Japanese sponsor contest to foster Palestinian entrepreneurialism

August 16, 2016

A small group of Japanese people have sponsored a competition in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, that hopes to encourage economic independence among Palestinians, the Yomiuri Shimbun‘s English-language publication the Japan News reported recently.

The competition, which targeted people from their teenage years up to their 30s, took place last week on the 10th and 11th of August, after an initial screening of applications was whittled down to ten teams. 

First prize was eventually awarded to the team behind a concrete block made from residual ash from wood and other materials burnt in electricity generation, which according to the Japan News was “light-weight” and “low-cost.”

Organising the event were a team of around ten Japanese people – among them a university professor, a student and an entrepreneur – who all visited Khan Yunis in order to bring the business contest about. 

Also sponsoring the competition was the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

One of the judges in the contest, Seiichiro Yonekura, who is a professor at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, urged contest participants not to lose hope for the situation in Gaza.

 

Sources include: Japan News

 

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Kosovan judoka makes history at Olympics

August 8, 2016

By taking gold in the 52kg women’s judo on Sunday, Majlinda Kelmendi has made history by becoming the first athlete representing Kosovo to win an Olympic medal, in what is also the first time that this country has competed at the Olympics.

(Foto: Jack GUEZ / AFP).

(Photo: AFP)

The second-seeded Kelmendi took the title by beating Italy’s Odette Giuffrida 1-0,  the Washington Post reported. Bronze was shared by Misato Nakamura of Japan and Russia’s Natalia Kuziutina.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and although recognised by major European Union countries and the United States, Serbia, and also Russia, continue to deny the autonomy of this region. 

According to the Washington Post, the National Olympic Committee of Kosovo was established in 1992, long before the territory declared independence. 

Nevertheless it would be a number of years before international recognition of Kosovo in the sporting world would follow. 

In 2013, one year after the International Judo Federation granted full recognition to Kosovo, Kelmendi won her first world title under the Kosovan flag in Rio de Janeiro.

In fact, this is not the first time that Kelmendi has competed at the Olympics. At the London Olympics in 2012, although she won no medals, perhaps an equally important difference for Kelmendi was that in Rio 2016 she has fought with the letters “KOS” on her back; in London 2012, her judogi read “ALB” for Albania

Nor was this the only time Kelmendi was forced to fight under flag other than Kosovo’s. When she successfully defended her title at the 2014 world championships, once again, she was not allowed to represent Kosovo, despite having done so the previous year. 

This time,because host nation Russia refused to recognise her homeland, her outfit bore the acronym “IJF” for “International Judo Federation.” 

Yet in December of that year, the International Olympic Committee finally granted Kosovo official recognition.

“When we got recognized by IOC, it was the best thing that happened to Kosovo,” Kelmendi told CNN last year.

“Not just for sport but as a country, because now athletes and young kids can dream to be in the Olympics and represent Kosovo.”

Meanwhile talking about her achievement in Rio, Kelmendi is quoted on IOC website as saying, “People, especially kids, in Kosovo look to me as a hero. I just proved to them that even after the war, even after we survived a war, if they want something, they can have it. If they want to be Olympic champions, they can be. Even if we come from a small country, poor country.”

Sources include: CNN, Washington Post, Reuters, IOC

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TJC offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 100 languages. Our expert translators and interpreters are based all over the globe and can assist you with projects of all kinds.

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South Korea accuses North of hacking official emails

August 3, 2016
shutterstock_313805942

(Photo: Shutterstock)

According to prosecutors in Seoul, a significant number of South Korean government officials had their email accounts hacked by North Korea last year.

An article in Asahi Shimbun reports that investigations into the cyber-attack found that between January and June 2015, a “North Korean operated group” stole the email passwords of 56 people. This included officials in South Korea’s Defence, Foreign and Unification ministries. 

The story was first reported by Yonhap news agency.

In order to obtain email passwords, Yonhap informs us that in January North Korean hackers used a free web-hosting server to create 27 phishing sites, which pretended to be portal sites run by the South Korean Foreign Ministry, universities or companies related to defence, for example.

As yet it is unknown whether any confidential information was leaked, but an investigation is underway.

This is by no means the first time that Pyongyang has been accused of involvement in cyber-attacks. 

Just a few days previously South Korean police accused the regime of stealing personal data of over 10 million customers of South Korea’s online shopping mall Interpark, Asahi Shimbun reported.

Interpark only became aware that their customer data bank had been hacked on the 11th July, when the company was blackmailed to the sum of 3 billion won ($2.6 million or €2.3 million) in return for not publicising this private information. 

The National Police Agency of South Korea asserts that North Korea’s main spy agency, The Reconnaissance General Bureau, is behind the latest attack. They said that the same codes and internet protocol addresses had previously been used in cyber-attacks carried out by Pyongyang.

According to the Japan Times, Seoul believes that military institutions, banks, various state agencies, TV broadcasters, media websites and a nuclear power plant have also been targeted by North Korean hackers in recent years. 

The South Korean Police Agency believes that the North Korean regime is seeking means of obtaining foreign currency. 

According to the South’s spy agency, Pyongyang has an army of over 1,000 hackers intent on targeting Seoul’s top institutions and officials.

Meanwhile accusations of North Korean involvement in cyber-attacks have also come from beyond the Korean Peninsula

Last year, for example, Pyongyang was accused by the FBI of being behind a major cyber-attack on Sony Pictures. This attack happened to occur as the company was preparing to release The Interview, a comedy film featuring a plot to kill the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

In November of last year, the Sony system was hacked and embarrassing emails and personal information subsequently published. Later, a group calling themselves “Guardians of Peace” threatened cinemas showing the film with attacks in the vein of 9/11. 

According to BBC News, while the North Korean leadership praised the cyber-attack calling it a “righteous deed,” they also called claims of their involvement absurd and denied any responsibility.

Even before this incident, the US government had sanctions in place over North Korea’s nuclear programme. BBC News reported that in response to the attack on Sony, Washington added further sanctions.

This is thought to be the first time the US has punished another country for a cyber-attack on a US company. 

This year, meanwhile, there has been increased tension in the region following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test carried out in January and the series of ballistic missile tests which followed. 

These events provoked an escalation of sanctions imposed by the United Nations, as well as individually by countries including the United States, South Korea and Japan

Sources include: Asahi ShimbunBBC News and Japan Times

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TJC offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 100 languages. Our expert translators and interpreters are based all over the globe and can assist you with projects of all kinds.

For translation and interpreting services in Japanese, please visit our sister site, The Japanese Connection.

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