North Korea Skillfully Evades Sanctions, U.N. Panel Says
New York Times
Recent inspections and seizures of banned cargo have shown that North Korea is using increasingly deceptive techniques to circumvent international sanctions, a panel of experts said in a report to the United Nations Security Council published Tuesday.
After a series of nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests by North Korea over the past decade, the Security Council has adopted resolutions calling for increasingly vigorous sanctions aimed at crippling the North’s financial and technical capability to build weapons of mass destruction.
In its latest annual report, posted Tuesday on the United Nations website, the panel of eight experts said that North Korea has persisted in defying those resolutions not only by continuing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs but also by engaging in illegal arms trade.
Growing Chinese Influence Worries N.Korean Officials
There are “serious concerns” among some North Korean officials that North Korea could turn into a vassal state of China amid growing economic dependence on its sole ally, a defector said Monday.
Kim Chong-song, who under his real name used to be a senior member of the Workers Party, is the highest-ranking North Korean defector living in the South and spoke to media here for the first time.
“Without Chinese capital and goods, it would be impossible for the North Korean government to operate, and ordinary people would not be able to carry on with their daily lives,” Kim said. “North Korea grew so dependent on China in the 20 years of Kim Jong-il’s rule that it’s now impossible to construct buildings, grow farm produce, or sustain the regime without imports of Chinese materials, fertilizer and pesticides.”
S. Korean charity to send aid to N. Korea under tension
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
A South Korean charity announced on Tuesday it will provide aid for children and expectant mothers in impoverished North Korea, under lingering tensions on the peninsula.
ChildFund Korea said it will ship 200 tons worth of wheat flour and bean flour north of the border. It represents South Korea’s largest private aid to the North under President Park Geun-hye.
According to ChildFund Korea, North Korea has pledged to share the foodstuffs with about 23,000 children and 29,000 pregnant women.
Unified Korea would become world’s 8th largest economy by 2050: think tank
If North and South Korea were to unify within the next year, Korea would have the eighth largest economy in the world by 2050 with a per capita income exceeding that of Japan, a report by a local think tank claimed Tuesday.
According to Hyundai Research Institute (HRI), one of South Korea’s largest research institutions, unification would generate new growth engines and create a sizable domestic market that would make the country less reliant on overseas markets.
“The increase in population and market would make it possible to deal effectively with the drop in economic growth potential and the country’s weakness to external economic developments,” said Hong Soon-jick, head of the HRI’s unification economy center.
Canada, South Korea conclude long-delayed free trade deal
Canada and South Korea announced on Tuesday they had wrapped up talks on a long-delayed free trade deal which had stalled for years amid squabbles over exports of autos and beef.
The deal – outlined in a statement by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper – is particularly important for Canada, which is trying to cut its reliance on the U.S. market.
The agreement is the first Canada has concluded with a nation from Asia, a fast-growing part of the world that Ottawa is deliberately targeting.
Canada’s Trade Ministry says exports to South Korea in 2012 were worth C$3.7 billion ($3.4 billion) while imports from South Korea hit C$6.4 billion.
Pope Visit Caps Banner Year for Korean Catholics
Wall Street Journal
The Pope says he loves Korea. And to prove it, he’s making his first trip to the country later this year, adding to a recent string of coups for South Korea’s Catholics.
On Monday, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis would visit in August, marking the popular pontiff’s first trip to Asia since he was elected pope, a year ago this week.
The papal visit, the first to South Korea since John Paul II’s visit in 1989, is the latest — and biggest — coup for South Korea’s Catholic church this year, which generally keeps a lower profile than the country’s Protestants.
SBS Hands Over Footage in Dating-Show Suicide
Broadcaster SBS has handed over raw footage from the blind-date program “Jjak” to police after a contestant killed herself during filming on Jeju Island last week.
A police spokesman said investigators want to check whether the woman suffered “undue pressure or humiliation” during filming of the typically adversarial program.
The contestants on the show, a Korean version of U.S. program “The Bachelor,” are herded together in a hotel for weeks and filmed practically every waking moment.
LA Web Festival to screen ‘Kimchi Warrior’ animation
Kimchi superhero animation will screen at one of the largest U.S. web series festivals.
According to the LAWEBFEST 2014, Korea-born director Kang Young-man’s “Kimchi Warrior” episodes are included in its final play list for the five-day event scheduled for March 26-30. It is the first time that a Korean director has been invited to the festival.
Kang’s two episodes, each running 5-6 minutes, contain blend of martial arts, comedy, and the promotion of good health. Web series are three-to-six minute-long serialized videos in various genres that are rapidly spread through YouTube and SNSs.
“It is a unique blend of martial arts, comedy, and the promotion of good health. Based on the premise of ‘Popeye,’ our hero obtains supernatural strength by consuming the most prominent Korean dish to defend mankind from the world’s most notorious diseases such as swine flu, mad cow disease, malaria and SARS,” Kang, director of L.A.-based YMK Films, said in a statement on its website.
In second camp, Dodgers and Ryu more comfortable
The Dodgers use the word “comfortable” so much to describe pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu this Spring Training compared to last, you’d think he’s throwing from a Barcalounger.
The fact is, it’s the Dodgers who are more comfortable this Spring with Ryu.
Last Spring, they had a rocky honeymoon. Ryu reported out of shape, unaware that Major Leaguers are expected to be ready from Day One of camp and not work themselves into fitness.
He believed the six-year, $36 million contract he signed to leave Korea assured him a spot in the starting rotation. Management, though, got a little worried as he struggled in exhibition games and began talking about “competing” for a job.
IOC admits misquoting Yuna
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) admitted that a quote attributed to figure skater Kim Yuna was fabricated in a news story published on its website during the recent Sochi Olympics.
“It was originally written by one of our ‘young reporters’ (young trainee reporters from the Youth Olympic Games), but Kim Yuna’s agent contacted us to say she felt that the quote was not accurate,” IOC media relations manager Sandrine Tonge told The Korea Times on Monday.
“We felt it was better to remove it since this was not integral to the story and we wanted to be accurate.”
Stargazers Witness Close Encounter
A bright shining object in the skies captivated observers in Suwon on Sunday night. Experts say it was probably a shooting star.
The object blazed across the night sky for some moments before crashing to earth.
Several videos capturing the scene from in-car systems were posted on social networking sites.
On Monday morning, a black rock measuring 25 by 50 cm and presumed to be part of a meteorite was found in a greenhouse in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province.
Korean Emoticons Infographic
Dom & Hyo
Check out this super cute infographic about Korean emoticons. This useful guide will show you some new ones, for sure.
World’s Largest Asymmetrical Building to Open in Seoul
Wall Street Journal
Seoul unveils to the public next Friday what is likely to be South Korea’s most controversial building in recent memory.
Designed by Pritzker-winning Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, the seven-story Dongdaemun Design Plaza is the world’s largest asymmetrical free form building, according to its operator Seoul Design Foundation. With a floor area of 86,574 square meters (931,875 square feet), the structure spans three underground levels and four above ground, and occupies a site of more than 25,000 square meters — equivalent to 3.5 soccer fields.
The building’s exterior is noted for its grass-covered tops and its 45,133 aluminum panels, each individually shaped.
Built on a historic site adjacent to the ancient capital’s east gate, the structure contains exhibition spaces and conference centers as well as workshops and boutiques. The shows for the 2014 Fall/Winter Seoul Fashion Week will take place at its opening next Friday.
Japan Won’t Alter Apology to World War II Sex Slaves
New York Times
Japan will not revise a landmark apology to women forced to work in military brothels during World War II even as it moves ahead with a review of the testimony used to create that apology, a spokesman for the Japanese government said Monday.
Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters that the conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had no intention of changing the 1993 apology, called the Kono Statement. The apology admitted for the first time that the Imperial military played at least an indirect role in forcing the women, known euphemistically as “comfort women,” to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.
Mr. Suga was responding to rising criticism from South Korea, a former Japanese colony where many of the women came from, of an announcement made two weeks ago by Mr. Suga that the government would review evidence used to support the apology. At that time, Mr. Suga said the government would form a panel of experts to review the evidence used to back up the statement, mostly testimony made two decades ago by 16 aging former sex slaves.
North Korea Election: A Sham Worth Studying
Kim wins. That is the unsurprising outcome of North Korea’s first legislative election under the leadership young dictator Kim Jong Un. State media report that nearly 100% of eligible North Koreans voted in Sunday’s poll, and 100% cast votes in favor of the status quo. This is only partly as ridiculous as it sounds: voting is mandatory and there is one option on the ballot.
Indeed, when North Korea votes, it votes. When exactly 100% of eligible North Korean set out to cast votes 100% in favor of pre-determined politicians, they were carried forth on “billows of emotion and happiness,” state media reported. And nowhere were they happier — or more billowy, presumably — that in Kim Jong Un’s district, Mount Paektu, the Korean peninsula’s highest peak. The group that voted at the storied site were so moved by the exercise that they spontaneously burst into song, state media said.
North Korean Flagged Tanker Puzzles Observers
Wall Street Journal
Is North Korea trying to import oil from rebel forces in Libya?
The Libyan government and militias are threatening to attack a North Korean-flagged tanker off its coast that they say rebels are hoping to use to export oil from the port of al-Sidra.
“Any attempt (by the tanker) to move, it will be turned into scrap,” Libyan Culture Minister Al-Habib al-Amin said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
The presence of the tanker, named “The Morning Glory,” has puzzled observers because it’s very unusual for North Korean-flagged vessels to appear in the Mediterranean.
Dennis Rodman pledges to end North Korea trips
Dennis Rodman, back from a North Korea trip that included an exhibition game and birthday song for Kim Jong Un, has pledged he will not make a return visit to the dictator if that is not what people want.
Rodman said he went to North Korea with pure intentions, stating that he only wants to “do great things in life” in a television interview with ESPN’s Mark Schwarz.
“I wish they understood the whole purpose of why I went to North Korea,” Rodman said. “I wish they did.”
Kim Jong-un’s Sister Secures Place in Nomenklatura
North Korea’s state-run media have for the first time mentioned leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Yeo-jong by name, suggesting she has established a position of some influence for herself in the corridors of power.
North Korean state TV on Sunday reported that Kim Jong-un visited a polling station at Kim Il-sung University for elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly on Sunday, accompanied by military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae, Workers Party deputy directors Kim Kyong-ok and Hwang Pyong-so, “and comrade Kim Yeo-jong.”
Challenging South Korea’s Gender Barrier
Wall Street Journal
When Cho Eun-sook started her career as the first female software developer at LG Electronics Inc. in 1988, there was no such thing as maternity leave. Instead, she took vacation days to give birth to her two sons.
Now in her 27th year at the company, Ms. Cho runs mobile accessory development and is one of three female vice presidents at the company.
Ms. Cho was one of more than 120 female engineers who met to discuss women working in technology at an event hosted by Google Inc. in Seoul on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.
Fugitive tracked by Tribune is returned from S. Korea
U.S. authorities today extradited international fugitive Kyung Ho Song to Chicago from his native South Korea, more than a decade after Song fled Cook County to avoid being tried on charges of drunken driving and reckless homicide.
The hunt for Song was reactivated after the Tribune contacted prosecutors and police about the dormant case in connection with its 2011 “Fugitives From Justice” investigation. The Tribune separately tracked down Song in a suburb of Seoul and interviewed him there in early 2012.
Korean authorities arrested Song in December 2013 on a U.S. provisional arrest warrant, and the Korean ministry of justice authorized his extradition back to Chicago.
Affirmative action amendment has some Asian-Americans furious
Southern California Public Radio
A proposal to reinstate affirmative action at California’s public universities is riling some Asian-American groups more than any recent political issue, with critics unleashing their anger on social media and in protests and public meetings.
At issue is a Democrat-backed bill that would lift a 1996 ban keeping University of California and California State University schools from considering race or ethnicity in admissions and recruitment.
SCA 5 – short for Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 – passed on a party-line vote in the state Senate late January, and if it’s approved by the supermajority in the Assembly, Californians could vote on the issue as early as this year.
More charges after cyclist killed in W. Colorado
AP via Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A 29-year-old Palisade woman involved in a crash in western Colorado that killed a man on a cross-country bicycling trip is now facing several drug charges.
Prosecutors say Tonie Rosales used cocaine for two days in September before heading to Delta for a court hearing relating to a prior DUI arrest. She struck and killed 25-year-old Eunjey Cho on U.S. Highway 50 on her way to court Sept. 18 and was formally charged with the drug offenses Thursday.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1gc4wnD ) Rosales already has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide — one alleging DUI and another alleging reckless driving.
Brentwood girl gets two perfect ACT scores, looks to future in science
For most students, taking the ACT is a rite of passage.
It can be an eye-opening and sometimes brutal experience, often repeated to achieve better results and possibly gain college scholarship money and win selective admission.
But for Joyce Kang, a senior at Brentwood High School, the college entrance exam was a piece of cake both times she took it. That’s right: She made the highest possible score — 36 — both times.
Kang had to endure the exam a second time because she didn’t take the ACT written assessment the first time.
Folk rockers Run River North flows in the right direction on debut album
Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven’t heard of.
Week of 03/07/2013
WHO: Run River North
WHAT: Run River North
Run River North first came to our attention in a method befitting the the style of music they play. The six-piece had assembled its own music video (under its then name Monsters Calling Home) shooting inside a Honda Fit. The car company appreciated the gesture and hooked them up with Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Uncomfortable questions with Shin-Soo Choo
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)
Shin-Soo Choo’s big league career began when he was 22 as a rookie with the Seattle Mariners. He is 30 now, and should be fairly secure with the seven-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Texas Rangers in the offseason. He should be able to live off that for at least two to three years.
A native of South Korea, Choo is expected to bat leadoff hitter, and be the Rangers’ every day left fielder. He was nice enough to answer some uncomfortable questions.
Dodgers to start Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu in Australia openers
Los Angeles Times
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly made official Sunday what had been suspected for some time: Left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are set to start the team’s season-opening games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia.
But anything beyond that, Mattingly said, is still to be determined.
“We still haven’t made all our decisions on exactly how we’re going to set up our roster,” he said. “So those are issues that we continue to talk with guys about.”
IOC Deletes Fake Quotes from Kim Yu-na
The International Olympic Committee has quietly deleted fabricated quotes from Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-na that appeared to downplay controversy over judging irregularities at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The IOC published an article with the implausible quotes on its official website on March 6, focusing on figure skaters from the Innsbruck Youth Winter Olympics who won medals in Sochi.
One skater in focus was Russian gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova. The IOC claimed Kim had been “magnanimous in defeat” after a highly dubious judging decision in Sochi put her in second place.
Kim Yu-na to hold farewell ice shows in May: agency
South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na will hold farewell ice shows in Seoul this spring, her agency announced Monday.
All That Sports said Kim will take the center stage at her corporate-sponsored ice shows from May 4 to 6 in the nation’s capital.
The 23-year-old star retired from competition after the Sochi Winter Olympics last month. She picked up the silver medal behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, after winning the gold at the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.
The agency said the three days of performances will be Kim’s last appearances on ice as a figure skater. Through the agency’s press release, Kim said she hopes to take the opportunity to show her appreciation for her fans.
Beverly Kim and John Clark Plan to Open Parachute
When the husband-and-wife chef team Beverly Kim and John Clark took over the now-defunct Bonsoirée in 2012, they fulfilled a dream of working together on a Korean-inspired modern restaurant. Unfortunately, the dream lasted only a few months there, and Bonsoirée closed.
After a year-plus deferral, they’re leaping back into their restaurant-ownership dream, and if you leap, you need a Parachute (3500 N. Elston Ave., Avondale, no phone yet). The 40-seat, liquor-licensed, Korean-American-perspective restaurant is scheduled to open in April.
Kim and Clark say the food will pull together traditional Korean flavors with new and creative ones. “Reminiscent of familiar traditional flavors, but presented in a new creative way,” Kim says. As an example, they offer a crispy mung bean pancake with pork belly, black garlic, and kimchi. The menu breaks down into snacks in the $4 to $7 range, appetizers such as crudos or salads, rice and noodles, and larger plates intended for sharing and costing between $18 and $25.
Korea’s Most Popular Online Eating Shows
Wall Street Journal
One of South Korea’s hardest-to-explain phenomena in recent months is the boom of “mokbang”: Internet-streamed shows where hosts eat often supersized meals – for the audience’s pleasure.
Choi Ji-hwan, a top mokbang host, told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that one of his satisfied viewers was on a diet seeking a vicarious thrill. Others were living alone and enjoyed his virtual company as they ate “together.”
Every night on a local YouTube-like platform AfreecaTV, multiple show hosts vie to be selected by hundreds of thousands of viewers. Several of them make a living through these shows and have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
U.S.-South Korea Begin War Games as Family Reunions Continue
The U.S. and South Korea began annual military exercises — denounced by the North as preparations for war — that coincided with the first reunions of families separated by the Korean War in more than three years.
The Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises began today as scheduled, U.S. Forces Korea spokesman Kim Yong Kyu said by phone. The two sets of drills, one based on computer simulations and the other involving field training, will draw thousands of additional U.S. troops into the country, according to USFK. The two allies say the drills are routine and defensive.
North Korea had initially threatened to pull out of the family reunions if the military drills weren’t canceled. Instead, the agreement to hold the reunions led to two rounds of high-level talks between the two countries, and today South Korea offered negotiations on providing assistance to stop the spread of the foot-and-mouth disease in the North.
California Korean Community on ‘East Sea’ Movement
The U.S. state of California.
Home to the largest population of Korean-Americans and Japanese-Americans in the country. Some may see this as the next ground for a political battle over how to refer to the body of water between Korea and Japan in school textbooks.
Virginia State will soon require the Korean-preferred title of “East Sea” to be used alongside the “Sea of Japan” in its textbooks, while in New York a similar bill has also been proposed.
But the issue has not stirred up much attention yet in California.
“LA The president of the Korean American Federation in Los Angeles says the greater L.A. area has been, and still is* busy trying to protect the so-called “comfort women” memorial statue in Glendale Central Park from being removed. So right now is not the most suitable time to raise another issue and divert attention – whether it be the East Sea bill, or anything else.
‘Korean to be first Asian US president’
It wasn’t long ago that Koreans barely had a voice in American politics. Now, they’re quickly emerging as one of the most influential among Asian politicians, so much so that one notable legislator says the first U.S. president of Asian descent will be Korean.
“I think of all Asian-American ethnic groups, I would say at this stage based on our history and trajectory, the first U.S. president of Asian descent will be Korean,” Mark Keam, a third-term delegate of the Virginia state Legislature who co-sponsored Virginia’s East Sea bill, said in an interview with The Korea Times.
There are several reasons, he said, but one of the foremost is because the growing Korean population in the U.S. is creating a larger pool of solid potential politicians.
“In the ‘80s, I didn’t run across a single Korean in Washington D.C. You just didn’t see any,” said Keam, who first began his political career as a college intern on Capitol Hill. “That’s 25 to 30 years ago. Now, things are a lot different.”
A Yu turn for a long-shot Senate candidate
Eugene Yu, the Korean American businessman who joined the crowded race for U.S. Senate, said Saturday he would instead challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow.
Yu always faced long odds in the race to replace Saxby Chambliss, with three sitting congressmen and two other prominent Republicans in the mix on the GOP side. The Augusta businessman may have decided he had a better shot challenging Barrow, one of the most targeted Democrats in the House, than maintaining an expensive statewide bid.
Barrow, seen as one of the most vulnerable moderate Democrats in the nation, faces heated competition every two years. This election is no different. Yu now joins businessman Rick Allen, long-time GOP aide John Stone and state Rep. Delvis Dutton in the GOP contest to unseat Barrow, who was first elected in 2004.
Sentencing begins in convenience store food stamp fraud cases
Two Korean citizens have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a food stamp fraud scheme and may face deportation, the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore announced this week.
The cases were part of a food stamp fraud sting that implicated 10 convenience store owners in the Baltimore area in September. Authorities said the defendants, eight of whom have pleaded guilty to food stamp fraud or wire fraud so far, would illegally redeem food stamps in exchange for cash.
Hyung Cho, 40, of Catonsville, was sentenced to 38 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and his mother Dae Cho, 67, of Catonsville, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The Cho’s, who operated K&S Market, a convenience store at 3910 West Belvedere Avenue, were both ordered to forfeit more than $371,000 and pay restitution of $1.4 million. They did not have legal immigration status, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and have “agreed not to object to any proceedings that may be brought to remove them from the United States upon completion of their sentence.”
Justices refuse appeal from killer set to die
Houston Chronicle (Texas)
A convicted killer facing execution next month for a Dallas-area slaying 11 years ago has lost an appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Anthony Doyle is set to die March 27 for the 2003 beating death and robbery of 37-year-old Hyun Mi Cho. She was delivering a doughnut and burrito order to a house in Rowlett. Her body was found in a trash can behind the house. Doyle was 18 at the time and on probation for theft. He also had a juvenile record.
The high court Monday, without comment, refused to review his case.
Doyle told police he intended to rob the woman and struck her with a baseball bat when she told him she had no money. Evidence showed he took her car and used her credit cards.
Girls’ Generation Achieves All-Kill and Sweeps Charts All Over the World
Girls’ Generation has finally returned with a new single “Mr.Mr” and have been sweeping music charts not only in Korea but all around the world.
On February 24, Girls’ Generation released their fourth mini-album online. In just a mere hour upon release, “Mr.Mr” was the #1 song on seven different music charts including Melon, Mnet, Olleh Music, Bugs, Genie, Soribada and Monkey3. In a couple more hours, “Mr.Mr” rose to the top on Naver and Daum Music as well.
Overseas reactions and interests are also getting higher and higher. “Mr. Mr” was ranked #2 in Thailand, #5 in Malaysia, #14 in Hong Kong, #21 in Taiwan, #52 in the Philippines and #63 in Indonesia, making “Mr.Mr.” enter the Top 100 chart in six different countries within an hour after release.
Shortly afterwards, “Mr.Mr” was ranked #2 in Thailand, #3 in Vietnam, #4 in Singapore, #5 in Malaysia, #6 in Indonesia and Kazakhstan, #14 in Hong Kong, #21 in Taiwan, #55 in the Philippines, #97 in Sweden and #99 in Macao within two hours upon release.
South Korea Puts Anger Aside After Olympic Skating Disappointment
New York Times
Kim Yu-na was a perfect heroine for her country. Like postwar South Korea, she rose from a humble start, skating on a tatty rink as a 6-year-old, to win gold for a nation that had felt sidelined in a sport dominated by Western athletes.
So when she was dethroned in Sochi by a Russian teenager in a much-debated decision, it was not surprising that Ms. Kim’s country, which has long tied international sports achievements to self-worth, reacted with anger.
A popular novelist said he would remember these Games as the “Suchi Olympics,” using the word for “humiliation.” A petition on Change.org calling for an investigation by the International Skating Union drew more than 1.9 million signatures, most of them from South Koreans. And many online commentators said Ms. Kim had been cheated of a gold medal because her country was “small and weak.”
Yuna Kim Has Not Had Plastic Surgery, and Koreans Love Her For It
When the Olympic judges placed South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim second to Russian Adelina Sotnikova yesterday, her fans wouldn’t have it: Nearly two million have already signed a petition to have the judging re-opened. American skating enthusiasts might know Kim for her artistic style or her signature “camel spin”, but in South Korea—where she’s known as “Queen Yuna”—there’s another reason women love her: Unlike most Korean celebrities and “pop stars”, she appears not to have had plastic surgery—even though she has the kind of eyelids that would send many Korean girls running to the doctor.
“Most Korean girls want plastic surgery,” said Lee Tea Yang, a trader in Seoul. “Yuna Kim made a new era. There has never been a star like her.”
Though statistics are hard to verify, South Korea consistently ranks in the top few countries worldwide for per capita plastic surgery. One of the most popular procedures is “double eyelid surgery”, in which doctors use a combination of cutting and stitching to create a crease in Asians’ typically flat upper eyelids, giving the eyes a larger, rounder, arguably Westernized appearance.
South Korea Had the Most Last-Place Finishes in Sochi
Wall Street Journal
After a respectable 14 podium appearances in Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics, South Korea’s outlook was bright coming into the 2014 Games. The Koreans weren’t able to live up to expectations, earning only eight medals in Sochi, but they were the best in the world in one unfortunate category: finishing last.
For the third consecutive Olympics, The Wall Street Journal awarded lead, tin and zinc medals to the three worst performers to complete a given event (based on time or score of last-place finishers in every Olympic event; no disqualifications or non-finishers were counted). South Korean Olympians finished in the bottom three places in an astounding 19 different events, more often than any other participating country.
Canada came in second with 16 medals, with the U.S. (15) earning the third most not-so-precious medals. Since the U.S. and Canada have large Olympic delegations, it isn’t entirely surprising to see such large pools of Olympians finish all over the field of competition: These two countries earned 28 and 25 real Olympic medals respectively in Sochi.
Defection row overshadows South Korean Viktor Ahn’s skating victory for Russia
South China Morning Post
It was a night when Viktor Ahn should have been out celebrating becoming the most successful short track speed skater of all time but instead he was quizzed from all sides at the Sochi Olympics about why he defected to Russia.
Ahn confirmed his place among the greatest Winter Olympians when he won the 500 metres individual event then returned to the ice about 45 minutes later and helped Russia win the 5,000m relay. Ahn also won gold in the 1,000m at Sochi and now has six Olympic gold medals in total – more than any speed skater either in short track or the more traditional long course.
If the skater formerly known as Ahn Hyun-soo, who won three golds for South Korea at the 2006 Turin Olympics, thought he would clarify his position once and for all at a packed news conference starting after midnight he was clearly mistaken.
Far from Sochi, North Koreans hone skiing skills
For North Korean skiers, Sochi was a distant dream. The country didn’t send a single athlete to the Winter Olympics and has never won a downhill medal. But as the rest of the world watches this year’s Olympic pageant wrap up in Russia, North Koreans are flocking to the slopes of a lavish new ski resort all their own — and many have a gold medal in mind four years from now, when the winter games will be held in South Korea.
Of course, that’s a tall order.
Even by official estimates, only about 0.02 percent of North Korea’s 24 million people have ever strapped on ski boots. But with the blessing of leader Kim Jong Un, who has made building recreational and sporting facilities a priority, in part to boost tourism as a source of hard cash for the economically strapped nation, skiing is now almost a national duty for those who have the time, money or opportunity to hit the slopes.
South Korea Awaits 2018 Games With a Different Plan
New York Times
The sun was shining once more by the Black Sea and the jackets were off with the Olympic flame still a few hours away from being extinguished.
“You better bring your jacket to Pyeongchang,” said Kim Jin-sun, head of the organizing committee for the 2018 Games in South Korea. “Much colder than Sochi.”
As the Russians and the members of the International Olympic Committee begin recovering from the sleepless nights that surely accompanied their wild, seven-year ride to Sochi’s closing ceremony, the cosmic question is where the Winter Games go from here in a world of climate instability, declining winter sports participation numbers in the West and spiraling costs and scale for Olympic organizers?
Rangers like what they are seeing with Choo
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)
Scouting Shin-Soo Choo has become an easier task over the years. He’s established himself as an on-base machine with speed and power.
In the beginning, though, nobody knew how Choo would pan out. Just ask Jim Colborn, the Rangers’ senior adviser for Pacific Rim operations.
“The big problem with scouting him is that he’d walk about three times a game,” said Colborn, a scout for the Mariners at the time.
“They’d never give him anything good to hit and he’d take his walks. So it was tough to grade him.”
Whiz Now Open Serving Philly Cheesesteaks in Koreatown
For all those times you’re in Koreatown and have a hankering for a cheesesteak sandwich as opposed to, say, a sizzling bowl of soon tofu: Whiz opened in the neighborhood last Saturday, Feb. 15, a small shop on the corner of 6th Street and Oxford Avenue, or right around the corner from craft beer bar Beer Belly.
This location is no coincidence, as the shop is brought to you none other than Beer Belly’s owner Jimmy Han and executive chef Wes Lieberher. You could have guessed as much just by the artwork: MR44, who did the mural at Beer Belly, collaborated with artist Swanski to create a beautiful piece outside Whiz.
North and South Korea to hold ‘high-level’ meeting
North and South Korea will hold a “high-level meeting” Wednesday ahead of planned family reunions of people from the two countries, Seoul said Tuesday.
“No agenda was set prior to this meeting,” Kim Eui-do, a spokesman for the South Korean Unification Ministry said. “But we expect that there will be comprehensive dialogue on the smooth operation of these family reunions, holding the family reunions on a regular basis and other important areas of interest.”
The talks will start Wednesday morning at the Panmunjom Peace House, which is on the South’s side of the heavily militarized border, Kim said.
Pyongyang said last week it may back out of the reunions of the families — who were separated by the Korean War in the 1950s — if South Korean forces participate in annual joint military exercises with the United States later this month.
North Korea claims Kenneth Bae not a political pawn? Prove it
North Korean officials said months ago that American prisoner Kenneth Bae would not be used as a political pawn. Their latest action suggests they’ve changed their mind.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced Sunday that North Korean officials had rescinded a second invitation for a special American envoy to fly to Pyongyang to meet with Bae. According to this Associated Press news story, the cancellation “signals an apparent protest of upcoming annual military drills between Washington and Seoul and an alleged mobilization of U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 bombers during training near the Korean Peninsula. North Korea calls the planned drills a rehearsal for invasion, a claim the allies deny.”
North Korean leaders would be wise to let Bae — imprisoned for 15 months now — return to his family before his health deteriorates any further. Bae is not a public official or representative of the U.S. government. He entered the country numerous times as a tour operator before he was detained in November 2012. He is a father, husband, son and brother, and a man of faith who has apologized (possibly under duress) to the North Korean regime for whatever crimes they claim he committed.
Ex-U.S. envoy visits Pyongyang: state media
Donald Gregg, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, arrived in North Korea, Pyongyang’s state media reported Monday, a trip seen to help facilitate the release of a Korean-American man detained there.
In a brief report, the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Gregg, now chairman of the U.S. Pacific Century Institute, and other members of the institute are visiting Pyongyang.
The KCNA did not give specifics on the purpose of their visit to the communist state, but the report came one day after the U.S. said it was disappointed by the North’s decision to cancel its invitation to Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues.
Amb. Robert King had planned to travel to the communist state sometime this month to discuss the release of Kenneth Bae, but Pyongyang canceled its invitation for King, citing an annual joint military drill between the U.S. and the South.
Time Running out on Former Sex Slaves’ Quest
A single picture captures the regret, shame and rage that Kim Gun-ja has harbored through most of her 89 years. Dressed in a long white wedding gown, she carries a bouquet of red flowers and stares at the camera, her deep wrinkles obscured by makeup and a diaphanous veil.
A local company arranged wedding-style photo shoots as gifts for Kim and other elderly women at the House of Sharing, a museum and nursing home for South Koreans forced into brothels by Japan during World War II. Kim and many of the other women never married, giving the pictures a measure of bitterness.
“That could have been my life: Meet a man, get married, have children, have grandchildren,” Kim said in her small, tidy room at the nursing home south of Seoul. “But it never happened. It could never be.”
Japanese soldiers stole her youth, she says, and now, “The Japanese are waiting for us to die.”
South Korea’s LGBT Community Is Fighting For Equal Rights
Last September, two men held South Korea‘s first same-sex wedding on a bridge in Seoul, to the applause of hundreds of guests and the soaring voices of a choir. The ceremony carried no legal weight — same-sex unions are not recognized in South Korea — but the couple and their legal advisers are now moving forward with a legal challenge that they hope will put South Korea in the vanguard of same-sex equality in Asia.
The cause is being helped by the fact that the Kims are high-profile professionals from South Korea’s glamorous film industry. Kim Jho Gwang-su, 48, is a prominent director, while producer Kim Seung-hwan, 29, is CEO of Rainbow Factory, a production house known for its LGBT output. “We realized we could be an example to others and that it was selfish not to use our positions as public figures to push for change,” Kim Seung-hwan told TIME.
Change has been a long time coming for this socially conservative nation. Homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea (or expressly legal), but before the late 1980s the country was ruled by dictatorial regimes and citizens enjoyed few civil liberties, never mind sexual rights. A small and tentative LGBT movement emerged in the 1990s, but even in the year 2000, when prominent actor Hong Seok-chun came out as gay — the first Korean entertainer to do so — he lost all his TV, film and radio contracts.
Why South Korea is really an internet dinosaur
SOUTH KOREA likes to think of itself as a world leader when it comes to the internet. It boasts the world’s swiftest average broadband speeds (of around 22 megabits per second). Last month the government announced that it will upgrade the country’s wireless network to 5G by 2020, making downloads about 1,000 times speedier than they are now. Rates of internet penetration are among the highest in the world. There is a thriving startup community (Cyworld, rolled out five years before Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, was the most popular social network in South Korea for a decade) and the country leads the world in video games as spectator sports. Yet in other ways the futuristic country is stuck in the dark ages. Last year Freedom House, an American NGO, ranked South Korea’s internet as only “partly free”. Reporters without Borders has placed it on a list of countries “under surveillance”, alongside Egypt, Thailand and Russia, in its report on “Enemies of the Internet”. Is forward-looking South Korea actually rather backward?
State Rep. Patty Kim makes re-election bid official
State Rep. Patty Kim formally announced Monday she’ll seek another term representing the capital city.
Kim, a Democrat and former Harrisburg Councilwoman, represents the 103rd District: Harrisburg, Steelton, Highspire, Paxtang Borough and part of Swatara Township.
“Our community needs someone fighting for them in the State Capitol, and I want to continue to be their voice,” Kim said.
She still has work to do, particularly with respect to income inequality, according to the statement.
To that end, Kim has introduced bills that would increase minimum wage, and expunge records of non-violent offenders who have successfully and productively re-entered their communities.
Brentwood girl one of 40 finalists for $100,000 prize in science research
Brentwood High School Senior Joyce Kang is one of 40 finalists for the Intel Science Talent Search, a competition that challenges high school students to conduct innovative and unexplored research possibilities and possibly win $100,000.
Not your typical high school project; Kang’s project explores the development of a high-performance hybrid super capacitor.
The 40 finalists were chosen from among more than 1,800 applicants. Kang is the only finalist to come from the state of Tennessee.
She will attend the final round of judging and compete for more than $630,000 in prizes, including the $100,000 grand prize.
Girls’ Generation Announces Comeback Single ‘Mr.Mr.,’ New Album
Girls’ Generation has announced its return to the K-pop scene with a 40-second teaser video for new single “Mr.Mr.” that will lead off their new album.
Filimed on a chilling hospital video set, the nine members are seen in glitzy dresses and pricey jewelry as they wear oxygen masks, hold hands with a male model and check the vital signs of a teddy bear. The black-, white- and pink-themed visual is soundtracked by a crunchy, electronic/hip-hop-hybrid beat with an addictive, repetitive “Mista mista” hook.
Anticipation is high to see what the group can accomplish after an exciting 2013.
The outfit’s “I Got a Boy” video earned nearly 85 million YouTube views as well won the group Video of the Year at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards, where it competed against the most watched and shared videos of the year from Justin Bieber, One Direction, Miley Cyrus and more. The new single will also prove whether the act can garner enough U.S. views to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 after the chart added YouTube views to its formula. (The rule was not in place when “I Got a Boy” was released.)
S. Korean women’s curling team beats Japan in Olympic debut
The South Korean women’s curling team defeated Japan 12-7 in its opening round robin match at the Sochi Winter Games on Tuesday, making a successful Olympic debut.
Led by skip Kim Ji-sun, the South Koreans handily prevailed over the mistake-prone Japanese with five points over the final three ends at Ice Cube Curling Center.
South Korean curler Lee Seul-bee (C) throws the stone as teammates Shin Mi-sung (L) and Gim Un-chi (R) watch during their round robin match against Japan at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Feb. 11, 2014. (Yonhap)
South Korea is scheduled to face Switzerland in the day’s second match at 7 p.m. here (midnight in South Korea).
South Korea Pained By Victor’s Bronze
Wall Street Journal
For South Koreans, the sight of a former favorite son winning a medal in Sochi on Monday was bittersweet.
Victor An took bronze in the men’s 1,500 meter short-track speed skating event for Russia. Only three years ago he was skating for South Korea. At the 2006 Olympics in Turin, he won three golds and a bronze for the nation under the name Ahn Hyun-soo.
But in 2010 he fell out with the Korean speed skating federation when a knee injury kept him from qualifying for the Vancouver Olympics. South Korea, fertile ground for competitive speed skating with plenty of up-and-coming candidates, had little room for injured athletes.
So Mr. Ahn chose Russia as his new homeland. Russia welcomed him. He changed his name to Victor An.
Ryu Hyun-jin checks in with slimmed down look
The Los Angeles Dodgers opened their spring training camp with much slimmer Ryu Hyun-jin.
Ryu still won’t reveal just how much he exactly weighs, but he did say it’s significantly less than last year at this time, as he checked in on Sunday. And, he even kept up with four other pitchers, including Clayton Kershaw, during a 20 minute run around the complex drill, unlike last year.
“Looks to me like he wants to be even better. That’s a good sign,” General Manager Ned Colletti said.
Ryu also said he’s more comfortable this spring. “I know the faces, and I have friends here. The first day doesn’t feel like the first day like last year, when I didn’t know anybody,” he explained.
S. Korean business man charged for alleged spying for North
A South Korean businessman has been indicted on charges of handing over classified information to North Korea, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The 55-year-old man, only identified by his surname Kang, is under suspicion of transferring state-of-the-art South Korean military technology between March 2012 and July 2013, as well as providing personal information on hundreds of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
“The (leaked) data were important and could be used by North Korea for military or intelligence operations,” said an investigator at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.
Among the leaked confidential data is the transferring wireless video and audio system technology called “KAISHOT,” prosecutors said. The technology was used by the South Korean Navy during the rescue of Korean sailors from Somali pirates near the Gulf of Aden three years ago, they added.
Virginia bill on ‘East Sea’ in home stretch
Use of the name East Sea in textbooks won approval Monday from a Virginia legislative committee, leaving just two steps before a longtime dream of the local Korean-American community comes true.
The House of Delegates education panel passed it in a 18-3 vote. The House floor is expected to vote Thursday on the bill, which requires new school textbooks to name the body of water between Korea and Japan the East Sea as well as the Sea of Japan.
Chances are high that it will pass the floor, given the level of support in the chamber. Since the legislation was already approved by the Senate, its fate will likely be decided by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has the power to veto legislative measures.
N.Koreans ‘Want Reunification’
More North Koreans than South Koreans want reunification, according to a straw poll of defectors by Media Research with the assistance of the North Korea Refugees Foundation.
Interviews with 200 North Korean defectors, most of whom came to South Korea within the last two years, revealed that 76.5 percent of them believe North Koreans want reunification “very much,” and only three percent “a little.”
Two percent said North Koreans “do not really want” reunification, while 0.5 percent said they do not want it at all.
South Korea: Kim Il-sung ‘worship’ declared illegal
Jo Young-nam apparently went to North Korea in 1995. He travelled through Germany, Japan and China to get there, and later claimed political asylum in Germany. He was arrested in 2012 when he returned to South Korea’s capital, Seoul.
A lower court had ruled Jo’s visit was akin to sightseeing. But South Korea’s Supreme Court says Jo was supporting North Korean ideology when he saw Kim Il-sung’s embalmed body at an extravagant mausoleum in Pyongyang, leading it to ban the activity for all South Korean citizens.
“His worshipping at the palace, which symbolizes Pyongyang’s propaganda, can be interpreted as praising and propagating the North’s ideology,” the high court ruled. “The way in which he entered the North, his continued support of the enemy and the symbolic meaning of the palace should be taken into consideration.”
Korea Adopts Name-and-Shame Tool to Boost Jobs for Moms
South Korea will adopt a name-and-shame policy, publicly identifying companies with low female employment levels, as President Park Geun Hye targets 1.65 million extra jobs for women.
Policy steps will include increased subsidies for parents on childcare leave and preferential treatment for “family-friendly” companies seeking government contracts, six ministries said in a joint statement today.
With an aging population threatening to undermine South Korea’s economic growth, Park, the nation’s first woman president, has pledged to lift the female employment rate to 61.9 percent, from 53.5 percent, before her term ends in 2018. Cho Yoon Sun, the minister for gender equality, is working with the family-run industrial groups called chaebol to try to end male-dominated employment practices.
How I Learned To Feel Undesirable
It’s an odd feeling, as an adult, to look at a photo of your parents and feel perplexed by it. As a young child, I believed that most sets of parents looked like mine — a Korean man, a white woman — and it never registered to me that other parents looked different, or that their love could be something culturally undesirable.
But as I have moved through 32 years of looking at myself in the mirror, a time in which the vast majority of interracial couples I have known have looked nothing like my parents, I have come to see their love as something rare. Most men in interracial couples I have encountered do not look like my dad. They do not have his skin tone, or his combination of dark hair and dark eyes. My mom often tells me stories about when she began dating my father in suburban New Jersey in the 1970s, and I could only infer from her stories that her predominantly white community felt confused and unsure why a white woman would find an Asian man attractive.
I learned, slowly, painfully, over the course of my life that most people shared the opinion of my mother’s community. I know this, because I look like my father
Nothing like “Duck Dynasty”: My life as a female hunter
Female hunters are everywhere. They are on television as the women of “Duck Dynasty” and the ladies of “American Hoggers,” blogging under names such as “Hardcore Huntress,” and co-authoring bestselling cookbooks such as “Kill It and Grill It.” Is this reason for feminists to celebrate, or a symptom of something more complicated? And is there some unspoken rule that says female hunters must be white-hot blondes?
Alas, I am neither hot nor blonde (though my sister, during her rock-star phase, certainly qualified). I’m a Korean-American preacher’s daughter who hunts and butchers my own venison. I thank the land, the Lord, and the deer for the bounty I am about to receive, for I fully expect that one day, nature will be feasting on what’s left of me.
The New York Times isn’t writing fawning articles about the kind of hunting that I practice, even though my bona fides sound a lot like those of the goddess of girl hunting, Georgia Pellegrini. She went to Chapin. I went to Andover. She became a stockbroker. I became a professor. She cooks. Me too. Pellegrini turned to hunting after butchering a domesticated bird. That was also where I started. After the encounter with an eviscerated bird, however, everything diverges.
The 1960′s American K-Pop Tale of “The Kim Sisters”: From Post War Korean Poverty to USA Prime Time
If asked “What is the first Korean music you were introduced to?” how would you respond? Fans from the 90′s might say H.O.T., Seo Taiji and Boys, g.o.d, Fin.k.l and etc. More recent fans may respond with Girls’ Generation, Big Bang, Wonder Girls, 2NE1, and etc. However, if you were to ask the same question to an American in the 1960′s, they would most likely respond with “The Kim Sisters.”
Wait, the Kim Sisters? Who in the world are they? “The Kim Sisters” was a popular female music trio from Korea composed of sisters Sook-ja, Ai-ja, and Mia (Mia is actually a cousin of the two, but was considered a sister) who battled poverty and hardships on their journey to becoming a top act in the glittering light filled city of Las Vegas, as well as becoming a favorite guest on the popular Sunday night variety show “Ed Sullivan Show.” Lets take a look at their amazing story that begins with their musically talented family in war ravaged Korea during the 1950s.
The story of the “The Kim Sisters” begin with their musically gifted family. The mother of Sook Ja and Ai-Ja, Lee Nan Young, was a famous singer in Korea before the war, most known for her 1935 hit “Tears in Mokpo,” and their father Kim Hae Song was also a successful conductor. The sisters would lose their father during the war and the bombings would destroy their home. Lee Nan Young continued to support her family with performances for the GI troops stationed in Korea, when one day she decided to make the trio “The Kim Sisters,” composed of her daughters Sook-ja, Ai-ja, and niece Mia. Thus the group began, and the trio began singing together during their early teen years for GI troops stationed in Korea.
Foreign entertainers are finding fame in S. Korea
Korea Times US
Japanese actress Mina Fujii featured only briefly in the 2012 television drama “Emperor of Drama.” She had a very small role and her Korean was at a beginner’s level. But instantly, people began inquiring about her on the Internet. There was a demand for actresses such as Fujii in the Korean entertainment industry.
Having acted since she was a teen, Fujii was not a stranger to the Korean entertainment sector. She appeared in music videos with TVXQ, when it was still a five-member K-pop group, and the actor/singer Jang Keun-suk, who is known as “Prince of Asia.” Serendipity was it? Maybe it was. The Japanese actress however was frank and straightforward in saying that she came to Korea after a search for her niche in the competitive acting industry.
“I fell in love with ‘Winter Sonata’ as a viewer and started learning Korean. I didn’t study Korean with a certain purpose back then. I also liked how the drama continued for 45 minutes and had a different story and ambience,” said Fujii in an interview with The Korea Times. An actress since teen, the Niigata-native turned serious about making her entry into the Korean market when work dwindled after graduation from Keio University.
Orioles have made an offer to Korean pitcher Yoon, source says
The Orioles have enough interest in signing Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon that they have made him an offer, according to an industry source.
Yoon has received multiple offers to pitch in the big leagues in 2014, but has not yet made a decision, a source said. That could come within the next several days.
Along with representatives from the San Francisco Giants, the Orioles attended a private workout for Yoon in California last week. Club officials wanted to make sure that Yoon, a 27-year-old who reportedly has a fastball in the low 90s, was healthy.
The 2011 Most Valuable Player for the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization, Yoon also won a gold medal with the South Korean team in the 2008 Olympics.
Kimchi grand master Kim Soon-ja takes Korean dish global
South Korea’s best known dish is kimchi, spicy pickled cabbage, which is served with every meal of the day – including breakfast.
The grand master of kimchi is Kim Soon-ja, and she is South Korea’s secret weapon in expanding the appeal of the country’s national dish.
Mrs Kim explains why she wants people across the world to eat kimchi.
‘I am Homeland’ showcases Korean-American poets
A collection of poems written by first-generation Korean-Americans has been published in the U.S. It consists of 120 poems delving into their migration experiences, sense of displacement and their daily lives as immigrants in the country they chose as their second home.
Titled “I am Homeland,” the collection is edited by Choi Yearn-hong, a scholar who also serves as the founding president of the Korean-American Poets Group. In his introduction, Choi explains why the collection is unique compared to other works of literature written by second- or third-generation Korean-Americans.
He identifies as a first-generation Korean-American poet as well. Born in 1941 in Korea’s Chungcheong region, Choi first moved to the U.S. as an international student in 1968 and eventually settled in Washington, D.C., in the early ’80s. He still lives in the city.
Let Korean Photoshop Trolls Brighten Your Day Once Again
It’s Tuesday. There are days left in your week. Maybe you need a pick me up! Maybe you need Korean Photoshop trolls. I know I do. P
As Kotaku first pointed out last year, Korean Photoshop trolls make the internet a better place. And hopefully, they’ll make your day a better one, too.
Once again, the trolls folks at We Do Phoshop are taking requests, and will turn your photos into… something you aren’t quite expecting.