N. Korea fires short-range missiles, South says ‘provocative’
AFP via Yahoo News
North Korea fired short-range missiles into the sea off its eastern coast for the second time in a week Monday, prompting a warning from South Korea of “reckless provocation.”
The missile tests have clearly been timed to coincide with annual South Korea-US military exercises which kicked off a week ago and run until mid-April.
Two missiles were fired Monday and both flew around 500 kilometers (310 miles) into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea’s Defence Ministry.
Four short-range Scud missiles were fired in similar fashion on Thursday.
South Korea proposes regular family reunions with North
South Korean President Park Geun-hye made a formal proposal to North Korea on Saturday to hold family reunions regularly, uniting families separated since the 1950-53 Korean war, a sign Seoul is seeking to improve relations with the North.
The reunions used to be held roughly annually, but until this February had not taken place since 2010 when tensions between the two Koreas spiraled after the South said the North sank one of its naval vessels.
The latest family reunion was held on February 20-25 at the Mount Kumgang resort just north of the border and a total of 813 family members met in tears and joy.
“I propose to North Korea to make family reunions regular in order to ease the deep sorrow of the separated families as soon as possible. North Korea too has separated families and I believe it also has to relieve their pain and agony,” said Park in a speech marking the March First Independence Movement Day.
N. Korea’s No. 2 man arrested
North Korean government may have locked behind bars the state’s second-in-command Choe Ryong-hae for not fulfilling his duties and other allegations deemed disloyal, Free North Korea Radio (FNKR) said Friday.
According to the media’s state correspondents, the Korean People’s Army (KPA) Chief was arrested at his home on Feb. 21 at around 6 a.m. Some 30 military guards detained Choe who at the time was getting ready to go to work.
The guards, after the arrest, confiscated all documents and appliances at his office in the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.
Choe is known to have been serving his jail time in a cell located inside the State Security Department since then.
Park Geun-hye Asks Xi Jinping…
Exit Emperor Kim Jong-Il
SK President Park Geun-hye is said to have asked China’s President Xi Jinping whether there was a plan for China to annex North Korea as the 4th province of the Northeast (Dongbei) in the event that North Korea’s governance structure completely breaks down. Xi is said to have answered, no.
Presumably, the new leaders of the respective countries had vetted this question/answer prior to their summit (Beijing, June, 2013). Nevertheless, it is a loaded question, and it had to have caused stir among policy wonks in Beijing.
Park’s question goes directly to her initiative in unification of two Koreas under the leadership of South Korea. She sought consensus among neighboring countries, and appears to have persuaded Xi, Putin, and Obama that Korean unification under the South Korean leadership was good for the region.
Ex-Premier Murayama Expects Abe to Stick by Japan’s War Apologies
Wall Street Journal
Tomiichi Murayama, the former socialist leader of Japan who apologized for Japan’s wartime aggression, is the latest ex-premier to come out of retirement and make current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe uncomfortable.
Mr. Murayama, who is celebrating his 90th birthday Monday, said in a recent visit to South Korea that he expects Mr. Abe to stick by the 1995 “Murayama statement” that contained the apology. Mr. Murayama also wants Japan to uphold a 1993 statement apologizing over the “comfort women” issue, made by Yohei Kono, Japan’s then-chief government spokesman. The term comfort women refers to women and girls, many of them Korean, who were forced to sexually serve Japanese soldiers during World War II.
At a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, Mr. Murayama stepped up his criticism of those who want to revise the apologies, describing the recent controversy surrounding the Kono statement as “meaningless.”
South Korea Assails Japan on Wartime Brothels
New York Times
Unleashing fresh criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea on Saturday urged him to be honest and courageous enough to face his country’s history of aggression in the early 20th century, especially its enslavement of Asian women in Imperial Army brothels.
“True courage lies not in denying the past but in looking squarely at the history as it was and teaching growing generations the correct history,” Ms. Park said, referring to Japan’s often brutal colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945. “The more one denies the history of the past, the more wretched and more isolated one gets.”
Just a day earlier, Mr. Abe’s government said it would re-examine a landmark 1993 apology it made to the sex slaves, commonly known by the euphemism “comfort women.”
Former White House staffer Ronnie Cho ‘seriously considering’ Arizona congressional run
Former White House staffer Ronnie Cho is strongly considering a congressional run in Arizona, sources tell the Washington Examiner.
Cho, the former associate director for the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, has been taking calls encouraging him to run in Arizona since Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor announced Thursday he would retire after his current term.
Sources close to Cho, a Phoenix native and Arizona State University alumnus, said he is seriously thinking of throwing his hat into the ring in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. If successful, he would be the first Korean-American Democrat elected to Congress.
Cho also has been an editor at Newsweek/Daily Beast and worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as associate director in the Office of Legislative Affairs.
Gourmet Heaven owner charged with discrimination, wage theft
Providence Journal (Rhode Island)
Gourmet Heaven owner Chung Cho was arrested Monday on five charges of discrimination against workers and five violations of failure to keep wage records at its Connecticut stores, according to Connecticut court records.
Four days earlier, on Feb. 20, New Haven police arrested Chung on 21 felony counts of wage theft and 20 misdemeanor charges of defrauding immigrant workers, according to the court records.
Gourmet Heaven has two locations in Connecticut and two in Providence, one on Weybosset Street downtown and the other, more recently opened, on Meeting Street on College Hill.
The Providence stores are not under investigation, according to Nicole Armstrong, program coordinator for the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.
Oscars: Karen O Performs Ethereal ‘Moon Song’ With Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig
Karen O took the Academy Awards stage Sunday with special guest Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig accompanying on guitar for their performance of Oscar-nominated original song from Her, “The Moon Song.”
Dressed in a deep-V red gown, a seated Karen O brought an ethereal mood to the Dolby Theatre with Koenig’s help on supporting vocals. The performance was in stark contrast to Pharrell Williams’ show-stealing performance of Despicable Me’s “Happy” minutes before, with dozens of dancers amping up the star-filled crowd. An image of a moon rose as Karen O and Koenig crooned “The Moon Song” with the rest of the stage in black.
The two teamed up for a new version of “The Moon Song,” which was co-written by Karen O and Her director Spike Jonze, as part of a three-song EP released on iTunes. Karen O also recorded a solo version.
2NE1 Vs. Girls’ Generation: K-Pop Girl Group Battle Raging on the Charts
As two of K-pop’s biggest international acts, Girls’ Generation and 2NE1 dropping albums within days of each other was sure to stir up a competitive chart battle in both their native South Korea and abroad. According to early chart forecasts, both Korean releases should be making exciting chart moves.
Industry forecasters suggest that 2NE1′s new album “Crush” might sell around 4,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, March 2. Meanwhile, Girls Generation’s “Mr.Mr.” EP could sell 3,000.
If 2NE1′s latest effort sells 4,000, it would easily mark the act’s best sales week; the group’s previous high came when “2NE1 2nd Mini Album” EP sold 1,000 in its first week in 2011.
‘Frozen’ Crosses $75 Million in South Korea, Breaks Local Records
Frozen broke several South Korean box office records over the weekend as it became Sunday the first animated feature and the second imported film to cross 10 million admissions here.
As of Monday, according to the Korean Film Council, the Oscar-winning film has grossed $75.48 million (80.45 billion won), making Korea the most successful market for the Disney animation outside of the U.S.
The film’s directors, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, expressed thanks to Korean fans with a hand-drawn picture of the character Olaf and the message, “Thank you Korea for loving me so much! I want to give you all a warm hug!!”
The Chinese obsession with Korean dramas is making bad Chinese TV look bad
Days after a woman suffered a heart attack after staying up late to watch the hit Korean drama “My Love From the Star” (来自星星的你), Xu Qinsong, a Guangdong delegate to the CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference), stood up for the poor souls working in the lackluster Chinese domestic television industry by saying enough is enough with China’s Korean drama craze.
In a recent interview, the venerable Mr. Xu lamented how the Korean Drama obsession is hurting China’s “cultural self-esteem.” And the truth is, he does kind of have a point.
“My Love From the Star,” which recently concluded its first season on February 27, weaves a deeply complex and nuanced tale of a young, beautiful Korean actress (played by the young and beautiful Jun Ji-Hyun) who falls in love with her young and beautiful alien boyfriend (played by the young and beautiful Kim Soo-hyun). The show has been broadcasted on China’s video platform sites LeTv.Com and iQiyi, where it has reportedly been watched 14.5 billion times on the latter site alone. Damn. On February 14th, over 100 fans took out a full-page advertisement in the Beijing News to wish male star Kim both a happy Valentine’s Day and happy birthday on February 16th.
Korea’s indie rock music survives in shadow of K-Pop
South China Morning Post
It’s Saturday night in Hongdae, one of Seoul’s best-known entertainment districts. Alleyways that are quiet by day have transformed into bustling passageways lined with busy bars and restaurants; street food vendors have pitched tents to serve soju and fried seafood; and young men and women prowl the streets in their nightclub finery.
With so much action going on, it’s easy to miss the entrance to Club Freebird, an obscure but influential music venue in the area. Inside the bar, surrounded by the blue haze of stage lights, a small crowd sways to Led Zeppelin-inspired guitars and the siren-like vocals of a singer in black eyeliner, fishnet tights and shorts.
Apart from the cheap drinks, every member of the audience is here to enjoy something that South Korea isn’t known for: indie music.
Yoo Jae Suk Gifts University Students Who Appeared on “Running Man”
Comedian Yoo Jae Suk gave gifts to the guest university students who participated in the March 2 broadcast of SBS’ “Running Man.”
According to a “Running Man” representative on March 3, “Yoo Jae Suk gave iPads as gifts to the university students who participated in the ‘Running Man 2014 University War’ special.”
The rep explained, “Yoo Jae Suk wanted to express his gratitude toward all of the university students who actively participated on the show. He was too shy to give the gifts in person, so he asked the production team to give out the gifts on his behalf. He wanted to let this pass quietly, but people found out.”
Nike yoga master trainer Leah Kim: I felt out of place in an office
Leah Kim, 34, was an unsporty child destined for a ‘proper’ job. Somehow, she became Nike’s global yoga master trainer.
Growing up in California, it was the norm to be health-conscious and yoga was around my entire life. But it wasn’t until I was at college at UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles] that I walked into class with the teacher who would become my mentor, and yoga became a huge part of my life. During that first class, I started experiencing the aspects of yoga that go beyond the physical, that ask you to look within. It seemed like there was so much to learn and I just wanted more.
I was definitely not sporty at school – not in the slightest. Sometimes it feels like a fluke that I’m now a ‘Nike athlete’ but I stepped into my body’s potential when I stepped on to the yoga mat. I’d gone to UCLA to study economics but I wasn’t passionate about it. Growing up, there was an inherent expectation that I would get a ‘proper’ job in some sort of business capacity. But once I got into my cubicle at my first job out of college, I felt out of place and uninspired. I found I was so much more contented at the yoga studio than anywhere else and wished I could spend all day long there. Then one day I had the realisation – well, maybe I can…
5 Things About North Korea’s Latest Missile Launch
Wall Street Journal
1. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE LAUNCH?
Around 5.42 p.m. local time Thursday, North Korea fired what South Korea initially thought were four KN-02 type short-range missiles with a range of about 160 kilometers into the sea from its launch site in Kittaeryong in the southwest of the country. On Friday, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the missiles were Scud-type weapons, of which North Korea has a few variants with ranges from 300 km to 700 km. The longer-range types could potentially reach any target in South Korea and western Japan.
2. WHY DID NORTH KOREA FIRE THE MISSILES NOW?
North Korea test fires short-range missiles into the sea a few times a year, usually during military drills. Winter exercises are ongoing in the North. The launches are also seen by officials in Seoul as a protest against military exercises in South Korea. The U.S. and South Korea began their annual drills this week, which will run through April. “With the exercises underway, we see the firings as a calculated, provocative act,” South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Friday, also noting that a North Korean ship breached the west coast inter-Korean maritime border earlier this week. South Korea doesn’t always publicize military provocations from the North but did give details of missile launches last year around the time of drills in the South.
North Korea condemns Australian judge behind U.N. rights report
North Korea on Friday condemned an Australian judge who led a U.N. investigation that concluded that North Korean security chiefs and possibly its leader should face justice for torture and killings comparable to Nazi-era atrocities.
North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency, citing a pro-North Korean politician from Brazil, said the judge, Michael Kirby, had manipulated evidence at the behest of North Korea’s old enemy, the United States.
“(Kirby’s) mission is to manipulate ‘evidence’ on the orders of Washington, lie about (North) Korea and oppose the republic under an international alliance that is controlled by the United States,” KCNA said.
North Korean state media often uses comment from small, foreign support groups to criticize the United States and South Korea.
North Korea’s human rights atrocities continue, and the world doesn’t act
CLIVE CROOK, who for many years was a senior editor at The Economist, wrote the other day that he used to think his finest moment at the magazine was in June 2000, when he approved what became one of the most memorable covers in the publication’s history — a photo of North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Il, “looking wonderfully absurd” as he waved stiffly to an audience. The headline: “Greetings, earthlings.”
Now, having read the new UN report on the Kim regime’s institutionalized barbarity, Crook feels a “pang of shame” at the thought of that cover. North Korea jokes no longer seem so funny.
Indeed. It has been known for years that North Korea is a totalitarian hellhole ruled by megalomaniacs who have turned the country into a vast concentration camp. Millions of North Koreans have died from starvation caused by their government’s deranged policies; millions more have been victimized by its fanatical efforts to repress any hint of independent thought, and by its merciless assaults on human dignity. But the report issued by the UN panel this month, after a year-long investigation that gathered evidence from more than 320 victims and witnesses, paints such an extensive and meticulous portrait of evil that it compares in significance, as the Washington Post observed, to Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s devastating history of the Soviet labor camps, “The Gulag Archipelago.”
Jang Purge Yet to Hurt North Korea-China Trade
Wall Street Journal
When North Korea purged dictator Kim Jong Un’s uncle in December one question raised was whether the move would impact economic ties with China. Jang Song Thaek was seen as a key interlocutor with Beijing and a proponent of business links.
Initial data shows there’s been no immediate negative effect on the trade relationship between the countries.
Trade volume between North Korea and China rose 16% on-year to $546 million in January, according to the Korea International Trade Association, which compiles data based on Chinese customs statistics.
Among the litany of crimes attributed to Mr. Jang before his execution was an accusation that he sold off coal and other resources “at random.” That suggested North Korea would seek to renegotiate export deals with its only big trade partner, China.
Fewer and Fewer Children Born in Korea
Some 436,600 children were born in Korea last year, the smallest number recorded since 2005, Statistics Korea said on Thursday. Compared to 2012, the number dropped 9.9 percent from 484,550.
The total fertility rate, the number of children that would be born to a woman in her lifetime, stood at 1.19 children last year, even fewer than the 1.3 recorded in 2012.
The number of newborns is likely to drop below 400,000 in 2030 and to below 300,000 range in the 2050s if the trend continues.
Yoon Yeon-ok at Statistics Korea said, “The number of women of peak childbearing age between 29 and 33 declined by 360,000 compared to the previous year, while more women remain single or marry later in life.”
Poor construction blamed for deadly gym collapse: police
Police on Friday blamed shoddy construction and poor materials for last week’s deadly gymnasium collapse that killed 10 people, mostly college students, and injured 128 others.
The roof of the gymnasium at the Mauna Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, a historical tourist city 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul, caved in on some 560 incoming freshmen of the Busan University of Foreign Studies on Feb. 17 during a welcoming party.
Announcing the interim results of their investigation into the tragedy, officers at the Gyeongju Police Station said that the collapse was the result of overall poor construction and lax management of the building.
Under siege by ultrafine dust
Seen from a subway train crossing a Han River bridge on a morning commute, Seoul remained in a thick fog of fine dust.
On the street, commuters were walking without masks, looking like disarmed soldiers going to war.
Many of them may have regretted listening to the weather forecast about the clouds of dust receding.
Erring on the safe side, they should heed severe yellow sand warnings for March.
3 hurt in vehicle collision north of Esparto
A portion of a northern Yolo County road had to be closed Wednesday morning while emergency crews extricated and then lifeflighted a motorist to a hospital following an accident.
The California Highway Patrol reported the accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. on County Road 19, just west of I-505.
Hae Jung Cho, 61, of Millbrae was driving a 2006 BMW X3 on northbound I-505 approaching CR-19, according to the CHP, at the same time Tommy Saeteurn, 29, of Winton was driving a 2002 Acura TL on westbound CR-19, approaching I-505.
Cho exited I-505 at CR-19 and proceeded up the off-ramp to the intersection. However, Cho failed to stop at the stop sign as he made a left turn toward westbound CR-19, and directly into the path of the Acura.
Saeteurn was unable to avoid the BMW, causing the front of the Acura to collide with the right side of the BMW.
‘Son of God’ Courting Korean Americans
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are engaged in a full-court press to encourage Korean Christians living in the U.S. to see their upcoming film, Son of God, which has already been the recipient of a big marketing push in the Hispanic community.
LightWorkers Media, the production company founded by Burnett and Downey, recently hosted two screenings of the film with Korean subtitles, and the events attracted 800 influential members of the fast-growing community, including Korean journalists and faith leaders, The Hollywood Reporter learned on Tuesday.
Marketers for Son of God, a film about the life of Jesus based on the TV miniseries The Bible, also have visited at least 20 Korean churches and businesses distributing 3,000 posters and 10,000 flyers advertising the movie, which distributor 20th Century Fox will open wide on Friday.
Director-playwright hopes to jump-start Asian-American theater scene in Philly
FOR ALL of the Philly theater universe’s often breathtaking diversity, Asian-American artists and productions are scarce almost to the point of non-existence.
But Rick Shiomi is hoping to change that.
Shiomi is the founder and former longtime guiding light of the St. Paul, Minn.-based Mu Performing Arts, an organization dedicated to Asian-American theater. He is currently in the midst of a part-time, four-month residency funded by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and presented under the aegis of the Asian Arts Initiative and Center City’s Interact Theatre.
His time here, which began earlier this month, has Shiomi overseeing a series of readings of plays written by Asian-American authors. The works all deal with themes specific to the various cultures under the “Asian-American” umbrella. It’s the first volley in what he hopes will be a successful campaign to bring the local Asian-American community into Philly’s theatrical mainstream.
Huffington Post launches Korean edition
The Huffington Post, an online news site based in the United States, opened a Korean edition of the website (www.huffingtonpost.kr) Friday.
The Korean site is Huffington’s 11th international edition and the second Asian edition. A Japanese edition was launched in May.
The online news provider launched the Korean edition in partnership with Hankyoreh Media Group, a liberal newspaper. The content of the news site, however, will be provided independently from the Hankyoreh by a separate team of editors at the Huffington Post Korea. The editor in chief of the Korean edition is Sohn Mi-na, a freelance travel writer and former announcer on a local news channel.
Korean Skating Union: The ‘Biggest Loser’ in Sochi?
It was South Korea’s Winter Games of Discontent.
Coming off a historic performance at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, South Korea was supposed to assert itself as a winter sports power in Sochi, as it gets ready to host the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
Instead, the Korean contingent had the most disastrous Games imaginable. After taking home 14 medals, including six golds from Vancouver, South Korea totaled just eight medals (three golds) in Sochi, finishing 13th in the medal standings. The Wall Street Journal even piled on by naming the nation the biggest loser in terms of last-place finishes.
The raging controversy over Yuna Kim’s loss to Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova certainly affected South Korea in the medal standings, with the perception that Kim was robbed of a gold because of nebulous politics. But in the big picture, that merely affected the placement of one medal.
The true cause of South Korea’s downfall in Sochi can be summed up in the loss of one athlete: Viktor Ahn.
Koreans in Japan abused: U.S. report
Korea JoongAng Daily
A U.S. government report released Thursday shed light on social discrimination and harassment against ethnic Koreans in Japan, especially by right-wing civic groups in the midst of the growing anti-Korea sentiment under the nationalist administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The U.S. Department of State on Thursday released its annual report on human rights situations worldwide, titled “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013,” describing human rights violations in each country last year in detail.
In its section on Japan, the report states that entrenched societal discrimination against foreign nationals in the country, particularly against ethnic Koreans, was observed and recorded.
“During the year , ultra right-wing groups held a series of demonstrations in predominantly Korean neighborhoods in Tokyo,” the report said.
North Koreans In The South Who Want To Go Back Home
Son Jeong-hun escaped from North Korea more than 10 years ago. Since then, he has helped other North Koreans to resettle here in the south. The 49-year-old says that many were surprised when he announced that he wants to go back home.
“No one had ever asked to re-defect to North Korea before. The government said there’s no way for me to return, and that it was illegal. I was told that, at the very least, I need an invitation from North Korea if I want to visit.”
Son says he’s ill and wants to see his family in Pyongyang again before he dies. And he’s also broke – he couldn’t pay back a loan and lost his apartment. He says he now regrets coming to South Korea.
“I’m not making this up, 80 out of 100 defectors say they’d go back to North Korea to be with their families if it weren’t for the punishment they’d receive there. They’d go even if it meant they’d only be able to eat corn porridge.”
More U.S. States to Use ‘East Sea’ Name
More U.S. states are seeking to refer to the body of water between Korea and Japan as both “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan” in future school textbooks.
Last Thursday, a Virginia House of Delegates panel passed a bill authorizing the unusual use of both names, which goes against federal practice of settling for just one. On Friday, lawmakers in the states of New York and New Jersey proposed similar bills.
On Jan. 28, the Georgia state senate also unanimously passed a resolution to use the two names.
Korean residents’ groups in California, which is home to the biggest population of Koreans in the U.S. with 500,000 people, are pushing for the name “East Sea” to be used there as well, as do Korean residents’ groups in other states like Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.
Republicans on mission to win over Asian-American voters
Southern California Public Radio
The Grace Ministries complex, spread over 26 acres in Fullerton, is where some 6,000 Korean-Americans worship.
But on a recent weekday, the turnout was much smaller. Just 70 people gathered in the church’s fellowship hall as Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, made a passionate pitch.
“We’re committed to tell you why the Republican party is the Asian party — why that’s where you should be,” Day said.
Surveys show Asian-Americans have made the biggest pivot away from the Republican party of any ethnic group in recent years. And now the GOP is doing its best to woo them back.
New York exhibition celebrates awakening of Asian-American identity in the 1970s
South China Morning Post
Asian Americans have a reputation for being apolitical, passive members of society. But that is not so, and has never been so, says Ryan Wong, curator of “Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York”, an exhibition now on at the Interference Archive in the Big Apple.
The exhibition, which runs until February 23, brings together posters, artworks, photography, magazines and music produced by social and political activist groups that were active in the city during the 1970s. It also shines a light on the years that saw the birth of the term – and the concept of – “Asian American”.
“The idea is to look at the identity of Asian Americans in a political context,” Wong says in an office of the Interference Archive, a Brooklyn-based organisation that focuses on documenting materials created by social movements. “It’s focused on the Asian-American movement, a constellation of activists and organisations in America, especially in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and New York City, in the early 1970s. At that time, there was an amazing outpouring of art, culture, and activism that was trying to identify the idea of Asian American-ness, as well as to put Asian Americans at the forefront of the international social movements that were happening.”
The Problem With The Asian American Consumer Report
As evidenced by a compilation of ads by top brands marketing to Chinese residents of North America during the Lunar New Year, the Nielsen report on Asian Americans may have finally succeeded in convincing corporate America to pay more attention to the fastest-growing U.S. multicultural segment. But Asian American scholars say the report may be a step backward for smaller Asian groups that are underserved and misrepresented.
All things considered, the holiday is also shared by other groups who were not particularly marketed to.
“There will always be diverse populations within Asian America that may not be successful,” said Vu Pham, former Asian American studies researcher and lecturer at UCLA. “We do need to work harder than 100% to achieve 100%.”
Orange County Gangster Says Restitution To His Attempted Murder Victim is Unfair
No, Buena Park’s Kim is literally dirt poor.
He earns 13 cents an hour working in a prison laundry room and is irked that the government wants to take about half of that impressive income and give it to another man.
Outrageous, isn’t it?
In March 2008, 17-year-old Kim, a Sunny Hills High School student, and his fellow Korean criminal street gang punks decided to prove their toughness by trying to kill an innocent man visiting Emery Park in Fullerton.
According to law enforcement reports, Kim was the leader of the scumbags, who repeatedly shoved a knife into Jack Stotts and then took turns beating him with a baseball bat.
Coroner: San Jose man accidentally drowned at Santa Cruz wharf
San Jose Mercury News
A 31-year-old San Jose man who was found dead near the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf on Feb. 1 died from accidental drowning, according to the Santa Cruz County Coroner’s Office.
Ryan Kim was found unconscious and fully clothed in the water about 1 p.m., but it remains unclear how he got there, said Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy Ryan Kennedy. Kim apparently tried to climb the mussel encrusted wharf pylons and cut his hands and arms, authorities said.
An investigation concluded that there were no signs that Kim was suicidal and his death does not appear to be a suicide, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
How ‘Frozen’ took over Korean cinema
Stella Chung, a 39-year-old mom with two pre-school girls, thought that she was well past Disney movies until “Frozen” started sweeping local theaters. Following a friend’s recommendation, Chung took her family to the theater over the Lunar New Year holidays.
“It was the best Disney movie I’d seen in a long time,” Chung said. “I was as impressed with Frozen as I was with the old Disney classics I grew up watching, like Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Beauty and the Beast (1992). Frozen really combines all the qualities women look for in an animated film — a gripping storyline, lovely characters and unforgettable music.”
Chung is among many Korean women in their 30s who are revisiting their youth through “Frozen.” A recent report showed that the women in their 30s were the driving force behind the movie’s record-breaking performance at the box office in the last few weeks here since its local release on Jan. 16.
‘Mistresses’ Adds ‘General Hospital’ Alum for Season 2 (Exclusive)
Mistresses has added two characters for the new season.
General Hospital alum Rebeka Montoya and Catherine Kim, who was discovered at ABC casting department’s Los Angeles talent showcase, have joined the second season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Both will recur.
Mistresses, from executive producer K.J. Steinberg, is a remake of the British series of the same name. Alyssa Milano, Yunjim Kim, Rochelle Aytes, Jes Macallan, Brett Tucker and Jason George star. Rina Mimoun and Bob Sertner are also executive producers.
Montoya will play Toni, a Latina lawyer whose ambition is matched by her beauty and whose presence will shake things up more than a few of the main characters. Kim, meanwhile, has been cast as Mia, Karen’s patient who leads the psychiatrist down a twisted path.
Viktor Ahn 1, Korea 0
The much-anticipated Viktor Ahn versus Korea showdown almost didn’t happen. And when it did, their drama proved merely a foil to the greatness of Canada’s Charles Hamelin, who won his third-career Olympic gold in the men’s 1,500-meter event at the Sochi Olympics on Monday.
Ahn, a three-time gold winner for Korea, trailed Hamelin and China’s Han Tianyu for the bronze, hauling in his first medal for his adopted homeland Russia, which had previously never won a medal in short track.
Hamelin, who took gold in the men’s 500 meters and 3,000-meter relay at the 2010 Vancouver Games, was considered a surprise winner as the 1,500 meters has never been the best event for the 29-year-old. Now, the Quebec native is favored to win multiple medals in Sochi.
Rejecting the U.S. to Skate for Russia
New York Times
In 2011, the South Korean short-track speedskating star Ahn Hyun-soo became a Russian citizen, changed his name to Viktor Ahn and pledged to compete for his adopted homeland at the Sochi Games. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was said to be especially pleased.
But what if Ahn Hyun-soo had not become Viktor Ahn? What if he had become Joe (or Mike, or Bill) Ahn instead?
That seemingly unlikely situation is not so far-fetched. When Ahn, 28, went searching for a new Olympic allegiance after a falling-out with the South Korean skating federation, he and his father examined naturalization for top athletes in several countries — with the United States and Russia being the final two possibilities, said Jang Kwon-ok, a former Russian speedskating coach who helped recruit Ahn.
Jang, who has also coached the national teams of South Korea, Australia and the United States, said last week that Ahn, who will compete in the men’s 1,500-meter race on Monday, considered trying to switch to the American skating program but ultimately chose to go with Russia because it was an easier and more lucrative process.
South Korea: It’s a nice day for a shady wedding
Weddings here are not just huge American-style parties. They’re lavish, anxiety-inducing celebrations. They’re even sometimes used for nefarious purposes, such as influence peddling.
Families take the events very seriously. Their honor is at stake in a society where social stature is paramount.
Forget the American ideal of intimate affairs in bucolic settings. Families here are eager to show off their wealth and personal relationships, judged by the number of guests and the unbridled opulence of the event. Hundreds of co-workers, friends and distant relatives arrive even if they’ve never met the bride and groom. Otherwise, the hosts could lose face.
For some young couples, the demands are so grueling they lead to a pile-up of debt and fighting later in life
Korean-based operation takes stink, mess out of hog farming
West Hawaii Today
A Korean-based method of managing animal waste is improving hog farming conditions and garnering support on Hawaii Island.
“There seems to be a growing interest in natural farming,” Donn Mende, Hawaii County research and development deputy director, said.
Sim Mook Kang, owner of Kang Farms in Mountain View, adopted the practice for his piggery outside of Kurtistown in 2009. It was the first of its kind in the United States to use innovative waste management technology that, according to Kang, leaves most visitors surprised.
“It’s a pretty good system because there’s no smell,” Kang said.
World’s first robot theme park to open in South Korea
A massive project is underway in South Korea that would bring the Will Smith movie “I, Robot” to life with the opening of the world’s first theme park devoted to robotics and artificial intelligence.
Slated to open in 2016, Robot Land will include a family-friendly amusement park with rides and attractions, waterpark and hotel, but will also be home to a graduate school for robotics, research and development lab, as well as a residential complex, retail center and condominium.
Spanning 387,505 square meters in Incheon, 30 km from Seoul and 15 minutes from the Incheon airport, Robot Land is a tri-level investment from national and local governments, as well as private developers, and is estimated to cost US$625 million.
Though details remain scarce, one of the main mandates will be to offer more “Asian and Korean content” in order to differentiate itself from other theme parks.
Kim Jong-un Looks Pensive at Memorial Ceremony
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared somber at a ceremony Tuesday marking the second anniversary of the death of his father Kim Jong-il.
He has plenty of reasons to be pensive after the purge and execution of his uncle Jong Song-taek and his cronies, but his mien at the event contrasted with the untroubled expression he wore as he toured a planned ski resort just after Jang was executed.
Kim was the first to appear at the memorial and sat in the center of the rostrum of guests. He applauded as he listened to speeches and eulogies by Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, and military Politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae.
How Dennis Rodman can help the North Korean people
Dear Mr. Rodman:
I have never met you, and until you visited North Korea in February I had never heard of you. Now, I know very well that you are a famous, retired American basketball player with many tattoos. I also understand that you are returning this week to North Korea to coach basketball and perhaps visit for the third time with the country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, who has become your friend.
I want to tell you about myself. I was born in 1982 in Camp 14, a political prison in the mountains of North Korea. For more than 50 years, Kim Jong Un, his father and his grandfather have used prisons like Camp 14 to punish, starve and work to death people the regime decides are a threat. Prisoners are sent to places like Camp 14 without trial and in secret. A prisoner’s “crime” can be his relation by blood to someone the regime believes is a wrongdoer or wrong-thinker. My crime was to be born as the son of a man whose brother fled to South Korea in the 1950s.
Kim Jong-un’s Wife Reappears in Public
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s wife Ri Sol-ju made her first public appearance in 62 days on Tuesday when she accompanied her husband to the mausoleum of his father and grandfather.
The visit to the Kusumsan Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of nation founder Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il lie embalmed, came on the second anniversary of the latter’s death.
Rumors were rampant in the wake of the execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle Jang Song-taek that she had also fallen victim to the purge, but her appearance on Tuesday puts them to rest.
Young North Korean defectors find unlikely home
AP via Salon.com
The kids call him “uncle,” but he’s more of a mom and dad rolled in one. From one child that he began caring for in 2006, Kim Tae-hoon’s brood has grown to nine boys, all defectors from North Korea who have found their first real experience of family in his house.
As a single, 37-year-old raising nine youngsters, he’s a novelty in this conservative society. Local media have dubbed him “Bachelor Mom,” and he’s something of a celebrity, appearing on a popular TV lecture series to talk about life with the kids.
But he’s also an unusual success story in the South’s long struggle to assimilate North Korean defectors, who are often ignored or even resented amid perceptions that they’re uneducated, brainwashed burdens on society.
“He’s like a mom and a dad,” says Lee Eok-cheol, a first-year high school student who grins as he plays with a Rubik’s Cube in the living room of Kim’s home in Seoul. “I’m getting all the love here that I didn’t get growing up.”
Seoul Protests Mention of Disputed Islands in Tokyo’s New Security Strategy
Reuters via Voice of America
South Korea on Wednesday lodged a protest against Japan’s new security strategy, which includes a reference to disputed islands known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.
The Japanese cabinet approved the policy package on Tuesday. The plan consists of a national security strategy, defense program guidelines and a five-year defense build-up plan.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said the National Security Strategy (NSS) part of the package included a description of “our territory, Dokdo,” which it said should be removed.
“Our government severely remonstrates with the Japanese government for including a description of our territory, Dokdo, in the National Security Strategy which was announced on December 17th. And we urge the Japanese government to delete it immediately,” said South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young.
Seahawks shutout makes one Korean American woman 35K richer
Korea Times US
A car dealer in Federal Way, Washington and the Seattle Seahawks made one Korean American woman and 11 others $35,000 richer.
Jet Chevrolet, located 25-miles south of Seattle, had a promotion last weekend – if the Seahawks shut out the New York Giants, 12 people would split $420,000 equally, and Yujin Oliver was one of the lucky ones.
Jet Chevrolet says they are glad it happened, because “the hype has been crazy since it happened,” and they took out an insurance policy on the shutout money giveaway anyway. Instead of the $420,000, it cost the dealer only about $7,000.
Jim Johnson, one of the owners of the dealership, however, admitted, “We never expected that we’d actually be giving away the money.”
He obviously hasn’t heard of World Furniture Mall in Plano, Illinois, and electronic retailer BrandsMart. According to ESPN, World Furniture had to give away about $300,00 worth of furniture, and BrandsMart in 1999 had to fork over about $425,000 worth of items.
Torrance native helps spread message of hope to North Koreans
Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.)
The situation in North Korea was never a foreign one to Amiee Kim.
Growing up in Torrance, her Korean parents had always told her about the aftermath of the Korean War, people they knew who were torn from their families, and stories about North Korean children her age. They expressed a hopelessness for the people there, a belief that Kim carried with her all the way through college.
One day when she was walking between classes at the UCLA, she noticed a flier advertising a speech by a North Korean defector.
“I did a double take,” Kim said. “I was completely floored that I could get the chance to hear a North Korean defector talk about his experiences.”
The person who spoke was Shin Dong-hyuk, the only North Korean believed to have been born in a political prison camp who escaped to share his story. Liberty in North Korea, a nonprofit organization that works to rescue and resettle refugees and spread awareness about the human rights issues in North Korea, had brought Dong-hyuk to UCLA. That night shook what Kim understood about North Korea and challenged her to delve further into the issue.
In 2010, Kim applied to be an intern with LiNK.
US? Meh, Girls Generation Still Big in Japan
Wall Street Journal
They were tipped for success in the U.S. that never materialized. Never mind, K-Pop’s undisputed goddesses are still milking it in a market that arguably matters more–Japan.
Girls’ Generation’s new album last week entered Japan’s official Oricon weekly album chart, the country’s equivalent to the Billboard tally, in top spot. The group’s third LP in Japan “LOVE & PEACE” sold nearly 130,000 copies between Dec. 9 and 15, edging out local acts Radwimps and Luna Sea.
Backed by one of Korea’s largest entertainment companies, Girls’ Generation has been one of the country’s most successful pop acts after their debut in 2007. The clicks and views of their diehard fanbase helped the group win the Video of the Year award at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards early November.
South Korea Breaks Record 200 Million Admissions
According to data released Dec. 17 by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), theater admissions in South Korea crossed 200 million, setting a new record for local cinema.
Last year, local admissions reached about 195 million for the first time, and the number was expected to exceed 200 million in 2013.
This can be attributed to how ten movies brought in over 5 million admissions. Miracle in Cell No. 7 raked in 12.8 million admissions, while Snowpiercer and The Face Reader both drew in more than 9 million.
Kim Yuna says she’s only human
After all, two-time world figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, the “Ice Queen” with a perfect stage presence, is only human, saying that she is not a natural born talent, and neither is she always perfect.
“I get tired too, just like everybody else. Sometimes I tell people that, but all I get is people saying that being vulnerable and weak is just not like me.”
“I rarely get the response of emotional support I want. But sometimes I need it,” said Kim in an interview with a television program Sisa Magazine 2580 of Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on Sunday.
She had the interview on Dec. 5, right after the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia ㅡ a tune-up ahead of the Sochi Olympics in February.
“People expect that I’ll be just perfect on ice, and that’s not the case. I make mistakes, too. When I review my performance, sometimes I feel I did awful. That’s the whole part of the process of what people see when I’m performing,” she said.
Tenderloin Korean Hole-in-the-Wall Aria Doubles Its Menu for Winter
I’m taking a deep breath as I write this, because if there is one hole-in-the-wall in San Francisco I genuinely (and completely selfishly) don’t want to become popular, it’s Aria. This tiny, ugly, clumsily laid out, two-table “Korean American Snack Bar” run by a sweet, late-middle-age couple on a gross stretch of Larkin Street is unfailingly delicious yet I’ve never once had to wait for a table to open up.
And now they’ve doubled the size of the menu, so I feel compelled to share as I eat my way through it. Both types of Korean fried chicken are always excellent — as is the dukboggi, a hot and spicy rice cake that comes swimming in a sauce that’s like a hot, seasoned tomato soup. (They have a strangely enchanting density I’ve been assured is in fact somewhat challenging to pull off.) Kalguksu, or knife-cut noodles, might not be the exact same thing as ramen, but they’re good for what ails you. I’m excited by the japchae (a dish of sweet potato noodles with stir-fried vegetables) as I am by the sundae (which would be pan-fried Korean sausage, not ice cream). Even the oyster and mushroom porridge calls out to me, to be kept in mind for the next cold snap.
The spicy squid, served on hot skillet, was not only a flavor bomb but had a fascinating texture: firm and chewy, but not rubbery. As Aria serves street food and not formal Korean cuisine, you don’t get bowl after bowl of banchan to accompany your order — although pan-fried fish cake, daikon kimchi and the like are available a la carte — but thus far there has not been a single misstep.
An upcoming South Korea 3D animated film is set to open at 3,000 theaters across North American on Jan. 17, 2014, and the South Korean Ministry of Culture has deemed it the widest release ever for a Korean movie, Yonhap News reported.
The Nut Job will be distributed though Open Road Films, an American company. The film is co-produced by ToonBox Entertainment, a Canadian company, and Red Rover, a Korean production company that was previously involved with visual effects.
The South Korean Ministry of Culture’s financial support for the film’s $43 million budget reflects its promise to increase its funding for the animation sector from next year, according to Variety.com. The Nut Job received $8.5 million from a government investment fund, as well as other funding from the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) and two banks, Korea Exim Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea. Continue Reading »