A farmer, ‘little ghosts’ and 18,000 tobacco plants: How COVID-19 upended farming in South Korea (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times: A farmer, ‘little ghosts’ and 18,000 tobacco plants: How COVID-19 upended farming in South Korea. “He was in his third hour of picking tobacco, beginning shortly after dawn at the foot of a mountain in a sleepy South Korean town. Weaving between rows lining the gentle slope, he stooped to snap off the ripe, yellow-tinged leaves from plants as tall as he. Nearby, Park Jong-bum took a break from heaving bales of tobacco onto a truck bed. He lit a cigarette beneath a cloudy sky. He had quit smoking last year, but the stresses of running a farm had hooked him again. Park and Phonsrikaew were on the second chapters of their lives: Phonsrikaew a 52-year-old Thai army captain-turned-migrant farmworker, and Park, 49, a South Korean businessman who returned to his native farming village after two decades of city life.”

Straits Times: South Korea’s elite contact tracers show the world how to beat Covid-19

Straits Times: South Korea’s elite contact tracers show the world how to beat Covid-19. “In May, when a coronavirus outbreak hit nightclubs in the South Korean capital of Seoul, health officials quickly unleashed their version of the Navy Seals – elite teams of epidemiologists, database specialists and laboratory technicians. An old-school, shoe-leather investigation showed the virus had jumped from a night-club visitor, to a student, to a taxi driver and then alarmingly to a warehouse employee who worked with 4,000 others. Thousands of the employee’s co-workers, their family members and contacts were approached and 9,000 people were eventually tested. Two weeks later, the warehouse flareup was mostly extinguished and infections curtailed at 152.”

New York Times: Major Security Flaws Found in South Korea Quarantine App

New York Times: Major Security Flaws Found in South Korea Quarantine App. “South Korea has been praised for making effective use of digital tools to contain the coronavirus, from emergency phone alerts to aggressive contact tracing based on a variety of data. But one pillar of that strategy, a mobile app that helps enforce quarantines, had serious security flaws that made private information vulnerable to hackers, a software engineer has found.”

Korea Herald: Google to strengthen monitoring of fake news and illegal content on YouTube

Korea Herald: Google to strengthen monitoring of fake news and illegal content on YouTube . “Google’s video-sharing platform YouTube will cooperate with South Korea to closely monitor and prevent the spread of fake news and illegal content, South Korea’s telecommunications regulator said Friday, citing a Google executive.”

The Register: Korean boffins build COVID-bot to shove a swab right up your hooter

The Register: Korean boffins build COVID-bot to shove a swab right up your hooter. “The South Korean Institute of Machinery and Materials has developed a robotic rig capable of shoving a COVID-19-sputum-sampling-swab right up your hooter, so that medicos don’t have to come into contact with possibly-contagious patients.”

Washington Post: South Korea closes schools again amid coronavirus spike, days after reopening

Washington Post: South Korea closes schools again amid coronavirus spike, days after reopening. “The country had started to stage the opening of schools in the last week, instituting social distancing and prevention measures in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. But according to the Korea Times, hundreds of schools were closed again because of high infection rates in their communities. It cited the Ministry of Education as saying that 838 schools of the 20,902 nationwide that were supposed to reopen on Wednesday did not, including in Seoul, and hundreds closed on Thursday in Seoul, Bucheon and other cities.”

Stars and Stripes: South Korea to provide 10,000 face masks to help Navajo veterans fight coronavirus

Stars and Stripes: South Korea to provide 10,000 face masks to help Navajo veterans fight coronavirus. “South Korea will provide 10,000 masks and hand sanitizer to help Navajo veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War fight the coronavirus, the government said [May 18]. It was the latest in a series of humanitarian shipments from South Korea to foreign veterans ahead of the 70th anniversary of the June 25 start of the war that pitted the United States and the South against the communist-backed North.”

KBS World Radio: S. Korea to Require Clubs, Bars to Keep Digitized Visitor Logs

KBS World Radio: S. Korea to Require Clubs, Bars to Keep Digitized Visitor Logs. “The government has decided to introduce a digitized registry of visitors at high-risk entertainment establishments such as clubs and bars, starting next month. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo unveiled the decision on Sunday during a regular press briefing, saying that the government experienced many difficulties in tracing individuals linked to the recent Itaewon club cluster.”

Arirang: Entire job hunting process in S. Korea goes online due to COVID-19 concerns

Arirang: Entire job hunting process in S. Korea goes online due to COVID-19 concerns. “From uploading job applications to getting that acceptance letter, the entire job hunting process in South Korea has gone virtual for the first time. Instead of jobseekers going to booths at a convention center, they’re going to an online platform set up by around 30 local SMEs.”

Newsweek: South Korea, Hailed For Pandemic Response, Backtracks On Reopening After Covid-19 Cases Jump

Newsweek: South Korea, Hailed For Pandemic Response, Backtracks On Reopening After Covid-19 Cases Jump. “Despite recently reopening businesses amid an impressive decline in new coronavirus case, the South Korean government has issued a nationwide health advisory for bars and nightclubs to close down for 30 more days after health officials tracked 13 new cases to a single person who attended five nightclubs and bars in the country’s capital city of Seoul.”

Yonhap News Agency: S. Korea approves 680 mln won for digital archiving of inter-Korean excavation project

Yonhap News Agency: S. Korea approves 680 mln won for digital archiving of inter-Korean excavation project . “The government on Monday approved the spending of 688 million won (US$565,000) on creating a digital archive of relics found from a historical site in North Korea through an inter-Korean excavation project, the unification ministry said. The Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council approved the expenditure plan necessary to build the archive, including fees for data processing, creating content and consulting, according to the ministry.”

Yonhap News Agency: Gov’t to integrate databases on victims of Japan’s forced labor

Yonhap News Agency: Gov’t to integrate databases on victims of Japan’s forced labor . “South Korea will integrate databases on Koreans conscripted as forced labor or soldiers during Japan’s colonial rule, the National Archives of Korea (NAK) said Monday. At present, the databases containing lists of Korean victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor and military conscription are spread among several state institutions, including the NAK, the National Memorial Museum of Forced Mobilization under Japanese Occupation and the National Institute of Korean History.”

NHK World Japan: Data journalism is helping restore faith in media in South Korea

NHK World Japan: Data journalism is helping restore faith in media in South Korea. “TV networks, newspapers, and news sites have in recent years had to contend with drastic changes in the media landscape. The dissemination of vast amounts of false information has damaged public trust in news outlets. But some experts say the way to combat this erosion in trust is by reporting with a purely empirical focus. One method of doing so is data journalism, or reporting based on the analysis of data released by governments, corporations, and other bodies. In South Korea, it has become increasingly wide-spread.”