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‘Parasite’ director Bong Joon-ho gets hero’s welcome in South Korea
18 February 2020, 1:00 AM

Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho was greeted with cheers and applause as he returned to South Korea on Sunday after his historic four-Oscar win.

“Thank you for the applause, I would like send a round of applause back to you all for coping so well with the coronavirus,” Bong said.

“I will join the effort to overcome the corona by washing my hands diligently. Happy to be home.”

“Parasite” became the first foreign-language film to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards on Feb 9.

It won a total of four Oscars, including best director and original screenplay for Bong Joon-ho and best international feature film.

The film is a tale of two South Korean families – the wealthy Parks and the poor Kims – that mirrors the deepening disparities in Asia’s fourth-largest economy and has struck a chord with global audiences.

Koreans have been celebrating for the past week.

Local cinemas and TV channels began a rerun of the film, as well as showing Bong’s other films including “Snowpiercer” and “Memories of Murder.”

Bong and the cast of “Parasite” are scheduled to hold a press conference on Wednesday.

Chinese community in SA calls for an end to discrimination
18 February 2020, 12:00 AM

The Chinese community in South Africa has pleaded for an end to the discrimination against them in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Called Covid-19, the virus is said to have originated in a fish market in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province.

Since the outbreak was first reported at the end of December 2019 more than 1700 people have died while more than 70 00 cases have been confirmed worldwide.

The chairperson of the Chinese Association in South Africa, Erwin Pon, says people avoid him and his family in shops even though they haven’t travelled to China recently.

“A physical one we’ve seen them on school kids and we’ve had incidents in our community where one of the kids came back and said mommy other kids don’t want to play with me anymore because they say I am Chinese and have the virus.”

Related video click below: South Africa remains on high alert despite assurances that no cases of the deadly coronavirus 

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un makes first public appearance in 22 days amid virus outbreak
17 February 2020, 4:00 AM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance in 22 days amid an outbreak of coronavirus, state media reported on Saturday, to visit a national mausoleum and mark the anniversary of the late leader Kim Jong Il’s birth.

Kim Jong Un paid tribute to the statue of former leader Kim at Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, his first public appearance since he attended Lunar New Year celebrations on January. 25, state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

North Korea has not confirmed any cases of the new coronavirus, but state media said the government was extending to 30 days the quarantine period for people showing symptoms, and all government institutions and foreigners living in the country were expected to comply “unconditionally.”

Late leader Kim’s birthday, Feb. 16, is a national holiday celebrated as the Day of the Shining Star.

Accompanying Kim to the mausoleum were high ranking party officials including Choe Ryong Hae, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Pak Pong Ju, vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission.

Coronavirus
Taiwan confirms first coronavirus death on island, cases at 20
17 February 2020, 3:00 AM

A taxi driver has died from the coronavirus in Taiwan, marking the first such death on the island and the fifth fatality outside mainland China from an epidemic that has curbed travel and disrupted global supply chains.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said during a news conference on Sunday that the deceased person was a 61-year-old man who had diabetes and hepatitis B. Taiwan has to date accumulated 20 confirmed cases.

The deceased person had not traveled abroad recently and was a taxi driver whose clients were mainly from Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, the minister said. One of his family members was also confirmed to have the virus.

The pair constituted Taiwan’s first local transmission cases, the minister said, adding that authorities were trying to find out as soon as possible the source of contraction.

“So far, we are not able to gather his contact history, so we are actively making investigations, hoping to find out the source of the contraction,” Chen said.

The island will on Monday start testing all patients who show symptoms associated with coronavirus and had traveled abroad recently, the health ministry said.

The coronavirus, thought to have emerged at a wildlife market in the central Chinese province of Hubei, has killed 1,665 people in China with latest figures showing 68,500 cases of the illness.

Taiwan has banned entry to Chinese visitors and foreigners with a recent history of travel to China and suspended most flights to its giant neighbor. Many schools have also extended their Lunar New Year holiday to late February to curb the spread of the virus.

Burundi opposition picks presidential contender as UN warns of rights abuses
17 February 2020, 3:00 AM

Burundi’s opposition National Freedom Council (CNL) on Sunday picked the current chairperson of the National Assembly as its candidate in the presidential election in May which the United Nations says is likely to be marred by violence.

A former rebel leader, Agathon Rwasa, 56, fought in Burundi’s civil war, as did current President Pierre Nkurunziza, who will not seek re-election in the May poll. Like the president, he also comes from the northern Burundi province of Ngozi and the same ethnic group, the Hutu.

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world and lost donor funding in 2015 after political violence that followed the elections.

The tiny East African nation is struggling to come to terms with a violent past, characterized by colonial occupation, civil war and decades of intermittent massacres.

The population is divided between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups. Some 300 000 people were killed in the civil war which ended in 2005.

Rwasa denounced what he said were plans by the ruling party to rig the election.

“As we are approaching elections, it’s surprising to hear that there are people thinking about rigging elections… Burundians will not let them do it,” he told delegates of his party after his appointment was announced.

In January the ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy–Forces for the Defense of Democracy is (CNDD-FDD), chose as its candidate its secretary general, Evariste Ndayishimiye, a retired army general who also heads the department of military affairs in the president’s office and has served as minister of the interior and security.

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