Tuesday’s Link Attack: NKorea is No Joke; Soccer Star Lee Young-pyo Retires; Craft Beers in Seoul
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: October 29th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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For South Korean, rescues of people abducted by North Korea come with controversy
Washington Post

The walls of Choi Sung-yong’s office are covered with the yellowed head shots of missing South Korean men. Most haven’t been seen since the 1960s or 1970s, when they were snatched by North Korean agents and detained with no explanation. One of the missing men is Choi’s father.

South Korea’s government has had little success in bringing them home. So, after years of mounting frustration, Choi has gone rogue.

He has become South Korea’s most high-profile advocate for the disappeared, a brash campaigner using shadowy brokers, bribes and lies to spirit the men out of one of the world’s most repressive countries. Since 2000, nine abductees have escaped the North, and Choi says eight of those — including a fisherman who returned last month — wouldn’t have made it out without his help.

North Korea is treated like a joke – but its realities are deadly serious
The Guardian (U.K.)

Kim Song-ju sought to escape the living hell of North Korea, but after crossing a freezing river into China was returned, like so many other defectors. He was sent to a prison camp, where he shared – with 40 other unfortunates – a cramped cell that had to be entered on all fours through a tiny door less than two feet high. They were starved – their watery soup often containing stones – and routinely beaten by guards, who told them they were no longer human.

Kim’s mother died in the prison, handcuffed to her bed. Her body was never returned to her family, who fear it was used for medical experiments. Eventually Kim escaped again, and now lives in Surrey’s serene suburbia. Last week, he was in Westminster Central Hall, in London, one of several witnesses telling their horror stories to a United Nations commission of inquiry investigating the hermit state’s atrocities. “In North Korea the words ‘human rights’ do not exist,” he said.

North Korea Seen Expanding Rocket Site
Wall Street Journal

North Korea is expanding its main missile launch site, possibly in preparation for larger rockets and mobile launchers, according to U.S.-based analysts’ reading of the newest satellite images.

38 North, a North Korea focused website run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, said Monday major construction was work underway at the Seohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, the site of the first successful satellite launch by North Korea last year.

The analysis comes from satellite images dated earlier this month.

Hundreds attend wake for three killed in Glenview crash
Chicago Tribune

The three people who died when their vehicle was struck by a garbage truck in Glenview earlier this month were honored recently during a wake in Niles attended by more than 250 people.

Chicago residents Won Suk Lim, 56, his wife Jung Ran Min, 50, and their friend, Gwi Rye Kim, 65, have been officially identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, which relied on dental records, according to a Glenview Police Department press release.

All three were in a car when it collided with a Village of Skokie garbage truck on Oct. 15 at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Harrison Street, officials said. Fire engulfed the crushed car, which Lim was driving. Lim’s wife Min was sitting in the front seat of the car, according to Glenview police.

Thieves steal $18,000 worth of hair in another smash and grab
Fox News (St. Louis, Mo.)

The owners of a South St. Louis beauty-supply store braced for big repair bills after they fell victim to the latest smash-and-grab burglary.

“In almost 30 years in business, this has never happened before,” said Kings Beauty Supply owner Taewan Cho. “They have broken in, but nothing like this.”

Before 5:30am Monday, his surveillance camera recorded a Jeep SUV backing into the front glass windows of the store on Chippewa Street and South Kingshighway Boulevard.

Torrance morning crash on Crenshaw Boulevard kills driver, 24
Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.)

A motorist was killed early Tuesday morning when he crashed into a light pole in Torrance, police said.

Dong Kyu Kang, 24, of Torrance was pronounced dead at the scene of the 4:10 a.m. crash on Crenshaw Boulevard near Skypark Drive, authorities said.

Police said the driver was south on Crenshaw when his 2005 Toyota Camry left the roadway, hit a light pole and struck a tree on the sidewalk.

5 S. Korean men handed down stiff sentences for killing wealthy businessman in the Philippines
Yonhap News

Five South Korean men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on Tuesday for jointly taking part in the murder of a wealthy South Korean businessman in the Philippines, the country’s top court said.

The Supreme Court of Korea upheld an appellate court’s 17-year prison term for a 35-year-old man, surnamed Yoon, while also confirming the roughly 15-year terms for the three other men, all in their early 30′s, over the murder case in August of last year. One more man — surnamed Song, age 42 — was also sentenced to a 5-year term in connection to the crime.

The five men plotted to rob the deep-pocketed businessman surnamed Jung after losing a heavy sum of money at a casino. They kidnapped the 41-year-old businessman in Manila and strangled him to death in Angeles, a Philippines city northwest of the capital, according to court records.

Husband Noah Kim will always love his wife, X Factor winner Dami Im
Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Noah Kim, 30, was in the audience for every show into the lead up to Im being crowned the latest winner of the reality singing show.

“I will always be Dami’s biggest supporter,” Kim told The Daily Telegraph.

“If she becomes really famous, then that’s a good thing. If not, I still love her. I am so proud of her, there are no words for it. She is happy so I am happy.”

Lydia Ko Has Total Package

Earlier this year, Lydia Ko talked about her memory of the first time she played in a group that included one of her idols, Michelle Wie. Ko was starstruck, intimidated, afraid she’d do or say the wrong thing.

It was cute and yet ironic. Because, if anything, Wie and many others on the LPGA Tour probably should be a bit intimidated by Ko. The 16-year-old Ko still has that air of, “Wow, I’m really doing this, right?” off the course, while maintaining a rather freakish adult calm and talent while on it.

Now that she’ll be playing golf for “real” money — not theoretical paychecks that she couldn’t accept as an amateur — will Ko stay the same kind of likable wunderkind? At least while she is still a kid? Is it possible?

Lee Young-pyo Retires in Style to Rousing Send-off from Whitecaps
Chosun Ilbo

The Vancouver Whitecaps won their final match of the Major League Soccer season with a resounding score of 3-0 on Sunday, giving Korean left-back Lee Young-pyo a memorable last hurrah for the team.

Lee wrapped up his 14-year career in professional football in style, earning a penalty but gracefully stepping aside to allow the team’s top striker to add to his season’s tally.

Fans shouted their encouragement for the World Cup veteran throughout the game against the Colorado Rapids at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver. When the ref blew his whistle to indicate a foul on Lee in the 43rd minute, cries of “Y.P. Lee!” filled the stadium as fans wanted him to get on the scoresheet one last time.

Hines Ward Shares Unforgettable Ironman Triathalon Moment

When I think about the greatest moments in Kona, it’s really hard to nail down just a few. Every single moment added up to one of the greatest experiences of my life – crossing the finish line at the Ironman World Championship. Going from the football field – where I was used to running in short bursts – to running an entire marathon AFTER swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles, was such a transformation physically and mentally. With the constant support and guidance from my coach Paula Newby Fraser, my Become One teammates and my friends and family, I became an Ironman on October 12, 2013.

Leading up to the race, we had a full week of activities that added to the race experience for me. At the Parade of Nations, I felt a sense of pride with my teammates as we sat in the back of a Steelers branded pickup truck. We threw footballs to the crowds and got everyone pumped up. The race hadn’t even begun and I already felt the love coming from the sidelines. It was incredible.

Seoul’s first foreign-owned brewpub opens in Gangnam
Korea Times

The very popular Craftworks Taphouse & Bistro, Seoul’s first foreign-owned brewpub, opened a branch in Gangnam on Tuesday night.

Named Craftworks Gagnam, the new venue continues to produce the large range of unique beers including Baekdusan Hefeweizen, Jirisan “Moon Bear” India Pale Ale (IPA), Seorak Oatmeal Stout and, just for fall, Hobak Pumpkin Spice IPA. The handcrafted beers are all named after the iconic mountains dotting the Korean Peninsula.

Management prides itself on the quality of all its beers.

Tuesday’s Link Attack: Candid Photos from NKorea; SKorea’s Frustrating Space Program; Hines Ward’s Emotional Ironman Finish
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: October 22nd, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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With Psy and currency swaps, South Korea grabs global influence

Its most recent effort to leverage brand “Korea” – three currency swap deals worth more than $20 billion that were announced this month.

South Korea had the seventh largest currency reserves in the world at the end of August, worth $331.1 billion, according to the Bank of Korea. It can easily afford to match cultural diplomacy with economic muscle as it competes with Japan and China for influence.

K-Pop icons such as Psy, whose “Gangnam Style” hit went viral in 2012, and even Korean food are used by Seoul to build South Korea’s brand, while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Hyundai Motor Co are firms with global reach.

N. Korea accuses U.S. of fueling military threat
Yonhap News

North Korea on Tuesday claimed that the United States is openly threatening the communist country with military force and warned it could respond to such provocations with war.

In a commentary carried by the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), Pyongyang said Washington’s efforts to set up a missile defense system and station unmanned aerial vehicles in Japan by citing North Korea as a threat is utterly ludicrous.

The paper added that with Pyongyang committed to building an economically prosperous country and improving the lives of its people, it does not want tensions but a peaceful environment on the Korean Peninsula.

The photos North Korea didn’t want you to see

As the sole Western journalist covering a unique bicycle race in North Korea last month, I was provided with a personal guide, a car with a driver and the promise that I was free to take any photographs I wanted. As a journalist, it seemed like an incredible opportunity to document a small snapshot of what North Korea was really like.

However, the promise turned out not to be completely true.

At the border, before going back to China, a group of security guards confiscated my camera and erased all images they thought were inappropriate, or did not portray the country in a favorable light.

South Korean Military Agency’s Headquarters Raided in Growing Scandal
New York Times

Military investigators raided South Korea’s Cyberwarfare Command on Tuesday after four of its officials were found to have posted political messages online last year, in what opposition lawmakers have called a smear campaign against President Park Geun-hye’s opponents before her election in December.

Ms. Park defeated her main opposition rival, Moon Jae-in, by roughly a million votes in the election and took office in February. But in a snowballing scandal, prosecutors have since said that agents of the National Intelligence Service posted thousands of Internet messages during the presidential campaign supporting Ms. Park and her governing Saenuri Party or berating government critics, including opposition presidential candidates, as shills for North Korea.

Last week, opposition lawmakers alleged in the National Assembly that the military’s secretive Cyberwarfare Command had carried out a similar online campaign, separately or in coordination with the spy agency, to help sway public opinion in favor of Ms. Park before the Dec. 19 election.

Two Korean-American Women Finalists for Corporate Counsel Awards
Korea Times

Two Korean-American women attorneys are among the 32 finalists for the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2013 Corporate Counsel Awards.

The award, in its fourth year, is described as a recognition “for exceptional legal skill and achievement for in-house responsibility and leadership as evidenced by the highest professional and ethical standards, and for contributions to the Los Angeles community at large.”

Candice Hyon, a graduate of UCLA and UC Davis Law school, has worked for clothing retailer Forever 21 for the past year. The La Canada native maybe short on experience, but it didn’t take long for her to be touted as a rising star in the industry.

Latest motorcyclist arrested for brutal beating of SUV driver on Henry Hudson Parkway has 18 prior arrests
New York Daily News

Cops have busted another motorcyclist for the vicious attack on a SUV driver who was chased off the Henry Hudson Parkway, police said Tuesday.

Jason Brown, 40, is the ninth person charged in the case.

He was slapped Monday with gang assault and felony assault charges for his alleged role in the terrifying beatdown.

Astronaut Agency Is Lost in Space, Opposition Says
Wall Street Journal

South Korea’s much-lauded space-development project came under fire at the National Assembly Monday, and fired back Tuesday.

Choi Jae-cheon, a lawmaker from the major opposition Democratic Party, complained during an annual audit session that the Korean Astronaut Program—after spending more than $20 million in taxpayer money to produce the country’s first space traveler back in 2008—has failed to lead to meaningful follow-up research.

“The fact that the symbol of (Korea’s) space science has gone to the U.S. to take an M.B.A. course, not working in the space industry,” Mr. Choi said, “demonstrates (the Korea Aerospace Research Institute) fails to nurture science talents in a systematic way.”

DMTN’s Daniel Appeals His One-Year Sentence

Daniel of idol group DMTN, who was sentenced to one year of prison, recently submitted his appeal to the Suwon District Court.

After his submission reaches the high court and a date is determined, Daniel’s lawyer will be notified within fourteen days.

Daniel, who admitted to his charges during the first trial, is claiming unfair sentencing in his appeal.

Hines Ward on His Emotional Ironman Finish

After 8 solid months of training for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, race day finally arrived. It was a blur for me, filled with intense emotions. Was I ready? I HAD to be. My coach had done her best to turn me into an endurance athlete and with the support from my Become One teammates I was going to face the grueling 140.6 miles of the Ironman World Championship head on.

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. after barely getting any sleep – thoughts were racing through my mind all night and I was feeling super-anxious. When I finally got out of bed I stretched for 20 minutes and then met my teammates to go for body marking (writing my race number on my arm). We headed to the transition area and made sure our bike tires were pumped to the right pressure and that our water bottles and nutrition packs were full.

I went back to my room one more time before the race to try and relax and go through my race strategy in my head, and all I could think about was the finish line. I had my sights set on it since the first day of training. It seemed so close but so far away.

Do Ho Suh Turns Household Appliances Into Ghostly Specimens
Huffington Post

Have you ever dreamed about the unlikely lovechild of a jellyfish and your fridge?

Artist Do Ho Suh’s upcoming exhibition transforms household appliances into polyester fabric forms, turning the clunky utilities into ghostly specimens. The sculptures will go on view in the aptly titled exhibition “Specimen Series,” at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Hong Kong.

The Korean-born, United States-based artist, consistently returns to themes of architecture, personal space and the home in relation to feelings of belonging, conformity and isolation. For this particular exhibition, Suh focuses on the mechanical objects we expect to encounter — though don’t necessarily see — around the home, from a refrigerator to a toilet. He depicts these cumbrous commodities as glowing exoskeletons that look more like alien forms than working appliances.

Students design gowns based on old Korean hanbok
San Francisco Gate

Move over, Tim Gunn. Make way for Abra Berman.

In a challenge to rival any on TV’s “Project Runway,” the Art Institute of California and the Asian Art Museum are asking fashion students to create gowns for patrons to wear at the opening night gala for “In Grand Style – Celebrations in Korean Art in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910),” this week.

Unlike the reality TV show, the students are not assigned to use bizarre materials like plastic garbage bags or hardware store finds for the full-length dresses.

Korea’s Cop Cats Will Arrest You with Cuteness

A police station in Seoul, South Korea is filled with more than just cops. There are two feline friends on duty—namely, sleep and snack patrol. It’s a heartwarming story how they got there.P

Meet Mango and Mango Kobun. According to the Seoul Police, a young man brought Mango to the station this past June. The cat, then about one month old, had seemingly been thrown away in a dumpster. If the cat’s owner weren’t found, the animal would have to be put to sleep.

Monday’s Link Attack: Singer IU’s ‘Shocking’ Diet; Dodgers Counting on Ryu; Koreatown is LA’s Hottest Neighborhood
Author: Young Rae Kim
Posted: October 14th, 2013
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Cho presses Japan over sex slavery
Korea Times

Cho Yoon-seon, Minister of Gender Equality and Family, returned to Seoul on Sunday after wrapping up her five-day visit to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee meeting.

During her visit, the minister called on the international community to act to resolve the decades-old issue of sex slaves during World War II.

On Saturday, Cho visited the “comfort women” monument set up in Bergen County, New Jersey to honor hundreds of thousands of wartime victims who were forced into sex slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during the war.

S. Korea raises “comfort women” issue at U.N. human rights panel
Yonhap News via GlobalPost

South Korea’s gender equality and family minister on Friday raised the issue of women brought into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II at the human rights panel of the U.N. General Assembly.

Although Cho Yoon Sun, the minister, did not specifically name Japan, she called on “the responsible government” to apologize and take responsible measures in her speech at the Third Committee, which oversees social and humanitarian affairs.

With the advancement of women on the committee’s agenda, the South Korean minister, speaking in English, devoted a substantial portion of her address to “the issue of the comfort women.”

Tabloids brimming with anti-Korea diatribes
Japan Times

For 11 consecutive days from the start of this month, every front page of the Yukan Fuji, a nationally circulated evening tabloid published by the Sankei Shimbun, was embellished with at least one negative reference to South Korea. Some headline excerpts:
•“S. Korea blasts into 20-year-long economic panic. President Park strays from her public commitment. Samsung shares plunge again.” (Oct. 1)
•“S. Korea’s President Park makes self-destructive remark in diplomacy with Japan.” (Oct. 2)
•“S. Korea’s President Park accelerates (her) tyrannical rule.” (Oct. 3)
•“List of toxic foods produced in S. Korea — insecticide found in ‘fresh cucumbers’ ” (Oct. 4).
•“Anti-Japanese radiation propaganda boomerangs on S. Korea’s own marine products industries.” (Oct. 5)
•“Kara breakup drama; final curtain goes down on the Hanryu boom” (Oct. 6)

And so on.

Int’l sex trafficking – Korea’s open secret
Korea Times

By the time Lee, a 30-year-old Korean sex worker in Melbourne, called for help in 2010, she’d been forced into prostitution in two foreign countries and piled up a huge amount of debt.

She says loan sharks, bar managers and even clothing shop owners in Busan conspired to induce her to borrow $20,000. They sent her to brothels in Japan and Australia, where she was forced to have sex with up to 10 clients a day.

Hong, a 26-year-old North Korean defector, thought she would be working in a karaoke bar singing with customers and borrowed $6,000 for a broker to arrange a working holiday visa and for travel expenses last year.

Fond Recollections of Dictators, Colored Later by the Lessons of History
New York Times

MONICA MACÍAS calls herself the daughter of dictators. Two of them.

Her father was Francisco Macías Nguema, the first president of Equatorial Guinea, whose rule was marked by the execution of thousands. But the man who became her guardian, and father figure, was even more infamous: Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea and creator of a real-life Orwellian dystopia of gulags and near-total information control.

Ms. Macías landed in Mr. Kim’s care when her father asked Mr. Kim to oversee three of his children’s educations. Like many in the cold war-era third world, the African leader looked up to Mr. Kim. Soon after, Mr. Macías was overthrown and executed, but Mr. Kim fulfilled the promise, educating the children at some of the North’s best schools.

S. Korean gov’t doing poor job of managing N. Korean defectors: lawmaker
Yonhap News via GlobalPost

South Korea is not keeping proper tabs on North Korean escapees, a local lawmaker said Monday, fueling criticism that policymakers are not interested in properly caring for these marginalized citizens.

Rep. Kim Sung-gon, of the main opposition Democratic Party, said as of this May 25,560 North Korean defectors have arrived in the country. The lawmaker said in a report released ahead of the unification ministry’s parliamentary audit set for Tuesday, that of all defectors Seoul was aware of the whereabouts of 23,075 of them, with there also being discrepancies in the information held by different agencies.

Kenneth Bae’s mother thanks N.K. for allowing meeting with son: report
Yonhap News

The mother of an American man jailed in North Korea for unspecified anti-government crimes has expressed her gratitude to the North Korean government for allowing her to meet her son in Pyongyang, a news report said Saturday.

Kenneth Bae, a 45-year-old Korean-American known as a Christian missionary, was arrested in North Korea last November on charges of unspecified anti-government activities. In April, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

THE BOSS: You’d Better Have a Plan
New York Times

MY parents emigrated from South Korea to the United States when my father enrolled in graduate school here for a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. My mother makes the woman who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” look like a kitten. She had strong ideas on how to raise children and pushed my older sister, Lydia, and me.

Lydia and I learned to play piano, violin and guitar and took tennis, swimming and ice-skating lessons. If I got a 100 on a test, my mother wanted to know why I hadn’t gotten extra credit. Her teachings have been helpful in my professional life.

My father gave me math and science lessons. When I was about 4, he bought an early computer and wrote basic scripts for me to type so I’d feel I had programmed it myself. I’d watch my dad go to work every day and decided I wanted a job. After seeing him get his shoes shined, I pitched the idea that I should do it, and he agreed. I was probably terrible at it, which meant he put up with badly shined shoes. Later, his approach to any problem I had was to suggest I think about it differently. I’ve heard his voice when facing challenges.

Victim snaps pictures of crook in attempted robbery
WSMV (Tenn.)

Just a few snaps of a camera phone made a big difference in cracking an attempted robbery case. A suspect has been arrested for trying to rob Clarksville military supply store Army Town at gunpoint. The victim was able to get valuable clues to police when he shared pictures of the crook in his getaway vehicle.

Adam Yoon, of Clarksville, said a man in a mask burst into his Tiny Town Road business last week and pointed a gun at him.

“He aimed the gun at me and said, ‘Give me the money!’” said Yoon.

Yoon said he turned around and bolted out the back of the store with the masked man chasing behind him.

Google Jousts With Wired South Korea Over Quirky Internet Rules
New York Times

South Korea is one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries. It has ubiquitous broadband, running at speeds that many Americans can only envy. Its Internet is also one of the most quirky in the world.

A curfew restricts school-age children from playing online games at night; adults wanting to do so need to provide their resident registration numbers to prove that they are of age.

Until last year, commenters on the Web were legally required to use their real names. A simple Web search in Korean can be a fruitless experience, because the operators of many sites, including some government ministries, bar search engines from indexing their pages.

Punk Band No Brain Sign Deal with Famous U.S. Producer
Chosun Ilbo

No Brain, a Korean punk rock band that emerged from Seoul’s hip Hongik University area, have signed a recording contract with world renowned record producer Seymour Stein.

“No Brain [are] unique in performance. I think they have universal appeal,” said Stein, who serves a vice president of Warner Bros. Records and co-founder of Sire Records. He made the comments on Friday while delivering a lecture at MU:CON Seoul 2013, a world music market hosted by the Korea Creative Contents Agency.

The recording will take place in Los Angeles, he added.

IU Went on a Shocking Diet to Prepare for Her Comeback

IU revealed the shocking diet she underwent in order to prepare for her current comeback.

On October 12, KBS‘s “Entertainment Weekly” aired a special interview with IU through the program’s corner “Guerrilla Date.” The singer confirmed that she gained a lot of weight while filming KBS’s drama “You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin.” IU also stated that she was most concerned with her weight as she prepared for her comeback.

Korean Franchises, Food Makers Expand in U.S.
Chosun Ilbo

Korean bakery franchises, coffee chains and food manufacturers are expanding their outlets in the U.S.

Paris Baguette on Sunday opened a four-story outlet in Manhattan’s Times Square, the second one in New York City after one in Koreatown in mid-town Manhattan. Next month, the bakery franchise plans to open two more, in mid-town and on the Upper West Side.

Caffé Bene has eight outlets in the U.S., including one in Times Square which opened in February 2012 and another near the Fashion Institute of Technology that opened in July this year.

Down 0-2 in NLCS, Dodgers place their fate in Hyun-Jin Ryu’s hands
Los Angeles Times

For the Dodgers to advance to the World Series, they’ll have to do to the St. Louis Cardinals what the Cardinals did to them.

“We have to beat their ace,” Adrian Gonzalez said. “It’s that simple.”

So, come Monday at Dodger Stadium in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, Hyun-Jin Ryu will be asked to replicate the performances of Cardinals starters Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha in the first two games of the series.

Kelly kept up with Zack Greinke in Game 1 to set the stage for the Cardinals’ 13-inning, 3-2 walk-off victory. Wacha blanked the Dodgers for 6 2/3 innings in Game 2, allowing the Cardinals to beat Clayton Kershaw, 1-0.

Former NFL star Hines Ward completes triathlon
Associated Press

Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Hines Ward added a new title to his resume Saturday. Not content with the titles of football and dancing star, Ward now is an Ironman.

The two-time Super Bowl winner finished one of the world’s most challenging triathlon courses in 13 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds.

Ward was the 1,680th athlete to cross the finish line after a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon. He swam a 1:20:01, biked a 06:21:12 and finished off with a 5:12:56 run.

Pitcher Yoon Suk-min leaves for U.S. in hopes of starting gig in MLB
Yonhap News

Former MVP-winning pitcher Yoon Suk-min left for the United States on Monday in pursuit of his first Major League Baseball (MLB) contract, saying he would like to earn a starting job.

The 27-year-old right-hander for the Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said he plans to stay in the U.S. for about three weeks to discuss future options with his agent, Scott Boras, and also to go through his offseason training program.

With nine KBO seasons under his belt, Yoon, who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen throughout his career, is eligible for free agency this winter.

Don’t Go Pro, Lydia Ko

Amateur sensation Lydia Ko is turning pro and has asked the LPGA Tour to waive its age limit.

The 16-year-old from New Zealand already is a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour — both wins at the Canadian Women’s Open — and last year became the youngest winner in LPGA history. She also contended at the Evian Championship last month in the year’s fifth and final major championship.

The LPGA Tour confirmed that it received a petition from Ko asking that it waive its minimum age requirement of 18.

How ‘hanbok’ is influencing biggest fashion names

Compared with the Japanese kimono and Chinese cheongsam, Korea’s traditional dress — known as hanbok, and worn by women and men — has remained under the international fashion radar.

So much so that when Lee Young Hee, among South Korea’s most renowned hanbok designers, showed her collection in Paris for the first time in 1993, most of the fashion press alluded to her silhouettes as “kimonos” — to the horror of both the designer herself and everyone back in Seoul.

Why Koreatown Is L.A.’s Hottest Neighborhood
Conde Nast Traveler

Nobody walks in L.A.” So sings the one-hit wonder band Missing Persons, but they clearly never hung out in L.A.’s Koreatown. The three-square-mile district just west of downtown has recently exploded into a hub for creative types and a magnet for hipsters—and it’s actually pedestrian-friendly. Come November, the cool quotient goes up again with the opening of The Line hotel (from the team behind Manhattan’s NoMad), which brings the city’s best Korean-American tastemakers together to create the nabe’s next hot spot. The Line (213-381-7411; doubles from $240) will feature two restaurants (both helmed by Korean BBQ master Roy Choi), a swank retro-themed lounge from L.A. bar scene VIPs the Houston Brothers, as well as an outpost of local design shop Poketo from Angie Myung. But the hotel isn’t the only place these folks are making waves; they’re the force behind K-Town’s rise in general. That’s why we tapped them, along with another trendsetter, LACMA curator Christine Y. Kim, to share their personal picks for the area’s musts:

Frugal Find: Isaan Station in Koreatown
Los Angeles Magazine

Like its spicy grilled meats and tonsil-searing salads, the cuisine of Isaan, in northeastern Thailand, has caught fire in L.A. The eight-month-old Isaan Station, located in Koreatown’s neon-lit nightlife zone, puts a stylized spin on the region’s street food scene. Thai hip-hop blares and campy vintage radios decorate the walls, but the kitchen stays true to Isaan’s rustic classics. Goong chae nam pla is shrimp sashimi bathed in chili and garlic, sliced beef nahm dtok nue, or waterfall beef salad, arrives gritty with crushed roasted chilies, and a cockle salad unites shaved lemongrass and volcanic prik kee noo peppers.

Tuesday’s Link Attack: Free Kenneth Bae; SKorea’s Heat Wave; Karen O on Spike Jonze Movie Soundtrack
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: August 13th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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American Inmate in North Korea Asks for High-Level U.S. Visit
New York Times

An American tour operator imprisoned in North Korea on charges of plotting to harm the Socialist country through Christian missionary activities has appealed to Washington to send a high-ranking official to North Korea to help free him, according to a videotaped interview made public on Tuesday.

The Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper based in Japan, on Tuesday posted the video of the tour operator, Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American from Washington State, sitting in a hospital in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, to which he was moved from a labor camp a week ago as his health deteriorated.

Mr. Bae, 45, had been imprisoned at the camp since May, shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what the North Korean authorities said were hostile acts against the government. Mr. Bae was leading a group of visitors from China into the special economic zone of Rason in northeastern North Korea when he was arrested in November.

Family of American held in North Korea asks US to step up efforts to free him
Christian Science Monitor

The family of Kenneth Bae, the American who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea in May, is appealing to the United States to step up efforts to bring him home.

Mr. Bae’s mother, sister, and brother received letters and a video from him and were informed that he had been transferred from a labor camp to a hospital and that his health was deteriorating after nine months of incarceration.

“I don’t see any action. I want to ask them, send an envoy or do something. As a mother, I am really getting angry, really getting angry. What do they do?” Bae’s mother, Myung-Hee, told CBS News.

Heat wave kills eight people in S. Korea
Yonhap News via GLobalPost

A scorching heat wave has killed eight people in South Korea in recent months, the health and welfare ministry said Tuesday, as the weather agency issued a heat advisory and heat warning for most parts of the country.

The heave wave has gripped South Korea for weeks as temperatures topped 33 C in Seoul and other major cities. Temperatures have reached a record 39.2 C in Gimhae, near South Korea’s second-largest city of Busan, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

A heat advisory is issued when temperatures exceed 33 C for two straight days, and a heat warning is issued when temperatures surpass 35 C for two straight days, according to the weather agency.

Radioactive Isotope Detected in South Korea
Wall Street Journal

News on Tuesday of the detection in South Korea of traces of a rare radioactive isotope often found soon after atomic bomb tests has prompted questions, but provided little in the way of answers.

Officials said it would be premature to conclude that the xenon isotope is connected to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, pouring cold water on initial speculation of this sort.

North Korea’s atomic program jumped to the top of headlines this year following its February bomb test and an announcement that it would restart its mothballed nuclear facility in Yongbyon, north of the capital, Pyongyang.

South Korea warns Japan over trips to war shrine
Channel News Asia

South Korea on Tuesday warned Japanese politicians against visiting a controversial war shrine on the anniversary this week of its surrender in World War II.

The Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, which honours some 2.5 million war dead including 14 top war criminals, has been a constant source of tension in Northeast Asia.

South Korea and China both insist that official visits to the site are a calculated affront to those countries that suffered under Japan’s imperialist aggression.

Descendants of Korean Immigrants to Mexico Visit S.Korea
KBS World

Descendants of Koreans who immigrated to Mexico and Cuba around the Japanese colonial era have come back to South Korea to learn more about the history and culture of their ancestors’ mother country.

Forty young people from the Latin American countries will visit Seoul, Ulsan, Gyeongju and Jeonju during their week-long stay.

The Overseas Koreans Foundation, which organized the training program for the descendants, hopes the group will feel a sense of identity and pride in their Korean heritage through the visit. The foundation plans to provide support so they will eventually liaise between South Korea and Mexico and Cuba.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O Is In On The New Spike Jonze Movie

Karen O is set to provide music for the new Spike Jonze movie Her, a movie which also sees contributions from Arcade Fire and stars Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. This is the second time Karen O has provided music to a Spike Jonze movie, she was also in on the Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack. Arcade Fire have worked with Jonze as well, when they collaborated on the short film from Arcade Fire called Scenes From The Suburbs. Arcade Fire also did a music video with Spike Jonze for an acoustic version of the song Wake Up.

Shut Up, You’re Welcome: Thoughts on Life, Death and Other Inconveniences by Annie Choi
Paste Magazine

Whenever someone tells me to shut up, I try not to return their thanks with a big-hearted “You’re welcome.” After all, I’ve just been told to shut up. But the title of Annie Choi’s new book makes me wonder whether I’m guilty of a tacit rudeness. What’s the polite reply to “Thanks for shutting up”? Cold, dead silence? Or that cheeky, cheery “You’re welcome?”

Hard as I looked, I didn’t find the answer in any of the hilarious essays of Shut Up, You’re Welcome: Thoughts on Life, Death and Other Inconveniences. Instead I found sprightly anecdotes galore and prose technique to rival the best humorists now working in this style.

Ward’s fiancee, friends successfully keep party a surprise
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When planning a surprise party of any kind, it’s always good to know who can keep a secret.

Especially when it comes to pulling it off for one of the most beloved alumni of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“It’s hard!” said Lindsey Georgalas, Hines Ward’s fiancee. “We’re glued at the hip, so I was stressed about it. He thinks we’re here to do this autograph party.”

The “here” in the equation was the Rivers Casino, where an unsuspecting Ward thought he was engaged for a meet-and-greet Aug. 9 with Casino VIPs in the Wheelhouse. Unbeknownst to him, 200 more guests were waiting in the wings up in the banquet room, ready to pounce on No. 86 for what was being pegged as The Official Retirement Party.

Choo snaps slump in Sunday’s extra-innings victory

On Sunday, leadoff hitter and center fielder Shin-Soo Choo ended the longest hitting slump of his brief tenure with the Reds at the most optimal time.

Choo ripped a one-out double to right field in the bottom of the 13th inning during the winning rally for a 3-2 win over the Padres. The hit snapped a 0-for-16 funk. He entered the at-bat 0-for-5 on the day.

“Hopefully I have turned it around and I will have a better series, starting today,” Choo said on Monday in the visitors’ clubhouse at Wrigley Field. “It was my first hit against San Diego this year [after also being 0-for-16]. That’s part of baseball.

Wednesday’s Link Attack: Kenneth Bae’s Friends Ask For Help; Choco Pie Diplomacy; Shin-Soo Choo
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: May 1st, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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College friends seek release of former University of Oregon student Kenneth Bae from North Korean prison
The Oregonian

Friends and colleagues described Bae as a devout Christian from Washington state but based in the Chinese border city of Dalian who traveled frequently to North Korea to feed the country’s orphans.

“Knowing Kenneth from college, he’s such a warm-hearted person, I can’t imagine him breaking the law,’’ Kwon said, adding that it is possible Bae took photos of orphans begging for food: “He probably couldn’t walk away from what he saw.”

Since Sunday, Lee and Kwon have been calling friends as well as Oregon’s congressional delegation to see what can be done to release their old college buddy. They are working on a website to complement a Facebook page that went up in late December.

Why is North Korea cooling it?

After weeks of fiery rhetoric, military saber rattling and threats against the United States and South Korea, North Korea seems downright quiet and willing to dial back the tension.

Fears Kim Jong Un would test a long-range missile have given way to an easing of his daily war threats, and North Korea has produced a list of conditions for dialogue.

In exchange for returning talks, North Korea wants the lifting of U.N. sanctions, the end of the U.S.-South Korea military drills, the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear strike capabilities from the region and a halt on criticism of the North. It also wants a South Korean apology for offending its leadership.

Choco Pies offer North Koreans a taste of the other side
The Guardian (U.K.)

World leaders have tried aid, lectures, sanctions and engagement. But the long-term future of North Korea may be partly determined by a small, round, sugary snack from the South given as a reward to North Korean workers, say analysts.

“Choco Pies are an important mind-changing instrument,” said Andrei Lankov, author of The Real North Korea and a leading expert on the country.

“It has become a symbol of South Korean prosperity – and North Koreans read it. They are suffering and starving, but thanks to Choco Pies, DVDs and large-scale labour migration to China, people don’t buy the old story [that the South is even poorer] and the government does not sell it any more.”

New Student School Board Member Says, ‘Students Are the Largest Stakeholders’
Patch.com (Rockville, Md.)

Meet Justin Kim, junior at Poolesville High and an 18-year-old Gaithersburg native who will serve as student member of the Montgomery County Board of Education next year.

Kim was elected to the position with 65 percent of the student vote, Montgomery County Public Schools announced April 26. All secondary students in the system were eligible to participate in the election.

Patch spoke to Kim about what he hopes to achieve during his term and the challenges the school system faces.

ITV Studios America Ups True-Crime Producer John X. Kim
Deadline Hollywood

Veteran showrunner John X. Kim has been promoted to Senior Executive Producer, ITV Studios America. Kim is the co-creator and executive producer of the real-life homicide investigation series The First 48, now in its 15th season on A&E. He also exec produces After The First 48 and The Killer Speaks, both currently airing on A&E, and the upcoming The Mathis Project on BET.

Cho teaches K-pop that youth isn’t everything
JoongAng Daily

The K-pop scene has long been dominated by sleek young talents in their teens or not far out of them. But youth is not a requirement as 63-year-old veteran singer Cho Yong-pil has proven.

Cho’s new single “Bounce” is a hit, as is his new “Hello” – which happens to be his 19th.

“Bounce” immediately reached No. 1 on nine local music charts, competing with Psy’s global hit “Gentleman.” Preorders for “Hello,” Cho’s first album in a decade, reached 20,000.

Hines Ward doesn’t ‘think football is ready’ for an openly gay player
CBS Sports

Jason Collins decision to come out of the closet is a huge deal: Collins, despite being an NBA free agent, is the first active player in any major North American sport to be openly gay. It’s not illogical to believe that the NFL and MLB are next in line to accept an openly gay player.

However, former Steelers wideout Hines Ward doesn’t think that “football is ready” for an openly gay player just yet.

“I don’t think football is ready. There’s too many guys in the locker room and, you know, guys play around too much,” Ward said on NBC Sports Radio via Pro Football Talk.

What a Bargain!: Shin-Soo Choo is a Steal for the 2013 Cincinnati Reds
Yahoo Sports

The Cincinnati Reds took a chance that other teams may not have taken when they converted right fielder Shin-Soo Choo to center field, where Choo had played all of 10 games in his eight years prior to 2013. Defensively, the move of Choo to center hasn’t been flawless (2 errors and other dicey moments), but his strong arm and sufficient range have made the gamble by the Reds to play Choo in center look acceptable.

Offensively, Choo has been worth his weight in gold as a leadoff hitter. Leading the majors in on-base percentage with enough pop in his bat to also rank within the Top 10 in MLB in on-base plus slugging is much more of a return on investment than the $3.875 million the Reds are paying Choo this year.

Chego Opens in Chinatown This Saturday
LA Weekly

From Roy Choi’s Twitter feed, and I quote: “We don’t think anyone’s been as excited about Chego in Chinatown as us. And, well, maybe you. Which is why we’re sending you the invite. Finally. Ooey Gooey Fries and Chubby Pork Bellies shall be had once again…With maybe a little ping pong on the side. Trust. It shall be a Grand Opening that Far East Plaza shalt not soon forget.”
What: Chego reopens in Chinatown. Or, more stuff you’re probably wildly happy about. (See: The Dodgers, maybe. Trois Mec, maybe. Number 98.)

When: Sat. May 4, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Cocohodo: Korean Walnut Pastries In OC’s Koreatown
OC Weekly

Usually, Asian trends start in LA and then migrate south to the smaller enclaves in Orange County. LA’s Koreatown is approximately a bazillion times larger than OC’s ever-expanding Koreatown, but that didn’t stop Cocohodo, a dessert maker whose name inspires Pavlovian drooling among a certain subset of young Koreans, from opening their first U.S. shop in Buena Park.

The little treats are so popular that there’s now a larger, more upscale-looking shop in Kaju Plaza at the northwest corner of Garden Grove Boulevard and Magnolia Street in Garden Grove, where the H-Mart is. You walk in and there is the usual menu of Asian tea drinks (boba, grain tea, etc.) and a display full of empty boxes.

North Korea’s former poet laureate to publish memoir in English
Los Angeles Times

Rider Publishing, a Random House imprint, acquired world rights to “Crossing the Border,” the memoirs of former North Korean State Poet Laureate Jang Jin-sung, the Guardian reports. In 2004, unable to reconcile his privileged position with the suffering endured by most North Koreans, Jang traveled to China on a pass and from there he found sympathizers who got him to South Korea.

Accounts of North Korea by insiders are rare. North Korean Kang Chol-hwan authored the prison camp memoir “The Aquariums of Pyongyang.” Barbara Demick’s “Nothing to Envy,” a National Book Award finalist, told of the hardships of ordinary life in North Korea as related by defectors living abroad.

Blakelock’s Ji Soo Choi headed to Juilliard to study violin
InsideHalton.com (Ontario, Canada)

Oakville’s Ji Soo Choi clearly has music in her veins. The young violinist is headed to Juilliard School in New York City where she will work on her bachelor’s degree in violin this coming school year.

“I’m really excited. It’s something that also my mom dreamed of and is something that I really wanted to do. Juilliard is such a big name,” Choi said.

The 18-year-old T.A. Blakelock High School student has been playing violin since the age of three. She takes lessons through the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) and practices a minimum of six hour a day, this on top of the time she spends in music class at Blakelock. She’s also the concertmaster for the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.

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