Asian-American leaders meet with Obama
Top Asian-American leaders met Wednesday with President Barack Obama and senior staff in a meeting that participants called a “meaningful” discussion on immigration, health care and civil rights.
The sit-down with Obama on Wednesday – which came amid Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – was the first time that the president met with top officials from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, participants said.
“The meeting was very productive,” said Deepa Iyer, chairwoman of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and the executive director of the South Asian Americans Leading Together. “I think it really speaks to a recognition of the growing power of our community in the country … we’ve been able to galvanize a strong political base.”
Park’s progress: A first meeting with the American president sparkles
UNTIL she came to Washington, DC, to meet Barack Obama on May 7th and to address both houses of Congress the following day, South Korea’s new leader, Park Geun-hye, had not had an auspicious start to her presidency. Thanks to misguided choices for key posts, it seemed to take her an age to form an administration. Meanwhile, North Korean provocations cranked up regional tensions.
After testing a nuclear device shortly before Ms Park’s February inauguration, the North continued by threatening war and, last month, by denying South Korean managers entry to the Kaesong industrial complex. This last surviving instance of North-South co-operation now stands empty. South Korean shares have signally failed to take part in this year’s Asia-wide rally. Ms Park brought with her to America many titans of corporate South Korea partly to reassure foreign investors.
In Washington, however, it was all smiles and warm glances. Mr Obama was visibly taken by Ms Park’s “focus and discipline and straightforwardness”. Perhaps partly because of this rapport between the two leaders, things went better than Ms Park’s advisers dared hope.
Korean Newspapers Mixed on Park’s U.S. Trip
Wall Street Journal
All the major South Korean newspapers on Thursday picked President Park Geun-hye addressing Congress for their front-page photos. Despite generally positive notes on her U.S. trip, not all of them were happy with her diplomacy.
Hankyoreh, a left-of-center newspaper, was skeptical of the summit, saying that it “didn’t reach a level to produce a solution for the recent crisis in Korean peninsula.” It said top leaders sent out a clear message that they “will firmly react to North Korea’s provocation yet door is still open for conversation.” The paper also said top leaders failed to work out an active message to solve the crisis.
Korean-American students respond to tensions
Huntington News (Northeastern Univ.)
In response to intensified threats from North Korea against South Korea and the United States, Korean-American students at Northeastern are feeling wary but largely nonplussed.
“The US media makes it sound much more severe than it is,” Katherine Yom, a freshman international business major, said. “If you look at South Korean media, they’re really not concerned about it.”
Yom, a performance coordinator for Northeastern’s Korean American Student Association (KASA), said tensions between the North and South have become a way of life for Koreans and their families overseas.
“It’s something that’s been going on for years,” she said. “They’ve always threatened the South, especially when there’s a new president.”
Rancho Cucamonga man found guilty of murdering mother, faces insanity phase in trial
The Inland Daily Bulletin (Calif.)
After deliberating for a day and a half, a jury panel found Luke Kang guilty of fatally beating his mother with a golf club last year.
Jurors announced they’d reached a verdict Wednesday afternoon in West Valley Superior Courthouse. Kang was convicted of willful, deliberate and premeditated murder in the first degree and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.
They also found the allegation that Kang, 28, used a deadly weapon when he attacked his mother on Feb. 22, 2012, at their home in the 11500 block of Stoneridge Drive in Rancho Cucamonga to be true. Because Kang previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the same jury panel will have “to determine whether the defendant was or was not legally insane at the time of the crime,” Judge Colin J. Bilash said.
Jurors will come back for the second portion of the trial – the sanity phase – on Wednesday. Testimony in that phase is expected to last three to four days, Bilash said.
Why are there so few Asian Americans in LA politics?
Southern California Public Radio
When L.A. voters go to the polls later this month, they could be making history. That’s because, if he’s elected, candidate John Choi could be the first Asian-American elected to the city council in 20 years. But even then, he’d only be the second ever to hold a seat on the council.
In a city where 1 in 8 people are Asian-American, why is it hard for them to have a permanent place at LA’s political table?
“Our communities are very geographically dispersed,” says An Le, director of community engagement at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. “We don’t make up enough of a voting bloc in one council district to have one dominant Asian-American candidate that can win a race in the city.”
Do Endorsements for John Choi and Mitch O’Farrell Reveal Answers for Tri-Hipster Area Voters?
Is L.A. City Council District 13 candidate John Choi a pawn of downtown City Hall interests? Does rival Mitch O’Farrell really have the support of CD 13′s community activists? Will residents be screwed no matter who gets elected?
All important questions as the contentious CD 13 race heads into the final stretch, and endorsements from Choi’s and O’Farrell’s rivals may provide some revealing answers… For months now, many CD 13 community activists have been saying that O’Farrell and Choi are two totally different candidates.
In their eyes, O’Farrell, a longtime field deputy for Councilman Eric Garcetti, knows CD 13 inside and out and will better look after the interests of regular folks. They say Choi, who’s supported by the Democratic party machine in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor honcho and kingmaker Maria Elena Durazo, will be more concerned about pleasing downtown power players.
Obituary: Heeyul “Helen” Cho Lee
Heeyul ‘Helen’ Cho Lee died unexpectedly of sepsis beginning from a pacemaker implant surgery site Saturday, May 4, 2013. She was 81.
Beloved wife of Kee Hyung Lee of Moorestown, she is survived by stepchildren, Choony Mu and Jacqueline de la Houssaye; two beloved grandchildren, Maxine and Madeleine; and many nieces and nephews.
Helen graduated from Ewha Woman’s University Medical College in Seoul, Korea and received her M.D. degree in 1957. Helen practiced medicine in various locations until 1977 when she began her private practice in general medicine in Burlington for over 30 years.
Heeyul had a keen sense of humor and enjoyed joking with her friends.
Lee Hyori Declares Everyone ‘Miss Korea’ in First Single in 3 Years
This year marks a decade in the K-pop industry for Lee Hyori. Despite spending the last three years on hiatus, the K-diva is back with the lovely new single “Miss Korea,” a pre-release before unveiling her fifth album on May 21.
“Miss Korea” is an understated, jazzy ditty. While many K-pop fans remember Lee Hyori rocking fierce hip-hop and dance sounds in singles like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Get Ya,” the song is a nice way to remind fans of the singer’s talent first and foremost. Plus, this is likely to be enjoyed by both older and younger generations with its classic, acoustic production.
Psy’s ‘Gentleman’ tops 300 mln YouTube hits
The video for South Korean rapper Psy’s new single “Gentleman” has been viewed more than 300 million times since it was posted on YouTube last month, the global video-sharing Web site said Thursday.
The video, released on April 13, recorded 300.256 million hits as of 11:10 a.m. Thursday. The milestone was reached 26 days after its release and 17 days after the new video broke the 200 million mark on April 22.
YG Entertainment Teases ‘Who’s Next?’ as Mysterious ’2NE1 Loves’ Videos Surface
Some mysterious online media has left K-pop fans both scratching their heads and wagging their tongues with anticipation.
Major K-pop label YG Entertainment (home to popular acts PSY, BIGBANG, 2NE1, Lee Hi and more) revealed a graphic with almost all their artist names, a May 28 date and the question ‘WHO’S NEXT?’ (See the full graphic here). An updated graphic soon followed with almost all the names faded except for 2NE1, CL, Taeyang, Kang Seung Yoon and “YG NEW ARTIST.” Online K-pop fans–aka “netizens”–have many theories for “who’s next.”
One thought is that new material is coming from one of the current artists on YG’s roster. Fans may hear the first music from Kang Seung Yoon, who signed on to be a trainee with the company after appearing on singing competition “Superstar K” in 2011. It may also refer to 2NE1’s delayed album (that was originally schedule for April). New music from BIGBANG member Taeyang is said to be coming early this year as well.
South Korea’s No. 1 national treasure reopens after five years
After a massive, five-year restoration project involving 35,000 workers, scientists, historians and artisans, Sungnyemun, Korea’s top-ranked national treasure, finally reopened to the public this week.
Commonly known as Namdaemun or the Great South Gate, Sungnyemun is considered the most important historical and cultural treasure in South Korea for its 600-year-old history as well as its symbolic role as protector of the king and capital, which was why it was given the official title of the number one national treasure by the government’s Cultural Heritage Administration.
Following a Buddhist ritual known as cheondo, meant to rid the building of bad luck, the May 4 celebration was marked by a military band parade, music, dancing, prayer ceremonies and free admission to all four royal palaces in Seoul.
Kakao Moves Beyond Chat Rooms
Wall Street Journal
Kakao Corp., the company behind the smartphone chat app popular in Asia, has launched a new app in a bid to expand its mobile revenue.
Since it introduced Kakao Talk in 2010, the South Korean company has diversified into mobile games and commerce. Its new offering, called Kakao Page, works like an e-reader. Within the app, users can store video clips, pictures, comics, and reading material featuring professionals from various fields, ranging from song writers to hair stylists. Download fees vary depending on the content. The app, launched about a month ago, is available on the Google Play store but is only offered in Korean.
Photo via NBC Los Angeles
A former agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service was the alleged mastermind behind an immigration fraud and bribery scheme that involved four federal officials.
Prosecutors said Kwang Man “John” Lee, 47, an attorney based in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, paid federal employees at various immigration-related agencies cash payments of up to $10,000, plane tickets and gifts in exchange for favors related to immigration cases. Lee would then charge clients up to $50,000 for help obtaining green cards, which he would sometimes counterfeit.
A Korean American pianist and teacher in New York was arrested on suspicion of sexual harassment of his underage female student, the Korea Times reported.
According to police, the 23-year-old man, identified only by his last name Suh, allegedly kissed the student and touched her buttocks during incidents ranging from October of last year to February of this year.
Authorities said Suh, who was reportedly once regarded as a musical prodigy, first approached the student on Oct. 20 at Lincoln Center in Manhattan and allegedly fondled her and attempted to kiss her several times.
When the student refused his advances, Suh reportedly sent a threatening text message, saying, “If you stick a knife in my back, I’ll kill you and go to jail for the rest of my life.” Continue Reading »
The Kims’ downtown Bellevue apartment building. Photo via Patch
A former Microsoft programmer was sentenced today in Bellevue, Wash., for killing a man he believed was having an affair with his wife, according to news reports.
Sung Ho Kim, 45, will serve 13 years in prison for second-degree murder, six months longer than was recommended by both prosecutors and the defense, for the November 2011 death of Jin Young Kim (no relation), who worked for his wife, the Seattle Times reports. Kim pleaded guilty to the charge in April.
In November of 2011, Kim went to the downtown Bellevue apartment where his wife ran a business, and began arguing with the victim, telling him to leave his job and stay away from his wife. The victim said he couldn’t be fired because he had signed a contract, but allegedly said he would go if given $500,000. Continue Reading »
A dry cleaner from an Atlanta suburb recently found himself in a strange situation: holding on for dear life on the hood of a speeding car.
It all went down two weeks ago when Elton Kim of Roswell, Ga., saw someone back into his wife’s SUV, which was parked in the lot outside his business. He told the female driver to stop three times and then placed himself in the path of the car.
The woman drove straight for him, prompting Kim to jump on the hood. The driver continued driving down the road for nearly two miles with Kim clinging on the hood, shaking his head in disbelief, as video taken by another driver shows. Continue Reading »