K-pop label YG Entertainment announced it will host a hologram concert in London next week which will feature giant 3-D images of Psy and popular girl group 2NE1.
It will be the first hologram performance outside of Korea and will be put on at the Korea Brand and Entertainment Expo 2013 from Nov. 4 to Nov. 6, and will have 45-foot projections of the singers performing their hits. 2NE1 will make an in-person appearance to promote the event although Psy is not scheduled to show up in the flesh.
YG has already implemented Psy’s hologram concert at the Everland amusement park in Seoul, where the show goes on every day of the year. It is described by the park as a concert that is “more realistic than the actual concert and beyond your imagination.” Continue Reading »
North, South Korea to Return to Kaesong Talks
Voice of America
North and South Korea are meeting for a seventh round of renewed negotiations to try to reopen their joint industrial park at Kaesong, the last trace of inter-Korean cooperation. Pyongyang pulled its workers from the factory complex in April over military tensions but South Korean officials are dismissing concerns that this month’s training exercises with the United States could affect the talks.
The two Koreas are heading into negotiations on the Kaesong industrial park on a positive note but with the specter of renewed military tensions still looming.
The talks come a week after North Korea suddenly agreed to a new round of negotiations after ten days of silence.
The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a statement proposing the August 14 talks that it described as “bold and magnanimous.”
What I saw in North Korea
CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson was granted rare access to North Korea last month to attend the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. GPS intern Howard Cohen spoke with Watson about what he saw.
What kinds of restrictions were placed on journalists during your five day visit to North Korea?
The restrictions were onerous. We weren’t allowed to leave our hotel unless we were on a government organized bus trip. Our three-man crew was assigned two very polite minders who accompanied us everywhere outside of the hotel and made no secret about the fact that they had veto rights if we were to take pictures of something that they didn’t approve of. So they would basically tell us what we could and could not take pictures of.
Was there anything that you saw that really surprised you?
I was surprised by the size and choreography of the military parades and government organized spectacles that we saw. I was also blown away by the scale of the cult of personality of the dynasty that have ruled North Korea for 60 years, the size of the monuments dedicated to the grandfather and the father that ruled the country, and the amount of iconography that was everywhere that we visited. I was also amazed by the spectacles of devotion for the current leader, the grandson of the founder of the country, Kim Jong Un. Just the explosions of cheers at the moment he steps out into the public arena – the devotion that comes from the crowd – I’ve not quite seen anything on that scale before. Then again, I’ve never visited the Korean Peninsula.
Not Funny: Joke Lands Comedian in North Korean Labor Camp
It’s no fun being the punchline.
North Korean comedian Lee Choon Hong has been shipped off to work camp after offending the nation’s autocratic regime during a comedy bit, Radio Free Asia reports.
The well-known comedian was performing for farm workers in the Kangwondo Province of Sep’o, where he had been ordered by authorities to entertain on a 150,000-acre farm. Though it’s unclear exactly what he said, Hong was removed during his act after making a remark about the government and immediately sent to Jikdong Youth Coal Mine in the city of Sunchon in South Pyongan province.
Prayer vigil in Seattle Saturday for North Korean detainee Kenneth Bae
The Seattle Times
The Edmonds and Lynnwood-based family of detained American Kenneth Bae is holding a vigil Saturday evening in Seattle to pray for his release from a North Korean labor camp. A fresh surge of media coverage (including this Aug. 8 Associated Press news report in The Seattle Times) should prompt our local community to pay attention and take action.
Bae was detained more than nine months ago after leading a group of tourists across the border from China. He is accused of committing hostile acts against the country, though specific details of his arrest and alleged crimes are scant. No other American in recent years has spent more time in the reclusive regime’s prison system, especially following Kim Jong Un’s ascent to the head of state.
‘Project Cheonan’ Faces Court Injunction
Wall Street Journal
It has been more than three years since the South Korean warship Cheonan sank, but the controversy over the cause of the sinking still lives on in Seoul.
Three South Korean naval officers and two relatives of sailors who died on the Cheonan have filed a court injunction, seeking to stop the release of a film challenging Seoul’s claim that North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the warship.
Forty-six people died on the night of March 26, 2010, when the naval corvette sank near South Korea’s disputed Yellow Sea border with the North.
An investigation by a South Korean-led international commission concluded it sank after it was hit by torpedo launched from a North Korean submarine — a charge Pyongyang still denies vehemently. The United Nations Security Council has also formally condemned the sinking but stopped short of imposing any penalty on Pyongyang or demanding an official apology from it, in what is believed to be a diplomatic compromise with Beijing.
Seeking to Close Tax Gap, Seoul Finds Religion
Wall Street Journal
With an economic slowdown cutting into its tax take, the South Korean government has plans for one of the country’s last untapped revenue sources: clergy earnings.
A tax bill announced Thursday and soon to be submitted to parliament would strip priests, monks and other religious leaders of the tax exemption that dates back to the founding of the country in 1948.
The bill, which would take effect in 2015, would “reduce ‘blind spots in taxation’ by imposing taxes on earnings previously not subject to taxation,” Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said.
Cramming for Stardom at Korea’s K-Pop Schools
New York Times
Kim Chae-young goes to a cram school five evenings a week, toiling there deep into the night. Unlike most 13-year-old South Korean students who attend such special schools to enhance skills like English and math, however, she is dancing and singing for up to four and a half hours. It has been her routine for the past four years.
“I want to become a K-pop icon, one like Psy whose song and dance lift the entire crowd,” she said, referring to the Korean rapper whose music video “Gangnam Style” went viral. “All these hours I spend here are my investment for that dream.”
On a recent evening at the Def Dance Skool in southern Seoul, where Chae-young trained, sweating teenagers bobbed, stomped and pivoted in front of wall mirrors, repeating hip-pop dance moves to the clapping and shouting of instructors. Later, she moved to an upstairs recording room, where she practiced the British singer Adele’s international hit “Rolling in the Deep,” often stopping, arms akimbo, to listen to a gentle admonishment from her teacher.
U.S. guitarist offers apology to Korean Air over false accusation
SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) — A renowned U.S. guitarist has offered an apology to Korean Air Lines Co. on Thursday for his false accusation that the carrier damaged his guitar.
Steve Vai said in a message posted on Facebook that the broken neck of his guitar was discovered at a rock festival in South Korea. The music event came before the guitarist took the Korean Air flight.
Korean Air “was not the airline that damaged my guitar,” Vai said. “My apologies to Korean Airlines for this misinformation.”
2NE1 gets natural with latest
Another month, another single for girl group 2NE1. YG Entertainment has promised four singles in four months. July saw the reggae-tinged “Falling in Love.” And yesterday the music label released single No. 2, a more typically bouncy 2NE1 track, “Do You Love Me.”
While the song is a return to form for the popular group, the video is a bit unusual – rather than 2NE1’s over-the-top craziness, “Do You Love Me” instead features the four young women just having fun and hanging out – at the beach, in the pool and in their bedrooms and bathrooms.
Much of the video was filmed by the girls themselves.
10 Addicting Dance Covers of Crayon Pop’s Viral ‘Bar Bar Bar’
There’s just never enough hype about Crayon Pop, but let it be known (again) that the ridiculously adorable “JUMPING!” squad has invaded Korea with their kind-of-new song “Ba(r) Ba(r) Ba(r)”. It’s comparable to how the Wonder Girls’ went viral with “Tell Me” back in ’07. And just when you thought cover dances were too passé for your tweets, Crayon Pop just made them cool again. Which is pretty weird when you think about it since a lot of people were saying how Crayon Pop wasn’t cool right before they became a national sensation.
So here are 10 highly addictive dance covers of the “Bar Bar Bar” dance that you’ll never get sick of. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get sucked into the inescapable vortex that is YouTube and end up watching 50 more cover videos, too. Hope you don’t though, I’ve ended up at some weird parts of YouTube, especially when it comes to K-Pop. (Actually, that video is awesome, though.)
Investigators focus on possibility of pilot error behind Asiana jet accident
South Korean and U.S. investigators are apparently concentrating efforts on determining whether pilot error caused the deadly crash-landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), along with the South Korean government’s investigative team, prepared Monday to interview the four pilots of the passenger jet that hit a seawall on the edge of a runway at the San Francisco International Airport on Saturday.
Asiana crash: Airline CEO says human error reports ‘intolerable’
Straits Times via AFP
The head of Asiana Airlines on Monday described as “intolerable” media reports that pilot inexperience may have been to blame for a fatal weekend crash, as some traumatised passengers returned to South Korea.
Mr. Yoon Young Doo acknowledged that the 46-year-old pilot, Mr Lee Kang Kuk, was training aboard the Boeing 777. But he said Mr Lee was accompanied by an experienced co-pilot with two other staff in the cockpit as well.
San Francisco 777 Crash: Why Did So Many Passengers Evacuate With Bags?
When seconds can mean the difference between life and death in escaping an aircraft accident, it was startling to see so many photographs from the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport of people carrying out bags, including roll aboards that must have come out of the overhead luggage bins. At least one man interviewed in the New York Times indicated that he grabbed his bags and then his child. In that order. All I can say is that it was very fortunate that the fire was slow to spread.
Asiana attendant describes dramatic evacuation
San Francisco Chronicle
The evacuation of Asiana Flight 214 began badly. Even before the mangled jetliner began filling with smoke, two evacuation slides on the doors inflated inside the cabin instead of outside, pinning two flight attendants to the floor.
Cabin manager Lee Yoon-hye, apparently the last person to leave the burning plane, said crew members deflated the slides with axes to rescue their colleagues, one of whom seemed to be choking beneath the weight of a slide.
Lee on Sunday described several dramatic moments in the remarkable evacuation that saved 305 of the 307 people on the plane that crashed Saturday while landing in San Francisco.
Asiana Crash Exposes 21st Century Racism on Twitter
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education
If you see the Internet as raceless, colorblind and digital, think again my friend.
It’s a breeding ground for 21st Century racism.
Witness the instances of the nearly instantaneous anti-Asian racist tweets soon after the Asiana Airlines crash this weekend.
On social media, you can see the knee-jerky reaction. It’s racism in real time. Time for bad racist comedy.
Korean-Japanese dispute over “comfort women” heats up in Glendale: Opinion
Los Angeles Daily News
A proposal to build a memorial to Korean “comfort women” as part of program to honor the city’s six sister cities comes before the Glendale City Council Tuesday night. But the council may well be sick of the topic by then.
If the mail that the opinion staff are seeing is an indication, a good bit of the Japanese populace — and many Japanese Americans — have decided to oppose this statue. In the last two months, we’ve received a trickle of letters each day asking the city of Glendale to quash this proposal. It’s clearly part of a campaign as most of the letters are exactly the same.
Koreans with foreign residency to get local ID cards
South Korean nationals with foreign residency status may be entitled to have local identification cards as part of the government’s efforts to help them lead a more convenient life here, the home affairs ministry said Tuesday.
The Ministry of Security and Public Administration, along with justice and foreign ministries, are working to revise the Residents Registration Act to allow Koreans to hold the national residence registration card in addition to a foreign green card during their stay here.
“The issuance of the national ID card is expected to remove their legal and economic constraints at home,” an official of the home affairs ministry said.
Hackers in four-year effort to steal South Korea military secrets: study
A mysterious group of computer hackers has spent four years spying on the South Korea military, U.S. security software maker McAfee said Monday, citing evidence uncovered from malicious software samples.
The findings, which were not confirmed by authorities in Seoul, provide one possible motive for ongoing attacks on South Korea that date to 2009.
McAfee, a division of Intel Corp, did not identify a sponsor for the attacks but said they were carried out by a hackers group known as the New Romanic Cyber Army Team. Seoul has blamed North Korea for some of the cyber attacks although Pyongyang denies responsibility and says it too has been a victim.
I Met My Sister for the First Time When I Was 27
Confined to our sheltered porch by a steady spring drizzle, I gazed out from under the eaves and watched a car go by–yet another car that wasn’t theirs. Just go wait inside, I told myself. My feet refused to carry me there. Allowing them to arrive unseen, walk up to the door, and ring the bell like strangers would have suggested a level of calm unthinkable on this day.
When their rental car turned into the driveway, I bounded off the porch and ran to meet them. Several paces away I caught my first glimpse of her through the window, her features still blurry through the rain-streaked glass, and I could almost imagine that I was looking at my own reflection in a strange, enchanted mirror. Then her door swung open and we were saying all the things people say the first time they meet, and all I could think was that I was just weeks away from turning 28, and this was the first time I had ever hugged my sister.
We went inside. We introduced our husbands. The baby, usually so skittish with strangers, took to her aunt immediately. As I watched Cindy read a book to her, I thought: My sister has freckles.
Richard J. McCarthy: Korean-American college roommate opened eyes to culture
The Republican (Massachusetts)
Back about a lifetime ago, I’d been out of college for some time and decided to return to school to complete my degree.
Where I was living was too far away from campus to pragmatically commute, so I looked for a place near campus.
At some point it occurred to me that my best option for my first semester might be to live in a dorm that was dedicated to older, graduate and foreign students.
Korean-American activists to visit Suncheon
Yonhap News via Global Post
A group of Korean-American environmental activists will visit the International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay Korea 2013 Saturday to forge deeper ties with the city, the event organizers said Tuesday.
The Suncheon Bay Garden exposition plans to welcome 220 visitors from California-based environmental organization PAVA World, including 160 Korean-American students.
The visit came after Cho Chung-hoon, the mayor of Suncheon, visited the United States in January and clinched an agreement with PAVA World to promote the city’s 184-day-long global event.
2NE1 Kicks Off New Album With Reggae-Tinged ‘Falling in Love’: Listen
K-pop phenoms 2NE1 have made their long-awaited comeback with new single “Falling in Love.” The reggae-influenced track makes has a breezy, summery feel to it and showcases 2NE1′s knack for fierce sing and rap stylings mixed with catchy hooks.
It’s not a truly standout moment for the foursome, but it is a nice return from a group that has been missing from the scene for almost a year. The group also gets points for incorporating a rarely-heard reggae genre to K-pop.
One Year On, ‘Gangnam Style’ Still Setting Records
When the music video for Psy’s “Gangnam Style” was released, few people expected it to become such a global sensation — topping charts and smashing records around the world, emerging as the most-viewed video on YouTube, and spawning the most emulated dance in recent memory.
It has been about a year since Psy released the music video that subsequently went viral, and it continues to set new records.
An African American’s Perspective of the Korean Wave
I received an unexpected email in February 2013, from a young woman who was studying public health at Harvard University. Mariesa Lee Ricks explained that her mother was Korean and that she had a great interest in Korean culture. Mariesa said that she hoped to find out how K-Pop and Korean social media can play a role in bringing positive messages to youth around the world.
Mariesa added that she hopes to visit Korea to carry out research. I wrote back to her telling her that I would be in Boston soon for a business trip and we agreed to meet up while I was there.
I did not recognize her at first. I was taken aback for a split second when she introduced herself because she turned out to be African American, and I had imagined a half-Korean, half-Caucasian woman who looked like my daughter Rachel. I was impressed that Mariesa did not display the slightest sense of discomfort or uncertainty in the few seconds that it took me to get over my embarrassment. She was clearly an extremely mature and composed woman with a strong sense of herself.
Guide to the Best Korean-Style Noodles
If you hadn’t noticed yet, Koreans love rice and noodles. Finding a dish without either of two key components is like finding a Korean restaurant without kimchi. Yes that’s a lot of carbs for sure, but the country houses some tasty dishes for a wide variety of palates.
North Korea Seeks New Talks on Its Nuclear Program, China Says
North Korea is ready to return to six-party talks on its nuclear program, China said, the third time this month that Kim Jong Un’s regime has proposed new dialogue after easing off threats of atomic attacks.
The North is prepared for “talks of any form including the six-party talks and hopes to peacefully solve the nuclear problem through negotiations,” China’s Foreign Ministry said on its website, citing comments Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan made while meeting his Chinese counterpart in Beijing yesterday.
Park Calls for ‘common sense’ in relations with North Korea
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Thursday she will stick to principles in dealing with North Korea in order to transform relations with the communist nation in a way that is in line with “common sense and international standards.”
“South-North relations are at a very important juncture right now. How we do at this point would affect not only the fate of the Korean Peninsula, but also those of Northeast Asia and the world,” Park said during a meeting with members of the National Unification Advisory Council.
“I believe we should break the vicious cycle of provocations and rewards … and lay the foundation for genuine peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula based on consistent principles and trust. For this, we have to build inter-Korean relations in which common sense and international standards work.”
Cheeseburger in Paradise Island
Serendipity is not something the visitor to North Korea is likely to encounter often. Guides, with carefully planned itineraries, usually go to great lengths to avoid accidental brushes with ordinary North Koreans, whether they be women selling clothes or maize in the local fly-by-night “frog markets”, or men drinking in local bars.
It is a shame, because such encounters help humanise a poorly understood people: for instance, on a recent visit one 23-year-old North Korean told us shyly that she was besotted with Brad Pitt, which probably went further in busting stereotypes than she could have imagined. Happily, some non-governmental organisations are managing to break through this thick veil of mistrust to foster real engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Singapore-based Choson Exchange, which promotes people-to-people contact between high-flying young professionals and bureaucrats of the DPRK and the outside world, is one.
South Korean Students Demand Faster Action in Election Probe
Wall Street Journal
South Korea student anger is growing over what many believe to be a slow and insufficient investigation into an allegation that the country’s top intelligence agency attempted to influence the presidential election last December.
Last Friday, Supreme Prosecutors’ Office indicted Won Sei-hoon, the former National Intelligence Service chief, on charges of violating the election law that bans a civil servant from intervening an election and the NIS law that prohibits its officials from meddling domestic politics.
According to the prosecutors, Mr. Won allegedly ordered his subordinates to launch a political offensive against opposition party candidates including Moon Jae-jin, the candidate from the main opposition United Democratic Party. Mr. Moon lost the election against Park Geun-hye by about one million votes.
Police seek arrest warrant for ex-vice justice minister over sex scandal
Police said Wednesday they have sought an arrest warrant for a former vice justice minister who is accused of receiving sexual favors from a local contractor in return for business favors.
Police have been investigating allegations that a number of high-profile figures, including Kim Hak-ui and the head of a local general hospital, received sexual services from a dozen women hired by the 52-year-old construction contractor, surnamed Yoon.
Kim allegedly used his power to influence several court cases in Yoon’s favor in return for the services.
Glendale looking to memorialize ‘comfort women’ of World War II
Los Angeles Daily News
The city of Glendale and a local organization are looking to install a memorial to “comfort women” — the thousands of Koreans and others who historians say were forced into sexual slavery to soldiers during World War II by the Japanese military.
The memorial may be somewhat controversial, however, because while the majority of mainstream historians agree with the history, a vocal minority of ultranationalists and some politicians in Japan contest details of the comfort women story, including the numbers involved, whether the practice was sanctioned by the government and even whether the women were slaves or volunteers.
Today, the design of the proposed memorial will be unveiled before Glendale’s Arts and Culture Commission, an advisory panel to the City Council, which would decide whether to approve it.
Glendale man, 81, with diabetes, dementia reported missing
Glendale News-Press (Calif.)
[Update 5:42 p.m.] Glendale police found Byung Jin Choi just before 5 p.m. in the 300 block of North Glendale Avenue after a passerby reported an elderly person with a walker who appeared to need help. Police said they took him to Glendale Adventist Hospital and have alerted his family.
“He was treated for dehydration, but otherwise seemed fine,” said Sgt. Tom Lorenz.
Will Yun Lee On The Wolverine
Will Yun Lee has played a Marvel character before – he was big bad Kirigi in Elektra – but that’s not to be confused with his character in The Wolverine. We know he’s officially billed as Kenuichio Harada, but beyond that Lee can’t say much for fear of spoilers. Still, we did get a few snippets from him on his experience of filming, including Hugh Jackman’s thing with lottery tickets…
Tell us about your character…
I play a man named Harada and he’s kind of a mysterious character, and the way the movie is structured he’s definitely involved in a lot of the relationships between Hugh and Tao and some of the different characters, but you never really know what side of the line he falls on. He’s part of some of the great action sequences you’re going to see.
As Expected, 2NE1′s CL Looks Amazing In Korean GQ and Vogue
CL’s recent solo debut may not have soared on the charts like it should have, but the trendsetting songstress proves she’s still the baddest female around when it comes to fashion and photoshoots. The 22-year-old, who’s so cool that both Rihanna and Rita Ora follow her on Instagram, is featured in this month’s issues of Korean Vogue and GQ, and as usual, she looks incredible.
Naturally, CL’s gone for an avant-garde, high fashion, you-can’t-afford-this-and-never-will kind of look for Vogue, whereas her GQ shoot is all posturing, gold grills, and bad girl swag.
You can look forward to more of CL’s untouchable style choices when she makes a K-pop comeback alongside 2NE1 early next month. Excited?
One Night Only: Chefs Chang, Choi and Puck
Wall Street Journal
Celebrity chefs David Chang, Roy Choi and Wolfgang Puck cooked and served a one-night-only seven-course meal at the Hotel Bel Air last night. The event, floated on Mr. Puck’s Twitter account a few weeks ago, sold out within about an hour at $190 a head, plus $80 for wine.
Mr. Chang, famous for his Momofuku restaurant empire, said he flew across the country with some of his staff because, “Chef asked. Wolfgang is one of the pioneers and the guy that without him, Roy and I wouldn’t really be here.” Mr. Puck said the purpose of the evening was to shake things up at his hotel restaurant and tap into the energy of the “new generation.” Just before service in the kitchen, Mr. Choi watched Mr. Puck gobble up a piece of his sous-vide-and-fried Cornish game hen. Mr. Choi gripped his head in disbelief.
Iconic Summer Dish: The Real Korean Tacos by Namu Gaji
LA’s Koji truck may have kicked off a national Korean taco craze, but San Francisco’s Namu Gaji is recognized for an original take on the idea. The Real Korean Tacos, as they’re called, use dried sheets of nori instead of tortillas as the vehicle for BBQ Kalbi short ribs and kimchee salsa. They are available at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and have also become a staple at summer fests like Outside Lands. Now that the restaurant has logged a couple of seasons in the Mission after moving from the original Richmond District spot, they’re a fixture at Dolores Park picnics and parties too.
IOC Inspectors praise Pyeongchang for 2018 Winter Games preparations
AP via Washington Post
IOC inspectors have concluded their second visit to Pyeongchang by praising organizers for making good progress on preparations for the 2018 Winter Games.
IOC coordination commission chief Gunilla Lindberg says the panel has “once again seen good progress” and “an excellent team effort” from the organizing committee, all levels of government and the Korean Olympic Committee.
The commission cited the launch of Pyeongchang’s new logo and finalization of venue plans.
After School made their way back to the K-pop scene after a year-long hiatus with a “polarizing” new routine that accompanied their title track of their new mini-album, First Love. The music video, which was released earlier this week with the single, features the girls pole dancing as they sing about their first love.
The members of After School, whose ages range from 18 to 29 years, join several other girl groups pushing the limit in their routines and performances to differentiate themselves from the competition. From HyunA’s sexy girl to 2NE1’s bad girl image, the experiments have resulted in a wide range of results, from being banned on TV to finding their niche. After School’s pole dancing, however, could arguably be the most physically arduous — but perhaps the most engaging for audiences.
The Wall Street Journal reports that After School spent seven months in intense rehearsals. Before the broadcast of their first live performance on Mnet, the girls showed the calluses on their hands which came as a result of their training. One of the members, Lizzy, ended up injuring her right leg during practice, forcing her to sit out the live performances. Continue Reading »