country:south korea

  • Fire-Stricken Maersk Honam to Be Rebuilt in South Korea – gCaptain
    https://gcaptain.com/fire-stricken-maersk-honam-to-be-rebuilt-in-south-korea


    Maersk Honam pictured at Jebel Ali following the completion of the cargo discharge operation.Photo: Maersk

    Maersk Line has confirmed plans to rebuild the Maersk Honam in South Korea.

    In an emailed statement on Monday, Maersk revealed that a portion of the vessel will be transported by heavy-lift vessel to Hyundai Heavy Industries where it will be rebuilt. The transport of the vessel will take place in February 2019.

    The vessel has now been cut into two parts at the Drydock World Dubai (UAE).

    According to Maersk, the 228.5-meter-long sound section, from midship to stern, will be transported aboard the heavy-lift vessel Xin Guan Hua to South Korea. It is expected to deliver the section at Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard in March 2019, the same yard the vessel was built in, where it will be rebuilt with a new forward section.

    The former forward section, which includes the accomodation block, will be safely moored at Drydock World Dubai for continued removal of damaged containers and debris. Once cleaned, it will be recycled, Maersk said.

    The company added relevant recycling options are currently being investigated and evaluated.
    […]
    The rebuilt vessel is expected to resume service again in the second half of 2019.


  • Norway Supreme Court hears #snow_crab case with implication for #oil | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-eu-snowcrab-idUSKCN1P9003


    A view shows a beach at the Ny-Aalesund research station on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway, September 20, 2016.
    Picture taken September 20, 2016.
    REUTERS/Gwladys Fouche/File Photo

    Norway’s Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Tuesday on whether EU ships can fish for snow crab off Arctic islands north of Norway without permission from Oslo, a case that could decide who has the right to explore for oil in the region.

    At stake is whether the snow crab - whose meat is considered a delicacy by gourmets in Japan and South Korea - is a sedentary species living on the seabed or a fish stock that moves around - and who gets to decide about it.

    If it is seen as a sedentary species, then it is a resource belonging to the #continental_shelf of Norway. If the EU can stake a claim over the snow crab, then it could be harder for Oslo to secure its claim over potential oil and gas resources.

    The question of the snow crab is a proxy for oil. Because what is valid for the snow crab is valid for the oil industry,” Oeystein Jensen, a senior research fellow in law at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo, told Reuters

    #crabe_des_neiges #plateau_continental
    #forage_pétrolier #offshore


  • The roundabout revolutions

    The history of these banal, utilitarian instruments of traffic management has become entangled with that of political uprising, #Eyal_Weizman argues in his latest book

    This project started with a photograph. It was one of the most arresting images depicting the May 1980 #Gwangju uprising, recognised now as the first step in the eventual overthrow of the military dictatorship in South Korea. The photograph (above) depicts a large crowd of people occupying a roundabout in the city center. Atop a disused fountain in the middle of the roundabout a few protestors have unfurled a South Korean flag. The roundabout organised the protest in concentric circles, a geometric order that exposed the crowd to itself, helping a political collective in becoming.

    It had an uncanny resonance with events that had just unfolded: in the previous year a series of popular uprisings spread through Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, #Oman, Yemen, Libya, and Syria. These events shared with Gwangju not only the historical circumstances – they too were popular protests against military dictatorships – but, remarkably, an urban-architectural setting: many of them similarly erupted on roundabouts in downtown areas. The history of these roundabouts is entangled with the revolutions that rose from them.

    The photograph of the roundabout—now the symbol of the “liberated republic” – was taken by #Na_Kyung-taek from the roof of the occupied Provincial Hall, looking toward Geumnam-ro, only a few hours before the fall of the “#Gwangju_Republic”. In the early morning hours of the following day, the Gwangju uprising was overwhelmed by military force employing tanks and other armed vehicles. The last stand took place at the roundabout.

    The scene immediately resonates with the well-known photographs of people gathering in #Tahrir_Square in early 2011. Taken from different high-rise buildings around the square, a distinct feature in these images is the traffic circle visible by the way it organises bodies and objects in space. These images became the symbol of the revolution that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 – an event described by urban historian Nezar AlSayyad as “Cairo’s roundabout revolution”. But the Gwangju photograph also connects to images of other roundabouts that erupted in dissent in fast succession throughout the Middle East. Before Tahrir, as Jonathan Liu noted in his essay Roundabouts and Revolutions, it was the main roundabout in the capital of Tunisia – subsequently renamed Place du 14 Janvier 2011 after the date on which President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country. Thousands of protesters gathered at the roundabout in Tunis and filled the city’s main boulevard.

    A main roundabout in Bahrain’s capital Manama erupted in protests shortly after the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt. Its central traffic island became the site of popular protests against the government and the first decisive act of military repression: the protests were violently broken up and the roundabout itself destroyed and replaced with a traffic intersection. In solidarity with the Tahrir protests, the roundabouts in the small al-Manara Square in Ramallah and the immense Azadi Square in Tehran also filled with protesters. These events, too, were violently suppressed.

    The roundabouts in Tehran and Ramallah had also been the scenes of previous revolts. In 2009 the Azadi roundabout in Iran’s capital was the site of the main protests of the Green Movement contesting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection. Hamid Dabashi, a literature professor at Columbia University and one of the most outspoken public intellectuals on these revolutions, claims that the Green Movement was inspirational for the subsequent revolutionary wave in the Arab world. In Palestine, revolt was a permanent consequence of life under occupation, and the al-Manara roundabout was a frequent site of clashes between Palestinian youth and the Israeli military. The sequence of roundabout revolutions evolved as acts of imitation, each building on its predecessor, each helping propel the next.

    Roundabouts were of course not only exhilarating sites of protest and experiments in popular democracy, but moreover they were places where people gathered and risked their life. The Gwangju uprising is, thus, the first of the roundabout revolutions. Liu wrote: “In all these cases, the symbolism is almost jokingly obvious: what better place to stage a revolution, after all, then one built for turning around?” What better way to show solidarity across national borders than to stage protests in analogous places?

    Why roundabouts? After all, they are banal, utilitarian instruments of traffic management, certainly not prone to induce revolutionary feeling. Other kinds of sites – squares, boulevards, favelas, refugee camps – have served throughout history as the setting for political protest and revolt. Each alignment of a roundabout and a revolution has a specific context and diverse causes, but the curious repetition of this phenomenon might give rise to several speculations. Urban roundabouts are the intersection points of large axes, which also puts them at the start or end of processions.

    Occupying a roundabout demonstrates the power of tactical acupuncture: it blocks off all routes going in and out. Congestion moves outward like a wave, flowing down avenues and streets through large parts of the city. By pressuring a single pivotal point within a networked infrastructure, an entire city can be put under siege (a contemporary contradistinction to the medieval technique of surrounding the entire perimeter of a city wall). Unlike public squares, which are designed as sites for people to gather (therefore not interrupting the flow of vehicular traffic) and are usually monitored and policed, roundabout islands are designed to keep people away. The continuous flow of traffic around them creates a wall of speeding vehicles that prohibits access. While providing open spaces (in some cities the only available open spaces) these islands are meant to be seen but not used.

    Another possible explanation is their symbolic power: they often contain monuments that represent the existing regime. The roundabouts of recent revolutions had emblematic names – Place du 7 Novembre 1987, the date the previous regime took power in Tunisia; “Liberty” (Azadi), referring to the 1979 Iranian Revolution; or “Liberation” (Tahrir), referring to the 1952 revolutions in Egypt. Roundabout islands often had statues, both figurative and abstract, representing the symbolic order of regimes. Leaders might have wished to believe that circular movement around their monuments was akin to a form of worship or consent. While roundabouts exercise a centripetal force, pulling protestors into the city center, the police seek to generate movement in the opposite direction, out and away from the center, and to break a collective into controllable individuals that can be handled and dispersed.

    The most common of all centrifugal forces of urban disorganisation during protests is tear gas, a formless cloud that drifts through space to disperse crowds. From Gwangju to Cairo, Manama to Ramallah, hundreds of tear-gas canisters were used largely exceeding permitted levels in an attempt to evict protesters from public spaces. The bodily sensation of the gas forms part of the affective dimension of the roundabout revolution. When tear gas is inhaled, the pain is abrupt, sharp, and isolating. The eyes shut involuntary, generating a sense of disorientation and disempowerment.

    Protestors have found ways to mitigate the toxic effects of this weapon. Online advice is shared between activists from Palestine through Cairo to Ferguson. The best protection is offered by proper gas masks. Improvised masks made of mineral water bottles cut in half and equipped with a filter of wet towels also work, according to online manuals. Some activists wear swim goggles and place wet bandanas or kaffiyehs over their mouths. To mitigate some of the adverse effects, these improvised filters can be soaked in water, lemon juice, vinegar, toothpaste, or wrapped around an onion. When nothing else is at hand, breathe the air from inside your shirt and run upwind onto higher ground. When you have a chance, blow your nose, rinse your mouth, cough, and spit.


    https://www.iconeye.com/opinion/comment/item/12093-the-roundabout-revolutions
    #révolution #résistance #giratoire #carrefour #rond-point #routes #infrastructure_routière #soulèvement_politique #Corée_du_Sud #printemps_arabe #Egypte #Tunisie #Bahreïni #Yémen #Libye #Syrie #Tahrir

    Du coup : #gilets_jaunes ?

    @albertocampiphoto & @philippe_de_jonckheere

    This project started with a photograph. It was one of the most arresting images depicting the May 1980 #Gwangju uprising, recognised now as the first step in the eventual overthrow of the military dictatorship in South Korea. The photograph (above) depicts a large crowd of people occupying a roundabout in the city center. Atop a disused fountain in the middle of the roundabout a few protestors have unfurled a South Korean flag. The roundabout organised the protest in concentric circles, a geometric order that exposed the crowd to itself, helping a political collective in becoming.

    –-> le pouvoir d’une #photographie...

    signalé par @isskein

    ping @reka


  • ’We are transforming our university into a place where talent once again feels valued and nurtured’

    Our university should once again belong to the academics, rather than the bureaucracy, writes the rector of #Ghent_University, Rik Van de Walle.

    Ghent University is deliberately choosing to step out of the rat race between individuals, departments and universities. We no longer wish to participate in the #ranking of people.

    It is a common complaint among academic staff that the mountain of paperwork, the cumbersome procedures and the administrative burden have grown to proportions that are barely controllable. Furthermore, the academic staff is increasingly put under pressure to count publications, citations and doctorates, on the basis of which funds are being allocated. The intense competition for funding often prevails over any possible collaboration across the boundaries of research groups, faculties and - why not - universities. With a new evaluation policy, Ghent University wants to address these concerns and at the same time breathe new life into its career guidance policy. Thus, the university can again become a place where talent feels valued and nurtured.

    We are transforming our university into a place where talent once again feels valued and nurtured.

    With the new career and evaluation model for professorial staff, Ghent University is opening new horizons for Flanders. The main idea is that the academy will once again belong to the academics rather than the bureaucracy. No more procedures and processes with always the same templates, metrics and criteria which lump everyone together.
    We opt for a radically new model: those who perform well will be promoted, with a minimum of accountability and administrative effort and a maximum of freedom and responsibility. The quality of the individual human capital is given priority: talent must be nurtured and feel valued.
    This marks the end of the personalized objectives, the annual job descriptions and the high number of evaluation documents and activity reports. Instead, the new approach is based on collaboration, collegiality and teamwork. All staff members will make commitments about how they can contribute to the objectives of the department, the education programmes, the faculty and the university.
    The evaluations will be greatly simplified and from now on only take place every five years instead of every two or four years. This should create an ’evaluation break’.

    We opt for a radically new model: those who perform well will be promoted, with a minimum of accountability and administrative effort and a maximum of freedom and responsibility. At the same time, we want to pay more attention to well-being at work: the evaluations of the supervisors will explicitly take into account the way in which they manage and coach their staff. The model must provide a response to the complaint of many young professors that quantitative parameters are predominant in the evaluation process. The well-known and overwhelming ’publication pressure’ is the most prominent exponent of this. Ghent University is deliberately choosing to step out of the rat race between individuals, departments and universities. We no longer wish to participate in the ranking of people.
    Through this model, we are expressly taking up our responsibility. In the political debate on the funding of universities and research applications, a constant argument is that we want to move away from purely competitive thinking that leaves too little room for disruptive ideas. The reply of the policy makers is of course that we must first do this within the university itself. This is a clear step in that direction, and it also shows our efforts to put our own house in order.
    With this cultural shift, Ghent University is taking the lead in Flanders, and we are proud of it. It is an initiative that is clearly in accordance with our motto: ’#Dare_to_Think'. Even more so, we dare to do it as well.
    A university is above all a place where everything can be questioned. Where opinions, procedures and habits are challenged. Where there is no place for rigidity.

    I am absolutely convinced that in a few years’ time we will see that this new approach has benefited the overall quality of our university and its people.


    https://www.ugent.be/en/news-events/ghent-university-talent-rat-race-transformation-career-evaluation-model.htm
    #université #alternative #résistance #Ghent #Belgique #bureaucratie #bureaucratisation #compétition #collaboration #carrière #évaluation #liberté #responsabilité #performance #publish_or_perish #publication #pression_à_publier #travail

    Je rêve que mon université fasse aussi un grand pas en cette direction, mais je crains que ça restera un rêve...

    • THE developing ranking based on #Sustainable_Development_Goals

      New league table will be first to measure global universities’ success in delivering on UN targets

      Times Higher Education is developing a new global university ranking that aims to measure institutions’ success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

      The 17 goals – which include providing inclusive and equitable quality education, achieving gender equality and fostering innovation – were adopted by the UN in 2016 and provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way.

      The first edition of the ranking will include metrics based on 11 SDGs, but the long-term goal is to measure performance against all 17 goals.

      Data will be collected from universities and Elsevier to produce an overall ranking of universities based on the best four or five SDGs per university. Individual rankings of the universities that are best achieving the 11 SDGs will also be published.

      The ranking will be open to all accredited universities that teach undergraduates, and the first edition will be launched at THE’s Innovation and Impact Summit in South Korea in April 2019. Data collection will begin this autumn.

      Metrics currently being explored include the number of graduates in health professions, the proportion of women in senior academic positions, and policies and practices regarding employment security.

      An initial draft of the metrics will be developed in partnership with Vertigo Ventures, an organisation that works with leading research institutions globally to help them identify, capture and report the impact of their work, and there will be a workshop on the first iteration of the methodology at THE’s World Academic Summit in Singapore later this month.

      Phil Baty, THE’s editorial director of global rankings, said that THE originally planned to launch an impact ranking based primarily on universities’ economic impact – examining their interactions with business and their development of commercially exploitable ideas – but has decided to expand its approach to cover a much wider definition of impact, based on feedback from the sector.

      While some national systems were trying to gather evidence on universities’ role in achieving the SDGs, the new ranking will be the first global attempt at measuring this activity and “moves well beyond established ranking parameters of research and reputation”, he added.

      Mr Baty said that the new table will also provide an opportunity for institutions that do not usually appear in the THE World University Rankings to feature.

      “We are working to develop metrics that enable universities across the world to evidence their impact – not just those that are located in more developed nations,” he said.

      https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/developing-ranking-based-sustainable-development-goals

      #SDGs


  • North Korea defector hack: Personal data of almost 1,000 leaked - BBC News
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-46698646

    Almost 1,000 North Korean defectors have had their personal data leaked after a computer at a South Korean resettlement centre was hacked, the unification ministry said.

    A personal computer at the state-run centre was found to have been “infected with a malicious code”.

    The ministry said this is thought to be the first large-scale information leak involving North Korean defectors.

    The hackers’ identity and the origin of the cyber-attack is not yet confirmed.

    The North Gyeongsang resettlement centre is among 25 institutes the ministry runs to help an estimated 32,000 defectors adjust to life in South Korea.


  • Coût du travail trop élevé, poids des syndicats trop lourd, vous êtes bien en … Corée.
    Fin du miracle…
    Empty shipyard and suicides as ’Hyundai Town’ grapples with grim future | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-hyundaitown-idUSKBN1KX0UT

    In many ways, the challenges facing Ulsan mirror those faced in the American Midwest in the 1970s and 1980s, when the once prosperous industrial heartland was hit by massive job and population losses.

    Some experts and industry executives warn Ulsan - home to the world’s biggest shipbuilder and largest carmaking complex - might be South Korea’s ‘Rust Belt’ in the making.
    […]
    Ulsan accounted for 12 percent of South Korea’s exports last year, the lowest since 2000 and down from its peak of 19 percent in 2008, according to customs data
    […]
    Taxi drivers have been told by police not to drop people off on Ulsan’s newly built bridge after three people killed themselves there in just one month.


    –People believed that if they work hard, they will be better off, and if their children study hard, they will be better off,
    –” said Park Sang-hoon, an official at an Ulsan suicide prevention center. “Confronting a different reality now, it seems that many of them are getting to a point of hopelessness, and some are even making extreme choices.

    After massive shipbuilding job losses, auto workers fear it could be their turn next.
    […]
    Executives say that’s necessary because of high labor costs and strong unions at home.

    But workers say many of Hyundai’s problems are its own making, like failing to forecast a SUV boom in the key U.S. market and missing the shift to electric cars.


  • Can Facebook Ads Tell Us Which Asian Country Is Most #crypto-Crazy?
    https://hackernoon.com/can-facebook-ads-tell-us-which-asian-country-is-most-crypto-crazy-6dc4b9

    Can Facebook Tell Us Which Asian Country Is Most Crypto-Crazy?As a marketer in the crypto/blockchain space, I’m fascinated by how similar and yet different crypto #marketing and “traditional” digital marketing are. I’ve been particularly interested in the reaction in Asia to the crypto craze, so when Facebook threw a few bucks in free #advertising credits my way, I thought: “How can I use Facebook to test crypto interest in Asia?” With that goal, I promoted a recent article about decentralized exchanges — “The Paradox of Decentralized Exchanges: Many Projects, Few Users” — targeted at 18+ year olds in China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, and Myanmar, and who show an interest in cryptocurrency as a topic.Facebook (...)

    #facebook-ads #blockchain



  • A game of chicken: how Indian poultry farming is creating global #superbugs

    On a farm in the Rangareddy district in India, near the southern metropolis of Hyderabad, a clutch of chicks has just been delivered. Some 5,000 birds peck at one another, loitering around a warehouse which will become cramped as they grow. Outside the shed, stacks of bags contain the feed they will eat during their five-week-long lives. Some of them gulp down a yellow liquid from plastic containers - a sugar water fed to the chicks from the moment they arrive, the farm caretaker explains. “Now the supervisor will come,” she adds, “and we will have to start with whatever medicines he would ask us to give the chicks.”

    The medicines are antibiotics, given to the birds to protect them against diseases or to make them gain weight faster so more can be grown each year at greater profit. One drug typically given this way is colistin. Doctors call it the “last hope” antibiotic because it is used to treat patients who are critically ill with infections which have become resistant to nearly all other drugs. The World Health Organisation has called for the use of such antibiotics, which it calls “critically important to human medicine”, to be restricted in animals and banned as growth promoters. Their continued use in farming increases the chance bacteria will develop resistance to them, leaving them useless when treating patients.

    Yet thousands of tonnes of veterinary colistin was shipped to countries including Vietnam, India, South Korea and Russia in 2016, the Bureau can reveal. In India at least five animal pharmaceutical companies are openly advertising products containing colistin as growth promoters.

    One of these companies, Venky’s, is also a major poultry producer. Apart from selling animal medicines and creating its own chicken meals, it also supplies meat directly and indirectly to fast food chains in India such as KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Dominos.

    https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2018-01-30/a-game-of-chicken-how-indian-poultry-farming-is-creating-glob
    #inde #antibiotiques #santé


  • https://www.auroraabrasive.com/7-inches-stainless-steel-cutting-disc
    The global consumption of abrasives will increase by 5.9 percent per year and will reach 38 billion by 2013. The first regions to achieve growth are Asia, the Middle East/Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The demand for abrasives in the four regions will exceed that of the United States, Japan and Western Europe.
    The consumption of abrasive tools is mainly due to the steady growth of the economy and the steady development of the industry, which leads to the continuous expansion of the production of durable consumer goods and the increase in investment in fixed assets. China, India and Russia account for a large share of the sales of abrasives. In particular, China will replace the United States as the world’s largest abrasives consumer market. It is estimated that by 2013, China’s consumption of abrasive tools will account for two-thirds of the global demand for new products. Sales in Thailand and Indonesia in Southeast Asia will also show good growth.

    The development of the global abrasives market is not optimistic compared with developing countries, its economic growth is weak, and the growth of durable consumer goods production is slow. It is expected that the demand for abrasives in the United States, Italy and France will grow by less than one percent by 2013, and the annual demand for abrasives in Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom will decline. Luo Baihui believes that the final result is that the per capita consumption of purchased abrasives will increase as the production costs of various products increase. Sales of abrasives in Canada, South Korea and Spain are expected to grow steadily with the economy and demand will increase. In the industrialized regions, the industrial output of these three countries has been in a leading position.

    The consumer demand for global abrasive tools is mainly non-metallic abrasive products, including: fixed abrasives, coated abrasives and abrasives, polishing powders, etc. It is estimated that by 2013, the sales of non-metallic abrasives will occupy most of the market, which will exceed the sales of metal abrasives, such as shot peening, steel grit, wire brush and grinding wheel. The consumer durables market is undoubtedly the largest sales target for abrasives, accounting for two-thirds of all abrasive products.



  • “You Cry at Night but Don’t Know Why”. Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea

    Oh Jung Hee is a former trader in her forties from Ryanggang province. She sold clothes to market stalls in Hyesan city and was involved in the distribution of textiles in her province. She said that up until she left the country in 2014, guards would regularly pass by the market to demand bribes, sometimes in the form of coerced sexual acts or intercourse. She told Human Rights Watch:

    I was a victim many times … On the days they felt like it, market guards or police officials could ask me to follow them to an empty room outside the market, or some other place they’d pick. What can we do? They consider us [sex] toys … We [women] are at the mercy of men. Now, women cannot survive without having men with power near them.

    She said she had no power to resist or report these abuses. She said it never occurred to her that anything could be done to stop these assaults except trying to avoid such situations by moving away or being quiet in order to not be noticed.

    Park Young Hee, a former farmer in her forties also from Ryanggang province who left North Korea for the second time in 2011, was forced back to North Korea from China in the spring of 2010 after her first attempt to flee. She said, after being released by the secret police (bowiseong) and put under the jurisdiction of the police, the officer in charge of questioning her in the police pre-trial detention facility (kuryujang) near Musan city in North Hamgyong province touched her body underneath her clothes and penetrated her several times with his fingers. She said he asked her repeatedly about the sexual relations she had with the Chinese man to whom she had been sold to while in China. She told Human Rights Watch:

    My life was in his hands, so I did everything he wanted and told him everything he asked. How could I do anything else? … Everything we do in North Korea can be considered illegal, so everything can depend on the perception or attitude of who is looking into your life.

    Park Young Hee said she never told anybody about the abuse because she did not think it was unusual, and because she feared the authorities and did not believe anyone would help.

    The experiences of Oh Jung Hee and Park Young Hee are not isolated ones. While sexual and gender-based violence is of concern everywhere, growing evidence suggests it is endemic in North Korea.

    This report–based largely on interviews with 54 North Koreans who left the country after 2011, when the current leader, Kim Jong Un, rose to power, and 8 former North Korean officials who fled the country–focuses on sexual abuse by men in official positions of power. The perpetrators include high-ranking party officials, prison and detention facility guards and interrogators, police and secret police officials, prosecutors, and soldiers. At the time of the assaults, most of the victims were in the custody of authorities or were market traders who came across guards and other officials as they traveled to earn their livelihood.

    Interviewees told us that when a guard or police officer “picks” a woman, she has no choice but to comply with any demands he makes, whether for sex, money, or other favors. Women in custody have little choice should they attempt to refuse or complain afterward, and risk sexual violence, longer periods in detention, beatings, forced labor, or increased scrutiny while conducting market activities.

    Women not in custody risk losing their main source of income and jeopardizing their family’s survival, confiscation of goods and money, and increased scrutiny or punishment, including being sent to labor training facilities (rodong danryeondae) or ordinary-crimes prison camps (kyohwaso, literally reform through labor centers) for being involved in market activities. Other negative impacts include possibly losing access to prime trading locations, being fired or overlooked for jobs, being deprived of means of transportation or business opportunities, being deemed politically disloyal, being relocated to a remote area, and facing more physical or sexual violence.

    The North Koreans we spoke with told us that unwanted sexual contact and violence is so common that it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life: sexual abuse by officials, and the impunity they enjoy, is linked to larger patterns of sexual abuse and impunity in the country. The precise number of women and girls who experience sexual violence in North Korea, however, is unknown. Survivors rarely report cases, and the North Korean government rarely publishes data on any aspect of life in the country.

    Our research, of necessity conducted among North Koreans who fled, does not provide a generalized sample from which to draw definitive conclusions about the prevalence of sexual abuse by officials. The diversity in age, geographic location, social class, and personal backgrounds of the survivors, combined with many consistencies in how they described their experiences, however, suggest that the patterns of sexual violence identified here are common across North Korea. Our findings also mirror those of other inquiries that have tried to discern the situation in this sealed-off authoritarian country.

    A 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry (UN COI) on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) concluded that systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations committed by the North Korean government constituted crimes against humanity. These included forced abortion, rape, and other sexual violence, as well as murder, imprisonment, enslavement, and torture on North Koreans in prison or detention. The UN COI stated that witnesses revealed that while “domestic violence is rife within DPRK society … violence against women is not limited to the home, and that it is common to see women being beaten and sexually assaulted in public.”

    The Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), a South Korean government think tank that specializes in research on North Korea, conducted a survey with 1,125 North Koreans (31.29 percent men and 68.71 percent women) who re-settled in South Korea between 2010 and 2014. The survey found that 37.7 percent of the respondents said sexual harassment and rape of inmates at detention facilities was “common,” including 15.9 percent that considered it “very common.” Thirty-three women said they were raped at detention and prison facilities, 51 said they witnessed rapes in such facilities, and 25 said they heard of such cases. The assailants identified by the respondents were police agents–45.6 percent; guards–17.7 percent; secret police (bowiseong) agents –13.9 percent; and fellow detainees–1.3 percent. The 2014 KINU survey found 48.6 percent of the respondents said that rape and sexual harassment against women in North Korea was “common.”

    The North Koreans we spoke with stressed that women are socialized to feel powerless to demand accountability for sexual abuse and violence, and to feel ashamed when they are victims of abuse. They said the lack of rule of law and corresponding support systems for survivors leads most victims to remain silent–not seek justice and often not even talk about their experiences.

    While most of our interviewees left North Korea between2011 and 2016, and many of the abuses date from a year or more before their departure, all available evidence suggests that the abuses and near-total impunity enjoyed by perpetrators continue to the present.

    In July 2017, the North Korean government told the UN committee that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that just nine people in all of North Korea were convicted of rape in 2008, seven in 2011, and five in 2015. The government said that the numbers of male perpetrators convicted for the crime of forcing a woman who is his subordinate to have sexual intercourse was five in 2008, six in 2011, and three in 2015. While North Korean officials seem to think such ridiculously low numbers show the country to be a violence-free paradise, the numbers are a powerful indictment of their utter failure to address sexual violence in the country.

    Sexual Abuse in Prisons and Detention Facilities

    Human Rights Watch interviewed eight former detainees or prisoners who said they experienced a combination of verbal and sexual violence, harsh questioning, and humiliating treatment by investigators, detention facility personnel, or prison guards that belong to the police or the secret police (bowiseong).

    Six interviewees had experienced sexual, verbal, and physical abuse in pre-trial detention and interrogation facilities (kuryujang)–jails designed to hold detainees during their initial interrogations, run by the MSS or the police. They said secret police or police agents in charge of their personal interrogation touched their faces and their bodies, including their breasts and hips, either through their clothes or by putting their hands inside their clothes.

    Human Rights Watch also documented cases of two women who were sexually abused at a temporary holding facility (jipkyulso) while detainees were being transferred from interrogation facilities (kuryujang) to detention facilities in the detainees’ home districts.

    Sexual Abuse of Women Engaged in Trade

    Human Rights Watch interviewed four women traders who experienced sexual violence, including rape, assault, and sexual harassment, as well as verbal abuse and intimidation, by market gate-keeper officials. We also interviewed 17 women who were sexually abused or experienced unwanted sexual advances by police or other officials as they traveled for their work as traders. Although seeking income outside the command economy was illegal, women started working as traders during the mass famine of the 1990s as survival imperatives led many to ignore the strictures of North Korea’s command economy. Since many married women were not obliged to attend a government-established workplace, they became traders and soon the main breadwinners for their families. But pursuing income in public exposed them to violence.

    Traders and former government officials told us that in North Korea traders are often compelled to pay bribes to officials and market regulators, but for women the “bribes” often include sexual abuse and violence, including rape. Perpetrators of abuses against women traders include high-ranking party officials, managers at state-owned enterprises, and gate-keeper officials at the markets and on roads and check-points, such as police, bowiseong agents, prosecutors, soldiers, and railroad inspectors on trains.

    Women who had worked as traders described unwanted physical contact that included indiscriminately touching their bodies, grabbing their breasts and hips, trying to touch them underneath their skirts or pants, poking their cheeks, pulling their hair, or holding their bodies in their arms. The physical harassment was often accompanied by verbal abuse and intimidation. Women also said it was common for women to try to help protect each other by sharing information about such things, such as which house to avoid because it is rumored that the owner is a rapist or a child molester, which roads not to walk on alone at night, or which local high-ranking official most recently sexually preyed upon women.

    Our research confirms a trend already identified in the UN COI report:

    Officials are not only increasingly engaging in corruption in order to support their low or non-existent salaries, they are also exacting penalties and punishment in the form of sexual abuse and violence as there is no fear of punishment. As more women assume the responsibility for feeding their families due to the dire economic and food situation, more women are traversing through and lingering in public spaces, selling and transporting their goods.

    The UN COI further found “the male dominated state, agents who police the marketplace, inspectors on trains, and soldiers are increasingly committing acts of sexual assault on women in public spaces” and “received reports of train guards frisking women and abusing young girls onboard.” This was described as “the male dominated state preying on the increasingly female-dominated market.”

    Almost all of the women interviewed by Human Rights Watch with trading experience said the only way not to fall prey to extortion or sexual harassment while conducting market activities was to give up hopes of expanding one’s business and barely scrape by, be born to a powerful father with money and connections, marry a man with power, or become close to one.

    Lack of Remedies

    Only one of the survivors of sexual violence Human Rights Watch interviewed for this report said she had tried to report the sexual assault. The other women said they did not report it because they did not trust the police and did not believe police would be willing to take action. The women said the police do not consider sexual violence a serious crime and that it is almost inconceivable to even consider going to the police to report sexual abuse because of the possible repercussions. Family members or close friends who knew about their experience also cautioned women against going to the authorities.

    Eight former government officials, including a former police officer, told Human Rights Watch that cases of sexual abuse or assault are reported to police only when there are witnesses and, even then, the reports invariably are made by third parties and not by the women themselves. Only seven of the North Korean women and men interviewed by Human Rights Watch were aware of cases in which police had investigated sexual violence and in all such cases the victims had been severely injured or killed.

    All of the North Koreans who spoke to Human Rights Watch said the North Korean government does not provide any type of psycho-social support services for survivors of sexual violence and their families. To make matters worse, they said, the use of psychological or psychiatric services itself is highly stigmatized.

    Two former North Korean doctors and a nurse who left after 2010 said there are no protocols for medical treatment and examination of victims of sexual violence to provide therapeutic care or secure medical evidence. They said there are no training programs for medical practitioners on sexual assault and said they never saw a rape victim go to the hospital to receive treatment.

    Discrimination Against Women

    Sex discrimination and subordination of women are pervasive in North Korean. Everyone in North Korea is subjected to a socio-political classification system, known as songbun, that grouped people from its creation into “loyal,” “wavering,” or “hostile” classes. But a woman’s classification also depends, in critical respects, on that of her male relatives, specifically her father and her father’s male relations and, upon marriage, that of her husband and his male relations. A woman’s position in society is lower than a man’s, and her reputation depends largely on maintaining an image of “sexual purity” and obeying the men in her family.

    The government is dominated by men. According to statistics provided by the DPRK government to the UN, as of 2016 women made up just 20.2 percent of the deputies selected, 16.1 percent of divisional directors in government bodies, 11.9 percent of judges and lawyers, 4.9 percent of diplomats, and 16.5 per cent of the officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    On paper, the DPRK says that it is committed to gender equality and women and girl’s rights. The Criminal Code criminalizes rape of women, trafficking in persons, having sexual relations with women in a subordinate position, and child sexual abuse. The 2010 Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women bans domestic violence. North Korea has also ratified five international human rights treaties, including ones that address women and girl’s rights and equality, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and CEDAW.

    During a meeting of a North Korean delegation with the CEDAW Committee, which reviewed North Korean compliance between 2002 and 2015, government officials argued all of the elements of CEDAW had been included in DPRK’s domestic laws. However, under questioning by the committee, the officials were unable to provide the definition of “discrimination against women” employed by the DPRK.

    Park Kwang Ho, Councilor of the Central Court in the DPRK, stated that if a woman in a subordinate position was forced to engage in sexual relations for fear of losing her job or in exchange for preferential treatment, it was her choice as to whether or not she complied. Therefore, he argued, in such a situation the punishment for the perpetrator should be lighter. He later amended his statement to say that if she did not consent to having sexual relations, and was forced to do so, the perpetrator was committing rape and would be punished accordingly.

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/10/31/you-cry-night-dont-know-why/sexual-violence-against-women-north-korea
    #abus_sexuels #violence_sexuelle #viols #Corée_du_nord #femmes #rapport


  • The Everyday Consumption of “#Whiteness”: The #Gaikokujin-fū (Foreign-Like) Hair Trend in Japan

    In feminist literature, the beauty and the fashion industries have at times been criticized for being one of the means through which women are objectified.1 Likewise, Critical Race Studies have often pinpointed how the existence of a global beauty industry has the effect of propagating Eurocentric beauty ideals.2 Throughout this article I aim to explore the complicated ways in which beauty and racialized categories intersect in Japan through an analysis of the female-targeted hair trend of the gaikokujin-fū (foreigner-like) hair.

    Essentialism is what prompts us to divide the world into two, “us” versus “them,” negating all that is in between the two categories or even changes within the categories themselves. Although this binary thinking has been subject to criticism by various disciplines, such as Critical Race Studies and Postcolonial Studies, it is still among the dominant ways in which human relations are performed in Japanese society. The essentialistic opposing duality between Foreignness and Japaneseness has been constructed in post-war Japan through widespread discourses known by the name nihonjinron (lit. the theories on the Japanese).3 Even though it could be understood as a powerful reply to American racism towards the Japanese, nihonjinron only confirms stereotypes by reversing their value, from negative to positive. Moreover, these theories have had the effect of emphasizing Japanese racial and cultural purity through the alienation and exoticization of the other, most often represented by the white “Westerner”4 (obeijin, seiyōjin, hakujin).

    The ambivalent exoticism that surrounds the foreigner (gaikokujin) has made it possible for racialised categories and consumerism to intersect in the archipelago. The beauty industry is particularly susceptible to the segmentation between “self” and “other,” and the global white hegemony has a certain influence over it. However, as Miller rightly observes, dominant beauty standards in Japan are equally influenced by local values of “Japaneseness.”5 Torigoe goes even farther: in her essay, she positions whiteness as a power relation and through her analysis she demonstrates how white women are constructed as Others in Japanese media representations, thus creating “a racial ladder that places Japanese people on top.”6 The link between whiteness and widespread beauty practices has been criticized also in studies of the neighbouring country of Korea, with scholars arguing that cosmetic surgeries in the country are successful only if they enhance the body’s natural “Koreanness.”7

    My aim in this paper is to tackle the capitalistic commercialization and fetishization of whiteness in contemporary Japan. As it will become clear throughout the analysis, the Japanese beauty industry is creating a particular image of whiteness that is suitable to the consumers’ needs and desires: this toned-down, less threating way of becoming “foreigner-like” is marketed as an accessory that far from overriding one’s natural features, is instrumental in accentuating and valorizing them. Investigating the peculiar position of this beauty trend, which has been affected by the influence of the two contrasting hegemonic discourses of white supremacy and the purity/superiority of the Japanese race, might be helpful in shedding some light on the increasingly complicated ways the concept of race is being constructed in a setting that has been often considered “other” to the Eurocentric gaze.

    Whiteness and the Global Beauty Industry

    Beauty is an important practice in our daily life, and as such it has been at the center of animated discussions about its social function. Seen as one of the practices through which gender is performed, it has been put into scrutiny by feminist literature. The approach used to analyze beauty has been dualistic. On the one hand, the beauty and fashion industries have been criticized for being among the reasons of women’s subordination, depriving them financially8 and imposing on them male normative standards of beauty.9 On the other, it has been cited as one of the ways in which female consumers could express their individuality in an oppressive world.10

    The increasingly globalized beauty and fashion industries have also been subjects of criticism from the viewpoint of Critical Race Studies. It is not uncommon to hear that these industries are guilty of spreading Eurocentric tastes, thus privileging pale-skinned, thin women with light hair.11 The massive sale of skin-whitening creams in Asia and Africa as well as the creation of new beauty standards that privilege thinness over traditionally preferred plump forms are often cited to defend this argument. At the same time, there have been instances in which this denouncing of Eurocentrism itself has been charged guilty of the same evil. Practices such as plastic surgery in South Korea and Japanese preference for white skin have been often criticized as being born out of the desire to be “Western”: these analyses have been contested as simplistic and ignoring the cultural significance of local standards of beauty in shaping beauty ideals.12

    Answers to these diatribes have not been yet found.13 It is nonetheless clear that beauty practices articulate a series of complex understandings about gender and race, often oscillating between particularisms and universalisms. Throughout this article I would like to contribute to this ongoing discussion analyzing how pre-existing notions of race and gender intersect and are re-shaped in a newly emerging trend aptly called gaikokujin-fū (foreigner-like) hair.

    Us/Others in Japan: The Essentialization of the Foreign
    Japan and the tan’itsu minzoku

    It is not uncommon to hear that Japan is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world. In Japanese, the locution tan’itsu minzoku (single/unique ethnic group, people, nation), was often used as a slogan when comparing the archipelago with significantly multi-ethnic countries such as the USA.14 The notion of Japan as a mono-ethnic country is being starkly criticized in recent years:15 minorities such as the zainichi Koreans and Chinese who have been living in the country since the end of the second world war, the conspicuous populations of foreign immigrants from Asia and Latin America, as well as mixed-race people, who were thought of as a social problem until these last ten years,16 have been making their voices heard. In the following paragraphs, I will trace how the idea of a racially homogeneous Japan was constructed.

    The word minzoku (ethnic group, people, nation) first appeared in the Japanese language in the Taishō Period (1912-1926), as an alternative to the term jinshū (race).17 The concept of race did not exist prior to the Meiji period (1868-1912), when it was introduced by scholars as one of the ideas from the “West” that would have helped Japan become a modernized nation.18 It could be argued that while the opening up of Japan after the sakoku period was not the first time that the Japanese government had to interact with people of different racial features,19 it was the first time that the idea of racial hierarchies were introduced to the country. Japanese scholars recognized themselves to be part of the ōshoku jinshū (“yellow race”), hierarchically subordinate to the “white race.”20 With rising nationalism and the beginning of the colonization project during the Taishō period, the need arose for a concept that could further differentiate the Japanese people from the neighboring Asian countries such as the newly annexed Taiwan and Korea:21 the newly created minzoku fit this purpose well. Scholar Kawai Yuko compared the term to the German concept of Volk, which indicates a group whose identity is defined by shared language and culture. These traits are racialized, as they are defined as being “biological,” a natural component of the member of the ethnic group who acquires them at birth.22 It was the attribution of these intrinsic qualities that allowed the members of the naichi (mainland Japan) to be assigned in a superior position to the gaichi (colonies). Interestingly, the nationalistic discourse of the pre-war and of the war period had the double intent of both establishing Japanese supremacy and legitimizing its role as a “guide” for the colonies grounding it in their racial affinities: unlike the conquerors from Europe, the Japanese were of similar breed.

    These hierarchies were ultimately dissociated from the term minzoku after the end of the Second World War, when it was appropriated by Leftist discourse. Opposing it to ta-minzoku (multiethnic nation or people)23

    that at the time implied divisions and inequalities and was perceived as a characteristic of the Japanese Empire, Left-leaning intellectuals advocated a tan’itsu minzoku nation based on equality. The Leftist discourse emphasized the need of the “Japanese minzoku” to stand up to the American occupation, but the term gradually lost its critical nuance when Japan reached economic prosperity and tan’itsu minzoku came to mean racial homogeneity as a unique characteristic of Japanese society, advocated by the Right.24

    Self-Orientalism

    The term minzoku might have “lost his Volk-ish qualities,”25 but homogeneity in Japan is also perceived to be of a cultural nature. Sociologists Mouer and Sugimoto26 lament that many Japanese people believe to be the carriers of an “unique” and essentialized cultural heritage, that renders them completely alien to foreigners. According to the two scholars, the distinctive qualities that have been usually (self-)ascribed to Japanese people are the following: a weak individuality, the tendency to act in groups, and the tendency to privilege harmony in social situations.27 Essentialized “Japaneseness” is a mixture of these psychological traits with the products of Japanese history and culture. The perception that Japaneseness is ever unchanging and a cultural given of each Japanese individual was further increased by the popularity of the nihonjinron discourse editorial genre, which gained mass-media prominence in the archipelago after the 1970s along with Japan’s economic growth.28 Drawing on Said’s notion of Orientalism,29 Miller states that “in the case of Japan, we have to deal […] with the spectacle of a culture vigorously determined to orientalize itself.”30 According to Roy Miller, Japan has effectively constructed Japaneseness through a process of self-othering, which he refers to as self-Orientalism. The nihonjinron publications were very much influenced by cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict’s highly influential “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,” published in 1946. Benedict’s study of the “Japanese people” is based on the assumption that the USA and Japan are polar opposites where the former stands for modernity and individualism whereas the latter is characterized by tradition and groupism.31

    Japanese anthropologists and psychoanalysts, such as Nakane and Doi32 further contributed to the study of Japaneseness, never once challenging the polar opposition between the “Japanese” and the “Westernerners.”

    It would seem contradictory at first for a large number of people in Japan to have this tendency to think and consume their own culture through stereotypes. However, Iwabuchi draws attention to the fact that Japan’s self-Orientalism is not just a passive acceptance of “Western” values but is in fact used to assert the nation’s cultural superiority. It remains nonetheless profoundly complicit with Euro-American Orientalism insofar that it is an essentializing and reifying process: it erases all internal differences and external similarities.33 This essentialization that Japan is capitalizing on proves fundamental for the “West,” as it is the tool through which it maintains its cultural hegemony.

    Images of the Foreigner

    Images of the foreigner are not equal, and they form an important node in the (self-)Orientalistic relations that Japan entertains with the rest of the world. An essentialized view of both the Euro-American and Asian foreigner functions in different ways as a counterweight to the “we-Japanese” (ware ware Nihonjin) rhethoric.

    In the Japanese language, gaikokujin (foreigner) refers to every person who doesn’t have the same nationality as the country she/he lives in.34 The term gaikokujin does not have racial connotations and can be used to effectively describe anyone that is not a Japanese citizen. However, the racially-charged related term gaijin35 refers especially to the “white” foreigner.36 Written very similarly to gaikokujin, the word gaijin actually has a different origin and the double meaning of “foreigner” and “outsider.” The word carries strong implications of “othering,” and refers to the construction of the Europe and America as other to the young nation-state in the Meiji period, during which knowledge was routinely imported from the “West.”37 Thus, gaijin and the representation of foreigners-as-other came to reflect the dominant hierarchies of nineteenth-century “Western” knowledge.38

    Putting every white-skinned individual in the same category functions as a strategy to create the antithetical “West” that is so important as a marker of difference in self-Orientalism: it serves to create an “Other” that makes it possible to recognize the “Self.”39 At the same time, it perpetuates the perception of whiteness as the dominant position in America and Europe. In her analysis on the use of foreigner models in Japanese advertisements, Creighton notes that representation of gaijin positions them both as a source of innovation and style and as a potential moral threat.40

    This splitting is not uncommon when dealing with representations of the Other. What generates it is the fetishistic component that is always present in the stereotype.41 Bhabha argues that this characteristic allows the Other to be understood in a contradictory way as a source of both pleasure and anxiety for the Non-Other. Stuart Hall draws on Bhabha’s theories to state that the stereotype makes it so that this binary description can be the only way in which is possible to think of the Other–they generate essentialized identities.42 In the Japanese context, the gaijin, fulfilling his role as a racially visible minority,43 is thus inscribed in the double definition of source of disruption and person to admire (akogare no taishō).

    Whiteness in the Japanese Context

    Akogare (admiration, longing, desire) is a word that young women44 in Japan often use when talking about the “white, Western” foreigner. Kelsky explains that the word indicates the longing for something that is impossible to obtain and she maintains that “it is a rather precise gloss […] of the term “desire” in Lacanian usage. […] Desire arises from lack and finds expression in the fetish. The fetish substitutes the thing that is desired but impossible to obtain.”45 Fulfilment of this unattainable desire can be realized through activities such as participation in English conversation classes and engaging in conversation with “Western” people.46 The consumption of “Western” images and representations as well as everyday practices associated with the Euro-American foreigner could also be considered a fetish that substitutes the unattainable object of desire. In this sense, the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend might be for the producers one such way of catering to young Japanese women’s akogare for the “Western” world.

    Gaikokujin-fū is inextricably connected to gaijin, “white” foreigners. For instance, the Hair Encyclopedia section of the website Hotpepper Beauty reports two entries with the keyword gaikokujin-fū: gaikokujin-fū karā (foreigner-like color) and gaikokujin-fū asshu (foreigner-like ash). The “color” entry states the following:

    Gaikokujin-fū karā means, as the name suggests, a dye that colors the hair in a tint similar to that of foreigners. The word “foreigner” here mostly stands for people with white skin and blond hair that are usually called “American” and “European.”47

    Similarly, the “ash” entry explains the following:

    The coloring that aims for the kind of blond hair with little red pigments that is often found among Americans is called gaikokujin-fū asshu.

    Asshu means “grey” and its characteristic is to give a slightly dull (dark?) impression. It fits well with many hairstyles ranging from short cuts to long hair, and it can be done in a way to make you look like a “western” hāfu (mixed race individual).

    It is clear from these descriptions that the term gaikokujin-fū is racially charged. What hairdresser discourse is trying to reproduce is a kind of hair color associated with America and Europe’s Caucasian population. They are selling “whiteness.”

    Writing from the viewpoint of multicultural England, Dyer writes that the study of the representation of white people is important because “as long as white people are not racially seen and named, they/we function as a human norm.”49 White discourse is ubiquitous, and it is precisely this unmarked invisibility that makes it a position of dominance. The representation of people belonging to minority groups is inevitably marked or tied to their race or skin color, but Caucasians are often “just people.” At the base of white privilege there is this characteristic of universality that is implied in whiteness.

    The marked positioning of the white foreigner in Japanese society would seem an exception to this rule. Torigoe, while acknowledging that the Japanese media “saturated [her] with images of young white females as the standard of beauty,”50 analyzes in her article how white beauty actually embodies values such as overt sexual attractiveness that would be considered deviant or over the top by standard societal norms.51 Likewise, Russell points to the scrutiny that the bodies of the white female woman receive on Japanese mass media, dominated by a male gaze. White females become subject to the sexual curiosity of the Japanese male, and being accompanied by one of them often makes him look more sophisticated and competitive in a globalized world.52 As the most easily, less controversially portrayed Other through which Japanese self-identity is created, the white individual is often subject to stereotyping and essentialization. Russell notes this happening in both advertisement and the portrayal of white local celebrities, that assume even “whiter” characteristics in order to better market their persona in the Japanese television environment.

    However, it is my opinion that we must be careful to not be exceedingly uncritical of the marginality that Caucasians are subject to in Japanese society. I argue that whiteness is in an ambiguous position in the Japanese context: it would be wrong to say that in the archipelago white people do not benefit from the privileges that have accompanied their racialization up to the present times. The othering processes that whites are subject to is more often than not related to them being brought up and representing a different culture than to their racial difference.54 The word hakujin (lit. white person) is barely used in everyday conversation, whereas it is more common to hear the term kokujin (lit. black person): white people are not reduced to their racial characteristics in the same way as black people might be.55 Whiteness might not be the completely hegemonic in the Japanese context, but the country does not exist in a vacuum, and its standards have been influenced by the globally hegemonic white euro-centric values to some extent.

    To reiterate, white people in the Japanese archipelago experience the contradictory position of being a visible minority subject to reifying “othering” processes while at the same time reaping many of the benefits and privileges that are usually associated with the color of their skin. They are socially and politically located at the margins but are a hegemonic presence in the aesthetic consciousness as an ideal to which aspire to. In the following sections, I will expand on gaikokujin’s ambiguous location by looking at the ways in which whiteness is consumed through the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend.

    Producing Whiteness: Selling gaikokujin-fū Hair
    Creating the “New”

    In order to understand the meanings shaping the catchphrase gaikokujin-fū, I have used a mixture of different approaches. My research began by applying the methods of Visual Analysis56 to the latest online promotional material. I have tried to semiotically analyze the pictures on the websites in relation to the copywriting. In addition, I have complemented it with fieldwork, interviewing a total of seven hairdressers and four girls aged from 20 to 2457 in the period between April and June 2017. It was while doing fieldwork that I realized how important social networking is for the establishment of contemporary trends: this is frequently acknowledged also in the press by textually referencing hashtags.58 Instagram is a very important part of Japanese girls’ everyday life, and is used both as a tool for self-expression/self-promotion as well as a compass to navigate the ever-growing ocean of lifestyle trends. Japanese internet spaces had been previously analyzed as relatively closed spaces created and accessed by predominantly Japanese people, and this had implications on how online discourses about races were carried on.59 However, being a predominantly visual medium, Instagram also functions as a site where information can, to a large extent, overcome language barriers.

    The gaikokujin-fū hashtag counts 499,103 posts on Instagram, whereas 381,615 pictures have been tagged gaikokujin-fū karā.60 Most of them are published by professional whose aim is to publicize their work, and it is not uncommon to find pricing and information for booking in the description.

    Scrolling down the results of the Instagram search, it is easy to notice the high number of back and profile shots; what the hairdressers are trying to show through these pictures is their hairdressing skills. By cutting out the face they are putting the hair itself at the center of the viewer’s attention and eliminating any possibility of identification. The aim here is to sell “whiteness” as an object. The trendsetters are capitalizing on a term (gaikokujin-fū) that has already an appealing meaning outside the field of hair coloring, and that is usually associated with the wider desire or longing (akogare) for “Western” people, culture and lifestyle.

    To the non-initiated, the term gaikokujin-fū might indicate anything that is not “Japanese like” such as curly hair, or blonde hair. However, it became clear when speaking to my hairdresser informants that they only used the term referring to the ash-like coloring. Professionals in the field are reclaiming it to define a new, emerging niche of products that only started appearing a couple of years ago.61 In doing so, Japanese hairdressers are creating a new kind of “whiteness” that goes beyond the “Western” cultural conception of white as blonde and blue-eyed, in order to make it more acceptable to Japanese societal standards. In fact, fair hair is considered extremely unnatural.62 The advantage that ash brown hair has over blonde is the relatively darker shade that allows consumers to stand out without being completely out of place.63

    However, gaikokujin-fū hair comes at a cost. All of my informants told me during the interviews that the colors usually associated with this trend involve dyes have a blue or green base, and are very difficult to recreate on most people of the East Asia whose naturally black hair has a red base. The difficulty they experienced in reproducing the Ash (asshu) and Matt colors on Japanese hair constituted a fundamental charm point for hair technicians, and precisely because of this being able to produce a neat ash coloring might be considered synonymous with keeping on pace with the last technology in hair dying. The Wella “Illumina Color”64 series came out in September 2015, while Throw,65 a Japanese-produced series of hair dyes that eliminate the reddish undertones of Japanese black hair, went on sale very recently in June 2016.66 Another Japanese maker, Milbon, released its “Addichty Color”67 series as recently as February 2017. The globally dominant but locally peripheral whiteness has been “appropriated” and domesticated by Japanese hairdressers as a propeller of the latest trends, as a vital tool in creating the “new.”

    To summarize, the technological developments in hair dyes certainly gave a big push to the popularizing of the gaikokujin-fū hairstyle trend. Moreover, in a very chicken-and-egg-like fashion, the technological advancing itself was at the same time motivated by the admiration and desire towards Euro-American countries. However, this desire for “Westerness” does not entail adopting whiteness in its essentialized “purest” form,68 as that would have negative implications in the context of Japanese society. Rather, Japanese trendsetters have operated a selection and chosen the variant of whiteness that would be different enough to allow the creation of the “latest” while minimizing its more threatening aspects.
    Branding the “New”

    In the previous section I mentioned the fact that most of pictures posted on the social network Instagram serve to amplify and diffuse existing values for consumption, and constantly refer to a set of meanings that are generated elsewhere reifying them. Throughout this section I will examine the production of these values through the branding of the aforementioned hair dye brands: Wella’s “Illumina Color,” THROW, and Milbon’s “Addichty Color.”

    Wella’s “Illumina Color” offers an interesting case study as it is produced by an American multinational brand. Comparing the Japanese website with the international one, it is clear that we have before our eyes a prime example of “glocalization.”69 While on the international webpage70 the eye-catch is a picture of a white, blue-eyed blonde woman that sports an intricate braided hairstyle with some purplish accents in the braid, the Japanese71 version features a hāfu-like72 young woman with long, flowing straight dark brown hair. The description of the product also contains the suggestive sentence “even the hard and visible hair typical of the Japanese [can become] of a pale, soft color.” The keywords here are the terms hard (katai) and soft (yawaraka). Hardness is defined as being a characteristic typical of the Japanese hair texture (nihonjin tokuyū) and it is opposed to the desired effect, softness. The sentence implies by contrasting the two terms that softness is not a characteristic of Japanese hair, and the assumption could be taken further to understand that it is a quality typical of the “foreign.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the international webpage contains no such reference and instead vaguely praises the hair dye’s ability to provide a light color. The visuals of the latter are consistent with Dyer’s definition of whiteness.

    Unlike Wella, Milbon and beauty experience are Japanese companies, and their products ORDEVE Addichty and THROW are only geared to the Japanese marketplace. Milbon’s ORDEVE Addichty dye series is the most recent of the two. The product’s promotional webpage is almost entirely composed of pictures: the top half features 14 moving pictures, two for each of the seven colours available. The pictures slide in a way that shows the customer all the four sides of the model’s bust up, and each one of the girls is holding a sign with the name of the product. To the center left, we see a GIF image with the name of the brand in the roman and Japanese alphabet, accompanied by the catchphrase hajimete mitsukaru, atarashii watashirashisa (“I found it for the first time, a new way of being myself”), that slides into another text-filled picture that explains the concepts behind the branding.

    Occidental-like (ōbeijin) voluminous hair with a shine (tsuya) never seen before. This incredible feeling of translucence (tōmeikan) that even shows on your Instagram [pictures], will receive a lot of likes from everybody. Let’s find the charm of a freer myself with Addichty color!

    The red-diminishing dyes are here associated with both physical and ideological characteristics identified as “Western,” like the “feeling of translucence” (tōmeikan)73 and “freedom” (jiyū). The word tōmeikan is a constant of technical descriptions of gaikokujin-fū and it is generally very difficult for the hairdressers to explain what does it mean. My hairdresser informant N. quickly explained to me that having translucent hair means to have a hair color that has a low red component. Informants H. and S., also hair professionals, further explained that translucency is a characteristic typical of hair that seems to be semi-transparent when hit by light. While in the English-speaking world it would certainly be unusual to positively describe somebody’s hair as translucent, tōmeikan is a positive adjective often used as a compliment in other different contexts and it indicates clarity and brightness. In fact, the Japanese Daijisen dictionary lists two definitions for translucent, the second of which reads “clear, without impurities.”74 It is perhaps in relation to this meaning that the melanin-filled black core of the Japanese hair is considered “heavy” (omoi) and strong. Reddish and lighter brown colors are also defined in the same way. What is more, even hair colors at the other end of the spectrum can be “muddy”(nigori no aru): blonde hair is also described as such.75 It is clear that while tōmeikan is a quality of “occidental hair,” it is not a characteristic of all the shades that are usually associated with whiteness.

    In the last sentence, “freedom” is linked to charm (miryoku) and the individual. These three concepts are also very often associated with the foreigner. The freedom of the gaijin is a freedom from social constraints and from the sameness that pervades dominant representations of Japaneseness.76 Individualism is further emphasized by the pronoun “myself,” which in the original Japanese is a possessive pronoun to the word “charm” (miryoku). As a word, miryoku has an openly sexual connotation, and because of this it might be linked to the concept of “foreignness.” As Torigoe found out in her analysis of Japanese advertisements, white women are often represented as a sexualized counterpart to the more innocent Japanese woman.77 Gaikokujin-fū hair offers customers the possibility to become closer to obtaining this sexiness, that distances the self from the monotone standards of society.

    Of the three, THROW is possibly the most interesting to analyze, mostly because of the huge quantity of content they released in order to strengthen the brand image. In addition to the incredibly detailed homepage, they are constantly releasing new media contents related to gaikokujin-fū coloring on their “THROW Journal.”78

    The “story” page of the website serves as an explanation of the brand identity. It is a vertically designed page heavy on images, possibly designed to be optimally visualized in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The first image that the viewer encounters is that of a girl whose brown hair is flowing in the wind, which results in some strands covering the features of her pale-white face. This makes it hard to understand her nationality and makes it so that all the attention is focused on the light, airy qualities of the hair. As I said before, “lightness” (karusa) is associated to translucency and is one of the characteristics at the center of the marketing of gaikokujin-fū. This picture very clearly renders those sensations in a way that is very pleasant to the eye and indeed invites consumption.

    Under the picture we find a very short narration that complements it. In bigger characters, the words dare de mo nai, watashi ni naru, that roughly translates as “I’ll become a myself, that is nobody else.” Here again we find an emphasis on individuality and difference. Scrolling down, we find the following paragraph written in a smaller font:

    I leave my body to the blowing wind.

    My hair is enveloped in light, and is filled by the pleasant air.

    What I needed was this [facial] expression.

    I got rid of what I did not need, and refreshingly freed my mind.

    Gracefully, freely.

    I should just enjoy myself more.79

    Unlike the tagline in the Addichty webpage, THROW’s brand identity is here described in ideological terms only. Once again, “freedom” is the central theme, and is associated with a sensation of freshness (kaze, “the wind”; also, the onomatopoeia sutto, here rendered as “refreshingly”). The image of release is further emphasized by the fact that “I” of this text is in close contact with nature: her skin feels the wind, she is shrouded in light and breathes pure air. But what is the subject being released from? The fourth and the last line would suggest that she is being trapped by social constraints, something akin to the Freudian super-ego, that somehow renders her unable to enjoy herself for what she really is. My literal translation of the sixth line makes it hard to understand the hedonistic implications of its meaning: what the original Japanese implies is not simply that she should “have fun,” but she should be finding pleasure in what she is and not what she is expected to be. It is perhaps strange to the eyes of the Euro-American observer accustomed to the discourse of white supremacy that the consumption of whiteness comes with an invitation to spontaneity. The whiteness being sold here is certainly perceived in a radically different way from the Eurocentric “West,” where it is associated with self-constraint.80 It is being marketed to the Japanese public in a way that reminds the portrayal of minorities in the white-dominated world,81 and that makes it particularly appealing to the archipelago’s consumers.

    Listening to the producers’ interviews, it becomes clear for them that the red pigments of the hair, as a symbol of this self-Orientalistically represented “Japaneseness” are represented as a further constraint. Producer Kimura Naoto speaks of a “liberation from redness for the women who hate it”;82 fellow member of the production team Horiuchi brings up the ever-present desire in Japanese women to “become like foreigners,”83 but neither of the two explains the connection between the deletion of red pigments from the hair and the possibility of becoming foreigner-like. It is perhaps this lack of an explicit connection in an explanation from an expert that makes it perceived as an “obvious truth.” In fact, nobody seems to refer to the fact that red undertones are common overseas as well, not to mention the existence of redheads in predominantly Caucasian regions. By hiding these facts, the red pigments are constructed as something that is peculiarly Japanese and juxtaposed to the exclusively foreign blue pigments, further contributing to the essentializing of the gaikokujin that propels self-Orientalism.

    Consuming Whiteness: Gaikokujin-fū and Everyday Life

    To understand the ways that gaikokujin-fū was being interpreted and consumed I conducted fieldwork for two months (April-June 2017) in Tokyo. Engaging in participant observation proved to be relatively easy, since superficial conversation about beauty trends is one of the most common ways that young women around my age use to socialize. Most of my peers were very quick to react every time I lightly introduced the subject. However, due to the perceived “lightness” of the topic, not many people showed to be willing to talk prolongedly about it. This prompted me to supplement the fieldwork with semi-structured interviews I conducted with four people aged 20-22.

    The general reaction to the gaikokujin-fū buzzword was one of recognition–the existence of the trend was acknowledged both by people who were actually familiar with it as well as by others who were not really interested but had seen the phrase and recognized a more general idea behind it. As the reader might expect after having gone through the previous chapter, consumers of gaikokujin-fū hair all brought up the difficulties they had in obtaining the desired results. When I first contacted K., a 23-year-old university student in Tokyo, she told me to wait till the following week for the interview since she had an appointment to dye her hair of an ash-like color. Seven days later, I was surprised to see that her hair had not changed much. Turns out that her virgin hair was a very difficult base to work with: having never bleached it, it proved to be very resistant to blue-green dyes. Dying the hair of an ash-like color would have been impossible as the naturally red pigments of the hair would have completely nullified the effect.

    Whiteness as Empowerment, Whiteness as Difference

    K. was nonetheless very accommodating and answered my questions very enthusiastically. To her, the word gaikokujin had indeed a very positive meaning, and she specifically associated it to difference. My informant used a very harsh word when talking about her fellow Japanese: to her, Japanese style equals mass-production. Her image of Japan was perfectly congruent with those described by Mouer and Sugimoto in their critique of Nihonjinron. “Ordinary” Japanese girls were, in her opinion, the cutesy and quiet girls with straight black hair and bangs covering their foreheads. Why did she feel attracted to gaikokujin-fū in the first place? K. felt that the “traditional” Japanese image was constraining, and she had both very physical and empirical reasons (she does not like face with bangs) as well as a specific ideological background. It is worth nothing here that K. has had since her childhood a very strong akogare towards “Western countries”: she has studied English since she was a small child and is now studying Italian, which led her to spend a year abroad in the University of Venice. Moreover, she attended a very liberal protestant high school in Tokyo, where students were allowed to dye their hair and had no obligation to wear the school uniform. She herself stated that the liberal environment she was brought up in had a huge influence on her view of the world and thus she did not feel the need to “conform.” K. speaks from a privileged position that allowed her to glimpse a “different” world, in which she is promised freedom. In a similar fashion to the representations I analysed in the previous chapter, “Western” foreign becomes a symbol of liberation from the societal constraints of a traditionalistic society.

    The liberating qualities of the akogare towards the essentialized “Western” foreign have been brought up in previous research as a space for young women to astray themselves from the hierarchies of everyday life. The link between freedom and diversity was indeed particularly strong in K., who feels somehow “oppressed” by certain aspects of society. However, this is far from being a universal mode of consumption: in fact, the other three girls never even mentioned anything ideological. To S., a 22-year-old girl I met while studying in Tokyo two years ago, dying her hair of an ash-like hue was an act genuinely finalized to the enhancement of her beauty: she thought the color made her face look brighter. While she too stated during the interview that foreigners are viewed as cool and fashionable, she did not allude to a desire to “become” one nor she mentioned any ideological values associated with them that she emphasized with. In her everyday practice, whiteness is consumed as a tool regardless of its hegemonic signified. Informants A. and H. talked about the trend in a similar way. H. initially dyed her hair because she liked how cute ash hair looked on her favourite model, and had little more to say other than that. Her friend A., who recently graduated from a fashion school, confessed that in her environment standing out was more the rule than a subversive act. Her ash phase was brief and followed by even more explosive hues such as blue and pink. S., A., and H., were very much less conscious of their ways of consumption, but, as French theorist Michel de Certeau argues,84 it is precisely the aimlessness of their wandering that make their practices subvert the hegemony established by the global white supremacy. Having gaikokujin-fū hair is one of the strategies that Japanese women have at their disposition to attain beauty, and while it is trendy, it is far from being superior to different styles. Whiteness becomes an accessory that enhances the natural beauty of the self, and it is not employed to override one’s original racial features but rather to enrich them through the display of individuality. Under this light, it is possible to see the consumption of foreign-like hair as an unconscious tentative of overcoming the racialized barriers that might generate uncanny feelings in the eyes of the “white” spectator.

    Subdued Subversion and the Ambiguities of Consumption

    There are however at least two factors that complicate the consumption of gaikokujin-fū hair, making it a multifaceted and complex process. Firstly, during my interview with K. we discussed the differences between this and other fashion trends that tend to refuse the stereotypical sameness of the constructed Japanese image. K. suggested the existence of an even more individualistic trend–Harajuku–style fashion. The Harajuku district of Tokyo is famous world-wide for hosting a wide range of colourful subcultures,85 which my interviewee described with terms such as dokusouteki (creative) and yancha (mischievous). Harajuku fashion is individuality taken to such a level in which it becomes even more openly contestant of society. S. described these subcultures as referencing the image of “an invented fantasy world, completely out of touch with reality.” The gaikokujin-fū hair colour is indeed a way to break out of the “factory mould,” but it is a relatively tame way of doing it as it is the consumption of a domesticized otherness. As I also pointed out during the analysis of the production processes, the aesthetics of the trend are largely shaped in relation to societal norms and purposely do not excessively break out of them. Especially in its darker tones, foreign-like ash hair is visually closer (albeit chemically harder to obtain) than platinum blonde, and it is precisely in these shades that the hue is being consumed by girls like K. and S.

    Furthermore, one could say that Gaikokujin-fū hues can at times be experimentations instrumental to the formation of one’s identity. H. and S. both explained that they tried out ash dyes as a phase, only then to move on to something that they thought better reflected their own selves. In both cases, that meant going back to their natural black color and to darker tones. H., in particular, after spending her three years of freedom in university experimenting with various hues, finally concluded in her fourth and final year that natural black hair was “what suits Japanese people best.”. After trying out the “Other” and recognizing it as such, her identification acted as what Stuart Hall might have called a suture between her as an acting subject and the discursive practices of “Japaneseness.”86 As “foreignness,” and whiteness as one of its variants, cannot be easily conceived outside the dominant self-Orientalistic discourses, even gaikokujin-fū is inevitably bound to the essentialized “Japaneseness” of the Nihonjinron. This is only worsened by the fact that foreign-like hair colors are a product in the beauty market: they need to be marketed to the consumers, and this necessitates simplification. Essentialization and the reinforcement of self-Orientalism are the high prices that one must pay for the consumption of the other, and constitute a big limitation of its subversive power.

    Conclusion

    I have attempted to analyse the ways in which whiteness is produced and consumed in Japan, a country with significant economic and cultural power that does not have a significant Caucasian population. I have chosen as the topic a feature of the human body that is usually considered peripherical to the construction of racialized categories, and I have attempted to demonstrate how it becomes central in the production of an occidentalistic image of “whiteness” in the Japanese Archipelago.

    What this trend helps us to understand is the complexities and multiplicities of whiteness. By shedding some light on the way that hairdressers in Japan construct and sell the gaikokujin-fū trend we become aware of the fact that an aspect such as hair color that we do not usually pay much attention to in relation to this racialized category can be central when the same is consumed in a different setting. It is significant that what is being marketed here it is a slightly different paradigm from the Eurocentric or conventional idea of “white” people, that sees at its center blonde-haired, fair-skinned people with blue or green eyes: whiteness is mitigated and familiarized in order to make it more desirable to wider audiences. Its localized production and its consumption as a disposable accessory might be taken as challenging to the global dominance of Caucasian aesthetic.

    Acting in the (locally) ambiguous field of racial representations,87 hairdressers in Japan are creating their own whiteness, one that is starkly defined by what is socially acceptable and what is rejected.88 It thus becomes apparent the fact that racialized categories are nothing but discourses, constantly morphing in relation to time and space. The existence of a different whiteness created by and for the use of people who are not considered as belonging to this racialized category creates conflict with the discourse of a global, hegemonic whiteness by demonstrating its artificiality and construction.

    However, the use of the word gaikokujin inevitably generates ambivalent meanings. The trend becomes linked to the discourse of “foreignness” and the desires associated with it. Eventually, it ends up reproducing the essentialist and reifying stereotypes that are creating through the occidentalistic (and self-Orientalistic) practices of nihonjinron. The trend potentially reinforces the “us/them” barriers that are at the basis of essentialistic thought by juxtaposing the desired “foreign hair” as a polar opposite of the more conservative and traditional “Japanese hair.”

    To reiterate, gaikokujin-fū might be subversive on the global scale, but it is nonetheless an expression of the oppressive mainstream on the local level, as it restates notions of difference and exclusivity that form the basis for social exclusion of phenotypically alien foreigners. Unfortunately, the practices of marketing necessitate simplifications, and makes it is hard to achieve what I believe would be the most subversive action: the elimination of these reifying barriers. It is imperative that we start to think about ways to talk about race and culture in a non-essentializing manner while maintaining an anti-white-centric stance.

    Although the problem of essentialization cannot be resolved by looking at representation only, by looking at how the product is effectively consumed in everyday life we might find that these semi-conscious practices already offer some hints on how to overcome the barriers that reification builds around us. It is indeed true that consumers answer to the “call” of the marketers, and that they identify themselves to some extent with the images of racialized whiteness created by the beauty industry. However, what the interviews revealed is that often times the link between image and product is broken in the immediacy of consumption. By using whiteness as an accessory, some of the consumers open up a space in which they contest the seriousness and rigidity of racialized categories–a space that allows hybridity to exist.


    http://zapruderworld.org/journal/archive/volume-4/the-everyday-consumption-of-whiteness-the-gaikokujin-fu-foreign-like-
    #corps #beauté #femmes #géographie_culturelle #japon #cheveux #identité #altérité #orientalisme #blancheur #hakujin #blancs #représentation


  • ’Killer robots’ ban blocked by US and Russia at UN meeting | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/killer-robots-un-meeting-autonomous-weapons-systems-campaigners-disma

    The group of advanced military powers, which also included South Korea, Israel and Australia, blocked progress towards a new international treaty to ban fully autonomous weapons systems following a week of talks in Geneva involving the United Nations.

    A majority of states had proposed to begin negotiations on a new treaty to prevent the development and use of fully autonomous weapons – tanks, planes, ships and guns – which can act without any human oversight.

    Due to the consensus decision-making process employed by the United Nation’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), however, no such resolution was agreed and states simply pledged to continue to explore “options” for future work” on Saturday.

    #robots_tueurs



  • Qatargas agrees on 22-year LNG supply deal with China | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-qatar-petrochina/qatargas-agrees-on-22-year-lng-supply-deal-with-china-idUSKCN1LQ0DM

    Qatargas said on Monday it had agreed on a 22-year deal with PetroChina International Co, a unit of PetroChina Co, to supply China with around 3.4 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually, as the nation stepped up efforts to combat air pollution.

    The Qatari state-owned company will supply LNG from the Qatargas 2 project - a venture between Qatar Petroleum, Exxon Mobil Corp and Total - to receiving terminals across China, with the first cargo to be delivered this month.

    The deal allows flexibility in delivering LNG to Chinese terminals including those in Dalian, Jiangsu, Tangshan and Shenzhen, using the Qatargas fleet of 70 conventional, Q-Flex and Q-Max vessels, the company said.

    China requires LNG for its push to replace coal with cleaner burning natural gas, a way to reduce air pollution. After Beijing started the program last year, China has overtaken South Korea as the world’s second-biggest buyer of LNG.

    China’s LNG imports may surge 70 percent to 65 million tonnes by 2020, according to consultancy SIA Energy. Last year, China imported a record 38.1 million tonnes, 46 percent more than the previous year.

    Meanwhile Qatar, the world’s biggest LNG producer, is seeking buyers for a planned expansion of its output.

    C’est pas avec ce genre de contrats que le Qatar va se faire bien voire des É.-U. !


  • South Korean women fear acid attacks in backlash over rights protests
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/02/south-korean-women-fear-acid-attacks-backlash-rights-protests/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw

    The organisers of the largest women’s rights protests South Korea has ever witnessed say they have been forced to hide their identities after threats of acid attacks and the risk of losing their jobs in a backlash against an unprecedented wave of female-led activism.

    In a rare interview, the group, which calls itself ‘Women’s March For Justice’, told The Telegraph that “we are ridiculed and even fired from our jobs because we speak out … women can only survive by maintaining their anonymity because Korean society is run by men.”

    The traditionally conservative society of Asia’s fourth largest economy has seen snowballing protests against sexist behaviour since the start of the year after a female public prosecutor went public with allegations of workplace sexual harassment, adding a Korean voice to the global #MeToo movement.

    “On the day of the protest there were men who were live streaming the event on the internet by shooting videos of the protestors’ faces … There were people on the internet claiming that they will attack the protests with acid, and these men formed an online live chat groups to organise themselves,” said the group behind the event.

    “There was even a case where a man followed a protester to the house screaming why she was taking part in such protests.”


  • Water bottler sets sights on growing Cambodian market

    A $2 million company hopes to cash in on the growing local bottled market by using modern technology and local natural resources.

    A NEW player in Cambodia’s purified drinking water market has seen early signs of success with a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant and production facility in #Kampot province, and expects to distribute nationwide in 2009, the company said.

    #TADA_Bokor Natural Spring Drinking Water began operations in early November with a US$2 million capital investment from the T-DA Import Export Co Ltd, which distributes the brand in Kampot province, Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh.

    Company owner and first deputy president of Cambodia’s National Committee for Disaster Management, Nhim Vanda, said TADA Bokor was licensed by the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy in 2006 following a study conducted with foreign partners to determine the suitability of mineral water from Kampot province’s Bokor mountain.

    A bottling factory was built at the base of the mountain in Makprang district, Nhim Vanda said.

    “Our factory was built to rigid technical standards and equipped with the latest technology imported from abroad to meet all hygiene requirements,” he said.

    “We have been evaluated by our national laboratory at the Ministry of Industry and the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia at the Ministry of Water Management, as well as by consultants from South Korea.”

    Nhim Vanda said the company also manufactures its own plastic bottles and has taken steps not to adversely affect the province’s natural environment, which has become the focus of nascent efforts to create an ecotourism industry in the Kingdom.

    OUR FACTORY WAS BUILT TO RIGID TECHNICAL STANDARDS ... [WITH] THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY.

    TADA Bokor employs 35 workers and produces an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 cases of water each day.

    “We purify the natural spring drinking water through reverse osmosis and ozone processes, as well as ultraviolet purification technology, to make it better than other brands,” he said.

    “I will enlarge our distribution to other provinces nationwide next year,” he said.

    Chheng Uddra, bureau chief of the Product Licensing Department at the Ministry of Industry, said TADA Bokor has complied with all ministry regulations and requirements.

    “I have sent my experts last month to check the quality of the water, the bottling and the factory to ensure it was built to proper standards,” he said.

    There are more than 130 pure drinking water companies operating in Cambodia, but only 20-including TADA Bokor-operate within health parameters set by the government, Chheng Uddra said.

    He added that because the ministry has not always implemented existing laws, it imposes three-month evaluations on companies to test the quality of the water.

    If standards are not being met, then companies risk losing their license, Chheng Uddra said.

    https://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/water-bottler-sets-sights-growing-cambodian-market
    #eau_en_bouteilles #eau #privatisation #Cambodge

    Un article de 2008, que je mets ici pour archivage...

    @simplicissimus: en lien avec le post sur le #Bokor, dont je viens de terminer un petit texte:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/715554


  • Say what? Language hurdles plague two Koreas after years of division
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-northkorea-southkorea-dictionary/say-what-language-hurdles-plague-two-koreas-after-years-of-division-idUK

    “There were confounding moments because there were terms I never heard of while working and living just in South Korea,” he said, describing blank looks from some North Korean workers when he used the word “container,” which is pronounced similar to its English term in South Korea.

    Between the South’s increasing adoption of international terms and the North’s political sensitivity to some words, the growing language divide is complicating cooperation on a range of joint cultural and economic exchanges as ties between the neighbours improve.

    To counter the confusion and promote a feeling of unity, the South Korean government is working to restart an obscure academic project aimed at developing a common Korean language dictionary with the North.

    North and South Korea speak the same language based on the #Hangeul alphabet, but after decades of division, only about 70 percent of words are mutually understood, according to some experts.

    #Corée


  • South Korea to unveil monument for “#comfort_women” next Tues

    The South Korean government will hold a ceremony next Tuesday to unveil a monument for “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, the country’s gender equality minister said Wednesday.

    Gender Equality and Family Minister Chung Hyun Back also said at an event in Seoul that the government will open a research institute later this week tasked with collecting scattered data and materials about the women.

    The comfort women issue has been a source of diplomatic tension between South Korea and Japan, with Tokyo particularly sensitive to the erection of statues commemorating the women near Japanese diplomatic missions in South Korea.

    https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/08/72c08ae1c524-s-korea-to-unveil-monument-for-comfort-women-next-tu
    #monument #mémoire #femmes #prostitution #guerre #bordels #histoire #Corée_du_sud #Japon


  • CMA CGM’s 22,000 TEU Ships to Feature ’Bulbless’ Bow Made for Slow-Steaming – gCaptain
    http://gcaptain.com/cma-cgms-22000-teu-ships-to-feature-bulbless-bow-made-for-slow-steaming

    A steel cutting ceremony took place in China last week on the hulls of the first two ships of CMA CGM’s order for nine 22,500 teu LNG-powered ULCVs, featuring a potentially game-changing bow design.

    Alongside similar ULCVs being constructed for MSC in South Korea, these behemoths will be the largest containerships afloat, and the first to extend to 24 containers across the weather deck.

    The French carrier’s new flagships will also be the first constructed with a “bulbless” bow, as the container line commits its future to slow-steaming.

    An elegant protruding bulb shape at the bow has been a feature of containerships for decades, but the new tugboat-like design could become the new normal on liner trades where lower unit costs have won out over fast transit times.


  • A Day Before Laos Dam Failed, Builders Saw Trouble - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/26/world/asia/laos-dam-collapse.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=c

    The day before this week’s catastrophic dam failure in Laos, the companies building the dam knew that it was deteriorating, and one of them saw a potential trouble sign three days in advance. Yet many people living downstream received no warning of the deadly flood that was about to sweep away villages, farms, livestock and people.

    The companies said they had warned Laotian officials of the danger, and some villages were evacuated, but the dam’s collapse killed at least 27 people — many more are still missing — and displaced at least 6,600 others in Laos.

    Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company, a joint venture of two South Korean firms, one from Thailand and a state-owned Laotian firm, is building the hydroelectric project, which includes several dams.

    #barrage #Laos #rupture_de_barrage

    • #merci @aude_v et @odilon

      Je copie-colle ici le texte intégral pour ne pas le perdre, car je partiellement accès au contenu du NYT (je vais aussi l’ajouter au fil de discussion sur les barrages au Laos :

      The day before this week’s catastrophic dam failure in Laos, the companies building the dam knew that it was deteriorating, and one of them saw a potential trouble sign three days in advance. Yet many people living downstream received no warning of the deadly flood that was about to sweep away villages, farms, livestock and people.

      The companies said they had warned Laotian officials of the danger, and some villages were evacuated, but the dam’s collapse killed at least 27 people — many more are still missing — and displaced at least 6,600 others in Laos. On Thursday, state media in Cambodia reported that as many as 25,000 more people in that country were being evacuated from the northern border province of Stung Treng, as the flood surge made its way south.

      Now, as rescue workers scramble to find missing villagers and care for others in makeshift shelters, questions are mounting about the speed of the one-party state’s response, the quality of the companies’ work, and whether they could have done more to prevent the accident or alert people to the peril.

      Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company, a joint venture of two South Korean firms, one from Thailand and a state-owned Laotian firm, is building the hydroelectric project, which includes several dams.

      The state-controlled Lao News Agency initially reported that 5 billion cubic meters of water had spilled over the dam, but later quietly revised that number downward to half a billion cubic meters, or roughly 17.7 billion cubic feet, of water. Even the lower volume would be enough to cover an area the size of Manhattan in water 28 feet deep.

      Accounts given by the two South Korean companies differ in several details, and do not answer the crucial question: When did they know, or should they have known, that the dam might be headed toward collapse?

      On Friday, engineers noticed a depression, or “settlement,” about four inches deep in the center of the dam, Korea Western Power, one of the companies, said in a report to South Korea’s Parliament.

      A company official told lawmakers — one of whom released the report on Thursday — that such sinking was common with the kind of heavy rainfall the region was experiencing, so the engineers decided to monitor it rather than take action.

      On Sunday, engineers found 10 “fractured settlements” on the top of the dam and set out to repair them, but they could not get the necessary repair equipment to the scene until Monday afternoon, when it was too late, the company’s report said.

      SK Engineering & Construction of South Korea, the main builder of the project, said on Thursday that it had discovered at 9 p.m. on Sunday that part of the dam’s top was missing.

      In a statement, the company said it had “immediately” reported the damage to the local authorities and evacuations of the nearest villages began, but it did not alert the provincial government until noon the next day that the dam might deteriorate further.

      By 11 a.m. on Monday, Korea Western Power said, there was a depression more than three feet deep in the top of the dam.

      On Monday, the joint venture sent a written notice to provincial officials, which has been seen by The New York Times, warning that Saddle Dam D was in a “very dangerous condition now due to heavy rainfall,” and that villagers downstream should be told to “evacuate to high level position to avoid unfortunate accident by heavy water flow.”

      By Monday afternoon or early evening, the dam was crumbling further and water was pouring through. SK said it received the first report of a village flooding at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

      Both South Korean companies mentioned heavy rains in their descriptions of the disaster. But Ian Baird, a geography professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who specializes in Laos and has studied the hydropower project, said he believed the problem was either faulty construction or a decision to store too much water in the dam’s reservoir at a time when heavy rain should have been expected.

      “When at the end of July do we not get rain in this part of the world?” he asked.

      The companies are “trying to play this out as a natural disaster that wasn’t their fault,” he said. “I don’t believe that for a second.”

      Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company could not be reached by telephone on Thursday.

      The United Nations has said that eight villages were affected by the flooding. Experts and displaced villagers said in interviews this week that the number could be 11 or more. Some were probably in an area that is extremely isolated in the rainy season, even without a major flood event, Professor Baird said.

      “I’m sure there are still lots of people who nobody has reached yet,” Professor Baird said. Some people might have scrambled to higher ground, but it would depend on when they were notified of the threat.

      A day after the accident, the United Nations reported that 14 bridges had been damaged in Laos and at least 1,494 people there had been evacuated to emergency shelters. It said helicopters and boats were the only means of transportation in the affected areas of Attapeu Province, where rates of child malnutrition are among the highest in the country.

      On Thursday, a reporter who traveled into the affected area — a three-hour drive on bumpy roads from Attapeu Town — saw military personnel and volunteers from several countries steering boats through the floodwaters in a grim search for bodies. Some people there were beginning to return to villages that had been underwater earlier in the week, only to find that all their possessions had been destroyed.

      Octavian Bivol, the Unicef representative in Laos, said on Thursday that while the agency was providing the Laotian authorities with soap, jerrycans and other supplies to assist the equivalent of 1,500 households, the primary challenge was that so many of the flood victims were so isolated.

      At least some of the affected villages had no warning of the lethal threat racing toward them.

      Silam, a 25-year-old woman from southern Laos with two children, said in an interview that she had escaped the floods on Monday night after receiving a phone call not from the government, but from one of her relatives who was in a nearby rice paddy.

      The relative told her to leave the house and move to higher ground “because the water was coming,” she recalled, speaking in a shelter in the southern town of Paksong on Wednesday evening. “I was so scared.”

      Bruce Shoemaker, an independent expert on hydropower in Laos, said that the dam was already “a slow-moving humanitarian and ecological disaster” even before the accident on Monday, in part because all the water diversion was a severe threat to downstream fisheries, the main source of protein for local people.

      “The big thing is there’s a very poor regulatory environment in Laos,” said Mr. Shoemaker, a co-editor of the book “Dead in the Water: Global Lessons from the World Bank’s Model Hydropower Project in Laos.”

      “Private companies get these concessions and there’s very little oversight of how they’re implementing it,” he added, “and that is pervasive throughout the hydropower sector.”


      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/26/world/asia/laos-dam-collapse.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=c


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