Wednesday’s Link Attack: North Korea Gets Aggressive; 2NE1 Set to Appear on ‘Top Model’; Crayon Pop & Lady Gaga
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 26th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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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.”

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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”

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.


Monday’s Link Attack: Politician Predicts ‘First Asian U.S. President Will Be Korean’; Korea Sheds Anger Over Yuna
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: February 24th, 2014
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U.S.-South Korea Begin War Games as Family Reunions Continue

The U.S. and South Korea began annual military exercises — denounced by the North as preparations for war — that coincided with the first reunions of families separated by the Korean War in more than three years.

The Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises began today as scheduled, U.S. Forces Korea spokesman Kim Yong Kyu said by phone. The two sets of drills, one based on computer simulations and the other involving field training, will draw thousands of additional U.S. troops into the country, according to USFK. The two allies say the drills are routine and defensive.

North Korea had initially threatened to pull out of the family reunions if the military drills weren’t canceled. Instead, the agreement to hold the reunions led to two rounds of high-level talks between the two countries, and today South Korea offered negotiations on providing assistance to stop the spread of the foot-and-mouth disease in the North.

California Korean Community on ‘East Sea’ Movement
Arirang News

The U.S. state of California.

Home to the largest population of Korean-Americans and Japanese-Americans in the country. Some may see this as the next ground for a political battle over how to refer to the body of water between Korea and Japan in school textbooks.

Virginia State will soon require the Korean-preferred title of “East Sea” to be used alongside the “Sea of Japan” in its textbooks, while in New York a similar bill has also been proposed.
But the issue has not stirred up much attention yet in California.

“LA The president of the Korean American Federation in Los Angeles says the greater L.A. area has been, and still is* busy trying to protect the so-called “comfort women” memorial statue in Glendale Central Park from being removed. So right now is not the most suitable time to raise another issue and divert attention – whether it be the East Sea bill, or anything else.

‘Korean to be first Asian US president’
Korea Times

It wasn’t long ago that Koreans barely had a voice in American politics. Now, they’re quickly emerging as one of the most influential among Asian politicians, so much so that one notable legislator says the first U.S. president of Asian descent will be Korean.

“I think of all Asian-American ethnic groups, I would say at this stage based on our history and trajectory, the first U.S. president of Asian descent will be Korean,” Mark Keam, a third-term delegate of the Virginia state Legislature who co-sponsored Virginia’s East Sea bill, said in an interview with The Korea Times.

There are several reasons, he said, but one of the foremost is because the growing Korean population in the U.S. is creating a larger pool of solid potential politicians.

“In the ‘80s, I didn’t run across a single Korean in Washington D.C. You just didn’t see any,” said Keam, who first began his political career as a college intern on Capitol Hill. “That’s 25 to 30 years ago. Now, things are a lot different.”

A Yu turn for a long-shot Senate candidate
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Eugene Yu, the Korean American businessman who joined the crowded race for U.S. Senate, said Saturday he would instead challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow.

Yu always faced long odds in the race to replace Saxby Chambliss, with three sitting congressmen and two other prominent Republicans in the mix on the GOP side. The Augusta businessman may have decided he had a better shot challenging Barrow, one of the most targeted Democrats in the House, than maintaining an expensive statewide bid.

Barrow, seen as one of the most vulnerable moderate Democrats in the nation, faces heated competition every two years. This election is no different. Yu now joins businessman Rick Allen, long-time GOP aide John Stone and state Rep. Delvis Dutton in the GOP contest to unseat Barrow, who was first elected in 2004.

Sentencing begins in convenience store food stamp fraud cases
Baltimore Sun

Two Korean citizens have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a food stamp fraud scheme and may face deportation, the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore announced this week.

The cases were part of a food stamp fraud sting that implicated 10 convenience store owners in the Baltimore area in September. Authorities said the defendants, eight of whom have pleaded guilty to food stamp fraud or wire fraud so far, would illegally redeem food stamps in exchange for cash.

Hyung Cho, 40, of Catonsville, was sentenced to 38 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and his mother Dae Cho, 67, of Catonsville, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The Cho’s, who operated K&S Market, a convenience store at 3910 West Belvedere Avenue, were both ordered to forfeit more than $371,000 and pay restitution of $1.4 million. They did not have legal immigration status, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and have “agreed not to object to any proceedings that may be brought to remove them from the United States upon completion of their sentence.”

Justices refuse appeal from killer set to die
Houston Chronicle (Texas)

A convicted killer facing execution next month for a Dallas-area slaying 11 years ago has lost an appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anthony Doyle is set to die March 27 for the 2003 beating death and robbery of 37-year-old Hyun Mi Cho. She was delivering a doughnut and burrito order to a house in Rowlett. Her body was found in a trash can behind the house. Doyle was 18 at the time and on probation for theft. He also had a juvenile record.

The high court Monday, without comment, refused to review his case.

Doyle told police he intended to rob the woman and struck her with a baseball bat when she told him she had no money. Evidence showed he took her car and used her credit cards.

Girls’ Generation Achieves All-Kill and Sweeps Charts All Over the World

Girls’ Generation has finally returned with a new single “Mr.Mr” and have been sweeping music charts not only in Korea but all around the world.

On February 24, Girls’ Generation released their fourth mini-album online. In just a mere hour upon release, “Mr.Mr” was the #1 song on seven different music charts including Melon, Mnet, Olleh Music, Bugs, Genie, Soribada and Monkey3. In a couple more hours, “Mr.Mr” rose to the top on Naver and Daum Music as well.

Overseas reactions and interests are also getting higher and higher. “Mr. Mr” was ranked #2 in Thailand, #5 in Malaysia, #14 in Hong Kong, #21 in Taiwan, #52 in the Philippines and #63 in Indonesia, making “Mr.Mr.” enter the Top 100 chart in six different countries within an hour after release.

Shortly afterwards, “Mr.Mr” was ranked #2 in Thailand, #3 in Vietnam, #4 in Singapore, #5 in Malaysia, #6 in Indonesia and Kazakhstan, #14 in Hong Kong, #21 in Taiwan, #55 in the Philippines, #97 in Sweden and #99 in Macao within two hours upon release.

South Korea Puts Anger Aside After Olympic Skating Disappointment
New York Times

Kim Yu-na was a perfect heroine for her country. Like postwar South Korea, she rose from a humble start, skating on a tatty rink as a 6-year-old, to win gold for a nation that had felt sidelined in a sport dominated by Western athletes.

So when she was dethroned in Sochi by a Russian teenager in a much-debated decision, it was not surprising that Ms. Kim’s country, which has long tied international sports achievements to self-worth, reacted with anger.

A popular novelist said he would remember these Games as the “Suchi Olympics,” using the word for “humiliation.” A petition on calling for an investigation by the International Skating Union drew more than 1.9 million signatures, most of them from South Koreans. And many online commentators said Ms. Kim had been cheated of a gold medal because her country was “small and weak.”

Yuna Kim Has Not Had Plastic Surgery, and Koreans Love Her For It
New Republic

When the Olympic judges placed South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim second to Russian Adelina Sotnikova yesterday, her fans wouldn’t have it: Nearly two million have already signed a petition to have the judging re-opened. American skating enthusiasts might know Kim for her artistic style or her signature “camel spin”, but in South Korea—where she’s known as “Queen Yuna”—there’s another reason women love her: Unlike most Korean celebrities and “pop stars”, she appears not to have had plastic surgery—even though she has the kind of eyelids that would send many Korean girls running to the doctor.

“Most Korean girls want plastic surgery,” said Lee Tea Yang, a trader in Seoul. “Yuna Kim made a new era. There has never been a star like her.”

Though statistics are hard to verify, South Korea consistently ranks in the top few countries worldwide for per capita plastic surgery. One of the most popular procedures is “double eyelid surgery”, in which doctors use a combination of cutting and stitching to create a crease in Asians’ typically flat upper eyelids, giving the eyes a larger, rounder, arguably Westernized appearance.

South Korea Had the Most Last-Place Finishes in Sochi
Wall Street Journal

After a respectable 14 podium appearances in Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics, South Korea’s outlook was bright coming into the 2014 Games. The Koreans weren’t able to live up to expectations, earning only eight medals in Sochi, but they were the best in the world in one unfortunate category: finishing last.

For the third consecutive Olympics, The Wall Street Journal awarded lead, tin and zinc medals to the three worst performers to complete a given event (based on time or score of last-place finishers in every Olympic event; no disqualifications or non-finishers were counted). South Korean Olympians finished in the bottom three places in an astounding 19 different events, more often than any other participating country.

Canada came in second with 16 medals, with the U.S. (15) earning the third most not-so-precious medals. Since the U.S. and Canada have large Olympic delegations, it isn’t entirely surprising to see such large pools of Olympians finish all over the field of competition: These two countries earned 28 and 25 real Olympic medals respectively in Sochi.

Defection row overshadows South Korean Viktor Ahn’s skating victory for Russia
South China Morning Post

It was a night when Viktor Ahn should have been out celebrating becoming the most successful short track speed skater of all time but instead he was quizzed from all sides at the Sochi Olympics about why he defected to Russia.

Ahn confirmed his place among the greatest Winter Olympians when he won the 500 metres individual event then returned to the ice about 45 minutes later and helped Russia win the 5,000m relay. Ahn also won gold in the 1,000m at Sochi and now has six Olympic gold medals in total – more than any speed skater either in short track or the more traditional long course.

If the skater formerly known as Ahn Hyun-soo, who won three golds for South Korea at the 2006 Turin Olympics, thought he would clarify his position once and for all at a packed news conference starting after midnight he was clearly mistaken.

Far from Sochi, North Koreans hone skiing skills
Washington Post

For North Korean skiers, Sochi was a distant dream. The country didn’t send a single athlete to the Winter Olympics and has never won a downhill medal. But as the rest of the world watches this year’s Olympic pageant wrap up in Russia, North Koreans are flocking to the slopes of a lavish new ski resort all their own — and many have a gold medal in mind four years from now, when the winter games will be held in South Korea.

Of course, that’s a tall order.

Even by official estimates, only about 0.02 percent of North Korea’s 24 million people have ever strapped on ski boots. But with the blessing of leader Kim Jong Un, who has made building recreational and sporting facilities a priority, in part to boost tourism as a source of hard cash for the economically strapped nation, skiing is now almost a national duty for those who have the time, money or opportunity to hit the slopes.

South Korea Awaits 2018 Games With a Different Plan
New York Times

The sun was shining once more by the Black Sea and the jackets were off with the Olympic flame still a few hours away from being extinguished.

“You better bring your jacket to Pyeongchang,” said Kim Jin-sun, head of the organizing committee for the 2018 Games in South Korea. “Much colder than Sochi.”

As the Russians and the members of the International Olympic Committee begin recovering from the sleepless nights that surely accompanied their wild, seven-year ride to Sochi’s closing ceremony, the cosmic question is where the Winter Games go from here in a world of climate instability, declining winter sports participation numbers in the West and spiraling costs and scale for Olympic organizers?

Rangers like what they are seeing with Choo
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)

Scouting Shin-Soo Choo has become an easier task over the years. He’s established himself as an on-base machine with speed and power.

In the beginning, though, nobody knew how Choo would pan out. Just ask Jim Colborn, the Rangers’ senior adviser for Pacific Rim operations.

“The big problem with scouting him is that he’d walk about three times a game,” said Colborn, a scout for the Mariners at the time.

“They’d never give him anything good to hit and he’d take his walks. So it was tough to grade him.”

Whiz Now Open Serving Philly Cheesesteaks in Koreatown
LA Weekly

For all those times you’re in Koreatown and have a hankering for a cheesesteak sandwich as opposed to, say, a sizzling bowl of soon tofu: Whiz opened in the neighborhood last Saturday, Feb. 15, a small shop on the corner of 6th Street and Oxford Avenue, or right around the corner from craft beer bar Beer Belly.

This location is no coincidence, as the shop is brought to you none other than Beer Belly’s owner Jimmy Han and executive chef Wes Lieberher. You could have guessed as much just by the artwork: MR44, who did the mural at Beer Belly, collaborated with artist Swanski to create a beautiful piece outside Whiz.

Tuesday’s Link Attack: Koreas to Hold Meeting; Girls’ Generation Announces New Album; Korea Beats Japan in Curling
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: February 11th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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North and South Korea to hold ‘high-level’ meeting

North and South Korea will hold a “high-level meeting” Wednesday ahead of planned family reunions of people from the two countries, Seoul said Tuesday.

“No agenda was set prior to this meeting,” Kim Eui-do, a spokesman for the South Korean Unification Ministry said. “But we expect that there will be comprehensive dialogue on the smooth operation of these family reunions, holding the family reunions on a regular basis and other important areas of interest.”

The talks will start Wednesday morning at the Panmunjom Peace House, which is on the South’s side of the heavily militarized border, Kim said.

Pyongyang said last week it may back out of the reunions of the families — who were separated by the Korean War in the 1950s — if South Korean forces participate in annual joint military exercises with the United States later this month.

North Korea claims Kenneth Bae not a political pawn? Prove it
Seattle Times

North Korean officials said months ago that American prisoner Kenneth Bae would not be used as a political pawn. Their latest action suggests they’ve changed their mind.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced Sunday that North Korean officials had rescinded a second invitation for a special American envoy to fly to Pyongyang to meet with Bae. According to this Associated Press news story, the cancellation “signals an apparent protest of upcoming annual military drills between Washington and Seoul and an alleged mobilization of U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 bombers during training near the Korean Peninsula. North Korea calls the planned drills a rehearsal for invasion, a claim the allies deny.”

North Korean leaders would be wise to let Bae — imprisoned for 15 months now — return to his family before his health deteriorates any further. Bae is not a public official or representative of the U.S. government. He entered the country numerous times as a tour operator before he was detained in November 2012. He is a father, husband, son and brother, and a man of faith who has apologized (possibly under duress) to the North Korean regime for whatever crimes they claim he committed.

Ex-U.S. envoy visits Pyongyang: state media
Yonhap News

Donald Gregg, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, arrived in North Korea, Pyongyang’s state media reported Monday, a trip seen to help facilitate the release of a Korean-American man detained there.

In a brief report, the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Gregg, now chairman of the U.S. Pacific Century Institute, and other members of the institute are visiting Pyongyang.

The KCNA did not give specifics on the purpose of their visit to the communist state, but the report came one day after the U.S. said it was disappointed by the North’s decision to cancel its invitation to Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues.

Amb. Robert King had planned to travel to the communist state sometime this month to discuss the release of Kenneth Bae, but Pyongyang canceled its invitation for King, citing an annual joint military drill between the U.S. and the South.

Time Running out on Former Sex Slaves’ Quest
ABC News

A single picture captures the regret, shame and rage that Kim Gun-ja has harbored through most of her 89 years. Dressed in a long white wedding gown, she carries a bouquet of red flowers and stares at the camera, her deep wrinkles obscured by makeup and a diaphanous veil.

A local company arranged wedding-style photo shoots as gifts for Kim and other elderly women at the House of Sharing, a museum and nursing home for South Koreans forced into brothels by Japan during World War II. Kim and many of the other women never married, giving the pictures a measure of bitterness.

“That could have been my life: Meet a man, get married, have children, have grandchildren,” Kim said in her small, tidy room at the nursing home south of Seoul. “But it never happened. It could never be.”

Japanese soldiers stole her youth, she says, and now, “The Japanese are waiting for us to die.”

South Korea’s LGBT Community Is Fighting For Equal Rights

Last September, two men held South Korea‘s first same-sex wedding on a bridge in Seoul, to the applause of hundreds of guests and the soaring voices of a choir. The ceremony carried no legal weight — same-sex unions are not recognized in South Korea — but the couple and their legal advisers are now moving forward with a legal challenge that they hope will put South Korea in the vanguard of same-sex equality in Asia.

The cause is being helped by the fact that the Kims are high-profile professionals from South Korea’s glamorous film industry. Kim Jho Gwang-su, 48, is a prominent director, while producer Kim Seung-hwan, 29, is CEO of Rainbow Factory, a production house known for its LGBT output. “We realized we could be an example to others and that it was selfish not to use our positions as public figures to push for change,” Kim Seung-hwan told TIME.

Change has been a long time coming for this socially conservative nation. Homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea (or expressly legal), but before the late 1980s the country was ruled by dictatorial regimes and citizens enjoyed few civil liberties, never mind sexual rights. A small and tentative LGBT movement emerged in the 1990s, but even in the year 2000, when prominent actor Hong Seok-chun came out as gay — the first Korean entertainer to do so — he lost all his TV, film and radio contracts.

Why South Korea is really an internet dinosaur
The Economist

SOUTH KOREA likes to think of itself as a world leader when it comes to the internet. It boasts the world’s swiftest average broadband speeds (of around 22 megabits per second). Last month the government announced that it will upgrade the country’s wireless network to 5G by 2020, making downloads about 1,000 times speedier than they are now. Rates of internet penetration are among the highest in the world. There is a thriving startup community (Cyworld, rolled out five years before Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, was the most popular social network in South Korea for a decade) and the country leads the world in video games as spectator sports. Yet in other ways the futuristic country is stuck in the dark ages. Last year Freedom House, an American NGO, ranked South Korea’s internet as only “partly free”. Reporters without Borders has placed it on a list of countries “under surveillance”, alongside Egypt, Thailand and Russia, in its report on “Enemies of the Internet”. Is forward-looking South Korea actually rather backward?

State Rep. Patty Kim makes re-election bid official

State Rep. Patty Kim formally announced Monday she’ll seek another term representing the capital city.

Kim, a Democrat and former Harrisburg Councilwoman, represents the 103rd District: Harrisburg, Steelton, Highspire, Paxtang Borough and part of Swatara Township.

“Our community needs someone fighting for them in the State Capitol, and I want to continue to be their voice,” Kim said.

She still has work to do, particularly with respect to income inequality, according to the statement.

To that end, Kim has introduced bills that would increase minimum wage, and expunge records of non-violent offenders who have successfully and productively re-entered their communities.

Brentwood girl one of 40 finalists for $100,000 prize in science research

Brentwood High School Senior Joyce Kang is one of 40 finalists for the Intel Science Talent Search, a competition that challenges high school students to conduct innovative and unexplored research possibilities and possibly win $100,000.

Not your typical high school project; Kang’s project explores the development of a high-performance hybrid super capacitor.

The 40 finalists were chosen from among more than 1,800 applicants. Kang is the only finalist to come from the state of Tennessee.

She will attend the final round of judging and compete for more than $630,000 in prizes, including the $100,000 grand prize.

Girls’ Generation Announces Comeback Single ‘Mr.Mr.,’ New Album

Girls’ Generation has announced its return to the K-pop scene with a 40-second teaser video for new single “Mr.Mr.” that will lead off their new album.

Filimed on a chilling hospital video set, the nine members are seen in glitzy dresses and pricey jewelry as they wear oxygen masks, hold hands with a male model and check the vital signs of a teddy bear. The black-, white- and pink-themed visual is soundtracked by a crunchy, electronic/hip-hop-hybrid beat with an addictive, repetitive “Mista mista” hook.

Anticipation is high to see what the group can accomplish after an exciting 2013.

The outfit’s “I Got a Boy” video earned nearly 85 million YouTube views as well won the group Video of the Year at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards, where it competed against the most watched and shared videos of the year from Justin Bieber, One Direction, Miley Cyrus and more. The new single will also prove whether the act can garner enough U.S. views to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 after the chart added YouTube views to its formula. (The rule was not in place when “I Got a Boy” was released.)

S. Korean women’s curling team beats Japan in Olympic debut
Yonhap News

The South Korean women’s curling team defeated Japan 12-7 in its opening round robin match at the Sochi Winter Games on Tuesday, making a successful Olympic debut.

Led by skip Kim Ji-sun, the South Koreans handily prevailed over the mistake-prone Japanese with five points over the final three ends at Ice Cube Curling Center.

South Korean curler Lee Seul-bee (C) throws the stone as teammates Shin Mi-sung (L) and Gim Un-chi (R) watch during their round robin match against Japan at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Feb. 11, 2014. (Yonhap)

South Korea is scheduled to face Switzerland in the day’s second match at 7 p.m. here (midnight in South Korea).

South Korea Pained By Victor’s Bronze
Wall Street Journal

For South Koreans, the sight of a former favorite son winning a medal in Sochi on Monday was bittersweet.

Victor An took bronze in the men’s 1,500 meter short-track speed skating event for Russia. Only three years ago he was skating for South Korea. At the 2006 Olympics in Turin, he won three golds and a bronze for the nation under the name Ahn Hyun-soo.

But in 2010 he fell out with the Korean speed skating federation when a knee injury kept him from qualifying for the Vancouver Olympics. South Korea, fertile ground for competitive speed skating with plenty of up-and-coming candidates, had little room for injured athletes.

So Mr. Ahn chose Russia as his new homeland. Russia welcomed him. He changed his name to Victor An.

Ryu Hyun-jin checks in with slimmed down look
Korea Times

The Los Angeles Dodgers opened their spring training camp with much slimmer Ryu Hyun-jin.

Ryu still won’t reveal just how much he exactly weighs, but he did say it’s significantly less than last year at this time, as he checked in on Sunday. And, he even kept up with four other pitchers, including Clayton Kershaw, during a 20 minute run around the complex drill, unlike last year.

“Looks to me like he wants to be even better. That’s a good sign,” General Manager Ned Colletti said.

Ryu also said he’s more comfortable this spring. “I know the faces, and I have friends here. The first day doesn’t feel like the first day like last year, when I didn’t know anybody,” he explained.

Friday’s Link Attack: Kenneth Bae’s Prospects Not Good; Rodman Says ‘Not a Traitor’; East Sea Naming Fight in VA
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: January 31st, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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N. Korean diplomat says jailed American should serve out his sentence
Yonhap News

An American Christian missionary who has been detained in North Korea for more than a year should serve out his sentence, Pyongyang’s top envoy to Britain said, in a remark suggesting that the isolated country may not free him anytime soon.

Kenneth Bae was arrested in November 2012 while leading a group of tourists. He was accused of unspecified anti-state crimes and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, though he has been hospitalized in recent months due to illness.

North Korea’s ambassador to Britain, Hyun Hak-bong, said in a video interview posted Thursday that Bae would be freed when he serves out his prison term.

Koreas can discuss date for family reunions: N. Korean diplomat
Yonhap News

North Korea’s top envoy to Britain dangled the possibility of progress in staging reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War as he renewed Pyongyang’s demands that Seoul cancel its annual military drill with the United States.

Hyun Hak-bong said in a video interview posted Thursday that the two Koreas can discuss a date for staging the family reunions, breaking the silence the North has kept since South Korea proposed earlier this week to hold the reunions for the aging Koreans.

“As for the practical and exact date, it could be exchanged and discussed between the two sides … Now, we are working on that,” Hyun said in the interview with Sky News, a 24-hour news channel in Britain. Still, he did not elaborate.

Dennis Rodman: ‘I’m Not a Traitor’

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman offered a sort-of apology for his antics during recent trips to North Korea on Friday, in a wide-ranging CNN interview conducted in the rehab facility where he’s being treated for alcohol abuse.

“I don’t go to the camps, I don’t do anything,” Rodman said of his visits to the isolated country. “I’m not a traitor.”

The interview came after Rodman’s last interview with CNN host Chris Cuomo raised eyebrows and even outrage when Rodman angrily defended his “friend,” North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and suggested an American imprisoned there may have been detained justifiably (he later apologized for the latter remark).

Rodman, speaking with Cuomo more calmly this time, expressed remorse about how his drinking has affected his family.

Va. textbook bill on alternative Sea of Japan name heads toward a partisan showdown
Washington Post

Two little words. They looked like an easy way to make a lot of people happy.

On the campaign trail, Terry McAuliffe (D) said that as governor, he’d make sure that new school textbooks note that the Sea of Japan is also known as the East Sea.

The promise was important to Northern Virginia’s large Korean American community, who see the Sea of Japan designation as a painful relic of Japanese occupation.

Korean ambassador meets Virginia politicians
AP via Yahoo News

A debate between Japan and South Korea over what to call the body of water that separates their countries is being played out in the Virginia Capitol.

At issue: whether textbooks approved by the state board of education should note that the Sea of Japan is also called the East Sea.

South Koreans want the change and the sizeable Korean American community in Virginia has put pressure on state lawmakers to make sure it’s a legislative priority this year. The Japanese do not want the textbook requirements changed.

Seniors’ truce good at eatery
Queens Chronicle (New York)

The truce is holding between Korean-American seniors and the McDonald’s at Northern and Parsons boulevards.

That’s the status report from Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), who last week brokered a deal so that the seniors will not monopolize space in the McDonald’s during peak business hours.

Many seniors use the eatery for social gatherings, where they spend many hours and few dollars with their elderly friends.

Police: High-end drug and prostitution ring busted on Super Bowl week

The 18 operators of a high-end escort service allegedly banking on Super Bowl week to deliver “party packs” of cocaine and prostitutes have been charged with drug and sex trafficking, New York authorities said Thursday.

The nearly year-long undercover investigation discovered that in addition to selling the “party packs,” the ring allegedly laundered the illegal proceeds through front businesses that included a clothing wholesaler, a wig wholesaler, a limousine service and a beauty supply wholesaler, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

The ring targeted wealthy customers in New York for large events, authorities said. Last week, a text message was blasted to frequent customers noting that “new sexy & beautiful girls R in town waiting for u.” The enterprise also ran numerous advertisements on the Internet and on public access television.

The Future of L.A.’s Thai Town and Koreatown Communities Ride on a ‘Promise’

Earlier this month, President Obama announced the first five recipient areas of his Promise Zone Initiative, a formal partnership between the federal government, local communities, and businesses intended to help shrink poverty and expand the rosters of the middle class. The initiative enables those areas to receive a share of a $500 million investment in existing federal funding, addressing the areas of job growth, economic stability, education, affordable housing, and public safety.

Aside from San Antonio, Philadelphia, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, Los Angeles was named, specifically a swath of the densely-populated central part of the city, which includes the communities of Hollywood, East Hollywood, Koreatown, Westlake, and Pico-Union.

L.A.’s Promise Zone, which encompasses an irregular-shaped area stretching from Franklin Avenue to Pico Boulevard, and between Highland and Union avenues, includes a predominantly low-income, yet culturally rich section of urban L.A.; though with a majority Latino population, it also includes two of the city’s designated Asian enclaves: Thai Town and Koreatown. Both share well-patronized and well-acclaimed ethnic eateries (many of which are open well into the late night hours), spas, and dense, pedestrian-oriented, transit-accessible corridors. The zone also includes pockets of other Asian immigrant groups, namely Filipinos (in East Hollywood and the Historic Filipinotown-adjacent parts of Koreatown and Westlake) and Bangladeshis (among the already-diverse immigrant multitudes residing in Koreatown).

Seollal a time for exploring Korean traditions
JoongAng Daily

The Lunar New Year holidays, or Seollal in Korean, kick off today. And while Seollal means a time for family and tradition, it also brings a wealth of activities where you can learn about and participate in Korean culture.

Those who are brave enough to fight the cold weather can venture outdoors to museums, concerts, restaurants, and even ski resorts to experience some traditional games and other rituals they don’t get to do everyday.

For Koreans who want to experience how their ancestors spent the Lunar New Year, many museums have prepared all-inclusive experiences. Some of the events even provide free traditional food and beverages.

South Koreans Flex Smartphone Muscles
Wallstreet Journal

First time on Seoul’s subway system? Don’t expect a lot of eye contact.

Here, almost everyone is busy playing games like Cookie Run, or sending messages on their oversized smartphones.

Those eyeballs add up. In 2013, South Korea jumped ahead of the U.S. in revenue generated from app sales on Google Inc.’sGOOG +4.13% Play mobile store, according to research and analysis firm App Annie, which tracks app purchases.
That makes South Korea, a country of 50 million people, the second-most lucrative country in the world by that metric, just behind Japan.

By app downloads, which doesn’t take into account the amount of money spent, South Korea also ranks second on Google Play, behind the U.S., whose population is six times that of Korea’s.

4,323 Korean churches in U.S:
Korea Times

90 more Korean churches sprang up last year to bring up the total to 4,323 Koreans churches in the United States.

According to, California has the most Korean churches with 1,358, which accounts for 31.4% of the total in the U.S. New York came in second with 446, followed by New Jersey (258); Virginia (211); Texas (210); Washington (208); Georgia (197); Illinois (190); Maryland (161); and Pennsylvania (161), in order.

The Korean population was tabulated to be 1,706,822 in the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau report – which means for every 394 Koreans, there’s a Korean church.

Dia Frampton wins hearts
New Straits Times

The cafe was filled with fans who came to see her sing.

Frampton who was first runner-up during the first season of the reality show, The Voice, impressed the crowd with a number of songs. She sang hits songs like Losing My Religion, Heartless and Inventing Shadows.

Her fans could not stop cheering when the singer, who is of Dutch and Korean parentage started to sing.
When she sang The Broken Ones the crowd started singing along and clapping.

Korean Julia Sun-Joo Lee Brings New Face to Black Literature
Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Dr. Julia Sun-Joo Lee has gotten used to the strange looks that sometimes greet her on the first day of class.

“My students may initially be surprised to see me in the classroom,” says Lee, who teaches African-American Literature at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“But I always say that African-American literature is not just limited to African-Americans. It is American literature and is so much a part of the history of this country. It shouldn’t be ghettoized.”

Show US
Korea Times

Next up for the South Korean National Soccer Team, who got humiliated against Mexico on Wednesday night in Texas 4-0, is the United States.

The U.S. side is supposed to be tougher and is ranked higher than both Mexico and Costa Rica. The current FIFA ranking has the U.S. at No. 14, while Mexico is No. 21, Costa Rica is No. 32, and South Korea is No. 53.

S. Korean manager Hong Myung-bo all of sudden has a lot to prove.

Here is the U.S. Soccer News release:

The U.S. Men’s National Team will open its 2014 schedule playing before of a capacity crowd of 27,000 fans when it hosts the S. Korea for an international friendly at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 1. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes Radio and UniMas. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.

Choo isn’t afraid to take one for the team

Ian Kinsler set a Rangers record last season in getting hit by eight pitches. That gave him 57 for his career, the most in Rangers history, before he departed for Tigers.

Now Shin-Soo Choo has seven years to catch Kinsler. The odds seem to be on his side.

The Rangers signed Choo to a seven-year, $130 million contract, and one of the reasons is they love his ability to get on base. Choo’s knack for getting in the way of a pitch has done wonders for his on-base percentage, especially last season.

Choo was hit by 26 pitches in 2013, the most in the Major Leagues. It was the 33rd time in Major League history that a batter was hit by at least 26 pitches. The record is 51 by Hughie Jennings in 1896 for the Baltimore Orioles. The modern-day record is 51, set by Ron Hunt of the Expos in 1971. The Rangers record is held by Alex Rodriguez, with 16 in 2001.

Thursday’s Link Attack: Kim Jong-un’s Aunt a ‘Vegetable’; Expat Women Dating Woes; Michelle Wie’s New Putting Stance
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: January 9th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Kim Jong-un’s aunt ‘in vegetative state after brain surgery’
The Telegraph (U.K.)

Speculation over the fate of the aunt of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, took a new twist on Thursday as intelligence sources in Seoul and Washington claimed that Kim Kyong-hui is in a vegetative state after undergoing surgery for a brain tumour late last year.

The reports come just days after South Korean media reported that Ms Kim, 67, was dead and may have committed suicide.

The only daughter of Kim Il-sung, the revered founder of North Korea, Ms Kim was the estranged wife of Jang Song-taek before he was executed in December for a litany of crimes against the state.

Strangest of bedfellows
The Economist

THE crowd gathered at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on January 8th made unlikely spectators for a basketball game. Dressed in suits and ties, the 14,000 people filling the stands in North Korea’s capital held neither hotdogs nor giant foam fingers. Applause for the two squads, a motley crew of former American National Basketball Association (NBA) stars and street-ball players, and then the North Korean team, was tightly orchestrated. But when the country’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, entered the stadium, the atmosphere changed. “It’s just really shocking, an overwhelming experience to see how much power that guy has in this country,” said Dennis Rodman, the provocative former professional American player who was chiefly responsible for the spectacle. “All [Mr Kim] has to do is get up and they go nuts.”

This is Mr Rodman’s fourth trip to North Korea, an ostentatious tour with an athletic entourage which is estimated to cost his hosts about $1m. He is the highest-profile American to have met the youthful Mr Kim, and this has cast Mr Rodman into a position of perhaps unwitting ambassadorial significance. He labels his own visits as “basketball diplomacy”, an opportunity for cultural exchange with the secretive state. He claims to have no political motive.

Students Plan Visit to N.Korea in Dokdo Campaign
Chosun Ilbo

A group of university students and a freelance writer publicizing Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo want to visit North Korea in August of this year to promote their cause.

The Unification Ministry said on Wednesday it has received an application from the group calling themselves the “Dokdo Racers.” A ministry official said, “We can’t give them a quick answer due to the many variables in inter-Korean relations, but we should be able to reach a decision by May at the latest.”

If their visit is permitted, it would be the first time since 2006 that university students here have visited the North. The last time was a federation of university student councils who went to Mt. Kumgang for a meeting with North Korean student bodies.

Advocates push to give undocumented New York immigrants driver’s licenses
New York Daily News

Believing the political climate is now in their favor, advocates are launching a major push to allow undocumented immigrants to get New York State driver’s licenses.

Members of more than 50 organizations met Tuesday with an umbrella group known as the New York Immigration Coalition to set their campaign in motion.

“We have really decided to go forward, and go forward full steam,” said Steven Choi, the coalition’s executive director. “We are hearing from our members, from Brentwood in Long Island all the way to Buffalo, that driver’s licenses are a major issue.”

S. Korea tycoon has high hopes for L.A. hotel project
Los Angeles Times

On a honeymoon trip to Southern California in 1974, Yang-ho Cho and his new bride drove into downtown Los Angeles only to get lost among the dark, empty industrial buildings and shuttered shops.

Cho remembers he could find no one on the streets to ask for directions to his hotel.

Nearly 40 years later, Cho is heading the development of the tallest building west of the Mississippi, a $1-billion downtown hotel complex that no one will have trouble finding at night.

Apple, Samsung CEOs agree to mediation in U.S. patent fight

Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics have agreed to attend a mediation session to be held on or before February 19, as they prepare to clash in court in March over smartphone patents.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon will attend the session with in-house lawyers only, according to a Wednesday court filing. Their legal teams had met on January 6 to “discuss settlement opportunities,” the filing read.

Neither company immediately return messages seeking comment.

Is dating harder for expat women?
Korea Times

After Jenny, an American, decided to move to Busan to teach English, she researched the expat dating scene in Korea. And then she resigned herself to being single.

“A lot of people say that Western guys in Korea only want to date Korean girls and Korean guys only want to date Korean girls,” she said. Such views weren’t completely accurate, however. “There are men who are exceptions.”

She eventually began going out with a Korean, a “rebellious and unique” man who “liked being different.” But her initial expectations reflected common perceptions about dating here, where it’s more common to see heterosexual couples of expatriate men and Korean women, than vice-versa.

Local martial arts instructor, Sang Kim, has passed away
KCBD News (Texas)

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a well-known Taekwondo instructor here in Lubbock.

A close friend of Grand Master Sang Kim says he passed away Tuesday night after battling a long-term illness.

Many people would say he is a long-time Lubbock martial arts legend and although his life was short, his impact has been a long and lasting one.

Hulu Executive Talks Original Programming, New CEO and Online Viewing Habits (Q&A)
Hollywood Reporter

Hulu might have a new face running the show, but many familiar faces will be returning to its slate of original programming this year.

The streaming service’s lineup of shows includes new seasons of some of its most popular original programming. Among the shows renewed for a second season are Seth Meyers’ animated superhero series The Awesomes and Chris O’Dowd’s semi-autobiographical comedy Moone Boy.

Hulu is also introducing four new series to its audience this year. Among them are Deadbeat, a supernatural comedy co-produced with Lionsgate Television, and reality TV satire The Hotwives of Orlando.

At one year, South Korean babies get gilded parties

It takes a lot more than a cake and a song to celebrate a baby’s first birthday in South Korea, where in the past disease and starvation claimed so many lives that the completion of an infant’s first year was a major milestone.

The first birthday, or “doljanchi”, is now an event where affluent parents in one of the world’s richest countries flaunt their wealth, connections and even their offspring’s gilded career prospects at lavish parties.

At one party in Apgujeong, dubbed the Beverly Hills of Seoul, one-year-old Dot-byul peered down at a tray of items symbolizing various professions – including a stethoscope for a doctor, a judge’s gavel and a microphone.

New Yorker

This week, Chang-rae Lee’s fifth novel, “On Such a Full Sea,” comes out from Riverhead. The book is set in a future version of America where classes are rigidly stratified. When a young woman named Fan leaves the security of her life in a labor settlement, we follow her adventures as she travels through this dangerous and divided country. I spoke to Lee about how he created his dystopian world and about his approach to writing about violent struggle and assimilation in his previous books. What follows is an edited text of our conversation.

Your last novel, “The Surrendered,” traced the shadows cast by the Korean War on the lives of a Korean woman, who was a young girl during the war, and an American man, a U.S. soldier, decades after the war’s conclusion. When you finished that novel, did you know your next book was going to be set in some dystopian American future?

Psy to come back next month…with Snoop Dogg
Korea Times

Singer Psy is expected to come back in February after filming a music video for his next song this month.

He is busy in his last stage of preparation since the dates for shooting his music video have been confirmed, according to his staff members.

Filming a music video implies that he has already decided on his title songs, costumes and dance.

Yuna Kim, the queen of the rink

When she took to the ice at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on 25 February 2010, Yuna Kim turned on a dazzling gold medal-winning display that captured the imagination of the crowd and impressed the judges, who gave the 19-year-old the highest score ever awarded to a figure skater. In doing so she made an indelible mark on the Republic of Korea’s Olympic history by winning the country’s first ever figure skating title, a feat that made her a national idol.

That status is founded on the kind of grace and technical prowess she displayed in executing triple Lutz-triple toe loop combinations and her signature layover spin, dubbed the Yuna Camel, in front of 15,000 spellbound spectators in Vancouver. That performance, one of the most stunning of the 2010 Winter Games, was hailed by the then IOC President Jacques Rogge, and rewarded by the judges with a total of 228.56 points that saw her earn a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Kim has long been accustomed to pulling off firsts. She took up skating at the age of six and nurtured her talent under the watchful eye of Canada’s two-time Olympic silver medallist Brian Orser in Toronto since 2006.

Michelle Wie shows off her new putting stance

If you watched any women’s golf last year, no doubt you saw Michelle Wie’s ”tabletop” putting stance. I know I did a double-take when I first saw her bend at the waist until her back was parallel to the ground before taking her stroke.

She took a lot of ribbing for her unique stance, and even made fun of it herself on a few occasions. And during a visit to the David Leadbetter Academy on Wednesday, she jokingly showed us the latest adjustment to her stance (that’s her on the right).

”The 2014 version of the ‘tabletop’ putting stance,” she tweeted, adding a couple of hashtags: #donttrythisathome and #leadbetterschoolofputting.

KBO veterans see more foreign players as boon
Yonhap News via GlobalPost

A recent decision by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) to add an extra roster spot for foreign players starting in 2014 will likely have a positive impact on the quality of play in the top-flight domestic league, three veteran pitchers from overseas say.

Previously, the KBO teams were allowed to sign up to two imports. From 2014, they will be permitted to put a maximum of three players on their active rosters, and have two of them play at the same time. The maximum number is four for the expansion team NC Dinos.

All nine teams in 2014 must also include at least one position player. In the past two seasons, all KBO teams have filled their quotas with pitchers.

The Great Sriracha Debate Heats Up: Are You Team Andrew or Team David?

Things are heating up between chefs Andrew Zimmern and David Chang in what we’re calling the Great Sriracha Debate of 2014. Okay, maybe friendly discourse is more like it — when it comes to hot sauce, there are no losers.

Quick recap: Last month, Bizarre Foods‘ Zimmern called sriracha both one of the top food trends of 2013 and the most overrated item of the last 20 years. “There are a hundred hot sauces and chile condiments I prefer,” he told PEOPLE, and listed a few of them (including Peruvian Aju Limo Paste and Lousiana’s Crystal Hot Sauce) on his website, which sparked some rather spicy reactions.

More recently, Chang defended sriracha to PEOPLE, and reflected on his comrade’s opinion: “I don’t understand how he could hate something so loving and giving. It’s just goodness. It’s good on everything,” the Momofuku restaurant founder enthused.

Campus Chic: Seojung Kang
California Aggie

New quarter, new fashion. In our first edition of Campus Chic for 2014, our muse of the week, third-year biochemistry and molecular biology major Seojung Kang, tells us all about her winter getaway in Seoul, Korea and what she bought as a little gift to herself during the holiday season.

There’s something about Seojung that really caught my eye. Everything from the Karlie Kloss-inspired cropped hair to the oversized, tweed waistcoat was just so chic yet so effortless that I was immediately compelled to feature her look in MUSE. She is able to play with the masculine and the feminine and incorporate menswear tailoring in her look to create her own sophisticated style.

1. If you could describe your personal style in three words, what would they be?

Comfortable, classy and chic. Even though I say “comfortable” is one of my words, sometimes I just want to wear my heels.

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