Monday’s Link Attack: The Real North Korea; Japan Boycotts Google Korea Maps; Partying With Far East Movement
Author: Young Rae Kim
Posted: September 30th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Handover of U.S. command of South Korean troops still under debate
Washington Post

Sixty years after the end of the Korean War, the United States and South Korea still can’t agree on who should take charge if another war breaks out with the communist neighbor to the north.

For years, Washington has been trying to persuade the South Korean military to take operational control of its own forces in wartime, ending a six-decade-long arrangement under which U.S. commanders have retained that authority over South Korean troops. Although supportive in principle, a succession of governments in Seoul have repeatedly delayed the command transfer, reinforcing doubts about whether the South Korean military is capable of operating without U.S. leadership.

Pentagon chief, at Korean DMZ, says U.S. will not cut force in Korea

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel toured the Korean DMZ on Monday under the watchful eye of North Korean soldiers and said the Pentagon had no plans to reduce its 28,500-member force in the South despite budget constraints.

“This is probably the only place in the world where we have always a risk of confrontation,” Hagel said after visiting a blue, single-story building with a corrugated metal roof where talks are held with North Koreans in the truce village of Panmunjom.

As Hagel walked through the building, which spans the military demarcation line between North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers peered through the windows on the northern side filming his movements.

Truth Or Propaganda? Finding Real Stories In North Korea

North Korea remains one of the most closed places in the world. And that makes Tim Sullivan kind of a rarity: As the Asia correspondent for the Associated Press, he’s spent about six weeks in the country over the course of two trips.

In addition to his stories for AP, Sullivan also wrote an article entitled “The Real North Korea” that’s in the October issue of National Geographic.

It’s a different kind of reporting trip, Sullivan tells All Things Considered host Arun Rath.

“A lot of my time is spent … gauging what is real, what is fake,” he says. “If something is fake, in what way is it fake? Do they really do this job and they’re simply acting for me? Or do they not do this at all, and it’s complete Potemkin?”

Former child prisoner almost died three times during horrific decade in North Korean gulag
National Post (Canada)

North Korea is estimated to have about 150,000 of its own citizens in a network of gulags across the country. Many are there for political reasons and to be “reeducated.” Prisoners are held in near-starvation conditions and torture, beatings and executions are common. On Friday, the National Post’s Tom Blackwell spoke to one of the few prisoners to have escaped as well as a former guard at a notorious camp.

In his frightening decade as an inmate of a huge North Korean prison camp, Kang Cheol-hwan could never be sure of exact numbers, but knew the statistics were chilling.

Of the 35,000 or more prisoners at Yoduk camp, about 10% died every year, succumbing to malnutrition, mistreatment, overwork or a combination of lethal factors, he estimates.

S. Korean minister calls Japan ‘immoral’ for covering up radiation leak
Yonhap News

South Korea’s fisheries minister strongly blasted Japan Monday for apparently trying to downplay, if not cover up, radiation leaks at its nuclear power plant.

Yoon Jin-sook, South Korea’s minister of oceans and fisheries, stopped short of calling Japan a liar, saying the country is without conscience or morality.

The South Korean minister had said Japanese fishery products tested safe. The ministry, however, has placed an import ban on all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures near the site of the Fukushima nuclear accident, in which a powerful earthquake led to a meltdown of a nuclear reactor in early 2011 and subsequent radiation leaks.

Tokyo Boycotts Google Korea Maps
Chosun Ilbo

The Japanese government has instructed regional government and state organizations not to use the Korean version of Google maps due to the labeling of Dokdo, to which Tokyo has flimsy territorial claim.

The Korean version of Google maps lists the Korean islets as “Dokdo” but not by the name the Japanese have for them.

According to the Tokyo Shimbun on Saturday, the central government in a notice to regional governments and national universities said Google maps contain names that are “not in line” with Tokyo’s official position. The Japanese version of Google maps labels Dokdo with the Japanese name of “Takeshima.”

North Jersey Korean health fair data help track risks
The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)

In the six years since Holy Name Medical Center launched the first Korean Health Festival, doctors have been able to track trends in the data collected from blood work and other screenings. And that has allowed them to better serve North Jersey’s Korean population.

Among other things, they have found that Korean immigrants struggle with depression, and that there are high incidences of diabetes and hypertension in the community, festival spokeswoman Eunice Kang said Saturday as she moved through the hospital’s Marian Hall during the sixth annual festival.

I Partied Hard With Far East Movement
LA Weekly

8:24 p.m.: Prohgress downs a strawberry Sunkist and mentions that he doesn’t often smoke weed because it makes him paranoid. He enjoys cocaine and ecstasy, however.

8:25 p.m.: Over the summer, they traveled to the French island Corsica to do a live performance. After the show, they brought people back to party in their hotel room. Apparently, their night got so wild that someone took a shit in the bathtub and syringes were found in the other room.

8:27: The group has been touring and making music together for ten years. They originally performed straight hip-hop, but after a trip to Amsterdam, they got turned on to dance music and began combining the two genres. “We get to take everything we grew up on and mash it up with what we learned in the dance world. And we also learned how strong and long-lasting dance music is,” Nish says.

‘Nikita’ Writer, Eva Longoria Developing Conspiracy Drama for CW
Hollywood Reporter

The CW is staying in business with Nikita’s Albert Kim.

The co-EP/writer behind the network’s departing drama has set up a drama with the network and exec producer Eva Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The untitled drama revolves around a woman imprisoned for a double murder she didn’t commit who earns her law degree while behind bars. After winning her freedom, she joins the high-powered law firm that she believes is at the center of the conspiracy that framed her.

Run-DMZ: Washington rappers plan North Korean visit
Post Media News via

The only poet whom I have ever heard rhyme the words “onomatopoeia” and “diarrhea” is lying on a divan in the master bedroom of someone else’s house in a very nice neighbourhood of Washington, wearing camouflage trousers, shoulder-length dreadlocks, and a blue T-shirt that says “I ♥ Cats.”

He is a delightfully bright 19-year-old pipe-dreamer, back-flipper and potty-mouth named Anthony Bobb — stage-named “Pacman” — who, if a series of improbable events actually occur between now and mid-November, plans to film his next rap video inside a party bus in a one-party state.

Hence the recent burst of publicity here for an adventure that promoters are calling “Pacman and Peso Go to North Korea.”

Riding the Korean Wave
Bangkok Post (Thailand)

Although the South Korean economy struggled through 2012, and tensions with North Korea ran high earlier this year, the pulling power of Korean pop culture remains as strong as ever in drawing a record number of tourists to the country.

Building on a 3.6% year-on-year rise in international arrivals in the first half, the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) has set a full-year target of 12.5 million visitors, hoping to attract US$15.6 billion (about 16.5 trillion won) in revenue. Aggressive marketing campaigns, coupled with the appeal of K-Pop, films and TV, are expected to sustain healthy growth in the tourism market.

The history of the ‘Korean Wave’ can be traced back to about 15 years ago when the romantic comedy My Sassy Girl was released and became a blockbuster hit throughout East Asia,” said Yong-Ju Jeon, the CEO of IHQ, South Korea’s leading entertainment company.

‘If It Swings’: An Asian-American Jazzman’s Pioneering Career

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.

“One of my biggest highlights in Stan’s band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called ‘Stairway to the Stars,’” the 83-year-old Baltazar says. “He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great.”

Hyun-jin Ryu on his final start, season, getting ready for playoffs
True Blue LA

Hyun-jin Ryu ended his regular season with an abbreviated start on Sunday, gearing up for his first major league playoffs. Ryu allowed two runs in four innings in the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the Rockies.

Sunday was the only time all season Ryu failed to last five innings, but that’s because his short start was planned, and he was at 76 pitches through four frames. His first season in MLB was an unqualified success.

“Overall I”m very satisfied with my first year. Most importantly I got away without having any injuries,” Ryu said after the game, through interpreter Martin Kim. “The pitch counts in games was beyond where I thought it was going to be, so I’m very happy with where my season ended.”

South Korean Scientists Use E. Coli to Make Gasoline
Wall Street Journal

Escherichia coli can cause serious food poisoning but Korean scientists have come up with a more helpful use for the sometimes-deadly bacteria: producing gasoline.

Using genetically modified E. coli to generate biofuel isn’t new. U.K. scientists said in April they have developed a process under which the bacterium turns biomass into an oil that is almost identical to conventional diesel–a development that followed similar research by U.S. biotechnology firm LS9 in 2010.

But the breakthrough this time is important because the reprogrammed E. coli can produce gasoline, a high-premium oil product that’s more expensive than diesel if the biofuel becomes commercially viable, according to Prof. Lee Sang-yup at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. His team’s study was published in the international science journal Nature on Monday.

Korean-American student from Tacoma wins statewide art contest
Northwest Asian Weekly (Seattle, Wash.)

Tacoma student Young-eon Kim won the top prize in the 2013 Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) Year of the Apple Art Contest. A student attending Tacoma’s Charles Wright Academy, she was awarded the grand prize in a surprise ceremony in the middle of art class with teacher Brian Hutcheson on Sept. 12.

The contest encourages art students in kindergarten through 12th grade to seek inspiration from Washington’s biggest crop. Young-Eon’s winning submission, “Apples under the Balcony at Sunset,” garnered a $750 cash prize and inclusion in the 2014 Dow AgroSciences wall calendar.

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