U.S. delegation seeks to calm spats between Japan, South Korea
The United States sent its top Asian diplomacy and security officials to South Korea and Japan to calm tensions between two U.S. allies whose squabbling has frustrated efforts to deal with a troublesome North Korea and an increasingly assertive China.
The high-powered delegation from the White House, Pentagon and State Department departed on Monday and will be visiting the region shortly after the election of a new nationalist-leaning Japanese government in December and before Seoul inaugurates a new president in February.
UN Chief Acts on Labor Camps
Wall Street Journal
For the human rights groups that work hard to bring international attention to the abuses at North Korea’s network of vast prison camps, Monday’s call for an international inquiry into the camps by the United Nations’ human rights chief marked a breakthrough moment.
More-visible human rights violations in countries such as Syria tend to hog media attention, despite the significantly larger scale of the problem in North Korea. Political interest in North Korea is usually concentrated on the threat it represents to neighboring countries rather than to its own people.
Setback for Evanston couple fighting to adopt South Korean baby
An Evanston couple fighting to adopt a South Korean baby whom they’ve raised since shortly after her birth was dealt a setback Monday when a federal judge returned authority over the child to U.S. officials, a step toward the child’s possible deportation.
U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur made it clear that he trusted that officials would make decisions in the baby’s best interest, scolding federal immigration lawyers for “a level of insensitivity and sometimes even callousness” in the past.
Shadur said it is up to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to decide whether 7-month-old Sehwa Kim should remain with Jinshil and Christopher Duquet, of Evanston, while immigration officials decide whether she should be deported, and if so, when.
THE TRUTH ABOUT MARIJUANA IN NORTH KOREA
You might be surprised by what we’re about to say: the most tight-lipped, conservative and controlling country in the world is also a weed-smoker’s paradise. Despite the North Korean government’s deadly serious stance on the use and distribution of hard drugs like crystal meth (which has its own inauspicious legacy in the North), marijuana is reportedly neither classified illegal or in any way policed. The herb of the bohemian and free is not even considered a drug. As a result, it’s the discerning North Korean gentleman’s roll-up of choice, suggesting that for weed smokers at least, North Korea might just be paradise after all.
NK NEWS receives regular reports from visitors returning from North Korea, who tell us of marijuana plants growing freely along the roadsides, from northern port town Chongjin, right down to the streets of Pyongyang, where it is smoked freely and its sweet scent often catches your nostrils unannounced.
Ahn Cheol-soo to Return to Politics ‘When Ready’
Software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo will return to Korea “when he is ready” to continue in politics, his former campaign chief Song Ho-chang said Monday. Song met Ahn in San Francisco last week.
Ahn left for the U.S. after surrendering his promising presidential candidacy at the 11th hour, apparently because he was distressed by politicking in the opposition camp.
He “is spending time resting with his family while contemplating his personal path and political issues,” Song added.
Super Junior Wins At South Korea’s Grammys, Edges Out Fellow Nominee PSY
Boy band Super Junior has won top album honors at South Korea’s equivalent of the Grammys for the second consecutive year.
“Sexy, Free & Single,” Super Junior’s sixth studio album, captured the Disk Daesang title at the 2013 Golden Disk Awards ceremony Tuesday night at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.
Super Junior edged out nominees including “Gangnam Style” rap sensation PSY and fellow boy groups SHINee and Exo.
Girls’ Generation Hope to Ape Psy’s Success with New Song
Girls’ Generation’s latest song “I Got a Boy,” which was released at the beginning of the year, is already proving a hit. As the music video is being viewed on YouTube at a faster pace than “Gangnam Style,” some expect the song to ape the success of Psy’s viral hit.
“Gangnam Style” ranks as the most viewed video in the history of YouTube, attracting 10 million hits 19 days after the video was released and 20 million hits within 26 days. “I Got a Boy” garnered 10 million views in just three days of its release and over double this number within six days. As of Monday afternoon, the video has received 29 million views.
Girls’ Generation Land Ten New Songs on K-Pop Hot 100
To celebrate their comeback track, “I Got a Boy,” the girls had a television special where they performed new album tracks. If topping the K-Pop Hot 100 with “I Got A Boy” (which has over 28 million views on YouTube) wasn’t indication of how much Korea missed SNSD, every one of their new album tracks charted within the Top 80.
Whatever happened to the Korean Wave?
Now that Psy has retired “Gangnam Style,” is the K-pop craze losing steam around the world?
Q&A with arts director Emil Kang
The Daily Tar Heel (Univ. of North Carolina)
Carolina Performing Arts, led by Emil Kang, executive director for the arts at UNC, is halfway through its season celebrating the centennial anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s controversial ballet “The Rite of Spring.”
Brea Olinda’s Kim leads point-guard list
1. Anna Kim, Brea Olinda: The Long Beach State-bound senior attacks the basket with ferocity, has a great pull-up jumper, and she has great court awareness. She is the main reason why the Ladycats are still the team to beat in the Century League.
K-pop culture building on success of Gangnam style
Al Jazeera via YouTube
Looking in Japan for Clues About Kim Jong-un
The Wall Street Journal
As some North Korea watchers parse the statements and style of new leader Kim Jong Eun for clues to his personality, other sleuths are plumbing the mystery of Mr. Kim’s ancestry.
JRT is doing its part, by digging into reports about Mr. Kim’s supposed grandfather, who like many compatriots came to Japan after Korea was colonized in the early 1900s, then returned after Japan’s defeat in World War II.
The ‘traitor’ grandfather of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un
The Telegraph (U.K.)
He also believes that the dictator, who is believed to be 29, will have been unaware of his grandfather’s background – which would have placed him in the lowest “hostile” class of North Korean society.
S.Korea, China to start free trade talks next week
AFP via Google News
South Korea will start talks next week aimed at securing a free trade agreement with China, its largest commercial partner and the world’s second biggest economy, officials said Wednesday.
Yi Seok 20th Century Boy
A palace-born grandson of Gojong, the country’s penultimalte monarch, he is considered the Yi household’s rightful successor by many. Had the 20th century, with its colonialism, war and division of Korea, not happened, Yi Seok may well have been King of Korea.
Obama names Kang to arts council
Emil Kang, music professor and also the executive director for the arts at the University of North Carolina, was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama as a member of the National Council on the Arts on Tuesday, according to reports.
Rohnert Park Native and Former Miss Sonoma County Woman Among 37 Displaced in San Francisco Fire
Patch.com (Rohnert Park, Calif.)
Sara Choi, who grew up in Rohnert Park and was named Miss Sonoma County in 2008, was one of several dozen Mission District residents displaced in a Sunday morning apartment fire, according to people who know her on Facebook.
A Multicultural Comic Wows Arab Crowds With an Insider’s Touch
New York Times
One of the hottest acts in the Middle East these days is a South Korean stand-up comic who performs his routines in fluent, colloquial Arabic.
Wonho Chung’s father, a physiotherapist, moved to the Middle East in the 1970s with his wife, who is Vietnamese. Born in Jidda, Mr. Chung studied in Amman, where his family enrolled him and his two sisters in the country’s public schools. “We studied everything in Arabic — mathematics, biology, geography,” he said.
In an interview here he told how he became a comedian by happy accident.
Actor Justin Lee and ‘One Warm Night’
Actor Justin Lee, best known for his role as Annyong Bluth on “Arrested Development,” talks to Hyphen about growing up, launching the web series “One Warm Night,” and super powers.
Korean Hip-Hop on the Rise: Interview with Dynamic Duo
Since 2003, Dynamic Duo has been captivating Korean hip-hop enthusiasts with their sound. Considered to be one of the main faces of Korean hip-hop, the duo talks to Audrey Magazine about their career, plans for the future, and a peek into their personalities.
Sandy Kim Puts Fresh Spin on Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll (NSFW)
Like many photographers who struggle to find subject matter worthy of photographing, Sandy Kim turns her camera on a subject with which she is intimately familiar – her friends, her love and her life.
Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Bullet to the Head’ for 2013 release
Bullet to the Head, originally slated for April this year, casts Stallone as a hitman who teams up with a police officer played by Sung Kang to avenge the deaths of their respective partners.
Daniel Henney talks about his new movie ‘Shanghai Calling’ on KTLA’s ‘Live Morning Show’
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, KTLA chose to introduce ‘LA Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAFF)‘ and held an interview with Daniel Henney who was invited to attend the festival along with ‘E.R.’ actress-turned-movie-director Lily Mariye.
The reporter introduced Daniel Henney as the actor from ‘X-Men: Wolverine‘, and asked about his new starring role in ‘Shanghai Calling.’
Race revelations in Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment
National Post (Canada)
The Shipment, the latest work from up-and-coming American playwright Young Jean Lee, uses humour and shocking situations to explore racism and stereotypes.
Korean Club members to perform in Sunshine Musical Benefit
Orange County Register
The fourth annual Sunshine Musical Variety Show benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association will feature a return of the Korean American Choir directed by Duck Lee. Twenty costumed Korean ladies are scheduled to sing a number of traditional folk songs of their native country.
Heeyoung Kim’s prairie plant art on display at library
Northbrook Star (Illinois)
Northbrook artist Heeyoung Kim welcomed the public to a reception Saturday at the Northbrook Public Library, where she showed off the works that won her a gold medal in London — months before this summer’s Olympics.
9 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas Your Mom Won’t Hate
So here are some suggestions that go beyond the usual jewelry and flowers deal. And some suggestions that need to be on there, because asian moms love it (see number 1).