A South Korean military investigation has determined that a female officer who committed suicide last October allegedly because of repeated sexual harassment died while on active duty. She will be buried at the Daejeon National Cemetery, where military personnel are laid to rest, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.
The 28-year-old female officer, only identified by her last name Oh, was found dead Oct. 16, 2013, inside a car in a parking lot in Hwacheon. She reportedly killed herself by burning charcoal in the vehicle.
Oh’s diary, notes and suicide letter indicated that verbal and sexual harassment from a commanding officer took its toll on her after 10 months, during which she said she was groped and verbally abused, authorities said. She wrote in her suicide note that her superior, whose last name was Noh, demanded that she spends “one night with him.”
South Korea Exchanges Artillery Fire With North Over Sea Border
South Korea returned artillery fire after North Korea lobbed shells over the two countries’ western sea border, pushing tensions to their highest in months.
About 100 North Korean shells landed over the disputed sea border during planned live-fire drills, while South Korea fired back about 300 shells, the South’s Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said at a briefing. Residents on the South Korean islands of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong were moved to shelters.
The incident yesterday came a day after North Korea said it may conduct a “new form” of nuclear test, and after South Korea President Park Geun Hye in a speech last week in Germany proposed building closer links with the North to spur reunification. North Korea fired artillery shells at Yeonpyeong in November 2010, killing two marines and prompting South Korea to return fire and mobilize fighter jets.
Kim Jong-un Makes Sister His Chief of Staff
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Kim Yeo-jong has been his chief of staff since last year, a source said Sunday. The source said Kim Yeo-jong was appointed chief secretary of the Workers Party early last year.
Before Kim Yeo-jong’s promotion, the chief secretary was Kim Chang-son, who is now chief of protocol. This is the first time that a member of the Kim family has assumed the post of chief secretary.
The party secretariat is in charge of purchasing and providing daily necessities for the leader and his family and also handles the delivery of official reports from the party, the Cabinet, the powerful National Defense Commission and other key state organizations.
Corpse surfaces during “Avengers” shooting
A dead body floated to the surface of the Han River under Mapo Bridge in Seoul, where the American movie crew was filming a sequel to Hollywood Blockbuster “The Avengers,” police said Sunday.
“A security member of the movie crew aboard a boat found the body floating and reported it to the police at around 2:10 p.m.,” said an officer at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency.
A police team retrieved the badly decomposed body, which was later identified as a 21-year-old man surnamed Yoon. He was reported missing by his family on March 10, after sending a mobile text message expressing his despair.
Blocking all lanes on the bridge for nearly 12 hours from early in the morning, the American crew shot for “The Avengers: The Age of Ultron” Sunday, the first day of their two-week stint here in Korea.
THE CAMPAIGN TO “CANCEL” COLBERT
On Thursday night, the official Twitter account for “The Colbert Report” committed the comedic sin of delivering a punch line without its setup. The offending tweet, “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever,” was meant to be a satirical analog to the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, whose creation was announced earlier this week by the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder.
The joke, which originally aired on Wednesday’s episode, is not particularly complicated: Daniel Snyder created a charitable organization for the benefit of a community and used a racial epithet for that same community in the organization’s name—so here’s an absurd fictional extrapolation of Snyder’s own logic. Everyone who hates both racism and Daniel Snyder laughs.
Stephen Colbert, Racism and the Weaponized Hashtag
Wall Street Journal
Last Wednesday, Stephen Colbert — in his persona as “Stephen Colbert,” the rock-ribbed right-wing pundit of his Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report” — aired a segment satirizing the decision by Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, to set up a fig-leaf nonprofit foundation designed to “help address the challenges that plague the Native American community.” His newly launched Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation has distributed winter coats and shoes to several tribes, purchased a backhoe for Nebraska’s Omaha Tribe and claims to have over forty other projects in process to help build a brighter future for Native Americans.
For a franchise reportedly worth $1.8 billion with operating profits of over $100 million annually, handing out shoes and buying a $100,000 backhoe is a cheap price to pay to defray ongoing negative PR from the many Native Americans who have been pushing for the team to change its 77-year-old name — which many people see as a corrosive ethnic slur and a reminder of a centuries-long history of broken promises and genocide.
S. Korean game developers to go global with Google Play
The mobile application market powered by U.S. Google Inc. will assist South Korean game developers in tapping deeper into overseas markets, the local unit of the Internet giant said Monday, on the back of the platform’s foray into the contents industry.
“The Google Play ecosystems in Korea rely on great Korean developers making great apps,” said Chris Yerga, who oversees the platform business, adding that 17 out of the top 20 most downloaded apps in the country were games.
The Internet giant said Google Play, its mobile application market brand that was rolled out in 2012, will provide local developers with new business opportunities as the platform is used in more than 190 countries.
US Ambassador to Korea finally asked about topics not related to North Korea
Stars And Stripes
Think answering questions about how to convince North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons is tough? Try talking on national television about dating your wife.
U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim recently appeared on the popular SBS program “Good Morning Korea,” where the focus was, for once, not on the latest provocation from Kim Jong Un.
During the show, Kim – the first Korean-American ambassador to Seoul – answered questions about everything from how he met his wife (they were introduced by a friend when Kim was worked at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul years ago) to which Korean foods he recommended to U.S. President Barack Obama during a visit to Seoul (bulgogi).
Apple-Samsung row heads to court
Korea JoongAng Daily
The fiercest rivalry in the world of smartphones is heading back to court this week in the heart of the Silicon Valley, with Apple and Samsung accusing each other, once again, of ripping off designs and features.
The trial will mark the latest round in a long-running series of lawsuits between the two tech giants that underscore a much larger concern about what is allowed to be patented.
“There’s a widespread suspicion that lots of the kinds of software patents at issue are written in ways that cover more ground than what Apple or any other tech firm actually invented,’’ Notre Dame law professor Mark McKenna said. “Overly broad patents allow companies to block competition.’’
Russia Eyes Kaesong Industrial Complex
North Korea and Russia will discuss the possibility of Russian companies opening factories in the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, Radio Free Asia reported Friday.
Russia’s Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka visited the North for five days last week to explore ways of boosting business cooperation, according to the radio station. Galushka apparently discussed improving business conditions for Russian companies in North Korea, measures to protect Russian investments, and multiple-entry visas.
Other points on the agenda were development of North Korea’s Rajin-Sonbong economic zones, steps to modernize the North’s mines, power plant projects, rail lines connecting Russia and Korean Peninsula and a gas pipeline from Russia to South Korea via the North.
Small Businesses Want 2nd Industrial Park in N.Korea
An association of small and medium-sized businesses wants to build a second industrial park in North Korea along the lines of the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex.
The head of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium-sized Businesses, Kim Ki-mun, told a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday that his organization is looking at Haeju or Nampo in North Korea as suitable locations.
The comments have increased hopes here of a breakthrough in chilled relations with Pyongyang. Kim’s idea coincides with the North’s hopes to develop more special economic zones.
6 Stunning Celebrity Couples of Asian Men & Non-Asian Women
Speaking of China
Every week, the entertainment mags churn out list after list of swoon-worthy celebrity and Hollywood couples. But these couples are almost always white…and I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that I’ve seen a single couple of Asian men and non-Asian women on their lists.
If my Pinterest board with real-life couples of Chinese men and Western women has taught me anything, it’s that the community of Asian men and non-Asian women in love is bigger than I ever expected — with plenty of beautiful faces. So it’s no surprise that our community includes some stunning celebrities and their equally stunning partners. Don’t they deserve a little love for once?
Move over, Brangelina! Here are six dazzling couples that could turn heads on the red carpet, while showing the world how lovely it is when Asian men and non-Asian women get together.
SKorea rejects NKorea’s conciliatory gesture
South Korea rejected North Korea’s offer to take a series of steps to ease tension that included canceling Seoul’s regular military drills with Washington, saying Friday that Pyongyang must take nuclear disarmament steps first.
The North’s powerful National Defense Commission on Thursday proposed the rivals halt military actions and mutual vilification to build better relations. The North, however, strongly hinted it would maintain its nuclear weapons program and urged South Korea to cancel its upcoming springtime drills with the United States.
The North’s overture is a sharp departure from its repeated threats of nuclear strikes against Seoul and Washington that raised tensions a year ago. Analysts say Kim Jong Un’s government hopes that improved ties with South Korea could help attract foreign investment to boost the communist nation’s lagging economy.
China urges Koreas to improve ties amid Pyongyang’s ‘peace offensive’
China called on both South and North Korea Friday to take steps to nurture better cross-border relations, with Pyongyang’s “peace offensive” raising fresh concerns that tension on the peninsula may rise sharply again ahead of joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.
North Korea has proposed this week that both Seoul and Pyongyang stop military provocations and mutual slandering to improve bilateral relations, but demanded the cancellation of upcoming South Korea-U.S. military exercises.
South Korea brushed off the North’s proposal that strongly indicated that Pyongyang won’t give up its nuclear weapons program, questioning its sincerity. Some Seoul officials described the North’s latest reconciliatory gesture as a “camouflaged peace offensive.”
North Korea’s Rare Earths Could be Game Changer
Voice of America
A recent geological study indicates North Korea could hold some 216 million tons of rare earths, minerals used in electronics such as smartphones and high definition televisions.
If verified, the discovery would more than double global known sources and be six times the reserves in China, the market leader.
British Islands-based private equity firm SRE Minerals Limited announced the study results in December, along with a 25-year deal to develop the deposits in Jongju, northwest of the capital, Pyongyang.
#HowIMetYourRacism: How Asian-Americans on Twitter are telling Hollywood to back off
Southern California Public Radio
In recent months, some Asian-Americans have taken to Twitter to call out incidents in the media they see as racially insensitive, or downright racist — most recently the Kung Fu movie-inspired episode of the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”
And they’re getting attention.
Asian-American viewers and others unleashed the #HowIMetYourRacism hashtag after watching the show’s most recent episode — which aired Jan. 13 — in which its white stars dressed up as Asian grandmasters who drank tea, ate noodles, killed flies with chopsticks — all the while Asian extras hovered in the background.
Breaking Brian Shin: portrait of a Bay Street master and suburban drug dealer
Brian Shin seemed like the ideal employee. He worked long hours, dressed sharply and exuded sufficient swagger to fit in on Bay Street. His pedigree—a bachelor’s in commerce from U of T, a master’s in taxation from the University of Waterloo and work experience at the tax firm Deloitte—made him overqualified for his job at Lannick, a corporate recruiting firm. In two years, he placed roughly 100 managers and executives, and contributed $700,000 to the bottom line, making him one of the company’s top recruiters. He earned a salary of $130,900.
Shin was handsome, his hair neat and cropped short on the sides, and he was persistent and passionate in his work. He had a soft touch, too. When the mother of one of his former clients was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Shin made a point of offering his condolences. His boss, Joseph Diubaldo, considered Shin the best employee he’d ever hired.
In January 2012, Shin invited Diubaldo out for coffee, something they’d done regularly. But this time was different: Shin seemed agitated, and Diubaldo guessed that something was wrong. Then, Shin dropped a bombshell. For nearly half his life, he told Diubaldo, he had trafficked marijuana. He’d started in Grade 9 and worked his way up the food chain for 14 years—keeping his double life secret from his family all the while—and at his peak dealt upwards of 500 pounds of weed a year and handled $1.8 million in cash. He recounted how, in the summer of 2009, he’d been arrested at his stash house, how his parents, heartbroken at the news, had bailed him out, and how he was now awaiting trial. Working as a headhunter, he said, was a way to cover his legal bills, but the guilt of lying was gnawing at him. He was desperate to confess before Diubaldo read about him in the news.
More charges filed against Long Grove man in fatal DUI crash
Daily Herald (Chicago, Ill.)
A Lake County grand jury on Wednesday approved additional counts of reckless homicide against a Long Grove man accused of being intoxicated during a crash that killed a woman in September.
Stephen E. Tomczyk, 22, of the 3200 block of Middlesax Drive, was already facing three counts of reckless homicide for the crash that killed Jeewon Kim, 47, of Buffalo Grove on Sept. 5, 2013.
With the charges added Wednesday, Tomczyk now faces six total counts of reckless homicide.
“Hawaii Five-0′s” Daniel Dae Kim on a career in paradise
For Daniel Dae Kim, working in paradise has been twice as nice. He played Jin-Soo Kwon on the series “Lost,” and now he stars on another show filmed in Hawaii. He plays Detective Chin Ho Kelly on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.”
Kim joined “CBS This Morning” and discussed his career, being able to work in Hawaii and his family with the co-hosts.
Growing up, Kim actually wanted to be a lawyer, not an actor. He told the co-hosts that, as an undergraduate, he wanted to be an attorney and study political science. He said he did one of those things and “ended up being an actor instead.”
“When I wanted to be an attorney, I think I wanted to be a litigator; I wanted to be in a courtroom,” he said, “and there are a lot of similarities between that and what I do today.”
PSY and Snoop Lion Slow Dance to G-Dragon’s Song at a Noraebang
Looks like we got a sneak preview of PSY‘s upcoming music video! Is that G-Dragon and Snoop Lion we see?
That’s right, it looks like G-Dragon and Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dog) will feature in PSY’s music video. In the photo we see the three at an old fashioned noraebang. They are wearing similar looking checkered suits, and PSY and Snoop Lion are getting very close with two very happy looking Korean women.
It had been previously reported that Snoop Lion was in Korea to film one of the PSY’s music videos. When PSY announced that he will most likely make a comeback in either February or March, it was also revealed that Snoop Lion would feature on one of his tracks. Later, YG Entertainment announced that PSY will film his music video in mid-January and that they are shooting for a early March comeback.
First Korean Indie band concert in LA
Korea Times US
America has Nine Inch Nails, and Korea has 10cm.
The Korean acoustic folk indie band 10cm will hold a solo concert in Los Angeles on Jan. 31. It will be the first concert hosted by a Korean indie band in the world’s biggest music market.
The venue is Club Nokia.
Making their debut in 2010, the duo act ㅡ vocalist Kwon Jung-yeol and guitarist Yoon Cheol-jong ㅡ had a meteoric rise to fame with several hit songs including “Tonight I’m Afraid of the Dark,” “Give a Hug” and “Fine Thank You and You?”
Reality Show Catapults Kim Hee-ae into Fashion Icon Status
Actress Kim Hee-ae is shaping up as a hot fashion icon, with the clothing, bags and accessories she shows off in a cable channel reality program frequently selling out nationwide.
tvN’s “Sisters Over Flowers” features episodes of a 10-day backpacking trip to Croatia and Turkey by four veteran actresses — Kim, Kim Ja-ok, Lee Mi-yeon and Yoon Yeo-jeong.
The trend started with a long black padded coat from Burberry Brit that retails for over W2 million (US$1=W1,063), which Kim wore in the first episode. Despite its expensive price tag, the coat soon vanished from department store shelves across the country.
Report: Park Ji-sung’s return ‘possible’ in March
Former national men’s football team captain Park Ji-sung could return to play in one of South Korea’s tune-up matches ahead of this year’s FIFA World Cup, the squad’s head coach said Thursday.
On the sidelines of the team’s training camp in the World Cup host nation, Hong Myung-bo said the former Manchester United midfielder may put on a South Korean uniform to face Greece on the road in March.
“It can happen,” Hong said. “There are many possibilities.”
Demand for W50,000 Bills Still Soaring
Due to explosive demand for W50,000 bills, the amount of new bills printed exceeded W9 trillion for the first time last year (US$1=W1,064).
The Bank of Korea on Thursday said total bills in circulation at the end of last year were worth W63.37 trillion, up 9.03 trillion or 16.6 percent from the previous year.
W50,000 bills accounted for 88 percent of that surge. As of the end of 2013, W40.68 trillion worth had been issued, up 24.2 percent from a year ago.
Eugenia Kim to Launch Shoe Line — For Real This Time
Exciting news on the Eugenia Kim front: The masterful milliner has officially expanded into footwear — high-end footwear, in fact — that for Fall 2014 draws on the dark side of 1970s rock ‘n roll, as well as lessons learned from the designer’s first stab at footwear back in 2003.
Kim’s first shoe launch was a success in many ways — the shoes were bought by big retailers like Saks and even won the designer a CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year award in 2004. Sadly, the shoe line fell by the wayside in 2005 when Kim, whose company was still fairly small, had to produce more volume than her factory could handle. “[The factory] couldn’t produce on time, so after a couple of years I decided to stop and focus on hats,” the designer explained to us in a phone interview Thursday.
“I was in my 20s the first time [I did shoes]. I learned so much during those two years,” Kim says. Now, with more experience under her belt, it’s a great time for the brand to be trying again, she says, in part because she’s noticed a “new vanguard of shoe designers” that she could easily become a part of, but also because she now knows a lot more about production. Kim says she has spent a lot of time working on developing the line — she began working on it in April of 2013 and even took a trip to Italy to visit her new factory, which also manufactures shoes for the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin. Thus, the quality is high and the materials (mink fur, pearl cabochon, burnt ostrich) luxe. Prices will range from $535 to $1,095.
North Korean Leader Says He Wants Better Ties With South
New York Times
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, on Wednesday called for improving relations with South Korea and boasted of his regime’s tightened grip on power in his first public speech since the purge and execution of his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, last month.
“North and South Korea should create a mood to improve relations,” Mr. Kim said in a nationally televised New Year’s Day speech. “It’s time to end useless slandering, and the North and the South should no longer do things that harm reconciliation and harmony.”
Mr. Kim began delivering a New Year’s Day speech after coming to power two years ago, reviving the practice of his grandfather Kim Il-sung. During the rule of his reclusive father, Kim Jong-il, the country’s main state-run newspapers issued a joint editorial to mark the day.
Decoding Kim’s New Year’s Speech
Wall Street Journal
Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech was closely watched because it offered a rare chance to see the North Korean leader speak, even if he probably contributed little or nothing to the message he delivered.
The speech itself didn’t turn up much that was new other than a colorful reference to his purged uncle, Jang Song Thaek, as “factionalist filth” and heavy reinforcement of the ideological fallout from Mr. Jang’s demise. Mr. Kim said it was imperative to “ensure the purity of Party ranks” and “establish the monolithic leadership system in the Party.”
The delivery of the speech–from behind a dais with seven microphones–was also the same as last year, as was Mr. Kim’s tendency to fidget while speaking. Possibly with that in mind, there was one notable difference in presentation this year: the amount of time Mr. Kim spent on camera.
S.Koreans Have Mixed Feelings About Reunification
A majority of South Koreans believe that reunification is in the national interest, but only a few think it will benefit individuals. This was the outcome of a poll conducted by the Chosun Ilbo.
Some 57.2 percent of respondents said reunification will be beneficial to the national interest and 39.4 percent it will not. But a whopping 66.3 percent do not expect it to benefit individual South Koreans directly, more than double the 30.9 percent who said it will.
About a half or 48.6 percent of respondents are concerned that the cost of reunification could overwhelm the potential benefit. Some 31.8 percent said the benefit will outweigh the cost, while 15.5 percent said the cost and benefit will be about equal. Some 4.1 percent gave no answer.
S. Korea unveils video promoting ownership of Dokdo
South Korea on Wednesday released an on-line video clip publicizing its sovereignty over a set of islets off its east coast that is also claimed by Japan.
The video, which includes historical evidence purporting to show that the islets, called Dokdo, are Korean, was posted on a foreign ministry website (http://dokdo.mofa.go.kr) at midnight Tuesday. It will also be uploaded on YouTube.
“The video was produced to widely spread the firm truth that Dokdo is South Korean territory in terms of history, geography and international law,” ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said in a briefing.
South Korea military to fight to keep ban on sex by academy cadets
South Korea’s military said on Thursday it would fight a court ruling quashing its move to kick an officer candidate out of the elite Army Academy for having sex with his girlfriend while on leave.
An appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the Academy abused its authority to discipline cadets when it expelled a candidate for having sex with his girlfriend while on a weekend leave. It ruled that his conduct did no harm to the institution’s honor.
The Academy maintains rules against sexual relations as part of its code of conduct that also bans drinking, smoking and marriage and it intends to take the case to the Supreme Court, a spokesman for the Army told a news briefing.
Lee Min-ho Rides Wave of Popularity to Leading Movie Role
Lee Min-ho established his credentials as a character actor rather than just another pretty face in SBS’ TV drama “The Heirs,” which emerged as the most popular TV drama in the second half of last year.
Riding on the success of the drama, which recently came to an end, Lee has now been cast in a new movie that is set in the 1970s, when a real estate development boom swept across Gangnam.
South Korean Films Dominated Domestic Box Office in 2013
Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s genre-defying jail-cell dramedy “Miracle in Cell No. 7” was the country’s biggest box-office draw last year, which saw nine of the 10 top-grossing movies coming from local producers.
The film — starring one of South Korea’s top character actors, Ryu Seung-ryong, about a handicapped parking-garage attendant incarcerated for rape and murder and the efforts to clear his name — pulled in 91.43 billion won ($86.6 million), according to the Korean Film Council.
That makes “Miracle,” directed by Lee Hwan-kyung, the third most successful film in South Korean history. It trails behind “Avatar” (2009), the Hollywood 3-D science-fiction epic from James Cameron, and “The Thieves” (2012), Korean director Choi Dong-hoon’s all-star comic action-thriller.
Lee Seung-gi, Yoon-a Dating
Singer and actor Lee Seung-gi and Yoon-a of Girls’ Generation recently began dating, Lee’s agency confirmed on Wednesday.
Their relationship was first revealed on Wednesday when an Internet news outlet released a photo of Lee picking up Yoon-a at her home immediately after he returned from a concert in Japan in October.
They reportedly started dating in September and enjoy going for drives along the Han River and around Mt. Nam.
Korean community welcomes Shin-Soo Choo to town
Shin-Soo Choo has come to Texas. And he already has plenty of fans here.
The 31-year-old free agent outfielder has signed a seven-year contract with the Texas Rangers. He brought his wife, Won Mi Ha, and two young sons, Kunwoo and Moo-bin, with him to a news conference Friday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Several fellow South Koreans were there to welcome them, including Michael Lee, immediate past chair of the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber, many members of the local Korean media and a few members of the Korean Society of Dallas.
Yuna Kim not preparing ‘special skills’ for Sochi Olympics
For Yuna Kim, defending her Olympic gold medal is not of the utmost importance in Sochi.
The South Korean figure skater will try to enjoy her second Olympics, she said before what’s likely to be her final home competition this weekend.
Kim, expected to retire after the Olympics, is set to compete at the South Korean National Championships.
South Korea look to old guard in World Cup year
South Korea need an infusion of old heads to balance the lack of experience in their squad for this year’s World Cup in Brazil, according to head coach Hong Myung-bo.
The Asian football powerhouse will begin their eighth consecutive World Cup finals campaign against Russia, who they lost 2-1 to in November, on June 17, before clashing with Algeria (June 22) and Belgium (June 26).
Hong, a member of the Korean team that reached the last four of the 2002 World Cup on home soil, said he was close to finalising his squad for the prestigious event.
The morning after: Asia’s top hangover cures
It’s a self-induced ailment that transcends culture and language barriers. The hangover.
Whether you’ve binged on sake or baijou, the result is too often the same: pounding headache, mouth like a Russian wrestler’s jockstrap, urge to spend the day close to something white and made of porcelain.
Though hangovers might be universal, cures for the brown bottle flu are not.
Some boozers swear that a greasy breakfast does the trick. But if you find yourself in an Asian city New Year’s Day with nary a greasy English fry-up in sight, these local hangover cures should make you feel half-human in no time.
With Psy and currency swaps, South Korea grabs global influence
Its most recent effort to leverage brand “Korea” – three currency swap deals worth more than $20 billion that were announced this month.
South Korea had the seventh largest currency reserves in the world at the end of August, worth $331.1 billion, according to the Bank of Korea. It can easily afford to match cultural diplomacy with economic muscle as it competes with Japan and China for influence.
K-Pop icons such as Psy, whose “Gangnam Style” hit went viral in 2012, and even Korean food are used by Seoul to build South Korea’s brand, while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Hyundai Motor Co are firms with global reach.
N. Korea accuses U.S. of fueling military threat
North Korea on Tuesday claimed that the United States is openly threatening the communist country with military force and warned it could respond to such provocations with war.
In a commentary carried by the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), Pyongyang said Washington’s efforts to set up a missile defense system and station unmanned aerial vehicles in Japan by citing North Korea as a threat is utterly ludicrous.
The paper added that with Pyongyang committed to building an economically prosperous country and improving the lives of its people, it does not want tensions but a peaceful environment on the Korean Peninsula.
The photos North Korea didn’t want you to see
As the sole Western journalist covering a unique bicycle race in North Korea last month, I was provided with a personal guide, a car with a driver and the promise that I was free to take any photographs I wanted. As a journalist, it seemed like an incredible opportunity to document a small snapshot of what North Korea was really like.
However, the promise turned out not to be completely true.
At the border, before going back to China, a group of security guards confiscated my camera and erased all images they thought were inappropriate, or did not portray the country in a favorable light.
South Korean Military Agency’s Headquarters Raided in Growing Scandal
New York Times
Military investigators raided South Korea’s Cyberwarfare Command on Tuesday after four of its officials were found to have posted political messages online last year, in what opposition lawmakers have called a smear campaign against President Park Geun-hye’s opponents before her election in December.
Ms. Park defeated her main opposition rival, Moon Jae-in, by roughly a million votes in the election and took office in February. But in a snowballing scandal, prosecutors have since said that agents of the National Intelligence Service posted thousands of Internet messages during the presidential campaign supporting Ms. Park and her governing Saenuri Party or berating government critics, including opposition presidential candidates, as shills for North Korea.
Last week, opposition lawmakers alleged in the National Assembly that the military’s secretive Cyberwarfare Command had carried out a similar online campaign, separately or in coordination with the spy agency, to help sway public opinion in favor of Ms. Park before the Dec. 19 election.
Two Korean-American Women Finalists for Corporate Counsel Awards
Two Korean-American women attorneys are among the 32 finalists for the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2013 Corporate Counsel Awards.
The award, in its fourth year, is described as a recognition “for exceptional legal skill and achievement for in-house responsibility and leadership as evidenced by the highest professional and ethical standards, and for contributions to the Los Angeles community at large.”
Candice Hyon, a graduate of UCLA and UC Davis Law school, has worked for clothing retailer Forever 21 for the past year. The La Canada native maybe short on experience, but it didn’t take long for her to be touted as a rising star in the industry.
Latest motorcyclist arrested for brutal beating of SUV driver on Henry Hudson Parkway has 18 prior arrests
New York Daily News
Cops have busted another motorcyclist for the vicious attack on a SUV driver who was chased off the Henry Hudson Parkway, police said Tuesday.
Jason Brown, 40, is the ninth person charged in the case.
He was slapped Monday with gang assault and felony assault charges for his alleged role in the terrifying beatdown.
Astronaut Agency Is Lost in Space, Opposition Says
Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s much-lauded space-development project came under fire at the National Assembly Monday, and fired back Tuesday.
Choi Jae-cheon, a lawmaker from the major opposition Democratic Party, complained during an annual audit session that the Korean Astronaut Program—after spending more than $20 million in taxpayer money to produce the country’s first space traveler back in 2008—has failed to lead to meaningful follow-up research.
“The fact that the symbol of (Korea’s) space science has gone to the U.S. to take an M.B.A. course, not working in the space industry,” Mr. Choi said, “demonstrates (the Korea Aerospace Research Institute) fails to nurture science talents in a systematic way.”
DMTN’s Daniel Appeals His One-Year Sentence
Daniel of idol group DMTN, who was sentenced to one year of prison, recently submitted his appeal to the Suwon District Court.
After his submission reaches the high court and a date is determined, Daniel’s lawyer will be notified within fourteen days.
Daniel, who admitted to his charges during the first trial, is claiming unfair sentencing in his appeal.
Hines Ward on His Emotional Ironman Finish
After 8 solid months of training for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, race day finally arrived. It was a blur for me, filled with intense emotions. Was I ready? I HAD to be. My coach had done her best to turn me into an endurance athlete and with the support from my Become One teammates I was going to face the grueling 140.6 miles of the Ironman World Championship head on.
I woke up at 3:30 a.m. after barely getting any sleep – thoughts were racing through my mind all night and I was feeling super-anxious. When I finally got out of bed I stretched for 20 minutes and then met my teammates to go for body marking (writing my race number on my arm). We headed to the transition area and made sure our bike tires were pumped to the right pressure and that our water bottles and nutrition packs were full.
I went back to my room one more time before the race to try and relax and go through my race strategy in my head, and all I could think about was the finish line. I had my sights set on it since the first day of training. It seemed so close but so far away.
Do Ho Suh Turns Household Appliances Into Ghostly Specimens
Have you ever dreamed about the unlikely lovechild of a jellyfish and your fridge?
Artist Do Ho Suh’s upcoming exhibition transforms household appliances into polyester fabric forms, turning the clunky utilities into ghostly specimens. The sculptures will go on view in the aptly titled exhibition “Specimen Series,” at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Hong Kong.
The Korean-born, United States-based artist, consistently returns to themes of architecture, personal space and the home in relation to feelings of belonging, conformity and isolation. For this particular exhibition, Suh focuses on the mechanical objects we expect to encounter — though don’t necessarily see — around the home, from a refrigerator to a toilet. He depicts these cumbrous commodities as glowing exoskeletons that look more like alien forms than working appliances.
Students design gowns based on old Korean hanbok
San Francisco Gate
Move over, Tim Gunn. Make way for Abra Berman.
In a challenge to rival any on TV’s “Project Runway,” the Art Institute of California and the Asian Art Museum are asking fashion students to create gowns for patrons to wear at the opening night gala for “In Grand Style – Celebrations in Korean Art in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910),” this week.
Unlike the reality TV show, the students are not assigned to use bizarre materials like plastic garbage bags or hardware store finds for the full-length dresses.
Korea’s Cop Cats Will Arrest You with Cuteness
A police station in Seoul, South Korea is filled with more than just cops. There are two feline friends on duty—namely, sleep and snack patrol. It’s a heartwarming story how they got there.P
Meet Mango and Mango Kobun. According to the Seoul Police, a young man brought Mango to the station this past June. The cat, then about one month old, had seemingly been thrown away in a dumpster. If the cat’s owner weren’t found, the animal would have to be put to sleep.