복날)🍉 : Bok (=very hot) + Nal (=a day)

Meaning: A very hot day💦 which occurs between June and July of the lunar calendar.

Kinds: There are three ‘Boknal'; Chobok (초복, First Boknal), Joongbok (중복, Second Boknal), and Malbok (말복, Third Boknal). Together they are called ‘Sambok’ (삼복). ‘Sambok heat(삼복더위)’ means 'the hottest three days of the year'.

When is Boknal in 2020? Two 'Boknal's have already passed, and Malbok remains.

Chobok (First): July 16, 
Joongbok (Second): July 26
, Malbok (Third): August 15

Every year on Boknal, people in Korea eat food to prepare themselves for the heat. Samgyetang (삼계탕, a chicken soup with ginseng) is the representative for this event. 😊

Campnic🚵 craze in South Korea!

Have you ever heard of the word ‘Campnic?’😉 (캠프닉) It’s a compound word derived from “camping” and “picnic.” Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, people are preferring 'un-tact traveling' (언택트, a Korean term intended to mean the opposite of “contact”) and 'Campnic' is one of the options.


Miscellaneous Headlines

#1. A South Korean farmers' cooperative said on Thursday that it has clinched a $150 million deal to barter sugar for North Korean liquor and food products, bypassing sanctions banning cash transfers. 👉Link #2. Last year, South Korea's public sector reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent from its appointed goal. 👉Link #3. An entertainer from Ghana, Sam Okyere (샘 오취리) apologized after he criticized students who had their graduation pictures taken while wearing blackface. He was blamed for uploading the students' pictures without blurring out these minors’ faces. Nationalist internet users dug up several obscure internet comments that Okyere had made in the past that gave off the impression that he was insulting Korea. 👉Link

#4. The Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission (국민권익위원회) advised the Metropolitan and Provincial Offices of Education (시,지방교육청) to allow female students to choose between skirts and shorts for their school uniform. So far, the skirt has been considered a basic element for girls' uniforms. 👉Link(Korean) #5. On Thursday, three vessels were overturned at Uiam Dam (의암댐) in Chuncheon (춘천시). Categorized as a marine accident, it left two rescued, four dead, and 2 missing. 👉Link #6. Several of South Korea's most famous YouTubers are facing criticism following allegations that they "deceived" fans by not disclosing paid promotions. 👉Link



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Editors’ Note: This article contains the contents of one of the first editions of KOMMON. While we are proud of this work, you may notice that it is a different style than our current publications. In this phase of KOMMON, we were still experimenting to find what style worked the best for us. Additionally, if you were an early subscriber, you may notice that this post differs slightly from the original version; we have gone back and edited for clarity, consistency, and accuracy.

Edited by: Fred McNulty and Amal Kadir

Hello, readers! 🍀 Today, we have three issues in Korea for you.

1. Will this country be a better place for tenants?

2. Denuclearization and a manipulated report😨

3. The “lord” of a minor religious sect in Korea arrested for COVID-19 👑


Revised Bill to Curb "Jeonse" Prices

The National Assembly approved a revision to the Housing Lease Protection Act (주택임대차보호법) at a plenary session on the 29th. This law went into effect right after the 31st.

* Housing Lease Protection Act: A special law supplement to address the difficulties tenants might have due to their inferior economic status compared to the landlord.

The point of the amendment?

🍀 Tenant's right to renew contracts

The basic lease term for a housing lease was two years. After the revision, a tenant can ask for an additional two years with a contract extension. The landlord can refuse a request only if they or their family live in the same house as the tenant. If they lease the housing to another tenant within the two years and get caught, they can be sued by the tenant. Tenants who signed the contract before the law was revised can also request for a renewal of the contract.

🍀 Limiting the increase in rent to 5% of existing rent upon renewal

Each local government can set an upper limit within 5% through the ordinance. The Seoul Metropolitan Government and others are reportedly reviewing the increases in rent.

Wasn't there any objection?

The conservative Future United Party (미래통합당) did not participate in the voting for the protest of the passage. They argued that there could be various side effects. The side effects of concern that they raised are as follows:

🍀 The landlords may not be offering "Jeonse"* anymore.

Rep. Yoon Hee Sook (윤희숙) of the Future United Party (미래통합당) argued that the law will make the Jeonse (전세) quickly disappear in the market". If landlords cannot raise the rent by more than 5% when the lease has been renewed, they are likely to turn the lease to a half-Jeonse or monthly rent.

🍀 Jeonse prices could skyrocket after four years.

There is no limit for the increase if the landlord ends the existing contract after 4 years and finds a new tenant after. Tenants are relieved right now but have to worry about paying an increased amount of rent after their contract expires t. Some say that the number of possible renewal requests (only once) and the duration of the contract (2 years) is too limited.

The ruling party said that it is not easy for landlords who purchased their homes through gap investment* to come up with a deposit to return immediately, so Jeonse will not be converted to half-Jeonse or even monthly rent right away.

Let me explain difficult terms for you😉
* Jeonse (전세): lease on a deposit basis: Real estate term unique to Korea. According to Wikipedia, “Instead of paying monthly rent (월세), a renter will make a lump-sum deposit on a rental space, anywhere from 50% to 80% of the market value.”  Renters often prefer Jeonse over monthly rent since they can get the deposit back when the contract ends. There were many houses rented with Jeonse when the house price was expected to rise rapidly. However, these days most landlords do not prefer Jeonse anymore.
* Half-Jeonse (반전세): Under this contract form, a tenant will give a less amount of deposit compared to “Jeonse” but pay a moderate monthly rent to the landlord.
* Gap investment: A method of purchasing a house with a small difference between the selling price and the charter price by investing only the difference using the deposit received from the charter tenant. It is an increasingly popular method that aims for a big rise in housing prices.

🍀 "I heard there's another bill coming up?"

The Democratic Party’s (더불어민주당) push for the revision of the Three Leases Act, which would make the landlord and tenant report their contract to the city, county, and district offices. The policy’s goal is to protect tenants by making transactions transparent. This policy will be applied from June next year as it has to go through various processes.


Controversy over the Wolsung-1 Economic Evaluation

'Nuclear-free generation👪' President Moon Jae In (문재인 대통령) recently announced an early shutdown of Wolsung-1 reactor (월성 1호기) in 2019, which was supposed to be operated until 2022. Wolsung-1 is the oldest nuclear power plant in Korea. One of the main grounds for the decision was a report written by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. (KHNP) in 2018, which concluded that operating Wolsung-1 is economically unfeasible. Was the report manipulated? However, questions have been raised about the authenticity of the report. A civic group against denuclearization argued that the report played down the economic feasibility of Wolsung-1. Amid the mounting controversy, a national assembly requested an inspection to the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI). BAI provisionally concluded that the report played down the economic feasibility of Wolsung-1, according to reports. However, the full results of the inspection have not passed the board. Conservative critics have charged that since the board consists of ruling party members, it will be hard for them to objectively state whether the report was tampered with.

For or Against

People who are for 👍 denuclearization argued that

1) Nuclear power plants can lead to deadly accidents such as the Chernobyl disaster.

2) Nuclear power is not cost-effective when taking all expenses into account.

People against 👎 denuclearization argued that

1) Nuclear energy still brings to Korea economic advantages inside (has been a driving force of the economic growth of Korea and created a lot of jobs) and outside (exporting the technologies to other countries like the United Arab Emirates).

2) The electric bills will likely increase once they shut down nuclear reactors.

Wanna know more about Nuclear Energy? Check these out 😄
[On Netflix] Pandora (2016)  Dark  (2020)
[On Watcha] Chernobyl (2019)


Other Stories

Responsible for 5,000 COVID-19 Infections? Shincheonji Leader Arrested👮 Lee Man Hee (이만희), the leader and founder of a minor religious sect, Shincheonji Church of Jesus (신천지), worshipped by his followers as the “Promised Pastor sent by Jesus", was arrested on August 1st. A local court in Suwon (수원) issued an arrest warrant, saying that “criminal charges are cleared and there is a risk of destruction of evidence.” Lee is charged with 1) obstructing the government's quarantine efforts during the early spread of COVID-19 in February, and 2) embezzling church funds.

👥Sincheonji: reclusive “cult” and trigger of early COVID-19 outbreak? 💣 Sincheonji Church of Jesus is a secretive Christian cult in South Korea, known for its aggressive and deceptive proselytising practices. It has produced 100,000 graduates (worshipers who graduated from the sect’s proselytization program) in South Korea by 2019. The cult is notorious for allegedly “brainwashing” and systematically monitoring its members, making it difficult to withdraw from the sect after getting in. In 2020, the group became a hot topic in the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea, as they are associated with more than 5,000 infections.

😠 Two dishonourable charges of the “high lord”

1) Obstruction of Quarantine🙅 Last February, a mass infection of COVID-19 occurred among the Shincheonji members who attended services in the sect’s cathedral in Daegu (대구). Despite the risk of potentially violating followers' private information to prevent further spread of the virus, the government requested a list of the members who attended the services. However, Lee was suspected of submitting false documents to health authorities on the number of participants at the sect's gatherings and gatherings locations, thereby interfering with the government’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The number of infections related to Shincheonji soared to more than 5,000 and it provoked a nationwide outcry against the cult. 2) Embezzlement 👜 Lee is also suspected of embezzling a total of ₩5.6 billion from church funds, in the process of building a new Shincheonji training center. He is also suspected of holding religious events in public facilities from 2015 to 2019 without the approval of local governments.

“Please Save My Missing Daughter”😰

Local group National Solidarity for Shincheonji Victims has also requested for the arrest of Lee Man Hee. This organization was founded to serve the community of the victims who lost their family or friends after they entered the sect. After Lee's arrest, the National Solidarity for Shincheonji Victims said, "It will be a great comfort to parents who ran around the streets looking for their missing children, and to the 200,000 believers who are mired in religious fraud, [we] believe it will be a chance to find their own lives again.”


😁Life hacks

💎Replace damaged money with new money A few days ago, stories of people who put bills in the microwave and washing machine to prevent COVID-19 took over on the internet 💬. Editors’ Note: COVID-19 is an airborne illness. When this article was initially published, less was known about COVID-19 than today. The chance of contracting COVID-19 from touch alone is negligible. Did you know that when currency is damaged, you can exchange it for new bills at the bank or post office? If you have more than 75% of the currency, you will receive the full face value of the new currency. If you have between 40% and 75%, you can only get half of the original amount. And if less than 40% remains, it is not eligible for exchange. If the bill is burned, do not shake off the ashes! Bring it all and exchange it for new currency. 😲Watch out! Insects are coming! Bad news if you are not a huge fan of insects. South Korea is experiencing an insect population boom 💥 due to climate change. This year, you might easily come across these two … 1) Stick insects Green and brown insects with a long body that looks like a stick. They have recently been spotted over the entire mountainous area of Eunpyeong district, western Seoul. 2) Gypsy moths Beware of contact with gypsy moths as it can be detrimental to your health. The tiny hairs on their wings are known to carry toxic substances and may cause skin allergies. They can be found in Gangwon, North Chungcheong provinces, and Seoul. Editor’s Note: Since publication, the term “gypsy moth,” referring to the lymantria dispar dispar insect, has fallen into disuse. The reason for this is the term “gypsy” has long been considered to be a slur against people of Roma origin. Its contemporary common term is now the “spongy moth.”


Miscellaneous Headlines

1. On July 16, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (김정은) declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, after a defector returned from South Korea last week allegedly carrying the COVID-19 virus.👉 Link 2. South Korea will toughen the punishment for non-citizen residents who report false self-quarantine addresses when they re-enter the country after an overseas trip. 👉 Link 3. The Korean government will extend visas for foreign laborers to address the labor shortage in farming areas, caused by COVID-19 ahead of the upcoming harvest season. 👉 Link 4. The family of the recently deceased Seoul mayor, Park Won Soon (박원순), asked police to stop forensic analysis of his cellphone to figure out the truth of the death since the cause of death is “obvious.” Victim’s advocates are calling for analysis to be resumed. 👉 Link 5. Professional soccer stadiums are opening their doors for visitors from August 1. Only 10 percent of all seats will be used and spectators should follow the given health instructions.👉 Link



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