Even days before the giant spectacle, Hamburg's Hafencity is illuminated in a magical dark blue. Light artist Michael Batz has been staging the buildings and bridges of the metropolis on the Elbe for years. His project "Blue Port Hamburg" is intended to prepare residents and tourists alike for one of the biggest events Hamburg has to offer: The Hamburg Cruise Days. This weekend (September 13-15) is the seventh time that the large-scale party of the cruise ship industry will take place. And just like the industry itself, the event is also growing. Twelve ships will be present this weekend — a new record. The absolute highlight of the Cruise Days is the big parade on Saturday evening, during which five cruise ships in succession, together with numerous accompanying ships, will sail past the edge of the harbor under a grandiose firework display. About half a million visitors are expected to attend. And if you can't be in Hamburg, you can watch the ocean giants live on TV. … [Read more...] about Hamburg Cruise Days festival: Is it really necessary?
Chances of war between the US and Iran are low, despite the fact that Washington has sent a carrier group to the Persian Gulf, and that Tehran has given European partners 60 days to save the nuclear deal. Sure, tensions between the two countries are mounting, but the naval hardware that was already on its way to the Indian Ocean only to be redirected to the Gulf is not enough for a major operation. At the same time, Iran is sticking to its desire to negotiate. It's likely Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will grant an extension to his 60-day ultimatum. Neither side wants war Taking both sides' interests into account, war seems even less probable. US President Donald Trump has tied himself to a promise of bringing home US troops from the Middle East. It seems he has learned from his predecessors and isn't ready to oversee a new war that has no clear exit without sustaining major losses. That's why he has stuck to a strategy of threats — at times excessive ones … [Read more...] about Opinion: US-Iran escalation a threat, but war unlikely
Reverse mortgages could soon be easier for the elderly to obtain as the government plans to revise conditions on the housing pension program.The latest measures, released on Wednesday, are a follow-up to earlier measures first announced in September to address concerns about the aging and the shrinking population.Housing pension schemes, which are reverse mortgages, in which money is borrowed based on the equity value of a home already owned, allow the elderly to stabilize their income. “The increase in the aging population is threatening our economy’s sustainability in various areas not only in productions, but also in housing, pensions, fiscal management and senior citizens’ welfare,” said Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki. “As such, the government has come up with measures that would raise industrial productivity, reform housing policy and strengthen pension funds that would guarantee the livelihoods of senior citizens and enhance the sustainability of … [Read more...] about Reverse mortgage rules for the elderly reviewed
State-run think tank Korea Development Institute (KDI) downgraded Korea’s economic growth this year by 0.4 percentage points to 2.0 percent amid sluggish investment and exports.The think tank was also downbeat about next year’s growth, cutting its estimate by 0.2 percentage points to 2.3 percent.The updated projections, from the think tank’s biannual economic forecast released Wednesday, falls in line with recent revisions from global institutions.The IMF last month slashed Korea’s growth this year by 0.6 percentage points to 2.0 percent, while also downgrading next year’s growth by 0.6 percentage points to 2.2 percent.KDI’s revisions come as facilities investment recorded on-year declines since the second quarter of last year, while exports have fallen since last December.Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki has set a goal of reaching at least 2 percent growth this year. Global credit rating agency S&P expects 1.8 percent growth.The think tank also … [Read more...] about KDI lowers its 2019 growth forecast to 2.0%
Yoon-hee and Sae-bom walk through the snowy streets of Otaru, Japan, on their trip together to find Yoon-hee’s first love in “Moonlit Winter.” [LITTLE BIG PICTURES]It’s better late than never, but does that mean it’s okay now?British film “Maurice” opened in local theaters last week, 32 years after it was filmed. Although the acclaimed film took home the Silver Lion award at the 44th Venice International Film Festival, it was never shown in Korea due to its depiction of a homosexual relationship. The release of the film coincides with the premiere of the local queer film “Moonlit Winter,” which arrived in theaters today.As attitudes about the LGBTQ community slowly evolve in Korea, the fact that the two films about queer characters are in theaters at the same time can be seen as progress in a country where many queer people are still fighting to be heard and accepted. “Moonlit Winter” revolves around Yoon-hee (played by … [Read more...] about [REVIEW] Realities of queer life finally make it to Korean theaters: Can more movies about LGBTQ individuals change local perceptions?
Naver is clearing out malicious comments from its news section using “Clean Bot” technology based on artificial intelligence (AI).The technology automatically spots curses or hateful language in comments on the portal site’s news section, then automatically hides the comments. It was partly introduced to its news service on Oct. 29 in the celebrity section as well. The expanded release, which took effect Tuesday, applies to all news categories including politics, culture and business.Back in 2012, Naver introduced a function in the news comments section that automatically removed curse words, replacing them with blank boxes. But as only curses were erased, users were easily able to guess which words were blanked out based on the context and the rest of the sentence.The Clean Bot, on the other hand, removes the comment, replacing it with the phrase: “This comment was hidden by Clean Bot for user protection.” Although the AI function is automatically active, … [Read more...] about Naver cracks down on malicious comments