A Southern California woman was arrested after police discovered she had been filing false domestic violence reports and then robbing people after they were taken into police custody, according to news reports.
The Orange County Register reported that Sunmee Kim, 36, would use a false identity on Korean dating sites and target Korean businessmen, whom she would strike up a quick relationship with. Kim would then force a confrontation in order to call the cops on the victim and when they were arrested she would rob their homes and leave.
Kim was arrested on Dec. 21, a week after police say she filed a false domestic violence report in Irvine against a 44-year-old businessman. A police officer became suspicious after the photo in the ID Kim provided didn’t look like her. After running her fingerprints, the name that came up did not match the name on her ID. When confronted, Kim fled. Continue reading →
North Korea’s outlook has earned it the title of the ‘hermit kingdom.’ The country is both cut off from the wider world and intensely focused on its neighbors.
In South Korea, some praise North’s departed “Dear Leader” Reuters
Despite growth that has propelled South Korea to become the world’s 13th largest economy, a powerhouse that makes computers, mobile telephones and cars, there are some in the capital of Seoul who believe life is better in the impoverished North.
As the world watched Wednesday’s funeral of dictator Kim Jong-il, who presided over famine, a nuclear arms push and military skirmishes with the South, Choi Dong Jin, 48, told Reuters that Kim was “a great and outstanding person” for resisting U.S. imperialism.
Korean American pastor seeks reunification through humanitarian aid CNN.com
When Chang Soon Lee reflects on his childhood years in North Korea, his joy quickly turns to deep sadness. Like millions of Koreans caught in the middle of the Korean War in the early 1950s, Chang at the age of 15 was forced to flee his native homeland.
His father, a prominent minister who survived World War II, disappeared just days after communist-led forces invaded Pyongyang. “After the (World War II) liberation of Korea, my father often visited churches and preached but one day we waited for him and he never returned home,” says Chang.
By the time an armistice halted the Korean War in 1953, nearly 37,000 U.S. troops had been killed and more than 400,000 North Koreans soldiers were dead, according to the U.S Department of Defense.
Chang eventually emigrated to the United States on a student visa and became a minister, co-founding a ministry for Korean immigrants at Wiltshire United Method Church in Los Angeles, home to the nation’s largest Korean-American population.
But Chang has never forgotten his homeland and he’s returned half a dozen times on humanitarian missions, taking tons of food to orphanages as part of a charity group he established in the United States. “Its a kind of symbolic showing for them that we love you, you are our brothers and sisters, we are tragically separated but we are one and we are concerned about you we are praying,” says Chang.
A man who claimed to be a North Korean defector has committed suicide after confessing that he was sent to spy on the South.
During questioning the man, who was in his 30s, said he had received orders from Pyongyang to report on a South Korean organization that helps defectors from the North.
The National Intelligence Service said the man had hanged himself in a shower room. The source said North Korean spies held the man’s family hostage and that he felt pressured after his confession.
Adoption of Korean boys leads to full house Journal Review (Crawfordsville, Ind.)
Paul and Stacey Leonard of Ladoga adopted sons Charlie, 1, and Reuben, 5, from South Korea. The Leonards also have a biological son, Peter, 8.
Injury costs Huskers one-time starting lineman for bowl NBC Sports
Due to an injury to the regular starter, Nebraska Cornhuskers offensive lineman Seung Hoon Choi will be in the starting lineup when Nebraska takes on South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2.
S. Korean short-track legend gains Russian citizenship to fulfill Sochi dream Russia Today
Russia’s medal hopes at their first-ever Winter Games in Sochi have been given yet another boost as South Korean short-track legend Ahn Hyun-soo has finally been granted Russian citizenship.
The 26-year-old captured three golds and one bronze at the Turin Olympics back in 2006, becoming the most successful athlete there. He is also a five-time Overall World Champion.
HyunA & 2NE1 make it to Spin.com’s ‘Favorite Pop Tracks of 2011′ list allkpop
On December 27, the website for music magazine Spin revealed their favorite pop singles of 2011.
Among the various songs by A-list pop icons, two K-pop songs made it to the list. At #3, HyunA‘s “Bubble Pop” beat #4 pop princess Britney Spears‘ “Till the World Ends“, and 2NE1‘s “I Am the Best” took the #8 spot.
Lidea Park, owner of Duck Hyang restaurant in Queens, says she makes kimchi with trepidation.
Ever since she received seven violation points during a city health inspection in June, she’s been fearful about how her restaurant prepares and stores kimchi, a traditional fermented dish that is a staple in Korean cuisine. The violation points resulted from five pounds of kimchi being left at room temperature and exceeding the city Department of Health’s 41-degree temperature requirement for cold foods, according to the inspection.
“They don’t understand the kimchi,” said Ms. Park. “Many Korean restaurants with kimchi get points because the inspector, they don’t understand what it is.”
Korean restaurant and business groups say they are all too often unfairly penalized by the health department because their fermented foods are determined to be above 41 degrees, the temperature below which city rules require potentially hazardous prepared cold food be stored.
A Great Falls man has admitted he played a key role in what authorities have described as one of the most brazen federal contracting scams in U.S. history, according to court records that became public Monday.
Young N. Cho, who also goes by the first name of Alex, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges at a secret hearing in September — just weeks before federal agents arrested four other men in a $20 million scheme that targeted the Army Corps of Engineers.
Cho’s plea deal became public after a federal judge ordered it unsealed.
Cho, 40, was chief technology officer of Nova Datacom, a Chantilly-based information technology company that did work with the Army Corps. His role in the scam began in 2007 when he began passing kickbacks to two program managers at the Army Corps in exchange for lucrative contracts, according to court papers.
Background Extra Recounts His Unlikely Spiritual Mission Media Bistro
LA native Steve Cha has a B.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA and is currently working on an M.A. in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Along the way, he also worked for several years as a professional background extra.
Earlier this year, Cha published a book about his on-set experiences called Hollywood Mission: Possible. With Christmas and Tom Cruise upon us, he is re-promoting a tale of, essentially, the Tim Tebow of background extras:
During his three-year journey, Steve evangelized many famous actors, actresses, directors, and aspirants in Tinsel Town… Steve’s revealing autobiography recounts how the gospel was shared with celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Dan Aykroyd, and many other stars.
Hines Ward in ‘Dark Knight Rises’ trailer CBS Sports
“Dark Knight Rises,” the latest in the line of Batman movies from Christopher Nolan, is slated to hit theaters in July of 2012. But the full trailer hit the Internets over the weekend and guess who makes a cameo: Hines Ward!
We already knew that a slew of Steelers players were playing roles in the movie as members of the Gotham Rogues, whose home field is set at Heinz Field, but not until my younger brother chatted me on Sunday did I realize that Ward was actually in the preview.
You can check out Ward’s appearance at the 1:15 mark below as he runs from not just defenders, but a slew of explosions set by Bane, the movie’s villain, who’s basically like an evil version of Rob Gronkowski, who is also hell-bent on blowing up Heinz Field (only metaphorically) and quite clearly a efficient killing machine created by scientists.
You can walk all the way around it for hours, but to fully experience artist Chul Hyun Ahn’s “Void Platform,” you have to take off your shoes (as signs prompt you to do) and walk out onto it.
The “out” inserts itself in that sentence because of the nature of the piece. In the front gallery at C. Grimaldis Gallery on North Charles Street, Ahn has constructed a low 10-foot-by-8-foot plywood-faced platform that appears to cover a yawning pit descending through the floor as far as the eye can see, albeit a pit lined with subtle bands of greenish lighting. You find yourself testing the surface with your sock-encased toes, curious to know if it will hold your weight. It will, but you hesitate a little anyway. You step onto the smooth surface and stand over what seems to be infinite space receding away below your feet. But if the surface of the piece didn’t hold your weight, you’d drop a mere 16 inches onto Grimaldis’ wooden floor.
Why it’s great to be a foreign traveler in Korea CNNGo
With so many foreign travelers visiting Korea on shopping sprees, it seems Korea has been busy devising ways to say “visit often’ and “thank you” at the same time.
There is so much special treatment for foreign travelers, we wonder why Koreans aren’t more envious.
Here are five benefits of being a foreign traveler in Korea.
What’s Next for North Korea After Kim’s Death?
ABC News via Yahoo News
The death of Kim Jong Il likely puts the leadership of North Korea into the hands of an even more mysterious man, his son, Kim Jong Un, fueling speculation about a struggle for power in the reclusive nation, and with that control of a nuclear arsenal and the world’s fourth-largest military.
Former US Ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg says he is more optimistic about the future of North Korea with the death of its “dear leader,” because Kim Jong Un may be able to move the country more in line with the west.
“There has been a generational change in the top leadership. Some of the 70- and 80-year-olds, really hard-line people, have faded away,” said Gregg.
Gregg says the change in leadership does not mean the country will flex its nuclear muscles, because Kim Jong Un will “need to provide stability in a changing time and that could mean no rash moves.”
“This is potentially a very positive development because the upcoming year is a year of transition,” Gregg said.
Who’s who in Kim Jong Il’s family? Here’s a primer on the Kim family, which led one of the world’s most enduring dictatorships, a repressive regime that has long defied predictions of its demise. It survived from the end of World War II into the 21st century while many of its people went hungry.
North Korean media extolled Kim Jong Un on Monday as the “great successor” and the “outstanding leader of our party, army and people.”
But it’s not so simple. The young man is likely to be overshadowed by a powerful uncle, Jang Sung Taek.
Jang, 65, is married to Kim Jong Il’s younger sister and has spent three decades in the ruling Workers’ Party, holding key positions in the military and secret police and running North Korea’s special economic zones. His family members also hold powerful jobs with the military.
In contrast, the chosen successor has a thin resume. He attended a German-language public high school in Bern, Switzerland, where he was registered as the son of a North Korean diplomat. His classmates described him as crazy about basketball and computer games.
Until September 2010, when the overweight young man with a dimpled face was named a four-star general, he was almost entirely unknown to the North Korean public. Even the exact spelling of his name was a state secret.
The headlines in the Korean press were greeted with relief and worry in Orange County’s Korean-American community: “Kim Jong Il Dead,” and nobody was quite sure what would come next.
Tens of thousands of Orange County residents come from South Korea, and thousands more have family ties to the nation that has long lived with the threat of the north and its mercurial leader. They followed the news of Kim’s death with the safety of friends and family in mind.
“The situation in the Korean Peninsula has been very fragile” even before Kim’s death, said Joe Pak, a board member of the Korean American Federation of Orange County. “We’d like to have a very stable situation with North Korea.”
Kim the Movie Buff
Kim was a major film buff, and reportedly owned 10,000 to 20,000 DVDs, many of which were Hollywood films. Some of his favorite movies include the 1980s slasher flick “Friday the 13th,” the Sylvester Stallone action flick “Rambo” and the Japanese classic “Godzilla.”
They are a group with much to lose in the aftermath of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il: defectors who have fled the secretive regime and have little access to information about family members back home.
On Monday, several former North Koreans now living in Seoul talked about their feelings concerning the death of a man many called a dreaded tyrant.
“I didn’t get chance to call my hometown yet because it costs a lot of money. I am not so worried about my relatives. If they were elites, I would be extra-concerned, but my folks are common people,” said Kang Cheol-ryong, a 28-year-old defector who’s now attending a university in Seoul. “But I know that dangers lurk. Until the mourning period ends, they should not drink, sing, have fun, play or laugh. So they should be careful.”
Kang, who is president of his college’s Students for Peace and Unification Assn., said he fears for his countrymen as Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Kim Jong Un, is set to assume control of the Pyongyang regime.
Europe Cautious in Reaction to Kim Jong-il’s Death Chosun Ilbo
European officials reacted with a mix of hope and watchfulness to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and apparent power transition to his son. Reactions in Europe have been slow and cautious to the news of Kim Jong-il’s demise.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague sounded a hopeful note, suggesting the North Korean leader’s death from an apparent heart attack could be the turning point for the Asian nation.
In a statement, Hague expressed hope the new North Korean leadership would engage with the international community and work for peace and security in the region.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said there is always hope for change, but that Western expectations remain the same — that North Korea give up its nuclear program and improve the plight of its people.
North Korea is an unsolved mystery. I once had family there, and now the family ties, cut for so long because of the separation of the Koreas into north and south, have healed over into non-existence. Perhaps there is a scar there, an infinitesimal tear in some great grandmother’s conscience, but I don’t even know her. No one in my family remembers her name, so it’s like she never existed. We from the south and we from the north now are separate and at best, indifferent. At worst, hateful in the terrible way of civil war and the brutal animosity of a country divided is capable of. Do we despise ourselves more when we are ourselves?
When I got the part of Kim Jong Il in the fantastic television program “30 Rock,” I approached the role with the zeal of Cate Blanchett transforming herself into Bob Dylan. I remembered once I heard a story of the celebrated actress Glenn Close being seen wearing dark glasses and waiting for a wheelchair in an airplane, feeling the air in front of her as if she were blind, and thinking this is what an actor must do to prepare. Live it. Do it for real.
Within the growing Korean American community in the Washington area, parents have begun to hire top coaches to teach children a sport that’s tremendously popular in their homeland. South Korea has won more Olympic gold medals in short-track than any other country.
“Even though they live in the U.S., many parents think a Korean American should do short-track if they are going to do a sport,’’ said Jimmy Jang, a former coach for the South Korean national team who now coaches in Reston. “There’s a lot of pressure to do the sport and to do well.”
22-year-old Stroud Township arson-murder case appealed Pocono Record (Penn.)
Han Tak Lee, 73, has been in state prison since 1991.
He’s serving a life sentence after being convicted of setting a July 1989 fire that killed his daughter, Ji Yun Lee, 20, at a Stroud Township religious retreat.
After prior unsuccessful efforts to win a new trial, Lee is now awaiting a federal court decision on his latest appeal.
Lee is appealing on grounds that new discoveries in arson investigative techniques prove police used outdated science to convict him, and that his defense counsel didn’t do enough to challenge the evidence against him.
The appeal recently went before a federal court panel, which is reviewing the matter.
What’s it Like Being a Cheese Superstar? Gilt Taste
To be sure, cheesemaking has its stars, but one of its brightest, Soyoung Scanlan of Andante Dairy, demurs. Her cheeses are beloved by just a handful of world-class chefs who can get them, but her relationships with those chefs are too personal, too real for her to trade on. She prefers to talk as if she was a tailor, simply interested in making something well-suited for a client. She speaks in pure poetry, her words rich with wisdom and curiosity, but she is famously reticent to give interviews and shies from the business of her work. As she says, “When I make enough money to buy next week’s milk, I feel like the richest person in the world.”
I hadn’t heard the name Dia Frampton before this review, but I certainly won’t be forgetting it now. Red is a gorgeous collection of songs, quirky and fine with a very strong sense of self. Frampton’s pristine vocals steer an understated but faithful line of instruments that add depth and purpose to her works, creating a relatively short but memorable album that’s equal parts folk, pop, and indie and almost entirely flawless.
Shock, worry, uncertainty as LA’s Koreatown learns of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s death
AP via Washington Post
Many in the largest Korean enclave in the United States took word of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il with disbelief, saying it was a day they thought they’d never see. But when their shock wore off, most in Los Angeles’s Koreatown shifted to quiet concern for the future of their native country and its neighbor to the north.
“Kim Jong Il died? You’re sure about that? No way! I thought he was going to live forever!” said Brian Shin, a 30-year-old native South Korean as he smoked a cigarette in front of his high-rise apartment building on Wilshire Boulevard. He kept expressing doubts until his wife ran downstairs to tell him it was true.
But while he knew the event was huge, he didn’t think it would lead to significant changes.
In grocery stores, shopping plazas and all-night diners in L.A.’s Koreatown, the news of Kim’s death was greeted with both unrestrained joy and a deep sense of concern.
Yoon-hui Kim, a defector who fled North Korea about 10 years ago by crossing the border into China, said refugees were all on edge waiting to see what would happen next.
Many still have family back in North Korea and are deeply concerned about what fate their relatives may face in the immediate future, she said.
“It was no surprise, since we all knew he was ill,” said Kim, who is in her late 30s, but was careful with personal details about herself. “The most worrying is what will happen to the North Korean people.”
Kim said she felt the situation was particularly volatile and unpredictable because neither South Korea nor China would be in a position to influence the country.
Korean leaders in Orange County are anticipating new “challenges” and “opportunities” after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang had just finished speaking at a Christmas gala for the Korean American military cadets in Buena Park when the news broke. He was cautiously optimistic.
“It’s important to monitor the situation as they unveil more information,” said Kang, who emigrated from Korea. “But in terms of human rights, his death is a very positive outcome for the people of North Korea.”
Irvine Councilman Steven Choi also attended the Christmas party. Choi said that although the Korean dictator’s regime was unstable, his presence at least ensured that a status quo would remain in place.
Now, he said, the South Korean military would be on high alert, and those with relatives in the Korean peninsula would have to brace for the possibility of conflict.
“I don’t think there is a positive or negative,” Choi said. “It’s a nervous time. It will bring about some new challenges and some new opportunities.” Choi emigrated from South Korea in 1968 and some of his family still lives there.
As my colleagues Choe Sang-hun and David E. Sanger report, Kim Jong-il, the mysterious and mercurial dictator of North Korea, has died. The news ripped across the globe Sunday night after the country’s official news media proclaimed the leader dead by way of a tearful television announcer. The video above shows an anchorwoman who appears to be struggling through her emotions to deliver the news.
With the abrupt death of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, the fate of his isolated, nuclear-armed regime has dropped into the hands of his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who is such an unknown that the world did not even know for sure what he looked like until last year.
But the biggest enigma may be whether the younger Mr. Kim will be able to hold onto power in this last bastion of hard-line Communism, much less prevent its impoverished economy from collapsing.
For now, the reclusive regime is acting true to form, offering few clues as to what, if any, changes the death of the dictator could bring. It does, however, appear to be offering the first glimmers of an answer to one question that has long dogged North Korea watchers: whether the powerful military and other parts of the nation’s small, privileged ruling elite would go along with the Kim family’s ambitions to extend its dynastic rule to a third generation.
Within hours of the announcement on Monday of his father’s death, North Korea’s ruling Workers Party released a statement calling on the nation to unite “under the leadership of our comrade Kim Jong-un.”
North Korea mourns dead leader, son is “Great Successor”
Reuters via Yahoo News
North Korea’s official KCNA news agency lauded Kim’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un as “the outstanding leader of our party, army and people.”
A KCNA dispatch said North Koreans from all walks of life were in utter despair but were finding comfort in the “absolute surety that the leadership of Comrade Kim Jong-un will lead and succeed the great task of revolutionary enterprise.”
But there was uncertainty about how much support the third generation of the North’s ruling dynasty has among the ruling elite, especially in the military, and concern he might need a military show of strength to help establish his credentials.
“Kim Jong-un is a pale reflection of his father and grandfather. He has not had the decades of grooming and securing of a power base that Jong-il enjoyed before assuming control from his father,” said Bruce Klingner, an Asia policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
North Korean Dynastic Succession Tested in Tapping Kim’s Son Business Week
The stability of nuclear-armed North Korea may hinge on whether its military and the family of deceased dictator Kim Jong Il agree that his little-known, twenty-something son can extend six decades of dynastic rule.
Kim Jong Un was named to high-level military and party posts in September 2010. Kim Jong Il, who died of a heart attack Dec. 17, groomed his son for succession by featuring him prominently at a party congress and having him meet with foreign dignitaries.
The younger Kim is slated to take the reins of an economy whose 24 million largely impoverished people — five percent of whom serve in the military — have almost no access to outside media and suffer from chronic malnutrition. North Korea shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear weapons program in the face of global sanctions and any sign of concessions from the new leader could undermine his position.
“It’s not going to be an easy succession,” said Hong Yung Lee, a professor of East Asian politics at the University of California at Berkeley, in a phone interview. “The most important institution is the military. How will it handle Kim Jong Un?”
‘Team America: World Police’ surges as Twitter topic following Kim Jong Il’s death New York Daily News
The death of Kim Jong Il has brought renewed interest in the North Korean dictator’s most high-profile performance on this side of the Pacific — as a singing puppet in “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 2004 comedy “Team America: World Police.”
The marionette movie became a high-trending Twitter topic almost immediately after North Korean television announced Sunday night that the country’s “Supreme Leader” had died of a heart attack in Pyongyang at the age of 69.
Kim Jong Il, the longtime dictator of North Korea, has died of heart failure at the age of 69, according to the state-run Chosun Central News Agency.
North Korea’s official news outlet reported Monday that Kim died on the morning of Dec. 17 of a heart ailment due to “physical overwork.” The news agency said an autopsy confirmed the diagnosis.
Kim, referred to as the “Dear Leader,” was reported to have suffered a stroke in 2008 and was in poor health for some time with some reports stating he was suffering from diabetes and heart disease. Continue reading →
Young men are flocking to North Korean barbershops to get a haircut styled after the dictator-in-waiting, Kim Jong Un, according to Reuters.
The youngest son of Kim Jong Il, dubbed “Young General,” is believed to be in his late 20s and is being groomed to be the next leader of the isolated Communist country. As for his own grooming, Kim prefers something Korean American teens sported in the mid-1990s. High and tight on the sides, the top left long and slicked back.
The young Kim’s haircut is dubbed a “youth” or “ambition” hairstyle in North Korea, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper has reported.
Earlier this week, North Korean state news agency KCNA quoted barber An Su-gil as saying the short-cut, medium-cut and square-cut hairstyles are now popular among young men.
North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun wrote in September that neat and short hair for young people makes them “captivating.”
“A young man with (an) ambitious high sided haircut looks so sobering and stylish,” the paper added.
The haircut also looks like a variation of a 1930s style haircut gaining popularity in the United States, according to the New York Times. The article quotes a barber who says most customers refer to the hairstyle as a “Hitler youth.”