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THE KOREAN HERALD,YONHAP (South Korea), BBC (UK)

Worldcrunch

South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak is visiting the disputed Dokdo islands Friday, in an attempt to reassert the country's control over the territory which is also claimed by Japan, reports the Korean Herald.

The Dokdo islets, or Takeshima as the Japanese call them, are equidistant between the two Asian countries and are believed to be rich in natural gas deposits.

Lee is the first president to visit the islands, a trip coinciding with the 67th anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan, who colonized the peninsula between 1910-1945.

Japan is keen to forget the past but South Korea seems unable to see beyond it or restrain itself. Lee Myung-bak to visit contested islands.

— Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) August 10, 2012

I have observed many twitter fans in Japan protesting South Korea against South Korean president Lee's illegal entry... bit.ly/MXHy3i

— Ted Yokohama自称特務機関å"¡ (@TedYokohama) August 10, 2012

The BBC's Tokyo correspondent Mariko Oi writes: "The dispute over these islands is a sensitive issue and one that has often been a hurdle to the otherwise improving relations between the two countries. Many Japanese media outlets say it is inevitable that the bilateral relationship will suffer."

Yonhap News Agency reported Friday that the South Korean military had increased the number of Air Force combat planes and military vessels in preparation for the president's visit.

The assertion of South Korean sovereignty has angered Japanese ministers, with Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba urging Mr. Lee to cancel the trip.

Japan is also planning on recalling its ambassador to Seoul, Masatoshi Muto, as a sign of protest.

The video below shows South Korean protestors in 2011 against Japan's claim to the islands.

Japan is also currently locked in a diplomatic row with China over the Senkaku islands.

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Society

In Denmark, Beloved Christmas TV Special Cancelled For Blackface Scenes

The director of the 1997 episode complained that TV executives are being "too sensitive."

Screenshot of a child wearing apparent blackface as part of a vintage "TV Christmas calendar" episode on Danish TV

Screenshot of the controversial scene in a vintage episode of Denmark's traditional "TV Christmas calendar"

Amélie Reichmut

If there’s one thing Scandinavians take seriously, it’s Christmas. And over the past half-century, in addition to all the family and religious traditions, most Nordic countries share a passion for what's known as the "TV Christmas calendar": 24 nightly television episodes that air between Dec. 1 and Christmas Eve.

Originally, the programs were strictly aimed at children; but over the years, the stories evolved more towards family entertainment, with some Christmas calendars becoming classics that generations of Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and others have watched each year as national and family traditions in their own right.

But this year in Denmark, one vintage episode has been pulled from the air because of a blackface scene.

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