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Michelle Wie exchanged her driver for a sniper rifle and tested her precision at the shooting range this past weekend.
Wie and fellow Korean American pro golfers, Christina Kim and Jane Park, enjoyed their week off from the LGPA Tour and made a visit to Austin, Texas, for a pre-wedding celebration for bride-to-be Jeehae Lee, a retired LGPA Tour player who is now Wie’s manager. They were also joined by the vice-president of IMG, Nickole Raymond, who represents several golfers including Wie.
A part of their bachelorette party plans included a visit to Hidden Falls Adventure Park, where they engaged in some friendly competition at the shooting range.
Wie, who expressed some nervousness before her first experience with firearms, sampled a wide variety of guns, including an assault rifle and sniper rifle. Continue Reading »
Teenage golf phenom Lydia Ko became the first amateur to win two LPGA events at the CN Canadian Women’s Open on Sunday in Edmonton.
The 16-year-old shot a final-round 64 and finished at 15-under to edge Karine Icher of France by five strokes. Sunday’s win is Ko’s second in an LPGA event after she became the youngest winner in history as a 15-year-old at last year’s Canadian Open.
“I was in a little bit more of a pressure position [as defending champion], so I was really happy with my 64,” Ko said.
Born in South Korea but raised in New Zealand, Ko could not accept the $300,000 first prize money as she still an amateur. The prize money instead went to second-place Icher. Ko, ineligible to turn pro until she’s 18, reportedly has had to leave nearly $1 million in prize money on the table despite playing in 14 LPGA events. Ko told the Canadian Press she was considering turning professional. Continue Reading »
There are plenty of opposing views on Michelle Wie’s participation in this year’s Solheim Cup, but the 23-year-old golfer isn’t deterred by her critics.
Wie is ranked only 82nd in the world after failing to win on the LPGA Tour in the last three years, but she will represent the United States at the Solheim Cup thanks to team captain Meg Mallon, who used her discretionary captain’s pick to choose the former child prodigy. Mallon felt Wie’s long-distance drives will help the Team USA at Colorado Golf Club, which is known for its length.
“It’s tough being a captain’s pick,” Mallon told the Associated Press. “There’s a lot of pressure that players put on themselves being a pick. She lives on this stage almost every day that she plays. So walking into this environment is not going to affect her. I needed another player like that on the team. I had three rookies already.” Continue Reading »
U.S. golfers participating in the upcoming Solheim Cup defended the captain’s controversial selection of former child prodigy Michelle Wie.
Meg Mallon, the U.S. Solheim Cup captain, chose Wie with one of her two discretionary captain’s picks. Mallon said that she knew there would be opposing views to her selection of Wie, who will represent the United States despite being ranked only 82nd in the world. The 23-year-old’s last win on the LPGA Tour was in 2010.
“Michelle Wie can handle being on a big stage,” Mallon told ESPN.com. “I kept thinking … And she’s someone who has played in the Solheim Cup and has that experience. I don’t have to worry about that part. I have four rookies, and Michelle will be a leader for me.” Continue Reading »
Scandal in South Korea Over Nuclear Revelations
New York Times
Like Japan, resource-poor South Korea has long relied on nuclear power to provide the cheap electricity that helped build its miracle economy. For years, it met one-third of its electricity needs with nuclear power, similar to Japan’s level of dependence before the 2011 disaster at its Fukushima plant.
Now, a snowballing scandal in South Korea about bribery and faked safety tests for critical plant equipment has highlighted yet another similarity: experts say both countries’ nuclear programs suffer from a culture of collusion that has undermined their safety. Weeks of revelations about the close ties between South Korea’s nuclear power companies, their suppliers and testing companies have led the prime minister to liken the industry to a mafia.
One soldier killed in grenade explosion at inter-Korean border
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
A hand grenade held by a recently enlisted soldier exploded at a guard post near the border with North Korea on Saturday, instantly killing the soldier and seriously wounding his platoon leader, military and police officials said Saturday.
The explosion occurred at around 5:05 a.m. when the 21-year-old private, identified by his surname Choe, and his platoon leader were inside the post just south of the western section of the Demilitarized Zone, according to officials.
Choe died at the scene, and the platoon leader, identified as 2nd Lt. Park, 24, sustained serious wounds to his head, neck and other parts of his body. Park received surgery at a hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul, to remove shrapnel. The wounds are not life-threatening, officials said.
Free my brother from North Korea
I will never forget the sound of anguish my mother made as we watched the recently released video footage of the American citizen — my brother, Kenneth Bae — in a North Korean labor camp. Our family had been devastated by my brother’s 15-year sentence of hard labor, but nothing could have prepared us for this.
My mother drew in a sharp breath and broke into heaving sobs, gasping for breath, at the sight of her son so diminished. We could see the heavy toll his long imprisonment, since November, had taken. Kenneth talked about his deteriorating health due to diabetes, enlarged heart and back pain, and pleaded with the U.S. government to help him.
It wasn’t just that he had lost so much weight and that his health was suffering, but that he seemed so broken. He choked up as he said, “I am my father’s only son,” pained that he could not be here to celebrate our father’s 70th birthday with my parents, who live in Lynnwood, Wash.
The $4 Million Teacher
Wall Street Journal
Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher—a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country’s private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills—and he is in high demand.
Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students’ online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).
“The harder I work, the more I make,” he says matter of factly. “I like that.”
Four men face charges after 27-pound marijuana bust
Daily Herald (Illinois)
Four men accused of receiving 27 pounds of marijuana by mail appeared Friday in DuPage County bond court on drug-trafficking charges.
David Byun, 29, of Round Lake; Brian Panezich, 29, of Lake Zurich; and Landry Park, 29, and Ted Park, 32, both of Arlington Heights, each were held on $500,000 bail.
Prosecutors said the men were arrested Thursday after a drug-sniffing dog alerted on a package at a UPS store in Bensenville. Investigators with the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group later watched as Byun picked up the package and left in a vehicle driven by Panezich, Assistant State’s Attorney Anne Therieau said. Police found 12 pounds of marijuana in the package after a traffic stop.
N. Korean defectors to tell ordeal at 1st film festival in Hong Kong
Two North Korean defectors will share their personal experiences and hardship at the first film festival in Hong Kong about widespread human rights violations in North Korea, a media report said Monday.
Some 150 people are scheduled to attend Hong Kong’s North Korea Human Rights Film Festival, slated for next week, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
One of the two North Korean defectors to make an appearance at the event is Lee Aram, who used to work in the North Korean police, according to the report. After the 25-year-old defected in 2008, her father was sent to a prison camp and died there, it said.
Michelle Rhee embraces disgraced charter school advocate
Tony Bennett, Florida’s education chief, abruptly resigned yesterday after an AP investigation revealed that in his old job running Indiana’s schools, he frantically overhauled the state’s evaluation system to avoid giving a poor grade to a charter school run by a prominent Republican donor. In addition to his charter school advocacy, Bennett was also known for his staunch support of standardized testing.
Emails obtained by AP showed that Bennett and his staff scrambled to make sure the donor’s school received an “A” grade, despite initially earning a “C” thanks to poor test scores. “They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work,” Bennett wrote in September to his chief of staff, who is now Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s chief lobbyist.
How North Korea is coping with uncouth tourists from China
South China Morning Post
When hordes of Chinese tourists descend on Pyongyang, there’s a mixed reaction from North Korea’s tourism workers: they are pleased their No 1 visitors will be splurging on everything from souvenirs to casinos, but then there’s a furtive sigh of: “Here we go again.”
Bad behaviour by mainland Chinese tourists in Hong Kong to Egypt, Paris to the Maldives, is well documented. But breaches of etiquette in the notoriously strict Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are sometimes more obtuse.
Simon Cockerell, of Koryo Tours, which specialises in travel to the reclusive socialist state, cites as an example mainland tourists throwing sweets at North Korean children “like they’re feeding ducks”. “The North Koreans think that’s undignified and offensive,” he says.
New Milford synagogue sold to Korean-American congregation
In the eight years since Pastor David Yi founded Top Stone Church, a Korean Presbyterian congregation in Englewood, its population has grown from 15 to more than 100; each week, dozens of families pour into the pews of a rented church to hear Yi’s sermons.
The years have not been so kind to Congregation Beth Tikvah, New Milford’s only Jewish temple. From a peak membership of nearly 500 in the 1970s and 80s, the synagogue’s ranks have thinned to fewer than 150, mostly elderly residents whose children have long since left.
One congregation wanted a space of its own; the other could no longer support itself. A deal was struck: $1.8 million and several hurdles later, Top Stone is set to move at the end of August into the New Milford Jewish Center on River Road, the stately brick complex Beth Tikvah built 50 years ago. Beth Tikvah will join the Jewish Community Center of Paramus.
Korea’s Arrivals Up, Tourist Police Needed
Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s tourism industry is at risk becoming a victim of its own success. As visitor arrivals pick up, so do complaints from holiday makers. Enter the tourist police.
Between Psy, Korean television dramas, and the lure of cosmetic surgery, Korea has become an increasingly attractive tourist destination, with arrivals increasing from 6 million in 2005 to 11 million last year and to an expected 15 million by 2015.
But visitors attract predators, with theft and scams as reported by tourists increasing to 897 in 2012 from 468 in 2009, according to the Korea National Tourism Organization. Add in other tourist complaints for problems such as heavy traffic or a lack of directional signs, and the number goes up to 1,024 last year, from 640 in 2009.
‘Snowpiercer’ Tops Box Office
Wall Street Journal
Bong Joon-ho, one of South Korea’s top filmmakers, has returned with one of the biggest openings ever in the country’s cinematic history.
Mr. Bong’s science fiction feature film “Snowpiercer” earned 23.8 billion South Korean won ($21.38 million) in its opening week, topping the box office, according to the Korea Film Council.
Nearly 3.3 million people saw the film from last Wednesday to Sunday, making it just the third movie to surpass the 3-million mark in five days after the blockbuster franchise “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in 2011 and a local spy flick “Secretly, Greatly” earlier this year.
Book Review: Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon
In “Snow Hunters,’’ Paul Yoon’s much-awaited first novel, a young man named Yohan emigrates from Korea to an unnamed port town in Brazil. He has just been put through the emotional wringer, having served time in a prison camp as a POW at the tail end of the Korean War. We first meet him in the winter of 1954, at 25, as he arrives in Brazil on a cargo ship during a rainfall, “dressed in an old gray suit that was too large for him . . . They were not his clothes.”
Over the course of the novel, Yohan experiences extreme amounts of kindness. His suit was gifted to him by an American nurse at the prison camp before he parted. Upon arrival in Brazil, a sailor hands him a blue umbrella in the rain, a woman’s umbrella. Next, Yohan is taken in by an old Japanese tailor named Kiyoshi and provided with room and board. The two get along and begin to live out a quiet, almost monk-like existence together.
“Snow Hunters’’ arrives four years after Yoon’s debut, “Once the Shore,’’ a celebrated collection of short stories that explored life over a half-century of war, occupation, and peace on a South Korean island. Yoon’s novel traces nearly a decade of Yohan’s life in its 196 pages.
Choo continues to deliver in leadoff spot
Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo hit his 15th home run of the season on Saturday night, but it was his first with runners on base. That’s often the way it goes for leadoff hitters, but manager Dusty Baker said Choo has made the most of the opportunities he’s had to put runs on the board this season.
“If my leadoff man can have 50 RBIs and 100 runs at the end of the year, he’s going to be very, very productive in our league,” Baker said. “Choo’s on pace to get that and more.”
Inbee Park Leaves With Good Memories
Crowds always clap for winners at golf tournaments, so Inbee Park has heard that sound a lot this year with her six LPGA victories, three of them majors.
But this week, for the first time in her LPGA career, Park felt as if folks from all over the world weren’t just offering polite applause. They were really cheering for her. And that’s something she’ll always remember from this quest to win a Grand Slam.
“My favorite part is I never had this many people rooting for me and wanting for me to play good,” Park said after she finished at 6-over 294, tying for 42nd on a 32-hole Sunday at the Women’s British Open. “Never had those feelings before, so that has been nice.”
Azusa’s Lizette Salas, Michelle Wie named to Solheim Cup team
Los Angeles Times
After American Stacy Lewis won the British Women’s Open on Sunday, U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon selected Michelle Wie and Gerina Piller as her captain’s picks.
Wie and Piller will join Lewis, who led the Solheim Cup qualifying points standings for the U.S., USC graduate Lizette Salas of Azusa, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang.
Representing Europe are: Suzann Pettersen of Norway; Anna Nordqvist of Sweden; Carlota Ciganda, Azahara Munoz and Beatriz Recari of Spain; Catriona Matthew of Scotland; Caroline Masson of Germany; Karine Icher of France.
Jose Aldo takes advantage of Korean Zombie’s shoulder injury, picks up ‘careful’ TKO win
In a weird sort of way, Jose Aldo expressed his greatness yet again on Saturday.
Oh, the UFC featherweight champion left us wanting more after his fourth-round stoppage of Chan Sung Jung, the “Korean Zombie,” in the main event of UFC 163 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He might have even left some people wanting a lot more.
Even the most dominant athletes in their sports – the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, the Miami Heat’s LeBron James – have off-games every now and then.
South Korean baseball hits home run with female fans
Chances are, if you’re heading to a ball game in South Korea, the screaming fan to your left will be a woman wielding an inflatable tube.
More and more female fans are packing the stadiums to cheer on their favorite teams in the Korean Baseball Organization, so much so that next year organizers predict there’ll be as many women as men.
“A couple of years ago, men versus women were 60/40. But this year it looks like 55/45. And the number of the female fans is going to be increasing more and more,” says Nick Choi, a spokesman for the Seoul-based LG Twins.