The Lookout
  • South Korea President Park Geun-hye (Reuters)

    Sworn into office on Feb. 25, 2013, South Korea’s president, Park Geun-hye, took charge during a tense time in relations with North Korea. And things have only gotten worse. Which makes this a good time to take a look at the country's first female elected to that office—no small feat in a country with the largest gender gap in the developed world, according to the BBC.

    In fact, she is the first president of the country to win with an outright majority—52 percent of the vote.

    Here, some more details about the leader facing a major threat from North Korea’s Kim Jong Un:

    1. Park is the daughter of former authoritarian President Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea for nearly two decades. Her father, a general, seized power during a military coup in 1961 and stayed in charge until he was killed by his disgruntled spy chief in 1979.

    2. Views of her father’s legacy have divided the country—some credit the elder Park with bringing prosperity to modern Korea, while others accuse him of human

    Read More »from Who is Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s new leader?
  • Guantanamo

    A Guantanamo Bay prisoner currently on a hunger strike has contributed an op-ed to The New York Times.

    In it, Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a 35-year-old from Yemen who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2002, vowed to continue his hunger strike until President Barack Obama addresses what al Hasan Moqbel described as a deteriorating situation at the controversial facility.

    "I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity," he said through an Arabic interpreter to his lawyers in what the Times said was "an unclassified phone call," and which was transcribed and published by the newspaper on Monday.

    According to a military spokesman, 43 of the 166 detainees appear to be participating in the hunger strike. Al Hasan Moqbel said that guards have been force-feeding them:

    There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up.

    During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily.

    A month into his hunger strike, he said, "a team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear" burst into his room, tied him down and "forcibly inserted an IV into my hand":

    Read More »from Gitmo detainee on hunger strike pens Times op-ed
  • Hetherington in Afghanistan (courtesy HBO)

    Tim Hetherington is trying to explain why he's drawn to documenting wars.

    “There are all sorts of generalizations made up about [war]. But in going to these extremities, what’s interesting is that you see that—even in these terrible times, in these terrible moments and in these terrible extremities—people are still human. That for me is the redeeming factor of the human experience,” Hetherington says somberly before breaking into laughter. “No,” he adds, aware of how cliché he sounds. “That’s too f------ b-------.”

    The footage, outtakes from a British television interview with Hetherington—who was killed while covering the uprising in Libya in April 2011—kicks off “Which Way Is the Front Line From Here," a posthumous documentary about the photojournalist’s life directed by his friend and colleague Sebastian Junger, author of the blockbuster book "The Perfect Storm."

    When Hetherington was killed, Junger tried to make sense of the tragedy by seeking out and questioning the journalists who had been with him when he died.

    “I had a lot of questions,” Junger told Yahoo News. “All I had known is that he had been killed. I didn’t even know what the wound was. My first impulse was to interview the journalists who had been with him to answer those questions. Very quickly I realized I was making a film.”

    While Hetherington laughed off his answer, the film shows how invested he was in seeking out the "human experience." It quickly shifts to footage Hetherington shot himself while covering the Libyan uprising.

    Sitting inside a car on a dusty road in Misrata, Hetherington slowly pans around the vehicle to film a normal-looking scene with his colleagues—including Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros, who seems to be bobbing his head to the song on the radio: “How Deep Is Your Love?” by the Bee Gees.

    But you soon realize this is no ordinary car ride. Their driver, who calmly smokes a cigarette, sits close to his machine gun as he speeds along a deserted road littered with bombed-out cars and buildings. In a nearby car, two little kids hang out a back window and flash peace signs to the camera.

    “Which way is the front line from here?” Hetherington asks at one point. He doesn’t get an answer, but just hours later, he and Hondros would be dead, killed in a mortar attack on the very front line they'd been looking for.

    Read More »from In new HBO documentary, Sebastian Junger pays tribute to photojournalist killed in Libya


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