Hang A Ri Kimchi: Authentic and unfussy Korean barbecue in Canberra

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Hang A Ri Kimchi: Authentic and unfussy Korean barbecue in Canberra

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Feds Indict North Korean Hackers for Years of Heists and Scams

Most surprising, perhaps, is the extent of the hackers’ alleged schemes as cryptocurrency scammers and even would-be entrepreneurs. The indictment outlines how the North Koreans—specifically Kim Il—made plans to launch a cryptocurrency token scheme called Marine Chain, which would sell a blockchain-based stake in marine vessels including cargo ships. According to the British think tank the Royal United Services Institute, Marine Chain was identified by the United Nations as a North Korean sanctions-evasion scheme in 2018; it’s not clear if it ever got off the ground.

In another cryptocurrency theft scheme, the hackers are charged with creating a long list of malicious cryptocurrency apps with names like WorldBit-Bot, iCryptoFx, Kupay Wallet, CoinGo Trade, Dorusio, Ants2Whales, and CryptoNeuro Trader, all designed to surreptitiously steal victims’ cryptocurrencies. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an advisory Wednesday about the malware family integrated into those apps known as AppleJeus, warning that the malicious apps have been distributed by hackers posing as legitimate cryptocurrency firms, who sent the apps in phishing emails or tricked users into downloading them from fake websites. Security firm Kaspersky had warned about versions of AppleJeus as early as 2018.

The indictment demonstrates the United States’ growing willingness to indict foreign hackers for cyberattacks and cybercriminal schemes that don’t merely target US institutions, says Greg Lesnewich, a threat intelligence analyst at security firm Recorded Future. For some of the charges, he points out, Americans were impacted only as the holders of cryptocurrency stolen from international exchanges. “It’s an expansion of what the US is willing to prosecute for, even if the victims aren’t US entities,” he says.

At the same time, Lesnewich says the long arc of the crimes the indictment describes also show North Korea has expanded its ambitions to use and steal cryptocurrency in any way that might help fund its sanctions-starved government. “They’re using very ingenious methods to steal cryptocurrency now,” says Lesnewich. “They’re clearly putting some of their ‘best’ people on this to solve this problem in a diverse number of ways.”

While none of the three North Koreans have been arrested and extradited—and given that they’re in North Korea, likely never will be—prosecutors also unsealed charges against Ghaleb Alaumary, a 37-year-old Canadian man who allegedly served as a money launderer for the North Koreans’ bank heists. Alaumary, who has already pleaded guilty to the money-laundering charges, had previously been arrested and charged with a business-email-compromise hacking scheme in the Southern District of Georgia.

As for Park, Jon, and Kim, the Justice Department has little expectation of ever laying hands on them, assistant attorney general John Demers acknowledged in Wednesday’s press conference. But he argued that the indictment nonetheless sends a message to the North Korean regime and to any other states contemplating similar rogue behavior that they and their hackers will be identified and, whenever possible, held accountable, including with other diplomatic tools such as sanctions. “You think you’re anonymous behind a keyboard, but you’re not,” Demers said, holding out the indictment as proof. “We lay out how we can prove attribution not to a nation state level, or a unit level within a military or intelligence organization, but to an individual hacker.”

More Great WIRED Stories

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BTS’s ‘Dynamite’ Is Now The Longest-Charting Pop Hit By A Korean Act In U.S. History

BTS’s “Dynamite” continues its slow descent down Billboard’s Pop Songs chart this week, the ranking that lists the tracks that reach the largest audience on a selection of the most popular pop/top 40 radio stations in the U.S. This frame, the cut dips from No. 14 to No. 17, a rather small decline, but by holding on for another turn, the title has helped the band make history in yet another fashion.

“Dynamite” is now the first track by a South Korean musical act to make it to 20 weeks on the Pop Songs chart, and thus it now claims the title of being the longest-charting effort by a band or soloist from that country.

Before this week, “Dynamite” was tied with Psy’s introductory and world-domination “Gangnam Style,” which reached the Pop Songs chart back in 2012. At the time, the track went from being a viral sensation to a proper radio hit, as it lived on the list for 19 weeks. Now, it moves from first place to second on the ranking of the longest-charting tunes by South Korean acts, and there’s no looking back.

MORE FROM FORBESBTS’s Suga Joins Psy As The Second-Ever Korean Solo Artist To Notch A Pop Chart Hit

Benefiting BTS is the fact that “Dynamite,” while released by a South Korean band who made a name for themselves by largely performing in their first language, is sung entirely in English. That makes it easier for radio programmers across the country to put the catchy disco-leaning composition into heavy rotation and keep it there.

In addition to now being the longest-charting single by a South Korean artist in Pop Songs history, “Dynamite” broke the record as the highest-charting cut last year. The tune worked its way to No. 5, beating Psy’s aforementioned “Gangnam Style,” which only lifted to No. 10. For many years, that success stood as the only top 10 hit by a Korean star in the decades-long tenure of the Pop Songs tally, but that is no longer the case.

Seeing as “Dynamite” is only down to No. 17 on a chart that features 40 spaces, there’s plenty of reason to believe the tune won’t vanish anytime soon. In fact, it would be reasonable to expect the earworm to hold on for several more weeks, or perhaps even another month or so. From now on, anytime BTS’s biggest hit yet finds a spot on the ranking, it further extends its record as the longest-charting ever.

MORE FROM FORBESBTS Member Suga Lands His First Solo Hit On The Pop Songs Chart

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un admits his economic development plans have failed at ruling party congress

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says his economic development plans have failed as he opened the nation’s first full ruling party congress in five years, according to state media.

Mr Kim said that “almost all sectors fell a long way short of the set objectives” under a previous five-year development plan established at the 2016 congress, reports the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“We should further promote and expand the victories and successes we have gained at the cost of sweat and blood, and prevent the painful lessons from being repeated,” Mr Kim is quoted as saying.

The Workers’ Party Congress — one of the country’s biggest propaganda spectacles — is designed to help Mr Kim show a worried nation that he’s firmly in control and to boost unity behind his leadership in the face of COVID-19 and other growing economic challenges.

But some observers are sceptical that the stage-managed congress will find any fundamental solutions to North Korea’s difficulties, many of which stem from decades of economic mismanagement and Mr Kim’s headlong pursuit of expensive nuclear weapons meant to target the US mainland.

Mr Kim, 36, is holding the congress, which is expected to last a few days, amid what may be the toughest challenge of his nine-year rule and what he has called “multiple crises.”

The authoritarian nation is one of the poorest countries in Asia.

The Workers’ Party Congress is one of the country’s biggest propaganda spectacles. It’s designed to show Kim Jong Un is in control.(Reuters: KCNA)

North Korea’s already besieged economy is being hammered by pandemic-related border closings with China, the North’s major economic lifeline, the fallout from a series of natural disasters last summer and persistent US-led sanctions over its nuclear program.

US president-elect Joe Biden, who takes office later this month, will likely maintain the sanctions and avoid any direct meeting with Mr Kim until North Korea takes significant steps toward denuclearisation.

The congress met in Pyongyang to determine “a fresh line of struggle and strategic and tactical policies,” with thousands of delegates and observers in attendance, KCNA reported.

In his speech, Mr Kim described the present difficulties facing his government as “the worst-ever” and “unprecedented”, according to KCNA.

Mr Kim called for a new five-year plan and reviewed the present status of North Korea’s metal, chemical, electric and other key industries and set unspecified tasks for future development, KCNA said.

It’s not the first time Kim has been candid about flawed systems and policies.

In August, he acknowledged economic “shortcomings” caused by “unexpected and inevitable challenges.”

Also last year, he said North Korea lacks modern medical facilities and that anti-disaster conditions in coastal areas is “poor.”

Few experts doubt Mr Kim’s grip on power. But a prolonged coronavirus-related lockdown may be further destabilising food and foreign exchange markets and aggravating livelihoods in North Korea.

That could possibly lessen Mr Kim’s authority, some observers say.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said that “the fundamental problem” is that “Kim wants regime-sustaining economic growth while retaining nuclear weapons.”

“Pyongyang is thus likely to demand sanctions relief for merely reducing tensions rather than making progress on denuclearisation,” he said.

US-led sanctions toughened after Mr Kim’s unusually aggressive run of nuclear and missile tests in 2016 and 2017.

They maintain a ban on major export items such as coal, textiles and seafood.

Nevertheless, Mr Kim has still repeatedly pushed for an expansion of his nuclear arsenal to cope with what he calls US hostility.

After the year-long closure of its border with China, bilateral trade volume plummeted by about 80 per cent in the first 11 months of last year, said analyst Song Jaeguk at Seoul’s IBK Economic Research Institute.

North Korea’s GDP was estimated to have contracted by 9.3 per cent in 2020, he said.


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Iran seizes a South Korean ship after the USS Nimitz does a U-turn

A U.S. Air Force B-52 from Minot Air Force Base is aerial refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility Dec. 30, 2020. The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, heavy bomber that is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and can carry nuclear weapons. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Roslyn Ward / US Central Command
  • Iran seized a South Korean tanker and arrested its crew in the Persian Gulf on Monday as the US military reversed itself and ordered the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to remain in the region.

  • The reversal of the Nimitz’s orders over the past five days alarmed several NATO officials who have repeatedly expressed concerns about what they see as erratic US national security moves post-election.

  • “I suspect they will say there was new information or a new threat and that the Nimitz was needed to stay in the area but there will be widespread suspicions that Trump overruled the redeployment for his own political or emotional concerns,” a NATO official told Insider.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Iran seized a South Korean tanker and arrested its crew in the Persian Gulf on Monday as the US military continued an on-again, off-again military build-up around its border. The maneuvers came days after the first anniversary of the US assassination of a top Iranian general.

The seizure – which Iran described as related to environmental pollution in a statement reported by the Associated Press – came just one day after the Pentagon abruptly reversed a decision to move the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz out of the region just three days prior.

Little more was known about the seizure of the Korean ship on Monday morning.

Routine ship traffic around the Gulf of Oman. MarineTraffic.com

The US and Iran have been flexing their military and rhetorical might over the past few weeks around the one-year anniversary of the US drone killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan 3, 2020. Iran has threatened revenge for the targeted killing of the country’s most powerful military official.

Last month the US Navy announced it was moving a cruise missile-armed submarine into the Persian Gulf for the first time in nearly a decade. Long-range US Air Force bombers conducted 30+ hour patrols over the region on several occasions from their bases in the United States. At the same time, increased rocket fire on US diplomatic and military compounds in Iraq – believed to have been conducted by Iranian proxy groups – forced the evacuation of non-essential personnel from several facilities. That led to another round of threats and counterthreats by US and Iranian officials in the Trump administration’s last days.

National security advisors convinced Trump not to conduct a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities last November, according to a New York Times report, despite strong encouragement from Israel. The Israeli government fears the incoming Biden administration will take a softer line on the Iranian nuclear program. Iran has responded angrily to the provocations, which included last year’s assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist reportedly by Israeli operatives.

The reversal of the Nimitz’s movements over the past five days alarmed several NATO officials who have repeatedly expressed concerns about what they see as erratic US national security moves post-election.

“I feel like my briefings are on a 24-48 hour delay,” said a NATO official in Brussels, who asked not to be named criticizing a close ally.

“What we believe is that after weeks of pushing additional material and warships into the Gulf region to pressure Iran, it was decided to send the Nimitz home after a mission off the coast of Somalia in an effort to reduce tensions,” said the official. “NATO supported this de-escalation because tensions were dangerously high and there’s more than enough military firepower in the region to deter Iran.”

When asked why such an immediate reversal, the NATO official admitted that it was too early to tell. 

“I guess I need a briefing,” said the official. “I suspect they will say there was new information or a new threat and that the Nimitz was needed to stay in the area but there will be widespread suspicions that Trump overruled the redeployment for his own political or emotional concerns.”

The New York Times reported that Trump vetoed the redeployment of the Nimitz over concerns it made him look weak. 

The void among commercial ships possibly shows civilian craft giving a wide berth to the USS Nimitz and its entourage. https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-117.3/centery:32.6/zoom:10

A former US national security official, who is expected to join the Biden administration and thus asked not to be identified, said that the previous overflights of the region by long-range bombers – which the official described as not particularly useful for defensive operations – might have inflamed regional allies enough that the Pentagon concluded the Nimitz had to go, only to be overruled by Trump three days later.

“The B-52s [sent from US bases] are useful on the first day of a major war because they can target command and control centers and anti-aircraft defenses from range with cruise missiles,” said the former official. “It’s an offensive threat and so long as they were over the Gulf, Iran would have been convinced of an imminent attack. But they go home after a few hours, the Nimitz can stay and support a much wider range of operations. So it’s an operational mistake to have tried to send it home at all but maybe this was forced by the outcry over the B-52s. Now there’s double confusion everywhere.”

The USS Nimitz – one of the world’s most powerful warships with dozens of attack and support aircraft – had been operating off the Horn of Africa in support of US forces deployed in Somalia as recently as Dec. 28, according to the US Navy. It is believed to be returning to a patrol position in the northern Gulf of Oman.

For its part, Iran announced just minutes after that it had detained the South Korean tanker that it finds South Korea sanctions unreasonable and planned to discuss the sanctions and the detained ship with the South Korean deputy foreign minister, who is due in Iran this week for talks. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Iran resumes 20 per cent uranium enrichment, seizes South Korean tanker

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in Persian Gulf waters and detained its crew containing nationals from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Seoul confirmed the seizure of the chemical tanker by Iranian authorities in the waters off Oman, and demanded its immediate release.

The seizure comes at a time of tension between the two nations over Iranian funds frozen at South Korean banks due to US sanctions.

Several Iranian media outlets, including Iranian state TV, said the Guards navy captured the vessel for polluting the Gulf with chemicals.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency published pictures showing what it identified as Guards speed boats escorting the tanker HANKUK CHEMI, which it said was carrying 7,200 tonnes of ethanol.

It said the tanker was being held at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port city. The ship had 20 crew members, according to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.

The US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet was aware and monitoring the situation, spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich said in response to a Reuters query.

Iranian authorities have yet to comment on the incident, which comes ahead of an expected visit by South Korea’s deputy foreign minister to Tehran.

British firm Ambrey confirmed the DM Shipping Co-vessel had departed from the Petroleum Chemical Quay in Jubail, in Saudi Arabia, before the incident and had since been tracked inside Iranian territorial waters headed towards Bandar Abbas

In early 2019, Iran heightened tensions in the world’s busiest oil waterway by seizing British-flagged tanker Stena Impero two weeks after a British warship had intercepted an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.

Iran resumes uranium enrichment

Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency it was ramping up its nuclear programme.(Reuters: Shamil Zhumatov)

The latest incident comes on the same day as Iran announced it has has resumed 20 per cent uranium enrichment at an underground nuclear facility, breaching a 2015 nuclear pact with major powers and possibly complicating efforts by US President-elect Joe Biden to rejoin the deal.

The news was met with criticism from others in the international community with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading the criticism.

Mr Netanyahu said the move was aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

“Israel will not allow Iran to produce nuclear weapons,” he said.

The enrichment decision, announced by Iran’s Government on Monday and the latest contravention of the accord, coincides with increasing tensions between the Middle Eastern country and the US in the last days of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Iran started violating the accord in 2019 in response to Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the pact in 2018 and the reimposition of US sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.

Military personnel stand near the flag-draped coffin of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s death worsened relations between Iran and Israel.(AP: Iranian Defense Ministry)

The agreement’s main aim was to extend the time Iran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, to at least a year from roughly two to three months. It also lifted international sanctions against Tehran.

The resumption of uranium enrichment was one of many items mentioned in a law passed by Iran’s Parliament last month in response to the killing of the country’s top nuclear scientist, which Tehran has blamed on Israel.

Such moves by Iran could hinder attempts by the incoming Biden administration to re-enter the agreement.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency was set to inform members on Monday about developments in Iran, the IAEA said, after the announcement by Tehran.

“Agency inspectors have been monitoring activities at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant in Iran. Based on their information, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi is expected to submit a report to IAEA Member States later today,” a spokesman for the nuclear watchdog said in an email.

‘Considerable departure from commitments’

In Brussels, an European Union Commission spokesperson said that the “move, if confirmed, would constitute a considerable departure from Iran’s commitments”.

“All participants are interested in keeping deal alive. The deal will be kept alive as long as all participants keep their commitments,” they said.

On January 1, the IAEA said Tehran had told the watchdog it planned to resume enrichment of up to 20 per cent at Fordow site, which is buried inside a mountain.

“The process of gas injection to centrifuges has started a few hours ago and the first product of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas will be available in a few hours,” government spokesman Ali Rabeie said.

Iran had earlier breached the deal’s 3.67 per cent limit on the purity to which it can enrich uranium, but it had only gone up to 4.5 per cent, well short of the 20 per cent the Government was aiming for now and of the 90 per cent needed to make weapons.

US intelligence agencies and the IAEA believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nuclear weapons programme that it halted in 2003. Iran denies ever having had one.


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Could Nuclear Weapons Have Solved America’s Korean War Problems?

Here’s What You Need to Remember: Nuclear escalation on the Korean Peninsula would have gone terribly for everyone involved. The United States would have caused dreadful pain to uncertain strategic advantage, potentially pushing the Communist powers to escalate.

In 1950, as U.S. forces retreated from China’s onslaught across the Yalu River, General Douglas MacArthur called for strategic air attacks against China. Many believed that this would necessarily include the atomic bomb, America’s “asymmetric advantage” of the time.

America’s large arsenal of atomic weapons, and the fleet of strategic bombers necessary to deliver those weapons, was the central military advantage that the US enjoyed over the Soviet Union in 1950. The large, battle tested Red Army remained in Eastern Europe, capable of moving west on short notice. Many believed that only America’s ability to destroy the Soviet heartland with nuclear weapons held the Russians back. Many also believed that Moscow had orchestrated the war on the Korean Peninsula.

So why didn’t the United States use the bomb in Korea?  What if it had?

The Situation:

The Korean War witnessed three critical inflection points in 1950. The first was North Korea’s full-scale invasion across the thirty-eighth parallel in June, an action which escalated a conflict that had broiled for several years. The U.S. landing at Inchon in September ended the North Korean offensive, turning the tables and putting the Communists on the defensive. Then, in late October, the intervention of China’s People’s Liberation Army ended the Allied offensive, and forced UN forces back beyond the thirty-eighth parallel.

It was at this point that MacArthur called for attacks into China, and many in the United States began to demand the use of the atomic bomb. Despite the remarkable progress that the Soviets had made on their own bomb program, the United States still enjoyed a huge advantage in total atomic weapons, and in delivery systems.

Strategic or Tactical:

In 1950, the U.S. defense establishment had yet to work out the elaborate system of planning, development, and mobilization that would divide nuclear weapons by type and purpose, and had not fully integrated atomic weapons into its conventional warfighting plans. Nevertheless, the United States would have faced a choice between using atomic bombs as “tactical” or “strategic” weapons.

Strategic attacks would have concentrated on Chinese staging areas, industrial sites, and political targets, aiming to either bring about the collapse of the PRC or force it from the war. Mao Zedong expected something of this nature when he chose to commit the People’s Liberation Army to the war on the peninsula. Given the size of China’s population and the dispersed nature of its industry, such a campaign would have required a great many of the rudimentary atomic warheads of the time.

And indeed, even the strategic use of atomic weapons against Chinese targets would have generated criticism from within the U.S. defense establishment. For many within the establishment, China was only a proxy for broader Soviet efforts to destabilize the West and break the nascent system of containment.  Wasting warheads on Chinese targets would have left Soviet industry relatively untouched, and thus capable of generating additional proxy wars across the globe. Committing the US Air Force’s fleet of B-36 “Peacemakers” to a general strategic campaign against China would not only have tipped the hand of the Strategic Air Command, it might- given the questionable defensive capabilities of the bombers- have left the US with few or no options for striking directly into the Soviet Union.

What if the United States had instead concentrated on using nuclear weapons in a tactical manner?  First things first, U.S. nuclear strategy did not envision using the nation’s relatively small nuclear arsenal against merely “tactical” targets; the United States had few enough weapons (and few enough delivery systems) to waste them on the deployed enemy forces. We had extraordinarily little information on the actual tactical and operational effect of nuclear weapons on the battlefield.  Certainly, Chinese and North Korean command centers, logistical centers, and troop concentrations would have fared poorly under nuclear assault.  But then the United States enjoyed major advantages in the airspace above Korea in any case, and regularly subjected Communist forces to air attack. Atomic weapons surely would have helped, although potentially at the cost of permanently delegitimizing the Seoul government (which would have invited the nuclear destruction of its own homeland).

War Situation:

Recent work on the Korean War has revealed other reasons why the United States resisted using the atomic bomb. While some believed that the United States exercised unilateral restraint in the war, in fact both sides carefully husbanded their strength, and took care moving up the escalatory ladder.

American military authorities feared that an escalation of the war would make the situation on the peninsula untenable. Far from exhausting its strength, the People’s Republic of China maintained a substantial reserve of ground and air forces that it could throw into the fight if the United States decided to step up the war.  Perhaps more importantly, the Soviet Union could exert a vastly greater influence on the conflict, either through a stepped up transfer of equipment to China and the DPRK, or through the direct deployment of Soviet ground, air and naval forces. If the US decided to go all out, the Red Army had more than enough strength to clear continental East Asia of U.S. forces, and perhaps to cut U.S. lines of retreat from Korea.

The Final Salvo:

Nuclear escalation on the Korean Peninsula would have gone terribly for everyone involved. The United States would have caused dreadful pain to uncertain strategic advantage, potentially pushing the Communist powers to escalate.  The physical and human terrain of Korea would have endured awful suffering. And perhaps most importantly, the world would have lost the nascent nuclear taboo, a sense among policymakers that atomic weapons differed in some meaningful sense from other kinds of explosives, and that their practical use portended something momentous.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination and The Diplomat. This article first appeared several years ago.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

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Deepening despair – Suicide is on the rise among South Korean women | Asia

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