2 Americans Are Advised Not to Visit North Korea
New York Times
The State Department said Thursday that it had advised against a visit to North Korea by the former governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, and Google’s executive chairman, Eric E. Schmidt.
Neither Mr. Richardson nor Mr. Schmidt have publicly discussed reports of the possibility of such a trip or its purpose. The two men could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Victor D. Cha, an expert on North Korea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that the visit might aid discussion of a humanitarian issue of concern to the United States: North Korea’s detention last month of a naturalized American citizen born in South Korea.
Google exec to visit North Korea: why Obama administration isn’t happy
Christian Science Monitor
Former US diplomat Bill Richardson is planning to take a Google executive to North Korea. The State Department has said the visit is unhelpful. The concern is about timing, it seems.
Japanese Envoy Tries to Mend Ties With South Korea
New York Times
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan reached out to South Korea’s incoming president, Park Geun-hye, on Friday by sending a special envoy to Seoul with calls for mending ties that had become strained under their predecessors.
But no immediate breakthrough was expected as the two main East Asian allies of the United States exchanged barbs couched in diplomatic language, a reflection of their long-running differences, rooted in Japan’s often brutal colonial rule of Korea from 1910 until 1945.
The Japanese envoy, Fukushiro Nukaga, a lawmaker in the Liberal Democratic Party, met Ms. Park in her Seoul office on Friday, delivering a letter from Mr. Abe and the Japanese leader’s invitation for Ms. Park to visit Tokyo. Mr. Nukaga relayed Mr. Abe’s call for a close cooperative relationship with Ms. Park, hoping that “the launching of new governments in both countries will mark a good starting point in bilateral relations,” said Cho Yoon-sun, a spokeswoman for Ms. Park.
Northwest’s Korean Community Draws Close After Deadly Bus Crash
Oregon Public Broadcasting
The Northwest Korean community is grieving two more victims in that deadly bus crash in northeast Oregon. So far, seven of the nine victims’ names have been released in the accident that also injured dozens.
One of the latest two victims to be identified is Chun Ho Bahn, age 63. She was a U.S. Citizen from Bothell, Washington. Her husband is being treated at a hospital in Pendleton. The other victim is Ae Ja Kim, age 61, from Korea. Her husband is still being treated in Portland, Oregon.
Assistant in Fort Lee doctor’s office charged with sexually abusing patients
An assistant in a Fort Lee medical office has been charged with sexually assaulting two patients, authorities announced today.
According to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, two females called authorities last month to report that they had been inappropriately touched by an employee at the Central Avenue office of SBK Medical Group.
One told police that 29-year-old Gung Kim had touched her breasts and vaginal area during a procedure on Dec. 21, and another reported that, during a Dec. 29 visit, Kim “performed a procedure upon her that was not requested nor authorized” and involved the touching of her vaginal area, Molinelli said.
The Top 10 Outstanding Asian American Achievements of 2012
Northwest Asian Weekly
6. Jim Yong Kim was named president of the World Bank. Formerly president of Dartmouth College, Kim succeeded Robert Zoellick as his five-year term ended last June. President Obama nominated Kim to the position for his global development experience. Hailing from South Korea, Kim is the second World Bank president to be born outside of the United States.
Asian-American groups alleging discrimination lose bid to halt new California ban on shark fin soup
New York Daily News
A U.S. District Court judge denied an injunction Wednesday in a court battle that pits culture against environmental concerns for shark populations.
Moon Bloodgood Welcomes Daughter Pepper
Moon Bloodgood is a mom!
The Falling Skies star, 37, and her husband Grady Hall welcomed their first child, daughter Pepper, on Saturday, Dec. 15, her rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.
Wonder Girls Interview: Sometimes L.A. Korean Food Is Better Than In Korea
A few years ago, none of the Wonder Girls spoke English; today they are all nearly fluent. Formed in 2007, the five woman K-pop group was on the forefront of the cultural crossover phenomenon with a string of hits. All in their early twenties, the Girls — Sun, Lim, Sohee, Yenny and Yubin — have opened for the Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber and were the first South Korean group to have a song on the Billboard chart, with their ’50s girl group-influenced “Nobody” reaching #76 in 2009.
San Francisco-area woodworker crafts new instruments, sounds
Southern California Public Radio
There are guitars and cellos and banjos. Then, there’s the “sympathetic cannon” or the “ox”.
Those are some of the instruments designed and built by California wood worker Sung Kim. In his studio he creates musical devices that look and sound like nothing else.
South Korea Prepares The Young For A Rapidly Aging Population
At a clean and sunny community center in Seoul, the South Korean capital, senior citizens make clay models of their own faces in an arts class. Some of the faces are vivid and lifelike. Others are expressionless and indistinct. The project is intended to help the seniors remember what they look like.
This is the Gangseo District Center for Dementia. Since 2006, Seoul has opened a dementia center in each of the city’s 25 urban districts.
It’s one of the novel approaches that South Korea has developed to cope with an epidemic of dementia. Recent data suggest that South Korea is now the fastest-aging country on Earth.
The South Gate Will Stay Closed A Little Longer
Wall Street Journal
Cold weather is keeping Sungnyemun’s gate closed for longer.
The restoration of Sungnyemun, also known as Namdaemun, which is Korean for big south gate, will take four more months, an official said Friday.
The gate, designated by the government as National Treasure No. 1, was burned by an arsonist in February 2008. The top of the two-story structure was destroyed and the rest of it extensively damaged.