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Political Activist Somi develops South Korean Video Game to Raise Awareness of Government Surveillance
Seoul, September 30, 2016: A unexpected South Korean political activist, Somi, has invented a video game that increases public awareness of government surveillance. Somi, a pseudonym, is well known among his peers at the conference for independent game makers in Busan, South Korea.
At the Busan Indie Connect (BIC), he wears a pair of large, black sunglasses with reflective lenses. The glasses, however, are a small attempt to conceal his identity as a game developer from coworkers at his day job.
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His multiple award-winning game Replica was inspired in part by the passage of South Korea’s first anti-terrorism law and government surveillance in the United States. He believes Replica is Korea’s first video game with a political message. It’s not a direct criticism of any government, Somi said, but it is designed to make its players question government.
“If we just follow the orders of our bosses, or if we do not think about what’s wrong or good and just act as we are ordered, we can be evil,” said Somi. “Normal people can be evil.”
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It was a book – Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother – that provided Somi with the original spark for Replica. The novel follows four teenagers fighting off the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after a terrorist attack.
Somi sees Replica as an echo of sorts for Little Brother.
“I wanted to make a second creation of that novel into my game. I really wanted to speak about the banality of evil in this game,” he said.
Replica poses a moral dilemma to its players: as a terrorist suspect following an attack, you can clear your name by hacking into another suspect’s smartphone to find incriminating evidence. Innocence
and privacy are negligible if your snooping leads to an arrest.
Opposition parties are wary of such snooping and fear South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) could abuse its expanded authority under the new law. The opposition staged a world record filibuster for eight days in February and March to try and block the Anti-Terror Act, which allows the NIS to gather personal information and monitor the financial transactions of suspected terrorists.
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“Of course the filibuster has failed and the law is now in effect,” said Somi. “The NIS has a lot of power; they can inspect privacy things legally now.”
Cautious game creator
After pressing him several times, Somi told VOA he graduated from law school and now works in a related industry. He said “maybe” when asked if he works in law enforcement.
“My boss, doesn’t know what I am doing now,” he said. “And if they know my game or I’m developing this kind of game, I don’t know what will happen. So I brought my sunglasses.”
The South Korean government, Somi said, has never contacted him about Replica. But the Game Content Rating Board (GCRB) did review it so he could sell it here.
“They didn’t say anything about the political content,” Somi said. “They just said that it has a few violent expressions.”
Following the Paris terror attacks last November, President Park Geun-hye and members of the ruling Saenuri Party pushed for parliament to approve the anti-terror law. It took effect in June and provides for the establishment of a new counterterrorism center.
Chang Byong-ock, former director of the Middle East Studies Institute at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, said South Korea needs to be prepared for an attack.
“There is enough possibility of being attacked by Islamic states,” said Chang. “We (South Korea) cooperate with the United States in politics and investment and we have ties with the United States military.”
He said, however, it’s North Korea that’s the real focus of the new law.
“The main function of the center is to investigate spies in South Korea. They [NIS] want to collect information about North Korean spies so they can bring them in,” said Chang.
The center is still being set up, and a representative said they won’t be giving interviews to the media, foreign or Korean, until the end of the year.
With the expanded reach of the NIS through the counterterrorism center, many opposition lawmakers have expressed concern about potential human rights violations.
“Efforts have to be made to counter vulnerable areas [holes in South Korean intelligence]. But I’m also worried the government may use the bill to violate the basic human rights of people who don’t represent threats to national security,” said Hwang Do-soo, a constitutional law professor at Konkuk University.
Hwang said while he has concerns, he sees the law as progress and believes the country needs new “terror-preventing frameworks.”
Somi is still wearing his opaque sunglasses when he walks onstage to receive the BIC’s 2016 Excellence in Narrative Award.
As of September, Replica has sold more than 4,000 copies and has an overall “very positive” rating on the website Steam.
“Of course there are haters in Korea, because their conservative views feel uncomfortable when they see and read my message in the game, but most Korean people and most reviews in the steam store are very good,” said Somi.
The price of Replica has also attracted players — it’s only $2.99.
But others have picked up on Somi’s inspiration for a game that reflects real life.
“This game definitely criticizes the Patriot Act [U.S. anti-terrorism law] and South Korea’s Anti-Terrorism Act. This game has a point, and makes me think about the issue deeper,” said Mirauzo, a reviewer on Steam.
Sun Park, an independent developer in Seoul and co-founder of Turtle Cream game studio, believes Replica has the power to impact society.
“Already lots of Korean gamers played it. And it’s becoming really famous. One of most famous indie games in South Korea,” he said. “Adding a powerful message in game is more powerful than other media, I think. The experience in game is like giving the actual experience to gamers as a main character. Main hero of this story.”
Despite Replica’s politically charged message, Somi said, game development is just a side project he dives into after midnight once he’s put his young daughter to bed. (VOA)
“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo DaVinci
International Civil Aviation Day is observed on December 7th to recognize the flying industry’s impact on modern society. In 1994, as part of ICAO’s (International Civil Aviation Organization) 50th-anniversary celebrations, the first International Civil Aviation Day was observed, and in 1996, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 7th as International Civil Aviation Day.
Aviation has revolutionized tourism and business forever, not to mention the cultural linkages that have been made possible. The purpose of this day is to emphasize the significance of civil aviation in social and economic development, as well as to highlight the unique role played by the International Civil Aviation Organization in assisting nations in cooperating and bringing a truly global transit network to reality. With the adoption of Agenda 2030 by the United Nations, a vow to reduce pollution with the eventual aim of a new era in global sustainable development, the role of aviation remains just as essential.
International Civil Aviation Day is observed on December 7th to recognise the flying industry’s impact on modern society. | Photo by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash
The theme of International Civil Aviation Day is changed every five years. For the whole four-year gap, one theme is continued. From 2020 until 2023, “Advancing Innovation For Global Aviation Development” is the theme. This theme will place a greater emphasis on innovation in all aspects of air transportation, with the organization supporting ideas through a more proactive and dynamic assistance strategy.
HOW IS IT CELEBRATED?
The International Civil Aviation Organization conducts a variety of activities and events throughout the day, including seminars, training sessions, and news announcements on international civil aviation topics. Governments, organizations, businesses, and even individuals support the ICAO.
Telling an aviation worker how much you appreciate them is one of the most obvious and heartfelt ways to express your gratitude. | Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash
HOW TO OBSERVE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION DAY?
- Thank a civil aviation worker: Telling an aviation worker how much you appreciate them is one of the most obvious and heartfelt ways to express your gratitude. Give an aviation worker a thank you and a pat on the back this December 7th, or you can show your appreciation for them by uploading posters on various social media handles.
- Get involved: There are various ways to become engaged with the ICAO if you’re enthusiastic about helping countries flourish socially and economically with the help of aviation. Organize meetings, events, and gatherings to discuss how we can work together to ensure no country is left behind.
(Keywords: civil aviation worker, United Nations, International Civil Aviation Organization, flying, International Civil Aviation Day)
By- Harris Scott
Business owners hardly have time to look into all aspects of a business operation, and accounting is one aspect. While small business owners might invest some time handling accounting services, it is indeed a big waste for owners of major enterprises. Regardless of the size of the business, your organization needs someone to look after the ledger.
Hiring an Accountant for your Firm - Things to Consider
When seeking out an accounting service, you have to opt for a professional with the level of experience you need. Here are things to consider when choosing an accountant.
- Neat and organized
Incomplete data entries and loopholes in the ledger are significant factors in slowing down the accounting process. If your accountant is not focusing on the job, chances are he will overlook important details. Such a discrepancy in the ledger book can mislead everything to a messy dead end. You never know that today’s entry would play a significant role in saving your company when people from taxation show up at your doorway. That is why only reputed accounting services can have an excellent eye for detail. Such a company focuses on the financial and success of your business.
- Handy in computer software
As per Aron Govil, the reliability of accounting has nothing to do with a high profile in computer science, but modern businesses hugely rely on technology to keep up with the latest trends. For example, if your competitor uses technology to manage the financial subject, you cannot stick to the traditional paper register. When the accountant on a computer gets efficient and accurate results quickly, the one with paper may lag due to continuous error. Even if he is not making any errors, the automatic calculation will consistently be faster than manual counting. You must look for such accounting services that can easily integrate various software on your accounting operations and utilize them seamlessly.
- Temporary or permanent accountant
An organization with a couple of accountants cannot take care of every financial detail. They might work with their trustworthy accountant for a long time, but a new business strategy could force them to reshuffle their positions. In this situation, they might need more accounts instead of an accountant. Looking into the type of business trait, you should decide on a service that suits your requirements. Well, it depends upon the business you are running and your budget; you need to figure out whether you need to hire a part-time accounting service or a full-time accounting agency. Along with the budget, your accounting operations also contribute to making these decisions; if you have a good amount of substantial accounting actions to take care of, then you must have a permanent accounting service.
Most businesses usually have accountants, but not all invest in accounting because they work with experts. As per Aron Govil, find an accounting service provider if you still cannot afford that facility. Hiring the right accounting agency is the most crucial aspect, as you will be putting financial responsibilities over the shoulder of professionals. So, try to find the best and most trustworthy accounting experts for your business. You can consider looking for them online by going through the reviews and their websites.
(Disclaimer: This is article is sponsored and includes some commercial links.)
Since the 7th of December 1949, the Armed Forces Flag Day has been observed in India, annually. This one day is dedicated towards collection of funds from the citizens of India for the welfare of the ‘Indian Armed Forces personnel’. It has become a tradition to pay respect to the people who have served in the army, Navy and Airforce, on this day.
“The idea behind observing a Flag Day was to distribute small flags to the general population and in return collect donations.” The color-scheme of the flag is very similar to the ones used by fellow Commonwealth members like Cyprus, Kenya and Nigeria. The Flag Day signifies that it is the responsibility of the citizens of India to take care of the families and dependents of the armed forces personnel who fight for the country.
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A need for such a day was realized by the Government after India gained Independence from the British rule. In order to manage the welfare of its defence personnel, the Defence Minister of India and a committee together decided to recognize 7th December as the Flag Day. This decision was taken on the 28th of August 1949.
The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the day saying that,
“A few weeks ago, I visited Indo-China and saw our officers and men attached to the International Commission there. It gave me a thrill to see their smart bearing and the good work they were doing in that distant land. What pleased me still more was their general popularity with the people there. By their efficiency as well as their friendliness, they enhanced the reputation of India. Among them were people from all parts of India. They observed no provincial or other differences amongst themselves. I am sure my countrymen will be pleased to learn of them and would like to indicate their appreciation of these young men who serve our country both here and elsewhere so well. A way to indicate that appreciation is to contribute to the Flag Day Fund.”
A need for such a day was realized by the Government after India gained Independence from the British rule.Unsplash
The fund is collected through official and non-official means with the help of voluntary organizations. The Kendriya Sainik Board, which is under the Ministry of Defence, arranges for the collection of the fund.
The Defence Ministry of India decided to integrate all the related welfare funds into a single unit called the Armed Forces Flag Day fund. The funds that were integrated are:
- Amalgamated Special Fund for War Bereaved, War Disabled and other ex-Servicemen/Serving Personnel
- Flag Day Fund
- St Dunstan's (India) and Kendriya Sainik Board Fund
- Indian Gorkha Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Fund
The Flag Day signifies that it is the responsibility of the citizens of India to take care of the families and dependents of the armed forces personnel who fight for the country.Unsplash
Problems have to be resolved by and welfare of the ex-servicemen and dependents are mostly settled by the States and the Union Territories, although it was to be a shared responsibility between the Union Government, the State Governments and the governments of the Union Territories. In order to help the Central Government in carrying out this process, there are 32 Rajya Sainik Boards and 392 Zila Sainik Boards. The Kendriya Sainik Board, the Rajya Sainik Board and the Zila Sainik Board are all responsible for the policy formulation and implementation of resettlement and welfare schemes for ex-servicemen, widows and their dependents residing in their respective States or Union Territories or Districts.(Keywords : armed, forces, flag, india, independance, donation, citizen, army, navy, airforce, tradition, respect, government, state, center, union territory, district, funds.)
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