Monday’s Link Attack: North Korea; Ken Jeong on ‘Sullivan and Son’; Hyori; Michelle Wie
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: June 3rd, 2013
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Laos assailed for sending young defectors back to North Korea
Los Angeles Times

Laos is coming under increasing international criticism for its unusual decision to turn over to the North Korean government nine defectors, most of them homeless teenagers.

The young North Koreans were arrested by Laotian authorities May 10 just across the border from southwestern China, in Laos’ Oudomxay province. Also arrested were two South Korean missionaries who had been helping the North Koreans in an attempt to reach South Korea.

“We have received credible information that the nine young North Korean defectors were subsequently returned to [North Korea] via China,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva in a statement. “We are dismayed … especially given the vulnerability of this group, all of whom are reported to be orphans.”

In China, there are tens of thousands of so-called kotchebis or “wandering swallows,” children who flee their homes due to the extreme food shortages. South Korea gives asylum to all North Koreans, but because of its diplomatic relations with China, will not accept them at embassies or consulates in China. As a result, they often cross into Laos, Vietnam or Mongolia.

Nine repatriated N. Korean defectors originally destined for U.S.: activist
Yonhap News

The nine young North Korean defectors who were sent back home from Laos late last month had originally planned to seek asylum in the U.S., a South Korean human rights activist said Monday.

The North Koreans, aged between 15 and 23, were caught in Laos on May 10 for illegal border trespassing. Seventeen days later, they were expelled to China where they were deported a day later to their home country where they were feared to face severe punishment.

The nine first fled the North in 2011 and had been hiding in China before moving to Laos, a usual defection route, in the hopes of settling in a third country, which was later confirmed to be the U.S. A South Korean Christian pastor, surnamed Ju, assisted them during the escape, according to the activist, Kim Hee-tae.

North Korea’s farming policy changes find an echo in China’s market reforms
AP via Washington Post

North Korean farmers knee deep in muddy paddies across the country have a new incentive during this year’s crucial rice planting season: possible bonuses that are part of an economic shift echoing ally China’s steps three decades ago toward embracing capitalism.

Details about the changes are emerging nearly two months after the regime unveiled dual goals of building the economy and nuclear weapons in the first concrete economic policy laid out by leader Kim Jong Un since he took power in December 2011.

Seoul’s Defector Girl Boxer Stars in Rare Triumph for Refugees
Bloomberg

Choi Hyun Mi gathered with 17 other South Korean citizens on the evening of Feb. 24 as a full moon rose above Seoul. President Park Geun Hye chose the 22-year-old woman along with the others to celebrate the start of her five years as the nation’s 11th president. At midnight, as Park’s term began, they rang the iconic Bosingak bell.

For Choi, better known as “Defector Girl Boxer,” it was another milestone in her family’s escape from North Korea in 2004, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its July issue. Her father, Choi Young Choon, abandoned a successful trading business, a 330-square-meter (3,500-square-foot) house in the capital, Pyongyang, and a chauffeur-driven car to give Choi the freedom to pursue her talent.

Today, she’s the world’s top female featherweight boxer, claiming the World Boxing Association title in 2008 and defending it in seven matches, with one draw, since.

Club helps older Korean immigrants find their political voice
Los Angeles Times

Kang Nam Lee sometimes hobnobs with California politicians, even though she isn’t fluent in English.

Through an interpreter, the 80-year-old Korean immigrant has also spoken to large audiences about her pet issues: school funding and better healthcare for senior citizens.

Lee is a member of a club at Los Angeles’ Korean Resource Center that encourages political activism among elderly immigrants. When she first came to the United States in 2005 to join her daughter, she felt isolated. Through the club, she has overcome the language and cultural barriers that kept her from interacting with non-Koreans.

“In the beginning, when I just came to America, I was afraid to communicate with people,” Lee, a retired teacher, said in Korean. “Since I’ve become involved, I’ve learned about the issues. I want to participate more and make a better society for children and for other seniors.”

Kelly Soo Park Update: Murder trial jury in day 7 of deliberations over Juliana Redding killing
CBS News

On the seventh calendar day of deliberations the jury in Kelly Soo Park’s murder trial finally offered a possible clue to their lengthy deliberations.

“The jury is having difficulty between first and second degree murder,” Judge Kathleen Kennedy offered as “speculation,” after she read back instructions regarding the two murder charges, which jurors requested she do Friday..

So far the jury has spent more time deliberating than the five days attorneys for both sides did presenting their cases at trial.

An Icon and a Symbol of Two Nations’ Anger
New York Times

Over the centuries, this mountainous island in the strait separating Japan and Korea has seen some of the most violent episodes between those ancient Asian rivals, serving as a hide-out for pirates, a forward base for invaders and a desperate first line against attack. But in recent years that troubled history seemed hazily remote in Tsushima’s sleepy fishing hamlet of Kozuna, where villagers have gathered for generations in a tiny temple to pray before a statue of the Buddhist deity of compassion that is centuries old.

At least they did until October, when villagers discovered that someone had broken into the unguarded temple at night to steal the bronze statue, which is believed to have been made in Korea. Villagers breathed a sigh of relief in January, when it was safely recovered by the police in Daejeon, South Korea.

But then the case took an unexpected turn. A South Korean court prevented the statue’s repatriation on the grounds that it might have been stolen from Korea centuries ago by Japanese pirates. Outraged at what they called a baseless claim, the islanders retaliated by canceling a summer pageant that attracts South Korean tourists with a colorful re-enactment of a procession of Korean emissaries who visited the island during a rare era of peace.

The Overwhelming Nature Of Code-Switching
NPR via WBUR

Code-switching can be far from empowering. When I was 2 1/2, I was adopted from Korea. I went from one culture to another, one language to another. For me, code-switching wasn’t a freedom, or a choice. It was a one-way street.

I wasn’t aware that I was code-switching, of course. I only knew that I was different and that I didn’t want to be. There were times, when people stared at me and my white parents, that I felt as if I had been caught in a lie. I hated those stares not because they reminded me of my difference but because they reminded me that no matter what, that difference would always be there. People had their own opinions of who I was.

Often we code-switch in an effort to fit expectations, whether consciously or unconsciously — an athlete speaking differently on-court than in a press conference, or a job applicant trying to sound more professional for an interview — but what about when those efforts aren’t believed, or accepted?

When I returned to Korea as an adult, I was surprised to find that many Westerners’ attempts to speak Korean drew compliments while gyopos’ (foreigners who are ethnically Korean) often drew lectures. A white dude who attended my traditional Korean marriage in a hanbok was seen positively, as making an effort, or at least neutrally. In America, though, my fully cultural whiteness never seemed positive except as a reflection on my parents. I was “lucky” they had adopted me.

First Look: Ken Jeong Guest Stars on Sullivan & Sons
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Community’s Ken Jeong is on the big screen this summer in The Hangover Part III, and now he’s heading to TBS for another hangover on the bar-set comedy, Sullivan & Son.

Jeong, who is a real-life physician, guest stars in the season premiere as Susan’s (Vivian Bang) husband, Jason, an over-achieving doctor. Jason is prompted by his wife to ease up on his work, but the plan backfires when he witnesses his brother-in-law Steve’s (Steve Byrne) laid-back lifestyle as a bar owner and loses sight of his life plan.

Patti Smith duets with Karen O at benefit bash
San Francisco Chronicle

Musician Patti Smith surprised a star-studded crowd at an environmental benefit dinner in Los Angeles on Friday by taking to the stage for a duet with Yeah Yeah Yeahs rocker Karen O.

Tobey Maguire, Cindy Crawford, Rachel Bilson and Emma Roberts were among the A-list guests at the Chanel event in aid of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which was held at the home of art dealer Larry Gagosian in the Holmby Hills area of the city.

As cocktails were served, guests were surprised with a performance by Smith and Karen O, before being treated to another set by rapper Pharrell Williams during dinner.

Lee Hyori Rules With ‘Bad Girls’ on K-Pop Chart
Billboard.com

With a decade in the industry under her belt, Lee Hyori nabs her first K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1 with “Bad Girls,” the lead single off fifth album “Monochrome.” The K-diva hasn’t released a single in three years since her 2010 “H-Logic” album — before the Billboard Korea chart was created.

Lee Hyori marked her grand return to the music world with the understated jazz-inspired ditty “Miss Korea.” The pre-release single, which peaked at No. 3, falls to No. 7 this week as official lead single “Bad Girls” nabs the top slot. The track also has a throwback feel led by piano, drum and funky guitar licks.

Lean in: Shin-Soo Choo is on pace for 48 hit by pitches
NBCSports.com

Reds center fielder and leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch yesterday for the 17th time this season, which leads baseball by a wide margin over Starling Marte with 12. And no one else has been hit by more than seven pitches.

Some other crazy stats to consider:
Coming into this season Choo averaged 12 hit by pitches per 150 games for his career and was never hit more than 17 times in a season.

Choo has a .441 on-base percentage, which ranks third in baseball behind Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera. If you remove his 17 hit by pitches (and those 17 plate appearances) his on-base percentage would fall to .399.

South Koreans experiencing something rare for them in World Cup qualifying: a bit of tension
Times Colonist (Canada)

South Koreans are no longer really accustomed to tension and drama when it comes to World Cup qualification, so a small case of nerves is a new experience for a generation of football fans.

Asia’s most successful World Cup team can only look enviously this week at neighbour and bitter rival Japan, which can secure its spot at the 2014 World Cup with a point at home against Australia on Tuesday in Group B.

Anything less than a win for South Korea against Lebanon in Beirut in Group A will put on pressure on the South Koreans in their last two group games as they seek an eighth successive World Cup appearance.

Michael Kim Wins Jack Nicklaus Award
University of California at Berkeley

Sophomore Michael Kim became the first Cal men’s golfer to ever win national player of the year honors when he was named Sunday by the Golf Coaches Association of America as the Division I recipient of the 2013 Jack Nicklaus Award. The Nicklaus Award recognizes the top players at the Division I, II, III, NAIA and NJCAA levels.

Since 1988, the award for the GCAA Collegiate Players of the year has been named after Nicklaus, a Big Ten and NCAA champion at The Ohio State University.

Kim was presented with the honor by Nicklaus at an awards ceremony Sunday during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus.

ShopRite LPGA Classic: Michelle Wie turns in best performance of her season
Press of Atlantic City

Michelle Wie didn’t win the ShopRite LPGA Classic, but she walked away with her best finish of the season and a confidence boost Sunday afternoon.

Wie shot a 3-over-par 74 on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club and finished tied for ninth with a 54-hole total of 2-over 215 – six shots back of winner Karrie Webb.
Wie’s previous best finish this season was a tie for 28th at the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii last month.

Wie, 23, hadn’t finished in the top 10 in an LPGA Tour event since she placed eighth at the Safeway Classic last August, her only her top-10 finish of 2012. She’s won just twice in her LPGA career with the last one coming in 2010.

“I fought hard,” Wie said. “I’m pretty proud of the way I played this week.”

May Issue: The KoreAm Pro-Am Marks Lucky Number Seven
Author: Steve Han
Posted: May 29th, 2013
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , FEATURED ARTICLE , May 2013
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Top row, from left: LGPA pros Danielle Kang, Jennie Lee, Ilhee Lee, Eun Jung Yi, Eun Hee Ji, Mi Hyang Lee, Jennifer Song, Tiffany Joh, Esther Choe, Jane Park, Irene Cho and Vicky Hurst. Bottom row, from left: LPGA pros Angela Park, M.J. Hur, Seon Hwa Lee, Mindy Kim, Chella Choi, Se Ri Pak, Meena Lee, Birdie Kim, Jeong Jang, Jee Young Lee and Jenny Shin.

The annual golfing event, featuring some of the best the LPGA has to offer, journeys to Pechanga Resort and Casino this year.

story by STEVE HAN
photographs by Alex Hsiao, Janet Ching Ya Chen, Ryan Malehorn and Janet Wang

Publisher James Ryu has long said that KoreAm Journal, which he founded with his father 23 years ago, serves as a hub for the Korean American community, and that idea seemed to come to life on the wide green expanse of the Journey at Pechanga golf course last month.

KoreAm hosted its seventh annual KoreAm Pro-Am April 7 to 8 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif. Sponsored this year by Dura Coat Products, new host Pechanga and first-time ball sponsor Volvik, the event once again paired Korean and Korean American professional players—including World Golf Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak, as well as PGA pro Charlie Wi—with amateur players in an atmosphere that mixes competition with fun.

“KoreAm Pro-Am is an opportunity for me to spend time with the Korean American community,” said Pak.  “It’s wonderful to be here and get to know my colleagues better. KoreAm is definitely promoting this tournament with a great cause.”

Pak’s sentiments were repeated throughout the day by other pros, many of whom have made the event an annual tradition. Continue Reading »

Sang-Moon Bae Gets First PGA Tour Win
Author: Steve Han
Posted: May 20th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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South Korean golfer Sang-moon Bae captured his first win on the PGA Tour, edging out past winner Keegan Bradley at the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Tex., on Sunday.

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, winning on the PGA Tour,” Bae told ESPN.

Bae, 26, beat Bradley by two strokes after blowing a four-stroke lead in windy conditions. Bae ended his final round with a one-under par 69 to finish at 13-under 267. Bradley, the 2011 winner, struggled down the stretch with a 2-over 72 to finish two back at minus-11. Charl Schwartzel finished third. Continue Reading »

Wednesday’s Links: Remembering Virginia Tech; Korean Tourist Killed By Shark; Psy On Pace for 12 Billion Views
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: April 17th, 2013
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Park urges end to rewarding N. Korea’s bad behavior
Yonhap News

South Korean President Park Geun-hye called Wednesday for an end to rewarding North Korea’s bad behavior, saying the “vicious cycle” of Pyongyang creating a crisis before returning to negotiations and receiving assistance must be broken.

Park made the remark during a meeting with a group of foreign ambassadors, saying the international community should speak with one voice to make North Korea decide whether to remain isolated from the outside world or to become a responsible member of the international community.

“We must break the vicious cycle of holding negotiations and providing assistance if (North Korea) makes threats and provocations, and again holding negotiations and providing assistance if there are threats and provocations,” Park said during the meeting.

Electric cable a lifeline for idled symbol of Korean cooperation
Reuters

An electricity cable running from South Korea over the border into North Korea is one of last lifelines for more than 200 South Korean workers at a joint industrial park that North Korea has shut down amid fears of war.

About 53,000 North Koreans worked at the Kaesong complex, just inside North Korea, where 123 South Korean companies have set up factories.

North Korea suspended work there last week as it stepped up its threats of war over new sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test in February, snuffing out the last remnant of cooperation between the neighbors.

Six Years After Shooting, Virginia Tech Remembers
NPR

With so much attention given to the violent bombings in Boston, Virginia Tech is remembering a terrible tragedy of its own today. It’s been six years since shooter Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 17 on the Virginia Tech campus, and then shot himself to death. Today, his victims are being remembered in a series of events.

The college’s Day of Remembrance began early this morning with a candle lighting at midnight. It will burn all day, until it’s extinguished tonight at midnight. At 11:30 this morning, a community picnic is planned. There are sites for “quiet reflection” set up around campus.

First Coast Boston Marathon participant will keep running
First Coast News (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Sung Ho Choi of Jacksonville ran in his 10th Boston Marathon on Monday.

He came in at 3 hours, around 1:20 p.m., then returned to his hotel. He heard the bombs going off while he was in the shower.

“When I went into the shower, and had the water running,” he said. “that’s when the bombs went off. I was in total shock. I was just like … I didn’t know what to think.”

Choi, who goes by Henry, said he was in shock.

Korean Tourist Attacked by Killer Shark
Chosun Ilbo

A Korean man in his 40s was killed by a shark in Guam, AP reported on Tuesday.

The man, who was identified as Kim Nae-dok, went missing on Saturday and staff of the Pacific Island Club, the resort hotel where he had been staying, searched the area.

His remains were eventually discovered by two fishermen about 6 m from Tumon Bay the following day. The body was missing both legs and the right arm.

Why ‘Gentleman’ Could Be Psy’s Next Video to Break a Billion Views
Wall Street Journal

But what’s truly remarkable is that if “Gentleman” simply tracks the growth rate of “Gangnam,” it will take over the all-time record in a little over a month, and hurdle 4 billion in 45 days. And in just 75 days, “Gentleman” would project out as hitting 12.6 billion views.

Now, of course, that’s a level of popularity that “Gentleman” can’t possibly attain — it’s more views than YouTube collectively generates each month from all of its videos on a global basis, and “Gentleman’s” momentum already looks like it may be slowing.

Suburgatory’s Rex Lee on Artificial Romance and Self-Love
The Advocate

Rex Lee sashayed into our hearts as the Lloyd Lee, the long-suffering guy Friday to power publicist Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) on HBO’s Entourage. But these days, Lee has traded his designer shades and skinny lattes for the provincial charm of the fictional town of Chatswin, N.Y., in ABC’s sleeper hit Suburgatory, which airs a special hour-long season finale tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern.

The out Korean-American actor once again portrays a gay man, as Mr. Wolfe, the guidance counselor who often seeks counsel from the show’s teenage protagonist, Tessa (Jane Levy). While Mr. Wolfe was originally intended to be a minor character, fans responded so well that show creator Emily Kapnek wove Wolfe’s storyline into the show’s broader narrative.

Review: Ahn Trio at Winspear Opera House
Dallas Morning News

The three South Korean-born sisters who perform as the Ahn Trio have appeared in magazine fashion spreads as well as on concert stages. (Good looks haven’t hurt their careers.) On Tuesday night, they performed a decidedly non-traditional piano-trio program for an enthusiastic audience at the Winspear Opera House.

Jointly presented by TITAS and the AT&T Performing Arts Center, they stuck to music composed or arranged for them. They chatted with the audience in the manner of giggly movie starlets.

No shortcuts on Bendo’s road to greatness
ESPN.com

Benson Henderson didn’t begin preparing for his showdown Saturday night with Gilbert Melendez a few months ago, when the UFC officially announced the fight.

That process started six years ago, when Henderson trained for the first time in mixed martial arts. It was at that moment that he took the initial step toward achieving his ultimate goal: of one day being recognized as the greatest mixed martial artist ever.

In every training session, Henderson visualized himself competing and winning fights. Sometimes he’d put a face on his imaginary foe. On a few occasions, the foe would be Melendez.

And in every one of those imaginary battles, Henderson would walk away victorious.

John Huh revels following first appearance at Masters Tournament
Glendale News-Press (Calif.)

John Huh arrived at his Texas home Monday quite satisfied following his most recent accomplishment and with his young career on the upswing.

Huh, a 2008 Crescenta Valley High graduate, participated in The Masters Tournament last week. He finished tied for 11th in the prestigious event, earning him an invitation to the 2014 rendition at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

“My ultimate goal was to go out there and play some good golf,” said Huh, last year’s PGA Rookie of the Year who finished the four-round event with a two-under-par 286. “It’s neat for me that I get to come back and I feel like I deserve it.

Michelle Wie looks to turn around LPGA Tour struggles with home-state stop in Hawaii
AP via Washington Post

Michelle Wie is hoping a Hawaii stop on the LPGA Tour will inject a little aloha into her game.

She’s 91st in the world ranking after breaking 70 only once in 18 rounds so far this season. She’s coming off a season-best tie for 41st two weeks ago in the Kraft Nabisco Championship — after starting the tournament with an apology from Annika Sorenstam for being quoted as saying the former child prodigy hasn’t shown the talent that initially made her a star.

Ryu Hyun-jin to Establish Charity Foundation
Chosun Ilbo

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers will establish a charity foundation in conjunction with sponsor Hanmi Bank, his agency said on Monday.

“Ryu plans to set up a foundation because he wants to do something good. It will take about six months to come up with a concrete plan,” a spokesman said at a press conference announcing the sponsorship deal with the largest Korean bank in the United States.

Eighth-grader makes state geographic bee
Dayton Daily News (Ohio)

Sung In Jeon, an eighth-grader at Tower Heights Middle School in Centerville, wants to be a medical doctor in the distant future. “I want to go to different countries and help people,” said the 14-year-old.

His favorite subjects are science, math and social studies — but it was his interest and knowledge of social studies that got him to the Ohio Geographic Bee in Columbus on April 5. He was among the top 100 scorers in Ohio invited to compete as a semifinalist.

“We’ve only had two students qualify for state competition during the six years I’ve taught here,” said Elizabeth Dickson, his social studies teacher for the past three years.

Tuesday’s Link Attack: Rodman Plans NK Return; Dumbfoundead a ‘Rising Star’; Psy Hits 100 Million Milestone
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: April 16th, 2013
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North Korea says it won’t warn South Korea before an attack
CNN

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
Yonhap News

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
Yonhap News

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
NPR

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
Yonhap News

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
Rolling Stone

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”
allkpop

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
Gawker

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.

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