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military

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S. Korean lawmaker proposes bill to allow BTS to serve alternative to military duty

BTS
  • Lawmaker Kim Young-bae of the Democratic Party of Korea has proposed a bill for K-pop superstars BTS to be granted an alternative to their upcoming mandatory military service.
  • The proposal made on Sep. 19 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.

On Sept. 19, lawmaker Kim Young-bae of the Democratic Party of Korea proposed a revision bill which would extend exceptions to military service for pop artists like BTS. 

At present, the Military Service Act requires all able-bodied Korean men to enlist for two years of military service before age 30. An amendment dubbed the “BTS law” was made in late 2020 to raise the age limit from the previous 28. The law allowed K-pop entertainers to apply for deferment if they have received government medals for cultural impacts and contributions. All seven members of BTS received the Order of Cultural Merit award in 2018. 

Philippines to allow US access to military bases if China-Taiwan tensions escalate

  • Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Philippine ambassador to the United States, told Nikkei Asia that the Philippines will allow U.S. forces to access military bases in the country if China-Taiwan tensions escalate.
  • Under the 2014 EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement), American forces are only allowed to have a rotational, temporary military presence at several bases in the Philippines. The number of visiting U.S. personnel is contingent on "the scale and the frequency of the activities to be approved" by the two countries.
  • “Looking ahead, we seek to enhance the posture of our alliance to address new and emerging challenges," a Pentagon spokesperson told Nikkei Asia. “We intend to continue to implement infrastructure projects at current EDCA locations and explore additional sites for further development."
  • Romualdez also mentioned that Washington and Manila are currently in talks to increase the number of military bases in the Philippines that U.S. personnel can use, which could possible include a naval base.

Philippine ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said the Philippines will allow U.S. forces to access its military bases in the country if China-Taiwan tensions escalate.

In an interview with Nikkei Asia, Romualdez said access to the country’s military bases would be given “if it is important for us, for our own security.”

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. 

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.

US Marine veteran Grady Kurpasi is third American to go missing in Ukraine this week

  • Former U.S. Marine Corps officer Grady Kurpasi, 49, who has not been heard from since April 23, is the third American to be reported missing in Ukraine this week.
  • Kurpasi arrived in Ukraine on March 7 after deciding to volunteer as a soldier in the Ukrainian war. Having served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years, before retiring in November 2021, he felt that his skillset would be valuable to the cause.
  • The other two American soldiers to be reported missing include Andy Huynh, 27, and Alexander Drueke, 39, both from Alabama and both of whom have military experience.
  • Videos of Huynh and Drueke surfaced on Friday on RT, a Russian state-controlled international television network, showing they had been captured by Russian forces.
  • When asked to comment about the captures of American soldier volunteers, Biden reiterated on Friday, “I’ll say it again, Americans should not be going to Ukraine.”

Former U.S. Marine Corps officer Grady Kurpasi, who has not been heard from since April 23, is the third American to be reported missing in Ukraine this week.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price announced during a press conference on Thursday that a third American had gone missing, although the name was not said.

US formally recognizes Myanmar military violence against Rohingya as genocide

U.S. declares genocide
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken officially declared that Myanmar’s military junta has committed genocide and crimes against humanity on Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
  • The declaration, which occurred at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Monday, did not establish any direct punitive measures against the junta.
  • Blinken vowed that the U.S. government will continue its effort to push for accountability by allocating $1 million of funding to the United Nations' Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.
  • Before the official declaration on Monday, the U.S. had only formally used the word “genocide” seven times to describe attacks on several minorities, including the Islamic State's attacks on Yazidis and other minorities.
  • Previously, the U.S. described the junta’s acts as “ethnic cleansing.” Since 2017, more than 730,000 Rohingya have reportedly been driven away from their homes to seek refuge in neighboring countries, such as Bangladesh and Indonesia.
  • The junta organized a coup in February 2021 and has been in power ever since.

The United States has formally declared that Myanmar’s military junta has committed genocide and crimes against humanity on Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.

The official declaration was announced by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Monday.

TikTok of sleep hack developed by the military to make you fall asleep in under 2 minutes goes viral

sleep viral tiktok
  • Justin Agustin, a Filipino fitness trainer from Montreal, received millions of views for his viral TikTok in which he demonstrates a military technique used to help soldiers fall asleep in two minutes.
  • The trick involves systematically relaxing and shutting down your body from head to toe.

Filipino fitness trainer and TikTok influencer Justin Agustin went viral for demonstrating a military technique to help one fall asleep in two minutes. 

Agustin posted the TikTok video last week with the caption: “Technique to falling asleep in 2 minutes!” and it has since garnered over 6.6 million views and nearly 500,000 likes, as of this writing. 

US Army recruitment video showcases life for military workers in South Korea

US Military Recruitment Video
  • A recruitment video released by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Pacific (IMCOM-Pacific) advertises life at a U.S. Army Garrison in South Korea.
  • The video is targeted toward U.S. civilians who would work alongside the Army on the day-to-day operations of the military installment.
  • South Korea is the country with the third-highest number of U.S. military troops, with nearly 26,000 Americans stationed there.

A recruitment video created by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command-Pacific (IMCOM-Pacific) advertises life in Korea for U.S. military personnel and civilians working at a U.S. Army Garrison. 

In the video, a voiceover advertises the advantages of moving to South Korea with the U.S. Army. “Enjoy modern, Western-style housing, familiar restaurant chains… and a host of activities like amusement parks, festivals, museums, ancient palaces and temples,” the narration says, referring to Korea as “one of the most connected countries on the planet.”

Myanmar military reportedly kills dozens of fleeing civilians in Christmas Eve massacre

Save the Children Myanmar

U.K.-based aid group Save the Children has condemned the recent attack of the Myanmar military on Christmas Eve, which left 38 people dead and two staff members missing. 

What happened: The victims were reportedly fleeing for refugee camps following a clash between armed resistance groups and the Myanmar military near the village of Koi Ngan, a villager told the Associated Press.

Shirtless North Korean soldiers break bricks with their heads, lay on glass and nails for Kim Jong-un

North Korean soldier breaks bricks

A video of North Korean soldiers — some of them shirtless — performing extreme martial arts for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has gone viral on social media.

What’s going on: The performance, which originally aired on North Korean TV, was part of a “self-defense” military exhibition held on Monday. The rest of the event included a formal ceremony, a weapons display and flight stunts by combat pilots, according to KCNA.

Indonesia’s Military to Kick Out Soldiers Discovered to Be Gay

Indonesia Military

Indonesia’s military is set to sanction soldiers found to be members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual or Transgender (LGBT) community. 

Issue of “morality”: On Thursday, Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) spokesperson Col. Sus Aidil released a written statement highlighting the sanction and categorizing being a part of the LGBT community as immoral, reports Tempo.