Park unveils proposals to N. Korea to lay groundwork for unification
South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday unveiled a package of proposals calling for bolstering exchanges with North Korea as first steps toward building trust between the two sides to lay the groundwork for unification.
Park made the announcement during a speech at the Dresden University of Technology in the former East German city of Dresden. The address was watched closely and televised live amid expectations that she would unveil a new vision for unification of the divided Korean Peninsula.
“Now more than ever, South and North Korea must broaden their exchange and cooperation,” Park said in the address. “What we need is not one-off or promotional events, but the kind of interaction and cooperation that enables ordinary South Koreans and North Koreans to recover a sense of common identity as they help each other out.”
South Korea sends back stray North Korean fishing boat
South Korea on Friday sent back a North Koreanfishing boat that had drifted across a disputed maritime border off the west coast, the defense ministry said, defusing tensions in an area which has been the scene of deadly clashes in recent years.
South Korea’s military had seized the boat after it ignored warnings to retreat, but later confirmed the vessel had experienced engine failure and the three crewmen had no wish to defect to the South, a ministry official said.
The incident came as the North faced renewed pressure from the international community after it fired two mid-range missiles on Wednesday just as the leaders of the South, Japanand the United States pledged to curb its arms ambitions.
South Korea Returns Bodies of Hundreds of Chinese Soldiers
New York Times
South Korea on Friday repatriated the remains of 437 Chinese soldiers killed during the Korean War six decades ago, making a gesture symbolic of warming ties between the two nations.
China sent a flood of soldiers to help its Communist ally North Korea, which invaded South Korea in June 1950. Its intervention saved the North, whose forces had been pushed back toward the country’s northern corner by American-led United Nations forces later that year. The three-year war ended in a cease-fire, leaving the divided Korean Peninsula technically in a state of war.
Over the years, when South Korea discovered the remains of hundreds of Communist soldiers in old battle sites, it kept them tucked away in a little-known temporary burial ground north of Seoul, until recently known as “the enemy cemetery.”
Energy Panel Approves Contentious Nominee Rhea Suh
Wall Street Journal
Newly minted Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Mary Landrieu(D., La.) pushed through a controversial Interior Department nominee Thursday over the united opposition of Republicans.
The committee voted along party lines, 12-10, to approve the nominee, Rhea Suh, to be assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Interior Department. Ms. Suh now advances to the full Senate where she needs 51 votes for confirmation. It was the first nomination meeting presided over by Ms. Landrieu.
“I am sorry we are starting this new era of the Committee on such a troubling note,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) told her usual ally Ms. Landrieu. “I expect that we will be able to work together on many issues that come before us—but this particular nomination is simply not one of them.”
Stephen Colbert vs. the Hashtag Activists
So: On Wednesday night Stephen Colbert made sport of Washington football team owner Dan Snyder and his plan to undercut criticism of the team name by founding an organization for the uplift of “original Americans.” Colbert ran though all the reasons why this was funny, then called back to a skit from one of the show’s first episodes, way back from the fall of 2005—a joke about the host being caught on a “live feed” playing a racist Asian stereotype (Ching Chong Ding Dong, from Guanduong), then not understanding why it was racist. Colbert would make amends with his new “Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” He’d played versions of the game since then, dressing up in a sombrero for “Hispanic heritage month.” It’s one of the Colbert character’s oldest gags—he “doesn’t see color,” so he can’t ever be blamed if he accidentally does something horribly racist.
Most of a day later, the official Twitter account of The Colbert Report tweeted a short version of the joke: “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” Bad move. This attracted the ire of a 23-year-old freelance writer and hashtag activist named Suey Park, who gained prominence last year with the #NotYourAsianSidekick micromovement.
Anti-Colbert activist, HuffPost Live host grapple over racism, satire
Josh Zepps is a host on HuffPost Live. He presides over many interesting and civil conversations with guests on a wide variety of topics. Generally they end in a civil manner.
Not so much today, because of the issue: On the other end of the video link was Suey Park, the Korean-American Twitter hashtag activist who drew recognition from her campaign #NotYourAsianSidekick.
This week, she roared again, this time in response to a tweet that came from the account of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert show:
“I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever”
Like most things that emerge from the Colbert universe, that (as the context of the joke made clear) was satire — satire intended to skewer Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who recently launched the Original Americans Foundation at a time when the name of his squad is under fire for being racist.
The satire wasn’t working for Park, who launched #CancelColbert, not to mention a massive discussion about how we mix race and humor, and whether we should at all.
Texas executes man who killed food delivery woman with bat
Texas executed convicted murderer Anthony Doyle on Thursday as it kept the pace of executions steady while other states have had to postpone capital punishments because they cannot obtain drugs used in lethal injections.
Doyle, 29, was convicted of beating food delivery woman Hyun Cho, a South Korean native, to death in 2003 with a baseball bat, putting her body in a trash can and stealing her car.
Doyle was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m. CDT (2349 GMT) at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville after receiving a lethal injection. He did not make a last statement, a Department of Criminal Justice spokesman said.
Knife Threat Failed to Halt Korea’s First Female Bank CEO
Facing a desperate, knife-brandishing customer, Kwon Seon Joo knew the value of staying cool under pressure more than two decades before being picked to become the first woman to head a South Korean bank.
In 1992, the now 57-year-old chief executive officer of the country’s fourth-largest lender byassets, Industrial Bank of Korea, was deputy manager of trade finance at a branch in an upscale district of Seoul. Kwon said she agreed to meet a customer presenting forged shipping documents who was demanding a loan because he risked financial ruin after exporting artificial flowers that had been rejected by the recipient. When she refused, he lifted his trouser leg to reveal something tucked in his sock: a knife.
“I was shocked at first, but deep down I was confident that I could resolve the situation with conversation,” Kwon said in an interview at IBK’s headquarters in Seoul last month. She spoke calmly with the man for more than an hour before he walked out with his demands unmet and no one harmed, she said.
Help For Working Women, But Will More Storks Come?
Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s announced more incentives for working women to help boost female employment and improve low birth rates, but it’s unclear if the policies will overcome cultural norms in the workplace.
President Park Geun-hye’s been trying to keep her campaign promise of lifting the total employment rate to 70% by 2017 from 65% currently.
A key to this is getting women to stay in the work force after they start families and have children and on Monday, the Labor Ministry announced that women in their first 12 weeks and the last four weeks of pregnancy may work two hours less, fully paid, starting September.
K-POP PHENOMENON GIRLS’ GENERATION WANT TO MAKE INSECURE MEN FEEL BETTER
We all know Psy. You’ve probably heard G-Dragon and CL before—on a Diplo or Skrillex beat at the least—and some hundred thousand Lady GaGa fans are about to meet Crayon Pop in stadiums across Middle America and Canada this summer. But there’s no K-pop phenomenon bigger than Girls’ Generation. They remain Korea’s all-time best-selling girl group, their YouTube prowess has trouncedthat of even some of the brightest Western stars, and their tour attendance is astounding. If Korean music is something that’s been brought to your attention sometime in the past half decade, there’s a good chance that had something to do with “Gee,” the undisputed classic of K-pop (watch it above).
After an uncharacteristically long break since their last release—all of two months—and almost a straight year of Japanese records and tours, Girls’ Generation returned late last month with the Mr.Mr. mini-album. We broke bread with all nine (very polite) girls to talk new music, bolstering the flagging confidence of insecure boys, and Korea’s super intense trainee pop regime. Apparently of the 10,000 K-Pop wannabes, only one becomes a star. Steep odds for sure.
Instead of following a tried-and-true formula of slowly rolling out individual songs and their characteristically flashy videos, the all-female Korean pop supergroup 2NE1 went the opposite direction with their new album, Crush. Announced in January—no advance snippets were available—and released digitally in February, 2NE1 dropped two singles simultaneously (the uptempo pair “Come Back Home” and “Gotta Be You”). Though both unsurpisingly lit up the Korean charts, the excitement—as well as an appearance in a January episode of ABC’s The Bachelor—buoyed an entrance into Billboard 200, where 2NE1 sold more copies in the first week than any Korean outfit in history. The only semi-micro-plotted movement in the whole campaign happened when YG Entertainment bumped the digital release three days—meaning that they broke the record in four days, instead of a full seven—so it would come out on the February 27 birthday of CL, 2NE1’s ascendant star. Hold that thought.
Tickets for the Free LA K-Pop Festival Available Online this Saturday
With the LA K-Pop Festival a little more than two weeks away, it has been revealed that tickets will be distributed through Ticketmaster this Saturday at 10am PST on a first come, first serve basis (limit: 2 per person). While the concert is free, a small service fee for Ticketmaster is added.
Physical Ticket Distribution will occur on Saturday March 29 at 10:00am PST at the HwaGae Traditional Market (940 S. Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006) on a first come first serve basis, with up to 5,000 tickets being distributed that day (limit: 2 per person).
Hosted by KBS America and the Los Angeles Korean Association, the event is set for April 12 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The event will start with a day long festival at 10am, followed by a concert at 5:30pm.
Veteran Choo adjusting to left field at Globe Life Park
Dallas Morning News
Shin-Soo Choo on Thursday started a crash course in the art of playing left field at Globe Life Park.
Choo, entering his first season with the Rangers, tried to familiarize himself with the nuances of his new position during an afternoon workout. He also started in left field in the park for the first time in nearly eight years during the exhibition game against Quintana Roo of the Mexican League.
Choo played center field with Cincinnati last season and has fewer career starts in left
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field (60) than the other outfield spots. Choo can apply his experience as a right fielder in that balls will hook and slice toward the left-field line.
“It’s something I’ll have to get used to,” Choo said. “The more I play out there, the more comfortable I’ll be.”
Japan’s Mao Asada breaks Yuna Kim’s world record in women’s short
Mao Asada of Japan set a world record on Thursday to finish first in the short program at the World Figure Skating Championships.
Skating to Chopin’s Nocturne, Asada hit her trademark triple axel at the start of her routine and completed all her remaining jumps to finish with 78.66 points, surpassing the previous record of 78.50 set by Yuna Kim at the Vancouver Olympics.
“As the last competition of this season, I am happy to skate the best short program,” said Asada, a two-time world champion. “My mission here is to perform both programs perfect so already half is done and tomorrow I want to focus on showing everything I have practiced.”