News In Focus: A Look at the World’s Most Interesting Stories


Asia: South Korea’s biggest opposition group failed to stall a controversial “anti-terrorism” bill despite staging a record-breaking eight-day filibuster.

The bill, proposed by the ruling Saenuri Party, would grant wide-ranging new powers of surveillance to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, Seoul’s main spy agency, to investigate individuals and groups.

But lawmakers from the liberal Minjoo Party, the country’s largest opposition party, denounced the bill, saying that it may violate personal freedoms and privacy.

Their filibuster lasted eight straight days and nights with more than 11,000 minutes of non-stop speeches by 38 opposition parliament members.

The National Assembly eventually approved the bill after the filibuster ended on Wednesday.

For more, we go to ARIRANG NEWS:


Americas: On Monday, Argentine President Mauricio Macri agreed to a US$4.65 billion cash payment for four “holdout” creditors: NML Capital, Aurelius Capital Management, Davidson Kempner Capital Management, and Bracebridge Capital.

If the country’s Congress approves the payment, it will end a 15-year legal battle that started when the government defaulted on US$100 billion in debt in 2001.

Argentine Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay has said the payment will be funded through US$15 billion of new bonds.

The creditors will receive 25% less than they were demanding.  Even so, the agreement is considered palatable, as investors bought the debt at a fraction of its face value.

And for Argentina, the agreement opens the door for attracting fresh foreign investment and enables the government to raise debt to finance its budget deficit, which stands about 5.8% of GDP last year.

For more on the payout, we go to this euronews report:


Europe: Macedonian police fired tear gas at refugees who tried to cross the border from Greece on Monday.

Greek officials said more than 7,000 people, the vast majority of whom are Syrians and Iraqis, are stranded along the Greek-Macedonian border, according to the Guardian.

These refugees are trying to reach Central Europe, especially Germany, but they are being held back in Greece as a result of Balkan countries’ decision to close Europe’s eastern migrant corridor.

The Guardian reports that between 2,000 to 3,000 migrants and refugees are reaching Greece every day with close to 25,000 stranded within its borders.

They have put a heavy strain on Greece’s infrastructure.  Schools, sporting arena,s and passenger terminals have all been turned into makeshift refugee camps.

There seems no immediate solution in sight, however.

For more on the migrant crisis, we go to Channel 4 News:


Film: BreakThru Films is producing the world’s first feature-length animated film using oil canvases as the frames.

Directed by Polish painter Dorota Kobiela and Oscar-winning producer Hugh Welchman, “Loving Vincent” tells the story of the life and death of Vincent van Gogh through fictional interviews with the characters in the artist’s paintings.

The story is created from 800 letters written by the artist himself.

The film will use a new oil painting for each shot.  Each painting is created in the style of the Dutch post-Impressionist painter and more than 120 of van Gogh’s iconic paintings will be featured.

According to the BBC, around 100 artists have taken part in the project so far, with more than 56,000 paintings needed to fill the film’s running time.

After the film is completed, a quarter of the paintings will be selected for a touring exhibition; the rest will be sold off.

The filmmakers are still looking for “high-level oil painters” to contribute to the project.  Those who are interested can visit its website here:

The first trailer about the life of troubled artist Vincent Van Gogh can be found here:


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“Loving Vincent” Image Courtesy of BreakThru Films