Monday’s Link Attack: SKorean Credit Card Breach; LPGA Pro Called Jenner’s ‘Mystery Woman’; Pyongyang Marathon Hosts Foreign Tourists
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: April 14th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Hurst laughs off being called Jenner ‘mystery woman’
NBC Golf Channel

LPGA pro Vicky Hurst unwittingly became “the mystery woman” hugging Bruce Jenner when paparazzi captured them outside a Chipotle restaurant Friday in Malibu, Calif.

The story ran under this headline in the British Daily Mail’s online edition: “Bruce Jenner wears wedding band on right hand embracing mystery woman in Malibu.”

Jenner, the decathlon gold medalist in the ’76 Olympics, is married to Kris Jenner, previously Kris Kardashian, mother to the Kardashian siblings of reality TV fame. Celebrity news sites have been abuzz over the separation and now reports of a possible reconciliation of the couple.

Citigroup Says Client Data Leaked at Korean Consumer Credit Unit

Bloomberg

Citigroup Inc. (C:US) and Industrial Bank of Korea (024110) said client information was leaked from their South Korean leasing and consumer credit units, the latest instances of data breaches at financial firms in the country.

Authorities found 17,000 instances of leaks of information including names and phone numbers, Citigroup Korea Inc. said in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg News questions today. The company was informed of the breaches by the prosecutors’ office in February, it said. The same number of leaks occurred at Industrial Bank of Korea’s IBK Capital Corp., company official Shin Dong Min said by phone from Seoul, declining to elaborate

N. Korea blasts reunification offer as ‘psychopath’s daydream’
Yahoo

North Korea on Saturday blasted South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s proposal on laying the groundwork for reunification through economic exchanges and humanitarian aid as the “daydream of a psychopath”.

The blistering attack from the North’s powerful National Defence Commission (NDC) was the first official reaction from Pyongyang to a proposal Park made in a speech last month in Dresden in the former East Germany.

North Korea Marathon Opens Pyongyang Streets to Foreign Tourists

NBC News

Pyongyang was filled with runners from all over the world on Sunday for the annual marathon, open to foreign amateurs for the first time.

Nancy Q: Wie finds way to make odd putting stroke work
The Tennessean

The putting stroke is the one skill that can take on a totally different look from one player to the next. That has never been more evident then when watching the putting style of LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie.

Two years ago I witnessed Wie putting at the Navistar Classic. I was very surprised at how “bent over” she was in her setup. So was every other golf instructor and golf critic in the country! In an interview that week, I heard her say she was the one who decided on that putting style, not David Leadbetter, her teacher of many years.

Learning in reverse brought Kogi chef Roy Choi to the top
LA Times

All roads lead back to the Kogi truck.
“It’s like my ‘Sweet Caroline’ and I’m Neil Diamond,” Roy Choi said. “I’ll never be able to outlive Kogi. Kogi is a beast.”
The chef was attempting to articulate what spawning that marvel of Korean barbecued ribs enveloped in tortillas has meant to him in front of a crowd at the 19th-annual L.A. Times Festival of Books. The sprawling two-day event at USC features readings, screenings, musical performances and cooking demonstrations.

The kimchi revolution: How Korean-American chefs are changing food culture
Salon

In a recent interview with food writer Michael Ruhlman, celebrity travel/food writer Anthony Bourdain said that “when you look at all the people who are sort of driving American cuisine right now, they’re all Korean American.” By “all,” he mostly meant “both,” since his list boiled down to two: David Chang and Roy Choi.

Roy Choi is best known as the L.A. Korean taco truck guy, and David Chang is the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group as well as the cult food publication “Lucky Peach.” Bourdain probably intended to mention Edward Lee in this interview as well, insofar as he’d praised Lee’s cookbook, “Smoke and Pickles,” by calling him one of “America’s most important young chefs.”

World Bank’s Kim urges SA to cut red tape around investment
Business Day

WORLD Bank president Jim Yong Kim says countries such as India, South Africa and others in Africa with massive infrastructure programmes should limit red tape to make it easier for investors to bring in the billions of dollars such large projects require.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings on Thursday.

The South African government plans to invest more than R800bn over the next three years on energy, road, rail, school and municipal infrastructure and has called on the private sector to participate. It has identified infrastructure development as one of the areas that can create jobs and provide skills for millions of unemployed people.

Out of the blue
Economist

FORAGING in South Korea’s mountains may soon become more fruitful. Since a wild ginseng digger reported the wreckage of a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on April 3rd, the South’s ministry of defence has been ruminating on rewards for anyone who spots an enemy drone. The report followed the discovery of two other similar aircraft: on March 24th in Paju, a border city; and on March 31st on Baengnyeong island, near the disputed Northern Limit Line which demarcates the two Koreas’ maritime border. North Korean inscriptions on the planes’ batteries; an ongoing military investigation into their engines, fuel tanks and weight; and the sequence of the photographs found stored in one of the plane’s cameras suggest the drones were sent from North Korea. For others, their sky-blue camouflage paintwork, identical to that on larger drones paraded in the capital Pyongyang two years ago, was a giveaway.

Thursday’s Link Attack: SKorea Detains NKorean Boat; Korea-Japan Relations; BigBang Reaches Milestone
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 27th, 2014
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Merkel vows support for Korean reunification bid
AFP via Google News

Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged Germany’s support Wednesday during a visit by South Korea’s president for efforts to unify the Korean peninsular, saying its own reunification gave it a “duty” to help others.

“We would like very much to support Korea in this important issue,” Merkel told a joint press conference with President Park Geun Hye, who is on a state visit to Germany.

“Germany was divided for 40 years, Korea is in such a situation in the meantime” as the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, which means the two sides technically remain at war.

South Korea captures a North Korean fishing boat
CNN.com

A day after North Korea test-fired two missiles, South Korea captured a fishing boat from the North that had crossed into South Korean waters, officials say.

The boat crossed the sea demarcation line that separates the two Koreas and was captured by the South Korean navy Thursday, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said.

The action comes as tensions between the two Koreas are rising once again. On Wednesday, North Korea tested two medium-range ballistic missiles, firing them into the ocean.

N Korea and the myth of starvation
Aljazeera

One of the most commonly cited cliches is that North Korea is a “destitute, starving country”. Once upon a time, such a description was all too sadly correct: In the late 1990s, North Korea suffered a major famine that, according to the most recent research, led to between 500,000 and 600,000 deaths. However, starvation has long since ceased to be a fact of life in North Korea.

Admittedly, until quite recently, many major news outlets worldwide ran stories every autumn that cited international aid agencies saying that the country was on the brink of a massive famine once again. These perennially predicted famines never transpired, but the stories continued to be released at regular intervals, nonetheless.

In the last year or two, though, such predictions have disappeared. This year, North Korea enjoyed an exceptionally good harvest, which for the first time in more than two decades will be sufficient to feed the country’s entire population. Indeed, according to the recent documents of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), North Korea’s harvest totaled 5.03 million tonnes of grain this year, if converted to the cereal equivalent. To put things in perspective, in the famine years of the late 1990s, the average annual harvest was estimated (by the same FAO) to be below the 3 million tonne level.

MANDATORY KIM JONG UN HAIRCUTS A BALDFACED LIE?
Associated Press

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s distinctive hairstyle is the ‘do of the day on the Internet, thanks to a viral report that every male university student in the capital is now under orders to get a buzz just like it. But it appears the barbers of Pyongyang aren’t exactly sharpening their scissors.

Recent visitors to the country say they’ve seen no evidence of any mass haircutting. North Korea watchers smell another imaginative but uncorroborated rumor.

The thinly sourced reports say an order went out a few weeks ago for university students to buzz cut the sides of their heads just like Kim. Washington, D.C.-based Radio Free Asia cited unnamed sources as saying an unwritten directive from somewhere within the ruling Workers’ Party went out early this month, causing consternation among students who didn’t think the new ‘do would suit them.

Video shows N. Korea karaoke salons
Bangkok Post (Thailand)

Rare video footage from North Korea has emerged showing men enjoying a night out in a karaoke salon catering to relatively wealthy North Koreans making money from often illicit cross-border trade.

The content of the hidden-camera footage, which could not be independently verified, was released by a South Korean pastor, Kim Sung-Eun, known for helping North Koreans escape to Seoul.

The grainy video included footage of a group of men and women, speaking with North Korean accents, drinking beer, singing, dancing and kissing in a South Korean-style karaoke “room salon”.

“This is a North Korean equivalent of a room salon, in the form of a restaurant combined with a karaoke where women serve male clients,” Kim told reporters in Seoul.

Breaking the Ice in East Asia [EDITORIAL]
New York Times

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan met, at last, on Tuesday. The meeting — with President Obama on the sideline at the nuclear security summit meeting at The Hague — was the result of intense behind-the-scenes American diplomacy in an effort to mend the seriously deteriorated relations between the American allies in East Asia.

Ms. Park and Mr. Abe had not met since each came to power more than a year ago, breaking a tradition of South Korean and Japanese leaders getting together soon after taking office. Ms. Park refused to see Mr. Abe, saying his government showed a “total absence of sincerity” in addressing the suffering Japan inflicted upon colonized Korea during the first half of the 20th century. Mr. Abe made things worse in December by visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including war criminals. There was little chance of the two leaders beginning to mend relations without the American push.

Seoul, Tokyo Must Tackle Their Differences Head-On [OPINION]
Chosun Ilbo

The leaders of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan sat down together on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague. The meeting, which took place at the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands, came at the urging of U.S. President Barack Obama.

The three leaders vowed to stand together against threats from North Korea. “Over the last five years, close cooperation between the three countries succeeded in changing the game with North Korea,” Obama said. “Our trilateral cooperation has sent a strong signal to Pyongyang that its provocations and threats will be met with a unified response.”

President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe duly echoed the sentiment.

Korean business leader and shopping center owner Sim dies
Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama)

Sys-Con owner and CEO Su Yong Sim, the Korean businessman who helped revitalize East Boulevard, died Thursday morning after a prolonged illness.

Sim’s company built several major facilities, including the $65 million Hyundai Heavy Industries plant in Montgomery and a $48 million plant for Donghee America Inc. in Auburn.

His holding company bought Stratford Square shopping center on East Boulevard and built a $4.5 million bowling center there. It also bought the shuttered Up the Creek restaurant nearby, remodeled it and opened it as Sushi Yama.

Food waste around the world
The Guardian (U.K.)

South Korea
Jeong Ho-jin dons a pair of plastic gloves to show off his most proud achievement as a district official in Seoul, and then uses his keys to unlock a large, rectangular contraption that looks like some kind of futuristic top-loading washing machine. Loaded with bins half-filled with decomposing ginseng, lettuce and other meal remnants, this, it turns out, is South Korea’s high-tech solution to food waste.

Jeong works in one of two districts in Seoul where the high-tech food waste management program is being piloted. The program works by giving each household a card that has a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip embedded in it containing the user’s name and address. They scan their card on a small card-reader on the front of the high-tech bin to get the lid to open, then dump the food waste into the bin and onto the scale at the bottom, which gives a numerical reading of the waste’s weight and disposal cost.

“Before this everyone paid the same flat rate [for disposal] and they would just throw their food waste away without thinking,” said Jeong.

Korean community centre seeks younger crowd
Vancouver Courier (Canada)

Vancouver’s only Korean community centre has undergone a facelift and will officially reopen its doors April 1.The centre, which is located at 1320 East Hastings St. and has housed the Korean Society of B.C. for Fraternity and Culture since 1991, received a grant from the federal government in April 2013 and began renovations the next month. The grant, from the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, provided $226,602 toward the project and the Korean Society and Korean Senior Society matched it with support from the Korean government and member donations. Vancouver boasts the highest Korean population in the country at over 50,000 people.

BigBang’s ‘Fantastic Baby’ tops 100 mln YouTube views
Yonhap News

South Korean boy band BigBang saw the video of its 2012 hit song “Fantastic Baby” surpass 100 million views on YouTube Thursday.

The video, which was first uploaded in March 2012, had slightly more than 100 million views as of about 2 p.m., making it the forth South Korean video to hit the milestone, following Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman.”

BigBang became the first K-pop boy band to do so.

Korean Journalist Seeks To Find Out If Beanballs Hurt
Deadspin

One Korean journalist for KBS worked on a feature on baseball players being hit by pitches, and did some firsthand reporting to find out if it hurts to be hit by a baseball. It does!

The whole video report—which isn’t embeddable—is worth watching, and you don’t need to understand Korean to figure it out: Pitches to the head, whether intentional or not, are causing injuries in baseball. The best part is definitely the high-speed camera footage of baseballs hitting a wash basin and frying pan, set to music that sounds like the Halloween theme.

POT by Roy Choi, a Soulful Ode to Korean Cuisine
Eater LA

As promised, POT is a powerful ode to Korean cuisine by one of the most notable Korean-American chefs in the country. Roy Choi opened POT inside The Line Hotel to the public for lunch yesterday, introducing dishes that seem whimsical and inventive on paper, yet incredibly grounded, flavorful, and intense to a fault on the plate. Think “Boot Knocker” stew, Choi’s take on a dish that Korean mothers make after school’s. Filled with Lil’ smokies, Spam, ramen noodles, and more than a few dollops of red chili flakes, it’s about as rich as the cuisine can get, without getting too serious.

The gently wrapped Kat Man Doo dumplings come dressed in soy, chilies, and scallions for maximum effect, while chewy squid gets tossed with rice cakes, onions, and gochujang. In almost all steps, Choi is taking the cuisine of his motherland and putting an elegant, chefly touch that elevates and refines flavors.

Probably the Worst Diary of Anne Frank Cover Ever
Kotaku

Usually, covers of The Diary of Anne Frank feature black and white photos of its author, Anne Frank. Or, you might see tasteful illustrations. You don’t usually see photos like this!

As recently pointed out by Korean-born Twitter user Che_SYoung, a version of this book was apparently released in South Korea years ago by an unscrupulous publisher:

It looks like a Harlequin romance novel! For the past few years, the image of this cover has been floating around online (as I mentioned, it is supposedly real!), and it even pops up when you Google Image search The Diary of Anne Frank in Korean:

Bojagi workshop offered at LACMA
Korea Times LA

[Korean-born textile artist Lee Young-min] currently holds bojagi workshops and leads a community bojagi project at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The program will take place on April 12, May 3 and June 7. The reservations of the workshops for April 12 have been already filled.

“Many parents with their children are taking part in the workshops. They are all beginners and not skilled but they return home with satisfaction of their completion of bojagi artworks,” she said.

She has organized numerous workshops, classes and demonstrations on Korean arts and crafts around the Bay Area. Recently she demonstrated her bojagi and “maedeup” or Korean knots in Asian Art Museum in San Francisco as part of the Asia Alive Program. Lee also participated in Oakland Museum’s Lunar New Year celebration with her bojagi and maedeup artworks.

March Issue: Cali Flavor at The Wallace
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: March 24th, 2014
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , March 2014
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Photo by Kimberly Genevieve.

Family Style

A husband-and-wife duo partner with her restaurateur brother to offer their take on farm-to-table California cuisine.

by JAMES S. KIM

Diverse cultures and mountains of fresh, local produce shape California’s rich and much-envied food scene. And that’s the very image Michael and Carol Teich are looking to spread with The Wallace, their new culinary venture that is receiving much early acclaim. Located in the heart of the trendy downtown district of Culver City, The Wallace joins a growing list of Southern California restaurants that support sustainable and local food.

“The Wallace’s menu is ‘Californian’ because we emphasize local products,” Michael told KoreAm Journal. “To me, California has such diversity when it comes to food. So many immigrants have come here and brought their cuisine with them. All those [cuisines] influenced me growing up here, and they find their way into my food.”

His wife is one of those immigrants.  As a teenager, Carol immigrated to Los Angeles from Brazil with her family. She met Michael in the kitchen at a Ritz-Carlton restaurant, where Michael was already a sous chef. Continue Reading »

Monday’s Link Attack: SKorea’s Spy Scandal; Korea to File Complaint for Yuna Kim; Top Football Prospect Eyes Auburn
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: March 24th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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S. Korea keeps wary eye on talks between N. Korea, Japan
Yonhap News

South Korea has been keeping a wary eye on upcoming government-level talks between North Korea and Japan amid concerns that the diplomatic re-engagement between Pyongyang and Tokyo comes without any progress in efforts to denuclearize the North, two South Korean diplomats said Monday.

North Korea and Japan will reopen government-level talks in Beijing on Sunday for the first time in more than a year for discussions on a range of issues, including the North’s abduction of more than a dozen Japanese citizens decades ago.

The move comes as unpredictable North Korea is making a hawkish-dovish approach to the outside the world, while pushing ahead with nuclear and missile programs despite international sanctions.

Suicide Attempt Adds Another Twist to Korea Spy Scandal
Wall Street Journal

A South Korean intelligence officer attempted suicide on Saturday, marking another twist in the escalating spy scandal that has gripped the country in recent months.

The agent, identified only by his surname Kwon, was found unconscious in his car in a Seoul suburb, according to a fire department official, whose team first reached the site. Coal ash was found inside the car, in what appeared to be an attempt at carbon monoxide poisoning.

A spokesman for the National Intelligence Service on Monday confirmed Mr. Kwon’s suicide attempt and his hospitalization.

N.Korean Propaganda Against the South Is Failing
Chosun Ilbo

North Korean textbooks describe South Korea as a “fascist, military dictatorship” filled with “poverty and starvation,” but fewer and fewer North Koreans are buying the propaganda.

◆ “Living Hell”

North Korean textbooks teach that South Korea is dominated by “foreign powers” that trample on the Korean people and “taint” its history, language and way of life. A book of writings purportedly by former leader Kim Jong-il describes the South as a “living hell” dominated by the “terror and repression” of the U.S.

The North also teaches students that the U.S. must be driven out and South Korea liberated. Textbooks say U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea “fire guns in broad daylight, plunder homes and rape women.” There are also rumors that North Korean defectors have their “eyes gouged out and limbs severed” if they go to South Korea.

‘I’d Been Brainwashed’: The North Korean Defector Living In London
Vice News

Kim Joo Il, 39, served eight years in the North Korean army. In 2005, after realizing his country wasn’t quite the paradise he’d been led to believe it was, he escaped the Hermit Kingdom by swimming to China. He now lives in London, where he’s the vice president of the Association of Korean Residents in Europe, works with North Korean refugees, and raises awareness about the North Korean regime’s human-rights violations. I recently caught up with him, and this is what he told me about life in his native country.

When I heard Kim Il-sung had died, I was near the 38th parallel [the DMZ between North and South Korea]. There was no electricity in North Korea that day, but I was so near the South Korean border that I heard them announce his death over the loudspeakers. I thought to myself, That’s bullshit—he’s not dead. How can the Great Leader be dead? He’s immortal.

It was impossible to imagine. I cried. We all did. Every morning, soldiers would line up to put flowers on his memorial, and we were all crying, crying, crying. Everyone was saying, “How can we survive, how will we live, what’s our destiny, now that our leader has gone?” If you’re brainwashed, that’s how you think.

Obamacare: Asian-Americans sign up in droves; Latinos disproportionately stay away
San Jose Mercury News

You’ve heard about the achievement gap, the wide disparity in educational performance between disadvantaged minorities and the rest of the student population.

Now comes the insurance gap, and in California it’s playing out most notably in the number of Latinos and Asian-Americans signing up for private health plans under the new health care law.

Of the nearly 700,000 people who enrolled in a health plan as of Feb. 28 through the Covered California health insurance exchange and identified their ethnicity, 23.1 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander. Twenty-two percent were Latino.

But the statistics are startling when you consider that Latinos make up 38.2 percent of California’s population and Asians just 13.7 percent.

Groupon therapy
The Economist

GROUPON seems to be confused. The American e-commerce company, best known for its “flash sales”, recently announced it would soon shutter its Korean subsidiary. Despite vigorous marketing since it entered South Korea’s thriving e-commerce market in 2011, Groupon Korea has remained a laggard behind the three big domestic rivals: TicketMonster—Korea’s first “social” e-commerce provider, launched in 2010—Coupang and WeMakePrice.

The decision to close its Korean subsidiary comes only a couple of months after Groupon bought TicketMonster (known locally as T-Mon, pictured) for $260m—making South Korea Groupon’s second-largest market outside America. Yet the two moves have a common root: the withdrawal is proof of how hard it is to crack the Korean e-commerce market—and the acquisition shows the best way how to go about it.

Groupon is not the only Western internet firm that has lost out to local champions and given up in recent years. In 2012 Yahoo stopped producing content for the Korean market, after years of trailing behind Naver and Daum, two home-bred search engines. Google accounts for a measly 4% of searches there. Auction, Gmarket and 11st Street, Korean hybrids of Amazon and eBay, do far better than its Western models. EBay was the first to take radical action: in 2009 it bought Gmarket for $1.2 billion. Groupon, too, plans to learn from T-Mon, its South Korean acquisition.

South Korea Will Finally File a Complaint About Kim Yu-Na’s Silver Medal
The Wire

With World Championships of figure skating beginning on Monday, South Korean Olympic Committee has said that it will file a complaint to the International Skating Union about an alleged breach of the code of ethics during the ladies competition at the Sochi Olympics. It’s a complaint the Koreans are afraid they’ll be punished for.

The complaint named judges Alla Shekhovtseva of Russia and Yuri Balkov of Ukraine. Shekhovtseva is married to the head of the Russian figure skating organization and was the judge seen hugging gold medal winner Adelina Sotnikova moments after the competition, and Balkov, who allegedly has ties to Moscow, was suspended for trying to fix a result during the 1998 Olympics. Both judges scored the ladies free skating competition, which saw Sotnikova receive the highest scores of her life and Kim Yu-na a silver medal free skate that many experts say was underscored.

The KOC and Korean Skating Union are asking for a thorough investigation of the judging composition and whether it was biased toward Sotnikova. And they filed the complaint knowing that it might result in retaliation. “We had to be very careful since an appeal or a complaint could strain relationships with international judges and bring disadvantages to our players in international games,” a KOC official said on Friday.

‘Auburn is my No. 1,’ says 4-star offensive lineman Kaleb Kim
AL.com

Offensive lineman Kaleb Kim of Hoschton, Ga., named Auburn his favorite school on Saturday and hopes to make his commitment when spring practices end in May, reports 247Sports.

“Auburn is my No. 1,” Kim said after watching practice during his third visit to Auburn Saturday. “I liked what Coach (J.B.) Grimes is doing, and his intensity. I was standing by him the whole time. He gets after it. He’s intense. Face to face, he’s the nicest guy, but on the field it’s all business and he’ll get after you and I like that.”

The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder added Georgia is his second favorite school. He also holds offers from Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida State and Ohio State, among others.

Liverpool and Chelsea battle to land Barca wonderkid striker
Daily Star (U.K.)

Reports in Spain claim that both title chasing teams want to sign the young striker to his first professional contract.

Both clubs have been successful in snaffling up other promising cadets from the Nou Camp, but will have to move fast if they want to do the same with Woo Lee.

The youngster is understood to be close to completing a deal with Barcelona, who has also been offered bumper deals from the English teams.

Barcelona are known to have lost several of their most promising stars to their European rivals in recent years, with Julio Pleguezuelo, Josimar and Canos leaving Spain to join Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.

Seoul Restaurants’ Missing Ingredient: Chefs
Wall Street Journal

Korean cuisine arouses so much national pride that some South Koreans reach into their own pockets to advertise a single dish on major U.S. newspapers. So why are South Korean restaurants often ignored by food critics?

Hooni Kim, owner and chef of New York’s Danji restaurant–one of the few Michelin-starred Korean restaurants–says Seoul’s food scene lacks a key ingredient: chef-owned Korean restaurants.

Many of South Korea’s family-owned, down-to-earth restaurants specialize in a single dish that are based on recipes laid down by family matriarchs, but don’t have chefs who create their own sauce base, according to Mr. Kim.

Crisis in Korea as younger generation abandons kimchi
The Guardian

Its unmistakable smell permeates Seoul subway carriages during the rush hour, and aficionados claim it is the healthiest food on the planet.

Once valued as a source of vitamin C before the arrival of refrigerators, kimchi now crops up on menus far from its birthplace on the Korean peninsula. The spicy, garlicky cabbage dish is to be found as a pizza topping and taco filling in the UK, Australia and the US, where the Obamas are said to be converts. Kimjang, the traditionally communal act of making kimchi, was recently awarded world cultural heritage status by Unesco.

But despite its growing popularity in restaurants from Los Angeles to London, South Korea’s national dish is in crisis in its country of origin. To kimchi’s basic ingredients of napa cabbage, garlic, seasoning and copious amounts of chili powder, we can now add a trade war with China and fears of lasting damage to Korean cultural identity.

Inside South Korea’s Coolest Military Theme Park
Kotaku

This is the Wanju Military Theme Park in South Korea. If only more video game first-person shooters were this colorful!P

The self-described “military theme park” is an airsoft pellet gun map that uses the GunPower system. According to YouTube user Ds4odk, this system employs wireless BB detectors—one on the front, one on the back, one of the helmet, and one on the face goggles. Hits are signaled by LED light and electronic sound feedback, and kills are then registered on a central computer, and this particular map has closed circuit cameras.P

Do note that the “SF Special Force” logos throughout might be nod to online shooter Special Force, which is, as tipster Sang points out, called Soldier Front in the States.

Tuesday’s Link Attack: BBC Apologizes for Undercover NKorea Trip; Defectors Mixed on South; Yuna Kim’s Farewell Show
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: March 18th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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BBC Apologizes Over Undercover Trip to North Korea
Wall Street Journal

A high-profile British Broadcasting Corporation documentary shot during an undercover trip to North Korea last year has ended with criticism from the public broadcaster’s oversight committee and an apology from the broadcaster.

John Sweeney, the reporter behind the BBC’s “Panorama: North Korea Undercover” program, joined an eight-day tour of North Korea early last year with students from the London School of Economics, posing as a doctoral student.

Mr. Sweeney, who made the trip with his wife, Tomiko Newson, who was also the trip organizer and a producer of the program, and a cameraman, were shown the major sights in Pyongyang and taken for excursions in nearby Nampho and the Demilitarized Zone.

Abductee’s daughter is favorite of Kim’s sister
Korea JoongAng Daily

The daughter of Megumi Yokota, a Japanese woman abducted to North Korea in 1977, is working with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, and is being protected by the ruling dynasty, a South Korean activist working on abductee matters said yesterday.

Kim Un-gyong, the only daughter of the Japanese abductee to North Korea, works alongside the newly prominent sister at “a core organization” in Pyongyang, according to Choi Sung-yong, head of the Representative of the Abductees’ Family Union, a South Korean civic group working for the release of abductees in the reclusive state.

“Kim Un-gyong is a member of the top elite in North Korea, working with Kim Yo-jong in the same department,” Choi told the Korea JoongAng Daily by phone. “As far as I know, they are the same age.”

N.Korean Defectors Ambivalent About Life in the South
Chosun Ilbo

Many North Korean defectors in South Korea are satisfied enough with their life in the South to bring their family over but feel that fierce competition and discrimination are hard to overcome. Their feelings remain ambivalent even after a considerable time spent living here.

Pundits say this failure to integrate fully into South Korean society must be addressed before reunification.

In a survey by the Chosun Ilbo of 200 North Korean defectors at the end of January, 71.5 percent said they are satisfied with their life in the South, compared to 22.5 percent who said neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 4.5 percent who are not satisfied.

U.S. keeps pressing N. Korea to change first, with Chinese envoy in Pyongyang
Yonhap News

As a top Chinese envoy on North Korea began an unexpected visit to Pyongyang, the U.S. government on Monday reaffirmed its willingness to engage constructively with Pyongyang.

But Washington continued to press Pyongyang to show its seriousness about dialogue through action, not rhetoric.

“The ball is in North Korea’s court,” Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the State Department, told reporters via conference call on a snowy day.

North Korea should live up to its commitments to denuclearization, and adhere to its international obligations as well as deal peacefully with its neighbors and refrain from provocations, she said.

KAL Bomber Sparks Controversy With Malaysia Airlines Comments
Wall Street Journal

News Y, a South Korean cable-news channel, sparked controversy on Monday by inviting a former North Korean agent responsible for the bombing of a Korean Air flight in 1987 to discuss the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Shin Yul, a politics professor at Myongji University in Seoul, invited Kim Hyun-hee on his program, Fair and Square, to share her thoughts on what might have happened to the Malaysian plane.

“I think it is likely that the plane went down while terrorists were trying to hijack it,” she said. Sporting a blue jacket, the bespectacled Ms. Kim said calmly that “in the case of KAL incident, parts and debris, like rubber boats and life jackets, appeared nearly 15 days after it exploded.”

Park likely to announce detailed unification plan with N. Korea during German visit
Yonhap News

President Park Geun-hye is likely to announce more detailed policy ideas on her push to achieve unification with North Korea during her planned visit to Germany later in the month, sources said Sunday.

Park is scheduled to pay a four-day visit to Germany on March 25 to meet with President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as those who are well versed in Germany’s unification experience there.

The sources said that Park may announce what could be named the “Park Geun-hye Doctrine” or the “Park Geun-hye Unification Declaration,” capitalizing on her visit to the country that succeed in unifying East and West Germany.

“As Germany has achieved its unification earlier and turned the experience into a foundation for the building of its international reputation, Park may possibly lay out her idea of ‘unification as a jackpot’ in more detail during the Germany visit,” one of the government sources said.

South Korea’s Governors of Northern Provinces Don’t—And Never Will—Govern
Wall Street Journal

Mr. Park [Yong-ok], 71 years old, was one of five governors assigned by South Korea to head provinces in North Korea—appointments that Seoul has made since the division of the Korean peninsula after World War II.

It may sound about as likely as having a Mexican governor of Texas, but it is part of Seoul’s continued claim—written into the South Korean constitution—to be the legitimate government of the entire Korean peninsula.

In South Korea, the governors spend much of their time in a cavernous, white five-story government building in the foothills of Mount Bukhan in northern Seoul, the official home for the Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces, a body set up by South Korean President Syngman Rhee in 1949.

36 Koreans attend foster home orientation in L.A
Korea Times LA

Korean children in need of foster homes with Korean families may soon be getting their chance.

Thirty-six interested Koreans attended an orientation on providing foster homes for Korean children, held jointly by Korean American Family Services (KFAM) and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), on March 15.

The orientation, which was the first step in a program designed to help families obtain foster home licenses, awarded certificates of completion to those in attendance.

Spotlight on Hyphen Hero Eugene Ryu, Head of KABANC Free Legal Clinics
Hyphen

Many successful people donate money to charitable organizations. Fewer, however, give of their most precious resource: their time.

Eugene Ryu, partner at the prestigious employment law firm Littler Mendelson, gives plenty of both. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC) for over five years, where he leads the pro-bono committee that organizes a free law clinic twice a year.

“We help everybody,” says Ryu. “But originally, the clinic was focused on the first-generation, elderly Korean community who were having language difficulties.”

In its early days, the clinic primarily addressed immigration issues. Today, clients of all ethnicities walk in with other legal questions ranging from family law to small business practices — including hopeful entrepreneurs trying to launch start-ups.

Korean American poet shares life story
Korea Times

As many first-generation immigrants will attest, assimilating into a new culture is fraught with challenges ranging from communication problems to homesickness.

For Korean-American Choi Yearn-hong, poetry has always been the best way to forget such hardships.

Choi, founding president of the Korean-American Poets’ Group, says he will never stop writing because, “Poetry is the best way for improving intercultural communication.

Olympic medalists, world champs to perform at Kim Yu-na’s farewell ice shows
Yonhap News

Olympic medalists and world champions will perform at South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na’s final ice shows this spring, the skater’s agency said Tuesday.

According to All That Sports, Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the men’s singles, and Alexei Yagudin of Russia, the 2002 Olympic gold medalist and the four-time world champ in the men’s singles, will headline the star-studded cast.

Kim, who retired from competition after last month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will hold her farewell ice shows in Seoul from May 4 to 6.

Other medalists from Sochi will take the ice here in May, the agency said. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia, the gold medal-winning duo in the pairs, will be joined by the bronze medalists in the same event, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany.

On the Line: Eddie Choi of Milk + Honey, Part Two
OC Weekly

Hardest lesson you’ve learned.
Never be lazy. Do what you got to do, and don’t move it to tomorrow. There’s always consequences to what you do, good or bad.

Last song playing on your radio:
Foster the People, Coming of Age.

For a small space, Milk + Honey has fantastic atmosphere. Who designed the patio?
The frame of the patio and plants were designed by the landlord of the mall. He is a designer.

Korean Bakery Chain Triumphs in Manhattan
Chosun Ilbo

A recently opened store of Paris Baguette in Manhattan is recording profits despite gloomy predictions that it was a flagship outlet too far.

SPC Group, the operator of the bakery chain, said on Monday that the outlet opened last Friday in an upscale neighborhood of 70th Street and daily sales have been surpassing overall costs.

It is unprecedented for a Korean bakery to put up good performance downtown in a major U.S. city. The group said its two other stores in Manhattan that opened last fall, on 40th Street and 50th Street are also posting profits.

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