The long-awaited latest installment in the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise will feature the neighborhood of “Little Seoul” a thinly-disguised parody of Koreatown in Los Angeles.
In addition, a leaked clip for the video game, which hits store shelves tomorrow, shows a random bystander character in the game speaking Korean, albeit with a broken and almost unintelligible accent.
It’s been five years since the last GTA sequel from publisher Rockstar Games and the New York Times says the latest entry, described as “profane and hugely enjoyable,” is the best in the series and maintains the franchise’s hold as the “most immersive spectacle in interactive entertainment.” Continue Reading »
Up to 20,000 North Korean prison camp inmates have ‘disappeared’ says human rights group
The Telegraph (U.K.)
There are fears that up to 20,000 may have been allowed to die of disease or starvation in the run-up to the closure of the camp at the end of last year.
The suspicion has emerged from a newly-released report by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) detailing the situation in penal colonies as Kim Jong-un consolidated his power after taking over as leader from his father, Kim Jong-il who died in 2011. Now the group that is demanding an inquiry into their fate.
The Washington-based organisation gleans information from defectors from the North, including former guards and the occasional survivor of a prison camp, as well as examining satellite imagery.
Rodman just a toy for N. Korea’s Kim
Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star and the first American known to have met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is in the secretive country again, purportedly to meet his “friend Kim, the Marshal.” And also, to negotiate for the release of Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen detained since November.
Rodman’s second trip to North Korea this year comes months after months of threats of nuclear annihilation from Pyongyang. His desire to help Bae is likely to be registered in the annals of diplomatic history as little more than a little diverting adventure.
But one never knows. The “Marshal,” who has actually never served in the military, might choose to act in a statesmanlike manner and release Bae after another high-spirited soiree with the basketball legend. That would be good news for Bae, who is reportedly in poor health.
Kim Jong-un’s Prestige Projects ‘Bleeding N.Korea Dry’
Three big prestige projects launched by new leader Kim Jong-un are bleeding North Korea dry, exacerbating hardships and squeezing their pockets, according to a South Korean government official.
They are the construction of a ski resort, an equestrian club in Pyongyang and the attempt to turn empty plots of barren land into lawns.
The official said the regime is forcing North Korean diplomats and workers overseas to remit US$300 each to Pyongyang for the construction of the ski resort. It has also told Chongryon, a large pro-Pyongyang Korean organization in Japan, to raise funds. People are being “encouraged” to send gifts to soldiers working on the ski resort, and they have little choice but to comply.
Cycle of fear: Attack victim preps lawsuit as other riders arm themselves on Fort Washington Park path
New York Daily News
Cyclists who use a secluded bike path along the Hudson River in upper Manhattan are arming themselves because the NYPD is not ensuring their safety — and a victim of a recent attack said Wednesday he’s preparing a lawsuit days after he was brutalized by thieves.
Two-wheeler Keith Cho was riding on the Hudson River Greenway near W. 164th St. after sunset on Aug. 24 when he was sent flying to the ground by a clothesline that thieves had set up between two trees.
Cho said three men beat him until he was semiconscious. One attacker even used brass knuckles, causing serious lacerations.
China Beats U.S. for Korean Students Seeing Career Ticket
Two years ago, Lee Eun Yul made an unusual choice for a South Korean student: to do her master’s degree in Shanghai instead of the U.S. She says the decision helped land her a job at Samsung Electronics Co., the top pick for graduates.
“I chose China over the U.S. as China is the future,” said Lee, 36, who studied at China Europe International Business School. “My experience in China opens more exciting opportunities and I expect more challenging work when I join” Samsung this month.
Lee is at the forefront of a trend in South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, that is steering students toward China to boost their prospects in an increasingly competitive employment market. The number of South Koreans studying in China more than doubled to 62,855 in 2012 from 2003, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Education. The number of U.S.-bound students grew 50 percent to 73,351 in the same period.
ICE returns stolen Korean artifact purchased by Fort Lee art collector to South Korea
NJ.com (New Jersey)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials returned an antique Korean currency plate to South Korean officials this week, after it was confiscated from an art dealer living in Fort Lee.
Officials say the currency plate, manufactured in 1893 and used to print money, was looted from a Seoul palace during the Korean War.
A Michigan-based auction house sold the plate on behalf of the family of a dead American serviceman, who had brought it back from the war, for $35,000.
Exclusive: Falling Skies’ Moon Bloodgood
Independent Online (South Africa)
Of all the sci-fi TV offerings (Terra Nova and Under the Dome) Steven Spielberg has attached his name to, Falling Skies has definitely been the best, with the series picked up for a fourth season.
When Moon Bloodgood was approached for the role of Anne Glass and handed the script, she did not hesitate in accepting the part. Knowing the series creator, Robert Rodat, and Spielberg were the forces behind the project was good enough for her – plus she didn’t have to audition either.
And she’s no stranger to being thrust into an action-packed playground – she gained experience on the big screen (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Terminator Salvation) and TV (CSI, Day Break, Journeyman, Burn Notice and Human Target).
Controversial Film About Warship Sinking Opens in Theaters
Wall Street Journal
What caused the Cheonan, a South Korean navy ship, to sink in the Yellow Sea near the border with North Korea in March 2010, killing 46 sailors?
While the evidence overwhelmingly points to a North Korean torpedo attack, moviegoers across South Korea have the opportunity starting Thursday to watch a documentary that explores explanations that run counter to that conclusion. This follows a court’s rejection Wednesday of a petition to ban the film from general release.
The plaintiffs in the case, naval officers and bereaved families, argued that the documentary, “Project Cheonan Ship,” distorts the truth and harms the reputation of the armed forces.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will miss Friday’s start due to back stiffness
Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will not start on Friday as scheduled due to mid back stiffness. Fellow southpaw Chris Capuano will start in his place. The skipped start is considered precautionary.
Ryu, 28, first felt something in his back during his last start on Friday. The team hopes to re-insert him into the rotation either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. With a comfortable 13-game lead in the NL West, the Dodgers can afford to be cautious with their projected fourth starter for the playoffs.
In 26 starts this year, Ryu has gone 13-5 with a 3.02 ERA (117 ERA+) and 1.22 WHIP in 167 innings across 26 starts. Los Angeles committed over $60 million (posting fee plus contract) to bring him over from South Korea this past offseason. Obviously his first season in MLB has been a huge success.
Kim Yu-na Tells Fans She’s Determined to Defend Olympic Crown
With just five months to go until the 2014 Winter Games, reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na met her fans at a movie theater in Seoul on Wednesday and promised she wouldn’t let them down in the final season of her successful career.
“I will do my best in this Olympic season, which will be the last of my competitive career, so that I leave with no regrets,” she said.
Some 200 fans sang a Happy Birthday song for Kim, who turns 23 on Thursday, and gave her presents. Together, they watched a video showing people from across the country wishing her well and cheering her on.
The K-Town Report: Seafood Village on Western, Kang Ho Dong’s Offal BBQ
1) Olympic & Vermont: It wasn’t long before the dumpling and noodle spot by spicy tofu pot specialist So Kong Dong morphed into Hong Kong Banjum a Korean-Chinese place originally inside the Koreatown Plaza and part of a mini-chain. The veritable styles of this unique fusion are well-displayed, with classic champoong and cha-jiang myun noodles, along with tang soo yook (sweet and sour pork or beef), and other cheap dishes. 2716-2726 W Olympic Blvd
2) Western & Olympic: Seafood Village has taken over the relatively short-lived Taenung Galbi. Previously Mu Dung San, one of the original all-you-can-eat barbecue establishments to gain popularity in the early 2000s, Seafood Village serves up Korean-style plates like raw fish laid out on platters, along with traditional seaside appointments (called hwae). 1040 S Western Ave
Police are looking for the driver responsible for the fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a 90-year-old Los Angeles Koreatown man on a bicycle in April.
The driver of a dark gray or gun metal Nissan GT-R struck Joo Yoon on April 27 at around 5:10 a.m. on Virgil Avenue and 6th Street, police said. Yoon, who was late when he was riding his bicycle across the intersection on a red light before being struck, later died at a local hospital.
The video of the crash was recently released by the police in the hopes of catching the suspect. In the video, the driver pulls over by the sidewalk after striking Yoon, but flees the scene after around two minutes during which he remained inside the vehicle. Continue Reading »
North Korea Urges U.N. Members to Ignore Sanctions
New York Times
North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations roundly blamed the United States on Friday for all tensions on the Korean Peninsula starting with the Korean War more than 60 years ago, accused the Americans of threatening his country with nuclear weapons and exhorted all other member states to ignore the litany of economic sanctions imposed on the North for its own nuclear and missile tests.
In a rare North Korean news conference at the United Nations, the ambassador, Sin Son-ho, also demanded that the United States dissolve its military command in South Korea, which was created to oversee the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War. He took particular issue with its name, the United Nations Command, although the United Nations plays no role.
Six Reasons Why Kim Jong Un Is Screwed
The North Korean state is increasingly an anomaly in the world today, a throwback to some of the most egregious authoritarian regimes of the 20th century. The regime prevents any political dissent through collective punishment in political prison camps for not just the offending individual, but also their whole family. This means there are no known dissidents or human rights activists inside the country; no North Korean Aung San Suu Kyis or Liu Xiabos, and therefore no leaders for alternative domestic political forces to organize around.
If North Korea falls, the ruling elite fears it will be absorbed into the larger and richer South Korean system, where anybody who is anybody — in the military, internal security forces, the party, government officials, even the new economic elites — could lose their jobs to their counterparts from the south and see the system they rely on for power and wealth disappear. Former officials could find themselves on trial or even suffer reprisals from citizens who have been oppressed for so long.
The Weird Science of North Korea
No matter whose finger is in charge of pushing the big red button, nuclear bombs are scary things. But put them in the hands of leaders who appear to believe in unicorns and you get the same kind of unease you’d feel while watching a toddler play with a loaded gun on fire. So how does the world’s least rational regime cope with science, the world’s most rational discipline?
The answer, for the most part, has been a sort of relentless pragmatism. North Korea leaves research for research’s sake to the decadent West, and regards dollars, industrial output, or better weapons as the most important outcome of any scientific program. In some cases this approach has been quite lucrative, with advances in drug manufacturing opening up new streams of income to match the dollars earned from exporting giant patriotic statues to sub-Saharan Africa. In possibly the first example of a country taking its economic policy directly from Breaking Bad, the Koreans have built meth labs and are exporting product into China and perhaps even the West via its network of diplomats. Drugs are now so easily available, and real medicines so hard to obtain, that locals are using them medicinally—heroin is now a common treatment for colds in some parts of the country.
Poll shows S. Koreans want gov’t to resume inter-Korean talks
More than half of South Koreans want their government to take action to resume dialogue with North Korea despite the last-minute cancellation of high-level talks last week, a poll showed Friday.
According to the poll on 1,000 South Koreans by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, 53.4 percent said Seoul must take active steps to engage Pyongyang. The nationwide survey showed that 36 percent said there is no need for the government to try and talk with the communist country.
The four-day survey starting June 16 took place five days after high-level inter-Korean talks, meant to ease tensions on the peninsula, fell through over a disagreement on the ranks of the chief negotiators from each side.
State Senate passes a resolution recognizing the pain and suffering of ‘comfort women’ in WWII
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
The New Jersey Senate passed a resolution Thursday recognizing the pain and suffering of women who were drafted to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers between 1932 and 1945.
The concurrent resolution, which passed 40-0, also supports those known as “comfort women” in their fight for proper acknowledgement and redress by the Japanese government for the suffering “endured during their forced internment in military comfort stations.”
“The stories of torture and rape are horrifying,” said Senator Loretta Weinberg, one of the primary sponsors of the resolution.
‘Hannah and the Dread Gazebo’ by Jiehae Park
Inside the FedEx box are two things: a 100% bon-fide-heart’s-desire-level wish and a suicide note. Hannah tracks the package back to Korea, where her grandmother recently jumped from the roof of the Sunrise Dewdrop Apartment for Senior Living to the wrong side of the Demilitarized Zone. Ooops.
JIEHAE PARK is a playwright and actor in New York City. Her full-length play, Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, won the 2013 Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Women Writers and will be developed at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Ojai Playwrights Conference this summer. The script was also a finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and Abingdon Theatre’s Chris Wolk Award.
Helen Kim – Big Brother 15 Houseguest
Helen Kim is our resident “House Mom” of the cast this season as the oldest Houseguest at just 37 and also a mother of two. She’s hoping her background in politics will work to her advantage, but she won’t let the other players on to that detail.
As a unique experience in her background, as least likely unique among the other Houseguests, Kim spent three months on bed rest. That should make a hundred days behind those walls seem like a cake walk!
Kim puts herself on the scale at the “big fan” point after being brought in to the fold by a former coworker who she’s now playing for this season.
Easing into America
L.A.’s Koreatown stretches more than two dozen blocks east of downtown, a bustling tetris of strip malls, Karaoke joints, and beauty salons. Billboards arch overhead, offering in Korean everything from banking deals to cell phones to Quarter Pounders at McDonald’s.
“These weren’t here when I was in high school,” said Isaac Kim, 34, pointing upwards towards a massive shopping center and a fancy pillar welcoming visitors to the neighborhood in shiny gold letters. He crossed the street alongside young couples with children, teens in leggings and t-shirts, and short, elderly women with sun-blocking parasols craned above their heads.
Kim came to America with his family as a toddler, after his father accepted an offer to pastor an immigrant church in Los Angeles. Assimilation wasn’t too difficult for his family. He recalled his parents insisting on more academic studying than extracurricular activities and refusing to buy every child individual yearbooks, but the fact that his mother spoke English made the transition easier.
Play-off glory for former Panther Jim Paek
Nottingham Post (U.K.)
Former Nottingham Panthers’ double Stanley Cup winner Jim Paek is celebrating again.
As the longest-serving coach in Grand Rapids Griffins history, the club’s assistant coach capped his eighth season with the tier two American Hockey League side by helping them win the Calder Cup for the first time.
The Calder Cup is the AHL equivalent of the legendary Stanley Cup which Paek lifted with Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992.
Seeing Sound: An Interview with Christine Sun Kim
That Christine Sun Kim has been deaf since birth is relevant to the California-born, New York-based artist’s practice. It is from this perceived disability that her art so audaciously springs, offering material traces of sound that challenge the way people communicate and congregate. AAP conducted an email interview with Kim to mark her participation in the exhibition “Soundings: A Contemporary Score” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, which opens in August and will feature her “Scores and Transcripts” series.
How do you feel about being described as a “deaf” artist?
My deafness has clearly contributed to and influenced my work, but so have many other factors such as my upbringing, family, communication and interests. Ideally, there would be no adjectives preceding the identity “artist.” After all, “deafness” and “disability” are words that carry a certain stigma. But on the other hand, these terms can be helpful and acknowledge the elephant in the room—giving the audience a chance to get past this superficial layer of my identity. So maybe I shouldn’t be averse to such words, and just let things be—I believe my work is strong enough to stand on its own.
Korean Kimchi finds a friendly red chili pepper in El Paso
There was a slight tremor in the hands. The arms were thin and pale, yet strong as they helped hold up and set up one of the lights at the factory. His thick and heavy eyeglasses sat lower than they were supposed to be.
Judy Lee, 54, observed as her restless 77-year-old uncle, Dr. William Lee, descended from a high stool after changing a bright light bulb that reflected off his bald head.
“Be careful uncle!” said Judy as the elderly man stepped down from the stool and kept himself busy working around the factory.
What were they thinking? Some of the Worst K-pop group names
If you’ve been a die-hard follower of K-pop through the years, or if you’ve just hauled yourself up on the bandwagon recently, you might’ve noticed that some of the group names in the industry are certainly… out there.
Think about it: though names are but a collection of a few letters from the alphabet, they command your attention anywhere and in any situation. It’s no question that the K-pop industry has been getting a bit crowded recently. New idol groups are emerging left and right and fighting for our attention. And albeit harsh, sometimes it gets difficult trying to keep tabs on freshly debuted groups.
But like all matters of our subconscious workings, whenever we feel overwhelmed by the smaller units, we tend to look for the overarching trends.
Rest assured, though, because we think we may have found one – group names.
Illegal gambling is taking place at Internet cafés in the heart of Koreatown, according to the Korea Daily Los Angeles.
One such place opened on 6th Street four months ago with 17 computers and looked like your typical Internet café, game room or PC bang. But once the customer turns on the monitor, the place becomes a virtual casino. Each computer had 25 different gambling games, such as slots, cards, roulette, and dice games, much like a real casino.
Customers would initially pay the owner $20 and would receive $25 to play with. Minimum bets at this low-stakes gambling operation would be 25 cents with max bets of $5. A typical customer would spend from $40 to $100, the newspaper reported.
The owner said they didn’t advertise but drew customers by word of mouth and insisted that he had “obtained a special license.” Continue Reading »