The Government Congratulates BTS
Cheongwadae, the Korean presidential residence, and Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon congratulated BTS, a K-pop boy band, for taking the top spot on the Billboard 200 for the second time. The Blue House tweeted on their official account to celebrate BTS’s ranking. The prime minister also tweeted to praise their exceptional achievement, being the 19th singer or group in history to top the Billboard twice in one year.
Putin on TV
Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared on a reality show as a protagonist, appealing to the audience with his folksy charm. He chatted with teenagers making seemingly intimate eye contact. Putin also climbed mountains in easy-to-wear outfits, picking raspberries. The show “Moscow, Kremlin, Putin” is a one-hour program broadcasted by Russian state-operated channel Russia-1. Foreign news outlets including the Washington Post and the Guardian interpreted it as Putin’s special strategy to increase his approval rate, which has fallen by more than 10 percent since the Russian government announced their plans to raise the pension age. Russians are criticizing the president for not paving the way for reasonable pension reform, but for image politics.
Where Are Small Smartphones?
Smartphones with small screens are hardly seen these days. The new iPhone models released last month have wide screens, which are 6.5 and 5.8 inches. American company Apple, which stuck to its 3.5-inch screen for a long time, also started introducing larger ones over time. IT media Engadget estimated that the smartphones with small screens have not yet completely disappeared from the market, but they will gradually decrease.
Seoul’s Housing Prices Get Higher
Housing prices in Seoul and other provinces are facing opposite directions, with the gap recording the widest ever. According to the data released in September by Korea Appraisal Board, polarization in the nationwide average selling price of apartments is getting worse.
When the average price of houses in the top 20 percent is divided by that of the bottom 20 percent, the resulting figure is 8.7, which means real estate in Seoul is almost nine times more expensive than in the countryside. From December of 2017 through August of 2018, the value of houses located in Seoul went up by 6.14 percent, while that of the provinces’ fell by 2.83 percent during the same period.
By Jeon Nu-ri