S. Korea calls Japan visit to N. Korea ‘unhelpful’
AFP via Google News
South Korea Thursday criticised an “unhelpful” visit to North Korea by a senior aide to Japan’s prime minister, saying it weakened the united front needed to deal with Pyongyang.
Isao Iijima arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday on a visit that clearly surprised both Seoul and Washington, which have been working closely with Tokyo on coordinating North Korea policy.
On Thursday he met the ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-Nam, Pyongyang’s state media reported without saying what was discussed.
North Korea: Follow my leader
WESTERN politicians like to grandstand about North Korea, calling its leaders “mad”, “rogue” or “tinpot” (The Economist has been known to do this too.) In fact, North Korea is the world’s most rational despotic regime: a highly successful Communist absolute monarchy. Kim Jong Il, son of the country’s Stalinist founder, Kim Il Sung, failed as a leader by any of the usual standards—he enforced North Korea’s isolation and presided over a famine that killed between 400,000 and 2m people. But he succeeded in what counts. He lived a long time, died peacefully in late 2011 and passed power on to his son. In the same way that betting once raged about how briefly Kim Jong Il would last after his father’s death in 1994, so too are outsiders now calling time on North Korea’s fun-loving heir, Kim Jong Un (pictured). It may be a triumph of hope over experience.
Andrei Lankov is an arch-realist. The author of an incisive new book, “The Real North Korea”, he grew up in Soviet Russia, studied for a while at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang and now teaches at Kookmin University in Seoul. He is rare in having an unsentimental feel for the regime’s psychology of survival and for the mindset of those outsiders who would like to change North Korea but who, in the process, often succumb to wishful thinking.
North Korean cyber-rattling
AMERICANS have grown accustomed to North Korean nuclear petulance. Now they are learning to live with its cyber sabre-rattling. Earlier this month the Department of Defence delivered a report to Congress accusing the hermit kingdom’s expanding army of “cyber-warriors” of using foreign infrastructure, such as broadband networks, to launch cyber-attacks on American allies, most notably South Korea.
Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s fresh-faced dictator, is said to have 4,000 loyal cyber-warriors at his disposal. Brightest sparks at the sharp end of Songbun, the North’s rigid social hierarchy, are plucked from school to train as elite hackers. Following graduation they are often posted in China and Europe to wreak digital havoc, says Sun Chul Kim, a cyber-security expert at Korea University in Seoul.
According to American report, cyber-warfare is a cost-effective way for North Korea to boost its military capabilities, which may explain the keen interest Mr Kim has taken in it. Prominent web security analysts such as Rob Rachwald of FireEye, an American firm, agree that the tools used in a recent cyber-attack on South Korea could have cost just tens of thousands of dollars, compared to the estimated $1.3 billion the North spent on its rocket programme last year.
Ex-S. Korean sex slaves arrive in Japan for rallies
Elderly South Korean women that were forced into sex slavery by Japan during World War II arrived in Hiroshima Friday to hold a series of rallies to inform Japanese of the suffering caused by their ancestors, a Japanese news agency said.
Their visit came amid repeated offensive remarks made by Japanese politicians that distort history. In the latest incident, Osaka mayor and co-leader of the conservative Japan Restoration Party Toru Hashimoto said that then sex slavery was “necessary,” claiming that other countries also had similar systems in place during war.
In rebuttal to his remarks, two former sex slaves (euphemistically called “comfort women”), 88-year-old Kim Bok-dong and 86-year-old Kil Won-ok, suggested that he must not be aware of the suffering endured by South Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan, according to Japan’s Kyodo News Service.
Fighting to Clear His Family’s Name
Wall Street Journal
Nearly 50 years ago, Ahn Yong-soo’s life was turned upside-down after his brother went missing during the Vietnam War.
His brother, Sgt. Ahn Hak-soo, was one of about 320,000 South Korean troops deployed to Vietnam from 1965-73 in support of the U.S. and was on a mission near Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City, when he disappeared in 1966.
Sgt. Ahn’s whereabouts remained a mystery until seven months later, when he reappeared on a North Korean radio broadcast in 1967 extolling the virtues of life in the North. After the broadcast, Mr. Ahn and the rest of his family were put under surveillance by South Korea’s Defense Security Command, an anti-spy military body.
Cancer is No.1 cause of death in S. Korea
Cancer is the No. 1 cause of death among South Koreans, the Korean Medical Association’s institute said Thursday, citing data by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The Research Institute for Healthcare Policy said in a report that for every 100,000 South Koreans, 193.7 died from cancer in 2010. This is less than the 211.6 cancer deaths on average among the 34 member states of the OECD.
South Korea ranked as the fifth-lowest country in terms of the cancer mortality rate among the organization that includes the world’s most advanced nations as well as emerging countries, the institute said in the report.
Why tiger moms are great
Editor’s note: Grace Liu, a former corporate attorney, is a research officer at California State University, Fresno. She is the vice president of the Central California Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
(CNN) — It’s time for some tiger cubs to approvingly roar for our strict parents, their domineering ways and their inflexibly high standards.
The current depiction of tiger parenting is decidedly negative. Kim Wong Keltner’s book on “Tiger Babies Strike Back” and Su Yeong Kim’s report “Does Tiger Parenting Exist? Parenting Profiles of Chinese Americans and Adolescent Developmental Outcomes” suggest that strict Asian-style parenting produces an army of disengaged or emotionally stunted robots.
While I can’t speak for everyone, my own experience suggests that such upbringing also gives us the smarts to recognize our emotional and social deficiencies and to address them.
Trial opens for ‘female James Bond’ in aspiring model’s death
Los Angeles Times
The opening day of the murder trial of a woman accused of strangling aspiring model and actress Juliana Redding focused on a doctor the victim once dated.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Stacy Okun-Wiese said Redding, 21, was killed by Kelly Soo Park, an associate of a doctor Redding once dated.
Redding was killed five days after her father broke off negotiations on a business deal with her ex-boyfriend, Dr. Munir Uwaydah, prosecutors said in opening statements, and Park’s DNA was discovered on the victim’s neck and clothing and in her apartment.
MOVIE REVIEW: In a Vicious Sadist, the Faintest Glimmer of Soul
New York Times
Morally cunning and with a tone as black as pitch, “Pieta,” the 18th film from the South Korean director Kim Ki-duk, is a deeply unnerving revenge movie in which redemption is dangled like a cat toy before a cougar. The beast in question is Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin), a merciless bag man for a powerful moneylender who cripples slum-dwelling debtors to collect on their insurance claims. As cold to himself as to his clients, he lives in a comfortless flat where the entrails from the previous night’s chicken dinner still decorate the bathroom floor. So when a strange woman (Cho Min-soo) begins to stalk him, claiming to be the mother who abandoned him long ago, Kang-do barely hesitates: he rapes her.
Interview: ‘Top Chef’ Kristen Kish on Her Korean Fried Chicken Addiction, and More
Q: You may be a classically trained French chef, but you are also an admitted Korean fried chicken junkie. What are some other Asian dishes you can’t do without, and why? (And where can we get some?)
A: Korean fried chicken I absolutely love! I love Korean BBQ. My favorite place is Chung Ki Wa, just outside of Boston.
Japchae is one of my favorite noodle dishes and bi bim bap, when it’s right, is something I would eat for breakfast everyday if someone would make it for me.
South Koreans Sing Against Homophobia (VIDEO)
A few weeks ago I was invited to watch the taping of a video for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) in the second floor of a gym in Seoul. I was greeted with applause.
“I don’t understand,” I said to Lee Jong-geol, the general director of the LGBT group Chingusai (“Between Friends”), who had introduced me to the participants as an American writing about the LGBT movement in Korea. “I haven’t done anything. Why are they clapping?”
“We want as many people to see this video as possible,” Lee confided. “You can help with that.” The South Korean LGBT movement generally has trouble gaining recognition by Western media due to language barriers.
Economics, Game Theory and Jane Austen
Economist Michael Chwe has written a book called “Jane Austen: Game Theorist.” Do you need more of a reason to read this post? Video from Michael Chwe’s YouTube channel.
I’m a specialist in game theory, the mathematical analysis of strategic thinking. Probably the best-known game theorist is John Nash, who received the Nobel Prize in economics and was featured in the movie “A Beautiful Mind.”
I have published mathematical economics papers in journals such as the “Journal of Economic Theory.” But my latest book is built around the theoretical insights of Jane Austen. This popular and beloved writer used little mathematics or economics. But Austen’s novels, written in the early 1800s, anticipated by more than a century the most fundamental game-theoretic concepts, including the emphasis on choice, the theory of utility, and the theoretical analysis of strategic thinking. In fact, Austen’s novels contain game-theoretic insights not yet superseded by modern social science.
ANGRY READER OF THE WEEK: JOY OSMANSKI
Who are you?
I am an American, adopted from Korea, with a Polish last name. I am a daughter to unknown birth parents, daughter to the parents who raised me, sister, wife, stepmom, friend, artist, writer, coach, beekeeper, and admirer of my dog.
What are you?
Hungry. Oh, wait – Well, yes. I love food and love to eat it. Just discovered a new naengmyun place with friends, and that makes me very happy.
I’ve had so many jobs in my life, but currently, I’m an actor. Even on the days when I’m shaking my fist at the sky, I’m grateful to have found something I love this much. If I’m lucky, it combines all the elements that fire me up: great writing, working with wonderful people, and learning about someone else’s world.
Where are you?
A loft in Downtown Los Angeles. There’s a door to the bathroom and a door to the closet. Open spaces rock.
Cincinnati Reds: Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo Create Debate for the Future
The Cincinnati Reds got the leadoff man they’ve been looking for in Shin-Soo Choo, but Jay Bruce and others could keep the team from re-signing the leadoff man.
Choo leads the majors in runs scored, on-base percentage and hit by pitches. He is also second in the majors in on-base plus slugging and fourth in walks.
There’s no denying that he has been getting on base and helping the team get on the board. Now the Reds will have to start thinking about how valuable he is to the team.
Over the weekend, a talk show host on 700 WLW, the radio affiliate of the Reds, posed a question to fans during a pregame show: What can the Reds do to afford re-signing Choo?
As North Korea heats up, South Korea and Japan should warm ties
Christian Science Monitor
Cooperation on missile defense between South Korea and Japan would help blunt threats from North Korea. But Japanese officials’ recent insensitivity to Imperial Japan’s painful role in World War II, including forcing South Koreans to become ‘comfort women,’ works against cooperation.
U.S. lawmakers lambaste Japan’s mayor over view on ‘comfort women’
Two U.S. congressmen strongly criticized an outspoken Japanese politician Wednesday for openly backing Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean and other Asian women during the World War II.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto reportedly said earlier this week that pushing those women into sexual servitude was a military necessity. More than 200,000 young women from Japan’s colonies are said to have been forced to serve as “comfort women,” an euphemistic expression.
“Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks that comfort women were ‘necessary’ are contemptible and repulsive,” Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement with Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY).
SKorean women scoff at fired Park aide’s claim ‘cultural difference’ behind touching scandal
Associated Press via Washington Post
A South Korean presidential spokesman who was fired after inappropriately touching a woman during a U.S. trip blames a “cultural difference” with America. Other South Koreans say the fault for such incidents truly lies with a society that allows powerful men to get away with harassment.
Five months after the country elected its first female leader, Park Geun-hye, last week’s incident involving her spokesman Yoon Chang-jung marred her first trip to Washington as president. It also highlighted the gender divide that remains in South Korea, where women say they get paid less than men and are given fewer promotions.
There’s an “unspoken consensus” among influential South Korean men that they can avoid punishment for sexual harassment, office worker Joo Insun said. She added that a former employer responded to her own claims of a colleague’s misbehavior by scrutinizing her instead.
Man Sentenced For Throwing Fatal Beach Party Punch
A Chicago man was sentenced Thursday morning in connection with a beach party fight that turned deadly.
James Malecek, 19, waived his right to a trial and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
A judge accepted the plea agreement, and Malecek will serve 145 days in jail beginning July 1.
Malecek punched Mt. Carmel high school student Kevin Kennelly during a July Fourth disturbance in Long Beach, Ind., in 2011.
Korean group petitions schools over textbook
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
The Korean-American Association of New Jersey is making a push for school districts with large Korean student populations to use textbooks that refer to the Sea of Japan as the East Sea as well.
The association recently presented Fort Lee school officials with a petition signed by members of the Korean-American community. Similar requests by individuals acting on behalf of the Korean-American community were made to Leonia and Palisades Park officials, said association Vice President Sonny Kim. More than 1,500 signatures of residents from the three towns were collected, he said.
“We knew it as East Sea, and we want our children to learn the correct term,” said Kim, who immigrated to the United States at age 4. “To us Korean-Americans, the correct name is East Sea.”
CD 13 Debate: Mitch O’Farrell Says John Choi ‘Foments’ Racial Division
Patch.com (Los Angeles)
The two candidates for the Los Angeles City Council District 13 seat met one last time Tuesday in the Elysian Valley.
Choi’s ability to represent beyond the local was his big theme. O’Farrell emphasized his proven experience working in the Council District 13 boundaries.
The campaign has become rough these last few weeks, with Choi accusing O’Farrell of voter fraud and O’Farrell focusing on Choi’s ties to labor and machine politics.
Once down on their luck, Washingtonville deli owners on rebound
Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.)
After losing their business and their home to the recession, the owners of the closed Lim’s Deli in Blooming Grove have reopened at a new location, this time in a tiny renovated building behind a sushi restaurant off West Main Street.
The new venture was made possible thanks to the support of a community that refused to see the couple, who gave out free coffee and breakfast sandwiches to those in need, put out on the street.
“Everybody came together, one helping hand led to another, and now it’s finally open,” said Lucille Cimorelli, who provided Yeon Suk Choi and her husband, Chun Suk Lim, the 450-square-foot building they now lease from her for a fraction of their former rent.
The gathering place features an upbeat name — Rainbow Deli — and a few new menu items, including a Korean Bulgogi wrap. Choi’s wise counsel, sympathetic ear and compassion, which won her many loyal customers over the years, are free, as always.
South Korea’s PSY to co-host MuchMusic Video Awards
CTV News (Canada)
The MuchMusic Video Awards are going “Gangnam Style.”
The music station has signed on South Korean pop star Psy as co-host and performer for the MMVAs bash in Toronto on June 16.
MuchMusic says the “Gangnam Style” singer will be making his live Canadian television hosting and performance debut at the street-level show that’s known for its wild antics.
Psy to perform on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ (American version)
In the previous season of America’s “Dancing With The Stars“, the contestants performed Psy‘s worldwide hit, “Gangnam Style“. However, in the current season, we’ll get to see Psy perform live as the show enters its final weeks of competition later this month!
According to YG Entertainment, Psy will be performing “Gentleman” on the 21st’s episode to cheer on all the finalists remaining on the broadcast airing through ABC.
Hyun-Jin Ryu plays catch with young Dodgers fan in the stands (Video)
Here’s a pretty cool scene that we don’t see every day: Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Korean pitcher imported by the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, playing catch with a kid in the stands during batting practice.
The young fan goes by the name of Deuce, and he’s a regular in the Dodgers left field pavilion. (And he’s got a pretty good arm, huh?) Deuce’s future trips to the stadium won’t be as cool as this one. According to Dodgerfilms, who captured and posted the video, the pair played catch for about five minutes until batting practice ended.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and champion figure skater Yuna Kim appeals for the children of Syria
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Olympic Gold Medallist and world champion figure skater Yuna Kim today made a heartfelt appeal for support for the children of conflict-torn Syria.
In a 30-second video message Kim, a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2010, calls on viewers to, “Help UNICEF help the children of Syria.”
The Korean American man imprisoned in North Korea is currently serving his 15-year sentence at a “special prison,” according to brief report from the reclusive country’s state media.
The brief dispatch from the Korean Central News Agency said Kenneth Bae, whom they refer to as Pae Jun-ho, was serving time in a special facility but did not elaborate further. Two experts on North Korean law told the Associated Press they did not know what a “special prison” was.
Bae, 44, was sentenced earlier this month by the North Korean Supreme Court to serve 15 years of hard labor for “hostile acts against the state.” It was the same charge levied against journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee in 2009 after they illegally entered North Korea. Continue Reading »
North Korea says Korean-American sentenced to labor had smuggled in anti-Pyongyang literature
North Korea delivered its most in-depth account yet of the case against a Korean-American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor, accusing him late Thursday of smuggling in inflammatory literature and trying to establish a base for anti-Pyongyang activities at a border city hotel.
Still, the long list of allegations included no statement from Kenneth Bae, other than claims that he confessed and didn’t want an attorney present during his sentencing last week for what Pyongyang called hostile acts against the state.
Since the sentencing came during a period of tentative diplomatic moves following weeks of high tension and North Korean threats of nuclear and missile strikes on Washington and Seoul, outside analysts have said Pyongyang may be using Bae as bait to win diplomatic concessions in the standoff over its nuclear weapons program. North Korea repeated its denial of such speculation in the new statement, but the pattern has occurred repeatedly.
Disgraced spokesman leaves blemish on Park’s U.S. visit
President Park Geun-hye’s first official visit to the United States ended in one of the worst ways possible Friday with her spokesman being fired amid allegations that he had sexually assaulted a woman during the trip.
The allegations sparked public outrage in South Korea and dealt a serious blow to Park just as she was beginning to regain public confidence through her handling of tensions with North Korea and what appeared to be a successful five-day visit to the U.S.
“(He) completely poured cold water over the accomplishments of the U.S. visit,” said one presidential official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It’s causing an extreme burden to state affairs.”
Dennis Rodman says heading back to N.Korea
AFP via Google News
Basketball hall-of-famer Dennis Rodman said he plans a second trip to North Korea to try to use his budding friendship with leader Kim Jong-Un to free a jailed American, in an interview aired Friday.
The flamboyant basketball legend, approached by celebrity news website TMZ as he walked on a Los Angeles street Thursday, said he would return to North Korea on August 1 on a mission to release jailed tour organizer Kenneth Bae.
“I’ll be back over there. I’m going to try to get the guy out,” the heavily tattooed Rodman said in between waving to well-wishers.
Woman pleads guilty to hitting and killing teen
AP via San Francisco Chronicle
An associate professor at the University of Montana has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge filed after her car veered onto a sidewalk and struck and killed an 18-year-old Missoula man.
Yoon Hee Cho, 38, pleaded guilty Thursday in Municipal Court to careless driving resulting in death and to driving on a sidewalk.
The plea agreement calls for Cho to spend 30 days on house arrest and pay $5,000 into the Chance Geery Memorial Fund in lieu of a fine.
Cho was charged in the death of Geery, who was struck on April 1 as he was walking and holding hands with his girlfriend.
Palisades Park man linked to ID and credit card fraud ring to be deported to South Korea
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
A Palisades Park man involved in a massive identity theft and credit card fraud ring was transferred Thursday to immigration officials for deportation to South Korea after a federal judge determined that the 31 months he has already spent in jail would satisfy his sentence.
Osung Kwon, 37, pleaded guilty in 2012 to using a social security card and counterfeit driver’s license he obtained through a borough-based black market enterprise to defraud banks and credit card companies of almost $400,000. He has been in prison since he was arrested in September, 2010.
Speaking through a translator, Kwon, who was wearing shackles and a green prison jumpsuit, apologized to U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden and pleaded for a lenient sentence.
Witnesses tried to save 4-year-old after he was struck by Jeep
First he heard a thud. Then screams. Then Jim Sugent saw a 4-year-old boy lying in the middle of Stevenson Avenue in Alexandria.
Police say the child, who was identified Friday as Jacob Choi, had run into oncoming traffic May 4 and was struck and killed by the driver of a 2010 Jeep Commander. The driver, who is 84, has not been identified by police. He has not been charged in the accident, which remains under investigation, police said.
Jacob’s mother, whose name and address were not released, ran into traffic after her son and also sustained injuries, but they were not serious, police said.
Star Trek’s John Cho a boldly going actor worth shouting about
“I get called Harold the most,” Cho says. “I think maybe Harold & Kumar fans don’t know my name and Star Trek fans do know my name … Harold fans are vocal!”
And of course there’s Star Trek, now two films into the franchise with Star Trek Into Darknessset to boldly go to theatres galaxywide on May 17. Cho plays Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu in the prequel reboot series, the promotion of which has brought him to Toronto. (His introduction at a Monday night screening of Into Darkness included reference to him as “the MILF guy.”)
This makes three hit franchises that Cho has been active in so far, and he’s just entered his 40s. He’s also busy with TV series, most notably the sci-fi drama FlashForward and the recent sitcom Go On, and his early career in the 1990s included much stage work, as a member of East West Players, an Asian-American theatre company in L.A.
Tokimonsta Live at KCRW on Morning Becomes Eclectic 05.09.13
LA native Tokimonsta has a unique take on electronic dance music and is notably the first female to join the groundbreaking Brainfeeder crew, led by Flying Lotus. We’re treated to one of her energetic live performances on Morning Becomes Eclectic at 11:15am.
Choo staying calm in contract year
When new Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo arrived in Cincinnati at the start of the regular season, a book was waiting for him at Great American Ballpark. The text was written in Korean, Choo’s native language. A fan had sent it, he said.
It wasn’t a baseball book. It was about the games we play between our ears. Choo read about keeping a narrow focus, about thinking “simple things,” about accepting that he can’t please everyone.
“When you stop, you see everything,” Choo told me recently, in the cramped visitors’ clubhouse at Wrigley Field. “I really want to explain it to you, but it’s hard to say. I’ve already read it three times.”
Mets could go after Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in offseason
New York Daily News
Almost anything would be an upgrade for the Mets, considering that the state of their outfield is as bad as predicted — even if reserve Mike Baxter has a knack for the big moment, as he showed again Thursday night.
Who’s better: Henderson or Aldo?
ESPN Insider (subscription req’d)
Lightweight champion Benson Henderson and featherweight champ Jose Aldo are two of the most popular fighters in mixed martial arts.
In their most recent fights, Aldo dispatched Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision in February at UFC 156, and Henderson beat Gilbert Melendez in a split-decision victory in April during UFC on Fox 7.
Although the two fight in different weight classes, Aldo has hinted at a jump in competition. Should Aldo beat top contender Anthony Pettis at UFC 163 in August, there’s a real chance these two champs could soon meet in the Octagon.
Mom’s Cooking Comes Between a Husband and Wife
The New York Times
Sometime KoreAm contributor Sung J. Woo writes a Mother’s Day piece for the New York Times.
My mother and I don’t fight often nowadays, because I’m 41 and she’s 72 and we lead separate lives. I see her once every two weeks. She makes me lunch, we shop at Costco, she makes me dinner, then she sends me off with grocery bags full of her cooking.
We’ve been on this schedule for the last eight years, since my father passed away. But on this evening, near the end of my visit to her senior apartment, I could tell we were going to argue.
“Just take it,” she said.
“It’s just one more.” There was an edge to her voice. “Why are you being difficult?”
Have American Parents Got It All Backwards?
This is a guest column by Korean American professor, Christine Gross-Loh, author of Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us.
The parent I used to be and the parent I am now both have the same goal: to raise self-reliant, self-assured, successful children. But 12 years of parenting, over five years of living on and off in Japan, two years of research, investigative trips to Europe and Asia and dozens of interviews with psychologists, child development experts, sociologists, educators, administrators and parents in Japan, Korea, China, Finland, Germany, Sweden, France, Spain, Brazil and elsewhere have taught me that though parents around the world have the same goals, American parents like me (despite our very best intentions) have gotten it all backwards.
We need to let 3-year-olds climb trees and 5-year-olds use knives.
Asian-American leaders meet with Obama
Top Asian-American leaders met Wednesday with President Barack Obama and senior staff in a meeting that participants called a “meaningful” discussion on immigration, health care and civil rights.
The sit-down with Obama on Wednesday – which came amid Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – was the first time that the president met with top officials from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, participants said.
“The meeting was very productive,” said Deepa Iyer, chairwoman of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and the executive director of the South Asian Americans Leading Together. “I think it really speaks to a recognition of the growing power of our community in the country … we’ve been able to galvanize a strong political base.”
Park’s progress: A first meeting with the American president sparkles
UNTIL she came to Washington, DC, to meet Barack Obama on May 7th and to address both houses of Congress the following day, South Korea’s new leader, Park Geun-hye, had not had an auspicious start to her presidency. Thanks to misguided choices for key posts, it seemed to take her an age to form an administration. Meanwhile, North Korean provocations cranked up regional tensions.
After testing a nuclear device shortly before Ms Park’s February inauguration, the North continued by threatening war and, last month, by denying South Korean managers entry to the Kaesong industrial complex. This last surviving instance of North-South co-operation now stands empty. South Korean shares have signally failed to take part in this year’s Asia-wide rally. Ms Park brought with her to America many titans of corporate South Korea partly to reassure foreign investors.
In Washington, however, it was all smiles and warm glances. Mr Obama was visibly taken by Ms Park’s “focus and discipline and straightforwardness”. Perhaps partly because of this rapport between the two leaders, things went better than Ms Park’s advisers dared hope.
Korean Newspapers Mixed on Park’s U.S. Trip
Wall Street Journal
All the major South Korean newspapers on Thursday picked President Park Geun-hye addressing Congress for their front-page photos. Despite generally positive notes on her U.S. trip, not all of them were happy with her diplomacy.
Hankyoreh, a left-of-center newspaper, was skeptical of the summit, saying that it “didn’t reach a level to produce a solution for the recent crisis in Korean peninsula.” It said top leaders sent out a clear message that they “will firmly react to North Korea’s provocation yet door is still open for conversation.” The paper also said top leaders failed to work out an active message to solve the crisis.
Korean-American students respond to tensions
Huntington News (Northeastern Univ.)
In response to intensified threats from North Korea against South Korea and the United States, Korean-American students at Northeastern are feeling wary but largely nonplussed.
“The US media makes it sound much more severe than it is,” Katherine Yom, a freshman international business major, said. “If you look at South Korean media, they’re really not concerned about it.”
Yom, a performance coordinator for Northeastern’s Korean American Student Association (KASA), said tensions between the North and South have become a way of life for Koreans and their families overseas.
“It’s something that’s been going on for years,” she said. “They’ve always threatened the South, especially when there’s a new president.”
Rancho Cucamonga man found guilty of murdering mother, faces insanity phase in trial
The Inland Daily Bulletin (Calif.)
After deliberating for a day and a half, a jury panel found Luke Kang guilty of fatally beating his mother with a golf club last year.
Jurors announced they’d reached a verdict Wednesday afternoon in West Valley Superior Courthouse. Kang was convicted of willful, deliberate and premeditated murder in the first degree and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.
They also found the allegation that Kang, 28, used a deadly weapon when he attacked his mother on Feb. 22, 2012, at their home in the 11500 block of Stoneridge Drive in Rancho Cucamonga to be true. Because Kang previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the same jury panel will have “to determine whether the defendant was or was not legally insane at the time of the crime,” Judge Colin J. Bilash said.
Jurors will come back for the second portion of the trial – the sanity phase – on Wednesday. Testimony in that phase is expected to last three to four days, Bilash said.
Why are there so few Asian Americans in LA politics?
Southern California Public Radio
When L.A. voters go to the polls later this month, they could be making history. That’s because, if he’s elected, candidate John Choi could be the first Asian-American elected to the city council in 20 years. But even then, he’d only be the second ever to hold a seat on the council.
In a city where 1 in 8 people are Asian-American, why is it hard for them to have a permanent place at LA’s political table?
“Our communities are very geographically dispersed,” says An Le, director of community engagement at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. “We don’t make up enough of a voting bloc in one council district to have one dominant Asian-American candidate that can win a race in the city.”
Do Endorsements for John Choi and Mitch O’Farrell Reveal Answers for Tri-Hipster Area Voters?
Is L.A. City Council District 13 candidate John Choi a pawn of downtown City Hall interests? Does rival Mitch O’Farrell really have the support of CD 13′s community activists? Will residents be screwed no matter who gets elected?
All important questions as the contentious CD 13 race heads into the final stretch, and endorsements from Choi’s and O’Farrell’s rivals may provide some revealing answers… For months now, many CD 13 community activists have been saying that O’Farrell and Choi are two totally different candidates.
In their eyes, O’Farrell, a longtime field deputy for Councilman Eric Garcetti, knows CD 13 inside and out and will better look after the interests of regular folks. They say Choi, who’s supported by the Democratic party machine in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor honcho and kingmaker Maria Elena Durazo, will be more concerned about pleasing downtown power players.
Obituary: Heeyul “Helen” Cho Lee
Heeyul ‘Helen’ Cho Lee died unexpectedly of sepsis beginning from a pacemaker implant surgery site Saturday, May 4, 2013. She was 81.
Beloved wife of Kee Hyung Lee of Moorestown, she is survived by stepchildren, Choony Mu and Jacqueline de la Houssaye; two beloved grandchildren, Maxine and Madeleine; and many nieces and nephews.
Helen graduated from Ewha Woman’s University Medical College in Seoul, Korea and received her M.D. degree in 1957. Helen practiced medicine in various locations until 1977 when she began her private practice in general medicine in Burlington for over 30 years.
Heeyul had a keen sense of humor and enjoyed joking with her friends.
Lee Hyori Declares Everyone ‘Miss Korea’ in First Single in 3 Years
This year marks a decade in the K-pop industry for Lee Hyori. Despite spending the last three years on hiatus, the K-diva is back with the lovely new single “Miss Korea,” a pre-release before unveiling her fifth album on May 21.
“Miss Korea” is an understated, jazzy ditty. While many K-pop fans remember Lee Hyori rocking fierce hip-hop and dance sounds in singles like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Get Ya,” the song is a nice way to remind fans of the singer’s talent first and foremost. Plus, this is likely to be enjoyed by both older and younger generations with its classic, acoustic production.
Psy’s ‘Gentleman’ tops 300 mln YouTube hits
The video for South Korean rapper Psy’s new single “Gentleman” has been viewed more than 300 million times since it was posted on YouTube last month, the global video-sharing Web site said Thursday.
The video, released on April 13, recorded 300.256 million hits as of 11:10 a.m. Thursday. The milestone was reached 26 days after its release and 17 days after the new video broke the 200 million mark on April 22.
YG Entertainment Teases ‘Who’s Next?’ as Mysterious ’2NE1 Loves’ Videos Surface
Some mysterious online media has left K-pop fans both scratching their heads and wagging their tongues with anticipation.
Major K-pop label YG Entertainment (home to popular acts PSY, BIGBANG, 2NE1, Lee Hi and more) revealed a graphic with almost all their artist names, a May 28 date and the question ‘WHO’S NEXT?’ (See the full graphic here). An updated graphic soon followed with almost all the names faded except for 2NE1, CL, Taeyang, Kang Seung Yoon and “YG NEW ARTIST.” Online K-pop fans–aka “netizens”–have many theories for “who’s next.”
One thought is that new material is coming from one of the current artists on YG’s roster. Fans may hear the first music from Kang Seung Yoon, who signed on to be a trainee with the company after appearing on singing competition “Superstar K” in 2011. It may also refer to 2NE1’s delayed album (that was originally schedule for April). New music from BIGBANG member Taeyang is said to be coming early this year as well.
South Korea’s No. 1 national treasure reopens after five years
After a massive, five-year restoration project involving 35,000 workers, scientists, historians and artisans, Sungnyemun, Korea’s top-ranked national treasure, finally reopened to the public this week.
Commonly known as Namdaemun or the Great South Gate, Sungnyemun is considered the most important historical and cultural treasure in South Korea for its 600-year-old history as well as its symbolic role as protector of the king and capital, which was why it was given the official title of the number one national treasure by the government’s Cultural Heritage Administration.
Following a Buddhist ritual known as cheondo, meant to rid the building of bad luck, the May 4 celebration was marked by a military band parade, music, dancing, prayer ceremonies and free admission to all four royal palaces in Seoul.
Kakao Moves Beyond Chat Rooms
Wall Street Journal
Kakao Corp., the company behind the smartphone chat app popular in Asia, has launched a new app in a bid to expand its mobile revenue.
Since it introduced Kakao Talk in 2010, the South Korean company has diversified into mobile games and commerce. Its new offering, called Kakao Page, works like an e-reader. Within the app, users can store video clips, pictures, comics, and reading material featuring professionals from various fields, ranging from song writers to hair stylists. Download fees vary depending on the content. The app, launched about a month ago, is available on the Google Play store but is only offered in Korean.