Kish and Tell
KoreAm taps your favorite sausage-making food truck winners to interview Kristen Kish, the newly crowned winner of Top Chef: Seattle.
interview by CHRIS OH, TED KIM and YONG KIM
Kristen Kish is a happy woman these days. Sleep-deprived, certainly, but over-the-moon happy.
The 29-year-old chef became only the second female to win Top Chef, the popular reality show contest on Bravo that just wrapped its 10th season Feb. 27. Less than a month after the televised win, an excited Kish announced on Twitter that, starting in June, she will be the new chef de cuisine at Menton, the Boston restaurant that boasts Relais & Châteaux status, in addition to a AAA Five-Diamond rating. Menton is part of a restaurant group owned by Barbara Lynch Gruppo, which also runs Stir, where Kish currently works as a chef de cuisine.
Kish, adopted from Korea at age 4 months by a family in Kenton, Mich., took the reality show competition by storm, showing early on her mad skills in the kitchen and quickly emerging as the one to beat. However, she was shockingly booted off in Episode 11, a Restaurant Wars-type episode with Kish leading the female team; she essentially accepted responsibility for the mistakes of a teammate (that Josie!). But Kish, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, battled her way back on the related Last Chance Kitchen web series, where eliminated chefs get a second chance, and became the first Top Chef contestant to win in this comeback fashion. In a tearful moment on the show, she said that she planned to use part of the $125,000 prize money to travel to Korea, so she could explore her heritage.
Kish is the first Korean American to win Top Chef, though there have been Korean Americans who have previously won a food reality show competition. So we at KoreAm thought, who better to interview Kish than those who can relate to her sense of elation, exhaustion and newfound celebrity? Chris Oh and brothers Ted and Yong Kim of the L.A.-based Seoul Sausage Company, who won Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race, spoke with Kish by phone last month. Funny enough, both parties took care of business — the interview, that is — from their respective restaurant bathrooms.
Ted Kim: How you doing? Continue Reading »
North Korea says it won’t warn South Korea before an attack
North Korea has upped the temperature on its neighbors, warning in a new threat that it would not give any advance notice before attacking South Korea.
“Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now,” Pyongyang said in a statement published Tuesday by its official news agency, KCNA.
North Korea said it was responding to what it called insults from the “puppet authorities” in the South, claiming that there had been a rally against North Korea in Seoul. It called the rally a “monstrous criminal act.”
In ‘ultimatum,’ N. Korea vows blitz attack on S. Korea
North Korea’s military on Tuesday issued an “ultimatum” saying it would launch retaliation against South Korea without warning if “anti-North Korean” activities continue in the South.
“The supreme command of the Korean People’s Army Tuesday issued an ultimatum to the South Korean puppet group,” Pyongyang’s official news agency, KCNA, said in an English-version article.
It specifically took issue with an anti-North Korean rally in downtown Seoul by conservative groups, in which they burned a portrait of the North’s late leader, Kim Jong-il, father of the current ruler, Kim Jong-un.
U.S. military chopper crashes near N. Korean border
A U.S. military helicopter crashed while landing at a front-line Army unit close to North Korea on Tuesday, but all 21 U.S. soldiers on board escaped unscathed, police and U.S. military officials said.
Sikorsky’s CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed onto a military shooting range in Cherwon, 88 kilometers north of Seoul, while landing after completing a three-hour training exercise along with five other helicopters, according to military officials.
After all the American soldiers had escaped to safety, the helicopter caught fire, with most of the aircraft damaged in the blaze, they noted. The soldiers were medevacked to a hospital in Yongsan Garrison in Seoul after the incident.
Dennis Rodman to return to North Korea in August for ‘fun’ with Kim Jong Un
New York Daily News
Dennis Rodman’s bizarre bromance with erratic North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un isn’t over.
Even as sabre-rattling by Un has the region on edge, the former NBA star is saying he’ll take another trip back to the totalitarian nation in August to “have some fun” with his new friend.
“I’m going back August 1,” Rodman told Gossip Extra at a charity gala in Miami Beach.
BBC Filming on North Korea Trip Sparks Anger
Voice of America
Students at the London School of Economics say the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) used a university trip to North Korea as cover for filming an undercover documentary on the reclusive country.
While the students say they’re angry about the incident, others have expressed support for the British broadcaster, which said the program is in the national interest at a time when North Korea is threatening nuclear war.
Three BBC journalists entered North Korea, posing as students on a university trip organized by the London School of Economics. In secretly filmed footage, BBC reporter John Sweeney is seen walking in the countryside close to the capital, Pyongyang. There are no government minders present. Other excerpts show beggars on the street and hundreds of military officers applauding at a circus performance.
Ex-City Council candidate Kevin Kim hints he may join crowded 19th District race
New York Daily News
The ever-shifting landscape of the 19th District City Council race got another jolt last week when former Democratic City Council candidate Kevin Kim admitted he is mulling a comeback.
The seat is currently held by Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, who was arrested earlier this month on bribery charges.
His arrest, as part of the larger corruption scandal involving a scheme to get Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith on the Republican mayoral ballot, has cast a long shadow on his reelection bid.
Dumbfoundead: A Rising Star In A Genre In Transition
Say “rapper” and many people often envision a scowling, surly guy who prowls the stage jabbing a finger at his audience. Jay-Z with his Scary Mask on. Ice Cube snarling.
Jonathan Park is different. He’s an energetic 27 year-old with a sapling waist and an impish grin topped by a sketchy moustache that still hasn’t come into its own. And his work tends to be like him—playful, cheeky and smart.
Park’s known onstage as Dumbfoundead—or Dumb, for short. It’s a high school handle that came from the glazed expression friends say he wore in class. Put Dumbfoundead in YouTube’s search bar and you get scores of videos. Like “24KTOWN,” where he ponders the responsibility of repping his Koreatown neighborhood, near downtown LA.
Aziatix details record-breaking contract with U.S. mega label
When veteran music producer Jae Chong — a former member of the ’90s K-pop group Solid — got a phone call last June in the middle of the night, he didn’t know that it would be the most important call of his career.
Chong’s latest and most ambitious music project to date had been producing Aziatix, the three-member Korean-American R&B/hip-hop group. While Aziatix had racked up an impressive track record since their debut in 2011 — winning Best New Asian Artist at M.net Asian Music Awards in 2011 and reaching No. 4 on U.S. iTunes R&B/Soul album chart — the group still remained relatively under the radar in South Korea despite being based in Seoul.
The late-night phone call was on behalf of Cash Money Records, the hip-hop/R&B music label that had U.S. mega stars Nicki Minaj, Drake and Lil Wayne attached to its name.
Review: Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Ten years in since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ debut LP, frontwoman Karen O is a primal institution – the hipster next door lurching from one emo spectacle to another on bigger stages than anyone expected; she’s the Lena Dunham of art punk. Mosquito feels nostalgic for when the YYYs were New York’s most thrilling underdogs, and not just because one song begins, “I lost you on the subway car/Got caught without my metro card,” and builds a groove on what sounds like the grind of a missed L train.
Psy reaches 100 million views for “Gentleman”
Ladies and Gentlemen, Psy has reached 100 million views on YouTube.
It wasn’t surprising to see Psy’s new “Gentleman” music video amass so many views in such a short time and breaking records.
Psy’s Agency, Family, Get Boost From ‘Gentleman’ Release
Wall Street Journal
Psy’s new single “Gentleman” has been viewed more than 81 million times since its debut Friday—but the number of YouTube hits isn’t the only thing that’s going up, up and up.
Shares in Korean entertainment companies that could benefit from another fit of global hallyu (Korean wave) frenzy have been on the rise, too. JYP Entertainment Co. Ltd., home to artists such as Wonder Girls, 2AM and 2PM, has gained 5.1% from their Thursday close S.M. Entertainment Co. 041510.KQ -1.31% Ltd, whose acts include Girls’ Generation, SHINee and Super Junior, is up 5.1%, despite taking a 1.3% plunge Tuesday.
True Stories: The Only Thing That Remains by E. Tammy Kim
My mother’s mother fell ill six years later, in 1978. Mom scrambled for cash and days off but failed to land in time for anything but the funeral.
I uncover a picture taken three years earlier, of my mom, with hers, at Disneyland. They stand at the edge of a manmade river flowing beneath an imitation steamboat, the “Mark Twain,” and a Tom Sawyeresque raft. My mother and grandmother face each other, rapt and smiling; a short-lived reunion. They seem oblivious to all else, even the small child—hat, right arm, Mickey Mouse toy-behind Mom’s profile.
BBCN Bancorp Announces Acquisition of Chicago-Based Foster Bankshares
Business Wire via Yahoo Finance
Los Angeles-based BBCN Bancorp, Inc. (BBCN) and Chicago-based Foster Bankshares, Inc. today jointly announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Foster Bankshares will merge with and into BBCN. The transaction positions BBCN as the leading Korean-American bank in Chicago and provides an entry to the Korean-American community in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
Inbee Park jumps to No. 1
AP via ESPN
Inbee Park took over the top spot in the women’s golf ranking Monday, ending Stacy Lewis’ four-week run at No. 1.
Park moved ahead of Lewis eight days after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her second major title and second victory of the year. The 24-year-old South Korean player also won the LPGA Thailand in February.
“This is a very big day in my golf career,” Park said Monday at the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii. “I’m so happy to share it with my family, who are here in Hawaii with me. It’s nice to reach this goal, but I know a lot of players are close to No. 1. It gives me something else to play for every week.”
Hot N Sweet Chicken: New Korean-American Fusion Restaurant Opens in Arcadia
Patch.com (Arcadia, Calif.)
Hungry for pizza, fried chicken, tacos or cheesesteaks?
A new restaurant in downtown Arcadia aims to provide classic American fare with “Korean-inspired twists.” Hot N Sweet Chicken opened a few weeks ago at 48 Huntington Drive.
“Specializing in k-cuisine, we fully appreciate people’s love for the classic flavors of Korean fried chicken and Korean pizza, which is why we’re bringing the best Korean Pizza and best Korean Fried Chicken to Arcadia,” the restaurant’s website states.
N. Korea’s leader not seen in public for 2 weeks
North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public over the past two weeks, setting off speculation that he might be tempted to tone down fiery threats of provocations, according to sources and an analyst on Sunday.
Kim’s absence from the public eye, judged by the North’s choreographed media reports, was not unusual, but this month’s disappearance from public view comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula as Pyongyang is expected to launch a mid-range ballistic missile.
North Korea: All cranked up and nowhere to go
WITH each day, North Korean bluster reaches new heights. After the UN tightened sanctions following North Korea’s nuclear test, its third, in February, the regime threatened the United States with nuclear destruction and declared a new “state of war” with South Korea. Now it has advised foreigners in South Korea to leave before the coming “thermonuclear war” (foreign-embassy staff in the North’s capital, Pyongyang, were also told to consider leaving). And signs are growing that medium-range Musudan missiles might be loosed from a launch site on the eastern seaboard, aimed presumably to fall somewhere into the Pacific Ocean.
Austin Professor Thinks We Should Bomb North Korea Right Now
New York Magazine
When North Korea announced that its missiles were now trained on specific U.S. cities a couple weeks, many were surprised to see Austin, Texas on the target list alongside Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Kim Jong-un’s reasons for wanting to destroy the Texas capital aren’t entirely clear — the Samsung plant and provocative hipster population have both been floated as possibilities — but, either way, University of Texas professor Jeremi Suri isn’t taking any chances. In a New York Times op-ed titled “Bomb North Korea, Before It’s Too Late,” Suri, who teaches history and public affairs in Austin, argued for a pre-emptive strike:
The Korean crisis has now become a strategic threat to America’s core national interests. The best option is to destroy the North Korean missile on the ground before it is launched. The United States should use a precise airstrike to render the missile and its mobile launcher inoperable.
Q&A: So, North Korean defector Joo-il Kim, what was life like for you at home?
The Independent spoke to Joo-il Kim, a North Korean defector who now lives in New Malden, Surrey, about his life and the current political stand-off in Korea. His story of what led to him escaping is one of shocking sadness, but since coming to the UK – where he is working on a newspaper to smuggle into the country – he has been able to lead a much happier life.
Q: What made you decide to leave your family and risk your life by defecting in 2005?
A: “Due to economic hardships in the late 1990s and early 2000s, people were dying of starvation – not only civilians but army soldiers. Those who didn’t want to die of hunger would try to escape from the army. Ordinary people in North Korea are not allowed to travel around the country. But as a captain in the military, I had the privilege to travel around – to try and find the people who had escaped.
Three arrested for transporting meth
Mohave Valley Daily News (Ariz.)
Three men are in jail after authorities discovered drugs during a routine traffic stop and more drugs after a closer inspection of their vehicle.
According to reports from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, deputies spotted a black Mercedes traveling about 85 mph in a posted 75 mph zone on eastbound Interstate 40. Around 8:30 a.m. Friday, deputies stopped the Mercedes on I-40 at milepost 44, near the Shinarump Drive exit. They identified the driver as Sung Il Park, of Los Angeles, with two passengers, Seo Joon Lee, 37, of Marina Del Rey, Calif., and Myunsoo Choi, 30, of Bellevue, Wash. During the traffic stop, deputies reportedly noticed an odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. A cursory search reveled numerous plastic pull containers containing marijuana and five small plastic bags containing a white style substance, which field-tested positive for methamphetamine, as well as a glass pipe with residue.
Man gets six months as part of Cle Elum motel money laundering scheme
Yakima Herald (Wash.)
An Auburn man was sentenced in U.S. District Court Friday to six months in prison for conspiring to launder money as part of a plot involving the purchase of a Cle Elum motel, according to a news release from the IRS. According to court documents, Joseph Kil and two others conspired to steal $360,000 from two victims for the purported purpose of buying of a Cle Elum motel.
Kil and accomplice Chun Choi, of Bellevue, pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in money laundering Jan. 23, according to the IRS news release. Choi’s sentencing is set for May 10 in Tacoma.
A third man associated with the scheme, Chang Young Kim, was sentenced to six years in prison March 8 for the same charge and unrelated charges involving sex trafficking, bribery and tax evasion.
Shocking facts on suicide rates among Asian Americans
The Daily Campus (Univ. of Connecticut)
Doctor Eliza Noh provided shocking statistics concerning suicides committed by Asian Americans in the past three decades and the effects of the “model minority myth” during a lecture at Laurel Hall Friday afternoon.
Local DJ Ronnie Kwon dead of brain aneurysm
The Republican (Mass.)
Ronnie Kwon, a well-known DJ and music entrepreneur, passed away of a brain aneurysm Thursday night, according to his family. He was 38.
Kwon, who also owned Dynamite Records in Northampton from the late 1990s until it closed in 2009, was a popular DJ, who spun music at venues such as Bishop’s Lounge. A New York native, he recently had moved back to the city.
Kickstarter Helps D.C. Startup Raise Over $119,000 In 5 Weeks
WUSA 9 (Washington, D.C.)
One of those projects makes its home in the District. Ricky Choi and Phil Moldavski launched a Kickstarter campaign for their company, Nice Laundry, five weeks ago. By the time the funding project closed at 6:00am, Monday morning, it raised $119,321 from 2,004 backers, well above the original fundraising goal of $30,000.
Choi makes the case for his company this way, stating “guys have terrible relationships with their sock drawers,” relationships he and his business partner aim change. They want men to get away from grey and black socks and give patterns and bright colors a shot. Through their page on Kickstarter, people were able to buy packs of their fashion-forward men’s socks at affordable prices. Choi says “a six-pack retails for $39, with complimentary shipping.” That price point works out to be about $6 a pair, well below the $20 to $40 a pair you’d pay for equivalent socks at luxury department stores. They also sold larger packs.
Former Fox Exec Peter Kang Joins Paramount
Paramount has hired Peter Kang as executive vp, production.
Two weeks ago Kang left 20th Century Fox, which had been his home since 1996.
Kang is known for overseeing Fox hits like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and for running its New York-based book division, overseeing the acquisitions of rights to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Rule Coachella’s 2013 Kick-Off
It was a refrain Karen O, the extravagant frontwoman of resurgent New York art-rock heroes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs repeated throughout the band’s triumphant main stage performance that highlighted the first night of the vaunted Coachella music festival 2013.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs On Love Songs, New York And Transforming On Stage
Ten years ago this month, a three-person band broke out of New York’s rock scene with an album called Fever to Tell. There was guitar and drums and a tall, provocative singer with a courageous sense of fashion. Her voice was emotional — sometimes soft, sometimes like a banshee’s call.
In the early days of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, singer Karen O got a lot of the spotlight, which caused some friction in the group. But the trio, with Nick Zinner on guitar and Brian Chase on drums, stuck it out — and is about to release a fourth album, Mosquito.
The members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs spoke with NPR’s Rachel Martin. Hear the radio version by clicking the audio link on this page, and read more of their conversation below.
Korean Girl Bands Bare More Skin in Japan
Girl band T-ara have been performing in Japan since unveiling their latest album “Bunny Style” last month. The album has reached the No. 2 spot in Japan’s Oricon weekly charts, and the girls have made a splash with their risqué dance routine.
One widely watched video clip on the Internet shows Japanese women laughing while T-ara perform their routine at an outdoor concert in Japan. The video has incensed some Korean patriots, who feel the manufactured combo are letting the side down.
New leadoff hitter gives Reds a big boost
The Cincinnati Reds’ biggest move this past offseason was adding a leadoff hitter who was once considered a possible trade target for the Pirates.
Center fielder Shin-Soo Choo has filled a void in the Reds’ already potent lineup this season, and manager Dusty Baker is more than pleased with his production.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a legitimate leadoff man that could hit and get on,” Baker said. “I just hope he keeps doing what he’s doing until everybody gets hot around him and we really start rolling.”
Jonathan Coulton, Greg Pak pair up for comic book
Associated Press via Google News
Monkeys, robots and zombies? That’s the hat trick that musician Jonathan Coulton and writer Greg Pak are featuring their original graphic novel, “Code Monkey Save the World.”
The escapade centering on the eponymous coding monkey that Coulton wrote and sang about to online acclaim is the first pairing between the two. Pak’s other writing credits include “Batman/Superman,” ”Planet Hulk” and “X-Treme X-Men.”
Korean-American food stays true to its roots
CNN via YouTube
CNN’s Anthony Bourdain learns how Korean cuisine in the U.S. isn’t altered to accommodate Western tastes.
South Korea and U.S. on missile watch as North hails Kim dynasty
South Korea and the United States were on high alert for a North Korean missile test-launch on Thursday, as the isolated state celebrated the rule of the Kim dynasty and appeared to tone down rhetoric of impending war.
Despite recent threats to attack U.S. bases and the South, North Korea started to welcome a stream of visitors for Monday’s celebrations marking the birthday of its founder Kim Il-sung.
N. Korea shifts missile locations ahead of imminent launch: sources
As South Korea and the United States brace for a possible missile launch by North Korea, the communist nation appears to be moving several missiles repeatedly on its east coast in an apparent attempt to interfere with intelligence monitoring, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday.
According to intelligence analysis, the North has moved two Musudan intermediate missiles, which had been concealed in a shed in the eastern port city of Wonsan, in and out of the facility. Four or five wheeled vehicles, suspected to be so-called transporter erector launchers (TEL), were also spotted being moved around in South Hamgyeong Province.
“There are signs the North could fire off Musudan missiles any time soon,” an intelligence source said, asking for anonymity. “But the North has been repeatedly moving its missiles in and out of a shed, which needs close monitoring.”
South Korea Moves to Defuse Tensions With the North
New York Times
South Korea appeared to ease its stance on North Korea on Thursday by calling for dialogue to help defuse tensions, as its president moved to calm foreign investors whose confidence the North has tried to shake with increasingly belligerent maneuvers.
“We hope the North Korean authorities come out to the dialogue table,” Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae, South Korea’s point man on the North, said in a nationally televised statement that deplored the North’s recent decision to suspend the operation of an industrial park the two Koreas have run together for eight years in the North Korean town of Kaesong. “We strongly urge North Korea not to stoke the crisis on the Korean Peninsula any further.”
In the Shadow of North Korean Threats, South Korea Shrugs
Nobody does bluster better than Pyongyang. In the past few weeks the country’s hardworking propagandists declared a “state of war” with South Korea, announced plans to restart a plutonium-producing reactor and threatened the U.S. with nuclear Armageddon. A North Korean spokesman found the time to decry the “venomous swish” of the South Korean President’s skirt. And dictator Kim Jong Un reportedly urged frontline troops to “break the waists of the crazy enemies, totally cut their windpipes and thus clearly show them what a real war is like.”
D207 Gets First Asian American Board Member
Patch.com (Glenview, Ill.)
Jin Lee, who serves on Des Plaines’ economic development commission and participates in many Asian organizations, came here from Seoul, Korea, at 13. He expects to be a voice for the district’s diverse residents.
Her release party last night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg emphasized the latter of those. Live, she preferred an aggressively sharp-snared, heavily layered style of trap music that reminded me of nothing so much as Girl Talk, with a keener understanding of bass. In one especially peppy section, over the course of one minute she sped up and looped the strings to “Forgot About Dre,” smashed in a memorably hefty kick/snare (“Fix Up Look Sharp,” or something like it) and the synth line from Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” then cut it all and threw on “The Percolator” with looped vocals from Azealia Banks’ “212.” It was generic, mainstream party music and the crowd loved it—their positive reception proof that sticking to the classics was an astute decision.
Production On TBS’ ‘Sullivan & Son’ Shut Down After Star Steve Byrne Suffers Injury
Steve Byrne, star of TBS’ comedy series Sullivan & Son, has suffered an injury to his face. That has led to a six-week shutdown of the show, which had been in production on its second season. TBS and producer Warner Horizon could not be reached for comment, but according to sources, Byrne had his jaw broken “by an irate cabbie” and will have it wired shut for six weeks. Production on Sullivan & Son will resume in June, with the show still expected to make the the delivery date for a summer premiere.
Watch Benson Henderson train with NFL star Larry Fitzgerald
UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson met up with fellow Arizonian Larry Fitzgerald, the All-Pro receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. Henderson, who will fight Gilbert Melendez at UFC on Fox 7 on April 20, worked out with Fitzgerald, and had the football player winded by the end of their session.
Changing traditions: Some Southern food is starting to taste a bit more of the North
AP via Washington Post
In Louisville, Ky., a Korean-American from Brooklyn marries sorghum and local lamb — and bourbon! — with Asian flavors. In Georgia, Canadian Hugh Acheson showcases the Mediterranean potential of Southern staples such as ramps, morels and veal sweetbreads. And in Carrboro, N.C., Matt Neal — whose dad Bill Neal helped revive Southern cooking in the 1980s — channels his love for New York City in buttermilk biscuits topped with pastrami.
South Korea and U.S. Gird for Missile Test by North Korea
New York Times
American and South Korean troops increased alert levels on Wednesday as South Korea’s foreign minister warned that North Korea could launch its medium-range Musudan missile “any time from now.”
Although North Korea has tested many of its short-range Scud and medium-range Rodong missiles, it has never flight-tested the longer-range Musudan, believed to have a range of around 2,175 miles. A successful test of the missile would demonstrate the North’s potential to hit not only South Korea but also all of Japan and targets as far away as the American military bases on the Pacific island of Guam.
“Based on intelligence we and the Americans have collected, it’s highly likely that North Korea will launch a missile,” Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se of South Korea told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday, adding that such a test would violate United Nations resolutions banning the country from testing ballistic missiles. “Such a possibility could materialize at any time from now.”
No panic in NKorea despite talk of missile test
AP via Google News
As the world braced for a provocative missile launch by North Korea, with newscasts worldwide playing up tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the center of the storm was strangely calm.
The focus in Pyongyang on Wednesday was less on preparing for war and more on beautifying the capital ahead of the nation’s biggest holiday: the April 15 birthday of the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung. Soldiers put down their rifles to blanket the barren ground with sod and students picked up shovels to help plant trees.
But the impoverished, tightly controlled nation that has historically used major holidays to draw the world’s attention by showing off its military power could well mark the occasion by testing a missile designed to strike U.S. military installations in Japan and Guam.
Ex-N.Korea spy says Kim struggling to control military
AFP via Google News
A former North Korean spy who bombed a South Korean airliner said Wednesday that the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un is struggling to control his military and using war talk to shore up support.
Kim Hyun-Hee, who said she was ordered by Jong-Un’s father Kim Jong-Il to bomb the airliner in 1987 killing 115 people, said she believes the son is still trying to establish himself following his father’s death in December 2011.
“Kim Jong-Un is too young and too inexperienced,” she told Australia’s ABC television in an exclusive interview from Seoul, where she lives at an undisclosed location surrounded by bodyguards.
Gov’t confirms Pyongyang link in March cyber attacks
Amid escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean government on Wednesday announced that North Korea was behind the massive hacking attack that paralyzed networks of local financial firms and broadcasters last month.
Three South Korean banks — Shinhan, NongHyup and Jeju — and their insurance affiliates as well as three TV broadcasters — KBS, MBC and YTN — suffered the cyber attack as malicious code infected some 48,000 computers in their networks on March 20.
Following the initial attack, the Web sites of YTN and anti-Pyongynag organizations also suffered another round of cyber attacks on March 25 and 26.
Korean American Groups Reach Consensus on Comfort Women Memorial
Patch.com (Fort Lee, N.J.)
The Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) group released a statement Tuesday saying that a consensus was reached on the language to be inscribed on the Fort Lee Comfort Women Memorial.
The memorial, proposed by the Fort Lee Korean American Vietnam War Veterans, honors 200,000 women forced into sexual service in military ‘comfort stations’ by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces, had met with resistance from other Korean American groups who did not agree on the language that was to be inscribed upon the memorial.
The Korean American Civic Empowerment organization (KACE) of Queens and Hackensack, wanted to replace “vague and inappropriate expressions” such as “sexual service” with “sexual slavery.” They were also seeking to have each individual country that comfort women came from included rather than identifying them as being from “every country in East Asia.” KACE is also asking that Japan’s flag of the Rising Sun be removed from the design and the girl depicted be made to look more representative of all the victims.
South Korea holds its breath as Psy prepares to release new single
The Guardian (U.K.)
While Kim Jong-un keeps the world guessing if he will make good on threats to start the third world war, millions of South Koreans are agonising over a more pressing question: will Psy’s next single be another global hit, or a mega-flop?
For all Kim’s attempts to create the mood music of nuclear Armageddon, pop fans in the South are about to dance to a different tune – one they hope will confirm the rapper’s status as their country’s unofficial cultural ambassador.
This Friday will see the release of Gentleman, the 35-year-old’s highly anticipated follow-up single to Gangnam Style, the global music and dance sensation that has received more than 1.5bn hits on YouTube since its release last July.
Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen and Rebel Wilson Join Voice Cast of ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′
Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen and Rebel Wilson are joining Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen and other original voice stars in DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed Kung Fu Panda 2, is back as helmer. Also returning are producer Melissa Cobb, executive producer Guillermo del Toro, co-producer Jeffrey Hermann and writers/co-producers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.
The movie is set for a Dec. 23, 2015 release and will be the first co-production with China-based Oriental DreamWorks.
New Musical Stuck Elevator, Featuring Raymond J. Lee, Julius Ahn and Marie-France Arcilla, Debuts in CA
Stuck Elevator, a new musical featuring a hybrid of musical theater, opera, and solo performance, receives its world premiere at San Francisco’s A.C.T beginning April 4 for a run through April 28.
Stuck Elevator, directed by Chay Yew, is billed as “a powerful and poignant hip-hop opera…based on the true story of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours,” according to ACT. “Sounding the alarm will open the doors to freedom, but calling for help also means calling for attention — with dire consequences for this illegal immigrant. Stuck in limbo, he launches into poignant and hilarious hallucinations about his past, present, and future. [It] unleashes an evocative collision of stories, sounds, instruments, and ideas, from immigration and labor to familial obligation and fortune cookies.”
A Korean-American Diner
East Bay Express (Calif.)
At the West Oakland diner known as Pretty Lady, every customer receives a fist bump from Sung Son, the Korean woman who runs the place. It’s an endearing quirk at a restaurant full of endearing quirks. English might not be Son’s native language, but any regular customer will attest that she is fluent in grooving to oldies and in making guests feel welcome. You seat yourself at the horseshoe-shaped counter and, after the bumping of fists, you can ask Son or her husband (who helps out on busy days) for a complimentary plate of kimchi.
Pretty Lady, it should be noted, is not a Korean restaurant. According to Son, the greasy spoon has existed at its Peralta Street location under the same name since the Fifties. She and her husband took over eight years ago, and they kept the focus of the menu more or less the same: omelets, pancakes, burgers, and other American breakfast-and-lunch standards.
New Age Pizza? Frankfurter Danish? Strange Wiener-Bearing Pastries Appear in Koreatown
The Village Voice (N.Y.)
Manhattan’s Koreatown has been remaking itself at breakneck pace over the last two years, as Korean food finally approaches mainstream in New York. There are food courts, barbecues, tofu parlors, upscale formal restaurants with views of the city skyline, and, most recently, a slew of French bakeries aimed at Koreans. One of the newest is Tous les Jours (“All the Days”), and if you’re in the vicinity, you ought to step in and examine the offerings, because some are really off the wall.
The K-pop Effect – South Korea
The viral sensation ‘Gangnam style’ sparked imitations worldwide. Yet closer to home, the dream to be like such K-Pop idols is driving young South Koreans to a darker level of imitation: plastic surgery.