News for South Korea

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Effects of mobile phone usage on sperm quality: A systematic review and updated meta-analysis
South Korea Created: 5 Aug 2021
We evaluated 18 studies that included 4280 samples - Exposure to mobile phones is associated with reduced sperm motility, viability, and concentration. The decrease in sperm quality after RF-EMW exposure was not significant, even when the mobile phone usage increased. This finding was consistent across experimental in vitro and observational in vivo studies.
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Source: Environmental Research, Kim et al., 30 Jul 2021

Study: 4G signal promotes ageing in human cells and decreases proliferation due to oxidative-stress
South Korea Created: 8 Mar 2021
Continuous Exposure to 1,7 GHz LTE Electromagnetic Fields Increases Intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species to Decrease Human Cell Proliferation and Induce Senescence.


Due to the rapid development of mobile phone technology, we are continuously exposed to 1.7 GHz LTE radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs), but their biological effects have not been clarified.

Here, we investigated the non-thermal cellular effects of these RF-EMFs on human cells, including human adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ASCs), Huh7 and Hep3B liver cancer stem cells (CSCs), HeLa and SH-SY5Y cancer cells, and normal fibroblast IMR-90 cells.

When continuously exposed to 1.7 GHz LTE RF-EMF for 72 h at 1 and 2 SAR, cell proliferation was consistently decreased in all the human cells.

The anti-proliferative effect was higher at 2 SAR than 1 SAR and was less severe in ASCs. The exposure to RF-EMF for 72 h at 1 and 2 SAR did not induce DNA double strand breaks or apoptotic cell death, but did trigger a slight delay in the G1 to S cell cycle transition.

Cell senescence was also clearly observed in ASC and Huh7 cells exposed to RF-EMF at 2 SAR for 72 h. Intracellular ROS increased in these cells and the treatment with an ROS scavenger recapitulated the anti-proliferative effect of RF-EMF.

These observations strongly suggest that 1.7 GHz LTE RF-EMF decrease proliferation and increase senescence by increasing intracellular ROS in human cells.

Subject terms: Cell biology, Risk factors
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Source: Scientific reports, Choi et al, 8 Jun 2020

Running Out of Children, a South Korea School Enrolls Illiterate Grandmothers
South Korea Created: 28 Apr 2019
As the birthrate plummets in South Korea, rural schools are emptying - To fill its classrooms, one school opened its doors to women who have for decades dreamed of learning to read.

GANGJIN COUNTY, South Korea — Every morning on her way to school, Hwang Wol-geum, a first grader, rides the same yellow bus as three of her family members: One is a kindergartner, another a third grader and the other a fifth grader.

Ms. Hwang is 70 — and her schoolmates are her grandchildren.

Illiterate all her life, she remembers hiding behind a tree and weeping as she saw her friends trot off to school six decades ago. While other village children learned to read and write, she stayed home, tending pigs, collecting firewood and looking after younger siblings. She later raised six children of her own, sending all of them to high school or college.

Yet it always pained her that she couldn’t do what other mothers did.

“Writing letters to my children, that’s what I dreamed of the most,” Ms. Hwang said.

Help came unexpectedly this year from the local school that was running out of school-age children and was desperate to fill its classrooms with students.

South Korea’s birthrate has been plummeting in recent decades, falling to less than one child per woman last year, one of the lowest in the world.

The hardest hit areas are rural counties, where babies have become an increasingly rare sight as young couples migrate en masse to big cities for better paying jobs.

Like other rural schools, Daegu Elementary, in Ms. Hwang’s district, has seen its students dwindle. When Ms. Hwang’s youngest son, Chae Kyong-deok, 42, attended it in the 1980s, it had 90 students in each grade. Now, the school has only 22 students in total, including one student each in its fourth- and fifth-grade classes.

This year, the worst calamity of all struck the district.

“We went around villages looking for just one precious kid to enroll as a first grader,” said the principal, Lee Ju-young. “There was none.”

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Source: New York Times, Choe Sang-Hun, 27 Apr 2017

Samsung Electronics supplies 53,000 5G base stations for Korean carriers
South Korea Created: 28 Apr 2019
Samsung Electronics has already provided a total of 53000 5G radio base stations to Korea’s three mobile operators, the Asian vendor said in a statement.

Samsung Electronics said that 5G service is now commercially available to consumers and enterprises from all three mobile carriers in 85 cities across Korea.

Korean operators SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus have been transmitting 5G signals in Seoul and metropolitan areas since December 2018 using 5G base station radios and 5G core solutions from Samsung’s Networks Business unit.

The company also said that it had provided 5G core solutions to the three carriers.

“Korea is one of the first markets in the world in which the 5G experience is opening up for consumers, and we’re thrilled to play a key role in the nationwide rollout of 5G,” said Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun, EVP and head of the networks business at Samsung Electronics.

Korean operators rolled out their commercial 5G networks using Samsung’s 5G Massive-MIMO Unit (MMU) radio base station in 3.5 GHz spectrum. The virtualized 5G core solutions, provided to all three Korean operators for their 5G commercial launch, support both legacy 4G networks and next generation 5G services in Non-Standalone (NSA) mode. They can also migrate to Standalone (SA) mode through a simple software upgrade in the future, the vendor said.

Samsung also said that its solution implements many of the key technologies of 5G networks, such as Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS), which are essential for network operators to scale their networks and support the new services enabled by 5G technology.

Last week, SK Telecom officially launched commercial 5G services across the country. The telco said that nationwide coverage is being offered through a total of 34,000 5G base stations in 85 cities.

The company has rolled out its 5G network in data traffic-concentrated areas, including university districts, sports stadiums, highways, subway lines (Seoul and Seoul Metropolitan Area) and beaches.

In the second half of 2019, SK Telecom aims to expand its 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks and festival sites.The operator expects to attract approximately 1 million 5G customers by the end of this year. It has a total of 27 million users.

Rival operator KT recently confirmed it has already deployed 15,000 5G base stations in Seoul and will install a total of 30,000 5G base stations across the country by April 5.

The carrier said that its 5G commercial offering will be available in 85 major cities nationwide by the end of 2019.

Meanwhile, LG Uplus said it has already deployed a total of 18,000 5G base stations in Seoul and surrounding areas as well as some metropolitan cities. The carrier announced plans to install 50,000 base stations within the first half of the year.

South Korea completed a tender process through which it awarded spectrum in both the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands. The government made available a total of 280 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band and 2,400 megahertz in the 28 GHz band. The spectrum was divided into 28 blocks and 24 blocks.
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Source: RCR Wireless, Juan Pedro Tomás, 10 Apr 2019

Samsung chief Lee arrested as South Korean corruption probe deepens
South Korea Created: 17 Feb 2017
Samsung Group chief Jay Y Lee was arrested on Friday over his alleged role in a corruption scandal rocking the highest levels of power in South Korea, dealing a fresh blow to the technology giant and standard-bearer for Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The special prosecutor's office accuses Lee of bribing a close friend of President Park Geun-hye to gain government favors related to leadership succession at the conglomerate. It said on Friday it will indict him on charges including bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury.

The 48-year-old Lee, scion of the country's richest family, was taken into custody at the Seoul Detention Centre early on Friday after waiting there overnight for the decision. He was being held in a single cell with a TV and desk, a jail official said.

Lee is a suspect in an influence-peddling scandal that led parliament to impeach Park in December, a decision that if upheld by the Constitutional Court would make her the country's first democratically elected leader forced from office.

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Source: Reuters, Hyunjoo Jin and Joyce Lee, 17 Feb 2017

Samsung Electronics to create fund for cancer-stricken workers, safety
South Korea Created: 7 Aug 2015
Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Monday it will create a 100 billion won ($85,8 million) fund to compensate cancer-stricken workers and their families, and for efforts to prevention such diseases at its chip and display factories.

Samsung said in a statement the fund will make payments to workers or families of those who became sick while working at its plants, including contractors. The fund would also pay for research, development of experts and other methods to improve worker safety.

South Korean activist group Sharps, which represents many of the cancer-stricken workers, said on Monday it was aware of around 200 workers who had fallen ill after working at a Samsung plant. About 70 of them have passed away, according to the organization, which declined comment on Samsung's fund plan.

The proposal comes after negotiations between the South Korean firm, workers and their families as well as outside experts over the company's responsibility for the workers, who have attributed illnesses such as lymphoma and leukaemia to prolonged exposure to radiation or dangerous chemicals used in Samsung's factories.

Samsung issued a public apology in May 2014 to affected workers and their families, marking a turning point in a dispute that has lasted nearly a decade.
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Source: Reuters, Se Young Lee & Prateek Chatterjee, 03 Aug 2015

Samsung: Empire of Shame
South Korea Created: 13 Apr 2014
Just inside his single-story home, built of concrete blocks and coated in turquoise paint, Hwang Sang-ki, a 58-year-old Korean taxi driver, sits on a floor mat. He’s clasping a small handbag, once bright white and now dull after years on a shelf. He pulls out a snapshot of 13 smiling young women, all co-workers at Samsung Electronics (005930:KS), off-duty and posing in three rows, each embracing or leaning into the other. The leaves of a tree behind them are turning golden in the autumn chill.

“Here,” says Hwang, pointing to two women in the center of the group. Both had the same job at the same semiconductor factory, on the same line, standing side by side at the same workstation, dipping computer chips into the same vat of chemicals. Both got a particularly aggressive form of the blood cancer known as acute myeloid leukemia. One was his daughter, Yu-mi. In South Korea, only about 3 out of every 100,000 people die of leukemia. “They worked together, and they died,” says Hwang. The snapshot is among a few private memories Hwang keeps of his late daughter.

The story of the two women, and dozens of Samsung workers with leukemia and other rare cancers, is now a very public one in South Korea. In February and March, Koreans could see two movies depicting the seven-year battle led by the Hwangs and other families against Korea’s biggest and most influential corporation.

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Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Cam Simpson, 10 Apr 2014

Surge in 'digital dementia'
South Korea Created: 27 Jun 2013
Doctors in South Korea are reporting a surge in "digital dementia" among young people who have become so reliant on electronic devices that they can no longer remember everyday details like their phone numbers.

South Korea is one of the most digitally connected nations in the world and the problem of internet addiction among both adults and children was recognised as far back as the late 1990s.

That is now developing into the early onset of digital dementia – a term coined in South Korea – meaning a deterioration in cognitive abilities that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.

"Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain," Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, told the JoongAng Daily newspaper.

"Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped," he said.

The right side of the brain is linked with concentration and its failure to develop will affect attention and memory span, which could in as many as 15 per cent of cases lead to the early onset of dementia.

Sufferers are also reported to suffer emotional underdevelopment, with children more at risk than adults because their brains are still growing.

The situation appears to be worsening, doctors report, with the percentage of people aged between 10 and 19 who use their smartphones for more than seven hours every day leaping to 18.4 per cent, an increase of seven per cent from last year.

More than 67 per cent of South Koreans have a smartphone, the highest in the world, with that figure standing at more than 64 per cent in teenagers, up from 21.4 per cent in 2011, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Dr Manfred Spitzer, a German neuroscientist, published a book titled "Digital Dementia" in 2012 that warned parents and teachers of the dangers of allowing children to spend too much time on a laptop, mobile phone or other electronic devices.

Dr Spitzer warned that the deficits in brain development are irreversible and called for digital media to be banned from German classrooms before children become "addicted."
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Source: Telegraph, Julian Ryall / Tokyo, 24 Jun 2013

We are told it is all about getting business working agin: So WHY is it IMPORTANT for BUSINESS to DOWNLOAD a FILM in 1 sec?
South Korea Created: 15 May 2013
Samsung claims 5G breakthrough
New technology paves the way for movie downloads in less than a second, Samsung claims.
Despite the fact that major countries including the UK and China have yet to complete their 4G mobile phone network roll-out, South Korean Samsung claims its new technology could offer “ubiquitous” access to ultra high-speed networks operating at 100 times current speeds and offering regular gigabit access.
5G networks could allow “a wide range of services such as 3D movies and games, real-time streaming of ultra high-definition content, and remote medical services,” Samsung claimed in a blog post.
The ‘mmWave Mobile Technology’ is the first system that claims to be fully fledged, although research into 5G has been going on in laboratories around the world for some time. Last year, Britain’s University of Surrey announced £35m funding for a research centre back by Huawei, Samsung, Fujitsu, Telefonica and others.
Up to now, however, scientists have believed that high-frequency wavebands were generally not suitable for long-range communications required by mobile networks.
“The implementation of a high-speed 5G cellular network requires a broad band of frequencies, much like an increased water flow requires a wider pipe,” said Samsung. “While it was a recognized option, it has been long believed that the millimeter-wave bands had limitations in transmitting data over long distances due to its unfavorable propagation characteristics.”
While current 4G networks in the UK use bands as low as 800MHz, Samsung’s new research has concentrated at much higher frequencies and the company claims it has worked over distances up to 2km.
“Samsung’s new adaptive array transceiver technology has proved itself as a successful solution,” the company claims. “It transmits data in the millimeter-wave band at a frequency of 28 GHz at a speed of up to 1.056 Gbps to a distance of up to 2 kilometers. The adaptive array transceiver technology, using 64 antenna elements, can be a viable solution for overcoming the radio propagation loss at millimeter-wave bands, much higher than the conventional frequency bands ranging from several hundred MHz to several GHz.”
A commercially available 5G network is not anticipated until after 2020, although Samsung claims it is aiming to have commercialised 5G by then. Its focus on mobile infrastructure technologies could mark a new plan to challenge the dominance of companies such as Huawei in this area.
“Samsung’s latest innovation is expected to invigorate research into 5G cellular communications across the world,” Samsung claimed. “The company believes it will trigger the creation of international alliances and the timely commercialization of related mobile broadband services.”

5G: who needs it?
Samsung's breakthrough may be years away, but 5G can’t come soon enough in town and country says Matt Warman
In a pub last week, the best way I could connect to the internet was to turn off wifi, get out of the BT Openzone blackspot, and switch to a 4G mobile phone signal. For a business round the corner, the owners had found that 4G was faster than their broadband, too.
We’re living in a soup of different connectivity options, where 3G can sometimes be available, 4G is in some places, and wifi, often installed as a way of getting online where previously there was no option, often acts as a barrier thanks to the tortuous process of logging in to the different options. And there are still large chunks of the country, often those where a web connection would make the most impact, where broadband of any kind is a distant dream.
Today Samsung claims that 5G will be with us by 2020. It claims that from within 2km of a mast, 1GB download speeds would be perfectly possible.
Thus far, this has all happened in a lab, but with 5G, however, there’s the theoretical promise of two things: where it is at its best, it would offer connectivity at speeds that are almost unprecedented anywhere in today’s UK. But it’s the promised ‘ubiquity’ that is more tempting. That could yet be more transformative, especially in rural areas.
5G networks could allow “a wide range of services such as 3D movies and games, real-time streaming of ultra high-definition content, and remote medical services,” Samsung claimed in a blog post.
What the promise of 5G demonstrates is that we may yet manage to stop thinking about connectivity – the end of the idea of an awkward conversation mostly consisting of saying “I’m on the train” thanks to intermittent reception,
There will be those who ask why we need such fast reception, just as there are those who wonder why we need fibre to every house for broadband: the answer is two-fold. First, because countries such as China are already doing it and it is vital Britain continues to compete. But secondly, because without such freedom from the constraints imposed by infrastructure, we leave ourselves little freedom to innovate. The services of the future will only happen on the intrastructure of the future – we must sort out the problems we have today, with 3G and 4G and wifi too – but 5G can’t come soon enough.
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Source: Agnes Ingvarsdottir.

Cancer incidence in Korea has increased rapidly
South Korea Created: 13 May 2013
Cancer Statistics in Korea: Incidence, Mortality, Survival and Prevalence in 2010.



This article gives an overview of nationwide cancer statistics, including incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence, and their trends in Korea based on 2010 cancer incidence data.
Materials and Methods

Incidence data from 1993 to 2010 were obtained from the Korea National Cancer Incidence Database, and vital status was followed until 31 December 2011. Mortality data from 1983 to 2010 were obtained from Statistics Korea. Crude and age-standardized rates for incidence, mortality, prevalence, and relative survival were calculated.

In total, 202,053 cancer cases and 72,046 cancer deaths occurred during 2010, and 960,654 prevalent cancer cases were identified in Korea as of 1 January 2011. The incidence of all cancers combined showed an annual increase of 3.3% from 1999 to 2010. The incidences of liver and cervical cancers have decreased while those of thyroid, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers have increased. Notably, thyroid cancer, which is the most common cancer in Korea, increased by 24.2% per year rapidly in both sexes. The mortality of all cancers combined showed a decrease by 2.7% annually from 2002 to 2010. Five-year relative survival rates of patients who were diagnosed with cancer from 2006 to 2011 had improved by 22.9% compared with those from 1993 to 1995.

While the overall cancer incidence in Korea has increased rapidly, age-standardized cancer mortality rates have declined since 2002 and survival has improved.
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Source: Cancer Research & Treatment, Young-Joo Won, PhD et al, 31 Mar 2013

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