There is a long-held superstition among Koreans that pork detoxifies lungs affected by air pollution. Although no scientific proof has ever been provided to support such a belief, the recent smog blowing in from mainland China has triggered a spike in South Korean pork consumption.
Korea’s largest retail chain, Homeplus, reported that the sale of pork belly, famously known as samgyeopsal in Korea, increased by 32 percent in the first week of December, selling over 150 tons, according to the South China Morning Post.
“There is also a popular belief that eating pork belly after doing a big cleanup or working at a dusty place can sweep away all the dirt in the throat,” said Kang Hyung-sik, a Homeplus livestock supplier. “[Samgyeopsal] is the favorite pork part of many Koreans. The consumption of pork belly in Korea is astronomical.” Continue Reading »
Having a Ball
Seong Hwang gets to enjoy two of his passions—basketball and cooking—as the personal chef to Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers
by YOUNG RAE KIM
Seong Hwang sits on the edge of his seat as the Los Angeles Clippers take the court. His eyes are fixed intently on point guard Chris Paul’s every crossover dribble, no-look pass and jump shot.
Since childhood, Hwang has loved basketball and ran the point guard position for his high school team in Garden Grove, Calif., though he quickly realized he wasn’t cut out for the NBA. Still, his passion for basketball never died, and years later, he would feel a natural connection with Paul, whom critics also deemed undersized when the rookie from Wake Forest first entered the NBA in 2005. However, Hwang never would have guessed that one day that connection would become even closer and he’d be cooking up meals for the six-time NBA all-star as his personal chef.
“Growing up I only had one passion, constantly, from the time when I was a kid until now, and that’s basketball,” said Hwang. “It’s so weird how God brings everything together.”
The journey to becoming the personal chef for the one of the world’s top professional athletes was quite unexpected for this University of California, Irvine graduate, whose cooking skills once began and ended with instant ramen, cereal, and rice with spam. Continue Reading »
In the East China Sea, a Far Bigger Test of Power Looms
New York Times
In an era when the Obama administration has been focused on new forms of conflict — as countries use cyberweapons and drones to extend their power — the dangerous contest suddenly erupting over a pile of rocks in the East China Sea seems almost a throwback to the Cold War.
Suddenly, naval assets and air patrols are the currency of a shadow conflict between Washington and Beijing that the Obama administration increasingly fears could escalate and that American officials have said could derail their complex plan to manage China’s rise without overtly trying to contain it. As in the Cold War, the immediate territorial dispute seems to be an excuse for a far larger question of who will exercise influence over a vast region.
N. Korea allows Swedish diplomat to meet detained U.S. citizen: reports
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
North Korea allowed a Swedish diplomat to meet with the 85-year-old U.S. citizen who has been detained in the communist country for more than a month, media reports monitored in Seoul said Sunday.
News wire services such as AFP and CNN said a consul met Merrill Newman at a hotel in Pyongyang and delivered medication sent by his family.
The Scandinavian country’s mission in Pyongyang acts as the “protecting power” for Americans in North Korea, and its diplomats provide consular services.
After escaping to South Korea, some defectors now want to return north
Since Son Jeong-hun defected from North Korea in 2002, he has helped other North Koreans escape and resettle in South Korea. That’s why so many people were surprised when he announced earlier this year that he wants to go home.
“No one had ever asked to re-defect to North Korea before,” Son says. “The government said it’s illegal; there’s no way to return.”
Son, who’s 47, wants to go home because he’s ill. He says his liver is failing and he wants to see his family in Pyongyang again before he dies.
Qualcomm employee left beaten after night of karaoke with friends
10 News (San Diego)
A family contacted 10News looking for help after a Qualcomm employee was left beaten with a brain injury after a night of karaoke with friends.
Andrew Oh, 24, is now in critical condition at Sharp Memorial Hospital. His sister Jessie tells 10News the family is struggling to find out how this could happen.
“He’s like the gentle giant,” she said. “We don’t understand why this would ever happen to him.”
Oh’s sister says he went to celebrate his roommate’s birthday last Saturday evening. They went to the Chorus Karaoke Bar in Kearny Mesa. Sometime that night, Oh stepped outside the bar and was later found early Sunday morning unconscious and badly beaten in the parking lot, said his sister, Jessie Oh.
Exchange Program in Spotlight After Korean Student’s Death in Brisbane
Wall Street Journal
Every year, around 50,000 young South Koreans go abroad as part of a popular government-sponsored exchange program—but the program is finding itself under the spotlight after a 22-year-old Korean student was killed in Brisbane, Australia.
Ban Eun-ji, a university student from southern port city of Busan, died Sunday after sustaining severe head injuries in an attack on her way to work as a cleaner at a hotel in Queensland state’s capital, according to media reports. Police have taken a 19-year-old man who they suspect of killing Ms. Ban into custody.
Ms. Ban had been in Australia for six weeks as part of the Working Holiday program, which the government promotes as an opportunity to work and travel at the same time. Nearly three-quarters of all Korean participants in the program choose Australia, partly because it is the only country among 16 that have signed agreements with South Korea that doesn’t limit participation.
South Korea’s schools: Long days, high results
The results of the international school tests – known as Pisa tests – are to be published by the OECD on Tuesday. In previous years, South Korea has been one of the highest achievers. But it means long hours of study.
Hye-Min Park is 16 and lives in the affluent Seoul district of Gangnam, made famous by the pop star Psy. Her day is typical of that of the majority of South Korean teenagers.
She rises at 6.30am, is at school by 8am, finishes at 4pm, (or 5pm if she has a club), then pops back home to eat.
She then takes a bus to her second school shift of the day, at a private crammer or hagwon, where she has lessons from 6pm until 9pm.
Sex, lies and video leaks
Kim’s boyfriend in college had asked her to look into his camera while they were having sex. She obliged as the video was supposed to be viewed between them only.
But after their relationship abruptly ended, her ex-boyfriend decided there was no reason to keep his end of the promise. He posted the video online for random people to watch and download it. He also posted her name and school to make sure that everyone knew who they were watching having sex.
The video circulated heavily among Internet users almost instantly.
In panic, Kim asked portal sites to delete the video, but it was too late. Soon, her friends and family became aware of it. She then shut herself off from all social aspects of life in shame for many years.
How Korean bureaucrats turned K-pop into a national symbol
If you visit South Korea, you’ll probably hear a triumphant refrain about Korean pop, known as “K-pop,” casting a spell over North America and Europe.
The narrative typically goes like this: Swarms of Western fans have been racing to K-pop concerts in recent years, falling in love with the young, colorful ladies of Girls’ Generation or the muscular, shirtless men of Super Junior. Thanks to their dazzling repertoire of, well, crayon pop songs, multiple concerts have sold out in the US, France and the UK. It’s a signal that the world is increasingly in awe of this homegrown Korean art.
You’ll hear this storyline in Seoul more often than the global triumphs of, say, Samsung or Tae Kwon Do.
Dia Frampton Stars In New Video From The Crystal Method
On Friday Dia Frampton Stars In New Video From The Crystal Method was a top story. Here is the recap: The Voice’s season two contestant Dia Frampton stars in The Crystal Method’s new music video for their latest single “Over It,” which comes from their upcoming self-titled studio album (out January 14.)
MSO sent over these details: The “Over It” video was Directed by Zak Stoltz and it follows Dia Frampton (The Voice/Meg & Dia) through a “Top Chef” style baking competition where the odds are stacked in her competitors’ favor as they use their sexuality to sway the judges.
Avett Brothers cellist Joe Kwon explains the band’s famous energy
The Avett Brothers released their eighth full-length album, “Magpie and the Dandelion,” on Oct. 15, and it debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart. Rick Rubin, who has worked with artists from Mick Jagger to Jay Z, produced the record, making it his third album with the band. With influences of country, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll, folk and punk, the Avett Brothers play a style of music most commentators label as Americana.
Unique to the band’s sound and character is cellist Joe Kwon, who was born in Korea; grew up in High Point, N.C.; graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; and now lives in Durham. A few days before the Avett Brothers planned to perform on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” Joe found time to speak with me about the band’s new album, his passionate command of the cello, his artful endeavors in food and photography, and his new love of woodworking.
SISTAR’s Hyorin Makes Solo Debut With ‘One Way Love’ & ‘Lonely’
The K-pop girl group leader lets her fluttery vocals take center stage for two safe, but satisfactory singles.
After Hyorin landed K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1s with her girl group SISTAR, sub-unit project SISTAR19 and a special solo single, the K-diva is finally making her proper solo debut, promoting two singles: “Lonely” and “One Way Love.” If the objective was to launch the 22-year-old as a solo star with a unique palette of vocals colors and tones, well, mission accomplished.
The first taste of the Incheon native’s debut comes via the acoustic-leaning pop/R&B number “Lonely.” The production, while dreamy, is nothing particularly special or original for K-pop, but the vocal lines highlight Hyorin’s fluttery, hushed approach.
Running success from South Korea
The Star (Malaysia)
Running Man, another phenomenal export from South Korea, features a mix of reality TV, variety show, games and competition. Get to know the current members of the running team.
LEE KWANG SOO, 28
Who: Outside of Running Man, this runway model-turned-entertainer has acted in films such as The Scent (2012) and TV drama The Innocent Man (2012), mostly in comedic roles. For Running Man, his most well-known show, he won the award for Variety New Star in 2010 at the SBS Entertainment Awards and then a New Star Award at the same event a year later.
Running Man persona: Aptly nicknamed Giraffe due to his 1.9m height, he is massively popular and often gets the loudest fan cheers outside of South Korea, such as in Macau and Vietnam – hence he is known as the Asian Prince. On the flip side, he tends to betray his teammates for his own gain, so he is nicknamed The Betrayer as well.
Roy Choi’s POT at the Line Hotel in LA Coming in 2014
Los Angeles, get ready for POT, the upcoming restaurant from chef Roy Choi at the Line Hotel. The Line is located in LA’s K-Town and is owned by the Sydell Group, the team behind New York City’s NoMad Hotel. Choi will be doing all the food and beverage at the Line, and in addition to POT there will be POT Lobby Bar (based on “classic hotel bar[s] in Korea for international travellers”), a cafe inspired by bakery traditions of Taiwan, Korea, El Salvador, Mexico, and “supermarket birthday cakes,” and a more casual restaurant called Commissary.
POT itself is named for Korean hot pot (and not the kind of pot you smoke) and will serve “hot pots, blood soups, bbq” and more. According to Eater LA, no official opening date has been announced, but expect it shortly after the new year. Everything coming up Roy Choi these days, with a bestselling book that just came out and now a hotel’s worth of restaurants opening soon.
Louis Vuitton Publishes Seoul Travel Guide
French luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton has published a new city guide for Seoul, highlighting features as the “fiery” tempers of Koreans.
The book is filled with observations of the city from the perspective of foreigners. Louis Vuitton has been publishing city guides since 1998. They have covered 13 major cities like London, New York, Paris and Tokyo. Seoul and Beijing were newly added in this edition, which is available in Korean, English and French.
Q&A with Christine Sun Kim: Connecting the Hearing to the Non-Hearing Through Art
San Francisco Weekly
Christine Sun Kim is a 33-year-old, New York-based visual, sound, and performance artist who uses sound as a medium in her work. She will be in San Francisco for a month-long is residency at Southern Exposure in January.
This writer was able to take a workshop with Kim recently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she directed participants in creating, “A Choir of Glances.” In this workshop, (during which participants wore earplugs and were not allowed to speak), participants translated words into facial expressions and sounds, ending with a live performance: Kim faced her choir and directed them in a choreography of improvised sounds and facial expressions. It felt like a joyful work.
Kim Jong-un ordered propaganda war against Park gov’t: official
Yonhap News via Korea Herald
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was found to have ordered an intensified propaganda war against the Park Geun-hye administration last month in a possible policy shift, a South Korean government official said Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said South Korean authorities picked up intelligence that Kim ordered Kim Yang-gon, the head of United Front Department of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, to lash out at Park and her government.
The United Front and its head is in charge of inter-Korean relations and exercises power over the North’s spy agency.
Fisherman’s return stirs mixed emotions in Korean village
The recent return of a South Korean fisherman abducted by North Korea more than 40 years ago has reopened wounds in a small island village that lost 17 other men in a Cold War conflict that still simmers today.
Jeon Wook-pyo, who reappeared in South Korea in September after escaping from the North through China, has since paid a brief visit to Nongso – a remote outpost of around 170 people on the southern island of Geoje, about five hours drive from Seoul – but he won’t be settling back there.
“It wasn’t a nice feeling that he reminded me of my husband. There was nothing to feel good about,” said 82-year-old Ok Chul-soon, whose husband skippered one of two fishing boats that were seized with all hands, including Jeon, by North Korean patrol boats near disputed waters in December 1972.
She acknowledged Jeon’s return was welcome, but said she was too upset to stay throughout his visit, adding they would meet privately at some time so she could ask for news of her husband.
Reports: South Korean Arrested in Pyongyang a Christian Missionary
Voice of America
Media reports say a South Korean man arrested this month in Pyongyang is a Christian missionary, who was working there to help North Korean refugees.
The Wednesday reports, by the French news agency and South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo, identified the man as 50-year-old Kim Jeong-Wook.
His family and other Christian activists told the news outlets that Kim had been helping North Koreans who escaped their homeland to China for years.
They say Kim was arrested after traveling to Pyongyang to check on the wellbeing of several refugees who had been repatriated by Beijing.
78% of Koreans Support Reunification
Seventy-eight percent of Koreans now support reunification of the peninsula, according to a survey released by the Hyundai Research Institute on Tuesday.
But the younger people are, the less urgent they believe reunification to be. Support was at only 66.8 percent among those in their 20s, 74.9 percent among those in their 30s, 84.6 percent among those in their 40s, and 84.2 percent among the over-50s.
Among academics and other experts, support is almost unanimous with 98.1 percent.
The divide becomes clearer in answer to the more specific question whether reunification would be in the national interest. Some 67 percent of the general public said yes compared to 98.1 percent of experts.
Most believe it will take more than a decade, with 55.4 percent of the general public and 68.6 percent of experts, followed by six to 10 years.
5 men extradited to U.S. in North Korean meth case
U.S. drug agents in Thailand took custody of five men wanted in the United States on allegations of being part of a drug ring that sought to traffic in North Korean methamphetamine and other drugs, CNN has learned.
The men, who have British, Filipino, Taiwanese and Slovak citizenship, were being flown to New York to face charges, according to a source.
Thai authorities announced the arrests after the men were turned over to U.S. authorities. A U.S. law enforcement official said the charges would be made public soon.
The men are part of a broader investigation that federal prosecutors made public in September, filing charges against a group of former U.S. and European ex-military men in a murder-for-hire and drug-importation plot.
Washington urged to block expulsion of Korean-American
Local civic groups called on the United States Wednesday to take action to protect an American businessman of Korean descent from being deported from South Korea after serving a prison term here for pro-North Korea espionage charges.
Michael Chang, whose Korean name is Chang Min-ho, recently finished serving a seven-year jail term in South Korea for gathering classified information and engaging in pro-North Korean propaganda activities in violation of the anti-Communist National Security Law.
However, he is currently being kept at the Cheongju Immigration Processing Center until he can be ejected from South Korea after the Justice Ministry ordered him to leave the country.
“The U.S. government has shown no position on Chang while making special efforts to secure the freedom of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who is in a North Korean jail,” said an alliance of South Korean civic and human rights groups working to win the release of conscientious prisoners in a statement.
Insight: Work ethic, comic hero make Koreans hot shots in car design
In today’s auto industry, where famed Japanese quality and durability are increasingly a given, design is king and, among designers, South Koreans are hot property.
From General Motors’ bold Chevrolet Camaro to the quintessential British gentlemen’s Bentley, more top models carry the flair and signature of a group of designers from South Korea, which some have dubbed “Asia’s Italy” for its impact on car design, fashion and aesthetics.
As competition in the industry becomes ever more cut-throat, partly as gaps in quality and technology narrow, automakers need bolder, edgier designs to differentiate. From a global talent pool, South Koreans stand out.
Hyundai will sell a hydrogen fuel cell SUV in 2014, 300-mile range expected
Hydrogen, not Botox or movie openings, is the talk of LA this week. Hyundai says it will begin selling a hydrogen-powered Tucson compact SUV in 2014. It’s one of several auto show announcements this week in Los Angeles and Tokyo about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles being readied for production. Hyundai says this will be the first mass-market hydrogen vehicle available in the US.
The hydrogen Hyundai Tucson is one of the highlights of the 2013 Los Angeles International Show, with press days Wednesday and Thursday. Hyundai sees a big future for hydrogen-powered vehicles because volume production might push down the cost of hydrogen fuel technology down faster than with the lithium-ion battery technology necessary for EVs and plug-in hybrids.
Is he the next Top Chef winner?
Korea Times US
Will another Korean come away with the title of Top Chef? Stay tuned.
On the heels of Korean American chef Kristen Kish, who won last year’s aforementioned reality TV competition crowning the best chef in America, another Korean chef is among the 19 contestants vying for this year’s title.
Making Season 11 of Top Chef all the more intriguing is L.A.’s own Brian Huskey. The 32-year old Research & Development chef for critically acclaimed restaurants Paiche, Picca, and Mo-chica, also happens to be the oldest son of a well-known real-estate mogul in the Korean community – Han Huskey and his wife Sookie.
Ailee’s Popularity Rises Following Nude Photo Scandal
Multiple K-pop stars over the past year have received considerable backlash from fans and the public for offences as small as not smiling on stage or misusing a word in an interview, but Ailee –who recently had a batch of nude photos leak online– appears to be benefiting from her scandal.
Since the photos hit the web, Ailee’s surged ahead in the fan-voted polls for the 2013 MAMA Awards. She’s now ranking first for Best Female Artist, surpassing Lee Hyori who was previously leading, as well as first in the Best Female Vocal Performance category, beating out last week’s leader, IU.
While it’s obvious that Ailee’s scandal has given her the extra votes to surpass formidable competition like Hyori and IU, you can’t say that she doesn’t deserve to be where she is. Her last two pop singles, “I’ll Show You” and “U&I,” were both huge hits, and she’s also featured on the third most successful single of the year, Baechigi’s “Shower of Tears.”
Spike Lee on “re-interpreting” South Korean action thriller “Oldboy”
Veteran director Spike Lee is packing in the action with his latest film, “Oldboy.”
The new mystery thriller is based off of the 2003 South Korean classic of the same name from Chan-wook Park. The original was noted for its brutal fight scenes and fierce depiction of violence, much of which was kept in tact for Lee’s adaptation.
While the plot details between the two films are fairly similar, the 56-year-old director recently told CBSNews.com that he doesn’t want audiences to see his latest work as just another retread.
“We’re not really calling it a remake, we’re calling it a re-interpretation,” Lee said.
The latest “Oldboy” stars Josh Brolin as Joe Doucette, an alcoholic businessman who gets kidnapped and cryptically held in solitary confinement for two decades. Doucette is suddenly released by his unknown captors and soon must find out who was behind the plot in order to save his daughter.
‘Oldboy’ Reimagines a Korean Tale of Revenge
New York Times
“Rage doesn’t have to fester for years, but revenge?” the director Spike Lee said, as he rapidly autographed 50 movie posters in a downtown Manhattan hotel suite. “That stuff takes time. It’s the oldest staple of films, in stories. It goes back to the Bible.”
In Mr. Lee’s new film, “Oldboy,”Josh Brolin plays Joe Doucett, an alcoholic ad man and negligent father who is imprisoned in a small, mysterious room for 20 years for no evident reason. Believing that he was framed for his wife’s murder, and that his daughter was abducted, Joe’s rage ferments until it is distilled into pure blood lust.
When Joe is finally uncorked from captivity, he is so monomaniacally bent on vengeance that his unnamed city itself seems to bend to his will. In one shot, Joe, wearing a grim black suit and a murderous scowl, literally glides through city streets, which scroll beneath him like moving sidewalks. He seems propelled toward his revenge, as if pulled by some unseen force.
WATCH PRISCILLA AHN’S VIDEO FOR “LEAVE IT OPEN”
Georgia-born singer, Priscilla Ahn, first made waves back in 2008 with “Dream,” a mellow, softly sung acoustic ditty with the clarity of tone and mainstream appeal of Norah Jones (in fact, they shared the same label), and a simple, black and white video that’s been viewed over seven million times. In the interim since then, the 29-year-old singer has released three full length records, but to be frank, this is the first track that’s really made us sit up and pay attention, and it seems Dave Sitek—who released “Leave It Open” on his Federal Prison imprint—is similarly enamored.
It’s easy to hear why. On “Leave It Open” Priscilla trades her trad, stripped blueprint for Casio beats and chillwave synths, with her airy vocals floating and falling in daydreamy echoes. It’s the kind of song best listened to sun-drunk and flat on your back, while reality slips away over the horizon. Meanwhile, the video—premiered above—raises several pertinent questions such as:
Jeremy Lin, Again
On Thursday night, Jeremy Lin stood in the visitor’s locker room of a familiar building surrounded by a throng of New York City reporters whom he must have vaguely recognized. The reporters asked Lin how it felt being back in the city and all the usual revenge-narrative questions, and Lin did what Lin always does — he was polite and noncommittal and thanked everyone and talked about how he was happy that the Rockets had beaten the Knicks. Patrick Beverley, who now starts ahead of Lin as Houston’s point guard, sat across the way, a towel draped over his lap. He seemed amused by the whole spectacle, although not in any malicious or snarky way. “I’m just glad I don’t have a locker anywhere near his,” he said. When Chandler Parsons came out of the shower, he corralled a Rockets team employee. “You gotta help me out,” Parsons said. The team employee gathered up all the bass in his voice and began edging his way through the mass of bodies and recorders and cameras to Parson’s locker, adjacent to Lin’s.
The scene, while lively, almost felt like a chore for the gathered press. Jeremy Lin’s return to Madison Square Garden is still a story, albeit one with diminishing returns. On Thursday night, even the fans couldn’t muster up too much enthusiasm for Lin’s return. There were a few boos when he went to the foul line or checked in at the scorer’s table and certainly more Asian dudes than one would usually find at Madison Square Garden in mid-November.
Hyun-Jin Ryu Bobbleheads Are Coming
Korea Times US
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 vs. the Cincinnati Reds.
Mark your calendar: Ryu Hyun-jin bobbleheads are coming to Dodger Stadium.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have handed out 10 bobblehead dolls in each of the last two seasons. They are always the best attended giveaway nights, to a point where the Dodgers build ticket packages built around them.
Lydia Ko reunited with Michelle Wie for pro debut
Lydia Ko has been paired with American Michelle Wie for her first venture into the professional golfing ranks tomorrow.
The duo are well aquainted with one another from their time competing among the amateur ranks, with Wie today taking to Twitter to voice her excitement at the news of their pairing.
“Excited to play with @Lko424 at her first tournament as a pro! #ifeelold,” Wie said.
As a former teenage sensation, Wie enjoyed a similar path to success as Ko, before turning pro shortly before her 16th birthday in 2005.
Are Asian Men Undateable?
The online dating website “Are You Interested” recently surveyed more than 2.4 million interactions on its site and confirmed what many of us suspect: America loves Asian women.
In fact, Asian female users are more likely to get messages, including inappropriate ones, from male users of any race other than Asian. This trend, popularly dubbed “yellow fever,” is not a new phenomenon, springing instead from an attraction to what some observers say is the exotic appeal of Asian women, and a self-indulging fantasy of being with women who are seen as docile and submissive.
While Asian women seem to be in high demand, Asian men do not. Asian female and non-Asian male pairings are seen to be common, but Asian men are often left out of the discussion over interracial relationships entirely. As one of my black female friends put it, “Asian men, along with black women, are probably the least desirable people.”
Deflecting An Asteroid, With Paintballs
When you think about ways to deflect an asteroid, your mind probably immediately jumps to heavy artillery. Things like lasers. Or Bruce Willis-style nuclear bombs. But Sung Wook Paek is working on a much lower-key approach to preventing Armageddon: paintballs.
Paek, a graduate student at MIT, one day found himself riding a bike and thinking about how we could deflect an asteroid hurtling toward earth. He said cherry blossoms were in bloom on MIT’s campus, and he was navigating across a path littered with little balls of fruit.
“Whenever I rode my bicycle on [the fruit], it popped up and made my bicycle tire dirty,” Peak said. Then the idea hit him: exploding balls of color — probably not the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about diverting a planet-destroying asteroid, but Paek’s idea is brilliant in its simplicity.
N. Korea slams President Park for fueling inter-Korean tensions
North Korea slammed President Park Geun-hye Tuesday for fueling tensions with provocative anti-Pyongyang remarks made during her recent trip to Europe.
The North’s Korean Central News Agency, citing a statement issued by an unidentified spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK), referred to Park by name and accused her of being a hypocrite and only focused on maintaining a confrontational stance with the DPRK.
The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.
During her recent trip to France, Britain and Belgium, Park, who has made “trust building” the cornerstone of her North Korean policy, called on the isolationist country to get rid of its nuclear weapons and improve human rights.
Syrian regime recruited North Korean pilots – activist group
A British-based Syrian activist group claims Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has recruited 15 North Korean pilots to operate his regime’s attack helicopters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors casualties and developments in Syria’s civil war, cited an opposition-linked website, which claims the North Koreans were brought in due to fears Syrian pilots might defect to neighboring countries.
In the past, there have been reports of Syrian fighter jet pilots defaulting to Jordan with their jets but the reports were never confirmed.
North Korea, a close ally of Syria, is thought to have sold military equipment, including chemical weapons and scud missiles, to the Assad regime in the past.
S. Korea pledges US$5 mln in aid to Philippines
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
South Korea will offer US$5 million in relief aid to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines and send a team of relief workers there, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.
The government decided to provide the Philippines with assistance in cash and relief goods including food, blankets and tents, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The goods will be shipped to the country after the Philippine government’s approval, which is expected to take a day or two, according to the ministry.
Samsung offers US$1 mln in aid to typhoon-stricken Philippines
Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, said Tuesday that it has decided to offer US$1 million in aid to the Philippines, which has suffered from huge damage by a typhoon.
Typhoon Haiyan cut a wide swath of destruction through the central part of the Southeast Asian country last weekend, taking thousands of lives and leaving thousands of homes destroyed.
The group’s financial aid will be delivered to the country via the Red Cross and World Vision, a nongovernmental humanitarian aid group.
Meanwhile, the group’s flagship unit Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest smartphone maker, will send a 20-member emergency team of its Filipino subsidiary to the areas hit by the typhoon to provide free repair service of home appliances, the group said.
Linking up Europe and South Korea ‘not easy’
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to pay a state visit to South Korea today, November 12, where he will meet with President Park Guen-hye. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in September and have a full agenda for their two days of discussions in Seoul, including ways of improving bilateral ties, ensuring peace and stability on the fractious Korean peninsula and stepping up cooperation and exchanges.
Putin, however, is particularly keen on a project that could bring major economic and geo-political benefits to Russia: the long-debated plan to connect the furthest reaches of Western Europe with Busan, the South Korean port on the very tip of the peninsula, by railway.
This route would primarily follow the existing Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to the Russian Far East before crossing into North Korea on the short stretch of border that the two nations share, continuing south, traversing the so-called Demilitarized Zone that is the border between North and South and finally ending up in Busan, the largest container ship hub in Asia.
How to Cure South Korea’s English Fever?
Wall Street Journal
How much should a country pay to master the English language?
Based on the economics and outcomes of English tuition in South Korea today, the country is throwing excessive amounts at the task with meager results.
According to Swiss-based language learning company EF Education First, the average South Korean gets nearly 20,000 hours of English education from kindergarten through university. Much of that tuition comes at private institutes known as hagwon that Korean kids flock to stay ahead in the nation’s hyper-competitive educational race.
Ailee’s Agency Takes Legal Action Regarding Distribution of Singer’s Nude Photos
Ailee’s agency, YMC Entertainment, has taken concrete moves in order to take legal action in regards to the distribution of the singer’s nude photos.
A representative from YMC Entertainment stated to a local news source on November 12 KST, “CEO Jo Yoo Myung has personally appointed a lawyer in the U.S. However, we cannot currently reveal specific plans as we are still in the process of closely examining the facts.” The reason for appointing a U.S. lawyer is due to the difficulty of investigating from South Korea, as all sources of the photos are located overseas.
A source from the foreign affairs department of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency also commented, “The foreign affairs department doesn’t always take on every investigation involving foreigners.” Pointing to the lengthy and difficult process of obtaining help from U.S. law enforcement agencies and embassy, the source stated, “It will be hard to expect a proper investigation in the case of Ailee.” The source continued, “But if [the agency] appointed a U.S. lawyer, the speedy procurement of the identity of Ailee’s ex-boyfriend might be possible. It will depend on how much ‘Allkpop’ cooperates.”
Super Junior wows European fans
Super Junior held a successful first concert in London, where about 10,000 fans gathered, SM Entertainment said Monday.
The popular K-pop boy band performed at Wembley Arena in London its signature “Super Show 5.” The audience included not only British fans but also those from France, Germany, Poland, Hungary and other parts of Europe.
The group started off with “Mr. Simple,” which is the lead track from its fifth full-length album, and continued on with such popular songs as “Sorry Sorry” and “Sexy, Free & Single.” All together, the members performed 23 songs.
Samsung Debuts Online Drama Series
Samsung will begin airing a web-only soap opera this week in an effort to ride interest in TV dramas and connect with the country’s smartphone-obsessed youth.
Samsung Group spokesman Kevin Cho said the series is a new step for the company’s social engagement program, targeting South Korea’s twentysomethings with a story about penniless young jobseekers living together and the hardships they face in getting a job.
South Korea’s largest conglomerate by revenue appears serious about the production quality, recruiting an outside studio and K-Pop stars for the six-episode “Infinite Power.”
Video: Rob Gronkowski mocks Asian fan at watch party
Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper are among the NFL players who have come under fire for racially insensitive incidents this year. Rob Gronkowski may be next.
TMZ has posted a video of the Patriots tight end mocking an Asian fan. (See below.) The incident was reportedly filmed during a fan event last weekend. Gronkowski was scheduled to attend a watch party Sunday at Bar Louie in Foxboro.
When an Asian man wearing a Gronkowski jersey began dancing, the Pro Bowler said into the microphone: “They told me he could only cook fried rice.” Gronkowski later referred to the Asian fan as “Leslie Chow” after Ken Jeong’s character in The Hangover.
Sobban: A Korean-Southern diner
Wall Street Journal
There are fewer than 40 seats inside Sobban, the Korean-Southern diner set under the horseshoe-bowed roof and soaring plate windows of a vintage Arby’s. That hasn’t stopped the crowds that (mostly) wait patiently to try this exciting new restaurant — one whose time most definitely has come.
You could argue that Atlanta has emerged as one of the country’s (if not the world’s) great towns for Korean food, and many of the area’s best chefs find inspiration from the restaurants and markets throughout the Northern suburbs. We’re ripe for a Western-style restaurant like this, which assumes a certain level of familiarity and comfort with Korean flavors on the part of the customer, both in terms of its chile heat and its twangy funk of fermented vegetables.
This restaurant also has some budding star power behind it: Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Heirloom Market BBQ. This project seems more like Lee’s baby, and she oversees the menu. It feels one part derived from Korean family recipes and home cooking, one part Southern farm-to-table, and one part rock ’n’ roll new Asian in the manner of Miso Izakaya or Octopus Bar.
Chef Roy Choi Soups Up Instant Ramen With American Cheese
Thought you’d never look at another package of instant ramen again after college? What if American cheese was involved?
In his new cookbook, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, chef Roy Choi of L.A.’s famous Kogi taco truck (among a slew of other popular restaurants) shares this souped-up instant ramen recipe that will forever change the way you look at your 2 a.m. college dinner (or 2 p.m. breakfast).
“Making instant ramen is spiritual, important and methodical for Korean-American kids,” Choi tells Tasting Table. “It’s our peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”