North Korea swine flu outbreak puts South on edge

South Korean troops stationed along the world's last Cold War frontier have been put on high alert in the face of a new infiltration threat from the nuclear-armed North—fever-stricken wild boar.

Seoul: North Korea confirms African swine fever outbreak

South Korea said Friday that it is scrambling to prevent the spread of the highly contagious African swine fever on its pig industry after North Korea confirmed an outbreak at a farm near its border with China.

Sandman: The Vietnamese snowboarder training on dunes

Sun-kissed and shaggy-haired, Nguyen Thai Binh swaps his flip flops for bulky boots ahead of snowboarding practice on the sand dunes of southern Vietnam—the unlikely training ground for the country's fledgling winter athletes ...

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Korea

Korea (/kəˈriːə/ kə-ree; Korean: 한국 Hanguk [hanɡuːk] or 조선 Joseon [tɕosʌn] – (see etymology)) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan (East Sea), and separated from the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the south by the East China Sea.

Archaeological and linguistic evidence suggest the origins of the Korean people were Altaic language-speaking people from south-central Siberia, who populated ancient Korea in successive waves from the Neolithic age to the Bronze Age. The adoption of the Chinese writing system ("Hanja" in Korean) in the 2nd century BC, and Buddhism in the 4th century AD, had profound effects on the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

Korea was united by Emperor Taejo of the Goryeo Dynasty in 936. Goryeo was a highly cultural state and created the Jikji in the 14th century, using the world's first movable metal type printing press. The Mongol invasions in the 13th century, however, greatly weakened the nation which was forced to become a tributary state. After the Mongol Empire's collapse, severe political strife followed and Goryeo was replaced by the Joseon Dynasty in 1388.

The first 200 years of Joseon were marked by relative peace and saw the creation of the Korean alphabet Hangul by King Sejong the Great in the 14th century and the rise in influence of Confucianism in the country. During the latter part of the dynasty, however, Korea's isolationist policy earned it the Western nickname the "Hermit kingdom". By the late 19th century, the country became the object of the colonial designs of Japan. In 1910, Korea was annexed by Japan and remained so until the end of World War II in August 1945.

In 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender of Japanese forces in Korea and Soviet troops occupied north of the 38th parallel, while U.S. troops took surrender south of it. This decision by allied armies soon became the basis for the division of Korea by the two superpowers, exacerbated by their inability to agree on the terms of Korean independence. The two Cold War rivals then established governments sympathetic to their own ideologies, leading to Korea's current division into two political entities: North Korea and South Korea. The ensuing conflict between the two was largely a proxy war.

North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a single-party state with a centrally planned industrial economy. South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a free market, democratic, and developed country with membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Group of Twenty.

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