Got too much homework? Outsource it!
Homework agencies, a growing trend in Korea, reveal some of the extreme lengths Korean parents are willing to take in order to give their children an academic edge. These online agencies offer to do their customers’ homework, charging anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000 won ($19 to $66) for each assignment.
Lee, 41, an overly-involved mother has been doing her son’s homework, so that he can focus his energy on studying for exams. However, when her son received an art project that Lee was unqualified for, she remembered coming across an advertisement that said, “we do art homework for customers,” the JoongAng Daily reported.
Two days after sending in the $28 charge, Lee received the finished project for her son, who thought his mother did the art project. Continue Reading »
It’s hard to imagine that a country could suffer economic stagnation for having a workforce armed to the teeth with advanced degrees, but that’s exactly what South Korea is going through at the moment.
About 70 percent of high school graduates in South Korea pursue a college education, far above the average of 56 percent among nations in the OECD, reports the Financial Times. South Korea is far and away on top of the competition in producing over-educated workers, so much so that it’s starting to see a skills surplus and an underutilization of laborers.
The number of college graduates in South Korea exceeds the demand of its job market by about 50,000 graduates a year, while there’s shortfall of over 30,000 high school graduates, according to the labor ministry. Continue Reading »
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.
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
South Korea’s top engineering school has again become subject to criticism for its policy on English-only lectures.
The Professor’s Association at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), led by director Gwang-joon Kim, lashed out at the school’s decision to conduct the vast majority (91 percent) of its class lectures in English. Korean history and writing classes are the only subjects taught in Korean. KAIST implemented the policy in 2007 with the goal of helping its students “adapt in today’s world of globalization.”
Kim said in an official statement that KAIST’s insistence on conducting its English-only lectures is a promotion of “Americanization” instead of what’s being “mistaken as globalization.” Continue Reading »