Twenty-one members of North Korean cheering squads who traveled to South Korea for international sports events are being held in a prison camp for talking about what they saw in the South, a news report said yesterday.
Citing a North Korean man who recently fled to China, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the 21 young women had been detained about last November in the same prison camp where the man had been held.
South Korea's National Intelligence Service didn't immediately confirm or deny the report.
In 2002, Pyongyang sent hundreds of female cheerleaders to the Asian Games in South Korea's Busan, where their tightly synchronized routines drew worldwide attention. The North sent similar cheering squads to South Korea in 2003 and last year.
The defector, whose real name wasn't given, said the female cheering squad apparently violated a pledge not to speak about what they saw in South Korea, the Chosun Ilbo reported.
Citing another unnamed defector, the newspaper said the cheerleaders had pledged before going to South Korea that they would treat the country as "enemy territory" and never speak about what they saw there, accepting punishment if they broke the promise.
Pyongyang insists it doesn't abuse human rights, but it has long been accused of holding political prisoners in camps under life-threatening conditions. It is believed to hold between 150,000 and 200,000 political prisoners, the US State Department said.
Vaccines that protect against severe illness, death and lingering long COVID-19 symptoms from a SARS-CoV-2 infection were linked to small increases in neurological, blood and heart-related conditions in the largest global vaccine safety study to date. The rare events — identified early in the pandemic — included a higher risk of heart-related inflammation from mRNA shots made by Pfizer Inc, BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc, and an increased risk of a type of blood clot in the brain after immunization with viral-vector vaccines such as the one developed by the University of Oxford and made by AstraZeneca PLC. The viral-vector jabs were
A steam of sweat rose as hundreds of naked men tussled over a bag of wooden talismans, performing a dramatic end to a thousand-year-old ritual in Japan that took place for the last time. Their passionate chants of “jasso, joyasa” (“evil, be gone”) echoed through a ceder forest in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, where the secluded Kokuseki Temple is ending the popular annual rite. Organizing the event, which draws hundreds of participants and thousands of tourists every year, has become a heavy burden for the aging local faithful, who find it hard to keep up with the rigors of the ritual. The Sominsai festival,
COLLECTIVE ACTION: Over 150 trainee doctors quit over the government’s plan to increase medical school admissions by 2,000 students next school year The South Korean government yesterday warned that trainee doctors were putting public health at risk after more than 150 tendered their resignations to protest a government plan to admit more students to medical schools. The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare said it had issued a back-to-work order to the 154 doctors at seven hospitals, warning that refusing to comply would result in punishment. The government plans to raise medical school admissions by 2,000 students for the 2025 academic year and to add 10,000 doctors by 2035. Currently, about 3,000 students enter medical schools each year. The plan has drawn intense protests
RESISTANCE Republicans aligned with Trump oppose the legislation, and the House speaker has said it could be weeks or months before it is sent to Biden — if at all US President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for Republicans in the US House of Representatives to urgently bring a US$95.3 billion aid package for Taiwan, Ukraine and Israel to a vote, warning that refusal to take up the bill, passed by the US Senate in the morning, would be “playing into Putin’s hands.” “Supporting this bill is standing up to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Biden said, raising his voice in strong comments from the White House as he referred to the Russian leader. “We can’t walk away now. That’s what Putin is betting on.” However, the package faces a deeply uncertain future