Tag Archives: North Korea

Thursday's Link Attack: State Dinner, K-Pop, Kim Jong-Il's Grandson

White House state dinner for Korea: We try to guess the guests
Washington Post

The invitations for next week’s White House state dinner are in the mail, and so begins one of Washington’s favorite parlor games: Who scored one of the coveted seats at the Oct. 13 black-tie evening honoring South Korean President Lee Myung-bak?

Kim Jong Il’s grandson barred from Hong Kong
Los Angeles Times

The boy who couldn’t visit Disneyland now has been turned down by Hong Kong as well. The 16-year-old grandson of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was accepted at an elite English-language high school in Hong Kong but was rejected for a student visa by local authorities, the school’s former principal said Thursday.

Kim Han Sol is the son of Kim Jong Nam, the leader’s oldest son. In 2001, Kim Jong Nam tried to bring the boy to Tokyo Disneyland but ended up being arrested for trying to enter Japan on a forged Dominican passport.

Flash forward a decade: Hong Kong authorities turned down Kim’s request for a visa to attend United World Colleges’ campus there, according to Stephen Codrington, who was principal until this summer. The official reason was that North Korean passport holders, along with Filipinos, Nepalese and Cambodians, are not eligible for student visas because of a history of overstaying their visits.

Web Postings Stir Interest in Teenager’s Relation to North Korean Leader
New York Times

The sharply dressed 17-year-old might be any fashionable South Korean teenager: bleached blond hair, an earring and a necklace with a cross-shaped pendant.

Or he might be the grandson of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

A frenzy of speculation about the teenager, named Kim Han-sol, has gripped South Korean news organizations this week as reporters scour the Internet for any shred of evidence connecting the seemingly loquacious youngster with the deeply secretive man atop North Korea.

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Korean Festival Moves From NYC to Bergen
NorthJersey.com

New York’s annual Korean harvest festival — one of the largest in the United States — will be held for the first time in Bergen County this weekend.

But the two-day festival’s move across the river is not being welcomed by members of the Korean American Association of New Jersey. They say the upcoming event led fewer people to attend their 10th annual local celebration of Chusok, a harvest festival they organized this past weekend at Overpeck County Park in Ridgefield.

Kun Y. Lee, past president of the Fort Lee-based group, said only about half of the more than 20,000 people who attended last year’s event showed up this year to the annual Jersey event.

More than half of the vendors who had registered for a spot backed out when they heard that the New York festival would be coming. He said the non-profit group estimates they may have lost more than $50,000.

Body of missing swimmer visiting from Canada located 30 yards from Kauai shore
AP via The Republic

Rescue crews have recovered the body of a 28-year-old man from Canada who was swept out to sea while swimming off Kauai.

The Kauai Fire Department says the body of Steve Kim, a tourist from Ontario, was found 30 yards from the shore of Polihale Beach Wednesday morning.

K-Pop to Descend on Las Vegas in November
Chosun Ilbo

K-pop stars are drawn to Las Vegas, the home of gambling and glitzy entertainment, with 10 of Korea’s top singers — including TVXQ, BEAST, SHINee, 4minute, G.Na and MBLAQ — set to assemble there for a concert next month, host Billboard Korea said on Wednesday.

The concert, dubbed the “2011 Billboard K-Pop Masters, presented by MGM Grand,” will launch at 8 p.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Nov. 25. This will set another new milestone for Korean idols.

One in 25 Korean Women Contract Breast Cancer
Chosun Ilbo

Recent data suggests the one out of every 25 women in Korea has breast cancer, although the rate varies by year.

The number of breast cancer patients around the country surpassed 11,000 in 2006 but was as high as 14,000 in 2008. The country has seen a 91 percent increase in the rate of women’s breast cancer patients from 2002, the biggest jump among OECD nations.

Unlike other Western countries, where women tend to contract the disease after going through their menopause, it is more prevalent in Korea among women under 40.

Wednesday's Link Attack: G-Dragon, Kim Jong Il, SAT Cheaters

‘Glee’ Roars Into the World of Tiger Moms, Dads and Cubs
Wall Street Journal

Count me among the legions of Asian American Gleeks who’ve been irritably waiting for show producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan to do something interesting with Harry Shum Jr.’s peripatetic footballer-turned-dance machine, Mike Chang. Really, RyBrI: After two years of back-bench toil as the mostly mute “Other Asian,” there isn’t a performer on the show who’s earned a turn in the spotlight more than Harry. And given the season-opener revelation that Chang is a senior, with little likelihood of sticking around on the show post-McKinley, this season could represent Shum’s final chance to shine.

A Closer Look: Back from Libya
The Daily Bruin (UCLA)

Chris Jeon reminisces about his time fighting in the Libyan revolution and living with rebels.

Rain’s final concert this Sunday
CNNGo

Weeping will ensue en masse this weekend, as South Korea’s biggest pop star and Stephen Colbert’s arch-nemesis, Rain, will perform in the public for the last time before enlisting in the South Korean military. The “Ninja Assassin” star’s free good-bye concert will be held on Sunday, October 9, as part of the Gangnam Fashion Festival 2011.

It is sure to be a tearful affair on both sides: “Concerts to me are like life on a smaller scale,” Rain told CNN Talk Asia in 2009. Rain begins his mandatory, 22-month, Republic of Korea Army service on Tuesday, October 11.

Big Bang’s G-Dragon caught smoking marijuana
allkpop

But did he inhale?

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Koreans make their mark in Fairfax
Fairfax Times (Va.)

When Steve Choi and his family moved to Virginia from South Korea in 1974, his sixth-grade classmates wanted to touch his hair, or challenge him to a fight–sometimes both.

“A lot of them had never even met an Asian before, so even my hair was very interesting to them,” said Choi, who now runs a highly successful food service company and serves as President of the Korean-American Association of the Washington Metro area, based in Annandale. “Everybody thought I was Bruce Lee- they wanted to fight me to see if I knew kung-fu.”

These days, Koreans are no longer the novelty they once were in the region. Korean immigration to the U.S. was negligible prior to 1970, but since that year some 973,450 South Koreans have obtained permanent resident status in the U.S. and the Washington, D.C. metro area has the third largest Korean population in the country behind Los Angeles and New York.

The Torrid Romantic Life of Kim Jong-il
Chosun Ilbo

Yun Hye-yong was a woman beyond the reach even of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Yun, the lead singer of Kim’s former favorite band Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, was brutally executed after she spurned Kim’s persistent advances and fell in love with another man.

Or so claims Chang Jin-song, an author formerly affiliated with the North Korean Workers’ Party, in “Kim Jong-il’s Last Woman.” Published in May, it is an epic poem that details Kim’s private life and inside story of his regime based on the true story of the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble.

SAT cheaters
Korea Times

A famous SAT teacher in Korea was caught illegally discussing what was on the exam. He used the time difference between the United States and other countries to tell his students what will be on the test.

As students talked after the test, some of them, without noticing, told others that they had known what was going to be on the exam.

Since SAT scores are based on percentages, the other students felt this was unfair and reported the incident to the College Board. All the tests taken in Korea were voided and the efforts of those who actually worked hard came to naught.

However, the worst part starts here. As more and more people found out about the SAT teacher, more and more parents tried to send their kids to him so their children could attain high scores. It is shocking that some parents care more about children’s short-term goal of getting into a good college instead of looking to the distant future of their children.

Korean Official: US will endorse FTA with Korea by Oct. 21
Korea Times

Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon said Wednesday that the U.S. Congress is expected to give a final endorsement of a free trade agreement with Korea by Oct. 21 at the latest.

Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na named ambassador for 2012 Winter Youth Games
AP via Washington Post

Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na will help promote the first Winter Youth Games.

The IOC says the 21-year-old South Korean skater will join Olympic ski champions Lindsey Vonn and Benjamin Raich as an “ambassador” for the games, which will be held in Innsbruck, Austria, from Jan. 13-22.

Jay Park interview with channelAPA.com
channelAPA

Over the weekend at 2011 ISA LA, channelAPA.com had a chance to chat with Jay Park about his music and dance careers. With a huge following in both USA and Asia, we talk about opportunities for Asian Americans in both regions. He shared with us about his strategy straddling the East and West. Jay Park has already release several singles including Single Life, Demon, Bestie & Speechless. He’s even done several collabos like Clouds and Maybe One Day. He might not have an English album soon, but he’s working on new English tracks. In the meantime, he’ll be busy promoting his upcoming Korean film “Mr. Idol” and a Korean album in November.

Monday's Link Attack: Dia Frampton, NY Choi, HyunA

Blake Shelton Announces US Arena Tour, Dia Frampton To Open
Hollywood Reporter

Shelton will hit 27 cities on the “Well Lit & Amplified Tour 2012” starting in January in Toledo and ending in March in Las Vegas. His opening acts include country singer Justin Moore and his mentee on NBC’s The Voice, finalist Dia Frampton, as reported by All Access Music Group.

Local Politicians Press to Win Korean-American Vote
Patch.com (Annandale, Va.)

Dozens of candidates for public office gathered in Fairfax Thursday night to try and win votes from within the Korean-American community.

Often starting out with a greeting in Korean, the candidates by and large stressed the importance of relief for small businesses, family values, opportunities for immigrants and access to better education while speaking to a packed audience during the 2011 Korean American Association of Virginia/Korea Times Candidates Night.

‘Bling Ring’ Burglar Pleads No Contest
angryasianman

Remember Rachel Lee, one of the alleged masterminds behind the so-called “bling ring”? She and her accomplices were accused of targeting wealthy celebrities, breaking into their homes and making off with millions in luxury goods and accessories.

Last week, Lee appeared in court and pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree residential burglary in the 2009 break-in of reality star Audrina Patridge’s house. She is expected to be sentenced to four years in state prison as part of a plea bargain.

Lee’s mother is an immigrant from North Korea, according to Vanity Fair, and her father is a businessman living in Las Vegas.

South Korea stares down demographic dilemma
Reuters

Kim, a doctoral student in her 30s, personifies many of the qualities that make South Korea such an economic force — relative youth, education and ambition.

The trouble — for corporations and policymakers — is that she is equally typical by not wanting to have children.

“I just want to live happily with my husband without having to worry about kids or making sacrifices for them,” said Kim, asking to be identified only by her surname.

N.Y. Choi, Lewis improve women’s golf ranking
UPI

Choi Na-yeon and Stacy Lewis each move up one place, causing minor shifts in the world women’s golf rankings, updated Monday.

The LPGA heads into an Asian swing with tournaments in South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan this month as the 2011 schedule begins to wind down. Choi moved past South Korean countrywoman Shin Jiyai for fourth in this week’s world rankings.

Warrant issued for US soldier over rape
Korea Times

A local district court issued Saturday a warrant to arrest a U.S. soldier on charges of raping a young Korean woman, citing concerns that he might flee the country.

The 21-year-old Army private, identified only as “K” who is assigned to the 2nd U.S. Infantry Division in Dongducheon, is accused of having raped an 18-year-old girl near his unit at around 4 a.m. on Sept. 24.

Prosecutors are expected to indict the American soldier soon.

She was watching TV alone when he broke into her house, according to the police. Police officers identified the American soldier through a surveillance camera installed near her house and informed the U.S. military of the case.

Piano Prodigy Wants to Use Berklee Scholarship to Help Society
Chosun Ilbo

Kang Chae-ri, 16, ranks as the youngest person ever to be admitted to the prestigious college, which stands as a world authority in pop music. She is also first Korean recipient of the coveted Presidential Scholarship, which covers full tuition and living expenses.

DVD of the Week: Woman on the Beach
New Yorker

The filmmaker-protagonist of the South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s dryly comic 2006 romantic drama, “Woman on the Beach”, is at work on a project of peculiar abstraction—the sort of silly idea that comes from spending too much time alone and at a desk—and is having trouble finishing his script. The adventure that follows from his efforts to unblock himself—which also entails some emotional and erotic unblocking, with two women who, he thinks, resemble each other—becomes the basis for his new film.

Seoul Taco introduces Korean fusion to St. Louis
Washington Life (Washington Univ.)

For those who didn’t grow up in a large city, it’s completely understandable not to have heard of Korean food served in a tortilla. But St. Louis native David Choi is trying to change that, one taco at a time.

Choi and his business partner Andy Heck are the owners of the Seoul Taco food truck, which serves traditional Korean food with a Mexican twist. The truck serves traditional Korean food, such as bulgogi (literally, “fire meat”) and spicy pork, on a taco or inside a quesadilla. Seoul Taco is only in its third month and makes a weekly stop at Wash. U. on Thursdays.

HyunA Ranked 17th on Under-21 Billboard Chart
Billboard.com

Nineteen-year-old South Korean pop singer HyunA got her start with pop girl group Wonder Girls in 2007. After overcoming health issues, she left the group to become lead rapper and vocalist of 4Minute and embarked on her own solo career. But HyunA’s career really took off when she became the star of her own show.

2010 saw the debut of her first single “Change,” and in July of 2011 she released her first mini-album “Bubble Pop!,” the video for which was deemed “too sexy” for some Korean TV outlets. The controversial star displays a sexiness and stage presence far beyond her years, and is well on her way to becoming one of the key faces of the global K-Pop movement. HyunA, now a fixture in South Korean pop culture, is set to perform on the Korean version of “Dancing With the Stars” in June 2012.

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Friday's Link Attack: Rhea Suh, Adoptee Artist, Chef Tai Lee

Suh says Korean Americans are ‘bridge builders’ between two nations
Yonhap

Making her first trip to South Korea in a decade, Rhea S. Suh, who handles a $12 billion budget at the Department of the Interior, says she is bringing a message of hope for ethnic Koreans in foreign nations.

“I am going to focus on basically my personal experience as a Korean American, and specifically on the fact that my experience as both a Korean and as a American, I think, gives me a unique opportunity to think about how we can build stronger relationships with one another because of the fact that we have been able to for so long live within two cultures simultaneously,” she said Thursday in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at her office in Washington.

President Obama praises Fremont high school student
KTVU via Yahoo News

President Obama recognized the achievements of a Bay Area teenager Wednesday in his annual back-to-school speech.

Will Kim, as student in Mission San Jose High School in Fremont said getting a shout-out from the president came as a “big surprise.”

I heard “The White House called and I was stunned,” Kim said.

Kim is the founder of the nonprofit Happy Day Microfunds, a website which helps student entrepreneurs.

Artist tackles adoption, racism in new show
Minnesota Public Radio

Dana Weiser has put up with a lot. Take for example, this experience:

I was in the elevator by myself with this man, and he said “I just have to ask – where are you from? Are you Chinese? Japanese?” He listed off all these Asian countries, and I said ‘no’ to each of them until finally he said “what’s left?” I told him “I’m Korean.” He leaned in and smelled me and said “where’s the kimchi?”

Q&A With Chef Tai Lee, Winner of Food Network’s America’s Favorite Food Truck
8Asians

Chef Tai Lee, the recent winner of America’s Favorite Food Truck, is a Korean American who came to the States when he was 13 years old. He moved to College Station and attended Texas A&M University and graduated with Finance Degree. Tai started his culinary career even before he graduated from college. When he was in college, he worked at a local sushi bar and eventually became an Executive Sushi Chef.

Korean Choi finds home on Nebraska’s offensive line
CBSSports.com

There’s a lot that college football fans didn’t know about Choi three weeks ago. Like that he used to train with his father, a collegiate judoka and retired police officer, and that he had kept his athleticism from his days as a pitcher. Or that at Lincoln Christian, and later Nebraska, he became a weight-room junkie, going from struggling to bench press the bar to regularly putting up 400 pounds.

Nobody could have known that Choi would start again last Saturday at Wyoming or that offensive coordinator Tim Beck would call his number again and again, asking him to pull on a simple toss play that made up a good chunk of running back Rex Burkhead’s career-best 170 yards on 15 carries.

Is Hines Ward a Hall of Fame receiver?
ESPN.com

Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward needs 16 yards receiving to surpass Hall of Fame receiver Don Maynard for 20th in NFL history, another milestone that could help his future campaign for Canton. In his 14th season, Ward has totaled 11,819 yards receiving.

Connected, Yes. Competitive, Maybe.
New York Times

Speed is an obsession here. A common restaurant order is “the fastest dish.” Airline passengers, eager to disembark, crowd the aisles with luggage while the plane is still taxiing. Hordes of “quick service men,” equipped with map-reading, order-tracking smartphones, zip across the city on their motorbikes 24 hours a day carrying packages and running errands.

Koreans’ ppalli-ppalli, or “hurry-hurry,” penchant — a trait more evident in Seoul than anywhere else — helps explain why South Koreans consider broadband Internet a virtual birthright and why the nation’s three telecommunications firms wage a do-or-die competition to expand and improve their networks.

No Rest for the Wired
New York Times

Here, at virtually every street corner stands a “PChttp://iamkoream.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=22220&action=edit bang,” a rabbit warren of high-speed Internet connectivity where youngsters sit facing rows of desktop monitors aglow with online games. Here, more than 8 in every 10 homes are linked to broadband Internet cables. Every motel room comes with a complimentary desktop with high-speed Internet. Every subway car has a wireless connection, allowing passengers to pay bills, watch soap operas, and meet many other everyday needs — all on their smartphones.

North Korea’s ‘Dear Young General’ Has Made His Mark
New York Times

It is a telling sign of who is the rising star in North Korea: state-run television showing octogenarian party secretaries bowing to a man their grandchildren’s age before accepting the smiling young man’s handshake or kowtowing to his instructions.

Kim Jong-il’s Grandson Goes to Int’l School in Bosnia
Chosun Ilbo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s grandson Han-sol has enrolled in the United World College in Mostar in Bosnia, a local newspaper reported Wednesday. UWCiM is an international school established in 2006 “with an explicit aim to contribute to the reconstruction of a post-conflict society.”

Patient kills dentist over ‘unsatisfactory’ treatment
Korea Times

An arrest warrant was sought Thursday for a man on charges of killing a dentist for “unsatisfactory” dental work.

The 30 year-old man, surnamed Kim, killed his 56 year-old dentist, surnamed Yoo, at around 7 p.m. Wednesday at a dental clinic in Osan, Gyeonggi Province, according to the Hwasung Dongbu Police Station.

Kim, after receiving the first treatment at Yoo’s dental clinic last May to remove tartar from his teeth, continued to visit the dentist two to three times afterwards as his teeth smarted after the work. Despite Kim’s complaints, Yoo said that the treatment was done properly and refused to provide additional medical care.

Death of delivery man moves nation
Korea Herald

The death of a Chinese food delivery man who regularly donated a portion of his small salary to help the needy is touching the heart of the nation.

People he barely knew have attended his funeral, expressing condolence. They praised him for carrying out the spirit of sharing despite living on a shoestring budget.

Kim Woo-su, 54, died Sunday, two days after his motorcycle collided with a car while on a delivery run. Though Kim scratched a living as a delivery man of a small Chinese restaurant, he had given part of his salary to children in need through Child Fund Korea since 2006. He had earned 700,000 won ($600) a month from the restaurant in the southern Seoul town of Ilwon.

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Newspaper Confirms Release of South Korean Journalists in China
New York Times

China has released five South Koreans, including three journalists, who were detained while on a reporting trip along China’s border with North Korea last week, a spokesman for the reporters’ newspaper said on Thursday.

Bibimbap: The next generation
CNNGo

For Seoulites craving some variation on their traditional bowl of bibimbap, these three creative innovations new to the scene serve up a culinary adventure.

Glee: Asian F
YouTube

The Case for Food Aid to North Korea

As the North Korean food crisis rises to critical levels, the Korea Policy Institute invites the public to an urgent briefing on to take place tomorrow at the Korean Peace Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.

David Austin, the director of the North Korean program of Mercy Corps, one of five US NGOs that furnish humanitarian food relief to North Korea, will offer an on-the-ground assessment of acute malnutrition and starvation in North Korea following this summer’s typhoon and floods.

Austin, who is featured in an interview that ran in the September issue of KoreAm, will outline the case for responsible, monitored food aid to the most vulnerable in North Korea and will explain the methods that insure delivery rather than diversion. Austin will also answer questions regarding one of the most challenging foreign policy issues facing the Obama administration today.

What: North Korea Food Aid Briefing
Where: Korean Peace Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles
3200 Wilshire Blvd., S. Tower, Ste. 1310.
When: Thursday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m.

Acutely malnourished boy in critical condition with his mother in a pediatric ward at a county hospital in North Hwanghae in North Korea. Photo taken September 2011.

Wednesday's Link Attack: Kim Jong-un, NK Death Camps, Danji Restaurant

New Kim Jong Eun Film for the Troops
Daily NK

A documentary film glorifying the achievements of Kim Jong Eun is being shown to soldiers in North Korea, part of ongoing efforts to burnish the image of the successor and establish his power base.

Kim, a 28-year old male in the middle of his military service near Nampo in South Pyongan Province revealed the news to The Daily NK today, saying, “They have been showing us the documentary film ‘One Year under the Banner of the Supreme Leader’ since the start of September.”

The expression ‘supreme leader’ lends weight to the supposition that Kim Jong Eun’s takeover of power in the military sector is proceeding well, although it is clearly very early to be producing such propaganda.

Inside Kim Jong-il’s Death Camps
FrontPage Mag

Clearly detailed satellite photos released by the South Korean government reveal a rapidly growing network of six slave-labor camps, home to more than 200,000 North Koreans, one-third of whom are believed to be children.

Located in the rugged, isolated mountain terrain of central North Korea, the gulags are the repository for those unfortunate North Koreans who have committed perceived “political offenses” against the despotic regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong​ ll.

The prison system is divided into areas called “Total Control Zones,” from which no prisoners are ever released. As such, these camps hold up to three generations of North Koreans, many of whom have been born into permanent captivity.

Separated families in Washington
Korea Times

This article was written in support of a documentary made by amateur filmmakers Jason Ahn and Eugene Chung called “Divided Families” about Korean Americans with relatives living in North Korea.

My dad was 16 years old in Pyongyang the last time he saw his mother and baby sister. He is now 78 and living in New Jersey, more than 6,000 miles and 60 years away from his family.

When he left Pyongyang, following the steps of the retreating U.N. forces during the Korean War, he couldn’t have imagined that he would never see his family again. The separation was to be only for a few days, just to avoid the initial onslaught of the communist forces who were sweeping down.

Danji Brings Bargain Korean, Great Tartare to Broadway: Review
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Danji is still something of a work in progress, and that’s okay given the prices.

Does [Chef Hooni] Kim’s yellowtail with jalapeno have that same signature sting as at Gari? No, but the fish has a fresh oceanic oiliness.

Korean fried chicken is famous for its addictive, phyllo- like crust. Here, the so-called “KFC” wings are closer to any respectable version around town.

Bossam, braised pig with cabbage wraps, doesn’t have the same chewy skin as Momofuku’s $200 version — hardly a deal breaker since the sharable dish is $18 here. Avoid pork belly buns, whose natural high-fat levels are sent into overdrive with a slick of mayo. And kimchi paella is unappealingly mushy.

And yet beef tartare, sold-out on three of four visits, is one of the city’s best. Toasted pine nuts, sesame oil and pear add sensuous fruit to a dice of raw beef.

‘The Crucible’ Brings Demons of Child Molestation Case Back to Life
Chosun Ilbo

A slew of sex crimes against children with disabilities that took place from 2000 to 2005 at a special institute for deaf youngsters remain unsolved six years after they were first brought to light, sparking anger among social groups.

Author Gong Ji-young in 2009 published a novel inspired by the case that reignited public interest in it. Now a new film adaptation is once again stirring controversy among viewers, who are calling for the case to be reinvestigated.

Chevy drivers at GM Korea set Guinness World Record with vehicle logo
CNET

In preparation for Chevrolet’s centennial celebration, set for November 3, 2011, GM Korea gathered 1,143 of its customers in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, to create the largest Chevrolet bow tie and set a new Guinness World Record.

The motorcar mosaic was made up of Spark, Aveo, Cruze, Orlando and Captiva models and measured 688 feet (209.9 meters) in length and 221 feet (67.6 meters). The design was recognized as the Largest Car Logo.

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Tuesday's Link Attack: Tablo, Racist Bake Sale, Brian Joo

UC Berkeley GOP student bake sale is mean-spirited [COLUMN]
San Francisco Chronicle

A Republican student group at U.C. Berkeley recently hosted a “race-based bake sale” on campus to protest pending California legislation which would factor in race and gender into college admissions. Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson weighs in:

Their point that government and justice should be color blind and that no individual – or group – should receive a leg-up in any public competition is a legitimate issue. But they didn’t go about making their point in an effective way.

If enrollment was based solely on scholastic merit – and did not include financial concerns – it would soon be white students clamoring for affirmative action alongside other “disadvantaged” groups. Consider this: Asian freshman students at UC Berkeley in 2010 made up 46 percent of the student body, while white freshman students constituted 32 percent. And those figures come after a 9 percent drop in enrollment among Asian students.

The ensuing controversy prompted by the bake sale has pretty much assured the group of special notice at Sproul Plaza, where student groups, political extremists and religious zealots set up shop to expound on their world views daily.

Epik High’s Tablo Signs Exclusive Contract with YG
soompi.com

Daniel Lee a.k.a. Tablo looks to be getting his life back together following a harrowing cyber-bulling experience.

Epik High’s rapper extraordinaire Tablo has grasped hands with YG’s Yang Hyun Suk.

YG Entertainment has announced on Sept. 27, “Tablo has signed an exclusive 4-year contract with YG Entertainment and will be dropping his first official solo album on Nov. 1.”

Through this event, Tablo will break out from his 2-year hiatus that occurred when an academic controversy sparked around him. This contract has been known to be a solo contract that doesn’t involve Epik High.

Police Seek New Leads in Unsolved Murder
Patch.com (Fairfax City, Va.)

One year ago this October, a prominent local businessman found murdered in his Fairfax Station home, dead of trauma to the upper body. Over the past year, detectives have searched for new leads, but to date the murder of Yong Suk Yun is still unsolved.

Yun owned the Dr. Wash Carwash on Route 50 in Chantilly, and another in Georgia. He was well-known in the Korean-American community was also a member of the Korean-American Association of Virginia.

North Koreans abroad said to face poison-needle attacks
Los Angeles Times

Three times in recent weeks, activists opposing the regime of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il have been targeted for assassination by well-trained agents wielding poisoned needles, fellow activists allege.

A 46-year-old South Korean pastor living in Dandong, a Chinese city near the North Korean border, was found unconscious in the street — his face and fingers badly discolored — and died.

The following afternoon in the Chinese city of Yanji, a South Korean involved with missionary work was standing at a traffic light when he felt a pinprick in his lower back. As he collapsed to the sidewalk, he heard a man muttering behind him in Chinese, “Sorry, sorry.” He survived the apparent attack.

Initially, the stories about North Korean assassins wielding poison needles sounded improbable, but the activists gained some support for their charges this month when South Korean intelligence announced that it had foiled an attack in Seoul in which the intended weapon was a poisoned needle. The target in that case was Park Sung-hak, an activist who had launched balloons into North Korea carrying anti-regime leaflets.

Stars come to support Brian Joo in “RENT”
allkpop

Actress Yunjin Kim of Lost fame and others came out to support Korean American singer Brian Joo, who is starring in the Korean version of Rent.

A mother’s lesson: Country living inspires the wife to learn mother’s traditional kimchee
Chicago Tribune

Chef Christine Lee makes a trip back to the mother land to discover the joys of country living.

Former top [South Korean] presidential aide arrested
Yonhap

State prosecutors arrested a former senior presidential secretary on Wednesday after a Seoul court approved an arrest warrant, dealing a blow to the Lee Myung-bak administration, which has been struggling to fight against corruption in its final years.

Kim Du-woo, who served as Lee’s senior secretary for public affairs, is accused of taking bribes from an indicted lobbyist for a Busan-based savings bank on the verge of bankruptcy.

Seoul’s 5 best barbecue joints
CNNGo

In Seoul, it can be a daunting task to choose from the staggering number of gogi-jip (literally, “meat houses”) that sit on almost every street.

Whether it’s a casual after-work dinner with colleagues, an unusual sogeting or after-clubbing munchies at 3 a.m., these five best barbecue places in Seoul are where sophisticated foodies go to grill some quality beef, Korean-style.

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Shanghai Subway Accident Injures Hundreds
New York Times

Hundreds of people were injured Tuesday when a subway train slammed into the rear of another train in a sprawling transit line that had opened just last year in Shanghai. The accident cast new scrutiny on the safety record of China’s rapidly modernizing mass transit rail systems.

Monday's Link Attack: Chris Jeon, Michelle Wie, Bae Doona

Living with Libyan rebels: U.S. student’s story
CBS News

UCLA student Chris Jeon appeared on CBS’ “The Early Show” to talk about his experience with Libyan rebels.

“The first day there,’ Jeon continued, “was actually a desert skirmish. Artillery would hit the ground, and they would come up to me and feel my heartbeat to see if I was scared. And of course, it was pounding; they would laugh at me, but I didn’t run away. They called me ‘Braveheart,’ and I think after that, they realized that I was there seriously, and I wouldn’t back down or anything; they actually took me into the barracks after the first day and I slept with them.”

Jeon also appeared on CNN.

Europe Wins Solheim Cup
AP via ESPN.com

Europe won the Solheim Cup for the first time since 2003 on Sunday, finishing powerfully to beat the United States 15-13 at Killeen Castle.

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen turned the momentum Europe’s way when she recovered from 1 down with birdies at the last three holes to beat Michelle Wie by one hole.

A trek across South Korea filled with ‘small joys’
Los Angeles Times

The hill appeared out of the mist, taunting me. Soaked in sweat and an entire day’s rain, lugging a 40-pound backpack, I could hardly see through my fogged-up lenses. But what I could see, I didn’t like.

Seven hours earlier, I had started a solo walk across my native land, dreaming of seeing the real South Korea. It was nearly dark when I reached the imposing hill. What lay on the other side — more forest? I had to find someplace to stay for the night, but where? Then, a tougher question: Could I handle the real thing?

I had left South Korea in 2002, when I was 16, to study in the U.S. I loved the English language and wanted to be surrounded by it.

In all, I spent seven years in Washington state, always thinking of how hard my family worked to pay for my college education.

Whenever I felt homesick, I’d visit my school’s East Asia library and read Korean books. The written Korean language was a big comfort, but what I loved most were the travel books that described the beauty and mystery of the landscape, people and culture.

Body Recovered From Lake Congamond
NBC Connecticut

The body of a 44 year old man has been recovered from Lake Congamond, Police said. The man has been identified as Dong Soo Kim of Springfield, Mass.

Crews were called to the scene around noon on Saturday after witnesses said Kim’s daughter fell overboard while boating. Kim jumped in after her but never resurfaced.

Officials at the scene said the daughter was pulled from the water by nearby boaters and given CPR. She was taken to an area hospital.

N. Korean heir apparent cements status: S. Korea
AFP via Google News

The son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has cemented his status as leader-in-waiting through frequent field trips with his ailing father, the South’s unification ministry said Monday.

Kim Jong-Un has accompanied his father 100 times, or on two-thirds, of his trademark “field guidance” trips, since he was confirmed as leader-in-waiting a year ago, the ministry said in a report.

Bae Doo-na Ice Cool Ahead of Hollywood Debut
Chosun Ilbo

All it took was a video call and a short home movie, and the Wachowski brothers — the brains behind “The Matrix” trilogy — were sold on actress Bae Doo-na.

The Wachowskis had been looking around for someone to fill a role in their upcoming movie, “Cloud Atlas,” which has a star-studded cast including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Hugo Weaving.

Blowing the cobwebs off Korea’s heritage
Yonhap

Korea’s history offers it all — kingdoms rise and fall, wars smolder and blaze, religions wax and wane, orthodoxies are established and questioned. Across this colorful tapestry royals strut, heroes ride, rebels plot and villains scuttle.

Why then, is English language presentation of so many traditional Korean heritage assets so unremittingly dull?

Adoptee becomes first Korean to reach French Senate
Yonhap

A South Korean adoptee won a seat in the French Senate in the country’s parliamentary election on Sunday, becoming the first ethnic Korean to advance to France’s top political body.

Jean-Vincent Place, 43, who was adopted by a French family in the 1970s and grew to become a politician, was elected as a French senator after running in a constituency of the province of Ile de France on the leftist Green Party ticket.

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Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone
Time.com

On a wet Wednesday evening in Seoul, six government employees gather at the office to prepare for a late-night patrol. The mission is as simple as it is counterintuitive: to find children who are studying after 10 p.m. And stop them.

In South Korea, it has come to this. To reduce the country’s addiction to private, after-hours tutoring academies (called hagwons), the authorities have begun enforcing a curfew — even paying citizens bounties to turn in violators.

Way Home by Erick Oh
Vimeo