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
Filed Under: BLOG
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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.

Kim Jong-un’s Nephew to Study Politics at University in France
Author: Steve Han
Posted: August 27th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Kim Han-sol, the teenage nephew of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, will start school next month at Paris Institute of Political Studies in France.

The 18-year-old’s family has been living in exile in Macau and China after his father, Kim Jong-nam, had a falling out with the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in May 2001. Jong-nam reportedly was excluded from the Kim family for advocating political reform in North Korea. He was also known for living a lavish lifestyle, which made headlines around the world in 2001 when he tried entering Japan with a fake passport to visit Disneyland.

Kim, who has never met his uncle and current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, graduated from the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia, in May this year before returning to Macau. He will begin his studies at the campus of the Paris Institute of Political Studies, also known as Sciences Po, in Le Havre in northwestern France. Continue Reading »

Korean American Granted North Korean Citizenship
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: January 22nd, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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In a rare move by Pyongyang, a Korean American was given an honorary North Korean citizenship in the hopes of spurring future investment, according to news reports.

Sang-Kwon Park, chief executive of Pyeonghwa Motors, a joint venture of the Unification Church-owned Pyonghwa Motors of Seoul and the North Korea-run Ryonbong General Corp., said he received the citizenship last month, making him the second Korean American to receive the honor and first since Kim Jong-un came into power, according to AFP.

“This means that North Korea has acknowledged the trust they had put in me. They were also encouraging me to start new projects in the North, more freely and aggressively,” Park told Yonhap News.

Korean American Chin-kyung Kim, the president of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology was the first to receive honorary citizenship in August of 2011.

Mr Park also confirmed reports the Unification Church planned to sell its entire stake in the automotive company, as well as a hotel in Pyongyang, to North Korea. In return, he asked Pyongyang to allow him to start a new business, probably in distribution.

Pyeonghwa Motors, which started production in 2002, has been in the black for the past five years, Mr Park said.

Thursday’s Link Attack: Korea’s Suicide Epidemic; Kim Yuna Favored to Win Worlds; Hanmi Bank Seeks Buyer
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: January 10th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Google’s Schmidt urges N. Korea to embrace Web

Google’s Eric Schmidt wrapped up a controversial trip to North Korea on Thursday during which he urged the isolated state to embrace the Internet or face further economic decline.

U.S. to send team of ranking officials to S. Korea, Japan next week
Yonhap News

The Barack Obama administration is dispatching an inter-agency team of senior officials next week to South Korea and Japan for consultations with the allies as the two nations deal with power transitions.

Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Tuesday for a two-day stay, according to his department.

He will go there with Mark Lippert, the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Daniel Russel, the national security council senior director for Asian affairs, the department said.

Hanmi Said to Seek Sale

Hanmi Financial Corp. (HAFC), the second- largest U.S. bank catering to Korean-Americans, is looking for a buyer and hired DelMorgan & Co. to advise on a sale, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

The lender may attract interest from BBCN Bancorp Inc. (BBCN) and Wilshire Bancorp Inc. (WIBC), which like Hanmi are based in Los Angeles and target Korean-Americans, said two of the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. Hanmi rose more than 8 percent today, giving the firm a market value of about $481 million. It has assets of about $2.8 billion.

At the Front Line of Suicide Prevention in South Korea
Wall Street Journal

Ha Kyoo-seob, president of Seoul National Hospital, has a side job trying to tackle one of South Korea’s biggest social problems as immediate past president of the Korea Association for Suicide Prevention.

He made news earlier this week when, following the latest suicide of a South Korean celebrity, he showed up unannounced in front of the press corps at the Ministry of Health and Welfare and said media sensationalism of such deaths wasn’t helping the nation’s crisis. He laid out data from several studies that showed how the number suicides rise in the wake of a celebrity’s death.

Newspaper editorials followed, but it’s unclear that his warning will forestall another round of gruesome, detailed reporting the next time a celebrity commits suicide.

Tackling South Korea’s suicide rate
Australia Network News

Mental health experts have called for a major shift in the way mental illness is tackled in South Korea, where the suicide rate remains the highest in the developed world.

Boyfriend ‘strangled pretty South Korean student he met at church after row over hair she left in the plug hole’
The Daily Mail (U.K.)

A 27-year-old man killed his South Korean girlfriend whom he had met at a church after a ‘petty quarrel about hair being found down the plug hole’, a court heard today.

Daniel Jones allegedly murdered Da In Lee, 22, on Easter Sunday last year and attempted to hide the body under a duvet at his flat in Tipton, West Midlands, before fleeing to Bristol.

Jones admitted to his ex-partner that he had killed Miss Lee, who studied international relations and sociology at Aston University in Birmingham, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Korean Chef Dreams of Global Chain
Chosun Ilbo

Akira Back, touted as one of the top chefs in Las Vegas, has a wide following among politicians and celebrities such as Bill Clinton and Paris Hilton. He was recently nominated for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards, often called the “food Oscars” and named a “rising star” by American magazine Restaurant Hospitality.

Back is the head chef of the prestigious Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge at the Bellagio, Las Vegas. He said he is constantly sketching and dreaming up news dishes which are delicious and look great. He said his philosophy is to awaken customers to their sense of taste.

Kim Yuna should be favorite to win world championships

Kim Yu-na officially qualified for the world championships, not that there was any doubt. The reigning Olympic champion won the South Korean nationals on Sunday, which was just her second competition after almost two years off. Kim fell in her short program but still posted a higher total score (210.77 points) than in her first outing back in December (201.61).

The Korea Skating Union charged admission to its national championships for the first time (not coincidentally, it was Kim’s first appearance there as a senior), and all 4,800 tickets were snatched within minutes of going on sale, according to Yonhap News.

She’s certainly not at her world-record best from the Vancouver Games (228.56), but Kim, 22, and her “Les Miserables” free skate should be favored for gold at worlds in London, Ontario, come March.

So you fancy John Huh?
Sporting Life

John Huh could buck the trends and win this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii according to our expert Ben Coley.

Samsung, LG Unveil Curved OLED TVs
Chosun Ilbo

Samsung and LG both unveiled innovative curved-display OLED TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday. They kept the new products under tight wraps until the launch.

The wide displays are concavely curved five or six degrees, which endures less screen distortion and has a similar effect to an IMAX screen, the two firms claim.

The unveiling was shrouded in secrecy. Samsung put its TV up and distributed a press release only 30 minutes before the opening of the show.

The Movies of Kim Jong Il, Now Available Via Bootlegs and YouTube
LA Weekly

When he died in December 2011, Kim Jong Il left behind more than a dynastic regime and a closet full of drab pantsuits. Kim, who ruled the hermetic North Korea from 1994, when his father, Kim Il Sung, died until his own passing 17 years later, was a noted cinephile and something of a mogul. Films and film theory were hobbies of his, and as the whims of dictators tend to harden into real-world realities, Kim made the leap few less-connected dilettantes ever do: He got movies made — even if he apparently had to kidnap a great director to shoot them.

These films have rarely been screened outside North Korea. But thanks to bootleggers and YouTube, at least three now are readily available for your viewing.

Thursday’s Link Attack: Dealing With North Korea; Shin Soo Choo Out of WBC; Photo Studio Pervert
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: December 27th, 2012
Filed Under: BLOG
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What a Park Presidency Means for South Korea’s Foreign Policy
TIME Magazine

South Koreans used to joke that their country was a “shrimp among whales” because it is flanked by the giants China and Russia, as well as Japan and, of course, the other and more bellicose Korea to the north. Today, however, South Korea is an emerging power. It is the world’s 11th biggest economy, sixth biggest exporter and on track to become the eighth biggest trading nation. And because it lies in a geopolitical hotspot, with an economy dependent on exports, the new President’s direction of foreign policy will matter. “[South] Korea is one of the most connected countries in the world,” says Troy Stangarone of the U.S.-based Korea Economic Institute of America. “Both its role in Northeast Asia and globally will probably be shaped by the next administration.”

Park’s foremost challenge when she takes office in February will be North Korea. The outgoing government of President Lee Myung-bak, a no-nonsense former corporate CEO, reversed 10 years of so-called sunshine policy — a conciliatory approach to Pyongyang that saw two summits, the South’s investments in the North and reunions of family members separated by the Korean War. Lee adopted a stern approach, cutting off dialogue and humanitarian aid over Pyongyang’s unwillingness to drop its nuclear-weapons program.

Inter-Korean relations likely to change under Park presidency
Yonhap News

South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye’s election promise to mend fences with North Korea is spurring a mood of optimism for a turnaround in the frozen inter-Korean relations, but analysts said that the two Koreas may take some time before resolving long-standing issues, which stymied their ties under the outgoing government.

The first South Korean woman elected to the five-year presidency has pledged to depart from outgoing President Lee Myung-bak’s hard-line North Korean policy, in which the government has refused to engage with the North without the communist country’s apologies for the deadly 2010 attacks on the South Korean Navy vessel Cheonan and the border island of Yeonpyeong.

Did a Tantrum Kill Kim Jong Il?
Wall Street Journal

A year after the death of Kim Jong Il, little information has emerged about the circumstances of his reported heart attack other than the official narrative that he died from overwork at 8:30am on Dec. 17 aboard his personal train while heading out on another “field guidance” trip.

Doubts about parts of that account have been raised, including skepticism about whether Mr. Kim was actually on the train given his apparent habit of sleeping in late, and satellite images showing the train still in Pyongyang.

N. Korean leader to purge more of the old guard in new year: expert
Yonhap News

As North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wraps up his first year in power, marked by the reckless purging of several old guard elites, he may replace the country’s No. 2 leader, Kim Yong-nam, and some other top officials next year, according to a North Korea expert here.

“Who replaces Kim Yong-nam may tell us about the future direction of the restructuring of the political system,” said Alexandre Mansourov, a specialist in Northeast Asian security. He now works as a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

He said Kim Yong-nam will likely “honorably retire,” rather than being purged.

Largest Korean-American Bank Seeks to Become Regional Player After Deals
American Banker (subscription req’d)

BBCN execs took a difficult path to build the largest Korean-American bank, but a successful merger in L.A. and a deal in Seattle have put it on course to become a West Coast player — and maybe more.

Check out our story on BBCN from the October 2012 issue of KoreAm.

Honey Pig Korean BBQ Opens In Irvine
OC Weekly (Calif.)

As Shuji reported a long while ago, Honey Pig, the Korean BBQ joint that specializes in samgyeopsal (pork belly), is coming to Irvine. It has finally opened. There are other Honey Pigs in LA’s Koreatown, in La Palma, and a Wako Honey Pig in Buena Park.

Some are related to the other by loose familial ties and they all have that specialty in common, as well as the domed cooking surface on which you sear and render your fatty pork slices into crispness.

Photo studio pervert does something unusual
Korea Times

A pervert in his 40s who ran a photo studio did something unusual; he would use a timer when taking photographs of female college students.

What he would do is rush to the back of his clients and drop his pants when the camera clicked. He would take the regular photographs but keep the pornographic shots in his computer.

The man was finally caught for what he was up to since the beginning of the year and was indicted last May under laws for the protection of youths. However, the court ruled that he was innocent of the crime.

Top ten Asian players of 2012
ESPN Soccernet

3. Koo Ja-cheol (South Korea and FC Augsburg)
The young midfielder ticked all the boxes in 2012 – impressive for the South Korean national team, very impressive with FC Augsburg in the Bundesliga and inspirational in leading his country to the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. The game for the bronze medal between Japan and Korea was perhaps the high point of 2012 on the pitch for Asia, and for Koo it was just the latest in a string of high-class performances.

While his spectacular strikes from the edge of the box have been catching the eye in Germany – as well as his contretemps with Franck Ribery – back in East Asia, fans know that Koo is developing into a fine driving midfield player who is set to be at the heart of the South Korean team for years to come. 2013 could be the year in which he makes it really big.

Korea drops Major Leaguer Choo Shin-soo from WBC roster
Yonhap via Korea Times

Choo Shin-soo, outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds in Major League Baseball (MLB), on Thursday was dropped from Korea’s roster for the World Baseball Classic next spring.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Choo had asked to be left off the national team for the March 2-19 tournament so that he can prepare for his first season with the Reds. He was recently traded from the Cleveland Indians to the National League club.

Lydia Ko, John Huh Named Among Year’s Top Breakout Golfers
Chosun Ilbo

Korean-New Zealander Lydia Ko and Korean-American John Huh were named among the top 10 breakout players of the year by the Golf Channel on Wednesday.

7 Questions With … Hines Ward of “Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off”
Channel Guide Magazine

He’s the legendary Pittsburgh Steeler who broke records (and one opponent’s jaw) on the field, then broke hearts in the Dancing With the Stars ballroom before retiring from the NFL last May to become an NBC football analyst. Now Hines Ward is testing his game in a whole new arena — the kitchen — as a contestant on Season 2 of Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, battling Johnny Weir, Kathy Najimy, Carnie Wilson, Gilbert Gottfried and others for celeb-chef supremacy.

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