Tag Archives: North Korea

Link Attack: Kim Jong Il Edition Part 3

The power brokers behind North Korea’s next leader
Yahoo! News

The late Kim Jong Il had 20 years of preparation at the side of his father, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994. Experts say that because Kim Jong Un doesn’t have that kind of experience, the youngest member of the political dynasty will need the brains and political brawn of his father’s closest confidants before formally taking power.


Defectors: Death Won’t Bring Change Anytime Soon
Wall Street Journal

Though the despot is gone, rapid change in North Korea seems unlikely any time soon, defectors said Tuesday.

In a meeting with reporters, Rim Chun-ryong, who served in the North Korean army for 17 years before he fled the country in 2000, said people support the regime and that it is much stronger than outsiders presume.

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S. Korea expresses sympathy to N. Korean people
CNN

The South Korean government expressed its sympathy to the people of North Korea following the death of Kim Jong Il, South Korea’s unification minister said Tuesday.

Kim Jong-il’s death brings end to era of cruelty, mystery
Christian Science Monitor

Kim Jong-il’s death at the age of 69 ended an era of profligacy and harshness that included reports of both his wild living in his many mansions and stories from defectors of extreme cruelty in a gulag system to which 200,000 people were constantly consigned.

The report of the demise of the man known as North Korea’s “dear leader” – who reportedly imported cognac along with Swedish hostesses and dined on fine food dished up by a Japanese chef who dedicated a special brand of sushi to him – confirmed speculation that he had been seriously ill for awhile.


Future N. Korean Leader attended attended Swiss School
Reuters

Former pupils of a school in Switzerland believe the young lad who loved playing basketball and watching action movies and was always “good for a laugh” may have been none other than Kim Jong-un, son and anointed successor of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

N. Korean Leader Seen Extending ‘Kim Brand’
Bloomberg

“Jong Un’s main claim to leadership is that he looks very similar to his grandfather,” said Bradley K. Martin, author of “Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty” and a former reporter for Bloomberg News. “What you have here is branding. The Kim brand.”

Kim’s Death: Who Knew When?
Wall Street Journal

After being caught completely off-guard by Kim Jong Il’s death Monday, local politicians and the public are asking what may be a painful question for intelligence and defense officials: why didn’t Seoul know about this sooner?

It’s no secret that the South Korean government devotes a considerable amount of resources in gathering intelligence about what’s going on north of the border. But when prodded by the perceived lapse, various arms of Korean government declined to discuss Seoul’s intelligence gathering process, including how they first heard of Kim Jong Il’s death or the precise time that became aware of it.

New Weight on U.S.-South Korea Relations
New York Times

“I think right now the North Koreans are themselves going to go into a period of national mourning,” said Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman. “We need to see where they are and where they go as they move through their transition period.”

Metro Detroit Koreans hope for better future
Detroit News

For Kiyon Ahn, a Metro Detroiter who grew up in Busan, South Korea, but left the country for the United States 36 years ago, the news prompted thoughts about the future of the region and its heir-apparent, Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of Kim Jong Il.

“A lot of people are thinking whether (North Korea) will be better or not better,” Ahn said on Monday. “He’s too young. He doesn’t have enough experience.” He is believed to be in his late 20s.

Comics won’t have Kim to kick around any more
Reuters

But in life and even in death, Kim, who reportedly died on Saturday at 69, was comedy gold to foreign satirists — among the few outsiders who will miss the late North Korean leader and his elevator shoes and bouffant hairstyle.

In Kim’s Undetected Death, Sign of Nation’s Opacity
New York Times

For South Korean and American intelligence services to have failed to pick up any clues to this momentous development — panicked phone calls between government officials, say, or soldiers massing around Mr. Kim’s train — attests to the secretive nature of North Korea, a country not only at odds with most of the world but also sealed off from it in a way that defies spies or satellites.

Kim Jong Il’s Death: 5 Memorable Parodies of the North Korean Dictator (Video)
The Hollywood Reporter

From “Team America: World Police” to “30 Rock,” the late leader — and dedicated film fan — has been spoofed frequently in pop culture.

But he’s also been the object of many a parody in Hollywood, from Team America: World Police to 30 Rock. Here are five memorable spoofs of the late North Korean dictator.

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Link Attack: Kim Jong Il Edition Part 2

What’s Next for North Korea After Kim’s Death?
ABC News via Yahoo News

The death of Kim Jong Il likely puts the leadership of North Korea into the hands of an even more mysterious man, his son, Kim Jong Un, fueling speculation about a struggle for power in the reclusive nation, and with that control of a nuclear arsenal and the world’s fourth-largest military.

Former US Ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg says he is more optimistic about the future of North Korea with the death of its “dear leader,” because Kim Jong Un may be able to move the country more in line with the west.

“There has been a generational change in the top leadership. Some of the 70- and 80-year-olds, really hard-line people, have faded away,” said Gregg.

Gregg says the change in leadership does not mean the country will flex its nuclear muscles, because Kim Jong Un will “need to provide stability in a changing time and that could mean no rash moves.”

“This is potentially a very positive development because the upcoming year is a year of transition,” Gregg said.

Kim Jong Il death: Who’s who in the Kim family?
Los Angeles Times

Who’s who in Kim Jong Il’s family? Here’s a primer on the Kim family, which led one of the world’s most enduring dictatorships, a repressive regime that has long defied predictions of its demise. It survived from the end of World War II into the 21st century while many of its people went hungry.

Kim Jong Il death: Powerful uncle could overshadow Kim’s son
Los Angeles Times

North Korean media extolled Kim Jong Un on Monday as the “great successor” and the “outstanding leader of our party, army and people.”

But it’s not so simple. The young man is likely to be overshadowed by a powerful uncle, Jang Sung Taek.
Jang, 65, is married to Kim Jong Il’s younger sister and has spent three decades in the ruling Workers’ Party, holding key positions in the military and secret police and running North Korea’s special economic zones. His family members also hold powerful jobs with the military.

In contrast, the chosen successor has a thin resume. He attended a German-language public high school in Bern, Switzerland, where he was registered as the son of a North Korean diplomat. His classmates described him as crazy about basketball and computer games.

Until September 2010, when the overweight young man with a dimpled face was named a four-star general, he was almost entirely unknown to the North Korean public. Even the exact spelling of his name was a state secret.

In O.C., relief, worry over Kim’s death
Orange County Register

The headlines in the Korean press were greeted with relief and worry in Orange County’s Korean-American community: “Kim Jong Il Dead,” and nobody was quite sure what would come next.

Tens of thousands of Orange County residents come from South Korea, and thousands more have family ties to the nation that has long lived with the threat of the north and its mercurial leader. They followed the news of Kim’s death with the safety of friends and family in mind.

“The situation in the Korean Peninsula has been very fragile” even before Kim’s death, said Joe Pak, a board member of the Korean American Federation of Orange County. “We’d like to have a very stable situation with North Korea.”

Kim Jong Il Dead: Top 10 Crazy Facts
ABC News

Kim the Movie Buff
Kim was a major film buff, and reportedly owned 10,000 to 20,000 DVDs, many of which were Hollywood films. Some of his favorite movies include the 1980s slasher flick “Friday the 13th,” the Sylvester Stallone action flick “Rambo” and the Japanese classic “Godzilla.”

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Kim Jong Il’s death: North Korean defectors speak out
Los Angeles Times

They are a group with much to lose in the aftermath of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il: defectors who have fled the secretive regime and have little access to information about family members back home.

On Monday, several former North Koreans now living in Seoul talked about their feelings concerning the death of a man many called a dreaded tyrant.

“I didn’t get chance to call my hometown yet because it costs a lot of money. I am not so worried about my relatives. If they were elites, I would be extra-concerned, but my folks are common people,” said Kang Cheol-ryong, a 28-year-old defector who’s now attending a university in Seoul. “But I know that dangers lurk. Until the mourning period ends, they should not drink, sing, have fun, play or laugh. So they should be careful.”

Kang, who is president of his college’s Students for Peace and Unification Assn., said he fears for his countrymen as Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Kim Jong Un, is set to assume control of the Pyongyang regime.

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Europe Cautious in Reaction to Kim Jong-il’s Death
Chosun Ilbo

European officials reacted with a mix of hope and watchfulness to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and apparent power transition to his son. Reactions in Europe have been slow and cautious to the news of Kim Jong-il’s demise.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague sounded a hopeful note, suggesting the North Korean leader’s death from an apparent heart attack could be the turning point for the Asian nation.

In a statement, Hague expressed hope the new North Korean leadership would engage with the international community and work for peace and security in the region.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said there is always hope for change, but that Western expectations remain the same — that North Korea give up its nuclear program and improve the plight of its people.

Margaret Cho: I Was Once Kim Jong Il
Wall Street Journal

North Korea is an unsolved mystery. I once had family there, and now the family ties, cut for so long because of the separation of the Koreas into north and south, have healed over into non-existence. Perhaps there is a scar there, an infinitesimal tear in some great grandmother’s conscience, but I don’t even know her. No one in my family remembers her name, so it’s like she never existed. We from the south and we from the north now are separate and at best, indifferent. At worst, hateful in the terrible way of civil war and the brutal animosity of a country divided is capable of. Do we despise ourselves more when we are ourselves?

When I got the part of Kim Jong Il in the fantastic television program “30 Rock,” I approached the role with the zeal of Cate Blanchett transforming herself into Bob Dylan. I remembered once I heard a story of the celebrated actress Glenn Close being seen wearing dark glasses and waiting for a wheelchair in an airplane, feeling the air in front of her as if she were blind, and thinking this is what an actor must do to prepare. Live it. Do it for real.

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Link Attack: Kim Jong Il Edition

Shock, worry, uncertainty as LA’s Koreatown learns of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s death
AP via Washington Post

Many in the largest Korean enclave in the United States took word of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il with disbelief, saying it was a day they thought they’d never see. But when their shock wore off, most in Los Angeles’s Koreatown shifted to quiet concern for the future of their native country and its neighbor to the north.

“Kim Jong Il died? You’re sure about that? No way! I thought he was going to live forever!” said Brian Shin, a 30-year-old native South Korean as he smoked a cigarette in front of his high-rise apartment building on Wilshire Boulevard. He kept expressing doubts until his wife ran downstairs to tell him it was true.

But while he knew the event was huge, he didn’t think it would lead to significant changes.

Kim Jong Il death: Koreatown reacts with joy and worry
Los Angeles Times

In grocery stores, shopping plazas and all-night diners in L.A.’s Koreatown, the news of Kim’s death was greeted with both unrestrained joy and a deep sense of concern.

Yoon-hui Kim, a defector who fled North Korea about 10 years ago by crossing the border into China, said refugees were all on edge waiting to see what would happen next.

Many still have family back in North Korea and are deeply concerned about what fate their relatives may face in the immediate future, she said.

“It was no surprise, since we all knew he was ill,” said Kim, who is in her late 30s, but was careful with personal details about herself. “The most worrying is what will happen to the North Korean people.”

Kim said she felt the situation was particularly volatile and unpredictable because neither South Korea nor China would be in a position to influence the country.

“All we can do is wait and see,” she said.

OC Korean leaders react to Kim Jong Il’s death
Orange County Register

Korean leaders in Orange County are anticipating new “challenges” and “opportunities” after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang had just finished speaking at a Christmas gala for the Korean American military cadets in Buena Park when the news broke. He was cautiously optimistic.

“It’s important to monitor the situation as they unveil more information,” said Kang, who emigrated from Korea. “But in terms of human rights, his death is a very positive outcome for the people of North Korea.”

Irvine Councilman Steven Choi also attended the Christmas party. Choi said that although the Korean dictator’s regime was unstable, his presence at least ensured that a status quo would remain in place.

Now, he said, the South Korean military would be on high alert, and those with relatives in the Korean peninsula would have to brace for the possibility of conflict.

“I don’t think there is a positive or negative,” Choi said. “It’s a nervous time. It will bring about some new challenges and some new opportunities.” Choi emigrated from South Korea in 1968 and some of his family still lives there.

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Hope, worry in Seattle after Kim Jong Il’s death
Seattle Times

Leaders of Seattle’s Korean-American community reacted with a mix of fear and hope Sunday to the death of North Korea’s much-despised leader.

John Oh, president of the Seattle chapter of the National Unification Advisory Council, which wants to see the Korean peninsula peacefully reunited, couldn’t contain his relief — or his anxiety.

“This is great news to me,” said Oh, who was driven out of North Korea during the war in the 1950s. “I’m so glad to hear this dictator is dead. But now I’m worried about military action.

With Word of Leader’s Death, Come Tears on State TV
New York Times

As my colleagues Choe Sang-hun and David E. Sanger report, Kim Jong-il, the mysterious and mercurial dictator of North Korea, has died. The news ripped across the globe Sunday night after the country’s official news media proclaimed the leader dead by way of a tearful television announcer. The video above shows an anchorwoman who appears to be struggling through her emotions to deliver the news.

Young Heir Faces Uncertain Transition in North Korea
New York Times

With the abrupt death of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, the fate of his isolated, nuclear-armed regime has dropped into the hands of his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who is such an unknown that the world did not even know for sure what he looked like until last year.

But the biggest enigma may be whether the younger Mr. Kim will be able to hold onto power in this last bastion of hard-line Communism, much less prevent its impoverished economy from collapsing.

For now, the reclusive regime is acting true to form, offering few clues as to what, if any, changes the death of the dictator could bring. It does, however, appear to be offering the first glimmers of an answer to one question that has long dogged North Korea watchers: whether the powerful military and other parts of the nation’s small, privileged ruling elite would go along with the Kim family’s ambitions to extend its dynastic rule to a third generation.

Within hours of the announcement on Monday of his father’s death, North Korea’s ruling Workers Party released a statement calling on the nation to unite “under the leadership of our comrade Kim Jong-un.”

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North Korea mourns dead leader, son is “Great Successor”
Reuters via Yahoo News

North Korea’s official KCNA news agency lauded Kim’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un as “the outstanding leader of our party, army and people.”

A KCNA dispatch said North Koreans from all walks of life were in utter despair but were finding comfort in the “absolute surety that the leadership of Comrade Kim Jong-un will lead and succeed the great task of revolutionary enterprise.”

But there was uncertainty about how much support the third generation of the North’s ruling dynasty has among the ruling elite, especially in the military, and concern he might need a military show of strength to help establish his credentials.

“Kim Jong-un is a pale reflection of his father and grandfather. He has not had the decades of grooming and securing of a power base that Jong-il enjoyed before assuming control from his father,” said Bruce Klingner, an Asia policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

North Korean Dynastic Succession Tested in Tapping Kim’s Son
Business Week

The stability of nuclear-armed North Korea may hinge on whether its military and the family of deceased dictator Kim Jong Il agree that his little-known, twenty-something son can extend six decades of dynastic rule.

Kim Jong Un was named to high-level military and party posts in September 2010. Kim Jong Il, who died of a heart attack Dec. 17, groomed his son for succession by featuring him prominently at a party congress and having him meet with foreign dignitaries.

The younger Kim is slated to take the reins of an economy whose 24 million largely impoverished people — five percent of whom serve in the military — have almost no access to outside media and suffer from chronic malnutrition. North Korea shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear weapons program in the face of global sanctions and any sign of concessions from the new leader could undermine his position.

“It’s not going to be an easy succession,” said Hong Yung Lee, a professor of East Asian politics at the University of California at Berkeley, in a phone interview. “The most important institution is the military. How will it handle Kim Jong Un?”

‘Team America: World Police’ surges as Twitter topic following Kim Jong Il’s death
New York Daily News

The death of Kim Jong Il has brought renewed interest in the North Korean dictator’s most high-profile performance on this side of the Pacific — as a singing puppet in “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 2004 comedy “Team America: World Police.”

The marionette movie became a high-trending Twitter topic almost immediately after North Korean television announced Sunday night that the country’s “Supreme Leader” had died of a heart attack in Pyongyang at the age of 69.

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Friday's Link Attack: Gucci at 7-11, Hettienne Park, North Korea

Third Suspect Arrested in Duluth Man’s Stabbing Death
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The investigation began the morning of Dec. 8, when a Bank of America customer walking through the parking lot between the bank and an Aldi store on Pleasant Hill Road saw Kwang Ko lying on the ground and called police.

The 32-year-old Duluth man died later of apparent stab wounds.

North Vancouver Home Invasion Trial Continues
North Shore News (Canada)

Gong Oui Choi, 23, of Burnaby, came to court under a subpoena and described how he and three other men – including Duck Joong Yoon, of Burnaby and another friend, Yum Lim – were recruited into committing the home invasion on Tempe Knoll Drive by a fifth man he didn’t know.

Choi was called to testify in the trial of Yoon, who faces nine charges in connection with the home invasion on Dec. 9, 2008. He has pled not guilty.

Selena Gomez Makes Surprise Visit To Terminally Sick Fan At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
RyanSeacrest.com

A 13-year-old Korean American girl with an extremely rare genetic disease was visited by singer Selena Gomez. Very sad story.

“On Air With Ryan Seacrest” has made miracles come true for families in need that deserve a little extra love this holiday season for KIISmas Giving. Earlier this week Sara from Los Angeles, a tutor for a 13-year-old girl named Hana, wrote an endearing letter about Hana’s fatally genetic disease called progeria that dramatically accelerates aging in children 8 to 10 times faster than normal. In an email to Ryan, she describes that it’s a “race against time” for her, as the average life span of this disease, which only 10 people in the US have, is just 13-years-old. Hana just recently turned 13, and being treated at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

New York Actors Reveal the Naked Truth About Doing Nudity On and Off Broadway
New York Daily News

“I knew what I was getting myself into,” says the Korean-American actress, adding that the flashing scene “is right there in the script. It speaks volumes about who Izzy is. She’s not a stereotype or cliche.”

Dramatic truth is one thing; going topless in the 800-seat Golden Theatre is another.

“I can’t say I wasn’t nervous,” admits [Hettienne] Park, who has impressed Off-Broadway playing a straight-shooting spouse in Tony Kushner’s “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures.” She can also be seen as Charlize Theron’s friend in the film “Young Adult.”

“But the nudity in ‘Seminar’ wasn’t a dealbreaker,” Park adds. “ I love Izzy, so I was game.”

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12-year fugitive arrested by customs officers at LAX
Los Angeles Times

A fugitive wanted for shooting two men 12 years ago in Koreatown during a dispute over gang affiliation was arrested at LAX as he arrived from South Korea, officials said Friday.

Richard James Kim, wanted on an outstanding warrant on a charge of attempted murder, was arrested Thursday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and turned over to the Los Angeles Police Department, said airport spokesman Jaime Ruiz.

Kim, 33, was listed as an “armed and dangerous” fugitive by the LAPD when he was 21 and he and two juvenile accomplices allegedly became embroiled in an argument with two victims over gang affiliation.

LAPD investigators say Kim shot the victims with a .38-caliber handgun.

Luxury Gets More Convenient
Wall Street Journal

The convenience store (7-Eleven) operator is planning to offer luxury goods for a limited period after a successful trial during the September Korean thanksgiving holiday, during which it sold eight Gucci product lines.

The company hasn’t settled on which luxury brand it’ll feature this time around, but the tactic reflects an increasing desire by the country’s retailers and global luxury brands to tap into consistently strong demand for high-end goods in the Korean market.

MTV to Show Girls’ Generation in New York on Saturday
Chosun Ilbo

MTV will feature a tour by Korea’s most in-demand girl group Girls’ Generation to New York on Saturday. For the show, the girl band already gave an interview at MTV’s TRL Studio in Time Square in New York on Nov. 24.

Fans all around the world tweeted questions for the girls, and Tiffany and Jessica offered answers in fluent English as they used to live in the U.S.

YouTube Opens K-Pop Section
Chosun Ilbo

With the creation of the new channel, K-pop has become more accessible to foreign fans. Over 5 million videos by K-pop groups have already been uploaded on the site, including 400,000 featuring boy band TVXQ, 340,000 of all-girl dance group Girls’ Generation and 260,000 by the Wonder Girls.

But the difference is that most of these videos were posted by the bands’ respective management companies. This means that fans had to search for each artist or song separately, limiting their exposure to other bands. The new K-pop channel addresses this problem by grouping videos together.

Website Offers Rare Glimpse of North Korean TV
AFP via Yahoo News

“I started live streaming three years ago mainly to let people here witness what North Korea is really like,” Lim, 47, told AFP.

North Korean television is relayed by satellite to most of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. But its terrestrial signal south of the tense border is jammed by Seoul.

While some South Koreans have been arrested for posting North Korean news, SPTV appears to be tolerated, though under close surveillance by the security authorities.

“It’s not like we’ve been approved by the government, but they simply turn a blind eye to us in order to create a favorable atmosphere for unification,” he said.

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Kim Jong Un's Haircut All The Rage in North Korea

Young men are flocking to North Korean barbershops to get a haircut styled after the dictator-in-waiting, Kim Jong Un, according to Reuters.

The youngest son of Kim Jong Il, dubbed “Young General,” is believed to be in his late 20s and is being groomed to be the next leader of the isolated Communist country. As for his own grooming, Kim prefers something Korean American teens sported in the mid-1990s. High and tight on the sides, the top left long and slicked back.

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The young Kim’s haircut is dubbed a “youth” or “ambition” hairstyle in North Korea, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper has reported.

Earlier this week, North Korean state news agency KCNA quoted barber An Su-gil as saying the short-cut, medium-cut and square-cut hairstyles are now popular among young men.

North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun wrote in September that neat and short hair for young people makes them “captivating.”

“A young man with (an) ambitious high sided haircut looks so sobering and stylish,” the paper added.

The haircut also looks like a variation of a 1930s style haircut gaining popularity in the United States, according to the New York Times. The article quotes a barber who says most customers refer to the hairstyle as a “Hitler youth.”

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Wednesday's Link Attack: Korea vs China, Happy Hug Day, Debbie Lee

South Koreans furious at China over death at sea
AP via San Francisco Chronicle

Angry South Koreans slammed Chinese fishermen as “pirates” Tuesday, while President Lee Myung-bak pledged to spend more on policing the country’s waters after a Chinese boat captain allegedly stabbed a coast guard officer to death.

During a protest at the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, a right-wing demonstrator rammed his sport utility vehicle three times into a police bus guarding the building, while others defaced a Chinese flag. A popular South Korean Internet post called for the shelling of illegal Chinese fishing boats.

Man sentenced to three life terms for Tenafly triple murders
Bergen County Record (N.J.)

Convicted triple-murderer Kang Hyuk Choi was sentenced Wednesday to three concurrent life terms for the stabbing deaths of three members of a Tenafly family three years ago.

“The last thing you will see before you die will be the inside of a cell that you are about to enter shortly,” Superior Court Judge Donald Venezia said to Choi.

Defense attorney Francis Meehan said Choi had a serious gambling addiction that depleted his finances and ruined his credit.

He came into contact with Sean Kim, who had posted an online ad to help people repair their credit, Meehan said. Choi later began working for Kim, who promised him that he could earn up to $20,000 a month, Meehan said.

Choi became angry when the money never came, and after an argument at Kim’s home in May 2008, he stabbed Kim with a large kitchen knife, Choi said during his guilty plea in September.

Happy Hug Day, Korea
CNNGo

Hugs are dangerous things.

They can get you sued, banned or — worst case scenario — caught on camera in awkward poses that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

But even lousy huggers can be fearless today. (Hug Day was moved from December 11 to December 14 a few years ago in order to match all the other quirky unofficial Korean holidays that fall on the 14th of every month.)

Korean vendors are throwing mini-events in celebration, giving away coffee and hot chocolate via Twitter. Actors are also seizing the day as an excuse for marketing ploys promoting their latest movies.

So who do Koreans want to hug?

Park Tae-joon, Founder of a Giant in Steel, Dies at 84
New York Times

Park Tae-joon, a former South Korean general who created Posco, one of the world’s largest steel companies, helping to lay the foundation for his nation’s rise from an impoverished postwar society into an industrial powerhouse, died on Tuesday in Seoul. He was 84.

Interpreters in Korean Basketball League say job is tough
Korea Herald

There are only two men on the bench during a Korean basketball game that wear a suit and tie: the manager and the interpreter.

In the Korean Basketball League, each team has at least one overseas player and one interpreter.

Coaches say foreign players are crucial for their teams as they usually score the most points. And as the demand for foreign players grew, so did the importance of interpreters in the KBL.

Chef Debbie Lee cookbook signing in Tempe
Arizona Republic

Chef and author Debbie Lee is hosting a book signing at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe Thursday, Dec. 15.

The Phoenix native, who was a finalist on season five of “The Next Food Network Star,” shares her spin on Korean dishes in “Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share with Family and Friends.” Lee, who is also known for her popular food truck Ahn Joo in Los Angeles, fuses Korean and American fare with dishes such as flavorful grilled meats, Korean style pickles, nachos, meatloaf, meatballs and cocktails.

Tears, Gratitude and Anger Mark the 1,000th Protest
Wall Street Journal

It was never meant to last 20 years.

In January 1992, a group of Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II staged a protest outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul. They timed the protest to a visit by Japan’s then-Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa. They became known as the “comfort women” and their weekly demonstration became known as the “Wednesday Protest.”

Today, with a crowd of about 3,000 joining in, the comfort women staged their 1,000th protest in front of the embassy.

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“Comfort Women” visit Palisades Park
NorthJersey.com

The public is invited Thursday to meet two Korean women who recently arrived to share their story of captivity by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Yongsoo Lee, 83, and Ok-Seon Yi, 84, will meet with the public at 12:30 p.m. at the borough library. The women were brought to the United States by the Korean American Voters’ Council, and spoke at an art exhibit at the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center in Queens earlier this week. The exhibit focuses on the struggles of the many women held prisoner during the war.

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Monday's Link Attack: Korean Zombie, Clara C, Kraze Burger

‘Korean Zombie’ ties UFC mark with 7-second KO of Hominick
USA Today

The Korean Zombie turned off The Machine so quickly it tied an official record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Popular featherweight Chan Sung “The Korean Zombie” Jung knocked out Mark “The Machine” Hominick in seven seconds Saturday at UFC 140 in Toronto. That tied UFC’s mark for fastest knockout.

Hominick praised Jung afterward, but also admitted that he started the fight recklessly. The fight began with Hominick moving forward with his hands down as he looked to land his own power punches.

Jung took advantage by connecting with a right hand squarely to the temple, sending the other man tumbling to the ground. The Korean never gave Hominick a chance to recover, immediately rushing to stand over him and throw punches at his face until he went limp for a moment, eliciting an immediate stoppage from referee Herb Dean.

Chick-fil-A worker fired for offending Asian customers
Los Angeles Times

A cashier at the Chick-fil-A restaurant at UC Irvine has been fired after she put offensive names mocking Asian customers on their receipts.

Rather than take the names of two Asian customers, she typed “Ching” and “Chong,” which appeared, respectively, on the two customers’ receipts, according to Kelvin Lee, a UC Irvine student and friend of the customers. He posted photos of the receipts on his Tumblr account.

Since then, the post has spread through the blogosphere, attracting negative attention to the fast-food chain, which has already garnered animus from some corners because of its openly Christian roots and connection to conservative stances.

Company officials say the incident doesn’t reflect corporate views and stands in stark contrast to its ethos.  It was “simply [a] case of immaturity, failed judgment and human error” on the part of one employee, said Don Perry, Chick-fil-A’s vice president for public relations.

Silent UC Berkeley protester detained
The Daily Californian

Alex Kim, a UC Berkeley senior and Occupy Cal protester who took a vow of silence, was detained Sunday by UCPD officers on Sproul Plaza, according to eyewitnesses at the scene.

At around 4:38 p.m., a few officers approached a group of demonstrators sitting on the lawn in front of Sproul Hall and handcuffed Kim before taking him away, said junior Katie Rapp.

“I was so surprised,” Rapp said. “They just grabbed him.”

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Chinese Fisherman Kills South Korean Coast Guardsman
New York Times

A South Korean Coast Guard member was stabbed to death by a Chinese fisherman on Monday during a crackdown on illegal fishing near South Korea, the Coast Guard said.

Nine Chinese crewmen violently resisted South Korean coast guardsmen trying to impound their 66-ton boat about 120 miles west of Incheon, near the border with North Korea, according to a Coast Guard statement.

Another Chinese ship rammed into the boat, and amid the confusion, the Chinese rebelled, said Chi Geun-tae, a Coast Guard spokesman, citing a preliminary report from the scene.

Former female prosecutor arrested over corruption suspicion
Korea Herald

A former female prosecutor embroiled in a corruption scandal was arrested on Monday to be questioned over allegations that she received a luxury sedan and a designer handbag in return for peddling her influence, prosecutors dealing with the case said.

SHOWBIZ: Fine company with Clara C
New Straits Times (Malaysia)

It is the age of the YouTube artist — the ultra-engaging, crowd-friendly product of an environment where everything including love, sweat and tears is shared.

Clara C is a good example of this.

Despite having arrived on our shores in the wake of concerts by two other YouTube celebrity singers, Jayesslee and Greyson Chance, Clara dazzled the audience at the Bentley Auditorium in Damansara Mutiara recently with her infectious, bubbly brand of singing.

The Korean-American singer was spontaneous, funny and witty — and the 300-plus strong crowd loved every minute she was on stage.

Kuala Lumpur is the second leg of her five-city Asia Pacific tour, having already performed at Singapore’s Esplanade Recital Studio the day before. Clara will perform in three more locations: The Music Museum in Manila, Arrow on Swanston in Melbourne, and the Basement in Sydney.

L.A. film critics association names Yoon Jung-hee best actress of 2011
Korea Herald

South Korean actress Yoon Jung-hee was chosen as the best actress of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) for her lead role in the award-winning South Korean film “Poetry.”

The association announced a list of the 2011 award winners, including Yoon, on Sunday (L.A. standard time).

Yoon won the honor, beating her close competitor from Hollywood, Kirsten Dunst, the winner of the best actress award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her performance in “Melancholia,” the association said.

Korea’s Kraze Burger Aims to Cash in on US Craze
Voice of America

Americans are used to hearing about the latest McDonald’s opening in a remote part of the world, but it’s unusual to see a foreign food franchise setting up in the United States, especially one selling the most quintessential of American foods: hamburgers.

However, one plucky chain of Korean restaurants is doing just that, and recently opened its first U.S. branch in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC.

Video: Student “freaks out” in library over others “breathing loudly”
Yahoo News

This video from the California State University, Northridge campus has ignited controversy across the Internet this morning. In the video, reportedly taken during finals week, a female student loses her temper with her fellow students, accusing them of being disruptive. (Be warned, there are a few choice words whispered during the rant):

[Recap] Saturday Night Live Korea, Episode 1 – Poking Fun at Politics
soompi

“Saturday Night Live (SNL) Korea” finally aired its inaugural episode last weekend, and I have to admit I was more than ecstatic to see my favorite U.S. comedy show air in Korea. It did a pretty good job of living up to the “SNL” name with a lot of political/cultural parodies. Kim Joo Hyuk also did a flawless job of running the show live as the first host.

Student Develops Smartphone App About N.Korea
Chosun Ilbo

Kim Min-jong, a 26-year-old student in the Department of North Korean Studies at Korea University, made the country’s first Smartphone app providing expert information on North Korea. Over 1,000 people have downloaded it in the week since its launch, and the app is in the region of 20th on Podgate, which ranks the top 300 most popular apps.

Kim planned and produced the app, and spent W5 million (US$1=W1,126) to make the project a reality through an app developer. It can be downloaded for free on Android.

Penguins F Park has broken foot
Miami Herald

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Richard Park is slated to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks with a fractured foot.

Pens head coach Dan Byslma made the announcement following Monday’s practice. Reports indicate that Park suffered the injury while blocking a shot in the late stages of Thursday’s 3-2 loss in Philadelphia.

The 35-year-old native of South Korea returned to the NHL after a one-year absence, signing on with Pittsburgh. He has totaled two goals and seven points in 21 games this year.

Wedding Announcement: Jung Pak and Jay Habermann
New York Times

Jung Hyun Pak and Jonathan Brewster Habermann were married Saturday afternoon. The Rev. Richard D. Sloan, an Episcopal priest, performed the ceremony at St. Paul’s Chapel on the campus of Columbia University in Manhattan.

The couple met at Colgate University, from which they graduated. They also have graduate degrees from Columbia; the bride received a Ph.D. in United States history and the bridegroom an M.B.A.

The bride, 37, was until December 2008 an adjunct assistant professor of American history at Hunter College. From 2003 to 2004, she was a Fulbright Scholar at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, where she created an archive on the late Horace G. Underwood, a professor at the university and a Presbyterian missionary. The bride is a trustee of Colgate.

She is a daughter of Kwan Song Pak of Flushing, Queens, and the late Ok Sook Pak. The bride’s father owns and operates a tailor shop in Manhattan that bears his name.

Traffic in Vietnam
via channelAPA

Traffic in Frenetic HCMC, Vietnam from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.

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Monday's Link Attack: Judge Brian G. Kim, Crime, North Korea

Montgomery judge fined in road-rage case resigns
Washington Post

A Montgomery County judge recently fined in a road-rage case resigned Friday, according to his attorney.

District Judge Brian G. Kim was approaching his 10-year reconfirmation process. A colorful and controversial figure in Rockville legal circles, he was known for running a tight courtroom.

Kim’s attorney, Barry Helfand, said the judge “wanted to seek a new opportunity.” He said that Kim, 50, did not want to be interviewed.

In April, Kim paid a $510 fine for a traffic citation stemming from an Oct. 18, 2010, incident that started outside the Montgomery District Courthouse at the end of a business day.

Kim, driving a Honda CR-V, was accused of tailgating a Volkswagen Passat — apparently after believing he’d been cut off — and following it onto Interstate 270. The Passat’s driver, Rachel Viglianti, filed a report with Maryland State Police asserting that the CR-V driver kept “zooming up beside me, yelling through the windows and gesturing.” She also said that the Honda reached about 70 mph and zoomed over to her lane, causing her to slam on her brakes to avoid a wreck.

Man charged with second-degree murder after body found in SUV
Toronto Star

Toronto police have laid second-degree murder charges after a man was found dead in an SUV in North York Friday.

The victim has been identified as Victor Seung, 33. Joon Sung Kim, also known as Kevin Kim, has been charged with second degree murder. He was scheduled to appear in court Saturday.

Residents of a quiet, modest North York neighbourhood expressed shock and disbelief after Seung’s body was found Friday afternoon in a vehicle on Willowdale Ave., north of Finch Ave. E.

Police were called just after 1 p.m. Seung, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Const. Tony Vella. He died as a result of injuries inflicted by a sharp object, according to police.

Motorist charged after elderly woman killed in Albany Park hit-and-run
Chicago Tribune

Charges have been filed against a motorist who allegedly struck and killed an elderly woman crossing the street on the Northwest Side Saturday.

Jose Cornejo-Flores, 51, of the 3600 block of North Francisco Avenue, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death, according to police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro. He was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail today, officials said.

Hyun Cho, 76, of the 4000 block of North Spaulding Avenue, was pronounced dead at 12:23 p.m. at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, according to a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

An Abductee’s Daughter Speaks Out About an Unhealed Korean Wound
New York Times

Since 2000, Ms. Lee has campaigned to generate more interest in the fate of tens of thousands of South Koreans believed to have been forcibly taken to North Korea during the Korean War six decades ago. She has been demanding that the government negotiate for the return of those who may still be alive and the remains of those who are not. Government officials have never made that issue a priority when they have sat down with their North Korean counterparts, treating her campaign as a distraction from what they consider a more important task: persuading the North to abandon its nuclear weapons.

Once Again, Lawmaker Escapes Punishment
Wall Street Journal

Can any wrongdoing get a South Korean lawmaker removed from office?

Slanderous foot-in-mouth disease doesn’t do it; one lawmaker clung to his seat after slamming the TV news profession by suggesting female reporters sleep their way to the top. And violence doesn’t do it either, with the lawmaker who set off tear gas in the chamber of the National Assembly escaping penalty.

Indeed, the tear-gas tosser Kim Sun-dong over the weekend was appointed vice floor leader of a new party called the United Progressive Party.

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Downtown Murder Suspect Pleads Not Guilty
Patch.com (Bellevue, Wa.)

Sung Ho Kim, 43, the Redmond man that prosecutors say shot and killed a man he believed was having an affair with his wife, pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Friday morning, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Kim is accused of shooting Jin Kim — an employee of the wife and no relation to the family — at a Belle Arts apartment building in downtown Bellevue on Nov. 15. Kim pleaded not guilty to a charge of Murder Second Degree and remains in jail with bail set at $2 million, according to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Dog, Gone
Wall Street Journal

Columnist Jeff Yang mourns the death of his Jindo dog.

My friend Hyungwon Kang — a senior staff photographer with Reuters, and perhaps America’s foremost authority on Korean dogs — has told me that Shaohu’s personality was typical of this exceptional breed. “Faithful, independent, and very proud,” he calls them. They’re also devastatingly smart, fiercely fearless, and capable of extraordinary (and sometimes infuriating) feats.

Store Owner Still Waiting for Looters to Pay
Bay Citizen (Oakland, Calif.)

On July 8, 2010, as an angry crowd made its way through downtown Oakland smashing windows, James Cho and his wife, Kim, huddled in the back of his store, JC Jewelry, along with an employee and her 2-year-old daughter.

That day, members of the crowd, enraged over the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer who had killed Oscar Grant in 2009, looted stores and lit trash cans on fire.

“It seemed like the people were crazy. I understood why they were angry,” Cho said. “But I was scared to death.”

By late afternoon, Cho heard people shaking the steel bars covering his windows, which eventually gave way. More than 200 people rushed into the store, smashing glass jewelry cases, punching Cho in the face, pummeling his wife and running off with around $100,000 worth of merchandise — enough to force the jeweler out of business.

South Korea police probe possible election fraud
Los Angeles Times

REPORTING FROM SEOUL — Probing political chicanery reminiscent of some banana republic nation (or perhaps the state of Florida circa 2000) South Korean authorities are investigating a case of alleged election fraud that appears to be designed to keep a ruling-party candidate in office.

Police say that an aide to a lawmaker for the nation’s Grand National Party organized a widespread cyber attack to confuse voters trying to get to the polls on election day in late October.

The aide, who is in custody, reportedly hired three Internet technology workers to cause computer breakdowns on a website designed to help voters find their polling stations.

Pyongyang Restaurants Extending Reach in Southeast Asian Cities
Voice of America

North Korean restaurants are offering a rare glimpse to the country’s reclusive culture by growing its network in major Southeast Asian cities. The restaurants, bearing the brand name Pyongyang after the capital city of North Korea, are serving everything from cold noodles to quirkier dishes such as dog meat casserole.

At first, the establishments catered to South Korean businessmen in the region. But in recent years, they have seen an increasing number of tourists and locals craving Korean cuisine.

Some Asians’ college strategy: Don’t check ‘Asian’
AP via Yahoo News

Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white.

“I didn’t want to put ‘Asian’ down,” Olmstead says, “because my mom told me there’s discrimination against Asians in the application process.”

For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it’s harder for them to gain admission to the nation’s top colleges.

Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges’ admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.

The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.

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South Korea and U.S. Differ on Nuclear Enrichment
New York Times

Over the past year, Washington and Seoul have held low-key but highly sensitive talks on whether South Korea should be allowed to do what the Americans have long tried to stop North Korea from doing: enrich uranium and reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

The talks, set to resume Tuesday in Seoul, are aimed at revising a bilateral nuclear cooperation treaty for the first time in four decades. And the two allies’ expectations are as far apart as their perspectives on what it would mean for South Korea to adopt the technologies, which can be used to create fuel for reactors, but also to make nuclear weapons.

Video: Dia Frampton Performs “The Broken Ones” On ‘Jay Leno’
Neon Limelight (blog)

After finishing in second place on the first season of The Voice, Dia Frampton is ready for the spotlight. Dressed up in a dazzling blue floor-length dress, the shy girl with the sweet voice stopped by the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to perform her new single, “The Broken Ones.” It’s the first track taken from her debut solo album, Red, out on December 6.

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