Wednesday’s Link Attack: Obama May Return Ancient Korean Seals; Sandra Oh Prepares for ‘Grey’s’ Departure; Legal Experts Outraged by Comfort Women Suit
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 16th, 2014
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“Disgusting!,” Cry Legal Experts: Is This The Lowest A Top U.S. Law Firm Has Ever Stooped?
Forbes

Would any self-respecting U.S. law firm represent a client who suggested the Jews deserved the Holocaust? Probably not. As a matter of honor, most law firms would run a mile, and even the least honorable would conclude that the damage to their reputation wasn’t worth it.

Where imperial Japan’s atrocities are concerned, however, at least one top U.S. law firm hasn’t been so choosy. In what is surely one of the most controversial civil suits ever filed in the United States, the Los Angeles office of Chicago-based Mayer Brown is trying to prove that the so-called comfort women – the sex slaves used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II – were no more than common prostitutes.

Obama may return ancient Korean seals on upcoming trip to Seoul
Yonhap News

The U.S. government may return a set of Korean national treasures, shipped out of the country by an American soldier during the Korean War, when President Barack Obama visits Seoul next week, diplomatic sources here said Monday.

“The two sides are in the final stage of consultations to complete relevant procedures,” a source said.

There is a possibility that the process will finish ahead of Obama’s departure for Asia next Tuesday, added the source.

Korean hair gripe goes to the top
Independent

North Korea’s displeasure at a poster in a hair salon that poked fun at their leader’s unusual hairstyle has reached the corridors of power in Whitehall.

The Foreign Office has confirmed it received a letter from the North Korean embassy earlier this week complaining about the picture of Kim Jong-un that was displayed in a London salon’s window emblazoned with the words “Bad Hair Day?”.

Mandarins received the letter earlier this week and are now considering a response, a spokesman said.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 10 Spoilers: Sandra Oh Posts Photo From Last Scenes With Kevin McKidd
ENSTARS

Goodbyes aren’t easy and that’s something Sandra Oh is making clear. As the actress prepares for her last season on Grey’s Anatomy, she’s been posting emotional posts on Twitter.

The 42-year-old uploaded a photo of herself along with co-star and on-screen lover Kevin McKidd with the caption, “shooting one of our last scenes,” and a sad face.

“My dearest partner in crime,” McKidd, who plays Owen Hunt, tweeted back. “It’s too much to take! What we gonna do?”

Korean-American Band Talk About Rise to Pop Charts
Chosun Ilbo

The debut album of Run River North, a band consisting of six second-generation Korean-Americans in Los Angeles, has made it to No. 3 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Hwang spoke to the Chosun Ilbo by telephone on Tuesday morning in a mixture of Korean and English.

Run River North are currently on a U.S. tour, stopping in Washington. Another member, Jennifer Rim, who plays the violin, also was on the phone.

Wie ready for LPGA Lotte Championship at Ko Olina
KHON2

The LPGA Lotte Championship tees off Wednesday morning at Ko Olina Golf Club. The tournament marks a triumphant homecoming for 24-year-old Michelle Wie.

The Punahou graduate is off to her best start as a professional, recording six top-16 finishes to open the season, including a runner-up major finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship two weeks ago.

“I’ve just been working hard the last couple of years,” Wie told KHON2. “Obviously I went through quite a bit of a struggle, and I’ve just been trying to improve a little bit here and there every day, trying not to do anything too drastic. I’ve just been patient. A lot of times it was hard being patient. I knew it was getting better and better, it just wasn’t showing. I feel like I’m improving a little bit here and there which is good.”

ISU receives South Korea complaint over figure skating judging
NBC Olympics

South Korea has officially filed its complaint over figure skating judging at the Sochi Olympics to the International Skating Union, nearly two months after Yuna Kim won silver behind Russian Adelina Sotnikova in a controversial decision.

The Korea Skating Union (KSU) filed a complaint over the makeup of the judging panel for the women’s free skate rather than the results of the competition, according to Yonhap News, reporting that the KSU believes the panel’s composition was in violation of the ISU’s ethical rules.

One of the judges from Sochi is married to a top Russian figure skating federation official and was seen hugging Sotnikova shortly after she won gold. Another was suspended one year as being part of the 1998 Olympic ice dance fixing scandal.

Sneak a Peek at Beverly Kim and John Clark’s Parachute Opening Menu
Chicago Eater

When Beverly Kim and John Clark open Parachute (probably next month), expect a different take on Korean cuisine. Kim and Clark are terming their first restaurant “Korean-American,” fusing the textures and flavor profiles of traditional Korean cooking with creative ingredients available to modern restaurants in Chicago.

“I don’t want to compete with mom-and-pop Korean restaurants,” Kim says. “I definitely grew up with those dishes, those dishes excite me, but with our experiences we can put a twist on it that makes it approachable for non-Koreans and Koreans alike.”

“It might take some time for people to grasp that.”

NKorea to Consider Broadcasting ‘Teletubbies,’ ‘Top Gear,’ ‘Doctor Who’
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 9th, 2014
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 Image via Reddit

The Doctor has traveled to the ends of the universe across time and space, but even he hasn’t been to North Korea. That may be about to change, however, as Pyongyang is in talks with the BBC to bring three of its most popular programs to North Korean viewers: Doctor Who, Top Gear and Teletubbies.

The BBC began an initiative last year to come up with a list of programs that North Korea could consider airing, according to The Independent. Foreign Secretary William Hague said it would be “a good way to improve understanding about the outside world within such a closed society.”

Negotiations apparently didn’t go smoothly, as it took the North Korean delegation months to select the three shows. The BBC now awaits approval from Pyongyang. Continue Reading »

Friday’s Link Attack: NKorean Drones; Stephen Kim Sentenced in Leak Case; Lee Min-ho Meets President Park
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: April 4th, 2014
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North Korean crew missing after capsize off South
BBC

A Sixteen sailors were on board the Mongolian-flagged cargo ship that went down off the southern coast of South Korea.

Three of the crew have been rescued, South Korean officials said. A search was under way for the remaining 11 crew members. The vessel was heading from North Korea to China with a cargo of steel.

South Korea’s coast guard said 13 vessels and six aircraft were involved in the search. It is not clear what caused the ship, which sent a distress call in the early hours of Friday, to sink.

N.Korean Drone Snapped Photos of Cheong Wa Dae
Chosun Ilbo

A drone that crashed in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on March 24 hovered above Cheong Wa Dae and took close-range photos of the facility, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Based on several photos the Chosun Ilbo obtained on Wednesday, the drone started taking photos near Paju along a pre-set route. It flew right above Cheong Wa Dae and Gyeongbok Palace at an altitude of 1.3 km.

Analysis of digital information contained in these photos shows that the drone photographed the Cheong Wa Dae compound and its vicinity while flying from northwest over the area.

Japan’s claims in grade school texts
Korea JoongAng Daily

The Korean government yesterday “strongly denounced” Japan’s plan to significantly step up claims to the Dokdo islets in the East Sea in elementary school textbooks and said it was trying to distort history once again.

Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology yesterday revealed that its textbook authorization committee approved fifth and sixth grade social science textbooks from four publishers that explicitly claim Takeshima, Japan’s name for the islets, as Japanese territory.

These four textbooks will be used in classrooms starting from April 2015. All four say that “Korea is illegally occupying Takeshima.”

Kim Is Unafraid to Fly
Wall Street Journal

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un clearly doesn’t share his father’s fear of flying.

On Wednesday, North Korean state media showed Mr. Kim disembarking from an airplane at Samjiyon airport in the north of the country, a rare shot of the leader traveling by plane.

Mr. Kim took part in an “oath-taking meeting” of Korean People’s Army officers close to Mt. Baekdu on the border with China, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The officers were reportedly wrapping up a study tour of battle sites associated with Mr. Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, in the area.

Ex-State Department adviser Stephen J. Kim sentenced in leak case
Washington Post

A former State Department arms expert who leaked classified information to a Fox News reporter was sentenced Wednesday to 13 months in prison after a pointed courtroom debate about the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of unauthorized disclosures of top-secret information.

Stephen Jin-Woo Kim pleaded guilty in February to sharing classified information from an intelligence report on North Korea with reporter James Rosen, Fox’s chief Washington correspondent. Rosen was also targeted in the investigation by federal agents, who described him as a possible “co-conspirator” in a bid to search his personal e-mails.

Occupational therapist John Hwang hangs with the homeless
Southern California Public Radio

By day, La Puente resident John Hwang works in Monterey Park as an occupational therapist. By night – and sometimes quite late into the night – he’s walking L.A.’s Skid Row, checking in with old friends and making new ones along the way.

“I’ve always been very intrigued by people living on the street,” says Hwang, “because if you live in L.A., you see them all the time.” He had no plans to document his visits when he started going out to Skid Row about a year and a half ago. Yet as he met more people, and heard more of their stories, he felt he needed to share them somehow.

Kim Soo Hyun Scores Coca-Cola China Endorsement Deal
KDrama Stars

Soon, China will be filled with Kim Soo Hyun’s face with a Coca-Cola product.
In a statement made by KeyEast Entertainment, Kim Soo Hyun’s agency, the actor has been chosen as Coca-Cola China’s latest ambassador and is set to shoot a commercial film this May. The actual release will be made late this year.

Kim Soo Hyun’s popularity is mainly attributed to his hit SBS TV drama “You Who Came From The Stars” which started airing in Korea in December 2013 and concluded last February.

It was also reported that the broadcasting rights of the TV drama was the most expensive ever for a Korean drama in China.

Korean Author Kyung-sook Shin On Literature and Geopolitics
Publishing Perspectives

The border with North Korea and its famous Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) must be one of the happiest and saddest places on the planet – happy because it is full of tourists having their pictures taken with the South Korean soldiers, who clearly enjoy the flattery (“Hey, he looking good this one!” josh their colleagues to each other over the tannoy); sad because it divides one people, brother from brother.

Newspapers in the west are full of the animosity between the two countries – all those stories of missile launches and military exercises on each side of the border. But when you visit, when you are there on the ground in this odd place, one doesn’t sense a raised fist; rather, an outstretched hand. The message, the signs, are all of peace and reconciliation. It is moving, even more so when one gazes out on the four-mile strip (two on each side of the border) that forms the DMZ itself.

The Walking Dead Relationships: Glenn and Eugene? Josh McDermitt Explains
Wetpaint

The Walking Dead may be a show centered around a specific group of people just trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, but there’s still time for our characters to have romantic relationships with one another, and boy do they ever! We’ve got Gleggie, which is the name for Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Maggie Greene’s (Lauren Cohan) totally legit union, but we also have ‘ships like Richonne or Caryl, which advocate for pairings that haven’t happened on screen yet and may never even get to that point. Richonne is for Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) fans, while Caryl supporters are those that want to see Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) enter into a relationship.

Roof of Kim Jong-un’s Jerry-Built Luxury Villa Caves In
Chosun Ilbo

The roof of a luxury villa in Wonsan belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has collapsed, apparently due to faulty construction.

A comparison of a photo of the villa taken by South Korea’s Arirang 3 satellite and an earlier image of the area on Google Earth shows a building in the compound with a collapsed roof.

One U.S. satellite image expert who analyzes photos of the luxury villas and government buildings used by the North Korean elite said the building appears to be an aquarium that was built in 2011.

Lee Min-ho meets President
Korea JoongAng Daily

Actor Lee Min-ho met with President Park Geun-hye yesterday at the third conference of the Presidential Committee for Cultural Enrichment, which looks at issues related to developing Korea’s cultural content.

Lee was invited by the committee and the Blue House because of his fame as a leading figure in the Korean Wave. The meeting was held at Bitmaru Broadcasting Center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi.

 

Monday’s Link Attack: Japan Won’t Revise Comfort Women Apology; Run River North Charts; Hyun-Jin Ryu
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: March 10th, 2014
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Japan Won’t Alter Apology to World War II Sex Slaves
New York Times

Japan will not revise a landmark apology to women forced to work in military brothels during World War II even as it moves ahead with a review of the testimony used to create that apology, a spokesman for the Japanese government said Monday.

Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters that the conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had no intention of changing the 1993 apology, called the Kono Statement. The apology admitted for the first time that the Imperial military played at least an indirect role in forcing the women, known euphemistically as “comfort women,” to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.

Mr. Suga was responding to rising criticism from South Korea, a former Japanese colony where many of the women came from, of an announcement made two weeks ago by Mr. Suga that the government would review evidence used to support the apology. At that time, Mr. Suga said the government would form a panel of experts to review the evidence used to back up the statement, mostly testimony made two decades ago by 16 aging former sex slaves.

North Korea Election: A Sham Worth Studying
TIME.com

Kim wins. That is the unsurprising outcome of North Korea’s first legislative election under the leadership young dictator Kim Jong Un. State media report that nearly 100% of eligible North Koreans voted in Sunday’s poll, and 100% cast votes in favor of the status quo. This is only partly as ridiculous as it sounds: voting is mandatory and there is one option on the ballot.

Indeed, when North Korea votes, it votes. When exactly 100% of eligible North Korean set out to cast votes 100% in favor of pre-determined politicians, they were carried forth on “billows of emotion and happiness,” state media reported. And nowhere were they happier — or more billowy, presumably — that in Kim Jong Un’s district, Mount Paektu, the Korean peninsula’s highest peak. The group that voted at the storied site were so moved by the exercise that they spontaneously burst into song, state media said.

North Korean Flagged Tanker Puzzles Observers
Wall Street Journal

Is North Korea trying to import oil from rebel forces in Libya?

The Libyan government and militias are threatening to attack a North Korean-flagged tanker off its coast that they say rebels are hoping to use to export oil from the port of al-Sidra.

“Any attempt (by the tanker) to move, it will be turned into scrap,” Libyan Culture Minister Al-Habib al-Amin said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

The presence of the tanker, named “The Morning Glory,” has puzzled observers because it’s very unusual for North Korean-flagged vessels to appear in the Mediterranean.

Dennis Rodman pledges to end North Korea trips
Sporting News

Dennis Rodman, back from a North Korea trip that included an exhibition game and birthday song for Kim Jong Un, has pledged he will not make a return visit to the dictator if that is not what people want.

Rodman said he went to North Korea with pure intentions, stating that he only wants to “do great things in life” in a television interview with ESPN’s Mark Schwarz.

“I wish they understood the whole purpose of why I went to North Korea,” Rodman said. “I wish they did.”

Kim Jong-un’s Sister Secures Place in Nomenklatura
Chosun Ilbo

North Korea’s state-run media have for the first time mentioned leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Yeo-jong by name, suggesting she has established a position of some influence for herself in the corridors of power.

North Korean state TV on Sunday reported that Kim Jong-un visited a polling station at Kim Il-sung University for elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly on Sunday, accompanied by military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae, Workers Party deputy directors Kim Kyong-ok and Hwang Pyong-so, “and comrade Kim Yeo-jong.”

Challenging South Korea’s Gender Barrier
Wall Street Journal

When Cho Eun-sook started her career as the first female software developer at LG Electronics Inc. in 1988, there was no such thing as maternity leave. Instead, she took vacation days to give birth to her two sons.

Now in her 27th year at the company, Ms. Cho runs mobile accessory development and is one of three female vice presidents at the company.

Ms. Cho was one of more than 120 female engineers who met to discuss women working in technology at an event hosted by Google Inc. in Seoul on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.

Fugitive tracked by Tribune is returned from S. Korea
Chicago Tribune

U.S. authorities today extradited international fugitive Kyung Ho Song to Chicago from his native South Korea, more than a decade after Song fled Cook County to avoid being tried on charges of drunken driving and reckless homicide.

The hunt for Song was reactivated after the Tribune contacted prosecutors and police about the dormant case in connection with its 2011 “Fugitives From Justice” investigation. The Tribune separately tracked down Song in a suburb of Seoul and interviewed him there in early 2012.

Korean authorities arrested Song in December 2013 on a U.S. provisional arrest warrant, and the Korean ministry of justice authorized his extradition back to Chicago.

Affirmative action amendment has some Asian-Americans furious
Southern California Public Radio

A proposal to reinstate affirmative action at California’s public universities is riling some Asian-American groups more than any recent political issue, with critics unleashing their anger on social media and in protests and public meetings.

At issue is a Democrat-backed bill that would lift a 1996 ban keeping University of California and California State University schools from considering race or ethnicity in admissions and recruitment.

SCA 5 – short for Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 – passed on a party-line vote in the state Senate late January, and if it’s approved by the supermajority in the Assembly, Californians could vote on the issue as early as this year.

More charges after cyclist killed in W. Colorado
AP via Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A 29-year-old Palisade woman involved in a crash in western Colorado that killed a man on a cross-country bicycling trip is now facing several drug charges.

Prosecutors say Tonie Rosales used cocaine for two days in September before heading to Delta for a court hearing relating to a prior DUI arrest. She struck and killed 25-year-old Eunjey Cho on U.S. Highway 50 on her way to court Sept. 18 and was formally charged with the drug offenses Thursday.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1gc4wnD ) Rosales already has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide — one alleging DUI and another alleging reckless driving.

Brentwood girl gets two perfect ACT scores, looks to future in science
The Tennessean

For most students, taking the ACT is a rite of passage.

It can be an eye-opening and sometimes brutal experience, often repeated to achieve better results and possibly gain college scholarship money and win selective admission.

But for Joyce Kang, a senior at Brentwood High School, the college entrance exam was a piece of cake both times she took it. That’s right: She made the highest possible score — 36 — both times.

Kang had to endure the exam a second time because she didn’t take the ACT written assessment the first time.

Folk rockers Run River North flows in the right direction on debut album
Music Times

Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven’t heard of.

Week of 03/07/2013
WHO: Run River North
WHAT: Run River North
SPOT: 196

Run River North first came to our attention in a method befitting the the style of music they play. The six-piece had assembled its own music video (under its then name Monsters Calling Home) shooting inside a Honda Fit. The car company appreciated the gesture and hooked them up with Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Uncomfortable questions with Shin-Soo Choo
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)

Shin-Soo Choo’s big league career began when he was 22 as a rookie with the Seattle Mariners. He is 30 now, and should be fairly secure with the seven-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Texas Rangers in the offseason. He should be able to live off that for at least two to three years.

A native of South Korea, Choo is expected to bat leadoff hitter, and be the Rangers’ every day left fielder. He was nice enough to answer some uncomfortable questions.

Dodgers to start Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu in Australia openers
Los Angeles Times

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly made official Sunday what had been suspected for some time: Left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are set to start the team’s season-opening games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia.

But anything beyond that, Mattingly said, is still to be determined.

“We still haven’t made all our decisions on exactly how we’re going to set up our roster,” he said. “So those are issues that we continue to talk with guys about.”

IOC Deletes Fake Quotes from Kim Yu-na
Chosun Ilbo

The International Olympic Committee has quietly deleted fabricated quotes from Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-na that appeared to downplay controversy over judging irregularities at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The IOC published an article with the implausible quotes on its official website on March 6, focusing on figure skaters from the Innsbruck Youth Winter Olympics who won medals in Sochi.

One skater in focus was Russian gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova. The IOC claimed Kim had been “magnanimous in defeat” after a highly dubious judging decision in Sochi put her in second place.

Kim Yu-na to hold farewell ice shows in May: agency
Yonhap News

South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na will hold farewell ice shows in Seoul this spring, her agency announced Monday.

All That Sports said Kim will take the center stage at her corporate-sponsored ice shows from May 4 to 6 in the nation’s capital.

The 23-year-old star retired from competition after the Sochi Winter Olympics last month. She picked up the silver medal behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, after winning the gold at the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.

The agency said the three days of performances will be Kim’s last appearances on ice as a figure skater. Through the agency’s press release, Kim said she hopes to take the opportunity to show her appreciation for her fans.

Beverly Kim and John Clark Plan to Open Parachute
Chicago Magazine

When the husband-and-wife chef team Beverly Kim and John Clark took over the now-defunct Bonsoirée in 2012, they fulfilled a dream of working together on a Korean-inspired modern restaurant. Unfortunately, the dream lasted only a few months there, and Bonsoirée closed.

After a year-plus deferral, they’re leaping back into their restaurant-ownership dream, and if you leap, you need a Parachute (3500 N. Elston Ave., Avondale, no phone yet). The 40-seat, liquor-licensed, Korean-American-perspective restaurant is scheduled to open in April.

Kim and Clark say the food will pull together traditional Korean flavors with new and creative ones. “Reminiscent of familiar traditional flavors, but presented in a new creative way,” Kim says. As an example, they offer a crispy mung bean pancake with pork belly, black garlic, and kimchi. The menu breaks down into snacks in the $4 to $7 range, appetizers such as crudos or salads, rice and noodles, and larger plates intended for sharing and costing between $18 and $25.

Korea’s Most Popular Online Eating Shows
Wall Street Journal

One of South Korea’s hardest-to-explain phenomena in recent months is the boom of “mokbang”: Internet-streamed shows where hosts eat often supersized meals – for the audience’s pleasure.

Choi Ji-hwan, a top mokbang host, told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that one of his satisfied viewers was on a diet seeking a vicarious thrill. Others were living alone and enjoyed his virtual company as they ate “together.”

Every night on a local YouTube-like platform AfreecaTV, multiple show hosts vie to be selected by hundreds of thousands of viewers. Several of them make a living through these shows and have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Friday’s Link Attack: NKorea Agrees to Reunions; Girls Generation May Delay Album; Park Ji-Sung Refuses World Cup Spot
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: February 14th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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South Korea asks for trust; North agrees, lets families have reunions
CNN.com

In stark contrast to the bellicose gesturing that has haunted relations in the recent past, North and South Korea took conciliatory steps in each other’s direction Friday.

Both sides will halt the harsh rhetoric, they agreed at a bilateral meeting on the heavily militarized border that divides them.

They hope that this and other agreements will serve to build trust between Pyongyang and Seoul, Kim Kyou-Hyun, a high South Korean security official, said after the meeting wrapped up.

Pyongyang has been particularly irked by joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, and would like them to cease.

Why was North Korea so quick to agree to family reunions?
Christian Science Monitor

South and North Korea agreed to allow reunions next week of nearly 100 families divided by the Korean War in a breakthrough agreement that appeared to signal Pyongyang’s deepened interest in easing tensions on the peninsula.

North Korea surprised South Korean negotiators Friday by completely dropping its demand that the United States and the South cancel military exercises set to begin during the reunions.

The North, analysts say, may be prioritizing smoother relations with its southern neighbor while it grapples with internal problems after the execution of long-time regent-mentor Jang Song-thaek and the purge of hundreds of his followers.

Kim Jong-un ‘Successfully Tightens Grip’
Chosun Ilbo

U.S. intelligence services believe that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has succeeded in tightening his grip on power through a generational shift in the party and the military.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that two years after he took power Kim has further consolidated its position as sole leader and final decision maker.

He has tightened controls and ensured loyalty through personnel reshuffles and purges, Clapper said.

North Korea Sent Kenneth Bae to Labor Camp to Protest B-52 Flights
ABC News

Imprisoned American Kenneth Bae was sent to a North Korean labor camp in part due to the regime’s anger over supposed American B-52 bomber flight drills around the Korean Peninsula last week, officials told ABC News.

North Korean officials broke the news by telling Donald Gregg, a former ambassador to South Korea and an ABC News consultant who was on a rare visit to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

“Rhee Young-Ho, a first vice minister, said that the memory of the B29 air raids are in the [North Korean] DNA,” Gregg told ABC News today during a stopover at the Beijing International Airport while en route back to the U.S. “[Rhee said] to have the B52s which are nuclear capable fly over their air space is seen as a really terrible, terrible threat.”

The Pentagon has acknowledged the “rotational presence” of bombers in the region, but would not confirm the details of the mission that angered the North Koreans.

Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea, U.N. Panel Finds
TIME.com

A U.N. Commission of Inquiry has found that crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea and recommends that its findings be referred to the International Criminal Court, two people familiar with the commission’s report have told The Associated Press.

The commission, which conducted a yearlong investigation, has found evidence of an array of such crimes, including “extermination,” crimes against humanity against starving populations and a widespread campaign of abductions of individuals in South Korea and Japan.

Its report, due for release Monday, does not examine in detail individual responsibility for the alleged crimes but recommends steps toward accountability.

Korean businesses booted from the Exchange Building
Northwest Asian Weekly

The line at The Original Deli in downtown Seattle is usually full of businessmen and women grabbing whatever lunch they can within the short break they have. The mom-and-pop delicatessen, tucked on the first floor of the Exchange Building on Marion St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue, has been a favorite to many over the years. Relationships and stories have emerged since its opening 44 years ago. But that’s all gone now.

The Original Deli went out of business on Feb. 7, after the owners were told to leave when the building began going under major renovations. Deli owner Un “Missy” Bang was heartbroken and clueless as to what the future might hold.

“This is everything we have,” Bang said.

Beacon Capital Partners bought the Exchange Building for $66 million last year and decided to remodel. In the process, it forced two Korean-owned businesses — The Original Deli and The Goodie Box — to close down. Other businesses in the building have not been affected.

Landlords are having to ditch a century-old rental system
The Economist

MOST South Korean urbanites would leap at the chance to part with $150,000 to rent a smallish flat for three years in Seoul, the capital. These days, however, most Korean landlords would spurn such a measly deposit.

Korea’s unusual rental system, known as jeonse, does not involve monthly rental payments. Instead, tenants provide landlords with a deposit, typically between a quarter and half of the property’s value, to invest for the duration of the lease. Property owners keep the returns and then repay the lump sum at the end of the tenancy.

Average deposits have now risen for 76 consecutive weeks in Korea, the longest streak ever. Thousands of jeonse leases in the capital are now as high as 90% of the value of the house; they sometimes exceed it in areas where property prices have fallen since leases were agreed.

The dangerous myth of “The Triple Package”: What Amy Chua gets wrong about Asian-American communities
Salon.com

Here we go again. Tiger mom Amy Chua is back, reinforcing stereotypes and presenting glib solutions for attaining success. Her new book, “The Triple Package,” jointly authored with husband Jed Rubenfeld, argues that certain ethnic and religious groups — namely Jews, Indians, Chinese, Iranians, Lebanese, Nigerians, Cubans and Mormons – possess qualities that make them more likely to succeed in life. Chua and Rubenfeld claim that these groups have “three cultural forces” — a superiority complex, insecurity and impulse control — that drive them to achieve.

Aside from the innately offensive nature of such stereotyping, reviews and commentary have already pointed out that the book props itself up with flimsy data and questionable evidence. It comes as little surprise that Chua’s newest publication is accompanied by skepticism and controversy. Her previous book, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” and its accompanying Wall Street Journal article made unfounded racial assertions and coined a parenting philosophy out of thin air. The terms “tiger mom” and “tiger parenting” entered our vocabulary, becoming shorthand for a strict, no-excuses style of parenting supposedly commonplace and traditional across Asian and Asian American households. This further reinforced the “model minority myth” of Asian American students as stellar accomplishers with an almost supernatural ability to overcome all odds and pull themselves up by their bootstraps to achieve the American dream. In reality, no one had heard of the tiger parenting philosophy before Chua wrote about it because, like the mythical “model minority,” it doesn’t exist.

Classically Trained, Unlikely Rockers
Wall Street Journal

Just months ago, Daniel Chae was working in finance. Now, he is staking his future on an alternative folk-rock band composed of six Korean-Americans. “We found the American dream in music,” says Mr. Chae, 25 years old, who quit a job at a large bond-trading firm in Los Angeles last summer to devote himself full-time to playing electric guitar and violin in the band Run River North.

Formed in 2011, the Los Angeles-based ensemble performs original compositions, many of them about the Korean immigrant experience. Its members are classically trained musicians, thanks to parents who goaded them to study piano and violin. One of them, violinist Jennifer Rim, was barely familiar with pop music until she joined the band.

Run River North is no K-Pop confection—its music will never be confused with flamboyant Korean pop like Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” The group’s soothing melodies are more in line with Simon and Garfunkel’s, and they appeal to a diverse audience. Last year, Run River North was signed by an indie label after appearing on ” Jimmy Kimmel Live” and playing to sold-out crowds at Los Angeles’s legendary Troubadour nightclub. The band’s self-titled debut album is set for release this month.

Karen O Performing ‘Her’ Song at Oscars
Billboard

Karen O will perform “The Moon Song” from “Her” during the Oscars, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced Thursday.

“The Moon Song” was written by Karen O and “Her” director Spike Jonze and is a best original song nominee. The upcoming performance marks the first time the Yeah Yeah Yeahs front-woman will perform the track for a global television audience.

The three other Oscar-nominated songs in the original song category are “Let It Go” from Frozen, “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 and “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom — all of which are also set to be performed on the show.

Girls’ Generation mulls album release delay after losing video footage
Yonhap via GlobalPost

Girls’ Generation, one of the most popular South Korean pop groups, may postpone the release of its new album after footage for the video of the album’s title track was accidentally deleted, the group’s management agency said Friday.

The K-pop group originally planned to end a one-year hiatus with the release of its fourth mini-album titled “Mr.Mr.” on Feb. 24. Before the official release, the group was scheduled to release the title track “Mr. Mr.” on local online music services such as Melon, Naver Music and Genie on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the group was scheduled to resume local broadcasting activities on cable TV network Mnet’s music program, “M!Countdown.”

U-Kiss Is One Of The Most Popular K-Pop Groups In The World, So Why Aren’t They Huge In Korea?
BuzzFeed

In the lobby of New York’s Best Buy Theater on a night in mid-January, 100 fans are getting ready for some high fives from their favorite boy band. They’re there for a “high touch” session, a type of meet-and-greet popular in Asia where — in lieu of a standard autograph session common in the States — artists hold out their hands to give high fives to a passing line of stunned, crying superfans.

As the group enters the room, the screaming starts. The thought of hand-to-hand contact with six pristinely made-up, extremely attractive young guys sends the fans into overdrive; the noise level skyrockets.

These are KissMes — fans of U-Kiss, a K-pop boy band in town for their first-ever concert in New York City, the start to a short three-city U.S. tour. The fans’ moniker is a spin on the group’s name, which is an acronym for Ubiquitous Korean International Idol Super Star. U-Kiss debuted in South Korea in 2008 and are known for their English-speaking members, as well as their catchy mix of tunes that perfectly encapsulate both Korean ballad pop sounds and equally slick American R&B. Like other group acts in Korea, U-Kiss incorporate visually compelling dance moves and aim to please with their fan service — little gestures and interactions that get fans squealing.

Olympic champion Yuna Kim takes Lipnitskaia mania in stride
Yahoo Sports

The defending Olympic champion in women’s figure skating is not concerned by the rapid emergence of Russian teenage sensation Julia Lipnitskaia.

Yuna Kim was considered an overwhelming favorite to win a second straight gold after her triumph at the 2010 Vancouver Games, but her apparent stranglehold on the Olympic title has been thrown into some doubt by the performance of Lipnitskaia, who dazzled last week in helping Russia win gold in the team competition.

The South Korean arrived in Russia on Thursday and has already practiced twice ahead of the ladies’ short program starting on Wednesday.

“It will be a great opportunity for her as the Olympics are taking place in her home country,” Kim told reporters. “Thinking about who may or may not do well won’t help me at all. What’s important is I do everything I’ve been preparing so hard to do.”

Lonely at the top for South Korea’s Lee
Yahoo Eurosport UK

Speed skater Lee Sang-hwa cut a lonely figure on Friday as the Olympic 500 metres champion reflected on South Korea’s struggles at the Sochi Winter Games.

The top speed skating nation at the 2010 Vancouver Games with three gold and two silver medals, South Korea have endured a Games to forget on the ice so far in Russia with Lee’s victory on Monday the Asian nation’s only medal in the sport in Sochi.

Four years ago, ‘Empress Lee’ was joined by all the Korean medallists to address the media.
On Friday she sat alone.

“In Vancouver, I was with my fellows skaters seated side by side in the news conference, but here I’m alone today and that makes me feel sorry,” Lee told reporters in Sochi.

Korean curling team hits Great Wall
Korea Times

Korea’s female curlers lost to China 11-3 after their worst performance at the Ice Cube Curling Center, Friday (KST), moving further away from their hope of reaching the semifinals on their first Olympic appearance.

Buoyed by a win over Russia hours earlier, Korea looked to establish a bridgehead to the semifinal over China but failed to beat the world No. 5 due to a lack of strategy and too many mistakes.

China went ahead in the second end, where it scored three, after giving up the first end without any points. Korea, the world No. 10, cut the deficit to 3-2 in the second end, but the tension didn’t last long.

In the fifth end, China added three points as Korea started to lose its concentration and determination to win. After scoring just one more point in the next end, Korea fell to 11-3, the biggest loss so far at the Sochi Games.

Park Ji-sung won’t return for World Cup
Korea Times

Park Ji-sung, former captain of the South Korean men’s national football team, won’t return for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the team’s head coach said Friday.

Hong Myung-bo, who will lead South Korea to its eighth consecutive trip to the World Cup this summer, said Park told him he will not come out of international retirement for one last hurrah. “I had a heart-to-heart with Park Ji-sung,” Hong told reporters at Incheon International Airport upon returning from his trip to the Netherlands. Park is currently playing for PSV Eindhoven in the top Dutch league. “He said his knees are worse than he’d feared and that will prevent him from playing for the national team,” Hong said of the veteran with a history of knee injuries. “And I decided to respect his decision.”

Park’s status for the big tournament has been a hot potato in South Korean football so far this year. The 32-year-old said he would no longer play for the national team in January 2011 and has repeatedly said he won’t change his mind.

12 Things Never to Say to an Asian Woman
Cosmopolitan.com

1. Where are you from?
This is usually followed by an intense stare as the person, most likely a dude, is trying to figure out if I’m Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, or something else “exotic.” When I say New Jersey (the most exotic of the states), this leads to question #2.

2. No, really where are you from?
Let’s get to the point. You want to know where my family is from. Taiwan. Are you happy now? Where are you from? Because I’d really like to know so I can avoid going there.

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