Tag Archives: Kim Jong-un

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Wednesday’s Link Attack: North Korea Gets Aggressive; 2NE1 Set to Appear on ‘Top Model’; Crayon Pop & Lady Gaga

Prepare for War in 2015, Kim Jong-un Tells Officers
Chosun Ilbo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has mentioned the possibility of a war breaking out on the Korean peninsula in 2015, it was revealed Tuesday. According to a source, Kim told military commanders earlier this year that an “armed confrontation could take place on the Korean peninsula in 2015″ and ordered them to stock up on strategic supplies and remain combat ready.

The comments were made at about the same time that Kim spoke about improving relations with South Korea during his New Year’s address.

At a loyalty rally in Pyongyang on Feb. 25, Kim also spoke about an “all-out war with the enemy in the name of revolution and final victory.” Last year, Kim told key officials his aim of “reunification through force within three years.”

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North Korea Launches Two Midrange Missiles
New York Times

North Korea demonstrated its ballistic missile capabilities by launching two midrange missiles on Wednesday, after the leaders of the United States, Japan and South Korea gathered in the Netherlands to discuss the North’s nuclear threats.

In North Korea’s first tests of midrange projectiles in nearly five years, two Rodong missiles blasted off from mobile launching vehicles from Sukchon, north of Pyongyang, early Wednesday and flew 403 miles before landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan, said Kim Min-seok, a spokesman of the South Korean Defense Ministry.

“By launching them from mobile vehicles which are difficult to monitor and allow North Korea to fire missiles from anywhere it wanted, the country appeared to show off its ability to attempt a surprise attack,” Mr. Kim said. “This is a serious provocation against South Korea and the international community.”

North Korea Displays Defiance on Cheonan Anniversary
Wall Street Journal

North Korea marked the fourth anniversary of the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan by repeating its assertion that it wasn’t involved in the incident and demanding Seoul lift related sanctions.

North Korea said Wednesday that South Korea was “beating the worn-out drum of escalating confrontation” with the issue and was hindering the improvement of bilateral ties.

The comments came hours after North Korea launched two mid-range ballistic missiles into the sea east of the Korean peninsula.

On March 26, 2010, the Cheonan was sunk in the Yellow Sea near the inter-Korean maritime border, leaving 40 dead and six missing, who are presumed dead.

Japan and South Korea: Don’t let history dictate the future
Christian Science Monitor

For South Koreans, Ahn Jung-geun is a “national hero” – the independence activist who in 1909 assassinated the Japanese colonial governor of Korea. He struck at the embodiment of a hated imperial power and sacrificed his life for national independence.

To the Japanese, he is a criminal, the man who killed a seminal figure in their nation’s history, a leading light in the modernization of Japan, a four-time prime minister who ensured Japan’s survival in a hostile world.

Those views reflect the opposing historical perspectives that are deeply tied to Japan’s and South Korea’s national identities – and that stand in the way of a needed warming of ties. As two key democratic powers and US allies in an increasingly tense region, their rapprochement would shore up neighborhood stability and present a united front to an assertive China and unstable North Korea. A new kind of statesmanship is required to heal such entrenched divisions.

Wartime Sex Slaves Ask Abe to See Scars to Prove Japan Abuse
Bloomberg

Yi Ok Seon, an 86-year-old survivor of Japan’s wartime use of sex slaves, rolled up her trouser cuff to reveal the scar that she said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should come to South Korea to see.

“I still remember vividly what they did to me,” says Yi, describing how military police slashed her right foot after she tried to escape from an Imperial Army brothel.

Yi, one of a handful of former “comfort women” residing at a shelter near Seoul, says she was abducted in 1942 at age 18 in the southeastern city of Ulsan while running an errand. “Beatings would follow if I resisted the rape,” she said. “I was helpless. When I look at my scars now, I am reminded how lucky I am to have survived those years.”

Leland Yee arrested in corruption case
San Francisco Chronicle

State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on public corruption charges Wednesday morning in a federal investigation that also targeted Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a notorious former San Francisco gangster, officials said.

The arrest of Yee, who represents San Francisco and a part of San Mateo County and is a candidate for California Secretary of State, came amid searches of his office in Sacramento and his home in San Francisco.

Sources told The Chronicle that the predawn, multiagency raids involving hundreds of federal agents and local cops stemmed from a fatal shooting about five years ago.

FBI spokesman Peter Lee in San Francisco confirmed that Yee and Chow had been arrested. Both are to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon.

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Dallas-area delivery woman’s killer set to die
AP via Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A suburban Dallas man convicted of the robbery-slaying of a woman delivering doughnuts and tacos to his home 11 years ago is set for execution in Huntsville.

Attorneys for 29-year-old Anthony Doyle are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his punishment set for Thursday evening.

Evidence showed Hyun Mi Cho (hYUN’-mee-cho) was fatally beaten with a baseball bat when Doyle tried to rob her as she made the food delivery to his parents’ home in Rowlett, east of Dallas.

Her body was found in a trash can in a nearby alley.

Wild party cited as cause of Mountain View house fire
San Francisco Chronicle

A fire that destroyed a Mountain View home this month was set by teenagers that had been hosting parties in the unoccupied house for several weekends, Mountain View police said Tuesday.

Twelve juveniles and two 18-year-old men were arrested on various charges of arson, burglary, car theft, drug possession and drug sale, according to police.

More arrests, investigators said, are expected.

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Downtown New Haven deli shut over alleged wage violations
New Haven Register (Connecticut)

A downtown deli was shut down Tuesday by the state Department of Labor after an investigation found alleged wage violations by its owners.

The Labor Department said two people worked at J&B Deli Grocery, 1147 Chapel St., for about 60 hours a week without being paid at least minimum wage or overtime.

The business is operated by John and Cheong Rhee of Hamden. A stop-work order was posted on the store’s door.

The department alleged in a press release that the deli owners were paying workers in cash, were not keeping required payroll records, failed to make legal deductions and could not show proof of carrying workers’ compensation coverage, which is required in Connecticut.

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U.S. Warns Seoul Of Exporters’ Concerns About Free Trade Deal — The Ball’s In South Korea’s Court
Forbes.com

The U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Sung Kim, a Korean-American who visited North Korea 13 times for negotiations before his current appointment, likes to warm up relations with influential South Koreans over games of tennis on the spacious grounds of the ambassadorial residence.

It was on one such occasion that he and Korea’s finance minister, Hyun Oh-seok, talked over grave problems surrounding the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in 2012 after several years of arduous talks that showed deep, enduring problems on both sides.

Hyun didn’t reveal the outcome of the tennis game but did say he and Sung Kim had “met frequently” to try and arrive at “an effective outcome” to troubles over KORUS. “It may be a natural force to have issues over trade,” he said in response to my question after he gave a luncheon speech at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club on March 25 that omitted any mention of trade problems.

2NE1 to Appear On “America’s Next Top Model”
soompi

Exciting news! The fabulous ladies of 2NE1 will be appearing on the final stage of the American reality survival program “America’s Next Top Model” season 21.

“America’s Next Top Model” is filming in Korea for Seoul’s fashion week, and according to broadcast and fashion industry sources, 2NE1 will be appearing on the final stage of the show’s activities in Korea. The final fashion show of the program will take place on April 2 at Banpo, and 2NE1 will be guests at that show. One source sated, “2NE1 was asked to be on the show because they are a representative K-Pop group and they are also well-known to be fashionistas.”

How Crayon Pop Came to Open for Lady Gaga
Chosun Ilbo

Korean girl band Crayon Pop will open an upcoming North American tour by Lady Gaga to promote her third album “Artpop” released in November last year.

The five-member girl band attracted Gaga’s attention when she came across their music video by chance during a break from practice.

Although Gaga initially asked Crayon Pop to open all 29 concerts in the North American tour, they could only agree to one month as they had prior commitment to work on their new album.

Q&A With Actor Hoon Lee
Giant Robot

Don’t diss “Banshee” star Hoon Lee on Twitter, even if you’re just kidding.

Lee had tweeted about an upcoming guest appearance on an episode of “The Black List” and I replied, tongue in cheek, “You’ve been on my black list for years.” I was rewarded with a fan of Lee’s telling me to “Back the fuck up!”

After I assured the tweeter that I was only kidding and that I was writing a profile about him, she gushed, “Mr.Lee is an awesome actor! He takes you into the heart of the character.” She added, “and he’s CUTE as hell!” Others had similar thoughts.

After watching two seasons of Cinemax’s hit show “Banshee,” it’s easy to see why Lee has so many fans. Apart from his ample acting chops, Lee is the most imposing Asian male presence ever in an American series. The man is as muscular as an action figure and can hold the menacing gaze of a panther. Lee’s cut enough to go shirtless, but for “Banshee” he takes it to another level: He squeezes into tight skirts. Job, Lee’s character (pronounced the biblical way), is a cross-dressing hair stylist and genius computer hacker who snaps lines like, “Suck my tit!”

Police Produce Anti-Gang Documentary
Santa Barbara Independent

A documentary meant to dissuade at-risk teens from buying into the false gang life promises of quick cash and eternal loyalty premiered last week at the Edwards Stadium Theater in Santa Maria to a packed house of lawyers, judges, teachers, and city councilmembers, along with community leaders, area residents, and nonprofit groups. The 40-minute film, titled Life Facing Bars, was commissioned by the Santa Maria Police Department and created by Matt Yoon, a 2013 Cal Poly journalism graduate. It’s been uploaded to YouTube, and had attracted more than 25,000 views as of Monday afternoon.

Yoon said he was producing videos for his church last year when he was approached by Lieutenant Daniel Cohen. Interested in the prospect of interviewing ex-gang members — and needing to complete a senior project for his major — Yoon agreed to join forces for the unique crime-prevention venture and was soon headed to Kern Valley State Prison and Santa Barbara County Jail for notably unrestricted access to the facilities and their inmates.

LG Offers Fresh Peek at Its New Smartwatch
Wall Street Journal

LG Electronics has released fresh photographs of the G Watch, in an effort to sustain interest in the device that it hopes will help it make inroads into the steadily expanding market for smartwatches.

The South Korean smartphone maker is co-developing the smartwatch with Google and has said earlier that it expects to launch the device in the second quarter of this year. Google also has another smartwatch in the works dubbed the Moto 360.

While both LG and Google hope their smartwatches will be better than earlier offerings, it remains in question whether the G Watch will have a much bigger appeal than existing devices such as Samsung’s Gear watch and Sony Smartwatch, as it will function as an accessory to smartphones rather than as an independent product.

Tuesday's Link Attack: North Korea, 2NE1, Opera Singer Ji Hyun Kim

North, South Korea exchange recalls previous historic meeting
Los Angeles Times

REPORTING FROM SEOUL -– Though brief, Tuesday’s meeting between North Korean and South Korean leadership families smacked of another historic get-together more than a decade ago that led to one head of state winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lee Hee-ho, center, and Hyun Jeong-eun, right, in Paju, South Korea, on their way to North Korea on Monday to pay respects to Kim Jong-il and meet the North's new leader, Kim Jong-un.

New North Korean Leader Meets South Koreans and Assumes Leadership of Party
New York Times

South Korea had said it would send no official mourners to Kim Jong-il’s funeral, which angered North Korea as a sign of disrespect. But Kim Jong-un’s meeting with the private delegation of mourners, which included the former first lady of South Korea and a top businesswoman, appeared to be cordial.

The South Korean visitors, Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former President Kim Dae-jung, and the chairwoman of Hyundai Asan, Hyun Jeong-eun, which had business ties with North Korea, were the only South Koreans allowed by the government in Seoul to lead private delegations to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, to express sympathy over the death of Kim Jong-il on Dec. 17.

From Dear Leader to Marilyn Monroe, defector mocks Kim
Reuters

North Korean artist Song Byeok once proudly drew the “Dear Leader” in propaganda paintings. But he was sent to labor in one of the reclusive state’s notorious prisons after hunger forced him to try to flee.

Now a defector living in the South Korean capital, Seoul, Song has turned to mocking a ruler who led his country into famine, isolation and economic ruin.

“The day I finished this, he passed away,” Song said of his painting and the death of Kim on December 17.

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Did Kim Jong-il death ruin breakthrough deal on North Korea nukes?
The Christian Science Monitor

The death of Kim Jong-il has disrupted an American plan to encourage North Korea to curb its nuclear arsenal, and the uncertainties surrounding the “dear leader’s” replacement mean US officials have little choice for now but to sit tight.

Before the announcement of Mr. Kim’s death Sunday, the US was on the verge of completing a deal to exchange humanitarian assistance for North Korean steps toward denuclearization.

But as Kim’s replacement and youngest son, Kim Jong-un, tries to establish himself in his father’s place, it will likely be months – and potentially tense and surprise-laden months – before the North Korean leadership will be ready to reengage diplomatically, many North Asian analysts say.

North Korea Presses South to Implement Economic Pact
New York Times

In its first interaction with visitors from South Korea since the death of its leader, Kim Jong-il, North Korea on Tuesday called for the implementation of the inter-Korean summit agreements, which would have brought massive South Korean investments had the South Korean leader, Lee Myung-bak, not scuttled them.

Recalling a Trip to North Korea Before the Death of Kim Jong-il
New York Times

Mun Ho-yong placed the bouquet of flowers at the foot of the towering outdoor portrait of Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea. Then he turned to the Chinese businesspeople and tourists, and to the foreign journalists. “Now please bow to our leader,” he said.

Most of us had set foot in North Korea for the first time just hours earlier. We had no idea what protocol to adopt when faced with the “Great Leader,” as North Koreans call him. So we followed Mr. Mun’s lead. We bowed.

2NE1 and SNSD ranks in SPIN’s 20 Best Pop Albums of 2011
Soompi

Girl groups 2NE1 and SNSD are receiving worldwide attention.

The two groups, who are leaders in K-pop’s Korean Wave thanks to their unique performances and refined music this year, have been favorably noticed by famous foreign magazines. SPIN, a popular music magazine in the United States, announced their 20 Best Pop Album of 2011 on December 22 (local time) and the two groups were listed.

Five arrested including two members of Hawthorne Fire Department arrested after drug investigation

The Gazette (Hawthorne, N.J.)

A month and a half-long narcotics investigation resulted in the arrest of five Hawthorne residents, two of whom are members of the Hawthorne Fire Department, on Dec. 21.

At sentencing, Choi apologizes for slaying three in a Tenafly home
North Jersey

“We have three individuals who no longer walk the earth,” said Judge Donald Venezia. “You brought havoc to three individuals and to a community. Anything less than a life sentence and I’d be condoning what you did. There’s no way you’re getting a break. You did not give Mr. [Han Il] Kim a break.”

Before being sentenced, Choi apologized via his Korean translator.

“I’m very sorry to the victims and their families,” he said. “I’m sorry to my own family.”

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James Kim: Recent College Grad Feels Pain Of Uncertain Job Market
Neon Tommy

Kim, 23, is one of the “Millennials”- a group defined by a 2010 Pew Research study as 18- to 29-year-olds who are mostly newcomers to the American labor force and who, more recently, have become the last hired and the first to lose their jobs.

According to the study that surveyed 50 million Millennials nationwide, only 4 out of every 10 participants said they had full-time work, and the unemployment rate among the group was 37 percent – the highest it had been in over 30 years.

Ji Hyun Kim: New Face
The Telegraph (U.K.)

Who’s that bright and breezy young tenor playing Gastone in the current revival of La Traviata at Covent Garden?

He’s 28-year-old Ji Hyun Kim, currently a hard-working member of the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.

Perilla, ggaennip, shiso: By any name, a fine addition to garden
L.A. Times

It’s telling that with such limited ground — not even 20 square feet — the gardeners at the Korean Resource Center have dedicated a majority of their space to the perilla plant, a member of the mint family known as ggaennip in Korea and shiso in Japan.

‘Brazen’ contracting scam: Records provide a window into audacious swindle
Washington Post

The plan was straightforward but effective: A tight team of savvy contractors and government employees allegedly inflated invoices by $20 million, approved them and split the proceeds.

And they lived large — on the taxpayers’ dollar. Porsches, real estate, flat-screen televisions and Cartier watches: The men bought it all with impunity, prosecutors say.

The Strangest Man in Ikea
Gizmodo

Taeyoon Choi isn’t at this Ikea, the second largest store location in the world, to buy a coffee table. He’s not there for delicious meatballs and lingonberry sauce, either. He’s in Ikea to create crazy-weird experimental noise machines.

7 best ski and snowboard resorts in Korea
CNN

Given that almost three-quarters of Korea is covered by mountains, it’s no wonder thousands of tourists fly in every winter to hit the slopes.

Now that it’s finally snowing, even in Seoul, here’s where to find the best snowy runs in Korea.

UNM students deface El Morro rock
Santa Fe New Mexican

Dana Choi, a Korean student at The University of New Mexico, admitted to etching the words Super Duper Dana’ into rock at El Morro National Monument in October. His graffiti covers a portion of an inscription that reads Pedro Romero 1758.’ Although officials at monument won’t talk about how they plan to erase the markings, the restoration costs have been estimated at nearly $30,000.

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Wednesday Link Attack: North Korea, Debbie Lee, SK Soccer

Kim Didn’t Die on his Train, says South Korean Spy Chief
The Week

According to The Times, Won Sei Hoon, director of the South’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), was reported by Seoul media as saying: “We confirmed through US satellite surveillance photos that Kim’s personal train was stationary in Pyongyang [before his death].”

“We kept tabs on Kim’s whereabouts until Thursday but could not locate him starting Friday. There are signs that he tried to go somewhere [on Saturday morning] but died.”

This is at odds with the official North Korean version. Kim is said to have died of a heart attack at the age of 69 while travelling on his official train due to “great mental and physical strain” brought on by a “high intensity field inspection”.

S. Korea’s Top Spy Under Pressure to Quit Over Kim’s Death
Bloomberg Business Week

Park and Kwon joined the growing criticism directed at the spy agency for its shortfalls in collecting intelligence on a regime that’s still technically at war with Asia’s fourth- largest economy. South Korea’s government wasn’t alone in being blindsided as President Barack Obama learned of Kim’s death half an hour after the North Korean broadcasts, according to the White House.

Kim Jong Il Rumors Take Flight
The Wall Street Journal

…since the blogosphere hates an information vacuum, there are numerous rumors flying around about the circumstances of the Dear Leader’s death and who knew about it first.

One of the most bizarre is that Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest business conglomerate, knew about Mr. Kim’s demise a day ahead of the announcement to the world by North Korea’s state media.

The rumor was started by a local newspaper, which subsequently deleted its report. That didn’t stop the talk catching fire on Twitter and online forums. Samsung was forced to deny the rumor twice.

Aid Groups Don’t Want U.S. to Delay Food Shipments to North Korea
Los Angeles Times

U.S. State Department officials said they intended to wait out the announced 11-day official mourning period to mark Kim Jong Il’s death in North Korea before assessing the nation’s food needs.

“We’re going to have to keep talking about this, and given the mourning period, frankly, we don’t think we’ll be able to have much more clarity and resolve these issues before the new year,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news conference.

The regime is in the process of transitioning power to Kim’s youngest son and untested heir-apparent, Kim Jong Un.

Edgewater Woman Sentenced to Jail for Role in Fraud Ring
NortheJersey.com

Kim was among 53 people arrested in September 2010 following an investigation into a Palisades Park-based identity theft and fraud ring. She previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, possession of 15 or more unauthorized credit cards with intent to defraud and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities said Kim also admitted to carrying at least 20 fraudulent credit cards to make purchases without ever intending to pay the bill.

An Identity Through Cooking
The Boston Globe

Before garnering fame by blending Korean and American Southern dishes as the second runner-up on season five of “The Next Food Network Star,’’ Lee endured taunting as a Korean-American growing up in Arizona. But her TV success helped her come to grips with her identity and launched a culinary career that includes a popular Los Angeles-based food truck and restaurant. This fall, she wrote “Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share With Family and Friends.’’

Nepali Student, 14, Adjusts to Life in Boston
Boston.com

This is an interesting story about a teenager from Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries, who moved to Boston to live with a Korean American couple as part of a new social welfare program.

[14-year-old Manisha] Sapkota spent most of her childhood in the central Nepal village of Arba, in a three-room house with a large extended family — her great-grandmother, grandparents, two aunts, three uncles, her parents, her brother, and one cousin. Now she has her own room, like any other American girl, plastered with posters from the “Twilight” movies.

Chen originally planned for Sapkota to live with him and his wife in a Jamaica Plain triple-decker, but that became impossible when they agreed to take in another Trinity Academy student who needed a home.

Instead, she lives downstairs with their friends Dan Lee, 38, pastor of Highrock Covenant Church of Brookline, and Diana Choi Lee, 34, a seventh-grade history teacher at Weston Middle School, who both visited Nepal with Chen’s group and knew Sapkota before she came to the United States.

North Korea’s Tears: A Blend of Cult, Culture and Coercion
The New York Times

A day after North Korea announced the death of its longtime ruler, Kim Jong-il, televised video and photographs distributed by the reclusive state on Tuesday showed scenes of mass hysteria and grief among citizens and soldiers across the capital. The images, many of them carefully selected by the state Korean Central News Agency, appeared to be part of an official campaign to build support for Mr. Kim’s successor, his third son, Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-il, the Sportsman
The New York Times

In his first match at Pyongyang Lanes, Kim bowled a perfect 300, according to state-run news media, which did not say whether the bumpers were raised. But that is nothing compared with the five holes in one and 38 under par that Kim reportedly shot in his maiden round of golf. No word on whether the course included a windmill, lion’s head and pop-up gopher.

Of course, in a closed, isolated nation like North Korea, it is difficult to separate the milk of fact from the crème of fiction. Some accounts had Kim shooting 11 aces, not merely five.

Steelers’ Hines Ward had a ‘blast’ with ‘Dark Knight’ role
USA Today

[Hines Ward] and several other Steelers teammates were asked by producer Thomas Tull to take part in the Christopher Nolan-directed film, which is due out July 20. Ward normally does not take kickoff returns, but this is Hollywood, after all.

“I hadn’t run back a kickoff in forever,” says Ward of the scene, filmed at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. “It was a little bizarre. But I scored on the return and any time I score it’s a lot of fun.”

Choi Kang-hee is surprise pick as S. Korea coach
AP via SI.com

South Korea sprang a surprise by appointing Choi Kang-hee as the new coach of the national team on Wednesday despite the fact he had already turned down the job and that a foreign coach was widely anticipated.

Choi, who had been coach of club side Jeonbuk Motors, replaced Cho Kwang-rae, who was fired earlier this month after a shock defeat by Lebanon jeopardized the country’s chances of advancing in Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

Korea needs a draw against Kuwait on Feb. 29 to be certain of a place in the final phase of qualification, and the importance of that game was a decisive factor in Choi getting the job.

“We thought long and hard about it,” Korean Football Association technical chief Hwangbo Kwan said. “We decided to appoint Choi because we wanted to make the most of the short time we have before the game against Kuwait on February 29 and Choi can led the team in stable manner.”

Submission of the Year: ‘Korean Zombie’ Twists to the Top
USA Today

Jung learned his twister skills from Youtube videos of jiu-jitsu teacher Eddie Bravo, who took the basic technique from amateur wrestling, where the hold is known as a guillotine. He put out a DVD in 2005 and a detailed book two years later, but the twister before Jung was successfully applied only a few times in MMA, including twice by female fighter Shayna Baszler and once by Japanese fighter Shuichiro Katsumura, all on smaller shows.

By doing it at the UFC level, Jung exposed the twister to most MMA fans for the first time. Even Bravo was impressed.

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Link Attack: Kim Jong Il Edition Part 3

The power brokers behind North Korea’s next leader
Yahoo! News

The late Kim Jong Il had 20 years of preparation at the side of his father, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994. Experts say that because Kim Jong Un doesn’t have that kind of experience, the youngest member of the political dynasty will need the brains and political brawn of his father’s closest confidants before formally taking power.


Defectors: Death Won’t Bring Change Anytime Soon
Wall Street Journal

Though the despot is gone, rapid change in North Korea seems unlikely any time soon, defectors said Tuesday.

In a meeting with reporters, Rim Chun-ryong, who served in the North Korean army for 17 years before he fled the country in 2000, said people support the regime and that it is much stronger than outsiders presume.

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S. Korea expresses sympathy to N. Korean people
CNN

The South Korean government expressed its sympathy to the people of North Korea following the death of Kim Jong Il, South Korea’s unification minister said Tuesday.

Kim Jong-il’s death brings end to era of cruelty, mystery
Christian Science Monitor

Kim Jong-il’s death at the age of 69 ended an era of profligacy and harshness that included reports of both his wild living in his many mansions and stories from defectors of extreme cruelty in a gulag system to which 200,000 people were constantly consigned.

The report of the demise of the man known as North Korea’s “dear leader” – who reportedly imported cognac along with Swedish hostesses and dined on fine food dished up by a Japanese chef who dedicated a special brand of sushi to him – confirmed speculation that he had been seriously ill for awhile.


Future N. Korean Leader attended attended Swiss School
Reuters

Former pupils of a school in Switzerland believe the young lad who loved playing basketball and watching action movies and was always “good for a laugh” may have been none other than Kim Jong-un, son and anointed successor of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

N. Korean Leader Seen Extending ‘Kim Brand’
Bloomberg

“Jong Un’s main claim to leadership is that he looks very similar to his grandfather,” said Bradley K. Martin, author of “Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty” and a former reporter for Bloomberg News. “What you have here is branding. The Kim brand.”

Kim’s Death: Who Knew When?
Wall Street Journal

After being caught completely off-guard by Kim Jong Il’s death Monday, local politicians and the public are asking what may be a painful question for intelligence and defense officials: why didn’t Seoul know about this sooner?

It’s no secret that the South Korean government devotes a considerable amount of resources in gathering intelligence about what’s going on north of the border. But when prodded by the perceived lapse, various arms of Korean government declined to discuss Seoul’s intelligence gathering process, including how they first heard of Kim Jong Il’s death or the precise time that became aware of it.

New Weight on U.S.-South Korea Relations
New York Times

“I think right now the North Koreans are themselves going to go into a period of national mourning,” said Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman. “We need to see where they are and where they go as they move through their transition period.”

Metro Detroit Koreans hope for better future
Detroit News

For Kiyon Ahn, a Metro Detroiter who grew up in Busan, South Korea, but left the country for the United States 36 years ago, the news prompted thoughts about the future of the region and its heir-apparent, Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of Kim Jong Il.

“A lot of people are thinking whether (North Korea) will be better or not better,” Ahn said on Monday. “He’s too young. He doesn’t have enough experience.” He is believed to be in his late 20s.

Comics won’t have Kim to kick around any more
Reuters

But in life and even in death, Kim, who reportedly died on Saturday at 69, was comedy gold to foreign satirists — among the few outsiders who will miss the late North Korean leader and his elevator shoes and bouffant hairstyle.

In Kim’s Undetected Death, Sign of Nation’s Opacity
New York Times

For South Korean and American intelligence services to have failed to pick up any clues to this momentous development — panicked phone calls between government officials, say, or soldiers massing around Mr. Kim’s train — attests to the secretive nature of North Korea, a country not only at odds with most of the world but also sealed off from it in a way that defies spies or satellites.

Kim Jong Il’s Death: 5 Memorable Parodies of the North Korean Dictator (Video)
The Hollywood Reporter

From “Team America: World Police” to “30 Rock,” the late leader — and dedicated film fan — has been spoofed frequently in pop culture.

But he’s also been the object of many a parody in Hollywood, from Team America: World Police to 30 Rock. Here are five memorable spoofs of the late North Korean dictator.

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Link Attack: Kim Jong Il Edition Part 2

What’s Next for North Korea After Kim’s Death?
ABC News via Yahoo News

The death of Kim Jong Il likely puts the leadership of North Korea into the hands of an even more mysterious man, his son, Kim Jong Un, fueling speculation about a struggle for power in the reclusive nation, and with that control of a nuclear arsenal and the world’s fourth-largest military.

Former US Ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg says he is more optimistic about the future of North Korea with the death of its “dear leader,” because Kim Jong Un may be able to move the country more in line with the west.

“There has been a generational change in the top leadership. Some of the 70- and 80-year-olds, really hard-line people, have faded away,” said Gregg.

Gregg says the change in leadership does not mean the country will flex its nuclear muscles, because Kim Jong Un will “need to provide stability in a changing time and that could mean no rash moves.”

“This is potentially a very positive development because the upcoming year is a year of transition,” Gregg said.

Kim Jong Il death: Who’s who in the Kim family?
Los Angeles Times

Who’s who in Kim Jong Il’s family? Here’s a primer on the Kim family, which led one of the world’s most enduring dictatorships, a repressive regime that has long defied predictions of its demise. It survived from the end of World War II into the 21st century while many of its people went hungry.

Kim Jong Il death: Powerful uncle could overshadow Kim’s son
Los Angeles Times

North Korean media extolled Kim Jong Un on Monday as the “great successor” and the “outstanding leader of our party, army and people.”

But it’s not so simple. The young man is likely to be overshadowed by a powerful uncle, Jang Sung Taek.
Jang, 65, is married to Kim Jong Il’s younger sister and has spent three decades in the ruling Workers’ Party, holding key positions in the military and secret police and running North Korea’s special economic zones. His family members also hold powerful jobs with the military.

In contrast, the chosen successor has a thin resume. He attended a German-language public high school in Bern, Switzerland, where he was registered as the son of a North Korean diplomat. His classmates described him as crazy about basketball and computer games.

Until September 2010, when the overweight young man with a dimpled face was named a four-star general, he was almost entirely unknown to the North Korean public. Even the exact spelling of his name was a state secret.

In O.C., relief, worry over Kim’s death
Orange County Register

The headlines in the Korean press were greeted with relief and worry in Orange County’s Korean-American community: “Kim Jong Il Dead,” and nobody was quite sure what would come next.

Tens of thousands of Orange County residents come from South Korea, and thousands more have family ties to the nation that has long lived with the threat of the north and its mercurial leader. They followed the news of Kim’s death with the safety of friends and family in mind.

“The situation in the Korean Peninsula has been very fragile” even before Kim’s death, said Joe Pak, a board member of the Korean American Federation of Orange County. “We’d like to have a very stable situation with North Korea.”

Kim Jong Il Dead: Top 10 Crazy Facts
ABC News

Kim the Movie Buff
Kim was a major film buff, and reportedly owned 10,000 to 20,000 DVDs, many of which were Hollywood films. Some of his favorite movies include the 1980s slasher flick “Friday the 13th,” the Sylvester Stallone action flick “Rambo” and the Japanese classic “Godzilla.”

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Kim Jong Il’s death: North Korean defectors speak out
Los Angeles Times

They are a group with much to lose in the aftermath of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il: defectors who have fled the secretive regime and have little access to information about family members back home.

On Monday, several former North Koreans now living in Seoul talked about their feelings concerning the death of a man many called a dreaded tyrant.

“I didn’t get chance to call my hometown yet because it costs a lot of money. I am not so worried about my relatives. If they were elites, I would be extra-concerned, but my folks are common people,” said Kang Cheol-ryong, a 28-year-old defector who’s now attending a university in Seoul. “But I know that dangers lurk. Until the mourning period ends, they should not drink, sing, have fun, play or laugh. So they should be careful.”

Kang, who is president of his college’s Students for Peace and Unification Assn., said he fears for his countrymen as Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Kim Jong Un, is set to assume control of the Pyongyang regime.

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Europe Cautious in Reaction to Kim Jong-il’s Death
Chosun Ilbo

European officials reacted with a mix of hope and watchfulness to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and apparent power transition to his son. Reactions in Europe have been slow and cautious to the news of Kim Jong-il’s demise.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague sounded a hopeful note, suggesting the North Korean leader’s death from an apparent heart attack could be the turning point for the Asian nation.

In a statement, Hague expressed hope the new North Korean leadership would engage with the international community and work for peace and security in the region.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said there is always hope for change, but that Western expectations remain the same — that North Korea give up its nuclear program and improve the plight of its people.

Margaret Cho: I Was Once Kim Jong Il
Wall Street Journal

North Korea is an unsolved mystery. I once had family there, and now the family ties, cut for so long because of the separation of the Koreas into north and south, have healed over into non-existence. Perhaps there is a scar there, an infinitesimal tear in some great grandmother’s conscience, but I don’t even know her. No one in my family remembers her name, so it’s like she never existed. We from the south and we from the north now are separate and at best, indifferent. At worst, hateful in the terrible way of civil war and the brutal animosity of a country divided is capable of. Do we despise ourselves more when we are ourselves?

When I got the part of Kim Jong Il in the fantastic television program “30 Rock,” I approached the role with the zeal of Cate Blanchett transforming herself into Bob Dylan. I remembered once I heard a story of the celebrated actress Glenn Close being seen wearing dark glasses and waiting for a wheelchair in an airplane, feeling the air in front of her as if she were blind, and thinking this is what an actor must do to prepare. Live it. Do it for real.

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Link Attack: Kim Jong Il Edition

Shock, worry, uncertainty as LA’s Koreatown learns of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s death
AP via Washington Post

Many in the largest Korean enclave in the United States took word of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il with disbelief, saying it was a day they thought they’d never see. But when their shock wore off, most in Los Angeles’s Koreatown shifted to quiet concern for the future of their native country and its neighbor to the north.

“Kim Jong Il died? You’re sure about that? No way! I thought he was going to live forever!” said Brian Shin, a 30-year-old native South Korean as he smoked a cigarette in front of his high-rise apartment building on Wilshire Boulevard. He kept expressing doubts until his wife ran downstairs to tell him it was true.

But while he knew the event was huge, he didn’t think it would lead to significant changes.

Kim Jong Il death: Koreatown reacts with joy and worry
Los Angeles Times

In grocery stores, shopping plazas and all-night diners in L.A.’s Koreatown, the news of Kim’s death was greeted with both unrestrained joy and a deep sense of concern.

Yoon-hui Kim, a defector who fled North Korea about 10 years ago by crossing the border into China, said refugees were all on edge waiting to see what would happen next.

Many still have family back in North Korea and are deeply concerned about what fate their relatives may face in the immediate future, she said.

“It was no surprise, since we all knew he was ill,” said Kim, who is in her late 30s, but was careful with personal details about herself. “The most worrying is what will happen to the North Korean people.”

Kim said she felt the situation was particularly volatile and unpredictable because neither South Korea nor China would be in a position to influence the country.

“All we can do is wait and see,” she said.

OC Korean leaders react to Kim Jong Il’s death
Orange County Register

Korean leaders in Orange County are anticipating new “challenges” and “opportunities” after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang had just finished speaking at a Christmas gala for the Korean American military cadets in Buena Park when the news broke. He was cautiously optimistic.

“It’s important to monitor the situation as they unveil more information,” said Kang, who emigrated from Korea. “But in terms of human rights, his death is a very positive outcome for the people of North Korea.”

Irvine Councilman Steven Choi also attended the Christmas party. Choi said that although the Korean dictator’s regime was unstable, his presence at least ensured that a status quo would remain in place.

Now, he said, the South Korean military would be on high alert, and those with relatives in the Korean peninsula would have to brace for the possibility of conflict.

“I don’t think there is a positive or negative,” Choi said. “It’s a nervous time. It will bring about some new challenges and some new opportunities.” Choi emigrated from South Korea in 1968 and some of his family still lives there.

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Hope, worry in Seattle after Kim Jong Il’s death
Seattle Times

Leaders of Seattle’s Korean-American community reacted with a mix of fear and hope Sunday to the death of North Korea’s much-despised leader.

John Oh, president of the Seattle chapter of the National Unification Advisory Council, which wants to see the Korean peninsula peacefully reunited, couldn’t contain his relief — or his anxiety.

“This is great news to me,” said Oh, who was driven out of North Korea during the war in the 1950s. “I’m so glad to hear this dictator is dead. But now I’m worried about military action.

With Word of Leader’s Death, Come Tears on State TV
New York Times

As my colleagues Choe Sang-hun and David E. Sanger report, Kim Jong-il, the mysterious and mercurial dictator of North Korea, has died. The news ripped across the globe Sunday night after the country’s official news media proclaimed the leader dead by way of a tearful television announcer. The video above shows an anchorwoman who appears to be struggling through her emotions to deliver the news.

Young Heir Faces Uncertain Transition in North Korea
New York Times

With the abrupt death of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, the fate of his isolated, nuclear-armed regime has dropped into the hands of his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who is such an unknown that the world did not even know for sure what he looked like until last year.

But the biggest enigma may be whether the younger Mr. Kim will be able to hold onto power in this last bastion of hard-line Communism, much less prevent its impoverished economy from collapsing.

For now, the reclusive regime is acting true to form, offering few clues as to what, if any, changes the death of the dictator could bring. It does, however, appear to be offering the first glimmers of an answer to one question that has long dogged North Korea watchers: whether the powerful military and other parts of the nation’s small, privileged ruling elite would go along with the Kim family’s ambitions to extend its dynastic rule to a third generation.

Within hours of the announcement on Monday of his father’s death, North Korea’s ruling Workers Party released a statement calling on the nation to unite “under the leadership of our comrade Kim Jong-un.”

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North Korea mourns dead leader, son is “Great Successor”
Reuters via Yahoo News

North Korea’s official KCNA news agency lauded Kim’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un as “the outstanding leader of our party, army and people.”

A KCNA dispatch said North Koreans from all walks of life were in utter despair but were finding comfort in the “absolute surety that the leadership of Comrade Kim Jong-un will lead and succeed the great task of revolutionary enterprise.”

But there was uncertainty about how much support the third generation of the North’s ruling dynasty has among the ruling elite, especially in the military, and concern he might need a military show of strength to help establish his credentials.

“Kim Jong-un is a pale reflection of his father and grandfather. He has not had the decades of grooming and securing of a power base that Jong-il enjoyed before assuming control from his father,” said Bruce Klingner, an Asia policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

North Korean Dynastic Succession Tested in Tapping Kim’s Son
Business Week

The stability of nuclear-armed North Korea may hinge on whether its military and the family of deceased dictator Kim Jong Il agree that his little-known, twenty-something son can extend six decades of dynastic rule.

Kim Jong Un was named to high-level military and party posts in September 2010. Kim Jong Il, who died of a heart attack Dec. 17, groomed his son for succession by featuring him prominently at a party congress and having him meet with foreign dignitaries.

The younger Kim is slated to take the reins of an economy whose 24 million largely impoverished people — five percent of whom serve in the military — have almost no access to outside media and suffer from chronic malnutrition. North Korea shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear weapons program in the face of global sanctions and any sign of concessions from the new leader could undermine his position.

“It’s not going to be an easy succession,” said Hong Yung Lee, a professor of East Asian politics at the University of California at Berkeley, in a phone interview. “The most important institution is the military. How will it handle Kim Jong Un?”

‘Team America: World Police’ surges as Twitter topic following Kim Jong Il’s death
New York Daily News

The death of Kim Jong Il has brought renewed interest in the North Korean dictator’s most high-profile performance on this side of the Pacific — as a singing puppet in “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 2004 comedy “Team America: World Police.”

The marionette movie became a high-trending Twitter topic almost immediately after North Korean television announced Sunday night that the country’s “Supreme Leader” had died of a heart attack in Pyongyang at the age of 69.

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Kim Jong Un's Haircut All The Rage in North Korea

Young men are flocking to North Korean barbershops to get a haircut styled after the dictator-in-waiting, Kim Jong Un, according to Reuters.

The youngest son of Kim Jong Il, dubbed “Young General,” is believed to be in his late 20s and is being groomed to be the next leader of the isolated Communist country. As for his own grooming, Kim prefers something Korean American teens sported in the mid-1990s. High and tight on the sides, the top left long and slicked back.

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The young Kim’s haircut is dubbed a “youth” or “ambition” hairstyle in North Korea, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper has reported.

Earlier this week, North Korean state news agency KCNA quoted barber An Su-gil as saying the short-cut, medium-cut and square-cut hairstyles are now popular among young men.

North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun wrote in September that neat and short hair for young people makes them “captivating.”

“A young man with (an) ambitious high sided haircut looks so sobering and stylish,” the paper added.

The haircut also looks like a variation of a 1930s style haircut gaining popularity in the United States, according to the New York Times. The article quotes a barber who says most customers refer to the hairstyle as a “Hitler youth.”

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Wednesday's Link Attack: Kim Jong-un, Crazy Korean Hair, Hawaii 5-0

Kim Jong-un May Join Powerful Military Organization Next Year
Yonhap News Agency

The youngest son and heir apparent of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could assume a powerful military post next year as the communist regime inches toward a third-generation hereditary succession, a South Korean report said Wednesday.

The Research Institute for National Security Affairs (RINSA) at the Korea National Defense University said Kim Jong-un could be named the first vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission next year. Kim Jong-il serves as the chairman of the organization.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100 – #96
The Hollywood Reporter

Nelson doesn’t come across as terribly impressed with herself. Her last movie hit it big, she says, because “we got to explore these characters more deeply. Everyone working on the film — the cast, the crew — knows these characters so well. And everybody has such a great time doing it.”

That’s the case with a lot of movies and probably a lot of sequels. But not every movie sees the same scale of success as Kung Fu Panda 2: With worldwide box office of about $650 million, the animated 3D sequel to the 2008 original has become the highest-grossing film directed by a woman.

Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference: Slacker Korean-American Kids Come of Age in the Bay Area
Boingboing.net

Same Difference is the story of Korean-American 20-something slackers in San Francisco who wrestle with the stereotypes and ambitions that they feel guide their lives. It has the feel of vintage Douglas Coupland, a drifting ennui shot through with moments of human warmth and connection. And though it’s a quick read, it leaves a lasting emotional coal smouldering in its wake.

South Korea Sack Coach Cho
ESPN

And despite South Korea currently sitting top of their 2014 World Cup qualifying group, a shock 2-1 defeat to Lebanon in their last outing has left the 2002 World Cup semi-finalists precariously poised going into a crunch final game against Kuwait, who could qualify at their hosts’ expense if they win in Seoul.

KBS announced Cho’s departure on Tuesday and named Afshin Ghotbi, Choi Kang-Hee and Hong Myong-Bo as the Korean Football Association’s preferred replacements.

Seoul to let all Native English Speaking Teachers go by 2014
The Marmot’s Hole

A Seoul Metropolitan Council official said according to a poll, students and parents preferred Korean instructors fluent in English over native speakers, and that the council plans to slash Seoul Office of Education’s budget for personnel costs for native speakers.

In the next fiscal year, the city plans to reduce the 30 billion won budget for native speakers by 4.9 billion won; it appears 707 native speakers—57% of the 1,245 total—will leave their schools.

Oxford’s Kim at Home on the Court and in the Classroom
Rockdale Citizen (Conyers-Rockdale County, Ga.)

Kim also sports a 5.5 point-per-game average and scored a team-high 15 points in Oxford’s 89-63 victory on Sunday against the Greenville Titans. And while he’s one of the Eagles’ tallest players, he’s comfortable taking charge of the ball in transition.

“Sam’s a multi-purpose player,” Oxford coach Roderick Stubbs said. “He can play anywhere from point guard to center. And he’s an excellent passer and looks for people in the open court. And he’s our leading rebounder. He brings a lot to the table and helps us to function better.

“We put in a system where if you get the (defensive) rebound, then you’re the point. So he’ll go get it and can run the point and look for people in transition. He loves that.”

South Korea Steps up Enforcement of Cold War-era Law Banning Praise of North Korea
The Washington Post

Since a conservative government took power in 2008, indictments have shot up under a South Korean security law that makes it a crime to praise, sympathize or cooperate with North Korea. More than 150 were questioned and 60 charged in 2010, up from 39 questioned and 36 charged in 2007, officials say.

In another sign of stepped-up enforcement, a South Korean government agency launched a team on Wednesday that will examine Facebook and Twitter posts and smartphone applications to cope with what it says is a growing volume of illicit content, including violations of the security law.

South Korean Leaders Quit Party Posts in Vote Scandal
The Wall Street Journal

South Korea’s ruling political party fell into crisis as three of its seven leaders quit their posts and others tried to distance themselves from a scandal involving legislative aides who police say tampered with the government election agency’s computers during recent polling.

The Crazy Cutting Edge of Korean Hair
The Guardian (U.K.)

The Korea Hair Show in Seoul is a showcase for the most out-there developments in contemporary hairstyling. They’re unlikely to inspire many copycat styles – unless your name is Lady Gaga.

For more photos, check out the gallery.

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Access to caregiving can have barriers for immigrants
Baltimore Sun

Banghwa Lee Casado, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, conducted a study of 146 Korean American caregivers in Maryland and northern Virginia to examine access barriers to using home- and community-based programs, such as respite care, adult day care, home health and transportation services.

Casado’s research found a good majority of her subjects had never used these services. A lack of awareness was the most cited reason for not accessing these services. For instance, more than eight out of 10 reported having no knowledge of respite care and caregiving support group.

“We know anecdotally they have limited resources,” said Casado, who presented her findings at The Gerontological Society of America conference last month in Boston. “But without the data, we can’t show evidence there is unmeet need.”

EXCLUSIVE First Look: A TV Wedding, ‘Hawaii Five-0′ Style
AOL TV

Yep, the ‘Hawaii Five-0′ wedding is almost here, and we’ve got the exclusive first look at the big day. In ‘Alaheo Pau’ole’ (Mon., Dec. 12, 10PM ET on CBS) — which translates to “Gone Forever” — Chin and Malia are tying the knot, but not before the Five-0 are called to investigate a crime or two. It seems a man was left for dead in an abandoned WWII bunker, and that is somehow tied to a Jane Doe case the Capt. Fryer (Tom Sizemore) is working on.

The National Film Society interviews Joy Osmanski
YouTube

Affable actor Joy Osmanski joins the National Film Society to talk headshots, Hollywood and Jonah Hill.

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