Boris Johnson and Partygate

It is no secret that Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, broke rules regarding Covid-19 shutdown, when he held a party. He was fined 50 pounds, which is about $100 or so.

In the meantime, a pub landlord in North Devon held a party on the same date (December 18, 2020) as the prime minister, was fined 4,000 pounds. This hypocritical application of the regulations has people fuming across the pond.

At the time, Devon was under Tier 2 restriction, which meant only friends and family could meet if they were living together or otherwise part of a support bubble. The police performed a raid and found there were several different groups of people sitting together.

The landlord justified the meeting as being limited to a Christmas party among colleagues and coworkers, as they’d been working together throughout the pandemic. The group was around 12-20 people.

The landlord is a Conservative voter and wants Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to resign after they – along with Johnson’s wife Carrie and 40-odd other people – were fined for attending a birthday party on June 19 2020.

Johnson and Sunak had previously said in Parliament that they didn’t attend the party and followed the rules. This story is still in development; some say that Johnson was the first to break toast.

The Wayfarer Inn offered free meals to NHS and care staff during the Covid-19 lockdowns, as well as providing free school meals and giving up rooms at no charge for those self-isolating.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating 12 potential gatherings, meaning the Prime Minister and Sunak could be fined again if found to have participated. Many in Britain are now calling for resignation.

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Chile Restricting Water after 10+ Years of Drought

 

After 13 years of drought, Chile is now enforcing the rationing of water.

Santiago has released a four-tier plan addressing different levels of water conservation applicable to 1.7 million people. The four-tier plan is based on color.

Level 1: Green – prioritizes use of groundwater for water conservation

Level 2, 3: Yellow – also known as early prevention warning and yellow, focuses on reducing water pressure

Level 4: red – water is rationed via 24 hour rotating water cuts. The system is baed on monitoring the levels of water at Maipo and Mapocho rivers.

Santiago officials justified the system as a way of ensuring water access to everyone.

Climate crisis changes are bringing weather changes around the world, challenging previous ways of living based on historical expectations. For example, Pacific Northwest is experiencing more heatwaves and less rainfall, while the East Coast is experiencing stronger hurricanes and more rainfall. Otherwise, about 60% of the US will be experiencing drought this year.

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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.

Brooklyn Sub Shooting Person of Interest: Frank R. James

This morning, the subway in Brooklyn was filled with people panicking, flying bullets, and smoke. The chaos left 20 people injured.

The police is now looking for Frank R. James, a 62 year old man, in connection with the attack, as he rented a U-Haul van that could be linked to the shooting. The U-Haul was rented in Philadelphia.

NYPD is urging anyone with information on his whereabouts. Mr. Frank R. James seems to have addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia and have recently posted several social media posts with bigoted views. He also criticized the NYC mayor Eric Adams.

A male attacker detonated two smoke grenades and opened fire at Brooklyn’s 36th street station and occurred just before 8:30 EST on Tuesday. The man was identified as having a Glock 9 mm semi-automatic handgun.

All of the victims are expected to survive.

$50,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

The gunman himself was roughly 5′ 5″, and around 170 lbs. His actions are not being treated as act of terrorism.

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2022, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.

Food Shortages Cause Riot in Shanghai as Lockdown Continues

China’s Zero Covid program is coming under high scrutiny as Shanghai residents begin rioting against the draconian lockdown against its residents. Some residents have taken to running out of their confinement to beating by regulators, and many are actively seeking food. That being said, food shortage is rampant in the city, despite regulators’ attempt to bring food to its residents.

Shanghai has confirmed 1,006 infections with 24,000 asymptomatic cases in the past 24 hours, and many have been under lockdown since March 28. Authorities said Saturday that areas with no new cases in the last 14 days following another round of mass testing will see easing of restrictions. Nonetheless, people are growing angrier and hungrier, which is never a good mix in the business of running a state.

Will Covid measures become the straw that breaks the camel’s back that is Xi Jinping?

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2022, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.

Price Gouging Gas Station Fined

A gas station also known as West End Motors in Lovettsville, Loudoun County reached a settlement with Virginia Attorney General over price-gouging during the Colonial Pipeline shutdown last year. The company was charged with violating the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act.

Between May 11 and May 14, the gas station charged prices of $3.51 for unleaded regular, $3.799 for midgrade, and $3.999 for premium above average. This increase is around 24% to 22% increase over what the gas station was charging the previous 10 days.

The Attorney General also argued that the price raise was not due to regular business cost increase, and that the price increase likely was much more than the average alleged.

West End Motors agreed to stop any further violations and pay $6,567.53 in restitution for affected customers, $1,250 in civil penalties, and $1,250 in attorney’s fees.

If any affected customers purchased gas on May 11, 12, or 14, 2021 from West End Motors and desire a compensation, they should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section.

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2022, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.

 

Virginia to Protect Dogs and Cats

Virginia has passed a new law prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats for experimental purposes and tightening the definition of animal cruelty. Anyone caught selling or offering to sell animals for experiments could be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor for each animal.

Breeders will also have to keep records of their animals for five years after the animal’s sale.

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2022, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.

85 mph Tornado Also Confirmed in Centreville

On March 31, the Northern Virginia and Maryland area was under a tornado warning until about 8:50 PM. The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado landing in Tysons Corner. The National Weather Service confirmed a second hit in Virginia, spotted in Centreville, Virginia on March 31, around 8:21 PM. Thankfully, no injuries or deaths were reported, but several trees were downed.

The tornado traveled 80 yards near Cub Run Elementary School. The max wind reached was 85 mph, with path width of 30 years, and at the strength of EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2022, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.

21 States Sue Biden Administration to Stop Mask Mandates in Airplanes

On Tuesday, 21 states filed a suit to end the federal mandate requiring people to wear masks when traveling on most modes of public transportation, including airplanes and buses. The mandate was extended through April 18.

The plaintiff named includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Most mask mandates have been updated, and the only federal mandate that really stays in place is the mask mandate for public transportation.

Airlines have been supportive of the states seeking to end the mandate. Last week, executives from 10 airlines and the American Public Transportation Association sent letters to Biden urging him to end pandemic-related travel policies including mask mandates.

The new 30-page suit filed in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida calls the mandate “arbitrary and capricious.”

The 21 states that filed the suit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Children younger than 2 and people with certain disabilities are exempt from the mask requirement, and the government has yet to actually announce a COVID-19 endemic.

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2022, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.

Poetry Review in Korean by Ho-Chun Kim

<명시 감상 >

가재미

문태준

김천의료원 6인실 302호에 산소마스크를 쓰고 암 투병 중인 그녀가 누워있다 

바닥에 바짝 엎드린 가재미처럼 그녀가 누워 있다 

나는 그녀의 옆에 나란히 한 마리 가재미로 눕는다 

가재미가 가재미에게 눈길을 건네자 그녀가 울컥 눈물을 쏟아낸다 

한쪽 눈이 다른 한쪽 눈으로 옮겨 붙은 야윈 그녀가 운다 

그녀는 죽음만을 보고 있고 나는 그녀가 살아 온 파랑 같은 날들을 보고 있다 

좌우를 흔들며 살던 그녀의 물 속 삶을 나는 떠올린다 

그녀의 오솔길이며 그 길에 돋아나던 대낮의 뻐꾸기 소리며 

가늘은 국수를 삶던 저녁이며 흙담조차 없었던 그녀 누대의 가계를 떠올린다 

두 다리는 서서히 멀어져 가랑이지고 

폭설을 견디지 못하는 나뭇가지처럼 등뼈가 구부정해지던 그 겨울 어느 날을 생각한다 

그녀의 숨소리가 느릅나무 껍질처럼 점점 거칠어진다 

나는 그녀가 죽음 바깥의 세상을 이제 볼 수 없다는 것을 안다 

한쪽 눈이 다른 쪽 눈으로 캄캄하게 쏠려버렸다는 것을 안다 

나는 다만 좌우를 흔들며 헤엄쳐 가 그녀의 물 속에 나란히 눕는다 

산소호흡기로 들어 마신 물을 마른 내 몸 위에 그녀가 가만히 적셔준다 

                                             <2004년 ‘현대시학’, 문태준(文泰俊); 1970년- > 

시에 대한 감상은 사람마다 다 같을 수가 없다. 자신의 느낌에 맞게 감상하는 것이 좋을 것 같다.

자칫 잘못하면 어느 유명 시인이나 평론가가 해설, 감상해 놓은 것이 붕어빵 굽는 판이 되어 다르게 해석, 감상할 여지를 잃게 할 수가 있다. 좋은 예가 학교 교육에서 문학작품을 어느 유명 시인이나 평론가가 해석, 감상해 놓으면 학생들이나 독자들은 오직 그들의 해석, 감상에만 따른다. 자신의 느낌을 개입할 여지가 전혀 없는 것이다. 물론 원작자의 의도와는 전혀 다르게 해석, 감상할 수도 있다. 그러나, 나는 그게 시라 생각한다.

자작시를 해설해 놓은 것도 있다. 그것은 독자를 염두에 두지 않은 것이다. 개성이 다르고 생각이 다르고 삶의 방식이 다르고 인생관이 다른 사람들이 왜 작자의 생각을 따라야 하는 것인가?

그래서 문태준 시인의 ‘가재미’는 여러 해설과 감상의 글이 있다. 그렇지만, 나는 내 나름대로 적어 볼 뿐이다.

시의 제목 ‘가재미’는 사투리를 그대로 쓴 것 같다. 사투리를 쓴 것부터가 평범한 인간들 사이에서 빚어지는 일로 전체 시의 정서와 닿아 있다.

가자미는 심해에서 사는 동물로 어린 고기일 때는 좌우 대칭으로 눈이 양쪽으로 있다가 자라면서 왼쪽 눈이 오른쪽 눈 곁으로 쏠리게 된다. 왼쪽 몸은 바닥을 향하다가 색이 본래의 색을 버리고 하얗게 되고, 오른쪽 몸은 어두운 주위 환경에 적응하여 검은색을 띠게 된다. 가자미의 이 생태가 이 시에 적절하게 적용 되었다고 생각한다.

이 시에서 가자미의 눈은 ‘암 투병 중인 그녀’요, 시적 화자이다. 병상에 누워있는 ‘그녀’는 가자미의 왼쪽 눈처럼 자신의 모든 것을 버리고 가자미의 오른쪽 눈인 ‘나’에게 와서 살아 준 ‘그녀’다. 본래 왼쪽의 검은 본성을 접고 하얗게 변하면서 오른쪽 ‘나’에게로 와 준 것이다. 

 런 ‘그녀‘가 가재미처럼’ 병상에 누워 있는 것이다. 다른 한쪽 눈인 ‘나’가 애처로이 지켜보는 가운데.

마음을 서늘하게 하는 장면이 아닐 수가 없다. 애초 상황 설정이 병원으로 되면서 슬픔의 정서를 이끌어내고, 그것도 그냥 병원 침대에 누워서가 아니라, ‘김천의료원 6인실 302호’라고 구체적으로 밝혀 놓음으로써 추상에서 구체적 상황으로 전환 되면서 한층 실감을 이끌어내고 있다.

형식 면에서도 대조의 기교를 잘 살리고 있다고 본다. 

‘그녀는 죽음만을 보고 있고 나는 그녀가 살아 온 파랑 같은 날들을 보고 있다.’를 통해 죽음을 앞두고 있는 ‘그녀’의 슬픔과 젊었던 시절의 아름다운 날들을 되돌아보아야만 하는 ‘나’의 아픈 마음이 대조 되어 애처로움을 더한다. 이제 머지 않아 죽음의 세계로 떠나 보내야 하는 ‘그녀’.

‘나’는 ‘그녀’와 함께 펼쳤던 지난날의 추억을 되새긴다. ‘그녀’와 함께 오솔길 걸으며 뻐꾸기 울음소리를 듣던 일, 호화로운 음식이 아닌 가락국수 삶던 일, 흙 담조차 없었던 가난을 떠올린다.

이러한 되새김이 한층 이 시의 슬픔의 정서와 한의 정서를 짙게 드러나게 하고 있다.

이제 다시 현실로 돌아와 거친 숨을 몰아 쉬는 ‘그녀’ 숨소리가 가슴을 도려내게 한다. ‘나’가 ‘그녀’에게 해 줄 수 있는 것은 지금 상황에서는 아무것도 없다. 가자미처럼 ‘그녀’ 곁에 나란히 눕는 일밖에는.

시의 구성도 연을 구분하지는 않았지만, 현실 상황에서 과거를 회상하고 다시 현실로 돌아오는 삼분 법을 취하고 있다. 시어 사용도 어렵게 표현하지 않고 일상 쓰는 용어를 그대로 사용했다. 그러나 약간 변화를 주어서 시적 표현으로 바꾸었다. 이런 점은 시작하는 사람들은 본받아야 하리라 생각한다. 이승을 볼 수 없다고 하지 않고, ‘죽음 바깥의 세상을 이제 볼 수 없다’로 표현하고 있다. 사물을 보되 남 다르게 보고 독특하게 표현하는 방법도 익혀야 하리라고 본다.

나는 이 시의 소재가 무엇이고, 주제가 무엇이고 따지기에 앞서 그냥 읽고, 이 시가 나에게 나름의 어떤 느낌을 가질 수 있게 했다면 그것으로 충분하다고 생각한다.

-김호천

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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.

Loudoun County Wants to Increase Real Estate Taxes?!

Loudoun County and the Town of Middleburg are proposing to increase property tax levies, mostly based on reports of an increase in property value assessments controlled and assessed by the County. 

Loudoun County justifies the tax increase based on inflation and 10-25% increase in property values from 2020-2021; Loudoun is currently entertaining at least 2-3% increase, with some households being assessed more.

2022, according to Loudoun County, excluding additional assessments due to new construction or improvements to property, exceeds last year’s total assessed value of real property by 15.13%. As a result, a $650,000 assessed single-family home could go up around $53, while townhomes have increased value at a more aggressive rate resulting in potential tax bills of an additional $136 per year.

The first announcement of this meeting was prominently advertised in Loudoun Now on February 17 in accordance with the Virginia state code.

According to the Virginia state code, the announcement of this public hearing must appear in the county newspaper in at least 18 point type and take up one-eighth of a page in any section except the legal notice/classified section. 

How Loudoun County citizens will handle the news amidst dropping value of the US dollar due to the inflation has yet to be fully expressed.

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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.