South Korea Vows Military Reply if North Provokes It
New York Times
President Park Geun-hye of South Korea ordered the country’s military on Monday to deliver a strong and immediate response to any North Korean provocation, the latest turn in a war of words that has become a test of resolve for the relatively unproven leaders in both the North and South.
“I consider the current North Korean threats very serious,” Ms. Park told the South’s generals. “If the North attempts any provocation against our people and country, you must respond strongly at the first contact with them without any political consideration.
“As top commander of the military, I trust your judgment in the face of North Korea’s unexpected surprise provocation,” she added.
N.K. leader may attack to save face: U.S. lawmaker
With North Korea churning out military threats, a key concern is that its young leader Kim Jong-un may reach a point of no return in provocative steps, a U.S. congressman said Sunday.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said North Korea’s statements may not be an “empty threat.”
“Kim Jong-un is trying to establish himself. He’s trying to be the tough guy. He is 28, 29 years old, and he keeps going further and further out, and I don’t know if he can get himself back in,” he said in an interview with ABC News.
South Korean Media, Public Back U.S. Show of Force
Wall Street Journal
Recent announcements from the U.S. military of the deployment of advanced weaponry to South Korea as part of exercises have been designed to send a message to North Korea about the consequences of following through on its warnings of attack against the South and its allies.
Without question, Pyongyang has taken notice of the potential for a devastating counter-attack from the U.S. with its state-of-the-art nuclear-capable bombers and fighters. But with a young and largely unknown leader, it is far from clear whether displays of force will make North Korea less inclined to act rashly or spur it into lashing out.
North Korea Vows to Keep Nuclear Arms and Fix Economy
New York Times
North Korea’s leader on Sunday announced a “new strategic line” that defied warnings from Washington, saying that his country was determined to rebuild its economy in the face of international sanctions while simultaneously expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, which the ruling party called “the nation’s life.”
Anniversary of Oikos shooting massacre in Oakland evokes painful memories
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.)
June Lee, executive director of the Korean Community Center of the East Bay, said the shooting and resulting trauma across the Korean-American community emphasized the need for more services.
“The community had no awareness of how to deal with it,” she said. “They find it really horrifying. In the Korean community if you have cancer, people will talk about it. But if you have mental illness, nobody wants to talk about it.”
Lee said the city and various nonprofits have expressed interest in grass-roots initiatives that would help tackle these issues, but so far nothing has been done.
Illegal alien pleads guilty to sex trafficking South Korean women
A South Korean man, who entered the U.S. on a temporary visa and then illegally remained in the United States, pleaded guilty to transporting female illegal aliens into the state of Mississippi for financial gain in connection with a sex trafficking organization, according to federal officials in a press statement released Friday.
The guilty plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs agents and officers from the Biloxi, Miss., Police Department.
According to court documents, Moonseop Kim posted an advertisement on the Internet offering Korean female escort services in September 2012. Undercover officers with the Biloxi police responded to the ad and conducted a sting operation which resulted in the arrest of the 54-year-old Kim and a Korean female.
St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles
On Monday, officials at St. Vincent Medical Center announced that the facility has opened a 30-bed unit for Korean-American patients.
The unit is staffed by Korean-American nurses who speak fluent Korean. In addition, the unit features Korean cuisine, TV channels and signage throughout the facility.
According to hospital officials, the number of Korean-American patients seeking care at St. Vincent has grown significantly over the last 10 years.
Girls’ Generation’s ‘Gee’ breaks 100 mil. YouTube views
“Gee” by South Korean K-pop group, “Girls’ Generation” passed 100 million hits on YouTube Monday, according to the global online video website.
The video reached the milestone three years and 10 months after it was released on June 8, 2009, becoming the second video by a Korean singer or group to hit the record following rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”
South Korean Shin-Soo Choo already impressing Reds fans
Choo is only the third Asian to play for the Reds (pitchers Jung Keun Bong and Sun-Woo Kim are the others), and is, by far, the best South Korean hitter ever to play in the major leagues (of the 13 South Koreans to play in MLB, 11 are/were pitchers).
His reputation as a nice guy – hard-working, unfailingly polite and yet confident enough in his English and himself to exchange wisecracks with his teammates – arrived in Reds camp before he did.
S. Korean golfer [KJ Choi] to enter Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame
South Korean PGA Tour veteran Choi Kyoung-ju will enter the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame, his agency said on Monday.
In a press release, IMG Korea said Choi, 42, will enter the hall in a special induction ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia in November, during the 2013 Asia Pacific Golf Summit.
Master chef Sang Yoon prepares pigs ear terrine
Los Angeles Times via YouTube
Heart of a Champion
K.J. Choi, Asia’s most successful male golfer, says his proudest accomplishment takes place outside the links.
story by STEVE HAN
photographs by MARK EDWARD HARRIS
Success on the green is old hat for South Korean golfer K.J. Choi. Since making his professional debut in 1994, Choi has won 18 tournaments worldwide. Eight of those wins were on the PGA Tour, which makes him Asia’s most winningest golfer of all time. Ironically, the award Choi was tapped for last month—his first-ever in the U.S.—has nothing to do with what he has accomplished on the golf course. In fact, Choi’s eligibility for this honor had everything to do with what he has done off the fairway.
The prestigious Charlie Bartlett Award, named after the first secretary of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), recognizes a professional golfer’s commitment to the betterment of society. Recent recipients include Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Choi will be honored at the GWAA Annual Awards Dinner in Augusta, Ga., on April 10. Choi, 42, said receiving the Charlie Bartlett Award is one of his proudest accomplishments. Chatting with KoreAm Journal at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles prior to the Northern Trust Open in mid-February, Choi said he would take this award over any other accolade in golf.
“This is an award to K.J. Choi the person, not K.J. Choi the golfer,” Choi said in Korean. “That’s why it means more. It motivates me to always try to be a better person in life, not just on the course.” Continue Reading »
China’s patience with North Korea wearing thin
Associated Press via Google News
China’s patience with North Korea is wearing thin, and a widely-expected nuclear test by the latter could bring that frustration to a head.
Beijing signaled its growing unhappiness by agreeing to tightened U.N. sanctions after North Korea launched a rocket in December, surprising China watchers with its unusually tough line, which prompted harsh criticism from Pyongyang.
And while China isn’t expected to abandon its communist neighbor, it appears to be reassessing ties a year after new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took office. The question is for how long China, itself under new leader Xi Jinping, will continue to back North Korea’s nettlesome policies.
South Korea’s path to internet mastery
The National (United Arab Emirates)
Less than two decades ago, just a small number of South Koreans had access to the internet, in stark contrast to the current situation where almost all of them enjoy the fruits of the Web.
Even in 1998, the number of internet users was only seven per 100 people. South Korea lagged behind other countries in ratings by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of computer ownership and internet usage, implying Koreans had low levels of information utilisation skills.
The government recognised this as a major modernisation challenge as the world leading economies, such as the United States and Japan, were in the forefront of developing their information and communication technology (ICT) sectors. Numerous reports pointed to ICT as a crucial driving force for economic growth.
Brazil Carnival honors South Korea, Korean immigrants
AFP via Global Post
With samba music and allegorical pageantry, the Brazilian Carnival pays glowing tribute this year to South Korea’s ancient culture and technological prowess, and to 50 years of Korean immigration.
Friday, South Korean popstar Psy was a star guest at Carnival celebrations in the northeastern city of Salvador, wowing the crowd with his “Gangnam Style” hit that made Internet history last December by clocking more than one billion views on YouTube.
Book review: ‘Radical: Fighting to Put Students First’ by Michelle Rhee
Jennifer Howard, a former contributing editor of Book World, is a senior reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
If you are, have been or might soon be the parent of a school-age child in Washington,you have an opinion about Michelle Rhee, who ran the city’s public schools from 2007 to 2010. In a town full of divisive personalities, Rhee polarized opinion more than any other public figure I can remember, with the exception of a handful of officials. (Here’s looking at you, Marion Barry.) Either you admire her do-whatever-it-takes attempts to overhaul a system that had become a national embarrassment, or you loathe her as a power-mad, union-busting, school-closing dictator who trampled over teachers, parents and public servants.
I’m a Washingtonian with school-age children who are not currently enrolled in D.C. Public Schools. I watched, closely but from the sidelines, as Rhee set about the overhaul she describes in “Radical.” Her supporters and detractors could probably agree on one word to describe her: formidable. There’s no whiff of regret in “Radical.” By her reckoning, Rhee came in to do a difficult and politically dangerous job, and she did it the way she thought it needed to be done. Once she couldn’t do it effectively anymore, she moved on to bring her message of “radical improvement” to the national stage.
‘Walking Dead’: Steven Yeun’s Glenn is beating heart of AMC series
Los Angeles Times
Yeun’s amiable nature is familiar to fans of AMC’s hit zombie series. As Glenn Rhee, he functions as a likable everyman, the closest thing to a romantic hero in an unrelentingly brutal apocalyptic world.
“Steven is the heart of the show,” said Glen Mazzara, the “Walking Dead” executive producer who’s set to leave the series at the end of this season. “Everybody loves that character; everybody’s rooting for that character. He may be tortured and sensitive, but he’s always a hero.”
Chan-wook Park has a lot riding on blood-filled ‘Stoker’
Los Angeles Times
In a high-tech bungalow on a back corner of the 20th Century Fox lot, the South Korean auteur Chan-wook Park is chiseling his opus as the clock ticks toward 9 p.m.
Park, the toast of Asian cinema and hero to hordes of genre-film enthusiasts, is editing “Stoker,” a coming-of-age Gothic thriller starring Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman. It’s his first film in the U.S. and first in English. For hard-core fans of the director’s blood-spattered Korean work — including “Oldboy,” the 2004 Cannes Grand Prix winner being remade by Spike Lee — his arrival on the shores might be compared, with less exaggeration than you may think, to the landing of the Beatles.
Shin-Soo Choo on center field: I’ll try
Shin-Soo Choo admits moving to center field is a process.
“I’m not comfortable there yet,” he said. “At the major league level, I played 99 percent of my games in right field. I’ll try. I’ll work on it this spring training. We’ll see how they’re thinking. If they’re not (happy), somebody else will be playing in center field.
“I’ll try the best I can.”
Wie, Webb and Ko headline class field
Canberra Times (Australia)
Fading star Michelle Wie will become a “wasted talent” if she can’t succeed this year, New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko has the all-round game to avoid the same pitfalls and become a future champion, while legend Karrie Webb is the woman to beat.
That’s the opinion of former Australian Open champion and ABC commentator Jane Crafter ahead of the Australian Women’s Golf Open, at Royal Canberra from February 14-17.
Think Young, Play Hard: Lydia Ko
ON WINNING THE LPGA TOUR’S CN CANADIAN WOMEN’S OPEN AT AGE 15
I’m not sure it has sunk in–even now. In the moment I didn’t think it was that amazing. The experience to me was just putting together one good round after another. But when I saw it on paper, my name as the champion, I thought Wow, this is really what I’ve done.
ON BEING A TEENAGER
My three best friends don’t really know what I’ve done on the course. It doesn’t matter to them. Two of them live in Korea, so we stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. We talk about Korean TV and hip-hop music. My favorite right now is the group BigBang. It has good-looking guys.
K.J. Choi wins award for charitable service
K.J. Choi, who has supported relief efforts worldwide as well as programs to help Korean communities, was named recipient of the Golf Writers Association of America’s (GWAA) Charlie Bartlett Award on Wednesday.
The award, named for the first secretary of the GWAA, is given to a professional golfer for contributions to the betterment of society.
“Although I feel that I haven’t done that much, I am honored to be recognized for my actions,” Choi, who will be honored at an awards dinner in Augusta, Georgia, the week of the Masters, said in a statement.
Why Do Koreans Eat So Much Kimchi?
Kimchi is Korea’s representative food. It’s delicious, healthy and it goes good with everything. And Koreans eat it pretty much everyday, for pretty much every meal. It can’t be THAT good can it?! Find out why Koreans eat so much kimchi!
In addition to being super healthy and uber delicious, kimchi goes perfect with all Korean food. And pretty much 99% of the Korean population eats it pretty much everyday at every meal. That’s because Koreans need that fresh feeling in their mouth. No joking… they NEED it! So even if they’re not eating Korean food, non-Korean restaurants in Korea will serve SOMETHING that will give that fresh feeling (i.e. pickles, pickled radish, etc.).
Young North Korean Defectors Struggle in the South
New York Times
But when he finally made it to South Korea, and freedom, Mr. Kim faced an obstacle that even his considerable street smarts could not help him overcome. He had placed into a university under a new affirmative action program, but was haunted by the deprivations of his past and quickly slipped behind South Korean classmates who had already made it through years of an extremely competitive education system.
“I just couldn’t shake the memory of hunger from my mind,” said Mr. Kim, 26, who dropped out after just one semester and fell into a deep, alcohol-fueled depression.
It’s still ‘My Way’ or the highway under North Korea’s Kim
Los Angeles Times
So North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s recent embrace of Western songs, movies, cartoon characters and flashy fashion — public displays his late father and grandfather would have denounced as “spiritual pollution” — has set Korea analysts to pontificating on what the new leader’s cultural inclinations might signify.
Kim Jong-un Is Ardent Fan of Western Pop Culture
Highlights and the theme song from “Rocky 4″ were played during a performance by the newly-created Moranbong troupe in front of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last Friday. The show also featured groups of female singers dressed in mini-skirts, high-heeled shoes or off-the-shoulder tops reminiscent of the girl groups of South Korea, and performers dressed as Disney characters.
Top diplomats of two Koreas shun each other at ASEAN forum
Top diplomats of the two Koreas have pointedly shunned each other at annual security talks here, dashing hopes of a possible encounter and underscoring frozen inter-Korean relations.
Paying for Reunification: No Joking Matter
Wall Street Journal
When Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik came up with the idea of gathering donations from the public as a way to help cover the costs of Korean reunification, he raised more eyebrows than cash.
That hasn’t stopped him pushing ahead with the idea, and on Thursday evening he hosted a fundraiser-cum-comedy-show in northern Seoul to kick-start the program. The centerpiece of the event was the presentation of the first of his own hand-made ceramic “unification jars.”
Colin Farrell and John Cho square off in the new Total Recall clip
In less than a month the remake of the 1990 film TOTAL RECALL, from director Len Wiseman, will hit theaters and the marketing monkey is in full swing. Today we’re getting a newish clip from TOTAL RECALL which shows Colin Farrell going into the fantasy factory and having a short exchange with a bleach blonde Jon Cho. This remake doesn’t really give anything away since we’ve seen the majority of the clip in the previous trailers, but it’ll keep you all intrigued so you won’t forget to put TOTAL RECALL on your summer “to watch” list. We’re also getting a look at the international poster which features Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, nothing special but nothing terrible either.
What they said: K.J. Choi
K.J. CHOI: You know, it’s bogey-free on the tournament in the 18 hole. Keep patient every hole. This week in birdie, good patient and good crowd. I love the people here.
Course is fantastic shape in the morning. More saving and greenside hit the putt. It’s a very good read. This really first time Graham caddie for me, so very good helping in this course.
Girls’ Generation’s YoonA earned $3.5 million USD in first half of 2012
Girls’ Generation is currently in the lead when it comes to being considered the nation’s girl group. Yet even among all the members who have each achieved such great popularity, member YoonA has earned the greatest salary. On top of the payments she receives as an artist, YoonA has landed a total of 20 advertisement deals and also completed another drama. As a result, YoonA’s total income has exceeded 4 billion KRW (approx. $3.5 million US dollars) after just the first half of this year.
Minjae Lee features iconic women in his upcoming work
Minjae Lee is a mostly self-taught artist who uses seemingly old-fashioned tools, such as markers, pens, crayons, and acrylics, to create art that focuses on ethereal women. His newest works will focus on iconic women that range in celebrity from actresses to singers to models. The chosen women to be featured in this series of artwork reflect both his Korean and worldwide influences.
22 stunningly photogenic destinations in Korea
While the book doesn’t necessarily make for the most exciting read (we would have loved some quirky/crazy personal stories featuring these destinations as settings), the 1,000-plus photographs are amazing, and the book is certainly crammed with historical and practical information.
Pet Dogs Abandoned and Sold by Owners for Korean Meat Market
At the height of summer, known in Korean as the Boknal, it has been reported that those who can no longer take care of their pet dogs take them to the Moran market outside Seoul in an attempt to sell them for meat, only to abandon them when merchants refuse to purchase a former pet [Moran is known for selling animals as both pets and meat].
Korean, black communities move on, learning from racial confrontation
Korean-American Thomas Pak had little idea of the ensuing storm that would be sparked by the encounter last December inside his South Dallas gas station with African-American Jeffrey Muhammad.
Their exchange was relatively brief, but if some accounts are to be believed, it was also angry and weighed down by racial overtones.
And it launched a months-long boycott of Pak’s business by members of the largely African-American community. Corralled outside his premises, they urged people passing by not to give the 40-year-old their patronage.
Los Angeles: Home Sweet Home
Here’s a great photo essay from Reuters photographer Hyungwon Kang.
During the dangerous and unpredictable riots, I too came close to becoming a victim several times. A man with a baseball bat chased me down when I tried to document people looting during the first night. My car was hit with bricks and beer bottles when I drove through Florence & Normandie where other drivers and journalists weren’t so lucky to escape without injuries. My wife was terrified not knowing where I was during the first three days and nights of the riots.
Retired police lieutenant, wife, admit guilt in cafe scheme
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Retired Las Vegas police Lt. Benjamin Kim and his wife, Lisa Kim, have agreed to plead guilty in a scheme to fraudulently obtain a bank loan for the Courthouse Cafe, once a popular restaurant at the Regional Justice Center.
The Kims, who are obtaining a divorce, are to enter guilty pleas to one federal count of misprision of felony “for their concealment of an attempt to commit bank fraud,” according to court papers filed by federal prosecutors that were unsealed on Friday.
In South Korea, a small island town takes on the navy
Los Angeles Times
The military sees Jeju Island as a strategic spot for a naval base. But the town of Gangjeong wants the island and its harbor and coral reefs to stay unchanged.
Fire kills nine at South Korean karaoke bar
AFP via Google News
A fierce blaze swept through a karaoke lounge in a busy commercial district of the South Korean city of Busan, killing nine people including three Sri Lankans, police said on Sunday.
The fire, which broke out on Saturday night, injured 25 others, who were taken to hospital for treatment. One is in a critical condition.
Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang before smoke quickly engulfed the bar, which has 28 rooms and is on the third floor of a six-storey building in the major southern port city.
Police warn Chinatown of robbing hypnotists
A 57-year-old Cantonese-speaking woman claims a trio of thieves hypnotized her into giving them $160,000 in life savings in a bizarre scam that has Chinatown leaders raising alarms about bewitching bamboozlers — and experts raising their eyebrows about the victim’s spellbinding tale.
“It seems like it’s something that’s potentially very dangerous,” said Mark Liu, deputy director of Boston’s Chinese Progressive Association. “I think the elderly are particularly vulnerable because they obviously would have a hard time just walking away.”
South Korea Steps Up Fight Against Human Flesh Pills from China
Wall Street Journal
South Korean customs officials are boosting efforts to stamp out illegal smuggling of drugs that are allegedly coming from China. Reason: The drugs supposedly contain human flesh.
Since August, Korean authorities have discovered nearly 17,500 of the human flesh capsules in the luggage of tourists and in international mail, the state-run Korea Customs service said in a statement Monday.
Raiders Sign Offensive Lineman Ed Wang
The Oakland Raiders have signed offensive lineman Ed Wang, who has played in six career games, all with the Buffalo Bills in 2010.
The 6-5, 321-pound Wang was waived-injured by the Bills last season. He entered the league as the Bills’ fifth-round selection (140th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft, becoming the first-ever Chinese-American player drafted into the league.
KJ Choi’s gift to The Players
Defending Players champion K.J. Choi bought more than 7,000 “Choco-Pies” from his native South Korea and had them delivered to the TPC Sawgrass. The first shipment was delivered to the volunteer area to thank them for their work on the tournament.