Kim Didn’t Die on his Train, says South Korean Spy Chief
According to The Times, Won Sei Hoon, director of the South’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), was reported by Seoul media as saying: “We confirmed through US satellite surveillance photos that Kim’s personal train was stationary in Pyongyang [before his death].”
“We kept tabs on Kim’s whereabouts until Thursday but could not locate him starting Friday. There are signs that he tried to go somewhere [on Saturday morning] but died.”
This is at odds with the official North Korean version. Kim is said to have died of a heart attack at the age of 69 while travelling on his official train due to “great mental and physical strain” brought on by a “high intensity field inspection”.
S. Korea’s Top Spy Under Pressure to Quit Over Kim’s Death
Bloomberg Business Week
Park and Kwon joined the growing criticism directed at the spy agency for its shortfalls in collecting intelligence on a regime that’s still technically at war with Asia’s fourth- largest economy. South Korea’s government wasn’t alone in being blindsided as President Barack Obama learned of Kim’s death half an hour after the North Korean broadcasts, according to the White House.
Kim Jong Il Rumors Take Flight
The Wall Street Journal
…since the blogosphere hates an information vacuum, there are numerous rumors flying around about the circumstances of the Dear Leader’s death and who knew about it first.
One of the most bizarre is that Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest business conglomerate, knew about Mr. Kim’s demise a day ahead of the announcement to the world by North Korea’s state media.
The rumor was started by a local newspaper, which subsequently deleted its report. That didn’t stop the talk catching fire on Twitter and online forums. Samsung was forced to deny the rumor twice.
Aid Groups Don’t Want U.S. to Delay Food Shipments to North Korea
Los Angeles Times
U.S. State Department officials said they intended to wait out the announced 11-day official mourning period to mark Kim Jong Il’s death in North Korea before assessing the nation’s food needs.
“We’re going to have to keep talking about this, and given the mourning period, frankly, we don’t think we’ll be able to have much more clarity and resolve these issues before the new year,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news conference.
The regime is in the process of transitioning power to Kim’s youngest son and untested heir-apparent, Kim Jong Un.
Edgewater Woman Sentenced to Jail for Role in Fraud Ring
Kim was among 53 people arrested in September 2010 following an investigation into a Palisades Park-based identity theft and fraud ring. She previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, possession of 15 or more unauthorized credit cards with intent to defraud and aggravated identity theft.
Authorities said Kim also admitted to carrying at least 20 fraudulent credit cards to make purchases without ever intending to pay the bill.
An Identity Through Cooking
The Boston Globe
Before garnering fame by blending Korean and American Southern dishes as the second runner-up on season five of “The Next Food Network Star,’’ Lee endured taunting as a Korean-American growing up in Arizona. But her TV success helped her come to grips with her identity and launched a culinary career that includes a popular Los Angeles-based food truck and restaurant. This fall, she wrote “Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share With Family and Friends.’’
Nepali Student, 14, Adjusts to Life in Boston
This is an interesting story about a teenager from Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries, who moved to Boston to live with a Korean American couple as part of a new social welfare program.
[14-year-old Manisha] Sapkota spent most of her childhood in the central Nepal village of Arba, in a three-room house with a large extended family — her great-grandmother, grandparents, two aunts, three uncles, her parents, her brother, and one cousin. Now she has her own room, like any other American girl, plastered with posters from the “Twilight” movies.
Chen originally planned for Sapkota to live with him and his wife in a Jamaica Plain triple-decker, but that became impossible when they agreed to take in another Trinity Academy student who needed a home.
Instead, she lives downstairs with their friends Dan Lee, 38, pastor of Highrock Covenant Church of Brookline, and Diana Choi Lee, 34, a seventh-grade history teacher at Weston Middle School, who both visited Nepal with Chen’s group and knew Sapkota before she came to the United States.
North Korea’s Tears: A Blend of Cult, Culture and Coercion
The New York Times
A day after North Korea announced the death of its longtime ruler, Kim Jong-il, televised video and photographs distributed by the reclusive state on Tuesday showed scenes of mass hysteria and grief among citizens and soldiers across the capital. The images, many of them carefully selected by the state Korean Central News Agency, appeared to be part of an official campaign to build support for Mr. Kim’s successor, his third son, Kim Jong-un.
Kim Jong-il, the Sportsman
The New York Times
In his first match at Pyongyang Lanes, Kim bowled a perfect 300, according to state-run news media, which did not say whether the bumpers were raised. But that is nothing compared with the five holes in one and 38 under par that Kim reportedly shot in his maiden round of golf. No word on whether the course included a windmill, lion’s head and pop-up gopher.
Of course, in a closed, isolated nation like North Korea, it is difficult to separate the milk of fact from the crème of fiction. Some accounts had Kim shooting 11 aces, not merely five.
Steelers’ Hines Ward had a ‘blast’ with ‘Dark Knight’ role
[Hines Ward] and several other Steelers teammates were asked by producer Thomas Tull to take part in the Christopher Nolan-directed film, which is due out July 20. Ward normally does not take kickoff returns, but this is Hollywood, after all.
“I hadn’t run back a kickoff in forever,” says Ward of the scene, filmed at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. “It was a little bizarre. But I scored on the return and any time I score it’s a lot of fun.”
Choi Kang-hee is surprise pick as S. Korea coach
AP via SI.com
South Korea sprang a surprise by appointing Choi Kang-hee as the new coach of the national team on Wednesday despite the fact he had already turned down the job and that a foreign coach was widely anticipated.
Choi, who had been coach of club side Jeonbuk Motors, replaced Cho Kwang-rae, who was fired earlier this month after a shock defeat by Lebanon jeopardized the country’s chances of advancing in Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Korea needs a draw against Kuwait on Feb. 29 to be certain of a place in the final phase of qualification, and the importance of that game was a decisive factor in Choi getting the job.
“We thought long and hard about it,” Korean Football Association technical chief Hwangbo Kwan said. “We decided to appoint Choi because we wanted to make the most of the short time we have before the game against Kuwait on February 29 and Choi can led the team in stable manner.”
Submission of the Year: ‘Korean Zombie’ Twists to the Top
Jung learned his twister skills from Youtube videos of jiu-jitsu teacher Eddie Bravo, who took the basic technique from amateur wrestling, where the hold is known as a guillotine. He put out a DVD in 2005 and a detailed book two years later, but the twister before Jung was successfully applied only a few times in MMA, including twice by female fighter Shayna Baszler and once by Japanese fighter Shuichiro Katsumura, all on smaller shows.
By doing it at the UFC level, Jung exposed the twister to most MMA fans for the first time. Even Bravo was impressed.