Anyone who is familiar with life in North Korea knows what it means to be a defector. At a young age, a girl named Yeonmi Park knew that staying in North Korea would mean death for her and her family. Her book, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedon, is set for release in September of 2015 and tells the story of her harrowing escape and defiance of North Korean leadership in order to survive.
She shares her story on Twitter daily in order to provide strength and support for others in the same situation that she herself was faced with at a very young age. She credits her love for her family for giving her the strength to overcome her circumstances, and in her book she details the events leading up to her escape. Her book gives readers an inside glimpse into a reclusive country that is so repressive many do not live to tell the stories.
Yeonmi Park’s story starts as a young girl living with her parents under somewhat privileged circumstances. Her father and mother were civil servants and were faced with starvation after her father was caught smuggling. Such charges could have brought death, so Yeonmi and her mother chose to seek the help of Chinese human smugglers in order to find refuge in South Korea. Yeonmi chose to become a human rights advocate in order to use her situation and experiences to help provide solace for others who may be faced with the same life.
Given the history that North Korea has with trying to discredit or even harm defectors, Yeonmi continues to rise above her childhood of living in a cold and hostile country in order to reach out to people who are from the same background.
She speaks to BBC about the love for her family as the driving force behind her strength and courage, and she is using her story to comfort others who may have also been separated from their loved ones. She hopes that by telling her story, the world will know the harsh and cruel injustice going on in plain sight in the most unobserved country on earth.
Pro-democracy protests have swept through Hog Kong in recent months, ever since the candidates for elections came into the headlines. This led pro-democracy activists to stage peaceful demonstrations across Hong Kong, in the name of true freedom for the people to elect the leader they desire. China quickly blocked Hong Kong news from the mainland and prevented certain phrases, such as yellow umbrella, that were attached to the riots from being used on social media.
While the large protests have died down and little attention is paid to the infringement on freedom taking place in the world’s second most powerful economy, more violent riots have hit the streets of Hong Kong. During the initial protests, pro-Beijing demonstrators came head to head, and even had some violent clashes with the pro-democracy demonstrators. Later, the freedom activists held violent stand-offs with police in riot gear. However, now with little opposition the demonstrators smash glass on buildings in a rare act of aggression.
So far, little out right violence was instigated from the protesters, who are in their seventh week of demonstrations. Three police were injured as they arrested some of the perpetrators, while other protesters were arrested for instigating violence even as they participated in the peaceful portion. Thanks to Hong Kong resident Gianfrancesco Genoso for sending in this tip.
Once thought as the model for an economic powerhouse back in the 1980’s, Japan continues to suffer from economic woes. Now, the nation is entering its third recession in as short as four years.
Japan holds the third biggest economy in the world with only China and the United States being larger. The recent quarterly report reveals that the economy in Japan declined by about 1.6%. The effects of this sent shockwaves through the markets.
The global market is exactly that, global in scope. Nations invest in other nations. A business might make purchases of supplies from another territory. Private citizens could buy merchandise from overseas. Clearly, there does need to be money available in order to do this.
Of course, the obvious reduction in spending domestically and also lowered tax payments further hamper the economy of Japan. Prime Minister Abe has to institute significant reforms in order to reverse the downward trend, but this might prove even more difficult if his party suffers losses of seats in the next election.
Without a major change in direction in the near future, the stagnation Japan has experienced simply is never going to change for the better. Big thanks to friend of the site Keith Mann for sending in this tip.