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Champion 'in Shock' After Losing Ancient Game to AI

Google machine wins first game in historic match

(Newser) - South Korea's Lee Sedol is ranked fifth in the world at Go, an ancient board game that relies on a player's intuition to surround and capture an opponent's stones on a grid. Yet he's just been schooled by a relative newbie. Google's 2-year-old computer program... More »

North Korea to Execute 33 Who Talked to Missionary

According to reports, those who converted will be put to death

(Newser) - More reported brutality in North Korea: A source tells the Chosun Ilbo that 33 North Koreans will be executed because they were connected to a South Korean missionary who was arrested in the North last year. Kim Jung Wook made his first public appearance since his arrest on Thursday, admitting... More »

Never Mind: North-South Korea Talks Scrapped

Countries can't agree on who would lead delegations

(Newser) - Well, that was fun while it lasted. South Korea and North Korea scrapped their long-awaited talks today, a day before they were slated to begin. Why, you ask? Because the two countries couldn't agree on who would lead their respective delegations, the AP reports. Seoul wanted each country's... More »

N. Korea to Let S. Korean Managers Back In

Proposes talks to reopen Kaesong industrial complex

(Newser) - Is North Korea ready to play nice? Pyongyang today invited officials and businessmen from South Korea to discuss reopening the Kaesong industrial complex , a joint venture in the North's territory that was shut down last month during Pyongyang's temper tantrum . Seoul had previously proposed government talks on reopening... More »

Koreas' Last Tie Now Basically Severed

North Korea to pull workers, suspend operations at Kaesong

(Newser) - North Korea has just one remaining economic link to South Korea, and it's about to be severed: Pyongyang today announced that it will recall its more than 53,000 workers from the Kaesong industrial complex and suspend operations at the border factories, the AP reports. There's no word... More »

Seoul Lobbies US Hard for OK to Make Nuclear Fuel

Fear move could spark regional arms race

(Newser) - In a move unlikely to calm nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula, South Korea is pushing the US hard for permission to start creating its own nuclear fuel. The request comes amid a renegotiation of Seoul's 1972 nuclear cooperation pact with the US but while South Korea stresses it... More »

US Now Obligated to Fight If North Korea Attacks South

Countries sign mutual defense agreement

(Newser) - It's official: If North Korea provokes the South, the US is now obligated to help Seoul respond. The military today announced Friday's signing of a mutual defense agreement that the two countries have been working on since the North fired on a South Korean island in 2010, the... More »

S. Korea to North: You Can't Just Scrap Armistice

US calls threats 'hyperbolic'

(Newser) - South Korea has some news for North Korea: You can't just go scrapping the armistice on your own. Legally speaking, both sides must declare the armistice invalid, according to Seoul, which called on Pyongyang to dial down the rhetoric. South Korea wants to "absolutely keep the armistice agreement,... More »

Did S. Korea Just Threaten to Strike Kim Jong Un?

Warning comes in response to Pyongyang's threat to end armistice

(Newser) - In a rare response to North Korea's bluster, South Korea's military today warned that it is ready to strike at the North's "command leadership" if provoked—a term that could be referring to Kim Jong Un, the New York Times reports. The warning follows the North'... More »

Gangnam Style: The Substance Behind the Goofy Dance

It's a critique of South Korea's wealthiest residents

(Newser) - You might think PSY's viral horse dance , Gangnam Style, is hysterical, but the AP takes a look at the serious social commentary behind the rapper's theatrics. The video offers up a critique of Seoul's ritzy Gangnam neighborhood, which is filled with new money, plastic surgery clinics, and... More »

Obama Ready to Cut Nukes Again

President issues nuclear warnings to North Korea, Iran

(Newser) - President Obama still thinks we could stand to get rid of a bunch of our nukes, and has promised a renewed effort to cut American and Russian nuclear arsenals following 2010's START treaty . "We can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need,... More »

Architects Apologize for Design Echoing 9/11

Dutch firm says towers supposed to evoke cloud

(Newser) - A Dutch architecture firm is apologizing for the design of a new luxury high-rise it announced last week, after people complained it was reminiscent of the exploding World Trade Center on 9/11, reports Reuters . Called The Cloud, the development in Seoul, South Korea, called for two white high-rises of 54... More »

'Occupy' Protests Hit ... South Korea

Thirty civics groups plan to Occupy Seoul

(Newser) - Apparently the Occupy Wall Street protest movement has gone global. A coalition of 30 civic groups is planning a two-day “Occupy Seoul” protest, calling on Koreans to gather throughout South Korea’s capital, including in its Yeouido financial district, the Yonhap news service reports. “We will join the... More »

South Korea Town has Highest Autism Rate Ever

Researchers say nearly 3% of kids in Seoul suburb have disease

(Newser) - Researchers have discovered the highest rate of autism ever found in a general population within a suburb of Seoul, South Korea. About 2.6% of the children in Ilsan have some form of the disease, reports the Los Angeles Times . That contrasts with the 1% figure found in the US... More »

South Korean Cops Raid Google Offices

Police investigating claims of location data storage

(Newser) - South Korean police raided Google’s Seoul office today based on suspicions that its AdMob mobile advertising unit had “collected personal location information without consent or approval from the Korean Communication Commission,” a police official tells Reuters . Google confirmed the raid, and said it was cooperating with police.... More »

South Korea Eases Retaliation Rules

President walks tightrope over response to attacks

(Newser) - After declaring plans to boost defenses , South Korea announced a shift in military policy to make retaliation easier, the New York Times reports. New rules will allow South Korea’s military a more forceful response to any attack from Pyongyang. But with the public largely opposed to a military response,... More »

South Korea Defense Minister Resigns

Meanwhile, president vows to boost defenses

(Newser) - South Korea promised today to boost defenses on the island North Korea attacked, as the country’s defense minister resigned and China offered an official response to the incident. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak held a security meeting today to draft new defense strategies and rules of engagement including increasing... More »

'Guidelines,' No Specifics, at G20

Obama slams China over currency manipulation

(Newser) - G20 leaders have agreed to curb “persistently large imbalances” in saving and spending and set “indicative guidelines” against trade imbalances, but more specific decisions on how to identify and fix said imbalances were left until next year, reports the New York Times . The finance minsters are to agree... More »

US-South Korea Trade Deal Hits the Rocks

But broader G20 pact near

(Newser) - After days of furious negotiating, the US has failed to strike a free trade deal with South Korea. President Obama still hopes that the deal can be reached within a few weeks, but probably not before Obama leaves Seoul, the LA Times reports—a Korean official said that Lee Myung-bak... More »

North Korea Severs Ties With South

Irate over 'smear campaign' in battleship's sinking

(Newser) - North Korea says it will sever all ties and communication with Seoul as punishment for what it calls a "smear campaign" over the sinking of a South Korean warship. North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency quoted the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea as saying late today... More »

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