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South Korean defense minister calls BTS fulfilling military service ‘desirable’

  • South Korean defense minister Lee Jong-sup said it is “desirable that members of BTS carry out their mandatory military service” during the National Defense Committee’s interpellation session on Tuesday.
  • Lee was asked to give his opinion on a proposal from lawmaker Kim Young-bae of the Democratic Party of Korea, which would revise the current provisions and expand the list of exceptions for military service to include pop artists who have made significant cultural contributions.
  • Currently, all able-bodied Korean men must enlist for two years of military service before age 30, but exceptions are made for award-winning athletes and notable classical musicians.
  • BTS member Jin is first up to enlist as he will turn 30 in December.

South Korean defense minister Lee Jong-sup is in favor of BTS completing their upcoming mandatory military service.

On Oct. 4, during the National Defense Committee’s interpellation session, Lee was asked for his thoughts regarding the proposal last month from lawmaker Kim Young-bae of the Democratic Party of Korea. The proposed bill would have allowed an alternative exemption to be made for pop artists who have made significant cultural impact. 

2 American veterans who volunteered in Ukraine return home after three months of captivity

  • American veterans Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, who were captured by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, returned home to their families in Alabama on Friday.
  • “We’re looking forward to spending time with family and we’ll be in touch with the media soon,” Drueke told The Associated Press after reaching the U.S. on Friday. “Happy to be home.”
  • Diana Shaw, an aunt of Drueke, confirmed that the two veterans were among the 10 prisoners from Morocco, the U.S., the U.K., Sweden and Croatia. Saudi Arabia arranged the release of the prisoners held captive by the Donetsk People's Republic, the country said on Wednesday.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the release of Drueke and Huynh in a statement on Wednesday and thanked Ukraine for including “all prisoners of war, regardless of nationality, in its negotiations.”
  • He also thanked Saudi Arabia for the country’s help in spearheading the “humanitarian initiative and facilitating the return of ten foreign nationals.”
  • Drueke and Huynh were reported missing on June 9.

Two American veterans who were reported missing in June have returned home safely after being held captive for three months by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

Alex Drueke, 39, and Andy Huynh, 27, traveled to Ukraine separately as volunteers to help fight against the invading Russian forces. The two went missing on June 9 and were held captive by Russian-backed separatist forces in the Donbas region.

Busan mayor floats alternative to military service for K-pop mega group BTS

  • Park Heong-joon, mayor of Busan, South Korea, has issued a formal proposal to the president’s office asking for K-pop superstars BTS to be granted an alternative to their upcoming mandatory military service.
  • He proposed BTS become public relations (PR) ambassadors for Busan in their bid to host the World City Expo in 2030.
  • Just last month, the South Korean government named BTS PR ambassadors to promote the expo.
  • BTS member Jin is first up to enlist as he will turn 30 in December.

The mayor of Busan, South Korea, has submitted a formal proposal to the presidential office asking for an alternative to BTS’ mandatory military service.  

Mayor Park Heong-joon proposes giving the seven-member boy group the option to act as public relations (PR) ambassadors for his city as they bid to host the World City Expo in 2030. The South Korean government already named the group as PR ambassadors responsible for promoting the Expo bid last month. 

China begins new military drills as US delegation visits Taiwan; accuses US of ‘stirring up confrontation’

china condemns
  • China is set to conduct additional military drills near Taiwan in response to the recent visit by a delegation of American lawmakers to the island.
  • On the trip, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts was joined by House Representatives John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal, both of California, and Don Beyer of Virginia, along with Republican Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa.
  • The delegation was scheduled to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu and local lawmakers to “discuss bilateral relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change, and other significant issues.”
  • According to the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command, the exercises were "a stern deterrent to the United States and Taiwan continuing to play political tricks and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

China has announced additional military drills around Taiwan in response to the latest visit by a delegation of American lawmakers to the island.

The delegation led by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) arrived in the nation for a two-day visit on Sunday, 12 days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her own visit earlier this month. 

‘Things are very, very rarely black and white’: Ukraine volunteer Elliot Kim reflects on serving in Russo-Ukrainian War

  • Ukraine volunteer Elliot Kim sat down with NextShark to share his experiences in the Russo-Ukrainian war zone, including what he did beforehand to prepare, how he got into the country and what he saw once he landed.
  • Kim participated in Ukraine as a soldier in an international volunteer legion from the end of April to mid-June. After his time volunteering, he returned home to Atlanta.
  • Similar to many other U.S. volunteers, Kim also had a military background, having joined the army right out of high school in 2005.
  • When faced with the opportunity to fight in Ukraine, it had been 11 years since he left the army. There was a lot of uncertainty, Kim admits, as to whether he could make a difference in Ukraine.
  • “There's just this feeling amongst a lot of civilians that the world may have forgotten or is okay with what’s going on over there,” says Kim.

Ukraine volunteer Elliot Kim sat down with NextShark to share his experiences in the Russo-Ukrainian war zone, including what he did beforehand to prepare, how he got into the country and what he saw once he landed.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 left the rest of the world scrambling to deal with the repercussions. 

Repercussions of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan felt around the world as countries and companies stay on their toes

  • The repercussions of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) controversial and highly publicized visit to Taiwan on Tuesday are being felt by countries and companies throughout the world.
  • Although the House speaker’s trip to Taiwan lasted less than a day, it evoked strong reactions from countries around the world who understood the geopolitical impact of having one of America’s highest-ranking officials visit the island.
  • On Friday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China released a statement announcing sanctions on House Speaker Pelosi.
  • China also announced that the country would be halting dialogue with the U.S. in several areas, including between theater-level military commanders and regarding the climate crisis.
  • On Friday, tech giant Apple told its suppliers to strictly abide by Chinese customs regulations that parts from Taiwan be labeled as being made from either in “Taiwan, China” or “Chinese Taipei.”
  • Japan has also been on high alert, after five Chinese ballistic missiles landed in the waters near Japan’s southwestern islands on Thursday.

The repercussions of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) controversial and highly publicized visit to Taiwan on Tuesday are being felt by countries and companies throughout the world as tensions rise amid the prospect of a world war. 

China issued multiple warnings during the weeks leading up to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which the communist country strongly condemned. 

White House condemns Chinese missile launches near Taiwan, postpones own scheduled ICBM test

  • National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby criticized China for launching five ballistic missiles near Taiwan’s waters.
  • China conducted the missile launch during military drills on Thursday, a day after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
  • “We condemn these actions, which are irresponsible and at odds with our longstanding goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the region," Kirby was quoted as saying.
  • To avoid further escalations, the U.S. has postponed its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, which was originally planned for this week.
  • Meanwhile, the Chinese government announced on Friday that it was halting dialogue with the U.S. over areas such as climate and military issues.

The White House has condemned China’s launching of five ballistic missiles near Taiwan’s waters.

China conducted the missile launch during military drills on Thursday, a day after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

UN chief: World is one misstep away from ‘nuclear annihilation’

  • Former prime minister of Portugal and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, 50, warned that the world was one step away from “nuclear annihilation” in a speech on Monday.
  • The UN chief gave the opening speech at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, a meeting which was originally planned for 2020 but was pushed back due to COVID-19.
  • To a crowd composed of ministers, officials and diplomats from around the globe, Guterres emphasized that we are living in a time of “nuclear dangers, not seen since the height of the Cold War” and urged leaders to take action.
  • To date, the U.S.’ atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, which resulted in catastrophic suffering, remain the only incidents of nuclear weapons being used in armed conflict.
  • The Secretary-General concluded his opening by reiterating that we have been “extraordinarily lucky so far,” but “luck is not a strategy.”

Former Portugal Prime Minister and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world is one step away from “nuclear annihilation” in a speech on Monday. 

The UN chief, 50, gave the opening speech at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) conference in New York, a meeting which was originally planned for 2020 but was pushed back due to COVID-19. 

Robot dog outfitted with machine gun in Russia brings us closer to real-life ‘Black Mirror’

  • A robot dog modified to include a machine gun on the top half of its body has captured the attention of the internet with its sophisticated design resembling something out of a sci-fi thriller.
  • As shown in the video, which has garnered over 7.3 million views on Twitter, a silver-colored robot dog runs along a firing range as it opens fire on various targets.
  • Sophos Senior Threat Researcher Sean Gallagher likens the model seen in the video to the Hangzhou-based company’s Go1 robot dog model, which retails for around $3,000.
  • The clip of the robot dog appears to have been taken in Russia, as its left flank bears the Russian flag and the other side a wolf’s head, which is an insignia commonly used by the Russian Special Operations Forces.
  • A parked armored vehicle seen in the video can be identified by its distinct triangular door as a BRDM-2, which has been recently spotted in Ukraine.

A robot dog modified to include a machine gun on the top half of its body has captured the attention of the internet with its sophisticated design resembling something out of a sci-fi thriller.

As shown in the video, which has garnered over 7.3 million views on Twitter, a silver-colored robot dog runs along a firing range as it opens fire on various targets. 

Biden awards Medal of Honor to previously overlooked Vietnam War vets, including two Asian Americans

  • On Tuesday, President Joe Biden awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor to a group of Vietnam War veterans, including two Asian Americans, who may have been overlooked due to discrimination.
  • The highest U.S. military award was given to Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, Spc. 5 Dennis M. Fujii, Spc. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell and retired Maj. John J. Duffy.
  • “Today we’re setting the record straight,” Biden said during the ceremony. “We’re upgrading the awards of four soldiers who performed acts of incredible heroism during the Vietnam conflict.”
  • The awarding comes after Congress ordered a review into the military service of Asian Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders left unrecognized because of prejudice.

President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to a group of Vietnam War veterans, including two Asian Americans, who may have been overlooked due to discrimination.

On Tuesday, Biden gave the highest U.S. military award to Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, Spc. 5 Dennis M. Fujii, Spc. 5 Dwight W. Birdwell and retired Maj. John J. Duffy.

Tearful WWII vet says on his 100th birthday that current state of America is ‘not what they died for’

  • On his 100th birthday, World War II veteran Carl Dekel lamented the current state of America in an emotional interview with Fox13.
  • The Silver Star Medal awardee broke down in tears as he said that the fallen soldiers did not die in the war for what the country has now become.
  • “People don’t realize what they have,” Dekel said. “The things we did and the things we fought for and the boys that died for it, it’s all gone down the drain. Our country is going to hell in a handbasket.”
  • According to Dekel, he worries future generations won't have the same opportunities he had despite what he and his fellow soldiers fought for on the front lines.
  • A recent survey by Pew Research Center reveals that 78 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country due to its current economic and socio-political state.

A U.S. veteran who saw action in World War II lamented the current state of the country while celebrating his 100th birthday. 

Carl Spurlin Dekel, who spent his special day on June 29 with friends and family, broke down in tears as he told Fox13 in an interview shared the day after that his fellow soldiers did not die in the war for what America has now purportedly become.

Ken Rhee, facing prosecution for going to Ukraine to fight: It would be ‘a crime not to help’

  • Former South Korean Navy SEAL turned YouTuber Ken Rhee claims he has no regrets fighting in Ukraine and says it would have been a “crime” not to use his military experience to help.
  • In an interview with AFP, Rhee compared his decision to saving a drowning person to illustrate why he felt it was his moral duty to serve despite South Korea’s travel ban on Ukraine.
  • "You're walking down the beach and you see a sign by the water saying 'no swimming' -- but you see someone drowning. It's a crime not to help. That's how I see it," the 38-year-old serviceman said.
  • Rhee initially announced on March 6 that he and his hand-selected team of special forces had “informally” left South Korea for Ukraine.
  • Rhee was aware that he could return home to prison time and a fine of 10 million won ($8,115) for entering a travel-banned country, but says he was ready to face the consequences and openly criticized the South Korean government for withholding support.

South Korean ex-Navy SEAL-turned YouTuber Ken Rhee claims he has no regrets fighting in Ukraine and says it would have been a “crime” not to use his military experience to help.

In an interview with AFP, Rhee compared fighting in Ukraine to saving a drowning person to illustrate why he felt it was his moral duty to serve despite the fact that the South Korean government had made it illegal to travel to Ukraine.