Seoul taxi drivers are asking for a steep fare-rate hike and might strike because of soaring gas prices, according to local media reports.

The Seoul Private Taxi Driver Association is asking the city government to raise the basic fare from 1,900 won ($1.90) to upwards of 3,000 won.

The plea comes on the heels of a pending general strike by the Korean Transport Workers Union.

Truck drivers already went on strike Tuesday in Pyongtaek, Gunsan and North Jeolla province, lining their trucks by the side of highways and ports. Railway, airline, bus and taxi companies throughout South Korea could join the strike Monday once the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions finishes voting Saturday.

Stateside bands to play Area I clubsTwo bands are coming to Area I clubs this month.

Blue Island Tribe has announced the following play dates:

7 p.m. June 24 at the Camp Bonifas Sanctuary Club7 p.m. June 28 at Camp Red Cloud’s Mitchell’s Club7 p.m. June 29 at the Camp Casey Gateway Club.Blue Island Tribe plays a blend of Caribbean and reggae-influenced rock. The band just released its third album, "The Essentials."

The Dina Preston Band advertises itself as "Five Bands in One" because of its varying musical styles. The band will appear at the Camp Hovey Iron Triangle Club at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

All performances are free and open to all Defense Department identification card holders and their guests.

2nd ID soldier flees before court-martialCAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — A 2nd Infantry Division soldier scheduled to appear for court-martial is now a fugitive, officials said Wednesday.

Spc. Brandon F. Dandridge, of 1st Brigade’s Company A, 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment was reported as absent without leave June 3, a brigade spokesman said Wednesday.

Dandridge was to stand trial Saturday in the Camp Casey courtroom.

He is charged with four counts of theft and one count of unlawful entry, according to court documents.

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