Archive | June, 2013

Japanese girls abducted by North Korea

24 Jun

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21578436-shinzo-abe-returning-emotional-issue-abductees-frogman-cometh

Japan and North Korea

The frogman cometh

The Yokotas have not lost hope
FOR Shigeru and Sakie Yokota, their daughter seems at once far away and tantalisingly near. Megumi Yokota was kidnapped in 1977, at the age of 13, as she walked home from school. North Korean agents walked up the beach near her home and dragged her back to their boat. Her parents, now elderly, know that she married a South Korean who had also been abducted, and that they have a granddaughter. They now hope Megumi may soon come home. Last week Isao Iijima, chief fixer for the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, showed up unexpectedly in the North Korean capital, to talk with the regime about Japanese abductees.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s North Korea abducted at least 17 mainly young Japanese, and possibly many more. Typically, they were seized by frogmen emerging out of the Sea of Japan. They were brought to North Korea to teach Japanese ways to North Korean spooks.

For Mr Abe, these awful kidnappings have been a long-standing and reliable source of political capital. He made his name in 2002 when accompanying his boss, the then-prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, on a trip to Pyongyang to meet the late Kim Jong Il and normalise ties.

Until then, many Japanese had dismissed the rumours of kidnappings as a conspiracy theory. But quite unexpectedly, Kim admitted to them. It galvanised Mr Abe, who convinced Mr Koizumi of the issue’s importance. Kim allowed five abductees brief family reunions back in Japan. When cabinet members wanted to keep a pledge to send them back again, Mr Abe refused to let them go.

Several abductees are still unaccounted for, and ties with the North are severed. The North says the victims are dead, though much of Japan is convinced Megumi is alive. Over 10m Japanese have signed the Yokotas’ petition for the abductees’ rescue. Mr Abe met the families, says Mr Yokota, days after he became prime minister in December. He pledged to visit North Korea to resolve the issue of the remaining abductees. A breakthrough before a July election for the upper house of the Diet would be a coup. However improbable, should Mr Abe bring home the schoolgirl whose image (wearing her mother’s red-and-white kimono) has inspired anime films, he would be unassailable.

The North would demand rewards for any breakthrough—even to provide proof of abductees’ deaths. That would dismay America, keen not to reward North Korea after its recent nuclear posturing. In Japan a breakthrough would bolster the far right, which has long latched on to the abductee cause. In late April the Yokotas marched with other families to present their petition to Mr Abe. Militant right-wingers joined the march, says Mrs Yokota, shouting racist slogans against Japan’s own Korean population. “They use us,” she says simply.

Father’s Day greeting from a friend

17 Jun

You take fatherhood seriously.  While sometimes troublesome, and misunderstood, it is a great trait for a father.  Have a happy day. Someday, your kids will grow up and understand.  Keep the faith.

by Ian Wenik, Weehawken, New Jersey pedestrian bridge

17 Jun

http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/22842871/article-Open-at-last-After-long-wait–pedestrian-bridge-connects-light-rail-and-ferry-?instan
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After long wait, pedestrian bridge connects light rail and ferry, The Hudson Reporter
by Ian Wenik
Reporter correspondent

The “bridge to nowhere” finally goes somewhere.

With an oversized pair of scissors (and $9.7 million dollars from NJ Transit), Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner finally opened the pedestrian
bridge between the Port Imperial light rail station and the New York Waterway ferry terminal on Wednesday, after more than seven years of
construction.

Thanks to the bridge’s opening, commuters will no longer have to dangerously cross four lanes of traffic on Port Imperial Boulevard in order to
transfer between the two stations.

“It’s always been a little dangerous [crossing the street],” Turner said. “It’s like dodgeball.”

Ironically enough, the vast majority of attendees for the opening were forced to cross Port Imperial Boulevard one final time to get to the
ceremony. While Turner was preparing to conduct the ceremony from the light rail station, NJ Transit heads, NY Waterway executives, other
town officials, and media members happened to have gathered by the ferry terminal.
_____________
“The biggest reason for the delay was the construction of the garage.” – Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner
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It was only Turner’s waving from the other side of the street that alerted the attendees to their error. They didn’t have to play dodgeball, though
— Weehawken police halted traffic to give them an uncharacteristically easy cross.

Many delays

It was one final delay in a project that encountered countless difficulties over the years.

Construction began on the bridge all the way back in 2005, back when its projected cost totaled only $8 million dollars, but stalled during the
recession.

A design change that entailed the construction of a five-story public parking garage only hindered the project further.

“The biggest reason for the delay was the construction of the garage,” Turner said. “The garage has been another two and a half years in
construction.”

Though the garage won’t open up “for a few weeks,” according to Turner, the bridge is fully operational, marking the end of a journey that was
far more arduous than anyone expected when NJ Transit and Roseland Property first began construction eight years ago.

The bridge also marks a crucial step forward in the development of the area in anticipation for the Grand Prix of America in 2014. The
start-finish line and pit facilities are intended to lie directly opposite of Port Imperial’s ferry terminal, making the bridge crucial for spectator and
staff access.

And though the town of Weehawken has plenty of work left to do in preparation for the Grand Prix, Turner can stop to take a look at the
progress he has made and smile.

“The bridge is ready to go,” he said. “And it’s another major improvement to the waterfront.”

Read more: Hudson Reporter – Open at last After long wait pedestrian bridge connects light rail and ferr

tweets from an important person

15 Jun

ONE: fat free mayonnaise should not exist. If you don’t want to get fat you shouldn’t be eating mayonnaise TWO: watching the old  goosebumps tv show on netflix. i think i’m gonna have nightmares THREE: I wish when it gets really dark out people would only see my eyes  #cartoonlife FOUR By the time I get an iPhone people will have already switched to communicating telepathically FIVE:  Do people ever  actually fish sober? SIX: a Classic is something everyone wants to have read but no one actually wants to read SEVEN: “I love who you are I  love who you ain’t. You so Ann Frank, let’s hit the attic and hid out fo bout two weeks.” I miss Outkast EIGHT: I got a job at dickinson catering.  The one thing that’s gonna get me through the summer is not working at bonanza NINE: Oh shit. I totally forgot to take care of my farmville  farm #neglect TEN: I feel like I can add bongo drums to the lists of instruments I can play. I mean everyone can play them at least a little  ELEVEN I’m not doing both. either tweet me or text me. I feel like an idiot talking to you twice at the same time TWELVE: then 6:50 is literally  worse than death THIRTEEN I wanna take a picture where I’m not squinting. but i know it’s not gonna happen. my eyes are blue, just trust me  FOURTEEN: but debbie i thought we were niggas FIFTEEN: So I basically slept through memorial day SIXTEEN: I wanna be the one to  reintroduce snakes to Ireland. #fuckstpatrick SEVENTEEN Yes, please! Season’s Best: New Designer Watches on sale @JackThreads  EIGHTEEN: Thank god I’m getting all these awkward moments out of the way now. I’m gonna be the smoothest guy ever when I’m 60  NINETEEN: I forgot how much I love film making TWENTY: I want the comfort of sweat pants but it’s too hot out. #sweatshorts. I’m a genius  TWENTYONE: If you tweet that you’re going to bed that should probably be your last tweet of the night TWENTYTWO: Its so beautiful out  today it makes me want to rewatch every arrested development episode and eat multiple hot pockets TWENTYTHREE Life would be easier of  we all were nudist. Or not TWENTYFOUR guys they’re reshowing hangover 1 & 2 in theaters at the exact same time thursday. they’re calling it  Hangover 3. TWENTYFIVE: I can’t get a job because I don’t have any experience. I don’t have any experience because I can’t get a job  TWENTYSIX: If my neighbor doesn’t stop mowing his lawn when I’m trying tosleep I’m setting it on fire. This Is the 3rd time this week.  TWENTYSEVEN: Last time I wrote a paper for German and saved it to my USB it removed all the spaces. What is it with German and  concentrating things? TWENTYEIGHT: I still can’t believe Carlisle has it’s own drag racing scene TWENTYNINE: I’ve finally realized my dream  of becoming a amateur wrasselin ref THIRTY The earth is so bipolar. Ok I’m done. #earthdayeveryday THIRTYONE: so girls can endlessly  complain about periods but i can’t even scratch my balls without being called a pervert #doublestandards THIRTYTWO: I should just start  making all my tweets look like mean subtweets so I can convince people im super popular THIRTYTHREE: CIT interview today. Tryna be a  camp councilor next summer THIRTYFOUR: Ok so I made this twitter months ago. Im just setting it up now. Just in time for everyone to switch  to path THIRTYFIVE: can i just skip to the part where i have hundreds of followers?