Justin Bieber Apologizes After Visiting Controversial World War II Shrine
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 23rd, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Justin Bieber with a priest at the Yasukuni Shrine. Image via The Independent

Pop star Justin Bieber isn’t exactly known for his cultural sensitivity, and on Wednesday, he added another reason for that reputation. During a visit to Tokyo, Japan, Bieber posted two photos on Instagram that showed him visiting a controversial World War II shrine, causing outrage among South Korean and Chinese netizens, as well as some lawmakers from those countries.

One photo showed Bieber praying in front of the Yasukuni Shrine, and another showed him posing with a priest. Bieber tweeted the photos with the caption, “Thank you for your blessings.”

Bieber quickly apologized and removed the photos after he came under fire from Chinese and South Korean fans, some of whom called for the singer to be banned from performing in their home countries and even demanding he be “run out of Asia” permanently, The Independent reports. On Instagram, Bieber said he did not realize what the shrine represented and was initially just struck by its beauty. Continue Reading »

SKorean Ferry: Search at Difficult Stage, NKorea Sends Condolences
Author: Steve Han
Posted: April 23rd, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Image via NoCut News: A table set by the families of the South Korean ferry victims

Hopes of finding survivors from the capsized South Korean ferry are dwindling as the death toll reached 159 as of 9 a.m. PST on Wednesday, according to Yonhap News Agency.

As the tragedy reached its one-week mark, 140 people are still missing as divers continue searching through cold and murky waters. Most of the victims were students from Danwon High School who were on a four-day field trip to South Korea’s Jeju Island.

Authorities told the Associated Press that the search operation has now reached a difficult stage of having to break down cabin walls in order to get to certain parts of the ship, where many of the missing are believed to be. They are reluctant to start a “salvage” operation, essentially searching for corpses, trying to be sensitive to families of the missing, some of whom still hold on to hope of finding survivors.

However, other families of the missing want the government at this point to do whatever they can to bring back bodies before they decompose even more.

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April Cover Story: E.J. Ok Is One of the Greatest Point Guards You Never Heard of
Author: Steve Han
Posted: April 23rd, 2014
Filed Under: April 2014 , Back Issues , BLOG , FEATURED ARTICLE
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One of the Greats

Long before Linsanity, crowds in Louisiana were chanting “EJ! EJ!” for a 5-foot-6 basketball talent from South Korea. E.J. Ok would become one of the greatest point guards ever to play college basketball, yet her name and repute hardly make the radar outside of her adopted home state, where she is revered.  This is the untold story of a woman—and phenomenal athlete—ahead of her time, but whose dream of winning a national title is still in play. (And don’t forget to check out Ok’s player highlights video after the story!)

photograph by  TERRANCE ARMSTARD

With three hours to go before tipoff, the line outside Ewing Coliseum on the campus of Northeast Louisiana University circled around the arena. An antsy crowd of 7,000 eagerly waited to enter for the biggest and most anticipated game of March Madness basketball in the school’s history.

The Lady Indians were about to take on their longtime rivals, Louisiana Tech, in the NCAA Midwest Regional championship game for a berth in the nation’s Final Four.

As the game got underway, fervent chants of “EJ! EJ!” from the crowd reverberated inside the arena at eardrum-splitting levels, as fans showed their appreciation for NLU’s star player, E.J., short for Eun Jung, Lee. The junior point guard, who only came to the U.S. from Gimje, South Korea, three years earlier, had already earned a special place in the hearts of these fans. Continue Reading »

Stuntman Ilram Choi Reprises Role in The Amazing Spiderman 2
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: April 22nd, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Photo courtesy of Twitter/Marc Webb

Korean American stuntman Ilram Choi will once again be sporting the iconic blue and red spidey suit as he reprises his role as one of actor Andrew Garfield’s stunt doubles in the highly anticipated The Amazing Spiderman 2.

Spending years mastering his skills in taekwondo, for which he has formal training, and also experimenting with judo, jujitsu and capoeira, Choi is no stranger to the difficult sequences of action-packed films.

Since moving to Los Angeles eight years ago, he has worked on numerous blockbusters like Avatar (2009), Thor: God of Thunder (2011), Ironman 3 (2013) and G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013).

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SKorean Ferry Tragedy Links: Death Count Tops 100; Acts of Bravery Among Ship’s Crew
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: April 22nd, 2014
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Death Count In Ferry Sinking Tops 100

One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

Dozens of police officers in neon green jackets formed a cordon around the dock as the bodies arrived Tuesday. Since divers found a way over the weekend to enter the submerged ferry, the death count has shot up. Officials said Tuesday that confirmed fatalities had reached 104, with nearly 200 people still missing.

Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

As the ferry sank, some crew members gave their lifejackets to passengers. One refused to leave until she shepherded students off the ship, and was later found dead. Others worked from rescue boats to break windows with hammers and pull people trapped in cabins to safety.

Nearly a week after the sinking of the South Korean ferry, with rising outrage over a death count that could eventually top 300, the public verdict against the crew of the Sewol has been savage and quick. “Cowards!” social media users howled. “Unforgivable, murderous,” President Park Geun-hye said Monday of the captain and some crew.

Some fled the ferry, including the captain, but not all. At least seven of the 29 crew members are missing or dead, and several of those who survived stayed on or near the ship to help passengers.

Port becomes epicenter of grief
Korea JoongAng Daily

The center of the sunken ferry tragedy shifted to Paengmok Harbor in Jindo, South Jeolla, where relatives of missing ferry passengers were invited to view remains to see if they are of their loved ones.

As rescue authorities extract a greater number of corpses from the capsized Sewol Ferry, relatives shifted from the gymnasium that has been their temporary home to the port 30 minutes away by car, where a row of snowy white tents have been erected for the viewing of remains and for families to rest.

First sign of South Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

The first distress call from a sinking South Korean ferry was made by a boy with a shaking voice, three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn.

He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.

The Sewol ferry sank last Wednesday on a routine trip south from the port of Incheon to the traditional honeymoon island of Jeju.

Grief Turns to Anger at Government Over Ferry Sinking

As the official death toll from a South Korean ferry that sank last week grew to more than 100, newspaper editorials suggest the national mood was shifting from grief to outrage at the government’s handling of the tragedy.

“People are descending into a collective sense of powerlessness, unable to trust the government with protecting them in emergency situations,” Chosun Ilbo, the nation’s largest circulation newspaper, said in an editorial headlined: “Emergency headquarters abound, but no real disaster handler.”

Owners of doomed ferry barred from leaving South Korea
USA Today

As the death toll from the sinking of a South Korea ferry climbed above 100, South Korean authorities arrested or detained six more crewmembers and issued a foreign travel ban for 44 executives, shareholders and family owners of the company that operated the ill-fated vessel.

Divers, who have opened up five underwater passages into the submerged ferry, continue to search around the clock for more bodies from the 5-story-high Sewol that sank off the southwest coast of Korea last week.

The death toll Tuesday increased to 121 out of the 476 people — mostly high school students — who were on board the vessel when it began listing 12 miles off the coast of the island of Jindo after making a sharp turn.

Funeral for vice principal who took own life

Kang Min Kyu, 52, taught ethics.

Kang, who was vice principal at Ansan’s Danwon High School, was rescued from the sinking Sewol ferry.

Just two days after the accident, he was found dead after apparently hanging himself using a belt from a tree in the city of Jindo. In a note, he expressed regret he had survived while so many others had died.

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