Seoul, Beijing Find New Common Ground Against Tokyo
Wall Street Journal
History quite literally shapes the present in northeast Asia, where leaders refuse to let the past rest in peace as they tap into this infinite source of conflict – so much so that Japan seems unable to escape the diplomatic quagmire that it’s in with China and South Korea.
But while the source of the current strain between Japan and its neighbors tended to be territorial rows or about mid-20th century aggression by the imperial army and how the current Japanese leaders continue to offend, Seoul and Beijing have recently decided to go further back in time to denounce Japan, possibly driving the schism deeper between Asia’s top economic powerhouses.
On Monday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye thanked a visiting senior Chinese official for the progress made for a monument in Harbin, China, commemorating the 1909 assassination of Hirobumi Ito, who presided over the Korean Peninsula as governor when it was a colonial protectorate of Japan’s.
Japan envoy urges attention on Tokyo efforts to help comfort women
South Korea should acknowledge Japan’s efforts to help Korean women sexually victimized by Japan in the early 20th century, Japanese ambassador to Seoul said Tuesday, calling for cooperation in resolving the tricky issue.
“Acknowledging Japan’s efforts and taking a cooperative attitude are important in order to solve the issue of comfort women for Japanese soldiers,” Koro Bessho said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency to mark his one year on the job.
The Japanese government made efforts in the 1990s to help the female victims, establishing an Asian women’s fund to help them, sending apology letters to each of the victims and providing medical support for them, Bessho said. “But such efforts have not been properly assessed in South Korea.”
Seoul unveils lists of Korean victims of anti-Japan uprising, massacre
South Korea on Tuesday made public decades-old official lists of Koreans killed by colonial Japan during its independence movement in 1919 and victims of Tokyo’s massacre following a powerful earthquake four years later.
According to the National Archives of Korea, a registry recently found in the country’s embassy in Japan showed detailed information about 630 Koreans killed during the March 1 national uprising against its colonial rule in 1919.
The Korean Peninsula was under Japan’s brutal colonial rule from 1910-45.
Currently, a total of 391 people are officially recognized as victims of the independence movement.
The Fall of the House of Moon
: Sex rituals, foreign spies, Biden offspring, and the Unification Church’s war-torn first family
In Jin [Moon] had assumed control of the U.S. church at a precarious moment for Moon’s religious empire. Her father had come to the United States from Korea nearly 40 years earlier, aiming to “subjugate” America as the first phase in a plan to establish a new world order. Moon had gone on to amass extraordinary political influence, building a vast network of powerful right-wing organizations and forging alliances with every Republican presidential administration since Ronald Reagan’s. In 2004, he and his wife even staged an elaborate coronation ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, which at least a dozen lawmakers attended.1 Republican Roscoe Bartlett bowed down before the couple, and Democrat Danny Davis carried in one of two golden crowns that were placed on their heads. Moon then informed the audience that “kings and presidents” had declared him “humanity’s savior” and that Jesus, Buddha, Hitler, and Stalin had been “reborn as new persons” through his teachings.
But in recent years, Moon’s plans to remake America and salvage humanity had run into trouble. Followers had drifted away; his political influence had ebbed. With his ninetieth birthday approaching, he increasingly looked to his children to preserve his life’s work.
For Korean students, it is Harvard, MIT all the way
Korea Times US
No matter how trends change, it is still Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology all the way for Korean students.
That has held true even as the number of Korean students heading overseas for their studies has dwindled due to the ongoing economic downturn.
Despite a small reduction in the number of students heading to foreign countries, the ranks of those choosing top universities in the United States are still going strong.
Family’s future in Canada uncertain due to work permit wait
CBC News (Canada)
A man who brought his family to Winnipeg from South Korea five years ago says their future in Canada is uncertain due to immigration bureaucracy.
Kyung Sung Kim says he has been waiting for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to renew his work permit since it expired 2½ years ago.
While Kim, a carpenter, has been allowed to continue working in the interim, he said waiting so long to get his work permit renewed has been difficult for his family.
German game developer calls addiction bill ‘joke’
Khaled Helioui, CEO of Bigpoint, a Germany-based game developer, argues that a proposed bill on game addiction will hurt Korea’s gaming industry.
“This bill could be quite a big threat to the online game industry,” Helioui said during a recent interview. “The government might be putting at risk something they have built over the last 10 years.”
The bill was proposed by Rep. Shin Eui-jin of the ruling Saenuri Party on April 30 and places Internet games in the same category of addictive activities as drugs, alcohol and gambling.
Chinese Tourists in Seoul Spend Most on Shopping
Most Chinese tourists stay in Seoul for six days and spend an average of $250 a day, according to a recent survey. The results are based on a poll of 2.22 million Chinese who visited the country in 2011.
The results showed that 91.1 percent stayed in the capital for an average of six days and spent $250 a day, mostly on shopping.
Their favorite destinations were Myeong-dong (69.2 percent) and Dongdaemun market (66.7 percent).
‘Snowpiercer’ Wins Big at South Korean Film Critics Awards
Bong Joon Ho’s sci-fi blockbuster Snowpiercer won best film at the 33rd Korean Association of Film Critics (KAFC) Awards on Monday. It also took home best director and best cinematography.
Set in a dystopian future, Snowpiercer is one of the year’s highest-grossing films, with over 9.3 million admissions. It is most expensive Korean film to date. Bong’s first English-language film — starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton — it was also sold to a record 167 countries.
Hallyu is more than K-pop: Korean jazz artists gaining global attention
Korea Times US
Jazz is not a style of music for everyone’s taste and seldom sees commercial success — at least in Korea where K-pop is dominating the music industry.
Under this mercantile environment unfavorable to diverse musical genres here, some jazz musicians are turning their eyes to overseas fans, making a splash in the international jazz scene. Jazz songstress Nah Youn-sun and duo Winterplay are solidifying their strong fan bases around the world.
Son Heung-min Ranked Among Top Rated Young Players in Europe
Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung-min has been named one of the five top rated players aged 21 or under in Europe’s top five leagues this season by WhoScored.com.
The site, which collects statistics on the English, French, German, Italian and Spanish leagues, announced its verdict on Friday.
Its top five players were Brazil’s Neymar of Barcelona, Switzerland’s Ricardo Rodriguez of Wolfsburg, Italy’s Luca Antei of Sassuolo, France’s Paul Pogba of Juventus, and Son.
Cal’s Kim competing at Q-School this week
The 2012-13 Haskins award winner Michael Kim is competing in second stage of Web.com Tour Q-School, Nov. 19-22. The California junior will compete as an amateur at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta, Calif.
Kim is exempt into second stage of Q-School after his 17th-place finish in June at the U.S. Open at Merion, which earned him low-amateur honors.
Kim and fellow first-team All-Americans – Daniel Berger and James Erkenbeck – are also competing in second stage this week. Berger, who turned professional after his sophomore season at Florida State, will play at Southern Hills Plantation in Brooksville, Fla., and Erkenbeck, who graduated from New Mexico, will play with Kim out in California.
Senior diplomats from S. Korea, Japan, China hold talks amid strained ties
Ranking diplomats from South Korea, Japan and China met in Seoul on Thursday to discuss closer trilateral collaboration amid frayed ties over historical and territorial issues with Japan.
The meeting brought together Seoul’s Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Lee Kyung-soo, China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin and Asia Bureau Director General Shinsuke Sugiyama from Japan’s foreign ministry.
The eighth meeting of the three countries’ ranking foreign ministry officials comes amid Japan’s unusually chilly relations with China and South Korea.
Park’s Japan Rebuff Has Domestic Roots
Wall Street Journal
Despite polling data showing public support in South Korea for a Seoul-Tokyo summit, President Park Geun-hye has labeled such a meeting “pointless” in an interview with the BBC. This rebuff has as much to do with current domestic political dynamics as it does with historical grievances with Japan.
President Park has declining but solid approval ratings in the low-60 percentage point range. But the key figure is that only 50% approve of her performance on domestic issues following a series of policy missteps and scandals. Thus, the administration has less wiggle room than is imagined when it comes to spending its political capital.
Because of this domestic vulnerability, there is little appetite to take the risk of moving first on Japan for uncertain rewards. Particularly important to understand is that such a move would invite her domestic critics to revive comparisons with her father, Park Chung-hee, and his complicated legacy.
North Korea says SKorean spy arrested in capital
AP via Yahoo News
North Korea’s security agency said Thursday it arrested a South Korean spy in Pyongyang who intended to rally anti-government forces, a claim that intelligence officials in Seoul quickly called ridiculous and groundless.
Pyongyang regularly accuses Seoul and Washington of working to sabotage its secretive, authoritarian system — statements that outside analysts see as a way to strengthen domestic support for leader Kim Jong Un — but specific claims that an individual spy has been captured, especially before an investigation is concluded, are unusual.
The few details in the statement by an unidentified spokesman for the North’s state security ministry couldn’t be independently verified. North Korea said the South Korean man confessed to illegally entering the country, but there was no statement from him and there were no details about his condition or legal representation.
Christian missionaries in North Korea: Inside the front companies Christians set up to reach the Stalinist dictatorship
For nearly two years, Kenneth Bae, an undercover missionary from Lynnwood, Wash., safely shuttled groups of Christians in and out of North Korea’s Rason Special Economic Zone. In November 2012, Bae’s crusade ended abruptly. The owner of Nations Tour, a China-based front company he formed as a cover to evangelize in the world’s last Stalinist state, Bae was arrested by North Korean agents as he passed through the Wonjong border crossing with a small group of European travelers. The 44-year-old Korean-American was charged with possession of “anti-DPRK literature,” convicted of encouraging foreigners to “perpetrate hostile acts to bring down [the] government,” and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
It is relatively rare that North Korea arrests a foreign national, even rarer when one considers that a company like Nations Tour is hardly unique. The so-called “Business as Mission” movement, which instructs devout Christians to set up companies as vehicles for spiritual outreach, dates back to the 18th century but found new life at the beginning of the 21st. It’s a missionary model that, by definition, assumes a certain amount of risk for those setting out to reach the “unreached.” But the risks haven’t dissuaded the faithful from taking up the cause. Today, there is an extensive, well-financed network of for-profit missions, using shadowy front companies to evangelize in North Korea. Though precise numbers are impossible to pin down, missionary-businesspeople have set up a staggering breadth of enterprises, including tour agencies, bakeries, factories, farms, even schools and orphanages, all in the name of spreading the Good Word.
Fleeing discrimination at home, S. Koreans seek asylum abroad
His name, Ye-da, seemed somehow meaningful – a combination of the Korean words for “Jesus” and “Buddha.” But 23-year-old Lee Ye-da may never again be able to live with the parents who gave him that name. When we arrived at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle International Airport last August, we found it teeming with unfamiliar faces. Making our way to a tourist information booth near the second floor terminal, we saw a young Korean couple – tourists, apparently – chattering as they walked past. In their place appeared Lee Ye-da.
Lee, a South Korean national, lives in France as a refugee. His refugee status was recognized by the French Office for Protection of Refugees and Expatriates (OFPRA) two months before his meeting with the Hankyoreh and seven months after he first submitted his application.
State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim Running For Congress
Honolulu Civil Beat
Donna Mercado Kim, the Hawaii Senate president and longtime lawmaker, will announce her candidacy for Hawaii’s 1st District Seat in Congress today.
Brian Ahakuelo, the business manager of IBEW Local 1260, will also be on hand to endorse Kim’s campaign. The announcement will be in front of Iolani Palace.
A press release for Kim’s campaign initially said she would be the first Korean American elected to Congress. In fact, that honor appears to go to Chang Joon “Jay” Kim, a former politician from California, according to his Wikipedia entry.
BBCN in Los Angeles Hires Saehan’s CFO to Fill Strategy Post
The executive carousel keeps turning among Korean-American banks.
BBCN Bancorp (BBCN) in Los Angeles has hired Daniel Kim as its chief planning officer, effective Nov. 25. Kim, 46, will handle the $6.3 billion-asset company’s strategic planning department, which was created earlier this year, and will advise on acquisitions, revenue diversification and capital management.
Kim is chief financial officer, corporate secretary and acting president at Saehan Bancorp, which is in the process of selling itself to Wilshire Bancorp (WIBC). Kim joined Saehan in 2003 from Pacific Union Bank, where he was manager of the accounting, corporate planning and investment departments.
A swipe at profits
SOUTH KOREA is a notoriously competitive society. But how do those who play its fierce status games know when they have won? Probably when they are invited to apply for “the black”, a credit card issued by Hyundai Card, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor. Cast in “liquidmetal”, a trademarked alloy suited to armour-piercing ammunition, the card is heavy. It is also rare. Only about 2,000 have been issued and only 9,999 ever will be. To qualify, a holder needs high social standing as well as high net worth. The card charges a stiff membership fee and offers a variety of benefits: members were, for example, invited to a mock Christie’s auction, featuring works flown in from New York. But the main reason people want the black card is that it is so difficult to get.
That elusiveness is unusual in South Korea, where credit cards are issued promiscuously. The country has the equivalent of 4.4 cards for every member of the labour force. Koreans made 129.7 transactions per person in 2011, according to Yonhap, a news agency, more than any other country. In comparison, Canadians made 89.6 transactions and Americans 77.9.
Best of South Korean Short Films to Stream on Web, Flights
The 11th Asiana International Short Film Festival takes place from Nov. 7-12 in Seoul, but the annual event supported by South Korea’s Asiana Airlines will also screen works online and on flights.
For the first time, 10 films featured in the Korean Competition section will be shown online through Naver TV Store, a channel on Korea’s largest portal site. Winning works are also available for view through Asiana Airline’s in-flight entertainment system.
“We’ve discussed ways to distribute short films by grouping them together [to meet the feature film running time] but this has not been pursued yet,” said veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki, who serves as the festival director. “Currently it is difficult to distribute short films in a consistent, long-term fashion but we are devising ways to do so.”
Trash, illegal flyers dirty Seoul’s main party drag
Korea Joongang Daily
On a recent Friday night, one of Seoul’s most popular thoroughfares, the street in front of Hongik University – known as Hongdae – was flooded with revelers, bar hoppers and college students.
Around 7 p.m., four street cleaners emerged and began the tedious routine of removing trash from the street.
They picked up discarded cigarette butts, paper cups and cans until 9 a.m. when the area was finally cleared.
But as they left, more people flowed into Hongdae and the situation began to change.
Mountain Kim Builds Character and Strength
The Connection (Virginia)
When Tae Kwon Do Grand Master Mountain Kim opened his martial arts school in Vienna about 35 years ago, it was the second of the eponymous Mountain Kim Tae Kwon Do schools in Northern Virginia. Now, there are approximately 20 Mountain Kim martial arts schools in the area, most of which are franchises. The Vienna and the Oakton schools are still owned and run by Mountain Kim’s family. In fact, should you stop by the Vienna school on Dominion Road, it’s not unusual to see the Grand Master there himself. He is not a titular face, either. Mountain Kim is hands-on in the practice studio and in the office.
“Every day, we teach respect, listening to parents, grandparents and teachers,” said Mountain Kim. “We and the parents and the school work together to teach respect, discipline.”
Mountain Kim calls himself “semi-retired,” but his passion for the values that tae kwon do instills in its practitioners is as self-defining as it was in the Grand Master’s earliest years. He says tae kwon do training is very good for children.
A Mysterious Realm of Exquisite Objects
New York Times
Here’s a good question for “Jeopardy!”: One of the world’s longest-running dynasties, it emerged around 57 B.C. and grew to dominate the Korean Peninsula in the seventh and eighth centuries before meeting its demise in A.D. 935.
The answer: What was Silla?
If the name Silla is unfamiliar, it might be partly because no major museum exhibition about this kingdom’s art, craft and culture has been mounted in the West until now. “Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presents more than 130 objects dating from A.D. 400 to around 800, organized by Soyoung Lee, associate curator, and Denise Leidy, curator, in the Met’s Asian art department, with colleagues at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul and the Gyeongju National Museum.
Signs Suggest North Korea Has Restarted Nuclear Reactor
New York Times
North Korea’s main nuclear complex was discharging hot wastewater in a further sign that the country has restarted a Soviet-era nuclear reactor there that it had used to obtain plutonium fuel for atomic bombs, an American research institute said on Thursday.
Using commercial satellite imagery, the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University has been monitoring the nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Last month, it reported that satellite images from late August showed steam emerging from a generator building adjacent to the five-megawatt reactor, which it said suggested that North Korea was following through on its vow to restart it.
The restarting of the reactor means that the country can produce weapons fuel again. Until the reactor was shut down in 2007 in a short-lived nuclear disarmament deal with Washington, its spent fuel had been the source of plutonium fuel for the North, which conducted three underground nuclear tests between 2006 and last February. North Korea has also said it is running a uranium enrichment program that can provide it with another type of bomb fuel: highly enriched uranium.
The Venerable Jaseung has, of late, become good at saying sorry. When eight senior monks were caught smoking and boozing over a game of high-stakes poker in a hotel room last year, the leader (pictured) of the Jogye order, South Korea’s biggest Buddhist sect, led the 108-bow repentance. Many thought he should resign. He assured them he would not run for election again. But on September 16th, he belatedly entered the race—and swiftly apologised for doing so.
He joins four others in a bid to win an election on October 10th to lead 24 chief monks and 10m faithful, and manage 2,500 temples, an annual budget of 33 billion won ($30m) and millions more in property—including lucrative cultural monuments and tracts of land leased to the government as national parks. The Venerable Boseon, Venerable Jaseung’s main rival, says the gambling binge proves the order needs “a complete makeover”. Monks, he says, should return to meditation, and tougher penalties should be meted out for mischief.
‘We were placed in grave danger by a mob of reckless and violent motorcyclists’: wife of SUV driver attacked by bikers in upper Manhattan
New York Daily News
The wife of a man who was attacked after a hell-on-wheels chase through upper Manhattan released a statement on Thursday, saying that they were trying to escape a mad mob of motorcyclists when they struck a biker and fled.
Alexian Lien, 33, was beaten and slashed by the bikers in front of his wife, Rosalyn Ng, and their 2-year-old daughter after a terrifying 4-mile chase that erupted after a fender bender on the Henry Hudson Parkway on Sunday.
Ng — in her first public words since the harrowing attack — said there was no way to avoid the riders who interrupted what was supposed to be a pleasant afternoon with their family.
Jesuit volunteer dies on bike ride
Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)
Eunjey Cho, 25, had traveled the world before he arrived in Spokane as a volunteer for Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in 2012. After serving here for a year, he set out on a fundraising bicycle journey across the country together with his friend and fellow Jesuit volunteer, John McGuin.
They named their journey “Spoke to Coaaaaaaaast!!” on the FirstGiving donation website and set a goal of raising $2,400 before reaching Cho’s hometown of Princeton, N.J.
Cho never made it home.
He was hit by a car Sept. 18 while riding his bike just outside Grand Junction, Colo., and died at a nearby hospital.
South Korean students are ditching US schools for Made-in-China degrees
In yet another blow to the US export machine, China may be trumping America in its offerings of college education for foreigners.
According to new data from South Korea’s ministry of education, South Korean students who have long been attracted to universities in the US are opting Chinese universities instead. The reason? China is undercutting US educators on price and offers the opportunity to learn Mandarin, now a coveted job skill.
The country has long been a major exporter of students, second only to China and India. Like China and India, the top destination for Koreans has been the US and other English-speaking countries. (An overseas degree is considered an advantage in South Korea’s extremely competitive job market.) But over the past few years, the number of Korean students studying in China has been rising faster than the rate of those going to the US. According to the government data, the number of Korean students studying in China more than tripled between 2001 and 2012, to 62,855, compared to 73,351 Korean students in the US, which was only a 50% increase over the same period.
Busan: Asia’s Stars, Industry Giants Gather for Festival Opening Gala
Some of the biggest names in Asian cinema gathered here on Thursday evening for the launch of the region’s biggest film festival, which kicked off with the world premiere of Bhutanese musical drama Vara: A Blessing.
Box office revenues are booming in Asia, and the region’s premier film event, which takes over the city’s Haeundae beachfront, is attracting more attention than ever this year.
“I’d like to welcome film fans from Busan and cineasts from near and far to the festival,” said Busan mayor and Busan International Film Festival chairman Hur Nam-sik. “The festival has established itself as a global event thanks to your passionate support. We are happy to present quality works in return.”
Kim Jee-Woon Directing Ed Brubaker’s ‘Coward’ (EXCLUSIVE)
Korean director Kim Jee-woon is turning to crime, coming on board to helm the movie adaptation of Ed Brubaker’s “Coward.”
The attachment comes on the eve of the premiere of Kim’s latest film, “The X,” at the Busan Intl. Film Festival. His best-known Korean titles are “I Saw the Devil” and “A Bittersweet Life”; he made his English-language debut earlier this year on Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner “The Last Stand.”
Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell of Electric City Entertainment are producing. Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity is attached to finance the project and handle international sales.
Postmortem on Cincinnati Reds’ season: Shin-Soo Choo’s future among hot topics after Reds’ loss
Shin-Soo Choo has no doubt the Reds will be back in the playoffs, but he doesn’t know if he will be with them.
Choo scored both runs in the Reds’ 6-2 wild-card game loss to the Pirates on Tuesday, homering in what may have been his final at-bat in a Reds uniform.
Choo said he certainly wanted more, hoped for more and thought the Reds had a chance to do more than play a single postseason game.
Inbee Park seeks to regain winning form at inaugural Reignwood Classic in Beijing
South Korea’s Inbee Park will seek to regain her dominant form with a strong showing at the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing.
Park, the world No. 1, is being joined by third-ranked American Stacy Lewis at the tournament, which begins Thursday.
Park swept the first three major championships of the season, and has added three other U.S. LPGA Tour wins this year.
Faded Dreams of Riches Drive Pursuit of a Celebrated Fungus
New York Times
The dusty white pickup truck rolled to a stop on the edge of the Oregon woods, where a father-and-son team of mushroom buyers, the Souvannasays, had set up their tent and scale. “Five,” John Souvannasay said before the driver could even open his mouth. With a resigned nod, the man shoved the gear knob into park.
Some commercial hubs obsess over the price of stock shares, or real estate, or in centuries past, tulip bulbs. This dot of a town in south central Oregon, population 135, briefly flowers each fall into a global capital of the wild mushroom trade, with all eyes fixed on a commodity that few Americans have tasted, or perhaps even heard of: the matsutake.
South Korea Is Finally Getting a Robot Theme Park
Disneyland? Meh. Universal Studios? Been there, done that. Robot Land? Now, we’re talking.
For years now, there has been talk in South Korea about a robot theme park. Construction was supposed to start in 2009, but it never happened. (Heck, several years ago, I spent some time in South Korea talking to researchers about it for a magazine article.) There was a website and lots of talk, but construction never started. Until now.
Recently, the park held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction. That means Robot Land is really happening. Or rather, building Robot Land is really happening! Above, you can see an image from the ceremony.
Newborn White Lion Cubs In South Korea
Voice of America
Officials at South Korea’s Everland zoo park displayed for the first time Tuesday two rare newborn white lions in the city of Yongin.
White lions are a rare color mutation, with only about 300 specimens left in the world.
The two newborns have brought the total number of white lions at the Samsung Everland’s ecological safari “Lost Valley” park to eight.
Does North Korea’s Latest Tantrum Signal Internal Dispute?
Wall Street Journal
What caused North Korea’s sudden change-of-heart – this time – to run away from inter-Korean rapprochement?
While Pyongyang’s caprice has been routinely featured in the history of the two Koreas, experts say Saturday’s abrupt indefinite postponement of reunions of families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War may suggest internal conflict among the North’s policymakers.
Until Saturday, tension between the two sides appeared to be at its lowest point in months. Since late May, the North has shown an interest in dialogue after spending the spring issuing war threats following a nuclear test in February.
China Bans Some Exports to North Korea for Fear of Weapons Use
New York Times
In a sign of increasing concern about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, China published a list on Tuesday that included military-like hardware and chemical substances to be banned from export to North Korea for fear that they could be used in constructing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
The items in the 236-page document are prohibited from being sent to North Korea because “the dual-use products and technologies delineated in this list have uses in weapons of mass destruction as well as their vehicles,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.
The list was released two weeks after new satellite photographs showed that North Korea might be resuming production of plutonium at its newly reconstructed nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
N. Korea may be preparing for another missile test: experts
After months of a peace offensive, North Korea may be gearing up for another missile launch, U.S. experts said Monday.
They note the return of Pak To-chun, a top North Korean official in charge of missile and nuclear development, to a public scene. Pak, communist party secretary overseeing the munitions industry, had been unusually absent from major reported events since May.
His disappearance raised speculation that he might have been purged or demoted due to possible technical glitches in the nation’s missile program. In early September, however, he reappeared in the North’s state media.
Decayed corpse found in Gangwon
The police yesterday found a corpse that may be that of a 58-year-old Incheon woman killed by her son over a money dispute.
The Incheon Nambu Police Precinct reported yesterday it found the body wrapped up in a blanket in a mountainous area in Jeongseon County, Gangwon, at around 9:10 a.m. Because the body is decayed, police said it couldn’t identify it immediately. It sent the corpse’s teeth to the National Forensic Service for examination.
The police suspect it is the body of Kim Ae-sook, who was reported missing by her second-oldest son last month. Kim and her oldest son, Jung Hwa-seok, 32, have been missing since Aug. 13. The police suspect Kim’s second son, a 29-year-old motorbike delivery man, murdered the two.
Two N.J. women plead guilty for roles in Bergen County identity theft ring
NJ.com (New Jersey)
Two New Jersey women admitted their roles in a large-scale identity theft scheme that bilked banks and credit card companies out of millions of dollars, authorities said.
Rita S. Kim, 49, of Fort Lee, and Hyon-Suk Chung, 50, of North Bergen, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud.
The two women were part of a “sophisticated” Bergen County identity theft ring led by Jimmy” Sang-Hyun Park, in which they obtained Social Security numbers from Asian immigrants working in American territories, such as Guam, American Samoa and Saipan, and used them to create fake identities in order to obtain bank loans and credit cards. Some 50 suspects were arrested during a federal crackdown on the identity theft scheme back in 2010, Chunge and Kim among them.
L.A. Celebrates 40th Annual Korean Festival
Neon Tommy (University of Southern California)
The 40th Annual Los Angeles Korean Festival is happening this week from Sept. 26-29. The event is free to the public and will take place at Seoul International Park on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Normandie Avenue. Throughout the years, the Los Angeles Korean Festival has become diverse, attracting more than just Korean-Americans living in the city. It has become multicultural, allowing cultures to come together to understand other cultures, as well as giving individuals the opportunity to mingle without any barriers. In order to help other cultures come together, the festival sets up events that focuses on other cultures, rather than focusing on the Korean-American culture. Last year’s Korean Festival had some good reviews and feedback. This year, there are more exciting things planned and you won’t be disappointed. There are performances and attractions each day of the festival. At this year’s festival, attendees can expect to see fashion shows, youth talent shows, singing competitions, parades, flash mobs, Latin music concert, and much more.
Lee Young-ae Impresses Fashion Moguls with Korean Dishes
Actress Lee Young-ae participated in a fashion show for Gucci’s women’s Spring/Summer 2014 Collection in Milan last week. She also met Anna Wintour, editor of the U.S. fashion magazine Vogue. At a separate dinner event in Florence co-hosted with Gucci CEO Patrizio di Marco, Lee presented traditional Korean dishes to guests.
“I hope this event will provide an opportunity for Korea and Italy to know each other better through their shared love of food,” said the actress.
Shin-Soo Choo hits walk-off single as Mets fall to Reds in extras
New York Daily News
The Mets may be dreaming of signing Shin-Soo Choo in the offseason, but this morning he is their nightmare. The center fielder had a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Reds beat the Mets, 3-2, Monday night at Great American Ballpark.
The soon-to be free agent outfielder finished with three hits and two RBI and with the win, combined with the Nationals’ loss to the Cardinals, the Reds (90-67) clinched a playoff berth. The Mets (71-85) lost for the first time in four games.
Choo Shin-soo enjoys third 20-20 season in home runs, steals
Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds picked up his 19th and 20th steals of the season at home against the New York Mets on Monday for his third career 20-20 season. With the 20th swipe, Choo joined the 20-20 club in home runs and steals for the first time in three Major League Baseball (MLB) seasons. He entered the game with 21 homers for the season but didn’t add to that total against the Mets. Choo went 3-for-6 at the plate in the game and drove in two runs, including the game-winning run with a single in the bottom of the 10th. The Reds prevailed 3-2 to clinch a playoff spot in the National League (NL).
Up to 20,000 North Korean prison camp inmates have ‘disappeared’ says human rights group
The Telegraph (U.K.)
There are fears that up to 20,000 may have been allowed to die of disease or starvation in the run-up to the closure of the camp at the end of last year.
The suspicion has emerged from a newly-released report by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) detailing the situation in penal colonies as Kim Jong-un consolidated his power after taking over as leader from his father, Kim Jong-il who died in 2011. Now the group that is demanding an inquiry into their fate.
The Washington-based organisation gleans information from defectors from the North, including former guards and the occasional survivor of a prison camp, as well as examining satellite imagery.
Rodman just a toy for N. Korea’s Kim
Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star and the first American known to have met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is in the secretive country again, purportedly to meet his “friend Kim, the Marshal.” And also, to negotiate for the release of Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen detained since November.
Rodman’s second trip to North Korea this year comes months after months of threats of nuclear annihilation from Pyongyang. His desire to help Bae is likely to be registered in the annals of diplomatic history as little more than a little diverting adventure.
But one never knows. The “Marshal,” who has actually never served in the military, might choose to act in a statesmanlike manner and release Bae after another high-spirited soiree with the basketball legend. That would be good news for Bae, who is reportedly in poor health.
Kim Jong-un’s Prestige Projects ‘Bleeding N.Korea Dry’
Three big prestige projects launched by new leader Kim Jong-un are bleeding North Korea dry, exacerbating hardships and squeezing their pockets, according to a South Korean government official.
They are the construction of a ski resort, an equestrian club in Pyongyang and the attempt to turn empty plots of barren land into lawns.
The official said the regime is forcing North Korean diplomats and workers overseas to remit US$300 each to Pyongyang for the construction of the ski resort. It has also told Chongryon, a large pro-Pyongyang Korean organization in Japan, to raise funds. People are being “encouraged” to send gifts to soldiers working on the ski resort, and they have little choice but to comply.
Cycle of fear: Attack victim preps lawsuit as other riders arm themselves on Fort Washington Park path
New York Daily News
Cyclists who use a secluded bike path along the Hudson River in upper Manhattan are arming themselves because the NYPD is not ensuring their safety — and a victim of a recent attack said Wednesday he’s preparing a lawsuit days after he was brutalized by thieves.
Two-wheeler Keith Cho was riding on the Hudson River Greenway near W. 164th St. after sunset on Aug. 24 when he was sent flying to the ground by a clothesline that thieves had set up between two trees.
Cho said three men beat him until he was semiconscious. One attacker even used brass knuckles, causing serious lacerations.
China Beats U.S. for Korean Students Seeing Career Ticket
Two years ago, Lee Eun Yul made an unusual choice for a South Korean student: to do her master’s degree in Shanghai instead of the U.S. She says the decision helped land her a job at Samsung Electronics Co., the top pick for graduates.
“I chose China over the U.S. as China is the future,” said Lee, 36, who studied at China Europe International Business School. “My experience in China opens more exciting opportunities and I expect more challenging work when I join” Samsung this month.
Lee is at the forefront of a trend in South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, that is steering students toward China to boost their prospects in an increasingly competitive employment market. The number of South Koreans studying in China more than doubled to 62,855 in 2012 from 2003, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Education. The number of U.S.-bound students grew 50 percent to 73,351 in the same period.
ICE returns stolen Korean artifact purchased by Fort Lee art collector to South Korea
NJ.com (New Jersey)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials returned an antique Korean currency plate to South Korean officials this week, after it was confiscated from an art dealer living in Fort Lee.
Officials say the currency plate, manufactured in 1893 and used to print money, was looted from a Seoul palace during the Korean War.
A Michigan-based auction house sold the plate on behalf of the family of a dead American serviceman, who had brought it back from the war, for $35,000.
Exclusive: Falling Skies’ Moon Bloodgood
Independent Online (South Africa)
Of all the sci-fi TV offerings (Terra Nova and Under the Dome) Steven Spielberg has attached his name to, Falling Skies has definitely been the best, with the series picked up for a fourth season.
When Moon Bloodgood was approached for the role of Anne Glass and handed the script, she did not hesitate in accepting the part. Knowing the series creator, Robert Rodat, and Spielberg were the forces behind the project was good enough for her – plus she didn’t have to audition either.
And she’s no stranger to being thrust into an action-packed playground – she gained experience on the big screen (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Terminator Salvation) and TV (CSI, Day Break, Journeyman, Burn Notice and Human Target).
Controversial Film About Warship Sinking Opens in Theaters
Wall Street Journal
What caused the Cheonan, a South Korean navy ship, to sink in the Yellow Sea near the border with North Korea in March 2010, killing 46 sailors?
While the evidence overwhelmingly points to a North Korean torpedo attack, moviegoers across South Korea have the opportunity starting Thursday to watch a documentary that explores explanations that run counter to that conclusion. This follows a court’s rejection Wednesday of a petition to ban the film from general release.
The plaintiffs in the case, naval officers and bereaved families, argued that the documentary, “Project Cheonan Ship,” distorts the truth and harms the reputation of the armed forces.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will miss Friday’s start due to back stiffness
Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will not start on Friday as scheduled due to mid back stiffness. Fellow southpaw Chris Capuano will start in his place. The skipped start is considered precautionary.
Ryu, 28, first felt something in his back during his last start on Friday. The team hopes to re-insert him into the rotation either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. With a comfortable 13-game lead in the NL West, the Dodgers can afford to be cautious with their projected fourth starter for the playoffs.
In 26 starts this year, Ryu has gone 13-5 with a 3.02 ERA (117 ERA+) and 1.22 WHIP in 167 innings across 26 starts. Los Angeles committed over $60 million (posting fee plus contract) to bring him over from South Korea this past offseason. Obviously his first season in MLB has been a huge success.
Kim Yu-na Tells Fans She’s Determined to Defend Olympic Crown
With just five months to go until the 2014 Winter Games, reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na met her fans at a movie theater in Seoul on Wednesday and promised she wouldn’t let them down in the final season of her successful career.
“I will do my best in this Olympic season, which will be the last of my competitive career, so that I leave with no regrets,” she said.
Some 200 fans sang a Happy Birthday song for Kim, who turns 23 on Thursday, and gave her presents. Together, they watched a video showing people from across the country wishing her well and cheering her on.
The K-Town Report: Seafood Village on Western, Kang Ho Dong’s Offal BBQ
1) Olympic & Vermont: It wasn’t long before the dumpling and noodle spot by spicy tofu pot specialist So Kong Dong morphed into Hong Kong Banjum a Korean-Chinese place originally inside the Koreatown Plaza and part of a mini-chain. The veritable styles of this unique fusion are well-displayed, with classic champoong and cha-jiang myun noodles, along with tang soo yook (sweet and sour pork or beef), and other cheap dishes. 2716-2726 W Olympic Blvd
2) Western & Olympic: Seafood Village has taken over the relatively short-lived Taenung Galbi. Previously Mu Dung San, one of the original all-you-can-eat barbecue establishments to gain popularity in the early 2000s, Seafood Village serves up Korean-style plates like raw fish laid out on platters, along with traditional seaside appointments (called hwae). 1040 S Western Ave