SKorean Stepmother on Trial After Fatally Beating 8-year-old
Author: Steve Han
Posted: April 8th, 2014
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Image: The Daegu District courthouse, via Yonhap.

A stepmother in South Korea is facing up to 20 years in prison after allegedly beating her younger stepdaughter, who later died of her injuries, according to a report in the JoongAng Daily. The woman is also being accused of forcing her older stepdaughter to give a false confession about the incident.

Only identified by her last name Lim, the 35-year-old stepmother allegedly made her 8-year-old stepdaughter stand against a wall and beat her fatally with her fists and kicked her on two instances last year on Aug. 18. The girl reportedly lost consciousness after the second beating and was sent to the hospital, but died two days later due to a ruptured intestine and peritonitis.

Lim then allegedly coerced the older stepdaughter, last named Kim, to testify to the police that it was she who kicked and killed her younger sister. Kim, 12, later told an official at her foster care center that she gave a false confession because she was afraid of Lim.

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Korean Network Bans Crayon Pop Song for Japanese Word
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 8th, 2014
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Crayon Pop in a music video for the group’s single, “Uh-ee.” Image via Chrome Entertainment

When it comes to Korean music, it doesn’t get any more traditional than “trot.” But as girl group Crayon Pop found out, it can take just one word to get a song banned from broadcast.

Last Thursday, South Korean network KBS confirmed it had banned “Uh-ee,” Crayon Pop’s latest single, for the use of a Japanese word, “ppikka,” which means “shiny” in Japanese.

There is nothing inappropriate about the word, except for that it is Japanese in origin, according to the executives at KBS, which is well-known for being a conservative network.

“KBS notified us that ‘ppikka‘ is a vestige of Japanese imperialism and needs to be refined,” said Lee Sung-soo, an official at Chrome Entertainment. All other Korean television networks, however, approved the song. Continue Reading »

Monday’s Link Attack: NKorea Purges On; Skiier Toby Dawson Inducted into Hall of Fame; Cigs and SKorea
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: April 7th, 2014
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Park annoyed with military over North’s drones
Joongang Daily

President Park Geun-hye yesterday reprimanded the military’s top brass for failing to realize that North Korea was spying on South Korea using unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

“I think the fact that our military authority was not able to detect information about drones at all means there is a problem with the air-defense network and ground reconnaissance,” she said in a meeting with her senior secretaries at the Blue House.

Park stressed that Seoul should come up with measures that could instantly block or destroy any kind of intrusions from Pyongyang.

Her comments come after three digital-camera-equipped UAVs, or drones, were discovered in different regions: Paju in Gyeonggi, Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea and Samcheok in Gangwon.

Korean American makes skiers’ hall of fame
Korea Times

Toby Dawson, a Korean-American athlete who won a bronze medal in men’s mogul skiing at the 2006 Winter Olympics, has become the first man of Korean parentage to be inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

The retired mogul skier, along with Montana native Scot Schmidt, Kris “Fuzz” Fedderson and Aspen native John Clendenin, was inducted into the hall of fame on Saturday at a ceremony in Park City, Utah.

Dawson was orphaned in 1981, about three years after his birth in Busan, Korea. He was adopted by an American family in Colorado, where he first started skiing.

N. Korea Shuts Down Jang Song-taek’s Department
Chosun Ilbo

The North Korean regime has shut down the Workers Party department once headed by purged eminence grise Jang Song-taek and executed or interned 11 high-ranking officials, sources said Sunday.

One of them was burned alive.

A source said the regime is preparing a third purge of officials who supported Jang. The first purge involved his family, relatives and high-ranking party officials, while the second purge underway. The third will target his supporters in provincial chapters of the Workers Party.

S. Korea returns N. Korean sailors, bodies after boat sinking
Business Standard

South Korea sent home today three North Korean sailors who had survived a fatal sinking of a cargo ship in waters off the South, an official said.

The 4,300-tonne Mongolian-flagged ship carrying 16 North Korean crew sank in the international waters off the South’s southern island of Geomun on Friday.

Two bodies were retrieved from the sea and returned to the North along with the three sailors across the border truce village of Panmunjom, Seoul’s unification ministry spokeswoman told AFP.

U.S. envoy urges N. Korea to release Korean American missionary
Yonhap News

A U.S. special envoy urged North Korea on Monday to release Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who has been detained in the North since November 2012, so that he can be reunited with his family and seek medical care.

“He has health problems. We’ve expressed the desire that he be returned to his family on humanitarian grounds. So far, we’ve got no positive response,” Robert King, U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights issues, told reporters after talks with South Korean Foreign Ministry officials.

Bae, 44, was arrested on Nov. 3, 2012 while leading a tourist group on a tour of Rason, a special economic zone on the northeastern tip of North Korea that borders China and Russia.

South Korea Teenagers: Better Off Than Most?
Wall Street Journal

South Korean teenagers are notoriously pressurized lot, with a recent survey showing just over half having had suicidal thoughts over school concerns and future uncertainty.

But another new poll measuring well-being shows that they’re among the world’s best off by a broad compilation of metrics.

South Korea ranked third among 30 countries in the survey by the International Youth Foundation, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Hilton Worldwide that measured the quality of well-being of people aged 12-24.

Will Korea become the new tobacco manufacturing hub?
Korea Herald

Stringent regulations and a growing negative sentiment toward cigarettes have caused tobacco companies in the world’s most advanced countries to keep their heads down.

In Korea, however, where regulations are relatively lax and a large part of the population is still very open to the idea of smoking, the situation is a bit different.

Perhaps encouraged by this difference, Philip Morris International, the maker of Marlboro and other popular cigarette brands, has recently decided to relocate its entire Australian cigarette production facility to Korea.

“We decided to cease cigarette manufacturing in Australia by end of 2014, and transition all Australian cigarette production to our affiliate in Korea,” the company said in a statement on last Wednesday.

Ten Korean writers on a country sawn in half
The Guardian

After two years of political hot potatoes – first China and then Turkey – this year’s “market focus” country presents a different challenge to the London Book Fair, which runs this week: who wants to read books from Korea? The choice of name could be dismissed as opportunistically misleading: Korea is two countries, but the 10 writers who will be at the book fair are all from the south.

We’re desperate to hear the inside story of North Korea because it is the stuff of nightmares, locked in unending cold war, complete with nuclear bombs aimed at unknown targets. We have no access to the first-hand stories of its citizens, so we rely on western writers, whether of novels, such as Adam Johnson’s Pulitzer prizewinning The Orphan Master’s Son, or of journalism. Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea won the 2010 Samuel Johnson prize, while John Sweeney was more recently accused of putting a group of London students at risk by joining them incognito to research his book, North Korea Undercover.

Rhythmic gymnast Son wins 4 World Cup titles
Korea Herald

South Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae earned four titles, including the individual all-around gold medal, at a World Cup stop in Portugal over the weekend.

Son finished first in ball, clubs and ribbon events on Sunday at the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Lisbon, a day after claiming the all-around title.

Son became the first South Korean rhythmic gymnast to win an individual all-around gold at a senior international event.

 

Dresden to build ‘Korea Street’
Han Cinema

Dresden will have a “Korea Street” to commemorate President Park’s state visit to Germany. (photo: Yonhap News)

Thanks to President Park Geun-hye’s visit to Dresden, the capital of Saxony will now establish a street named after Korea. The Grünes Gewölbe, or Green Vault, a well-known historic museum in the city with one of the largest collections of treasures in Europe, has also begun offering an audio guide to its collection in Korean.

Cheong Wa Dae said at a briefing on March 30 that Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz told President Park that he will re-name a street in Dresden as “Korea Street”. The Dresden mayor made the announcement during a luncheon hosted by the prime minister of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich. The decision marks the friendship and cooperation between Korea and Germany and commemorates President Park’s visit to the city.

Samsung Selfie Has White House Seeing Red
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: April 7th, 2014
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Image via Mashable.com

President Obama may never take another selfie again.

It may not be the most stressing item on his agenda, but the White House may be heading to court after a selfie taken by Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz inadvertently made the president a “pitchman” for Samsung, according to Korea Joongang Daily.

Ortiz had tweeted a selfie with Obama on April 1 with Samsung’s flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note 3, just like Ellen Degeneres at the Oscars in February. What the president didn’t know was that Ortiz had signed a deal with Samsung in recent months to be a social media ambassador for the company, which upset the White House when they found out.

“As a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney last Thursday. “And we certainly did in this case.” Continue Reading »

Art Program to Help Adoptees Tell Their Stories
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 7th, 2014
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Image via Land of a Gazillion Adoptees.

Tens of thousands of adoptees call Minnesota home, and for those in their teens and college years, coming to understand their identity and being able to express themselves is an integral aspect of their lives. Unfortunately, resources designed specifically for individuals who identify as adoptees are not readily available, even for the Twin Cities state.

To provide that artistic medium, COMPAS, a St. Paul-based arts organization, Land of a Gazillion Adoptees (LGA), and spoken-word artist Kyle Tran Myhre, aka Guante, have teamed up to develop Creating Home, a program that looks to connect young adoptees with world-class artists through interactive workshops and even performance opportunities. The program’s Kickstarter, which has 24 days left to go, will go towards funding a three-month pilot project where teen and college age adoptee participants will have access to the tools and resources to tell their stories and express themselves through whatever artistic medium they choose. Continue Reading »

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