After the news of President Park Geun-Hye’s scandal broke, it has become the most talked about news event in Korea TV, and for good reasons, too. With court delegations still out, president Park could become the first President in Korea’s history to be removed from office. But what were other important news events of the year? There were so many of them throughout the year, some good and exciting, others, not so much.?In no particular order, here is a list of some of South Korea’s biggest news and events of the year.
Bird flu hits Korea
In December, bird flu crisis hit Korea causing the Agriculture Ministry to raise alert levels to the highest for the first time ever and it resulted in over 21 million, or 20% of the country’s poultry getting culled, causing a low demand of chicken and shortage of eggs, thereby causing a huge inflation on its prices.
Koreans panicking at the thought of a President Trump
After United States President-elect Donald Trump’s remark about South Korea and Japan (the two biggest American allies in Asia), “protecting” and “arming themselves” with nukes, many Koreans went into panic mode as then candidate Trump indirectly toyed with the idea of pulling US soldiers stationed in Korea except “they pay more”. A Korean American, Joseph Choe, challenged Trump on the idea and insisted Korea paid $861 million”, which Trump called “peanuts”.
After the release of their third hit single ‘I don’t care”, 2NE1 became a mainstay in Korea’s K-pop. But after member Minzy left the group, uncertainty kicked in and in the fall of 2016, their label YG Entertainment put out an official statement announcing their split. “Our contract with 2NE1 came to an end in May of 2016, and as we faced a situation where Minzy is no longer with us, we ultimately came to a decision of 2NE1’s official disbandment after long discussion”, the statement read. Although it seems the decision not to renew their contracts were purely financial. “…….we judge that it’ll be difficult to continue promoting. We decided that instead of looking forward to 2NE1’s unpredictable promotions, we should rather focus on the solo promotions of the members”. The label retained two members of the group – CL and Dara.
Choi Soon Sil and Park Geun-Hye scandal
By far the biggest South Korea news of 2016. The scandal broke after a news network in Korea found a tablet computer belonging to President Park Geun-Hye’s close friend in an old abandoned office belonging to her, unencrypted and full of classified information. The words “step down”, Choi Soonsil”, Choi Soonsil Siri” began trending on Naver immediately. President Park issued an apology – without actually taking responsibility, which angered Koreans even more – a few days after saying she “was sorry this made you[fellow Koreans] angry”, and thus began a continuous weekly protest which reached a record high of 1.7 million people, calling for her to immediately step down as she is unfit to lead the country. A vote to impeach her was passed and she has been stripped of her presidential duties and power with Vice President Hwang Kyo-ahn currently the country’s acting president.
Ministry of labour announcing an increase of minimum wage –
The Ministry of Labour announced an increase in the minimum wage in Korea by 7%, to 6,470 won per hour and it’s expected to affect about 3.3 million workers in the country. Many welcomed the news and the Federation of Korea Trade Unions revealed they were pushing for at least 10,000 won per hour. On the flip side, Korea Employer’s federation condemned the move saying more small business will suffer as a result.
Samsung’s note 7 disaster
Except you live in a cave – and if you do, no judgement here – we all are familiar with the disaster after the highly publicized release of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7. It got so bad that carrying a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 with you on a flight or in your bag is now a federal crime according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). On Christmas eve of 2016, Forbes reported Samsung is planning to scrap the Note series, perhaps wishing customers forget Note 7 as soon as possible.
Conan O’ Brien visits Korea
In an aww moment of 2016, host of late night talk show Team CoCo, Conan O’Brien announced on his show he received a letter in English and Korean from a fan in Korea, a high school student named Sunny Lee, inviting him to visit Korea. To her surprise, he accepted her invitation and visited Korea. On arrival, she met him at the airport with flowers and a big smile. Conan O’Brien had a lot to learn about Korea and Korean culture and this is one of our favourite Korea moments of 2016.
Two Vietnamese arrested for Killing a Korean sailor
In the summer of 2016, two Vietnamese were arrested for allegedly killing a Korean sailor and his cabin’s engineer. According to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the Vietnamese men stabbed the Korean sailors after a fight ensued and may be as a result of too much alcohol consumption as the men were said to be very drunk at the time of the incident, which is in stark contrast to their normal usual self – obedient, well bahaved and hardwordking. As at the time of this writing, the men are being held up and are awaiting trial.
What do you think the biggest news or event in South Korea in 2016 is? Take our polls below. We hope you had a wonderful 2016 and we wish you a fantabulous 2017.
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