Incheon International Airport in South Korea has been named the world’s best airport by Global Traveler.
The American travel magazine, which has over 110,000 readers worldwide, gave Incheon International Airport the highest score for its clean facilities and outstanding services. Ranked just below was Singapore’s Changi Airport, followed by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol then Dusseldorf International Airport in Germany. It was the eighth consecutive year Incheon was named the world’s top airport by the publication.
Incheon International Airport, the gateway into Seoul, is located 30 miles west of the country’s capital. The popular airport boasts its own golf course, ice skating rink, movie theater and casino among other services. In addition, the duty-free shopping mall has also been ranked the best in the world by Business Traveler in 2012. Continue Reading »
Breaking Kim Jong Un: How North Korea became a meth hub
Extradited from Thailand, the five suspects appeared before a New York court last month to face charges of a sensational plot: smuggling crystal meth from enemy number one, North Korea.
The five men — from China, the UK, the Philippines and possibly Slovakia — stand accused by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of conspiring to sell 40 pounds of 99 percent pure methamphetamine to an undercover agent. The group pleaded not guilty. They will appear in court in early December.
You wouldn’t guess it, but North Korea — run by the world’s most infamous authoritarian regime — happens to be a colossal supplier of a highly potent but moderately priced form of crystal meth, experts say.
TV drama from South saturates black market in North Korea, bringing hope, and risk
Chilling reports in early November that Pyongyang had publicly executed scores of citizens — some for the crime of watching South Korean videos — seemed to mark a disturbing turn in the dictatorship of Kim Jong Un. But if history is any guide, even the threat of death is unlikely to quell North Koreans’ hunger for illicit entertainment from south of the border.
“The spread of South Korean media — above all, South Korean videotapes and DVDs — inside North Korea might be the single most important development of the last ten years,” said Andrei Lankov, a history professor at Seoul’s Kookmin University.
Constant surveillance, heavily guarded borders and thorough indoctrination in North Korea have made it one of the world’s most secretive and least understood countries. But the “iron curtain” which once sealed off 24 million North Koreans from the rest of the world is frayed, thanks to the spread of illegal cell phones — and the ease of obtaining South Korean pop culture.
Dog Poop Slaying Suspect Chung Kim Had Long History of Murder Threats, Prosecutors Say
The way police told it, 76-year-old Chung Kim simply exploded. The couple who lived upstairs with their five children dumped dog poop on the back porch of his Abrams Road condo, so he pulled out a handgun and murdered them in cold blood.
In a series of jailhouse interviews, Kim gave a different version of events. He admitted to shooting the man, 31-year-old Jamie Stafford, but said that it was self-defense. Stafford had charged him with the gun, which Kim had managed to wrestle from his grasp. He maintained that he didn’t shoot the woman.
Scottsdale teen Eric Kim scores perfect score on AP calculus test
If you walk around Basis Scottsdale, it’s not rare to find a smart student. Newsweek Magazine recently ranked the school as the number three high school in the country.
However, one student has recently stood out from the rest. Eric Kim was one of more than 100,000 students to take the AP Calculus BC exam. The exam involves two sections. The first section involves 45 multiple choice questions. The second is a free response section where students must show their work and explain how they came to their answer.
Eric was one of only 11 in the entire world to receive a perfect score on the entire test.
Korean Air to offer full-course hanjeongsik meals starting in 2014
Korean Air Lines Co. on Wednesday unveiled a new, full-course traditional Korean meal, known as hanjeongsik, that will be served to first-class passengers on long-distance flights starting next year.
South Korea’s largest flag carrier has prepared the meal service in cooperation with Cho Hee-sook, a culinary expert on traditional cooking.
The company said the meal will have a fruit appetizer, walnut porridge and fresh salad with special fermented soy bean “doenjang” dressing that will be followed by a main course made either of spicy seasoned pork or salmon.
Hanjeongsik literally means a complete full-course meal in Korean.
21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear On A Daily Basis
Photographer Kiyun asked her friends at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus to “write down an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.”
The term “microaggression” was used by Columbia professor Derald Sue to refer to “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” Sue borrowed the term from psychiatrist Dr. Chester Pierce who coined the term in the ’70s.
Wonder Girl’s Sohee Will Not Be Renewing Her Contract with JYP
JYP Entertainment has published a press release that revealed that Wonder Girls’ Sohee will not be renewing her contract with the agency once it expires on December 21 of this year. They cite the reasons for this split due to her desire to focus on acting. Meanwhile the same press release has stated that fellow Wonder Girls members Sunye, Yenny and Yubin have agreed to renew their contracts pending some minor detail clarifications.
We had previously reported in our JYP contract length article that the contract for the original Wonder Girl’s members will end in December of this year. In what seems to be an attempt to put speculations about the future of the Wonder Girls to rest, JYP Entertainment posted a press release on December 11 to clarify what was happening with the contracts for the individual Wonder Girls members.
80s, 90s nostalgia spills over to pop music
Even as we live in the high-tech, cutting edge digital era, retro has always been part of the cultural code, various culture industry insiders have said.
But the trend toward retro in Korea prevails this year. What fueled this trend undeniably is “Reply 1994,” a drama currently airing on a cable network. Koreans’ move from rural communities to the cities is popular fodder for stories, and the drama recaptures that in a 1994 setting.
The girl group T-ara is showing off what it does best with the remake of “Do You Know Me?” The song is a 2013 version of the Korean band Sand Pebbles’ song that won it the top prize at the 1977 MBC Collegian Song Contest. One of the original Sand Pebbles’ members recently joined T-ara in the production of the music video.
Arizona Diamondbacks making strong play for Shin-Soo Choo
The Arizona Diamondbacks, fighting a dwindling fan base and apathy in the marketplace, are trying to steal a page out of the Seattle Mariners’ playbook by trying to sign free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
The Diamondbacks are a surprise entrant in the Choo sweepstakes, a high-ranking club official told USA TODAY Sports. Choo would become the highest-paid player in franchise history, eclipsing $100 million. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.
The Rangers also acknowledged that they are trying to sign Choo.
The Diamondbacks, 81-81, finished 11 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, and drew 2.1 million fans – the second-lowest attendance in the National League.
Jeremy Lin Isn’t the Only Christian Asian-American
Two months ago, producer Christopher Chen released Linsanity, a documentary following Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin’s rise to stardom which explores the basketball player’s commitment to Christianity. The film recently spurred an interesting discussion on Huff Post Live about how Asian-Americans practice their Christian faith on Huff Post Live. All of the guests, including Chen, rapper MC Jin and spoken- word artist Jason Chu, seemed to agree that the Asian–Americans practice of openly embracing theirone’s faith is a relatively new and misunderstood concept in America.
Jang: ‘The Very Definition of Korean Culture’
Food Safety News
We are sitting in one of the thematic conference rooms at the Sempio Foods Company research and development (R&D) center in Osong, south of Seoul, South Korea. Byung-serk Hurh, Sempio’s research director, is drawing a large cooking vessel on a white board as he tries to explain how Jang is made.
In one wing of the R&D complex, lab workers quietly come and go. They move from the labs to a large digital library-like room, where they sit while compiling data. In the other wing are offices and conference rooms designed in a variety of themes, such as a forest, a swimming pool, and even a giant produce farm with lettuce growing from the ceiling.
Jang Song-thaek, the once-powerful uncle and guardian of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was the man in charge of all economic projects with foreign countries. Kim’s recent decision to oust Jang from power was not only unexpected, but it seems to be causing repercussions within North Korea’s already-suffering economy.
North Korea began selling a large supply of gold to China in recent months to mitigate its steep economic downturn, reports Yonhap News. The regime’s sale of gold is an alarming sign that perhaps indicates North Korea’s desperate attempt to an economic collapse as the country’s 2,000 tons of gold worth at least $8 billion has been considered the last bastion of its hard assets.
Even Kim Il-sung, the deceased founder of North Korea, specifically ordered his descendants to never sell its gold. Continue Reading »
The odds are against Korea in the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, at least according to the sports betting company William Hill. Korea, who is placed in Group H, with Belgium, Russia and Algeria, is the second-least favored team of its group to advance to the round of 16. Algeria is the least favored to advance to the next round.
William Hill placed the odds for Korea making it out of group play at 15-8, meaning that an $80 bet on Korea would yield a $150 return, if Korea were to beat the odds.
For the outright World Cup winner, the British bookmaker pegged Korea at 500-to-1, which are better odds than just six other countries.
FIFA has Korea ranked 54th, the lowest of the group, while Belgium is ranked 11th, Russia is 22nd and Algeria 26th. However, the underdog Korea, have surprised the FIFA rankings before, and may very well do so again in Brazil. In 2010, Korea escaped out of the Group H, consisting of Argentina, Greece and Nigeria, with a win, a draw, and a loss. And of course there is the miraculous 2002 World Cup run, where Korea reached the semi-finals on its home turf. Continue Reading »
Photo via New York Times
It’s not easy for most American musicals to gain mainstream popularity and be profitable, even on Broadway, but many productions are finding a resurgence thousands of miles away in Seoul, South Korea.
In a world of young women raised on K-pop and television soaps, American and European musicals, as well as a few Korean originals, are finding fans in this new “Off-Broadway” scene. Ticket sales have grown from $9 million in 2000 to an estimated $300 million this year, and that number is expected to increase as Korean and American producers scramble for licensing deals, the New York Times reports.
The types of musicals that have found success are representative of the audience in Seoul. While the audiences who watch Broadway shows tend to be older, it’s the opposite in South Korea. Plenty of young women and men in their 20s and 30s tend to earn good salaries while living with their parents until marriage, giving them money to spend on tickets, which cost roughly the same as in New York. Seoul is constantly increasing its ability to accommodate, with 300 theaters already, about the same as in New York. Continue Reading »