South Korea is set to launch a massive new government agency this week to handle emergency rescues and safety management seven months after a ferry disaster killed 304 people and was blamed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye on a failed response by the nation’s coast guard.
The coast guard is being broken up and its search-and-rescue duties are being moved to the South Korea’s new National Safety Agency, which is to have more than 10,000 staff and incorporate fire and emergency response teams, the government said yesterday.
Former South Korean Navy admiral Park In-yong is to lead the new body, while ex-army general Lee Song-ho has been appointed vice minister, South Korea’s presidential Blue House announced.
Lee was credited with leading a successful mission in 2011 to rescue 21 sailors aboard a South Korean freighter hijacked by Somali pirates.
The agency is to launch today.
The Sewol capsized and sank on April 16 after making a turn on a routine voyage due to excess cargo and improper stowage. Many of the victims were teenagers on a school trip who remained in their cabins in accordance with crew instructions.
So far, 15 surviving members of the crew have been convicted of charges ranging from homicide to negligence and received prison sentences of up to 36 years.In May, Park vowed sweeping reforms to improve emergency response and safety oversight and announced that she would break up the coast guard.
Just 172 of the 476 passengers on board the Sewol were rescued as the vessel listed and sank with most of the passengers inside.
Many of the survivors were seen on television being pulled from the water by fishermen who had rushed to the scene near the nation’s southwestern coast.
Additional reporting by AFP
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made