by Yim Hyun-su ([email protected])
K-pop sensation BTS embraced self-love and encouraged young people around the world to “speak themselves” regardless of their origin, skin color and gender identity, in a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday.
Kim Nam-joon, better known as RM, said, “No matter who you are, where you are from, your skin color, your gender identity, just speak yourself,” expressing support for sexual minorities.
The group’s six-minute speech kicked off the launch of the UN’s new youth initiative Generation Unlimited, a program designed to tackle the global education crisis and make education more accessible for young people.
BTS is the first South Korean act to address a UN session. During the speech, Kim reminisced about his happy childhood in the city of Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, in South Korea before he began to worry about what other people would think and eventually “shut out” his own voice.
Monday’s speech saw BTS become one of the few K-pop acts to express support for sexual minorities.
In contrast to how open many American pop singers are about their political views, K-pop acts are often careful about expressing their views when it comes to topics like gender identity.
South Korea’s first lady Kim Jung-sook, who sat next to BTS during the event, said she was proud of the group and congratulated it for topping Billboard’s albums chart.
The first lady also thanked the band for lending strength to young people who struggle with fears and worries about their future, through its music.
Meanwhile, fans took to Twitter with #BTSxUnitedNations.
“Words can’t describe how proud I am to be a fan of such an amazing, well rounded, hard-working and inspiring group who are doing their best to make a world a better place,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another user wrote, “People should start realising that BTS isn’t your typical boy group, but more of a movement to the youth. They’ve been using their platform to speak on issues they believe in, including the hardships they’ve gone through as an idol and individually.
The UN’s choice of BTS as a speaker was not a coincidence as the group has been advocating self-love for quite some time.
In November, BTS and its label launched the two-year anti-violence donation campaign “Love Myself” designed to help UNICEF’s global campaign “#ENDviolence.”
Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet
PHOTO: The Japan Times
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.
At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.
More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.
With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.
After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.
Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.
Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.
“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.
“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”
“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”
Opening of a rail service between Thailand and Cambodia in Sa Kaew
The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is leading a delegation to officiate at the opening of a new rail service between Thailand and Cambodia at Klong Luek railway station in Sa Kaew province. The Thai government funded the maintenance and restoration of the two kilometre rail track between Klong Luek station and Poipet station in Cambodia.
Rail services between Thailand and Cambodia were suspended for decades due to strained relationships between the two countries since the Cold War era. Although the relationship is much better these days there was little interest in the restoration of the rail link as people in both countries tended to prefer travel by road.
Sea turtle returns to its nesting place – it’s now an airport!
“Despite the unfortunate circumstances that befell the turtle mother, she is reportedly in good health and was released back into the ocean by locals,” wrote local news website The Edition.
The incident has sparked fresh debates on the environmental and social costs of the Maldive’s tourism-propelled growth (sounds familiar?).
“The question remains on how much of Maldives’ biodiversity must be sacrificed in order to propel our country forward industrially and economically,” the website said.
The airport, which has a 2.2 kilometre, 40 metre-wide runway, was inaugurated in August last year. The UAE-funded project was built on Maafaru, one of the inhabited islands of Noonu Atoll, which is a traditional nesting place of the marine turtles.
Once a green turtle hatches and heads into the ocean, it rarely returns to land. When they reach sexual maturity, they travel long distances to go back to their natal place to mate and lay eggs.
The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is on the list of endangered species of animals by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
SOURCE: The Nation
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