Photo via Greenpeace
Korean Americans on the East Coast are banding together to help fellow Korean Americans affected by superstorm Sandy, many of which are first-generation immigrants who may have trouble receiving aid due to language and cultural barriers.
The Bergen County Record reported that six different Korean American social welfare organizations joined forces to create the Korean American Sandy Relief Committee of New Jersey. The coalition — which has been participating in relief efforts since the downgraded hurricane ravaged the Northeast in late October 2012 — recently received a boost when it was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Robin Hood Foundation.
The money will be used to provide care for Korean-Americans sickened or injured during the storm, mental-health treatment for those suffering Sandy-related depression and other emotional difficulties, and to help at least 150 families navigate the rebuilding process.
“You’re talking about a lot of first-generation immigrants and the language and cultural difficulties are huge,” said Kyung Hee Choi, director of the Korean Medical Program at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, one of the groups in the coalition. The others are the Korean American Association of Fort Lee, Korean American Association of Palisades Park, Korean American Senior Citizens, Korean American Association of New Jersey and Korean Community Center in Englewood. Continue Reading »
In a rare move by Pyongyang, a Korean American was given an honorary North Korean citizenship in the hopes of spurring future investment, according to news reports.
Sang-Kwon Park, chief executive of Pyeonghwa Motors, a joint venture of the Unification Church-owned Pyonghwa Motors of Seoul and the North Korea-run Ryonbong General Corp., said he received the citizenship last month, making him the second Korean American to receive the honor and first since Kim Jong-un came into power, according to AFP.
“This means that North Korea has acknowledged the trust they had put in me. They were also encouraging me to start new projects in the North, more freely and aggressively,” Park told Yonhap News.
Korean American Chin-kyung Kim, the president of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology was the first to receive honorary citizenship in August of 2011.
Mr Park also confirmed reports the Unification Church planned to sell its entire stake in the automotive company, as well as a hotel in Pyongyang, to North Korea. In return, he asked Pyongyang to allow him to start a new business, probably in distribution.
Pyeonghwa Motors, which started production in 2002, has been in the black for the past five years, Mr Park said.
Korean-American leaders gather for Obama’s inauguration
Dozens of Korean-American leaders from across the U.S. held an event Saturday to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama for a second term.
Obama will take the oath of office at the White House on Sunday, followed by a public swearing-in ceremony at the west steps of the U.S. Capitol the next day.
“2012 marked a historic year for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said Laura Shin, a member of the Korean American Inauguration Committee. “This is a time for us to celebrate our community’s increased engagement and build upon the progress we have made together.”
Hispanics and Asian Americans celebrate new electoral clout with inaugural galas, wish lists
Dave Kumar, a District lawyer whose parents immigrated from India before he was born, and Mauricio Martinez, a Salvadoran refugee who cooks for a catering service in Virginia, have one important thing in common. Both are part of the historic surge in electoral participation and activism by immigrant groups, who turned out for President Obama in record numbers last year and put the country on notice that their votes and voices count.
This weekend, Kumar and Martinez are among thousands of Hispanic and Asian American immigrants gathering in Washington to celebrate Obama’s reelection — and their own growing political impact. Among the flurry of inaugural events are glittering Latino- and Asian-themed galas, immigration policy workshops and citizenship fairs.
In second term, Obama faces tough issues with Seoul
In the coming weeks, the world will get more hints of the Obama administration’s second-term diplomatic strategy as the nominees for secretaries of state and defense testify at Senate confirmation hearings.
In his inaugural speech this week, Obama made clear that he would continue efforts for stronger alliances abroad and engagement with enemies. He did not elaborate in his 15-minute address, which focused on a broader vision for America and a call for national unity.
Philadelphia entrepreneur finds an opportunity in home care for elderly Asians
It’s hard for anyone to care for an ailing, aging family member, but Im Ja Choi faced extra challenges when her mother’s stomach cancer was diagnosed in 2002.
Choi’s mother, who had come to the United States from Korea in 1978 to help raise Choi’s children, had never learned to speak English or enjoy American food. Choi thought she would be miserable in a nursing home.
But her mother weighed 62 pounds and had a colostomy bag when she got out of the hospital. Choi and her husband both worked. They needed help to keep Choi’s mother at home. That presented another problem. Choi could not find a Korean-speaking aide. After months of looking, she snatched up an aide who was moving to the Philadelphia area from Connecticut.
Chicago Designates Day After Korean-American Businesswoman
Chicago has named a day in January after a Korean-American businesswoman in honor of her charitable activities for the underprivileged.
The city’s municipal council adopted a resolution declaring Jan. 19 “Ann S. Jhin’s Day” in recognition of services rendered to the community by the 67-year-old owner of Jinny Beauty Supply. The company ranks as one of the largest distributors of beauty supplies in the U.S.
Mayor Rham Emanual invited members of the Korean American Friendship Network, which Ann Jhin sponsors, to the city council on Thursday to show the city’s appreciation of her hard work.
Fugitive Who Fled to South Korea Arrested In Prescription Drug Case After Return
A man who fled to South Korea during an investigation of a fraudulent prescription drug sales ring is in custody after he was arrested while trying to re-enter the United States, police said Saturday.
Bong K. Ahn, 29, is the last of seven people who have been charged in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain and sell prescription narcotics including Roxicodone, in an investigation that was launched in 2009 by Vernon Police and the East Central Narcotics Task Force. The two leaders of the group, Anthony “Tony” Navarro and Mathieu Fauteux, have been convicted and are serving prison sentences, Vernon Police said.
Is There a New Gulag in North Korea?
Wall Street Journal
Has North Korea built another gulag? The possibility has been raised by the sharpest of the eagle-eyed students of satellite images and maps who look for changes in the closed-off country, Curtis Melvin, who detailed his findings this weekend on his blog.
First off, Mr. Melvin notes that his observation is completely speculative.
When Google Earth uploaded new images of North Korea on Friday, Mr. Melvin, who we first profiled in 2009, went through his normal practice of updating his file of places and sites.
Schmidts Have Their Say on North Korea
Wall Street Journal
Two weeks ago, Google Inc. executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s trip to North Korea made headlines for its very happening. This weekend, Mr. Schmidt and his daughter Sophie, who was part of the delegation, posted some thoughts and impressions of the trip online.
The post by Mr. Schmidt himself underscored the let-the-Internet-run-free message that he delivered in Pyongyang and that he announced to reporters in Beijing after leaving North Korea. He noted that it wouldn’t be difficult technically for North Korea to let its people access the Internet.
9-story brothel gets raided
Police said Sunday they had uncovered a suspected brothel operating in a nine-story building, and fronted by a hostess bar and hotel, in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.
Officers said they found more than 100 females working there as prostitutes.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it arrested the 35-year-old bar owner, surnamed Jung, in its raid on Jan. 10 for hiring the women as “hostesses” since June 2010 and asking them to engage in prostitution.
The Walking Dead: Steven Yeun Talks Zombie Poop With Craig Ferguson
In an appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Steven Yeun revealed a real spoiler about zombies. Ferguson asked, “Zombies, do they poop or do they not poop?
Yeun replied, “I would..it’s got to go somewhere. It’s got to come out somewhere.” Ferguson agreed, “Right, exactly, or else they would be morbidly obese zombies. Nobody wants to see that.”
The Mentalist’s Tim Kang has finally ‘got it’
Metro News Canada
Actor Tim Kang chuckles when asked about his first professional experience in front of the camera. “It was awful. I played a med tech on a daytime soap and ran into the scene pushing a stretcher. I had one line, something like, ‘I’ve got it,’ and, man, oh, man, was I nervous. I had never been on a film set before and was about as green as you could be in the business. I made it through it, though, and can now look back on it fondly, and, in retrospect, laugh about it.”
Margaret Cho Giving Away New Album for FREE
I just got a copy of her new stand-up album for free. Takes about 6 minutes to download the whole thing.
Comedian Margaret Cho As ‘Mother To The World’ [AUDIO]
Award-winning comedian Margaret Cho is doing a new tour called ‘Mother.’ It’s centered on her own immigrant mom, who has always been a main character in her act. Host Michel Martin speaks with Cho for a special Tell Me More ‘Moms’ segment.
K-Pop’s New Style: G-Dragon Blazes a Cray Path
Last November, just days after Hurricane Sandy crashed into the Tri-State area, Korean pop fivesome BigBang played the fourth and final date of their ALIVE tour’s American swing at Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center. And just as he had the night before, Seungri, known as one of the group’s strongest dancers, took a moment between songs to profess his love for BigBang’s chief songwriter and creative engine, G-Dragon. “I think he’s a genius,” Seungri told the sold-out arena. “He makes a lot of songs.” And then, turning to his bandmate: “You are a hero in my heart. I love you.”
Despite its scripted feel, the moment served as a strangely moving reminder of the dynamics at work behind BigBang, Korea’s most compelling boy band by a considerable margin. No one else in K-pop garners the same level of haloed, peer-to-peer respect. But Seungri, who would repeat himself in the show’s final minutes — eliciting, in the process, an “Okay, stop, that’s too much” from seemingly embarrassed bandmate Taeyang — was also echoing the thoughts of many observers, from fans to industry execs. BigBang have many terrific singles, but none of them are as exhilarating and diabolically crafted as those found on G-Dragon’s solo releases.
PSY Rivals Threaten Girls’ Generation on K-Pop Hot 100
Girls’ Generation has logged another week at No. 1 with their genre-hopping comeback track “I Got A Boy.” The girls rocketed to No. 1 last week and have held off stiff competition in a particularly competitive January.
The ladies of Girls’ Generation (a.k.a. SNSD) are proving they deserve their No. 1. An official video of their Jan. 11 performance on “KBS Music Bank,” a hit music show, begins with leader Taeyon and U.S.-born member Tiffany singing their “Lost In Love” duet. Later, the nine took the stage to perform “I Got A Boy” where they notably used no backing vocals. Many acts use back-up vocals at the beginning of a promotional period to let themselves get comfortable appearing on these high-profile programs, but SNSD going completely live so early is particularly impressive.
Ousted ‘Top Chef’ contestant on her shocking elimination
Restaurant Wars is one of Top Chef‘s signature challenges. It’s been known to topple great chef-testants, but this year’s casualty was especially shocking. No one expected Kristen Kish, the young sous chef from Michigan, to pack her knives and go so early. As the leader of the losing restaurant theme Atelier Kwan, she was the most vulnerable, but you’d think her past wins and status as front-runner to win the whole thing would put her through over Josie Smith-Malave, who’s been skating by for weeks. EW checked in with Kish to talk about her surprising elimination and what she’s planning for the future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you surprised as everyone else was that Padma told you to pack your knives and go instead of Josie?
I was definitely surprised, but not at the same time. A part of me was expecting it.
‘Top Chef: Seattle’: Kentwood’s Kristen Kish discusses her controversial elimination
Tom Colicchio posted on his blog that he regretted eliminating you, and that Josie deserved to lose. Did you find that vindicating at all?
I read all that stuff. Everyone is stating valid points. I feel real bad for Josie, especially the things people are saying about her. I did reach out to her about it.
Nosaj Thing electrifies Webster Hall
Washington Square News (New York Univ.)
Experimental hip-hop producer Jason Chung, known as Nosaj Thing, played a dynamic set at Webster Hall on Friday, January 18. With ghost-like movements and a concentrated demeanor, he smoothly tied soft tracks like “Aquarium” and “Eclipse/Blue” with the darker sounds of “1685/Bach” and “Fog” from his album “Drift.” The thick, gauzy lines and glitched beats of his songs catered well to both the dancers and swaying listeners crowding the venue.
Artist David Choe Does Drum Solo to Kendrick Lamar’s Verse on “F**kin Problems”
Artist David Choe is known for doing whatever the hell he wants. In 2012, he became a millionaire off of Facebook stock and went on a subsequent spiritual journey, making it a year less about his art and more about him taking a break.
Yesterday, he released a video on his Facebook showing him doing a drum solo to Kendrick Lamar’s verse on A$AP Rocky’s “F-ckin’ Problems” with the caption “bring your problems to dvdasa.com maybe we can solve them.” While it may seem like a normal nine-second clip of Choe continuing to show us his extremities and other talents, it’s actually a promotion for his new online radio show with Asa Akira, DVDASA. The weekly podcast is meant to give people practical advice about life…and other things.
Man Indicted for Harassing Kim Yu-na Over Liquor Ads
A man in his 30s has been indicted for sending threatening e-mails to figure skating champion Kim Yu-na telling her not to appear in liquor ads, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said Monday.
Prosecutors said the man, identified as Choi, is accused of sending around 40 e-mail messages to Kim’s management agency from April to June last year protesting against her appearance in a beer commercial.
Sang-Hwa Lee sets world record
AP via ESPN
Sang-Hwa Lee of South Korea set a 500-meter world record Sunday in World Cup speedskating at the Olympic Oval.
Lee’s time of 36.80 seconds lowered the mark of 36.94 set by China’s Yu Jinh at the world sprint championships on the same oval last Jan. 29.
South Korean animation: is the underdog finally having its day?
The Guardian (U.K.)
Long overshadowed by Japanese anime, the Hermit nation’s angsty animation industry is no longer pulling its punches – as new film The King of Pigs graphically demonstrates.
‘K-fashion’ to go on show in New York
Five of South Korea’s top designers will showcase their work in a regular government-led fashion show set to open in New York next month, officials said Tuesday.
The seventh edition of Concept Korea will take place at The Stage, Lincoln Center on Feb. 7 as part of the New York Fashion Week, which will be held next month at various venues throughout the city, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said.
Big dreams for South Korea’s deaf teen tennis star
Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
South Korea’s Lee Duck-Hee, an Australian Open contender, does not let the fact that he is deaf detract him from his goal to be a tennis champion.
South Korea Makes Billion-Dollar Bet on Fusion Power
A fusion power demonstration reactor to be built in the 2030s in collaboration with the DoE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, represents a step toward commercial use
A recent report authored by U.S. Senate staff members stated that China could seek to prevent a reunification of the Korean peninsula due to ties to the North Korean regime and ancient claims to Korean land, according to the Washington Post.
The report, released last month, posits an “increasingly popular” scenario that China will try to prevent South Korea from absorbing the North in the event of a collapse of the latter’s government.
Such a situation is well down the road, experts say, but it resonates at a time when China is playing an aggressive role elsewhere in the region, staking claim to much of the South China Sea and to islands administered by Japan. China might act with similar aggression in North Korea, the report argues, to “safeguard its own commercial assets, and to assert its right to preserve the northern part of the peninsula within China’s sphere of influence.” Continue Reading »
Movement of Missiles by North Korea Worries U.S.
New York Times
The discovery by American intelligence agencies that North Korea is moving mobile missile launchers around the country, some carrying a new generation of powerful rocket, has spurred new assessments of the intentions of the country’s young new leader, Kim Jong-un, who has talked about economic change but appears to be accelerating the country’s ability to attack American allies or forces in Asia, and ultimately to strike across the Pacific.
The new mobile missile, called the KN-08, has not yet been operationally deployed, and American officials say it may not be ready for some time. But the discovery that the mobile units have already been dispersed around the country, where they can be easily hidden, has prompted the White House, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to reassess whether North Korea’s missile capabilities are improving at a pace that poses a new challenge to American defenses.
U.S., China in tentative U.N. deal on North Korea resolution: envoys
The United States and China have struck a tentative deal on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea for its December rocket launch, though Beijing has yet to give its final approval, U.N. diplomats said on Friday.
The resolution would not impose new sanctions, but would call for expanding existing U.N. sanctions measures against Pyongyang, the envoys said on condition of anonymity.
Two North Koreans Killed for Christian Faith
Two North Korean Christians have been killed because of their faith, a global watchgroup revealed of the latest persecution cases to come out of the oppressive Pacific nation.
Opens Doors USA confirmed the deaths of the two Christians, revealing that one was shot while he was leaving for Bible training in China, and that another one died in a labor camp in North Korea.
Half of Asian Americans rely on ethnic media: poll
AFP via Google News
Around half of Asian Americans relied on ethnic media for news during the last election in which the growing community voted overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama, a study said Thursday.
Massive support by minorities played a vital role in Obama’s re-election on November 6. Asian Americans made up 3.4 percent of the electorate and could play a greater future role as they form the fastest expanding racial group.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, releasing detailed findings from its exit polls, found that 48 percent of Asian Americans considered ethnic media, led by television, to be their prime news source.
Sob story moves man to help – only he gets conned
KATU.com (Portland, Ore.)
At least four people who cashed checks for a 19-year-old man, trying to do him a favor, say they got stuck with a worthless piece of paper and are out hundreds of dollars in cash.
Adam Wallace was one of those alleged victims and was surprised he may not be the only one.
“I found out there were seven victims and that’s the ones that talked to me,” he said. “And some of them were his close friends – like closer than I was.”
Wallace had reconnected with Paul Byun through the personal ads on Craigslist.
“And he had told me, he gave me the sob story – cuz I had hung out with him for a week – he gave me the sob story that his mom had died in October of ovarian cancer and that his father drained the bank account and went to Korea,” Wallace said.
E.Land to Pay $170 Million for K-Swiss Shoes to Add Brands
E.Land World Ltd., a South Korean apparel distributor, agreed to pay about $170 million for K- Swiss Inc. (KSWS) to add the money-losing U.S.-based athletic shoemaker’s brands to its portfolio.
K-Swiss stockholders will receive $4.75 in cash per share, 49 percent more than yesterday’s closing price on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the Westlake Village, California-based shoemaker and E-Land said yesterday in a statement.
K-Swiss sales have dropped by about 50 percent since 2005 and the shares have plunged 91 percent from the 2006 high as the shoemaker’s all-white casual sneakers fell out of fashion and the company failed to take advantage of growth in athletic footwear demand. Revenue in the 12 months through September was $231.3 million, compared with $508.6 million in calendar 2005. Net losses from 2009, 2010 and 2011 totaled more than $160 million.
Man Found Dead 7 Years After Apparent Suicide
The skeletal remains of a 55-year-old man were found in the boiler room of his home in Busan on Wednesday, where they had been decomposing for seven years.
The corpse was found by the man’s landlord, who was trying to locate a cracked heating pipe. The landlord said the head was found away from the body.
Police later discovered strands of the man’s hair stuck to an electrical wire. Judging by the fact that there were no signs of forced entry, they believe he committed suicide.
Margaret Cho Talks About Being Seen as a Smothering Mother to the Planet (Interview, Part Two)
In part one of our interview with comedian and musician Margaret Cho, we probed her about the Grammy award winning album Cho Dependent and she told us about her knee tattoos of presidents Lincoln and Washington.
In this second part, she talks about being seen as a mother figure, her own mom, her favorite television mama, and her newest stand up show, apt titled, Mother.
Dia in the house
New Straits Times (Malaysia)
THE Voice Season 1 runner-up Dia Frampton has been a busy little bee having spent most of last year touring to promote her debut album Red.
Apart from a six-month solo US tour, Frampton was also the supporting act for alt-rock band The Fray and the opening act for her coach on The Voice, country star Blake Shelton during his Well Lit & Amplified tour.
“I feel very lucky to have worked with Blake, he’s such a great person and one of the best performers I’ve ever seen,” she says when met at the Universal Music office before her maiden performance in KL recently.
Benson Henderson Knows Gilbert Melendez Will Be Hungry for His First UFC Fight
MMA Weekly via Yahoo Sports
For the second time in a row, UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will headline a UFC on Fox card, this time facing Strikeforce titleholder Gilbert Melendez.
Henderson fought at UFC on Fox 5 in early December and pulled off a dominant five-round decision over Nate Diaz to mark his third win in 2012.
Now as he looks to continue his reign atop the division in 2013, Henderson starts the year with a challenge of champion against champion as Melendez moves over to the UFC after spending the last few years as the king of Strikeforce.
Worcester Surgeon And 2011 Fan Of The Year Spreads Love Of Pats Around World
Did you hear the one about the surgeon, who traveled the world, helping heal kids?
Except on Sundays, when the Patriots were playing at home. True.
Dr. David Kim is a plastic surgeon, and often travels to third-world countries to operate on kids with deformities. And when the surgery is done, his patients not only have new hands or repaired faces, they also have Patriots jerseys or t-shirts.
“They have no idea about American football, so I’m compelled to spread the word about Patriots Nation,” Kim said.
Choi enjoys success, ‘can’t stop’ giving back
When Na Yeon Choi was a rookie on the LPGA, she spoke so little English that she and her parents often ate at fast food restaurants because the combo meals were numbered.
One of the few times they ventured out to a nicer establishment, Choi’s father ordered for the family by walking the waiter over to a nearby table and pointing to the plates of other patrons.
Rookie Hahn shares 18-hole lead at Humana
James Hahn always kept the dream alive, even when he was working part-time at an ad agency and selling women’s shoes at Nordstrom. It’s what makes days like Thursday all the more gratifying.
In only his second career PGA Tour start, the 31-year-old rookie shot a 9-under 63 on the Palmer Course at PGA West to grab a share of the early lead at the Humana Challenge.
“I don’t ever take a day like this for granted,” Hahn said. “I remind myself every time I have a hard day that we have bad rounds and bad days and we miss cuts. We feel like the world is falling down, tearing apart.
Golfer of the Year: ALICE JEONG, North Torrance
Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.)
Throughout her high school golf career, North Torrance’s Alice Jeong had established herself as a rising star.
It seemed to all lead to her remarkable senior season.
Jeong sparked North to a share of its first Ocean League team title, then began a sparkling individual CIF postseason run that culminated with a sixth-place state medal.
The Cal-bound Jeong earned the 2012 Daily Breeze Girls Golfer of the Year.
Your destiny may all be written on your face
Like many young South Koreans, Ko Joo-hyun is anxious about her future. She will be graduating from college soon, and she wonders what kind of job she will end up in and when she will get married. Like many others struggling to get or stay ahead in a society that moves quickly, questions about her future are a source of stress, and to help address them, she will consult a fortuneteller that offers a range of services — including face reading.
Face reading is an old practice where a trained expert assesses the contours of one’s face, and the size and shape of the chin, forehead and cheekbones in order to glean insight into one’s character and prospects for the future.