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South Korea Seoul Stops Propaganda Broadcasts on Pyongyang

Seoul stops propaganda broadcasts ahead of North

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Kim Jong Un
FILE IMAGE- Kim Jong Un (IANS)

South Korea stopped broadcasting propaganda along its border with North Korea on Monday to help promote the mood of rapprochement on the peninsula ahead of the inter-Korean leaders’ summit later this week.

This measure was aimed at “reducing military tensions between the South and North and creating the mood of peaceful talks”, Efe news quoted the South Korean Ministry of Defence as saying.

Seoul used to broadcast propaganda against the Pyongyang regime through the loudspeakers along its border with the North, which were loud enough to be heard in the North Korean territory and could reach areas as far as 25 km from the border.

These loudspeakers, which have been used by both countries as a regular tool of “psychological warfare”, were still in use last week.

Representational image for broadcasting.
Representational image. (Wikimedia Commons)

Although both the countries agreed to stop using them in 2015, Seoul has, on several occasions, opted for loudspeakers as a tool to respond to North Korea’s nuclear threats, including the time when a North Korean soldier was shot by his compatriots during his attempt to defect to the South.

This decision came after Pyongyang announced on April 21 that it would stop conducting nuclear tests and intercontinental missile launches, marking a significant step before the planned summits between Kim Jong-un and the leaders of South Korea and the US.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with the North Korean leader on April 27 in the village of Panmunjom, located on the southern side of the inter-Korean border.

Also Read: North And South Korea Officials Meet To Discuss Leaders’ Summit

This will mark the first meeting between the leaders of both countries in 11 years.

Representatives of Seoul and Pyongyang are planning to hold a third working-level meeting to finalise the summit’s security details, protocols, and media coverage.

About one month after the historic inter-Korean talk, a US-North Korea leader summit is due to take place, which will be the first ever encounter between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, but its venue and exact dates have yet to be determined.  IANS

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South Korea Installs Laser Beams at a Road Crossing to Warn ‘Smartphone Zombies’ of Traffic

In addition to red, yellow and blue LED lights on the pavement, "smombies" - smartphone zombies - will be warned by laser beam projected from power poles and an alert sent to the phones by an app that they are about to step into traffic

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A researcher demonstrates an application that gives an alert to a user distracted by using smart phone while crossing a zebra crossing, in Ilsan, South Korea, March 12, 2019. VOA

A city in South Korea, which has the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate, has installed flickering lights and laser beams at a road crossing to warn “smartphone zombies” to look up and drivers to slow down, in the hope of preventing accidents.

The designers of the system were prompted by growing worry that more pedestrians glued to their phones will become casualties in a country that already has some of the highest road fatality and injury rates among developed countries.

State-run Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) believes its system of flickering lights at zebra crossings can warn both pedestrians and drivers.

In addition to red, yellow and blue LED lights on the pavement, “smombies” – smartphone zombies – will be warned by laser beam projected from power poles and an alert sent to the phones by an app that they are about to step into traffic.

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A warning sign is projected next to a zebra crossing in Ilsan, South Korea, March 12, 2019. VOA

“Increasing number of smombie accidents have occurred in pedestrian crossings, so these zombie lights are essential to prevent these pedestrian accidents,” said KICT senior researcher Kim Jong-hoon.

The multi-dimensional warning system is operated by radar sensors and thermal cameras and comes with a price tag of 15 million won ($13,250) per crossing.

Drivers are alerted by the flashing lights, which have shown to be effective 83.4 percent of the time in the institute’s tests involving about 1,000 vehicles.

In 2017, more than 1,600 pedestrians were killed in auto related accidents, which is about 40 percent of total traffic fatalities, according to data from the Traffic Accident Analysis System.

South Korea has the world’s highest smartphone penetration rate, according to Pew Research Center, with about 94 percent of adults owning the devices in 2017, compared with 77 percent in the United States and 59 percent in Japan.

ALSO READ: US Government Working with Intel and Cray to Develop Nation’s Fastest Computer by 2021

For now, the smombie warning system is installed only in Ilsan, a suburban city about 30 km northwest of the capital, Seoul, but is expected to go nationwide, according to the institute.

Kim Dan-hee, a 23-year-old resident of Ilsan, welcomed the system, saying she was often too engrossed in her phone to remember to look at traffic.

“This flickering light makes me feel safe as it makes me look around again, and I hope that we can have more of these in town,” she said. (VOA)