Hank Conger Attends Make-A-Wish Event at Pechanga Resort
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: October 29th, 2013
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Los Angeles Angels catcher Hank Conger joined fellow Angels players, current and former, in participating in a putting contest with children involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation earlier this month at Journey at Pechanga Golf Course in Temecula, California.

Joining the Korean American from Huntington Beach was infielder Grant Green, former Angels pitcher Clyde Wright, former second baseman Bobby Grich, voice of the Angels on Fox Sports West, Victor Rojas and Angels Baseball Chairman, Dennis Kuhl formed teams with the children.

For participating, the kids won trophies and golf apparel provided by Pechanga, along with luxury suite tickets with food and drink at a 2014 Angels game and a chance to watch pre-game batting practice from the field. The children with the top scores won a signed Angels jersey. The main goal of the event was to also raise awareness for Make-A-Wish and the services it provides to the Southern California community.

Conger, 25, is an avid golfer who has participated in charity golf tournaments in the past. While he is able to swing from both sides of the plate with a baseball bat, Conger goes to his normal right-handed swing for golf. Continue Reading »

Tuesday’s Link Attack: SKorea to Send Aid to North; Analyzing NK Sex Tape Execution; Racy K-Pop Videos
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: September 3rd, 2013
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South Korea Pledges Aid To the North
New York Times

South Korea promised $8.4 million worth of aid to North Korea on Monday, a conciliatory gesture that followed recent steps toward easing inter-Korean tensions and reviving economic and humanitarian cooperation.

The South Korean government will provide $6.3 million to help finance the World Health Organization’s efforts to improve medical service for malnourished infants and other children in North Korea, the Unification Ministry of South Korea said in a statement. Separately, 12 South Korean private relief groups will be allowed to send a total of $2.1 million worth of medical supplies, baby formula, vitamins, soy milk, stationery and shoes for North Korean children.

The developments followed the two Koreas’ agreement last month to restart a program that reunites family members who were separated by the Korean War six decades ago. The next reunions are scheduled to begin on Sept. 25.

Hyon Song-Wol Sex Tape Execution Could Have Meant Many Things in Kim Jong-Un’s Korea

Grief and guilt struck North Korea as Hyon Song-Wol suffered the death penalty on Aug. 20. Hyon, a musician and former lover of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, was slain by a firing squadron for allegedly participating in the production of pornographic footage.

A musician for the Unhasu Orchestra, Hyon and her affiliates were arrested by the authorities on Aug. 17. An unidentified source accused them of producing and selling sex tapes, which is illegal in North Korea. The situation worsened for Hyon and her affiliates when a rumor about them having Bibles manifested, labeling them as dissidents.

Hyon and her affiliates were executed in front of their families, friends, and other Korean musicians, perhaps reminding them of the consequences should any more crimes occur. What’s particularly amazing is that there were no indications of regret or sorrow from Kim noted in any news sources. This portrays Kim as the North Korean version of Henry VIII, a character renowned for the execution of his many wives. Sex tape allegations aside, the likely reason for Hyon’s execution could be the previous history she had with North Korea’s leader. Perhaps Kim feared that this scandal could have negatively impacted public opinion, harming his image.

Handcuffed woman falls from moving LAPD patrol car, video indicates
Los Angeles Times

A handcuffed woman was ejected from a moving Los Angeles Police Department patrol car, in a dramatic incident that left her seriously injured and raised questions about the involved officers’ version of how the fall occurred.

In the early morning hours on March 17, after a night out in Koreatown, 28-year-old Kim Nguyen and two friends were waiting in a restaurant parking lot for a sober friend to pick them up, Nguyen said in an interview with The Times.

A pair of LAPD officers drove by in a marked patrol car, stopped, and approached Nguyen, she said.

GOP gov hopeful Dan Rutherford taps Steve Kim as running mate
Chicago Sun-Times

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Dan Rutherford said Monday he is choosing a suburban attorney as his lieutenant governor pick, “a hard worker, known well in Republican leadership circles” — and potentially the first Asian American to hold state office.

The first of the candidates to choose a running mate, Rutherford will run for governor along with attorney Steve Kim from Northbrook, he confirmed in a telephone interview after an initial announcement on Twitter.

Rutherford said Kim as lieutenant governor will have a “substantive” role in his administration, details of which he would announce at a news conference on Thursday morning in Chicago.

Rancho Palos Verdes man sentenced to three years for hitting, killing 17-year-old
Daily Breeze (Torrance)

After pleading guilty in Torrance court, a 55-year-old man was sentenced to three years in state prison for hitting and killing a 17-year-old boy in Rancho Palos Verdes last January while driving under the influence, the sheriff’s department reported today.

Ho Seok Suh of Rancho Palos Verdes was driving south on Hawthorne Boulevard, near Robert F. Ryan Community Park, on Jan. 18, 2013 when he struck and killed the teen, according to the sheriff’s department.

Suh’s blood alcohol content was estimated at .12, some two hours after the fatal collision, according to the sheriff’s department.

FIU’s youngest graduate ever follows his passion into teaching
Miami Herald

At 4, Sky Choi was reciting his multiplication tables. At 12, he enrolled at Florida International University. And this spring, at 16, he earned a degree in Asian Studies, the youngest graduate in FIU’s history.

Everyone — and he includes himself in this group — expected him to pursue a career in math or science. After all, this was a child who had begged his parents to leave a friend’s birthday party early so he could finish a math workbook, a kid whose intellectual prowess so intimidated a teacher that she promised him a lollipop if he stopped asking questions.

But Sky, whose given name is Sebastian Hanul Choi (his middle name means “sky” in Korean), likes to defy expectations and follow his passions. So halfway through college, he chose what tugged at his heart and gave him a sense of purpose above all else — something no one had expected him to pursue.

He decided on a career in education.

Man killed after car slams into Chesterfield church
CBS 6 News (Virginia)

Chesterfield police are investigating after a car slammed into a Chesterfield church early Monday morning.

The deadly single-vehicle crash happened around 3 a.m. in the 6900 block of Hopkins Road.

Authorities said 62-year-old Hui Kyong Maxwell, of the 8800 block of Chester Forest Lane, was driving south on Hopkins Road when his vehicle ran off the road and struck the Korean Baptist Church.

K-Pop’s Unlikeliest Fans: Middle-Age Males

Those who observe the Korean pop-music phenomenon from a distance may have ideas about who listens to the music. PSY, the YouTube star whose hit “Gangnam Style” help popularize so called K-pop in the U.S. and elsewhere, is big enough to have fans across all age groups. But the boy bands and girl groups who otherwise dominate the K-pop scene target a young teenaged audience in the same way teen pop stars on these shores—from David Cassidy to Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez—play to middle- and high-school students, particularly the girls.

So it may come as a surprise that in the audience at a many a K-pop show are older males. They’ve become such a presence they’ve earned their own nickname: “uncle fans.”

Step aside Miley Cyrus, here comes K-Porn
Global Post

Miley Cyrus may have ticked off American parents with her salacious “twerking” dance, grabbing her crotch and grinding in nude-colored hotpants.

But Americans aren’t the only ones on edge about sleazy stage tricks.

On the other side of the Pacific, South Koreans are stirring up a similar commotion over skin-boasting pop stars and their raunchy music videos.

You may know K-Pop, or Korean pop, thanks to Psy and Rain. But the industry has far wider appeal in South Korea, where training schools churn out legions of upcoming stars, urging them to get plastic surgery and dance dirty for the camera.

Angels Win on Hank Conger 9th Inning Pinch Hit HR
Halos Heaven

Jerome Williams pitched a quality start – allowing three runs in six innings. Buddy Boshers opened the door, putting two men on in the bottom of the seventh of a 4-3 Angels lead in Milwaukee and Michael Kohn let ‘em in.

It was suddenly 5-4 and it is Saturday night and I was almost out the door… but with two outs in the ninth inning Josh Hamilton smacked a pinch-hit double and Hank Conger came in to bat in the pitcher’s spot. Two out, bottom of the ninth, tying run on 2B, relief pitcher with an ERA under two and that door out to what is happening in the world would have to wait as Conger walloped his first career pinch hit home run to give the Angels the lead.

Sunderland sign Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng on season‑long loan
The Guardian (U.K.)

Sunderland have signed the Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng on a season‑long loan. The former Celtic player was bought for a then club record of £5.5m last year. However, 12 months into a three-year deal, the 24-year-old finds himself surplus to requirements after Michael Laudrup added Jonjo Shelvey and José Cañas to his central midfield ranks.

Ki will link up with his international colleague Ji Dong-won at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland confirmed on their website: “Sunderland have signed midfielder Ki Sung-yueng from Swansea City on a season-long loan. The 24-year-old South Korean international is the club’s 11th summer signing.”

Chef Sang Yoon’s ‘numb-hot’ dandan noodle dish emerges from trials by fire
Los Angeles Times

Anyone who’s ever worked with me in the kitchen knows that I like to tinker with dishes for a while before I decide to finally offer them on the menu. But then once I’ve gotten them where I want them to be, I tend to let them be. Normally, recipes for my menu items stay consistent and don’t change. However, there’s been one exception. The dandan noodles at my restaurant Lukshon.

Dandan mian is a staple of the Sichuan region of China. It’s also known as peddler’s noodles, the name coming from the wooden pole used to carry noodles and sauce over the shoulders of street vendors. Such humble roots, yet such complex flavor. Each time I’ve tried them, here or overseas, I’ve liked them — even though no two versions have ever seemed to be the same.

Training in French kitchens, I learned that most classic dishes have established “correct” versions. But it seems dandan noodles don’t suffer from such recipe rigidity. Normally they are made with a thin wheat noodle, with a sauce made from sesame and/or peanuts, along with ground pork cooked in doubanjian, a spicy fermented broad bean paste further flavored with Sichuan peppercorns.

Friday’s Link Attack: US Calls for NK to Release Korean American; Miss Korea Video Game
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: July 5th, 2013
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U.S. Reiterates Call for North Korea to Free Missionary
Wall Street Journal

The U.S. has reiterated a call for the release of an American citizen held in North Korea after he was presented to the media for the first time since being sentenced in April to 15 years of manual labor.

Kenneth Bae, a missionary from Washington State, was shown in an interview with pro-North Korean newspaper Chosun Sinbo, published on Wednesday. Footage from the interview was also broadcast on CNN.

Dressed in stained overalls and shown doing light agricultural work, Mr. Bae said he was unwell and asked for U.S. government help to secure his release.

“What I did was an unpardonable act, but I wish for a smooth and quick settlement so that I can be reunited with my family,” the 44-year-old said.

Ethnic Koreans in China swap burdensome North for profitable South
Reuters via Chicago Tribune

When a delegation of North Korean officials visited the head of the Korean business association in China last year asking him to drum up investment in their impoverished country, Jin Rong-guo turned them away.

The 200-strong ethnic Korean business group has its eyes on a more inviting prize – South Korea.

“North Korea has lost credibility for investment. Korean Chinese businessmen always question if they can recoup their money,” said Jin, 51, whose office is in Beijing’s Korea Town, where South Korean franchise cafes and restaurants line the streets.

Some two million ethnic Koreans live in China.

South and North Korea Agree to Discuss Shared Industrial Park
New York Times

South and North Korea agreed Thursday to meet later this week to discuss reopening a jointly operated industrial complex, three weeks after their last effort to start a dialogue collapsed amid mutual recriminations.

If the meeting, scheduled for Saturday at the border village of Panmunjom, takes place as planned, it would provide the two Koreas with an opportunity to move toward a thaw after years of tensions that hit a peak this year, when the North’s third nuclear test led to international sanctions and the North issued a stream of threats against the South and its ally, the United States.

North and South Korea have bickered over the fate of the Kaesong industrial park, in the North Korean border town of the same name, ever since the North pulled out all 53,000 of its workers from the complex in April, citing military tensions it said stemmed from joint American-South Korean military exercises at the time.

Bergen County couple face up to 20 years for financial role in heroin distribution ring
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

A Bergen County couple is facing up to 20 years in prison after admitting their roles in a money laundering operation that catered to heroin traffickers linked to Mexican drug cartels.

Jong H. Park and Jung Y. Choi, who were also known by the aliases “Rafa” and “Tina,” ran the money laundering business from a two-story residence at 522 Closter Dock Road in Closter.

They traveled from Massachusetts to Maryland, picking up satchels of cash and washed the money through various business and personal bank accounts before wiring it to co-conspirators in the United States, Mexico, South Korea and China, collecting a commission for their trouble, authorities said.

Park and Choi were arrested in July 2012 after an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration into a heroin distribution ring based in Boston.

From homeless immigrant to officer
KDH News (Texas)

Born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1976, 2nd Lt. Jung Soon Park, always dreamed of becoming “a somebody in life.”

Now a platoon leader for Bravo Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Park’s journey to America was filled with experience he now knows made him stronger.

“I was on my second year of college when I received orders to join the Republic of Korea’s Army,” Park said. “It was heart breaking knowing I had to stop my education, but it was also rewarding knowing that I was serving my country.”

But the break cooled Park’s passion for education.

Making Census Data Taste Like New York City

The Fourth of July is America’s favorite holiday to get together, grill barbecue, and celebrate what it means to be American. It’s also probably our best opportunity to debate whose barbecue is the best. With its regional varieties, the rubs-vs.-sauce debates and the fiercely guarded recipe secrets, arguing about barbecue is almost an American pastime. Few foods better demonstrate the diversity of our country.

Growing up in Los Angeles as the child of Korean immigrants, I found that food could be used as a yardstick to test how “American” — how “normal” — someone was. I remember my non-Korean friends at school barely being able to conceal their disgust when they caught a whiff of my kimchi. Sometimes my mom packed my school lunch with kimbap or fried dumplings, and I could understand that this wasn’t normal. But I never quite understood why a saran-wrapped hot dog with ketchup packets from McDonald’s still didn’t make the cut.

Michael Pollan once wrote that America’s conflicted relationship with food has to do with not having a strong culinary tradition, a result of a “new nation drawn from many different immigrant populations, each with its own culture of food.” But amid constant debates about what American food is, barbecue stands out as a food that we can all agree America has made its own.

While taking a class on data representation, I began to wonder if barbecue — this indisputably American food — could offer us another way of representing familiar places within America and the diverse mix of people residing here. The connections between neighborhoods, ethnicities and food are quite strong. So I wondered, What if we could relate data about geography and ethnicity through taste?

Working to Combat the Stigma of Autism
New York Times

Autism, or the fear of it, chased one Korean mother from her Queens church. “I very carefully told the mom: ‘I think your child is a little different. Why don’t you take the test for autism?’ ” said the Rev. Joy Lee of the Korean Presbyterian Church in Flushing. “She told me, ‘Oh no, my child will be O.K.’ So then she quit. After that, she did not pick up the phone.”

It crushed another Korean mother — twice. First, she said, when her son received the diagnosis, and again when friends saw it as a sign that she herself was sick. To cure him, they said, she needed psychotherapy.

Sun Young Ko, of Forest Hills, whose 8-year-old son, Jaewoo Kwak, was given a diagnosis of autism 18 months ago, said her own mother refused to discuss her grandson with relatives or friends. “She’s kind of hiding,” Ms. Ko said.

Angels’ Hank Conger serves as grand marshal in Fourth of July parade
Los Angeles Times

Angels catcher Hank Conger had a busy holiday Thursday. In the evening, he was the starting catcher for the Angels. In the morning, he was a grand marshal for the 109th annual Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade.

Conger described his parade duties thusly: “Just kind of wave to people.”

For Conger, the greatest thrill was meeting Lou Ferrigno, the actor who played the Incredible Hulk on TV.

“I don’t know if I’m famous,” Conger said. “He is.”

Choo’s son ends up in no-no celebration

Before Homer Bailey was showered with a red sports drink after being mobbed by all of his teammates following the last out of his no-hitter Tuesday, he was greeted by Shin-Soo Choo’s 8-year-old son, Alan. Bailey gave him a double low-five, and the celebration continued.

“He doesn’t really know no-hitter games,” Choo said of his son. “But everyone was excited, jumping and running.”

Choo said it was special to be able to have his son at Great American Ball Park to witness such an accomplishment, even if it will take time for him to understand its significance.

First baseman Choi added to Futures roster

The Mariners added one Minor Leaguer to the upcoming Futures Game on Tuesday, but lost another as Major League Baseball adjusted the roster for the July 14 game in New York.

Mariners shortstop Brad Miller was replaced on the U.S. team by D-backs shortstop Chris Owings, since Miller won’t be eligible to play now that he’s on the Major League roster. Miller went 1-for-4 in Tuesday’s 9-2 win over the Rangers, and is now 3-for-15 in his first four games with the Mariners.

But young first baseman Ji-Man Choi, currently playing for Double-A Jackson, was added to the World team as a replacement for Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro, who broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch on Friday.

World No 1 Inbee Park guaranteed sporting immortality if she completes golf’s grand slam
The Telegraph (U.K.)

Bobby Jones’s accomplishment in 1930 of seizing all four major titles in a calendar year was so discombobulating, so colossal in magnitude, that scribes in attendance struggled to summon up a label to do it justice. OB Keeler, of the Atlanta Journal, eventually settled upon the bridge term “grand slam” to capture a feat that no male or female or golfer has emulated in the 83 years since.

All of which leaves South Korea’s Inbee Park at a tantalising juncture as she heads to St Andrews for the Women’s Open next month. She has captured in swift succession the Kraft-Nabisco, LPGA Championship and US Women’s titles, leaving her poised to grasp a magical fourth on the Old Course stage.

That should, at least, guarantee her place in the annals of the game. Or it would, were it not for the daft decision recently to elevate to major status the Evian Masters in Haute-Savoie – where, as it happened, Park also won last year.

One of the coolest first pitches you’ll ever see, thanks to a Korean gymnast
Yahoo Sports

Holy hip replacement! Get a load of this first pitch thrown out at a Korean Baseball Organization game Friday. This amazing woman is Shin Soo-ji, a rhythmic gymnast, who did the first-pitch honors for the Doosan Bears before their game with the Samsung Lions. (Thanks to our pal Dan at MyKBO for the ID.)

A FOURTH STATE OF MATTER: Inside South Korea’s LCD revolution
The New Yorker

Not too long ago, I got on an airplane with a beautiful aqua-blue tail and rode it to Korea to see where they make liquid-crystal displays. It was a thirteen-hour flight, and, resolving to get something done, I typed some sentences on my computer. They appeared on a thirteen-inch liquid-crystal screen, manufactured in Korea by LG Display. Later, I read some of a book called “Soap, Science, and Flat-Screen TVs: A History of Liquid Crystals,” by David Dunmur and Tim Sluckin. The pages of the book formed themselves just below the surface of my iPod Touch, whose liquid-crystal display was also made in Korea by LG.

After a dinner of roast beef and baby potatoes, as we swung in a great slow arc over northern Canada, above the Arctic Circle, I watched three movies on the liquid-crystal screen inset into the seat in front of me. Somewhere over Siberia, I got a nosebleed. A kind flight attendant, dressed in the stylish Korean Air uniform—aqua-blue jacket, tight white skirt, white neck scarf whose stiff ends poked out like little TV antennas, all designed by the late Italian couturier Gianfranco Ferré—gave me a stash of paper towels, and I went to the bathroom to clean up. After so many hours of looking at pixel-borne versions of reality, my drops of blood looked shockingly red and lifelike against the white of the paper towel.

Restaurant review: Chego the sequel opens with familiar pan-Asian flavors
Los Angeles Times

If you were obsessed with the Kimchi Spam Bowl, and dismayed when the original Chego, the one in Palms, closed a few months ago, then you were probably all over the news that the new Chego 2.0, Roy Choi’s rice bowl joint, has been transplanted into a faded walking mall, behind Ocean Seafood in downtown’s Chinatown. Chego is all blasting reggae, sticky picnic tables in the courtyard, and frothing seas of Sriracha sauce that leave few dishes, including desserts, unscathed. A Chego banner, big as any Communist-era wall banner, is draped down the side of the building.

In the storefront once occupied by the original Mandarin Deli, the restaurant that brought soup dumplings to Los Angeles 35 years ago, there are now skinny spears of asparagus, blistered into submission, blanketed with crisply fried shallots, a duo of spicy sauces, and a shower of grated Parmesan. From the kitchen that introduced L.A. to hand-cut noodles, seaweed salad and scallion pancakes, Choi’s crew hits beer-battered French fries with melted cheese, sour cream tinted pink with spicy Indonesian sambal, and handfuls of chopped chiles and roasted garlic cloves, a combination that probably demands stronger drink than the bottles of Mexican pop in the fridge.

Chego, from its beginnings in a nondescript Westside mini mall, has always been perhaps the purest of Choi’s restaurants, the land of the three-culture rice bowl and a fount of culinary postmodernism. Chego was the first place where it was possible to discover Choi’s game plan: using the tricks of fine dining to elevate street food — the direct opposite of the semi-exoticized cooking he’d been doing at a giant Century City fusion restaurant, a kind of pan-Asian Chili’s, before he quit to start the Kogi truck.

Expert opinions: Korean barbecue
Sacramento Bee

What would you serve at your perfect barbecue?
Usually my culture in Korea, when you barbecue together, you do short ribs and rice. I marinate everything the day before I barbecue. For side dishes, we usually do kimchi (a traditional Korean dish featuring spicy fermented vegetables); we also do any other kind of side dish, like barbecue corn on the cob.

How would you prepare the meat?
For the short ribs, I buy them at the Korean grocery market. We have two different kinds of short ribs – thin slices and thick. For barbecuing outside, I usually get thin slices. If I get thick, I usually have to trim it. I usually shop at Smile Food Market (2948 Bradshaw Road, Sacramento). I call ahead and order, and they will pre-cut it for me. They also have good sticky rice.

Miss Korea 2013 entrants transformed into world’s toughest puzzle game
Rocket News

Calling all puzzle game fans! If you think you’re a Tetris master or can bust more moves than Bub and Bob put together, how about taking on this cunning new iPad game, which has players rearrange the now infamous Miss Korea 2013 entrants into (even more) identical rows to win?

An old friend of mine who had a mild form of colour blindness used to remark that playing puzzle games together was completely unfair since many of the coloured gems in titles like Bust-a-Move and Puzzle Fighter looked exactly the same to him. My colour vision is perfectly fine, but after checking this cheeky creation out today I think I’m starting to know how that must feel.

The Miss Korea 2013 debacle first began in April this year when the entrants’ photos were shared online first in Korea and then all across the globe, with netizens remarking on how remarkably similar the girls all looked. With the entrants all sporting shockingly similar makeup, hairstyles and expressions, the world was baffled as to how the contest’s judges would be able to select an outright winner, not to mention why the concept of beauty had seemingly been so rigidly defined.

Monday’s Link Attack: North Korea Missile Launches; John Cho; Grace Park
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: May 20th, 2013
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North Korea Launches Missiles for 3rd Straight Day
New York Times

North Korea launched two short-range projectiles into waters off its east coast for a third straight day on Monday, officials here said, despite warnings from the United States and South Korea against increasing tensions.

The North has conducted six such launchings since Saturday, in what are believed to be tests of short-range guided missiles or rockets from multiple launchers, officials said.

“We remain vigilant for the possibility that the North may launch more,” a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry said, insisting upon anonymity until his government made a formal announcement.

Kenneth Bae: Get him out, but also watch where you are [OPINION]
Seattle Times

For all the fanciful exaggeration of the charges against him, Bae is in a serious fix. North Korea is the most paranoid government on the planet. And Bae is ethnically Korean. Note that his captors use his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho. To them, he is one of theirs.

But he is an American, and our government needs to get him out of there. A diplomatic rescue is, however, going to cost something, and more than money.

More South Koreans support developing nuclear weapons
Los Angeles Times

Perhaps it is merely basic human desire to keep up with the neighbors, but an increasing number of South Koreans are saying that they want nuclear weapons too.

Even in Japan, a country still traumatized by the legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there is a debate about the once-taboo topic of nuclear weapons.

The mere fact that the bomb is being discussed as a policy option shows how North Korea’s nuclear program could trigger a new arms race in East Asia, unraveling decades of nonproliferation efforts. The government in Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test in February and is believed to be preparing a fourth.

In South Korea, high-profile defector is accused of spying for the North — by his sister
Washington Post

Earlier this year, one of the most prominent North Korean defectors, Yoo Woo-sung, walked out of his apartment building here and found four South Korean government vehicles waiting for him.

Authorities hauled Yoo away and arrested him on charges of espionage. They had learned of his alleged crime, court documents show, thanks to testimony from his sister, who said Yoo had been sent on a mission by North Korea’s secret police to infiltrate the defector community and pass back information about the people he met.

Yoo, 32, is being held at a detention center on the outskirts of Seoul, his case a reminder of how this peninsula’s messy and sometimes covert conflict has left the South on edge, with people here unsure whom they can trust.

South Korea: The little dynamo that sneaked up on the world
Christian Science Monitor

South Korea, long in the shadow of other Asian ‘tiger economies,’ is suddenly hip and enormously prosperous – so much so that it may have outgrown its thankless dream of reuniting with the North.

Undocumented Asian Americans are now sharing personal stories online — and onstage
New York Daily News

The crowd that had descended on Washington, D.C. included a great many undocumented immigrants like Pang, yet she felt as if she were an outsider amid the sea of humanity.

“We felt kind of alienated,” said Pang, 23, who was born in Singapore and moved to New York when she was 14. “There weren’t many Asian-American faces.”

Many undocumented Latino students have gone public with their stories, but it’s far less common for Asian-Americans to do the same — even though Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and activist Jose Antonio Vargas, arguably the country’s most high-profile undocumented immigrant, is from the Philippines.

About 1.3 million of the country’s 11.5 million undocumented immigrants were born in Asia, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates.

Asian-Americans: Smart, High-Incomes And … Poor?

Asian-Americans have the highest income and education levels of any racial group in the country. So it might be surprising that they have a higher poverty rate than non-Hispanic whites. Michel Martin discusses the issue with Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute and Rosalind Chou, co-author of The Myth of the Model Minority.

Is it time to kiss Michelle Rhee goodbye?
Washington Post

Is is time to kiss America’s most famous school reformer goodbye? Larry Cuban thinks so — and below he explains why. Cuban was high school social studies teacher for 14 years, a district superintendent (seven years in Arlington, VA), and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His new book is “Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education.” This post appeared on his blog.

In a drive toward reform, World Bank’s Jim Yong Kim turns to a ‘deliverologist’
Washington Post

[Sir Michael Barber] has caught Kim’s ear in particular and has been counseling the new World Bank president trying to focus an organization that internal documents describe as “overstretched.”

Barber’s philosophy lays out a tough road — one that would force the bank to change the way it sets internal budgets and be stricter in ensuring projects that countries want funded align with its overarching goals. Kim has made the top priority clear: eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. Reshaping how the bank operates to further that end may require a deep change in culture — and Barber’s ideas about service delivery are driving the process.

John Cho: ‘Harold & Kumar animated series pilot is written’
Digital Spy

John Cho has revealed that a pilot for the Harold & Kumar animated show on Adult Swim has been written.

Last year, it was announced that an animated version of the film franchise will be included in Adult Swim’s 2012-2013 season.

Vancouver’s Grace Park arresting in Hawaii Five-O
Vancouver Sun

As Hawaii Five-O prepares to wrap its third hit season, Vancouver’s Grace Park is almost as famous a fixture in Honolulu as the landmarks that flash on the screen in the show’s opening credits in sync with the best TV theme music of all time.

Park has chosen an isolated Honolulu hotel to meet with The Vancouver Sun, a place where no one will make a fuss over her. But the taxi drivers and hotel staff are still buzzing as she passes by dressed in a casual outfit: “Isn’t that … Yes, it is … that’s Kono.”

Kono Kalakaua, Park’s onscreen alter-ego, is the only female member of the elite Five O police squad that keeps the televised version of Hawaii safe from global organized crime lords with a tendency to arrive on the island and blow a lot of things up, because huge explosions look kinda awesome with a tropical backdrop and sunsets the colour of overripe papayas.

Conger and Wilson proving to be a good battery

While Hank Conger is focused on establishing a connection with every pitcher on the Angels’ pitching staff, he has developed a strong bond with left-hander C.J. Wilson.

That relationship is getting Conger into the lineup — he has caught six of Wilson’s last seven starts — and helping Wilson, as well.

“There’s a comfort level there that’s starting to develop,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Friday’s game, albeit a 3-0 loss to White Sox ace Chris Sale. “Hank didn’t really catch him last year, but it started in the spring. They are working well together.”

Monday’s Link Attack: Kelly Soo Park Murder Trial Set to Begin; Korean Men Love Makeup
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: May 13th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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North Korean academic says detained American called family and asked US to push for amnesty
AP via Washington Post

A North Korean academic says an American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor has called his family and urged Washington to push for his amnesty.

Ri Gyong Chol, section chief of the North Korean Academy of Social Sciences’ Institution of Law, also told The Associated Press Sunday that Kenneth Bae informed his family on Friday that he couldn’t appeal his April 30 sentence.

Ri’s information came from authorities in charge of Bae’s case. Washington has called for Bae’s release.

N. Korea in dangerous nuclear showdown: US envoy
AFP via Google News

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is playing a dangerous game in his nuclear showdown with the international community, the US envoy seeking to tempt the isolated state back into talks said Thursday.

Glyn Davies said ahead of a tour of South Korea, China and Japan that it was becoming clear that the young Kim is the master dictating policy, including sanctions-busting nuclear bomb and long-range missile tests.

Juliana Redding Murder Update: Kelly Soo Park’s defense claims Redding’s boyfriend could be killer
CBS News

In a key pre-trial hearing days before Kelly Soo Park stands trial for the 2008 murder of 21-year-old aspiring model Juliana Redding, the prosecution and defense effectively switched roles as Park’s attorneys sought to point to what they say is another possible murder suspect — Redding’s boyfriend.

The defense team is attempting to establish that former Santa Monica resident and surfer John Gilmore could very well have been the killer, instead of Park. Meanwhile, prosecutor Stacy Okun-Wiese voiced her intention to demonstrate Gilmore’s “innocence,” insisting Park is indeed the killer.

Park is accused of beating and strangling Redding, whose body was found in March 2008 in Redding’s Santa Monica, Calif. condo. Redding had moved to Santa Monica from Arizona in order to pursue a career in modeling and acting. She had been featured in Maxim magazine, where she won a “Hometown Hotties” contest.

District Attorney investigates complaint in Hollywood area council race
Southern California Public Radio

The District Attorney’s Office is investigating a complaint that campaign workers in a Hollywood area city council race illegally filled out ballots for voters.

The complaint was filed by the John Choi campaign against his opponent Mitch O’Farrell. According to the campaign, the O’Farrell camp mishandled ballots and outright voted on behalf of constituents in the Little Armenia neighborhood. The O’Farrell campaign denies all the allegations.

“This is the most blatant and widespread case of voter fraud I’ve seen in 20 years of political campaigns,” said Mike Shimpock of the Choi campaign. “They are literally stealing this election. This needs to be stopped.”

LA Catholic Archiocese grooming next generation of elementary school leaders
Southern California Public Radio

Tech-savvy and a skilled fundraiser, Jae Kim is exactly the type of leader the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles wants for its schools.

Last July, Kim became the first person other than a nun to be principal of St. John Chrysostom School in Inglewood. He’s outfitted the 85-year-old school with Wi-Fi, developed a financial plan that includes a rainy day fund and instructed teachers to post grades online.

Kim is part of a new generation of leaders whom the archdiocese is grooming. They’re being cultivated at a critical time for a Church eager to attract and hold onto the next generation.

Crazy, Stupid, Korean Love: On David Choe, Han, and “Unmarriageable” Koreans

I asked a few Korean Americans to elaborate on their “unmarriageable” status as professed by Choe. Aside from a universal sense of self-deprecation and wryness at an all too familiar topic, some responses specifically alluded to the personalities and relationships of their parents’ generation:

“It feels great because now I can tell my mom that it’s not my fault after all! It’s just because I’m Korean American. So, it’s your fault, mom. Your fault.” –C.K.

“My Korean father refused to marry my Korean mother, and abandoned her, pregnant and alone. I was sent away from the motherland, to be raised strangers abroad. But yeah, sure. That sounds great. It’s not like I’ve spent my entire life trying to prove I’m unmarriageable and unloveable.” –K.D.

“If I’m anything like my mother, I completely understand why a man would hesitate to marry me.” –V.L.

South Korean Men Cosmetics-Crazed
ABC News

Their catchy tunes and sleek moves have helped sell billions of records.

Now, K-pop’s biggest stars are helping cosmetics firms sell makeup – to men.

Eager to achieve their pretty-boy looks and smooth complexion, South Korean men are increasingly turning to BB cream foundation and anti-aging products to achieve K-Pop perfection, spending $900 million a year on cosmetics, according to research firm Euromonitor.

South Korea is by far the largest in a growing global market for men’s cosmetics, accounting for nearly a quarter of sales in the skin care market.

Japanese First Lady in Korean Musical Furor
Chosun Ilbo

Akie Abe, the wife of rightwing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, came in for a storm of criticism when she said on Facebook that she went to see a Korean musical.

Last Wednesday night, Akie posted the seemingly uncontroversial comment, “I had an enjoyable time watching Korean musical ‘Caffeine’ currently on stage in Tokyo,” with a photo showing her in front of the poster. “Caffeine” has been running since April 25 at the Amuse Musical Theater in Roppongi, Tokyo, which is dedicated to Korean musicals.

But Japanese patriots were incensed by her “careless” conduct as the wife of the prime minister at this “sensitive time.”

Los Angeles Dodgers Rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu Consistently Good in First Eight Starts
Yahoo Sports [Contributor Network]

The Los Angeles Dodgers spent a lot of money on Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu this winter. So far, he’s making them look awfully smart.

The initial scouting reports weren’t exactly impressive: an average fastball, an average slider and a potentially plus changeup. The reports almost didn’t warrant a six-year, $36 million deal and a $25.7 posting fee. He was nearly a $62 million commitment before even throwing a pitch in the majors. That’s what former No. 1 overall draft picks in the NFL used to get. In a league where contracts are guaranteed, the Dodgers were taking a considerable risk, no matter how deep their pockets are these days.

Hank Conger’s mother marvels at son’s MLB dream

Eun, born and raised in South Korea until immigrating to the U.S. in 1986, came from a culture that preaches studying hard, going to college, obtaining a degree and ultimately working a normal 9-to-5 job.

Draft night brought mixed emotions.

“It was half and half,” Eun said of how she felt to watch her son get selected in the first round. “I was happy, but then another side was like, ‘Aw, he should go to school.’”

But Eun can laugh about all this now. Her 25-year-old son is living out his dream in the Major Leagues, while serving as a backup catcher on the Angels and doing what only one percent of those who aspire to take on his profession actually accomplish. Better yet, he’s playing for a team whose home ballpark resides in Anaheim, a half-hour drive from the Huntington Beach area where Conger grew up.

Margaret Cho: I’d like to be a role model for minority women

From your early days, you often use your family as material in your stand-up — and your mother was the “headliner” in your latest tour. How did your parents and your cultural upbringing influence your career path?

Yes I think so, but what was remarkable was how much it really informed me as a person. I don’t know how Confucian I actually am consciously, but it seems to really have affected me because of my upbringing. I’m very drawn to Korean culture and food now that I’m older and have a more secure sense of my Americanness. There was a period where I wanted to avoid Korean things because they felt so close to home, but now I miss my home so much!

Asian American Literary Pioneers

May is Asian American History Month. As a recent U.S. Census report revealed, Asian Americans are the largest group immigrating to America in the last decade. It goes without saying that Los Angeles and Southern California is central to this, like it is with the Latino population. L.A. Letters celebrates all histories every month but nonetheless this week will focus on a few forgotten early Asian American pioneering poets that paved the way for the stellar contemporary writers mentioned previously in this column, like Sesshu Foster, Amy Uyematsu, Chiwan Choi, Traci Kato-Kiriyama, Edren Sumagaysay, Cathy Park Hong, and musicians and artists like Tracy Wannomae, Alan Nakagawa, DJ Rhettmatic, Prach Ly, and Yayoi Kusama, among countless others.

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