N. Korea suspected of purging two officials for April rocket failure
The list of North Korean scientists and officials named national heroes for contributing to the country’s successful launch of a long-range rocket earlier this month did not include key officials in charge of a botched April rocket launch, prompting speculation over their possible purge.
According to recent North Korean media reports, the communist country declared 101 scientists, officials and others national heroes and gave them medals for contributing to its widely celebrated Dec. 12 launch of a long-range rocket.
The country has claimed the launch was to send a satellite into orbit, but it has been condemned by the international community as a covert test of ballistic missile technology.
S.Korea retrieves N.Korean rocket engine debris
AFP via Google News
South Korea has recovered what it believes to be debris from the engine of the long-range rocket launched by North Korea this month, the defence ministry said.
“If it is confirmed to be engine debris, it will be very useful for analyzing North Korea’s missile technology,” a ministry spokesman said.
He said navy ships had retrieved six chunks of debris from the rocket that was launched — to international condemnation — on December 12.
Out Of Desperation, North Korean Women Become Breadwinners
Imagine going to work every day and not getting paid. Then, one day, you’re told there’s no work to do — so you must pay the company for the privilege of not working.
This is the daily reality facing Mrs. Kim, a petite 52-year-old North Korean. Her husband’s job in a state-run steel factory requires him to build roads. She can’t remember the last time he received a monthly salary. When there are no roads to build, he has to pay his company around 20 times his paltry monthly salary, she says.
“He had to pay not to work for about six months of last year,” Mrs. Kim told NPR, sighing. “You have to pay, even if you can’t afford to eat. It’s mandatory.”
Top News Of 2012: Year of the Horse
Wall Street Journal
With 2012 winding down, there’s only really one choice for the top news of the year, as selected by the staff of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones in Seoul: the Gangnam Style explosion.
Ever since Psy released his goofy earworm song and video in July, barely a day goes past without hearing it – in shops, cafes, on video billboards and even at labor rallies — in Seoul. It feels like it’s in South Korea’s bloodstream.
We’re glad we were among the first to grab Psy for an interview, before he got swept away on a global horse ride of prime time TV and YouTube clicks. On returning home, the portly singer’s free concert in central Seoul felt like a wonderful national celebration.
Victim of brutal subway shove ID’d after attacked caught fleeing on tape
New York Post
For the second time in a month, an Asian American person has died after being pushed onto subway tracks in New York City.
The victim of last night’s senseless and deadly subway shove has been identified as a hardworking native of Calcutta, India, who loved music and had recently started his own business.
Sunando Sen, 46, was pushed into the path of an oncoming 7-train at the elevated 40th Street station around 8 p.m. by a mumbling madwoman who remains on the loose.
“I think she’s crazy,” said Sen’s stunned and saddened roommate Ar Suman, 33, a taxi driver. “I can’t believe this right now.”
Asian Americans Most Responsive To Social Media Ads
A new study from Nielsen reveals that the influence of ads on social media sites, varies greatly between ethnicities, and it turns out Asian Americans are most likely to respond to ads they see on sites like Facebook.
Nielsen rated each ethnicity (Hispanic, White, African American, Asian American) and the actions they took after seeing a social ad (Shared Ads, Liked Ads, Purchased Products). In every case, Asian Americans took more action in response to social ads than any other ethnicity. In the case of sharing ads 26%, versus 15% for the total group, 41% liking ads versus 26% for the total group, and 31% purchasing products versus 14% for the total group.
Police: Woman upset over TSA pat down slapped officer
A South Korean woman was jailed after she became irate and slapped a TSA employee at Orlando International Airport Wednesday, police said.
Hyunjoo Kim, 39, was upset that she needed to be patted down during the screening process at the security check point and slapped a female Transportation Security Administration employee, reports show. She became more agitated when screening officers told her two bottles of lotion were too big to carry onto the airplane.
Peter Schreyer Becomes First Non-Korean President Of Kia Motors
You know Peter Schreyer as the creative brain behind many beloved Audis and, since taking over design at Kia, the 10th most influential person in the auto industry. Time to bump him up to at least 9th as Kia has named him the first non-Korean president of their company.
What’s actually happening at Kia isn’t entirely clear as the press release makes no mention of what’s happened to current president Hyoung-Keun Lee, although it seems like he may have been promoted to vice-chairman.
On the prowl for more laughs, Cheezburger gobbles up cash
Cheezburger Network, the Seattle online comedy network behind Fail Blog, I Can Has Cheezburger, The Daily What and dozens of other sites, has raised an additional $5 million in funding.
A SEC filing today notes that the new cash is part of a $6.1 million round.
The Best Concerts of 2012, as Seen by Times Critics
New York Times
2NE1 Aug. 17, and BIGBANG Nov. 8, both at Prudential Center, Newark. This was the year K-pop arrived — not in the form of “Gangnam Style,” which was everywhere and yet completely evanescent — but in these arena shows, which were full of thousands of young, paying fans eager to see the girls of 2NE1 and the boys of BigBang, groups with zero American hits between them, but rabid American followings all the same.
Shaking Up K-Pop: The Emerging Empowerment and Sexuality of Korean Girl Groups
Tired of “Gangnam Style” and its numerous parodies? Finding it difficult to keep track of the hordes of pretty girl groups and boy bands, many of whom can’t actually sing? Wondering why you should even bother?
Persevere. Because despite appearances, female singers are shaking up K-pop in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
Leading the charge is Ga-in of the Brown Eyed Girls, who released “Bloom” as part of her mini-album Talk About S in October. Sporting blonde locks, two minutes into the video she suddenly appears in a tight red sweater, strongly resembling 1940s Hollywood actresses like Lana Turner—and just as sassy. Add leather hot pants, and you immediately sense something big is up.
Lee Byung-hun Honored by Fellow Korean Actors
This year has been an eventful one for “South Korea’s Brad Pitt” Lee Byung-hun, who wraps up 2012 with an Achievement Award from the Korean Film Actor’s Association.
The organization, which was founded to promote the rights of actors and currently operates under the auspices of the Korean culture ministry, announced Thursday that it will be honoring Lee as well as veteran Ahn Sung-ki. In July, the two became the first local stars to leave their handprints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
More Than Just a Pretty Face
The Wall Street Journal
Ku Hye-sun has a reputation for multitasking. In addition to being an actress, the 28-year-old is a filmmaker, painter, composer and singer.
A decade ago, however, she was known for just one thing: her beautiful face. She broke into South Korea’s entertainment industry after posting pictures of herself on Damoim, a now-defunct social-networking site. Other members began sharing and commenting on her photos, and she soon achieved the status of an “eoljjang”—a term for those who achieve Internet fame for their good looks.
That led to mainstream-media opportunities. Ms. Ku shot her first television commercial in 2002, and appeared on Korean TV shows such as “Pure in Heart” and “Boys Over Flowers.” In 2009, a 14-minute short film she directed, “The Madonna,” played at a genre-film festival in Bucheon.
A Guide to the Best Korean Restaurants in Koreatown
LA’s Koreatown offers a mecca of Korean cuisine that lies unparalleled in America. The food is so good, and so varied, that even foodies from Seoul marvel at the quality and breadth of eateries here. There’s a growing number of regional specialties that highlight the unique perspective of Korean cuisine in the context of this city, which has historically the most popular landing point for immigrants from the motherland. While traditional restaurants and barbecue joints comprise most of the selections, look for the places that specialize in one or two dishes, such as beef soups, tofu stews, and ginseng chicken soup. To help you navigate, here now a list of Koreatown’s top restaurants.
7 Korean liquors you can find anywhere
The Korea Blog
Anybody who’s ever visited Korea knows that this country is no stranger to alcohol. Korea has a rich heritage of fermentation and imbibation, with thousands of family recipes passed from generation to generation. I’ve previously written about how some of these are being rediscovered, but it’s going to be a while before you can expect to order a bucket of ehwaju (이화주) in a bar and get a couple spoons to eat it.
Still, there are many traditional Korean alcohols that are widely available in grocery and convenience stores. If you’ve been here long enough you’ve probably tried them all, but you might not know everything you thought you did about them. Here are seven that are easy to pick up anywhere in Korea.
LA Lakers first NBA team to broadcast every game in Korean
When the Lakers named Paul Lee the team’s first Korean-language color commentator this season, his friends all wanted to know one thing.
“When people hear that I get to the do the Lakers broadcasts, they get all excited and ask: ‘Can you take me with you?’ But I actually don’t do it courtside,” said Lee.
In fact, Lee doesn’t even do the games in the same building.