April Issue: After Terrible Tragedy, This Adoptee Asks: ‘What Is a Korean Child Worth?’ (Commentary 1 of 2)
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: April 15th, 2014
Filed Under: April 2014 , Back Issues , BLOG
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What Is a Korean Child Worth?

The debate over intercountry adoption from Korea was reignited recently by news of the death of Hyunsu O’Callaghan, a 3-year-old special needs child adopted from Korea to an American family, Brian and Jennifer O’Callaghan of Maryland. Authorities allege that the adoptive father, employed by the U.S. National Security Agency, beat Hyunsu to death, though Brian O’Callaghan has maintained his innocence. Last month, O’Callaghan was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse, after a grand jury determined there was enough evidence to move forward with charges against him. Following is the first of two commentaries written by Korean American adoptees advocating for very different responses to this tragedy. 

by LAURA KLUNDER

Let us take a moment of silence for Hyunsu O’Callaghan.

On Feb. 21, at the Hongdae Children’s Park in Seoul, members of KoRoot, Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea, Adoptee Solidarity Korea, Dandelions and The Korean Unwed Mothers and Families Association gathered together to remember this Korean child who was adopted to the United States last October and entrusted to the care of Brian Patrick O’Callaghan, chief of the U.S. National Security Agency Korea division. Yet, at 3 years old, Hyunsu is dead.

Since news broke of Hyunsu’s autopsy results—including a fracture at the base of his skull, bruises to the forehead, and swelling of the brain—and his adoptive father stands trial for the alleged murder, people around the world have engaged in passionate dialogue about intercountry adoption. As a social worker and a Korean American adoptee, I am professionally and intimately involved in this dialogue. Continue Reading »

Samsung to Respond to Allegations of Lethal Chemical Exposure of Its Workers
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 15th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Hwang Sang-ki, with his daughter Yu-mi, before her death in 2007 from leukemia. Image via Electronics Take Back Coalition

The increasing profile and growing public outrage over allegations of lethal chemical exposure of workers at Samsung Electronics Co. has prompted the company to say that it will be releasing its official response to the issue soon.

It will be Samsung’s first public statement on the deaths of dozens of its workers from leukemia and other rare cancers, which family members and activists claim was a direct result of lethal chemical exposure at its chip-making plants. Samsung’s breaking of its silence, seven years after the allegations first arose, follows a recent storm of attention in the media. An extensive report from Bloomberg Businessweek released on April 10—the same day Samsung released its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone—told the story of Hwang Yu-mi, a woman who at age 18 went to work at a Samsung semiconductor plant in 2003 and was dead from leukemia by age 22. The article also detailed her father’s ongoing struggle to expose the truth about what happened to her and the larger movement he launched to call attention to the dangerous use of carcinogens at electronics factories.

A movie based on her story, titled Another Promise, was released in February this year, and Empire of Shame, a documentary detailing a further 57 cases of leukemia and other blood-related cancers across several Samsung plants—including that of Yu-mi’s coworker—premiered in early March. Samsung declined to discuss specific cases for the Bloomberg article, saying in a statement that it spent about $88 million in 2011 on the maintenance and improvement of its safety infrastructure. Continue Reading »

Monday’s Link Attack: SKorean Credit Card Breach; LPGA Pro Called Jenner’s ‘Mystery Woman’; Pyongyang Marathon Hosts Foreign Tourists
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: April 14th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Hurst laughs off being called Jenner ‘mystery woman’
NBC Golf Channel

LPGA pro Vicky Hurst unwittingly became “the mystery woman” hugging Bruce Jenner when paparazzi captured them outside a Chipotle restaurant Friday in Malibu, Calif.

The story ran under this headline in the British Daily Mail’s online edition: “Bruce Jenner wears wedding band on right hand embracing mystery woman in Malibu.”

Jenner, the decathlon gold medalist in the ’76 Olympics, is married to Kris Jenner, previously Kris Kardashian, mother to the Kardashian siblings of reality TV fame. Celebrity news sites have been abuzz over the separation and now reports of a possible reconciliation of the couple.

Citigroup Says Client Data Leaked at Korean Consumer Credit Unit

Bloomberg

Citigroup Inc. (C:US) and Industrial Bank of Korea (024110) said client information was leaked from their South Korean leasing and consumer credit units, the latest instances of data breaches at financial firms in the country.

Authorities found 17,000 instances of leaks of information including names and phone numbers, Citigroup Korea Inc. said in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg News questions today. The company was informed of the breaches by the prosecutors’ office in February, it said. The same number of leaks occurred at Industrial Bank of Korea’s IBK Capital Corp., company official Shin Dong Min said by phone from Seoul, declining to elaborate

N. Korea blasts reunification offer as ‘psychopath’s daydream’
Yahoo

North Korea on Saturday blasted South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s proposal on laying the groundwork for reunification through economic exchanges and humanitarian aid as the “daydream of a psychopath”.

The blistering attack from the North’s powerful National Defence Commission (NDC) was the first official reaction from Pyongyang to a proposal Park made in a speech last month in Dresden in the former East Germany.

North Korea Marathon Opens Pyongyang Streets to Foreign Tourists

NBC News

Pyongyang was filled with runners from all over the world on Sunday for the annual marathon, open to foreign amateurs for the first time.

Nancy Q: Wie finds way to make odd putting stroke work
The Tennessean

The putting stroke is the one skill that can take on a totally different look from one player to the next. That has never been more evident then when watching the putting style of LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie.

Two years ago I witnessed Wie putting at the Navistar Classic. I was very surprised at how “bent over” she was in her setup. So was every other golf instructor and golf critic in the country! In an interview that week, I heard her say she was the one who decided on that putting style, not David Leadbetter, her teacher of many years.

Learning in reverse brought Kogi chef Roy Choi to the top
LA Times

All roads lead back to the Kogi truck.
“It’s like my ‘Sweet Caroline’ and I’m Neil Diamond,” Roy Choi said. “I’ll never be able to outlive Kogi. Kogi is a beast.”
The chef was attempting to articulate what spawning that marvel of Korean barbecued ribs enveloped in tortillas has meant to him in front of a crowd at the 19th-annual L.A. Times Festival of Books. The sprawling two-day event at USC features readings, screenings, musical performances and cooking demonstrations.

The kimchi revolution: How Korean-American chefs are changing food culture
Salon

In a recent interview with food writer Michael Ruhlman, celebrity travel/food writer Anthony Bourdain said that “when you look at all the people who are sort of driving American cuisine right now, they’re all Korean American.” By “all,” he mostly meant “both,” since his list boiled down to two: David Chang and Roy Choi.

Roy Choi is best known as the L.A. Korean taco truck guy, and David Chang is the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group as well as the cult food publication “Lucky Peach.” Bourdain probably intended to mention Edward Lee in this interview as well, insofar as he’d praised Lee’s cookbook, “Smoke and Pickles,” by calling him one of “America’s most important young chefs.”

World Bank’s Kim urges SA to cut red tape around investment
Business Day

WORLD Bank president Jim Yong Kim says countries such as India, South Africa and others in Africa with massive infrastructure programmes should limit red tape to make it easier for investors to bring in the billions of dollars such large projects require.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings on Thursday.

The South African government plans to invest more than R800bn over the next three years on energy, road, rail, school and municipal infrastructure and has called on the private sector to participate. It has identified infrastructure development as one of the areas that can create jobs and provide skills for millions of unemployed people.

Out of the blue
Economist

FORAGING in South Korea’s mountains may soon become more fruitful. Since a wild ginseng digger reported the wreckage of a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on April 3rd, the South’s ministry of defence has been ruminating on rewards for anyone who spots an enemy drone. The report followed the discovery of two other similar aircraft: on March 24th in Paju, a border city; and on March 31st on Baengnyeong island, near the disputed Northern Limit Line which demarcates the two Koreas’ maritime border. North Korean inscriptions on the planes’ batteries; an ongoing military investigation into their engines, fuel tanks and weight; and the sequence of the photographs found stored in one of the plane’s cameras suggest the drones were sent from North Korea. For others, their sky-blue camouflage paintwork, identical to that on larger drones paraded in the capital Pyongyang two years ago, was a giveaway.

SKorea’s Health Insurance Body Sues Cigarette Makers
Author: Steve Han
Posted: April 14th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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South Korea’s national health insurance body has filed a lawsuit against cigarette makers for over $50 million for causing smoking-related diseases that ran up the health care costs, Bloomberg reported today.

National Health Insurance Service, an affiliate of South Korea’s health ministry, is suing the country’s three major tobacco companies, KT&G Corp., Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco plc, for at least 53.7 billion won ($52 million). This is the first lawsuit filed against the tobacco industry by a South Korean government agency.

“It’s the duty of NHIS to take responsibility for people’s health and to manage insurance finances,” the agency said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

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Korean Senior Alleging Race-based Attack Files Lawsuit Against McDonald’s
Author: Julie Ha
Posted: April 14th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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This file photo from the New York Daily News, taken in January 2014, shows Korean American seniors involved in an earlier dispute with a Queens McDonald’s. 

A Korean American senior citizen in New York has filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against McDonald’s accusing one of its workers of racially attacking him verbally and physically, Yonhap reported today.

The 62-year-old, only identified by his last name Kim, alleges that on the afternoon of Feb. 16, a female manager at a Flushing, Queens McDonald’s hit Kim with a broom after he complained to another restaurant worker that he had waited 10 minutes to purchase a cup of coffee.

Before being struck by the broom, Kim alleges that the manager, only identified by her first name Lucy, first yelled at him to leave the restaurant, after he made the complaint, and told him that coffee is not available to “people like you,” according to the Yonhap story. When he tried to record the incident with his cell phone camera, the manager struck him with the broom, the lawsuit says.

Continue Reading »

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