Daniel Dae Kim Signs With Korean Talent Agency
Author: Steve Han
Posted: January 3rd, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Korean American actor Daniel Dae Kim, famous for his roles in Lost and Hawaii Five-0, has signed with a South Korean entertainment company Sidus HQ.

Sidus HQ, which represents top Korean stars such as Kim Woo-bin, Hwang Jung-eum and Jang Hyuk, is expected to help Kim launch his acting career in the motherland, where he was born in 1968 before immigrating to the United States as a 2-year-old.

“We will give full support to Daniel Dae Kim with his career in and out of Korea,” Sidus HQ said in a statement. Continue Reading »

Thursday’s Link Attack: NKorea’s Prison Camps Growing; Girls Generation Makes TIME’s Best of 2013; Hyorin’s Unflattering Picture
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: December 5th, 2013
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South Korea Cautious on North Political Shuffling
Voice of America

South Korea’s ministry in charge of relations with North Korea is urging caution over reports of a power shuffle in Pyongyang. Seoul’s spy agency said leader Kim Jong Un removed his uncle as second in charge and had two of his aids executed prompting a media frenzy of speculation.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service late Tuesday said it believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle was dismissed, and two of his assistants executed, on charges of corruption and disloyalty.

The uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was vice chairman of North Korea’s powerful National Defense Commission and mentor to the young leader after his father, Kim Jong Il, died two years ago.

A quiet party apparatchik rises in North Korea, but perhaps not for long
Chicago Tribune

The man who has most to gain from the apparent decline of Jang Song Thaek, the second-most powerful figure in North Korea, is a party apparatchik who has been around the ruling Kim dynasty for decades but kept out of the limelight until three years ago.

Choe Ryong Hae now appears to be the most influential adviser to Kim Jong Un, the mercurial 30-year-old who heads the secretive nuclear-armed nation. That had been Jang’s role, but South Korea’s spy agency said on Tuesday that he had been removed from his official posts.

That fate could soon befall Choe as well, as Kim surrounds himself with more aides of his generation, according to analysts and defectors from the regime, often the only source of information for palace intrigue in Pyongyang.

Biden in Seoul After Urging China to Resolve Territorial Dispute
Bloomberg

Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Seoul today after telling China’s leaders their declaration of a new air defense zone has raised tension throughout Asia.

Biden talks this morning with South Korean President Park Geun Hye on the final leg of a weeklong trip to Asia that has taken on greater significance as the U.S. seeks to navigate a territorial dispute between China and two American allies, South Korea and Japan.

China’s growing influence in a region that increasingly drives the global economy means it must take a bigger role in maintaining stability, Biden said in a speech yesterday in an address to the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and the U.S.-China Business Council.

US ambassador wins Korean-American Club Award
Korea Times

U.S. Ambassador to Korea Sung Kim will receive the first Korean-American Club Award at the club’s year-end gathering on Dec. 9.

According to the Korean-American Club on Thursday, Kim has contributed to the development of U.S.-Korea relations by serving as the U.S. special envoy for the six-party talks, chief of political military affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, and director of the Office of Korean Affairs in Washington.

“Kim has joined the ranks of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and has improved national prestige,” the Korean-American Club said in a statement.

North Korea’s Prison Camps Expanding, Amnesty International Says
Huffington Post

Satellite images of one of North Korea’s largest political prison camps suggests its inmate population is expanding, Amnesty International said Thursday in a report detailing rape and torture in the North’s notorious gulag.

The report by the London-based rights watchdog included rare testimony from a former camp guard, as well as from former inmates about the brutality prevalent in the prison system.

“For Amnesty International, which has been investigating human rights violations for the last 50 years, we find North Korea to be in a category of its own,” said Amnesty’s East Asia researcher Rajiv Narayan.

Korea’s Domestic Cold War
Foreign Policy in Focus

They’re the last three hunger strikers standing. Actually, they’re sitting—just outside the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. The weather is turning cold, and they’re bundled up against the wind.

The three men are legislators. Two of their number have already collapsed and ended up in hospital. In November, the government attempted to ban their political party—the United Progressive Party, the third largest in the country—for essentially being a proxy for North Korea. The party leader, meanwhile, is on trial for treason under South Korea’s National Security Law.

Elderly suicides in South Korea: Poor spirits
The Economist

THEIR son-in-law’s visit was a customary show of filial piety for late November. But the homemade kimchi he brought to last his ailing in-laws through the winter would not be needed. “I don’t want to be a burden on my children”, wrote the 82-year-old in a note he left in the sealed house, along with two funeral pictures and a will. Media outlets were quick to note the parallels with the death of an elderly couple in “Late Blossom”, a rare Korean film on growing old that was a box-office hit in 2011.

That year more than 4,000 South Koreans over the age of 65 committed suicide: a rate five times higher than in 1990, and nearly four times the rich-country average (see chart). Yet these “silent suicides” rarely get the attention that teenage ones do, says Ahn Yong-min, a psychiatrist at Seoul National University (SNU) and head of the Korea Association of Suicide Prevention. Young deaths are seen as a cry for help and attract plenty of government funds, though their number is on a par with the OECD average. Attempted suicides among the old are ten times higher. It does not help that self-inflicted harm is not covered by the health-care system.

The World’s Largest Vessel Enters The Water In South Korea
NPR

Shell has just floated the hull of the world’s largest vessel out of its dry dock in South Korea. It’s so massive that if you stood it up, it would be 1,601 feet tall, reaching higher into the sky than the Empire State Building.

The vessel, called the Prelude, will actually be used more as a floating island than a ship. It won’t be able to travel under its own power. Shell plans to tow it and anchor it about 300 miles off the coast of western Australia for 25 years.

There, the 600,000-ton Prelude will serve as a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, facility, which lets the company tap into the natural gas deep at sea. The gas will then be chilled into a liquid, which makes the gas easier to store and ship.

Daniel Dae Kim still making waves in ‘Hawaii Five-0′
Toronto Sun

Daniel Dae Kim feels he’s more than justified in “trumpeting” his TV series Hawaii Five-0.

“Our show goes beyond a typical procedural in that it really does try to give the characters personal lives,” Kim says.

“That’s the stuff that kind of keeps me going, as I discover more about (Chin Ho Kelly, his character).

Amanda Seyfried Declares Love for Korean Saunas During Overseas Trip
Hollywood Reporter

Amanda Seyfried says she often goes to Korean “jjimjilbang” spas in Los Angeles, the actress told South Korean press Wednesday. The actress also shared other beauty secrets during the promotional tour for Japanese cosmetics brand Cle de Peau Beaute.

“I had the most amazing welcome to anywhere I’ve ever been, in Korea. And I think I have the best fans in Korea… I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said about the reception at the airport on Tuesday, which happened to be her 28th birthday.

When asked about her favorite physical traits, she said she was grateful for her lips. “I like to wear lipstick because my lips are big, and I know that it’s something women everywhere aspire to, with so many lip injections happening in America. So I’m really grateful for my lips,” said the actress, who appeared wearing bright red rouge and a dusty pink lace dress.

Girls’ Generation makes TIME’s Top 10 Songs of 2013
Korea Times

Girls’ Generation took the fifth spot on TIME’s Top 10 Songs of 2013 list with “I Got a Boy.”

Douglas Polk, who compiled the list, wrote, “The nine-woman South Korean group Girls’ Generation is a ridiculously effective hook machine, and a major phenomenon in Asia, whose biggest pop acts make One Direction and Katy Perry sound like audience-alienating avant-gardists.”

“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and “The Wire” by Haim were 1-2 on the list.

Hyorin Talks Honestly About Recently Posted Unflattering Pictures
soompi

Sistar‘s Hyorin, who recently made her first solo comeback, talked about some issues regarding her unflattering and rather insulting picture taken from one of her performances for “One Way Love” on the SBS “Night of TV Entertainment” that was aired on December 4.

During the interview, Hyorin said, “There are some people who don’t really like the crab dance moves. Maybe I’ve gone too far for them.” When the reporter talked about whether the photographers are her anti-fans and showed her that very unflattering picture, Hyorin replied, “When I see this kind of picture, I’m just so shocked. I think about whether I really did dance like that. It’s an image of myself that I can’t really relate to.” She continued, “Sometimes, I get angry. Why would they take a shot of myself like that when they can perfectly take a picture of when I’m just standing. I think that’s the reason why I don’t push myself harder in performances. Because I’m afraid that if I do, this kind of picture will come up.”

At the end of the interview, the singer sent a video message to the photographers and fellow reporters to which she said, “I really would like it if you can take prettier pictures of me so that I can do better on stage and dance better,” and joked, “or, you can take this kind of pictures if you use photoshop!”

Korea Hopes for Lucky Break in World Cup Draw
Chosun Ilbo

The group draw for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil will take place on Friday at the Brazilian resort town of Costa do Sauipe. The 32 countries that qualified will be divided into eight groups.

Broadly speaking, each group will feature one team from each of four pots that were announced Wednesday, although there is an exception this year as there are seven teams in Pot 2 and nine in Pot 4.

The first pot features the eight top seeds, or the top seven teams according to FIFA’s world rankings in October plus host Brazil. These are, in ranking order, world No. 1 Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay and Switzerland.

Mariners may prefer to sign Shin-Soo Choo and Kendrys Morales rather than Robinson Cano
Philly.com

The Mariners aren’t against spending buckets of money this offseason, but they may prefer quantity over quality.

It is no secret that the Mariners have tons of cash on hand and are willing to spend great sums of it in order to turn their perennial also-ran into a frontrunner this offseason. They have been rumored to be in hot pursuit of Robinson Cano, the biggest and most expensive name on the free agent board this winter. Cano is said to be demanding a contract north of $200 million, to which the Mariners are reportedly amenable. But some say the Mariners prefer to spend their money on Shin-Soo Choo and Kendrys Morales instead of Cano, according to the New York Post.

Korea Q&A: Beautiful Fat Korean Selfies
Seoulistic

Questions include: “Why do Koreans look so good in pictures?” “What’s it like being fat in Korea?” “Is it safe for a young girl to visit Seoul alone?” “Is there a dating scene for Koreans over 30?” “How do I attract Korean boys?” “What’s an ulzzang (얼짱)?”

Kari asks: “Why did my Korean teacher ask us to take off the flash when we took a picture?”

Generally, Koreans (in particular girls) are quite self-conscious when it comes to pictures. Many don’t like unflattering pictures, especially if they end up on the internet. So Koreans have learned many picture taking tips and tricks to get the best looking pictures. Flash is one of them. The darker the picture, the better they come out (isn’t that why everyone at a club looks so good?). Another is the angle. There’s this crazy phenomenon of videos made by Koreans entitled “the importance of angles.” They all know how to work it!

Daniel Dae Kim Signs Developmental Deal With CBS
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: October 30th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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The Korean alumni of Lost are doing well for themselves.

Just a week after it was announced that Yunjin Kim is helping to bring a popular time-traveling Korean drama to ABC, news broke that Daniel Dae Kim was not to be left out of the developmental bonanza. The Hollywood Reporter said the Hawaii Five-0 star has inked a two-year development deal with CBS Television Studios.

Kim and his newly formed production company 3AD will develop and produce projects for both network and cable TV. He will serve as a producer on all potential shows and he is currently looking for development executive to manage his company, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Continue Reading »

Thursday’s Link Attack: Koreas Talk Family Reunions; Top Asian Men in Hollywood; Fashionable Hiking in Korea
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: August 15th, 2013
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South Korea Proposes Talks to Reunite War-Divided Families
New York Times

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea said Thursday that South and North Korea should resume arranging reunions of families separated by the Korean War six decades ago, and she renewed a proposal to build an “international peace park” straddling their heavily armed border.

Ms. Park’s conciliatory overtures came a day after the Koreas agreed to reopen an idled joint industrial park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, a deal indicating that they were moving toward a thaw after months of tensions this year. The Kaesong agreement also appeared to give impetus to Ms. Park’s “trustpolitik” policy, which calls for building trust with the North as a foundation for more serious negotiations on ending the North’s nuclear weapons programs in exchange for helping the country rebuild its economy.

How the Koreas Got to Yes on Kaesong
Wall Street Journal

After seven rounds of meetings and 133 days, negotiations between the two Koreas over the mothballed Kaesong Industrial Complex culminated in a tentative agreement to reopen the project.

What led to the bargaining breakthrough?

The first six rounds of talks were mainly a fruitless exercise in which each side stated and restated its position without any consensus. Negotiation analysts refer to this as “positional bargaining.”

Politics bog release of American jailed in NKorea
The State (South Carolina)

Kenneth Bae, the latest of several Americans jailed by North Korea in recent years, has already waited longer for his freedom than any of the others had to. But as his health deteriorates, Washington and Pyongyang appear unable to negotiate, each wary of giving concessions to the other.

Past detainees were freed following visits from prominent Americans — a former president in two cases. But this time Washington, or perhaps Pyongyang, is refusing to play that game of “send me a statesman.”

Pyongyang has put a spotlight on Bae’s case by allowing the American missionary and tour operator to be interviewed by North Korean-sanctioned media first in jail and then, last week, in the hospital where he is now being treated for several ailments. Both times, under the supervision of his North Korean guards, Bae has said he wants the U.S. to do more to gain his release. He wants a high-ranking U.S. official to travel to North Korea to seek a pardon for him.

The U.S. Soldier Who Defected to North Korea
The Atlantic

We all do stupid things when we’re drunk, but among bad decisions, this one deserves special distinction: on the night of January 4, 1965, U.S. Army Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins pounded 10 beers, deserted his infantry company at the edge of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, walked alone across a minefield, and defected to North Korea. He was thrown into a chilly, spartan house (he tried, unsuccessfully, to leave) and forced to study the works of the North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung for 11 hours every day. By 1972, he could recite Kim’s core principles by heart in Korean. That year, he was forcibly naturalized as a North Korean citizen. He went on to work as an English teacher, a translator, and an actor, under 24-hour surveillance and conditions of near-starvation.

North Korean Missiles Are Likely Fake, Experts Say: Report
Huffington Post

Government experts and independent researchers say North Korean missiles that were paraded in Pyongyang in late July are “almost certainly” fake, according to an NBC News investigation.

The experts and analysts made their determination by studying high-definition photographs of a North Korean military parade held July 27.

NBC News space and missile expert James Oberg, who witnessed North Korea’s failed Unha-3 rocket launch in April 2012, pointed to the “undulating skin” seen on a warhead as evidence that it was bogus.

Japan’s Premier Stays Away From War Shrine, but Sends Offering
New York Times

Emperor Akihito attended a ceremony at a martial arts arena on Thursday to mark the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, while cabinet ministers paid private visits to a Tokyo war shrine that has angered China, a former victim of Japanese wartime aggression.

Japan’s hawkish new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, did not visit the shrine, called Yasukuni, after refusing for days to say clearly whether he would go or not. Instead, Mr. Abe dispatched an aide to make a ritual offering in his name, an apparent effort to appeal to his supporters on the nationalistic right without provoking China and other Asian nations.

The Japanese government’s top spokesman, the chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, described Mr. Abe’s offering as a personal gesture, not an official one. Separately, three cabinet members paid what they called private visits to the shrine wearing formal black suits.

S. Korea held defense drills near Dokdo in June
Yonhap News

South Korea conducted naval drills in waters near the country’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in late June, a government source said Thursday, as Japan continues to lay claims to the rocky outcroppings.

The one-day drill was carried out under a scenario in which other countries approach and illegally land on the islets, the source said. It followed regular maritime drills in the East Sea in the same month.

The source did not say why the drill was not made public at the time.

How would America react if Japan suddenly attacked South Korea?
Rocket News

This week Japan celebrates the end of World War II. At the same time, Korea takes a different angle on the times and celebrates the end of Japan’s colonization and subjugation of their country. This anti-Japan sentiment remains rooted in many aspects of Koreans’ psyche, and led to the creation of a certain documentary which aired on the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) last Sunday, August 11. The program was titled The Archipelago’s Perilous Night and posed the questions, “What would America do if Japan suddenly attacked South Korea? Who would they aid?” Korean Internet users were quick to respond with their own speculations.

Japan as a whole likes to pretend that many of its amoral actions, particularly war crimes, are really just misunderstandings. Unsurprisingly, this has caused a great deal of resentment and distrust to brew in the hearts of many South Koreans, who hate the Japanese for occupying their country during WWII. And so, it’s unsurprising that the harsh words of some right-wing Japanese politicians have caused some Koreans to worry about the prospects of another war. They say that even if the political hate speech is all overblown to appeal to far-right voters, it could still have some influence on the impressionable youth and lead to a future attack.

Undocumented Asian Students Live Under the Radar
El Nuevo Sol (California State University Northridge)

James (an undocumented student alias) called Tlaxcala, Mexico, home for three years as he and his family migrated from South Korea so he could learn Spanish. At age 14, he migrated again with his family to Chatsworth for more opportunities for higher education.

Now, at age 24, James, a Korean student at CSUN majoring in Asian-American Studies is the only member of his family classified as undocumented. His family came from Mexico with visitor’s visas 10 years ago. After those visas expired, James parents secured a new kind of visa which granted them all to stay in the U.S. However, since James was no longer a dependent and he is over the age of 21, now he is on his own.

“Our migration stories were tougher than other migrants who have connections,” says James. “Our family struggled a lot because of not knowing the system.”

Korean Liberation Day celebrated Thursday in San Pedro
Daily Breeze (Torrance)

San Pedro’s Korean Friendship Bell will be rung at 12:30 p.m. Thursday for the 68th annual observation of Korean Liberation Day.

Members of the Korean-American community in Los Angeles will attend after the city’s official ceremony in Koreatown.

Aug. 15 is celebrated annually to commemorate the Allied forces’ victory in World War II, which also liberated Korea from Japan’s colonial rule.

27 Asian Leading Men Who Deserve More Airtime
BuzzFeed

Asian actors don’t often get starring roles in Hollywood, but these guys — American and otherwise — prove they’re leading men too.

1. Daniel Dae Kim
Works in: U.K., U.S.
Claims to fame: Lost, Hawaii Five-0
Fun fact: For two weeks, Daniel played the King of Siam in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I at the Royal Albert Hall.

2. Naveen Andrews
Works in: U.K., U.S.
Claims to fame: The English Patient, Lost
Fun fact: Naveen has spoken about his heroin addiction and alcoholism in the mid-90’s and said he decided to get clean when he was driving drunk and scared his son.

Korean-American director John S. Park signs with The Sweet Shop for international representation
CampaignBrief.com

The Sweet Shop has announced the addition of John S. Park to its global roster.

Skilled in multiple disciplines, the Korean-American director boasts an impressive resume of commercial, documentary, and short form content distinctive for its mixing of both Eastern and Western advertising traditions. With experience in the culture and flavors of both markets, John’s work has been able to successfully merge the narrative and storytelling focus popular in the West with the image-driven content that has become a hallmark of the East. The result is a body of evocative, sensory work complimented by powerfully visual technique.

Mysterious man donates $200,000 to CMS — Transforming the Korean community one event at a time
Northwest Asian Weekly

If the Chinese and Japanese-American communities are considered to be sophisticated fundraisers, the Korean community is a super star. The Korean community surprised many by eclipsing its older brothers with progressive attitudes towards charitable causes on Aug. 10.

Founded by Dr. Chang Shin, Cornerstone Medical Services (CMS) is a free health clinic for low-income clients in Federal Way and organized its first fundraising dinner at the Seattle Westin last Saturday, raising $380,000. The organization offers free health service on Saturdays, but its goal is to develop into a daily-service facility.

At first, I thought it was just a regular Korean community event, long and boring with the same old programming. I planned to take some photos and run, but my instincts told me to stay.

Uzbek Musician Chosen for US ‘Banjo Babe’ Calendar
Ria Novosti (Russia)

Ex-Soviet Uzbekistan is not often associated with bluegrass finger pickin’ music. But that may soon change after a Russian-Korean musician from the Central Asian republic was chosen to appear in the first US “Banjo Babes” calendar, according to the project’s website.

Janna Kim, a 28-year-old banjo player from Tashkent will be the featured “banjo babe” for April 2014 in the calendar, which otherwise features American women. In an interview with BanjoCrazy.com, she claimed to be the “…only one who plays banjo in Uzbekistan.”

“America was always my favorite country in the world. When I play banjo and when I hear its sound, I feel like I have come into the Old Wild West, where I can see cowboys, horses and saloons,” Kim told the website.

14 Under-The-Radar Koreatown Restaurants to Try Now
Eater Los Angeles

Koreatown has a multitude of excellent eateries, most of which can be found on this guide here. But there are some that serve regional specialties or rare dishes that literally can’t be found anywhere else in America. The quality and breadth of Korean cooking in Los Angeles rivals even Seoul itself. Here now, a guide to under-the-radar restaurants in Koreatown that are worth trying now.

1. DHA RAE OAK
This restaurant doesn’t have an easy descriptor, except that it has a variety of traditional dishes to go along with some specialty duck dishes of note. In particular, there’s a table-top grill where smoked duck breast might be one of the most unique preparations around. And there’s a whole roasted duck stuffed with glutinous rice and other aromatics, though it must be ordered four hours in advance. It’s worth the wait.

Marriage Cost for Son Triple that of Daughter
KBS News

A domestic survey finds that it costs three times more to marry off a son than a daughter.

The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs surveyed the cost of marriage in about 970 households in the past three years. A son’s marriage is found to have cost over 107 million won on average compared to over 35 million won for a daughter.

Of the total cost, the sons themselves footed close to 35 million won of the bill while daughters paid for 16 million won, less than half of the sons’ share.

Haute-couture hiking in South Korea
AFP via Fox News

If you want to go hiking in South Korea, you’re going to have to spend a substantial amount of money on stand-out designer gear if you want to blend in.

While jeans and a T-shirt will draw attention — mainly in the form of thinly-disguised pity — a $650 North Face jacket with the latest ultra-light, three-ply Gore-Tex technology, will barely merit a second glance.

Hiking is close to a national pastime in South Korea, and millions throng the country’s many mountain parks and trails every weekend.

Damon drops Gangnam Style mention
Belfast Telegraph (U.K.)

Matt Damon has made a jokey reference to Psy’s Gangnam Style as he stopped off in South Korea.

The Bourne star visited the capital Seoul with his Elysium co-star Sharlto Copley for the press tour for Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi film, their only stopover in Asia.

“Everyone in America knows it’s a huge [film] market and a growing market. I wasn’t surprised when I was told by the studio that I was coming here. I hope next time I can bring my family here,” Matt said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Best-Selling Booze in the World
Slate.com

This Thursday, Aug. 15, South Korea will celebrate the 68th anniversary of the Allies’ victory over—and hence Korea’s liberation from—the Empire of Japan. Many, many flags will be raised, just as they are every other major civic holiday. Many, many, many glasses of soju will be raised, also, just as they are every other single day in South Korea.

It is difficult to overstate how much of this stuff—most traditionally distilled from rice and conventionally described as a low-proof “Korean vodka”—the population goes through. Last month, K-pop star Psy—whose “Gangnam Style,” viewed a billion times over, remains the most-watched video on YouTube—told the Sunday Times that soju was his “best friend,” prompting his fans to explain that he is not, when viewed in proper cultural context, a degenerate lush: “As anyone who has ever lived or worked in South Korea can attest to, Koreans (particularly the men) drink for just about every occasion, and often times without a specific reason at all.”

Monday’s Link Attack: Ecstasy Dealing College Student Jailed; Psy Changes Agents; Steven Yeun at Comic-Con
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: July 22nd, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Inmate’s Letters Hint at North Korea Opening
New York Times

The family of Kenneth Bae, the American sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea, received letters from him in the mail for the first time this past week, telling them that his health is worse and asking them to press the United States government to help secure his release, Mr. Bae’s sister said Friday.

North Korea experts said the message of the handwritten letters — and their method of delivery, which could not have happened without North Korea’s approval — suggested that the authorities there were open to the idea of negotiations on Mr. Bae. That had seemed remote three months ago when he was found guilty of committing “hostile acts” against the government.

North Korea said Mr. Bae, 44, was a Christian missionary who had sought to build a clandestine proselytizing base in the country, where the Communist government regards missionary work as sedition.

Senate hearing on Joe Yun due next week
Yonhap News

A Senate confirmation hearing on a Korean-American diplomat, nominated to become the U.S. ambassador to Malaysia, will be held next week, a related committee said Friday.

In June, President Barack Obama picked Joe Yun, principal deputy assistant secretary handling Southeast Asian affairs, for the post.

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said it would open the hearing on Tuesday. It will be presided by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

5th District challenger Cho already ahead of past Garrett opponents
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

Roy Cho, the 32-year-old Democratic lawyer from Hackensack who wants to challenge Republican Rep. Scott Garrett in North Jersey’s 5th District next year, has already raised more money than Garrett’s two previous opponents. And the election is more than a year off.

The $80,804 Cho reported this week puts him ahead of where Garrett’s opponent in 2012, Adam Gussen, was for the full cycle. Garrett’s 2010 opponent Tod Theise also raised only $26,000.

Another potential Garrett challenger next year, former Rep. Andy Maguire, decided in June not to run after putting about $80,000 of his own money into a campaign account.

Augusta businessman seeks Senate seat
Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)

The Repub­li­can primary for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat got a little more crowded Friday as an Augusta businessman joined the field. Eugene Chin Yu made his announcement during the National Federation of Re­publican Women’s conference in Atlanta.

Yu is making his first foray into politics, but he has been active in civic organizations, including serving as the national president of the Federation of Korean Associations.

He came to Georgia as a child, served in the Army and returned to Augusta to become a firefighter, deputy sheriff and the owner of several businesses, including one that supplies
armaments and other equipment to American allies. He has also assisted Georgia officials in recruiting Ko­rean businesses to the state.

Ecstasy Pill Dealer Wins 37-Month Trip
OC Weekly (Calif.)

A Cal State Fullerton student nabbed in an undercover federal investigation of the illegal distribution of Ecstasy pills popular on college campuses and at raves hoped that a judge would send her to prison no longer than one year.

Julie Choi wanted U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney to consider her a “minimal participant” in a high volume, Little Saigon-based MDMA distribution network that extended from Westminster and Garden Grove into Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana and San Diego until Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, using a confidential informant to make buys, swooped down in 2010.

Government agents did recognize that Choi’s role was minor compared to others charged in the case, but still asked for a 70-month prison sentence, according to court records.

Biggest-ever foreign turnout expected for North Korea mass games
CNN.com

Acrobats, dancers and singers — under normal circumstances, a festival featuring such tried and true attractions might not send you rushing to the Internet to book travel.

But when more than 120,000 gymnasts gather in one of the world’s most secretive nations to perform a highly synchronized, 90-minute spectacle of song, dance and Cold War-style propaganda, it’s something worth looking into.

Massive state-sponsored entertainment is a big part of the lure of North Korea’s annual Arirang Festival, or “mass games,” and it’s drawing foreign visitors in increasing numbers.

U.S. hero pays respects in North Korea, hopes weather allows search for remains
CNN.com

The last time Thomas Hudner was in North Korea, he was fighting for his life.

Sunday, more than six decades later, he paid his respects to the ruler who led that fight against him and his fellow Americans.

Hudner, a retired U.S. Navy captain, is leading a delegation that hopes — weather permitting — to search for the remains of Ensign Jesse Brown, the Navy’s first African-American aviator. Hudner and fellow Korean war veteran Richard Bonelli went to Pyongyang’s Palace of the Sun — the most hallowed site in North Korea — on Sunday.

Following protocol, each man stopped and bowed before the glass caskets of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder, and his son Kim Jong Il, who ruled for 18 years following his father’s 1994 death.

‘Last hope’ for pastor’s grand estate
Philadelphia Inquirer via Philly.com

[Richard S. Yoon, pastor of the First Korean Church of New York,] said he was running out of options. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a petition he filed in May, he said in an interview, he may have no choice but to sell the aging estate.

“This is the last hope,” Yoon said Friday. “We have been fighting for almost 20 years.”

At the root of his legal faceoff with Cheltenham Township is the use of Lynnewood Hall as a church.

In 1998, the township rejected his request for a zoning variance to operate a church in the residential neighborhood. Five years later, it went even further and eliminated any exceptions to the zoning law for schools or churches.

Yoon has battled the decision in state and federal court, losing every round, including a federal appeal in February.

Character finds growth amid mayhem on ‘ Walking Dead’
USA Today

It’s not easy becoming a man when zombies are all around. However, Glenn Rhee has been up to the challenge on AMC’s The Walking Dead, which returns for its fourth season on Oct. 13.

He started out on the series as more of “a little boy,” a former pizza delivery guy whose agility and knowledge of shortcuts made him valuable on scavenging runs. As time has passed, however, he’s added depth and character, along with a deep, committed relationship with Maggie (Lauren Cohan).

Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn, talked about the character’s growth during an interview at Comic-Con.

“He’s definitely stepped up as more of a leader. I think his true evolution is kind of him finding himself. You need these almost terrible instances to bring out your true character,” Yeun said.

PSY, WME Sign Exclusive Deal for Representation
Billboard.com

South Korean pop star PSY has signed exclusively with WME for representation in all markets outside of his home nation. He was previously represented by CAA.

According to a statement, the agency will work to “expand his musical endeavors” and “pursue opportunities across all entertainment platforms, including film, television, endorsements, books and digital media.”

PSY is managed by Scooter Braun Projects.

The Neighbors’ Tim Jo Interview [Comic-Con 2013]
TV Equals

ABC’s half-hour comedy The Neighbors seems like a perfect fit at Comic-Con seeing as the show is about a family of humans living in a neighborhood inhabited by only aliens. One of the stars of the show, Tim Jo, who plays one the alien sons, Reggie Jackson, was at Comic-Con in San Diego, California to enjoy the festivities and talk about the series.

TV Equals got a chance to talk to Tim Jo his character, Reggie Jackson and Amber’s relationship, what he is hoping for in season 2 and more importantly what Zabrovnian would do at Comic-Con. Find out what he had to say in the video interview below.

Why is Daniel Dae Kim feeling “Lost”?
The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

It must be deja vu for Daniel Dae Kim, Freedom grad and star of CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.”

The new police series which recreates the original “Hawaii Five-0″ that aired 1968-1980, has started shooting for its fourth season at a new sound stage – the same one used for the ABC series “Lost” which aired for six seasons and starred Kim in an ensemble cast. The sound stage, Diamond Head Studio, also was home to the original “Hawaii Five-0″ series as well as “Magnum P.I.”

And to add to the “Lost” vibe, CBS announced three of Kim’s former “Lost” cast mates will be guest stars on the season debuting on a new night at 9 p.m. Fridays starting Sept. 27.

North Koreans get warm reception in South, win match
Reuters

North and South Korea put aside bitter political divisions for 90 minutes on Sunday as their women’s soccer teams clashed in a regional tournament in Seoul, with the visitors scoring a decisive win and getting a warm welcome from home-team fans.

Just months after the North’s threats of nuclear war pushed the peninsula close to conflict, South Korean fans stood as the North’s national anthem echoed around Seoul’s World Cup stadium and even cheered when North Korea scored.

“This wouldn’t happen if it was against any other country, but strangely I wanted to cheer North Korea,” said Moon Sang-soon, a 49-year-old South Korean fan snacking on barbecued pork.

North Korea won the game 2-1.

UFC: Benson Henderson only concerned with winning, not with ‘firsts’
Bloody Elbow

With MMA being such a young sport, there is always room for a first. First female fight in the UFC. First flyweight fight. First this. First that. In a sea of firsts, the opportunity to make history is plentiful. Try this one on for size: First man to successfully defend the UFC lightweight title four times.

That seems to have a nice ring to it, but for the current champ, Benson Henderson, it really doesn’t hold any added appeal. Should he best Anthony Pettis in their upcoming scheduled bout, that first will just be another factoid in his ever expanding Wiki bio. For Henderson, it’s all about putting on his best performance, and making sure the belt stays firmly affixed to his waist. Any extra accolades just become frosting on an already exceptional cake. Here’s what he had to say:

Cincinnati Reds’ Shin-Soo Choo meets with Cincinnati Korean-American Association before game
WCPO (Ohio)

While it is strong overseas, the fervor of support the 31-year-old outfielder has not been lost on Korean-Americans.

The Korean-American community has rallied behind all 13 South Koreans who’ve played in the MLB, but Choo has arguably been the nation’s most beloved athlete since he signed a $1.35 million contract and debuted with the Seattle Mariners in 2005.

He then spent the next several seasons with the Cleveland Indians, giving regional Korean-American groups like the Cincinnati Korean-American Association (CKAA) a chance to see their national hero play.

Members of the CKAA were presented with a unique opportunity prior to the 2013 MLB season when Choo was traded to the Reds from the Indians. The organization decided it wanted to reach out to Choo to let him know they supported him and his transition to life in the Queen City.

Shin-Soo Choo extends hitting streak to 15-games
Arirang News

Choo Shin-Soo picked up after the All-Star Break right where he left offon a hot streak.

The Cincinnati centerfielder rode a 12-game hitting streak into the mid-summer classic and with a pair of hit this morning against the first place Pirates, Choo extended his hitting streak to a personal best 15-games.

Also with Seattle’s Kyle Seager going 0-for-4 on Saturday, Choo Shin-Soo’s hitting streak is the longest active streak in the majors right nowhe’s now hitting .292 on the season.

Montgomery’s Kyeong Kang beats Mobile BayBears with 11th-inning homer
al.com (Alabama)

Montgomery’s Kyeong Kang might as well be King Kong when he comes to Hank Aaron Stadium.

The 25-year-old South Korean hit his second home run of the game in the top of the 11th inning on Sunday night to lift the Biscuits to a 2-1 victory over the Mobile BayBears.

Kang, who was serving as Montgomery’s designated hitter, had pulled a homer way over the right-field fence off reliever Matt Gorgen to tie the game at 1-1 in the seventh.

Public Links golf championship: Jordan Niebrugge holds off Michael Kim
Washington Post

Kim, who finished tied for 17th at the U.S. Open in June to win low amateur honors, trimmed a hole off Niebrugge’s lead at the turn before winning holes No. 12 and 13 to cut his deficit to one.

The pair came to the par-3 14th with the pressure dialed up and the heat sweltering. Kim’s approach shot was within a few feet of the hole, but his birdie putt stayed out. Niebrugge made par to keep his lead at one.

Kim continued to apply pressure, but Niebrugge was unfazed, making clutch par putts on 16 and 17.

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