As the Korean economy has grown over the last few decades, so has the number of obese and highly obese people, which experts say is correlated to income levels, the JoongAng Daily reports.
In the last 15 years, the percentage of people with “extreme obesity” — defined by a body-mass index above 30 — has more than doubled to 5 percent of adults, while those considered just obese — with a BMI above 25 — rose to 32 percent, up from 26 percent in 1998, according to a study released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Experts found that poor people were more likely to be obese. About 34 percent of people at the lowest income level were considered obese in 2012, compared with 29.5 percent of above-average income individuals. Continue Reading »
North Korea Tests Rocket Launcher With Longer Range, South Says
New York Times
North Korea on Tuesday tested a new multiple-rocket launcher with a range long enough to strike major American and South Korean military bases south of Seoul, South Korean military officials said.
Four rockets were launched Tuesday afternoon from Wonsan, a coastal city east of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, flying 96 miles to the northeast before crashing into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman said.
The spokesman said his ministry had determined that the rockets were fired from a new multiple-rocket launcher that North Korea had been developing. He spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing ministry policy.
North Korea’s Perfect Timing for Missile Launches
Wall Street Journal
One benefactor of the crisis in Ukraine appears to be North Korea.
U.S. officials confirmed Monday that North Korea’s firing of two Scud missiles earlier the same day was a breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions banning ballistic missile launches, as was the launch of four other missiles last Thursday.
The initial evaluation by the Pentagon had been that there was no sanctions break.
“It’s a short-range Scud missile which they are allowed to test. Nevertheless, we always call on the North Koreans to refrain from provocative action,” Col. Steve Warren, the Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday after the first firing.
South Korea’s first female president intimidated? Yeah, right
What kind of politician is slashed in the face with a knife, and upon waking up in hospital the first thing they ask about is the election campaign?
Answer: Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president, and a woman who has experienced her fair share of violence while working — and growing up — in government.
Park was left with an 11 centimeter wound across her cheek after she was attacked by a man at a political rally in 2006. Her apparently businesslike response after waking from surgery — “How is Daejeon?” — referring to the party’s campaign in that city, earned her the nickname “Queen of Elections.”
In Seoul, Kim Jong Un Preferred to Shinzo Abe
Wall Street Journal
Just how toxic has the Japan-South Korea relationship become? Consider this: among South Koreans, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is now viewed more positively than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The latest bi-monthly survey of leader ratings from the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul shows that Mr. Abe is for the first time polling below Mr. Kim in favorability rating. Admittedly both are pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel among South Koreans, but Mr. Kim just ekes past Mr. Abe.
The North Korean leader had a rating of 1.3 on the survey’s 0-10 scale, compared with 1.1 for Mr. Abe. Of those questioned in Asan’s March 3 phone survey of 1,000 people, 61% gave Mr. Abe a zero rating, compared with 58% for Mr. Kim.
South Korea-Japan Rift on Exhibit in China
Wall Street Journal
Even in the icy midwinter, the crowded train station here has become an unlikely pilgrimage spot for South Koreans—like Cho Yoon-hee, a smartly dressed housewife from the Korean port city of Busan.
She flew over recently with a friend to pay homage at a new memorial hall to Ahn Jung-geun. In 1909, Mr. Ahn, a Korean, assassinated the visiting Japanese statesman Hirobumi Ito on the station platform of this city in China’s far north.
Mr. Ito was on an official trip to China at the time of his assassination. He was a founding father of modern Japan and at the time the most senior Japanese official in Korea, shortly before Japan annexed the entire Korean peninsula. To South Koreans, Mr. Ahn is a national hero; Japan calls him a terrorist. He has become a symbol of enduring enmity between the Asian neighbors.
Virginia ‘Sea of Japan’ textbook proposal encounters additional opposition
An obscure textbook bill that has drawn fierce opposition from Japan and created a dilemma for Gov. Terry McAuliffe appears to have hit a new snag related to African American history.
The Virginia House and Senate passed bills this year requiring that new public school textbooks note that the Sea of Japan is also known as the East Sea, but both are awaiting action by the other chamber.
Korean Americans in Northern Virginia, who consider the “Sea of Japan” designation a painful relic of Japanese occupation, have pushed for the measure. Japan strongly opposes the change, suggesting in a letter from its ambassador that the legislation could threaten business relations with the commonwealth.
Second Korean dies of flu in Southern California
Korea Times US
In the midst of a string of hundreds of deaths from the influenza sweeping through California this winter, a Korean woman inflicted by the virus has been reported dead in a Los Angeles hospital.
Hers is the second death of a Southern California-based Korean this year.
The woman, only identified as S, showed symptoms of the flu last week. She checked into a hospital on Feb. 26 and died on the 28th, according to close sources.
Similarly in Orange County, a Korean man in his 50s was brought to the emergency room with symptoms of the same virus in January. He died four days later.
Korean American female rapper is making waves in Christian music scene
Korea Times US
HeeSun Lee, a Korean American female rapper based in New York, is making waves in the Christian music scene with her album Stereotypes.
The album, the second since 2008 from the 30-year-old artist, debuted at No. 7 on iTunes’ Christian/Gospel chart and No. 25 on Billboard’s Gospel rankings upon its release on Jan. 21.
The 16-track record carries verses about doing away with stereotypes and with the status quo, she says. “It’s so refreshing to do what I do. Hearing the craziness, the trash we’re hearing all the time in rap music, it gets tiresome,” Lee says. “It’s to the point where it’s like, ‘Just give me something else.’ People are looking for something different.”
Figure skater Kim Yu-na says ‘absurd’ Olympic result fully behind her
After settling for silver in a controversial decision at the recent Winter Olympics, figure skater Kim Yu-na reiterated on Tuesday she has fully put that “absurd” result behind her.
Kim, the 2010 Olympic champ in ladies’ singles figure skating who took the silver at the Sochi Winter Games last month, met hundreds of her enthusiastic fans at a Seoul shopping mall. She shared with them her thoughts about what many experts and fans felt was a rigged judging decision that denied her a second straight Olympic title and handed the gold instead to the upstart Russian teenager, Adelina Sotnikova.
Though Sotnikova made a landing mistake during her free skate and Kim put together a clean routine, the South Korean finished more than five points behind the Russian. In the aftermath, Kim graciously said she fully accepted the result and the decision was out of her control.
Adios, Yuna: Hail and farewell
Since the 2014 Olympics almost certainly was the last competitive event of that career, I felt remiss about not having given Kim a proper farewell.
Looking again at the pre-written part of the story that never appeared, I realized that with a couple alterations based on the outcome in Sochi, it could be just that valedictory.
So, with apologies to those who think I may have buried the lead, here it is:
By Philip Hersh
SOCHI, Russia – The music is a remembrance, a haunting tango, “Adios, Nonino,’’ composed by Astor Piazzola to honor his late father. When the final notes hung in the air at the end of the figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace Thursday night, they also were saying goodbye, this time to Yuna Kim, who has joined the immortals of her sport.
Korean Food: The 12 Essential Dishes You Need to Know From the North and the South
The Korean peninsula is such a powder keg of political tension that it’s easy to forget that it’s also a powerhouse of flavor. To serve as guides through the fog of war and into the steam of the kitchen, we enlisted two experts to school us on both Seoul food and Kim Jong cuisine: Holly (South) from Beyond Kimchee and Jae Jung (North), a New Orleans chef who’s curated dinners that were actually attended by Kim Jong-un himself!
Before you learn more about each country’s individual specialties, here’s a quick history lesson.
Although there’s currently little mingling between the North and South, there isn’t necessarily a DMZ line drawn between the culinary traditions. Each culture serves a wide array of small side dishes (banchan), like kimchi and other pickled foods, with meals. Many dishes that originated in the North became South Korean staples as families migrated South after the war.
Korean Robot Steals Spotlight at Oscars Party
Behind the glitz and the glamour, the Oscars proved an opportunity to publicize Korea’s IT prowess in the U.S. Around 200 stars gathered at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles for a gala party ahead of the Academy Awards on Sunday, but the center of attention was a Korean-made robot called Furo.
Cameras flashed as Furo, created by Korean venture capital firm Future Robot, made her entrance with Korean-American actress Camilla Lim. Furo’s screen showed a beautiful Asian woman’s face and a larger screen on its body showed a collection of hanbok or traditional Korean dress and pop content.
Furo proceeded to greet the guests in 30 languages.
Selling out the famed Troubadour music venue in West Hollywood isn’t a new thing for Run River North. But on the heels of releasing their first official album, the band took the stage last night with a few more reasons to celebrate with proud parents, friends and fans who joined them in the packed club.
Along with their longtime hit singles “Monsters Calling Home” and “Fight To Keep,” the band also gave the audience the first live taste of songs off their self-titled album. “Beetle” was a crowd favorite (it’s also a favorite among Run River North members), along with “Foxbeard,” “Beast” and “Run River Run.”
Fans were also treated to their popular cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” as well as “Rain,” which is only available as a bonus track on the vinyl version of the album.
For fans who missed last night’s show, Run River North will be performing a free show at the Amoeba Music record store this Thursday, March 6 at 6 p.m. If the crowd that showed up at the Troubadour is any indicator of the band’s popularity, make sure to show up early on Thursday. Continue Reading »
Get to know a few of the bands that will be touring the U.S. this month, including at the renowned SXSW music festival, and showcasing the diversity of today’s Korean indie scene.
Love X Stereo: Make ‘Em Dance
by JONATHAN CHA
With roots in skate punk from their first collaboration as the popular band Skrew Attack, Love X Stereo seamlessly combines punk and ’90s alternative rock into an electronic harmony of “danceable music.” Inspired by alternative rock superheroes New Order, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, the artists’ indie punk sound has spun aficionados with K-pop curiosity towards the evolving indie scene in Korea.
Most of the band’s lyrics are in English, a result of singer Annie Ko having lived in L.A. for six years as a youngster. Her silvery vocals and hypnotic synthesizer have melted crowds from Hongdae to New York with poignant lyrics of hope in the face of despair.
Guitarist Toby Hwang, “the quintessential skate punk rock kid,” according to Ko, boosts the unique sound with echoes of his past grinding melodic riffs. Meanwhile, the jazz-influenced, rhythmic variations of bassist Sol Han provide the indelible groove behind the band’s hit singles “Fly Over” and “Lose to Win.” Continue Reading »
Brothless ramen, or instant noodles that don’t rely on soup stock, are nothing new, but they are experiencing a renaissance of sorts in South Korea’s competitive food market, according to the Korea Times.
Sales of Bibimmyun, the most popular brothless ramen in Korea, nearly doubled November-to-February sales compared with the same period a year prior, according to the Korea Times.
Paldo first began selling Bibimmyun in 1963 and, three decades later, now offers a second brothless ramen, Bulnak Bokkeum Myun, which has sold well in test markets and will soon see a wide release. Elsewhere, Samyang offers top-selling Buldak Bokkeum Myun. The success of these products has prompted ramen giant Nongshim to step into the fray and release its Chal Bibim Myun last week.