S. Korea keeps wary eye on talks between N. Korea, Japan
South Korea has been keeping a wary eye on upcoming government-level talks between North Korea and Japan amid concerns that the diplomatic re-engagement between Pyongyang and Tokyo comes without any progress in efforts to denuclearize the North, two South Korean diplomats said Monday.
North Korea and Japan will reopen government-level talks in Beijing on Sunday for the first time in more than a year for discussions on a range of issues, including the North’s abduction of more than a dozen Japanese citizens decades ago.
The move comes as unpredictable North Korea is making a hawkish-dovish approach to the outside the world, while pushing ahead with nuclear and missile programs despite international sanctions.
Suicide Attempt Adds Another Twist to Korea Spy Scandal
Wall Street Journal
A South Korean intelligence officer attempted suicide on Saturday, marking another twist in the escalating spy scandal that has gripped the country in recent months.
The agent, identified only by his surname Kwon, was found unconscious in his car in a Seoul suburb, according to a fire department official, whose team first reached the site. Coal ash was found inside the car, in what appeared to be an attempt at carbon monoxide poisoning.
A spokesman for the National Intelligence Service on Monday confirmed Mr. Kwon’s suicide attempt and his hospitalization.
N.Korean Propaganda Against the South Is Failing
North Korean textbooks describe South Korea as a “fascist, military dictatorship” filled with “poverty and starvation,” but fewer and fewer North Koreans are buying the propaganda.
◆ “Living Hell”
North Korean textbooks teach that South Korea is dominated by “foreign powers” that trample on the Korean people and “taint” its history, language and way of life. A book of writings purportedly by former leader Kim Jong-il describes the South as a “living hell” dominated by the “terror and repression” of the U.S.
The North also teaches students that the U.S. must be driven out and South Korea liberated. Textbooks say U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea “fire guns in broad daylight, plunder homes and rape women.” There are also rumors that North Korean defectors have their “eyes gouged out and limbs severed” if they go to South Korea.
‘I’d Been Brainwashed’: The North Korean Defector Living In London
Kim Joo Il, 39, served eight years in the North Korean army. In 2005, after realizing his country wasn’t quite the paradise he’d been led to believe it was, he escaped the Hermit Kingdom by swimming to China. He now lives in London, where he’s the vice president of the Association of Korean Residents in Europe, works with North Korean refugees, and raises awareness about the North Korean regime’s human-rights violations. I recently caught up with him, and this is what he told me about life in his native country.
When I heard Kim Il-sung had died, I was near the 38th parallel [the DMZ between North and South Korea]. There was no electricity in North Korea that day, but I was so near the South Korean border that I heard them announce his death over the loudspeakers. I thought to myself, That’s bullshit—he’s not dead. How can the Great Leader be dead? He’s immortal.
It was impossible to imagine. I cried. We all did. Every morning, soldiers would line up to put flowers on his memorial, and we were all crying, crying, crying. Everyone was saying, “How can we survive, how will we live, what’s our destiny, now that our leader has gone?” If you’re brainwashed, that’s how you think.
Obamacare: Asian-Americans sign up in droves; Latinos disproportionately stay away
San Jose Mercury News
You’ve heard about the achievement gap, the wide disparity in educational performance between disadvantaged minorities and the rest of the student population.
Now comes the insurance gap, and in California it’s playing out most notably in the number of Latinos and Asian-Americans signing up for private health plans under the new health care law.
Of the nearly 700,000 people who enrolled in a health plan as of Feb. 28 through the Covered California health insurance exchange and identified their ethnicity, 23.1 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander. Twenty-two percent were Latino.
But the statistics are startling when you consider that Latinos make up 38.2 percent of California’s population and Asians just 13.7 percent.
GROUPON seems to be confused. The American e-commerce company, best known for its “flash sales”, recently announced it would soon shutter its Korean subsidiary. Despite vigorous marketing since it entered South Korea’s thriving e-commerce market in 2011, Groupon Korea has remained a laggard behind the three big domestic rivals: TicketMonster—Korea’s first “social” e-commerce provider, launched in 2010—Coupang and WeMakePrice.
The decision to close its Korean subsidiary comes only a couple of months after Groupon bought TicketMonster (known locally as T-Mon, pictured) for $260m—making South Korea Groupon’s second-largest market outside America. Yet the two moves have a common root: the withdrawal is proof of how hard it is to crack the Korean e-commerce market—and the acquisition shows the best way how to go about it.
Groupon is not the only Western internet firm that has lost out to local champions and given up in recent years. In 2012 Yahoo stopped producing content for the Korean market, after years of trailing behind Naver and Daum, two home-bred search engines. Google accounts for a measly 4% of searches there. Auction, Gmarket and 11st Street, Korean hybrids of Amazon and eBay, do far better than its Western models. EBay was the first to take radical action: in 2009 it bought Gmarket for $1.2 billion. Groupon, too, plans to learn from T-Mon, its South Korean acquisition.
South Korea Will Finally File a Complaint About Kim Yu-Na’s Silver Medal
With World Championships of figure skating beginning on Monday, South Korean Olympic Committee has said that it will file a complaint to the International Skating Union about an alleged breach of the code of ethics during the ladies competition at the Sochi Olympics. It’s a complaint the Koreans are afraid they’ll be punished for.
The complaint named judges Alla Shekhovtseva of Russia and Yuri Balkov of Ukraine. Shekhovtseva is married to the head of the Russian figure skating organization and was the judge seen hugging gold medal winner Adelina Sotnikova moments after the competition, and Balkov, who allegedly has ties to Moscow, was suspended for trying to fix a result during the 1998 Olympics. Both judges scored the ladies free skating competition, which saw Sotnikova receive the highest scores of her life and Kim Yu-na a silver medal free skate that many experts say was underscored.
The KOC and Korean Skating Union are asking for a thorough investigation of the judging composition and whether it was biased toward Sotnikova. And they filed the complaint knowing that it might result in retaliation. “We had to be very careful since an appeal or a complaint could strain relationships with international judges and bring disadvantages to our players in international games,” a KOC official said on Friday.
‘Auburn is my No. 1,’ says 4-star offensive lineman Kaleb Kim
Offensive lineman Kaleb Kim of Hoschton, Ga., named Auburn his favorite school on Saturday and hopes to make his commitment when spring practices end in May, reports 247Sports.
“Auburn is my No. 1,” Kim said after watching practice during his third visit to Auburn Saturday. “I liked what Coach (J.B.) Grimes is doing, and his intensity. I was standing by him the whole time. He gets after it. He’s intense. Face to face, he’s the nicest guy, but on the field it’s all business and he’ll get after you and I like that.”
The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder added Georgia is his second favorite school. He also holds offers from Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida State and Ohio State, among others.
Liverpool and Chelsea battle to land Barca wonderkid striker
Daily Star (U.K.)
Reports in Spain claim that both title chasing teams want to sign the young striker to his first professional contract.
Both clubs have been successful in snaffling up other promising cadets from the Nou Camp, but will have to move fast if they want to do the same with Woo Lee.
The youngster is understood to be close to completing a deal with Barcelona, who has also been offered bumper deals from the English teams.
Barcelona are known to have lost several of their most promising stars to their European rivals in recent years, with Julio Pleguezuelo, Josimar and Canos leaving Spain to join Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.
Seoul Restaurants’ Missing Ingredient: Chefs
Wall Street Journal
Korean cuisine arouses so much national pride that some South Koreans reach into their own pockets to advertise a single dish on major U.S. newspapers. So why are South Korean restaurants often ignored by food critics?
Hooni Kim, owner and chef of New York’s Danji restaurant–one of the few Michelin-starred Korean restaurants–says Seoul’s food scene lacks a key ingredient: chef-owned Korean restaurants.
Many of South Korea’s family-owned, down-to-earth restaurants specialize in a single dish that are based on recipes laid down by family matriarchs, but don’t have chefs who create their own sauce base, according to Mr. Kim.
Crisis in Korea as younger generation abandons kimchi
Its unmistakable smell permeates Seoul subway carriages during the rush hour, and aficionados claim it is the healthiest food on the planet.
Once valued as a source of vitamin C before the arrival of refrigerators, kimchi now crops up on menus far from its birthplace on the Korean peninsula. The spicy, garlicky cabbage dish is to be found as a pizza topping and taco filling in the UK, Australia and the US, where the Obamas are said to be converts. Kimjang, the traditionally communal act of making kimchi, was recently awarded world cultural heritage status by Unesco.
But despite its growing popularity in restaurants from Los Angeles to London, South Korea’s national dish is in crisis in its country of origin. To kimchi’s basic ingredients of napa cabbage, garlic, seasoning and copious amounts of chili powder, we can now add a trade war with China and fears of lasting damage to Korean cultural identity.
Inside South Korea’s Coolest Military Theme Park
This is the Wanju Military Theme Park in South Korea. If only more video game first-person shooters were this colorful!P
The self-described “military theme park” is an airsoft pellet gun map that uses the GunPower system. According to YouTube user Ds4odk, this system employs wireless BB detectors—one on the front, one on the back, one of the helmet, and one on the face goggles. Hits are signaled by LED light and electronic sound feedback, and kills are then registered on a central computer, and this particular map has closed circuit cameras.P
Do note that the “SF Special Force” logos throughout might be nod to online shooter Special Force, which is, as tipster Sang points out, called Soldier Front in the States.
BBC Apologizes Over Undercover Trip to North Korea
Wall Street Journal
A high-profile British Broadcasting Corporation documentary shot during an undercover trip to North Korea last year has ended with criticism from the public broadcaster’s oversight committee and an apology from the broadcaster.
John Sweeney, the reporter behind the BBC’s “Panorama: North Korea Undercover” program, joined an eight-day tour of North Korea early last year with students from the London School of Economics, posing as a doctoral student.
Mr. Sweeney, who made the trip with his wife, Tomiko Newson, who was also the trip organizer and a producer of the program, and a cameraman, were shown the major sights in Pyongyang and taken for excursions in nearby Nampho and the Demilitarized Zone.
Abductee’s daughter is favorite of Kim’s sister
Korea JoongAng Daily
The daughter of Megumi Yokota, a Japanese woman abducted to North Korea in 1977, is working with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, and is being protected by the ruling dynasty, a South Korean activist working on abductee matters said yesterday.
Kim Un-gyong, the only daughter of the Japanese abductee to North Korea, works alongside the newly prominent sister at “a core organization” in Pyongyang, according to Choi Sung-yong, head of the Representative of the Abductees’ Family Union, a South Korean civic group working for the release of abductees in the reclusive state.
“Kim Un-gyong is a member of the top elite in North Korea, working with Kim Yo-jong in the same department,” Choi told the Korea JoongAng Daily by phone. “As far as I know, they are the same age.”
N.Korean Defectors Ambivalent About Life in the South
Many North Korean defectors in South Korea are satisfied enough with their life in the South to bring their family over but feel that fierce competition and discrimination are hard to overcome. Their feelings remain ambivalent even after a considerable time spent living here.
Pundits say this failure to integrate fully into South Korean society must be addressed before reunification.
In a survey by the Chosun Ilbo of 200 North Korean defectors at the end of January, 71.5 percent said they are satisfied with their life in the South, compared to 22.5 percent who said neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 4.5 percent who are not satisfied.
U.S. keeps pressing N. Korea to change first, with Chinese envoy in Pyongyang
As a top Chinese envoy on North Korea began an unexpected visit to Pyongyang, the U.S. government on Monday reaffirmed its willingness to engage constructively with Pyongyang.
But Washington continued to press Pyongyang to show its seriousness about dialogue through action, not rhetoric.
“The ball is in North Korea’s court,” Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the State Department, told reporters via conference call on a snowy day.
North Korea should live up to its commitments to denuclearization, and adhere to its international obligations as well as deal peacefully with its neighbors and refrain from provocations, she said.
KAL Bomber Sparks Controversy With Malaysia Airlines Comments
Wall Street Journal
News Y, a South Korean cable-news channel, sparked controversy on Monday by inviting a former North Korean agent responsible for the bombing of a Korean Air flight in 1987 to discuss the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Shin Yul, a politics professor at Myongji University in Seoul, invited Kim Hyun-hee on his program, Fair and Square, to share her thoughts on what might have happened to the Malaysian plane.
“I think it is likely that the plane went down while terrorists were trying to hijack it,” she said. Sporting a blue jacket, the bespectacled Ms. Kim said calmly that “in the case of KAL incident, parts and debris, like rubber boats and life jackets, appeared nearly 15 days after it exploded.”
Park likely to announce detailed unification plan with N. Korea during German visit
President Park Geun-hye is likely to announce more detailed policy ideas on her push to achieve unification with North Korea during her planned visit to Germany later in the month, sources said Sunday.
Park is scheduled to pay a four-day visit to Germany on March 25 to meet with President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as those who are well versed in Germany’s unification experience there.
The sources said that Park may announce what could be named the “Park Geun-hye Doctrine” or the “Park Geun-hye Unification Declaration,” capitalizing on her visit to the country that succeed in unifying East and West Germany.
“As Germany has achieved its unification earlier and turned the experience into a foundation for the building of its international reputation, Park may possibly lay out her idea of ‘unification as a jackpot’ in more detail during the Germany visit,” one of the government sources said.
South Korea’s Governors of Northern Provinces Don’t—And Never Will—Govern
Wall Street Journal
Mr. Park [Yong-ok], 71 years old, was one of five governors assigned by South Korea to head provinces in North Korea—appointments that Seoul has made since the division of the Korean peninsula after World War II.
It may sound about as likely as having a Mexican governor of Texas, but it is part of Seoul’s continued claim—written into the South Korean constitution—to be the legitimate government of the entire Korean peninsula.
In South Korea, the governors spend much of their time in a cavernous, white five-story government building in the foothills of Mount Bukhan in northern Seoul, the official home for the Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces, a body set up by South Korean President Syngman Rhee in 1949.
36 Koreans attend foster home orientation in L.A
Korea Times LA
Korean children in need of foster homes with Korean families may soon be getting their chance.
Thirty-six interested Koreans attended an orientation on providing foster homes for Korean children, held jointly by Korean American Family Services (KFAM) and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), on March 15.
The orientation, which was the first step in a program designed to help families obtain foster home licenses, awarded certificates of completion to those in attendance.
Spotlight on Hyphen Hero Eugene Ryu, Head of KABANC Free Legal Clinics
Many successful people donate money to charitable organizations. Fewer, however, give of their most precious resource: their time.
Eugene Ryu, partner at the prestigious employment law firm Littler Mendelson, gives plenty of both. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California (KABANC) for over five years, where he leads the pro-bono committee that organizes a free law clinic twice a year.
“We help everybody,” says Ryu. “But originally, the clinic was focused on the first-generation, elderly Korean community who were having language difficulties.”
In its early days, the clinic primarily addressed immigration issues. Today, clients of all ethnicities walk in with other legal questions ranging from family law to small business practices — including hopeful entrepreneurs trying to launch start-ups.
Korean American poet shares life story
As many first-generation immigrants will attest, assimilating into a new culture is fraught with challenges ranging from communication problems to homesickness.
For Korean-American Choi Yearn-hong, poetry has always been the best way to forget such hardships.
Choi, founding president of the Korean-American Poets’ Group, says he will never stop writing because, “Poetry is the best way for improving intercultural communication.
Olympic medalists, world champs to perform at Kim Yu-na’s farewell ice shows
Olympic medalists and world champions will perform at South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na’s final ice shows this spring, the skater’s agency said Tuesday.
According to All That Sports, Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the men’s singles, and Alexei Yagudin of Russia, the 2002 Olympic gold medalist and the four-time world champ in the men’s singles, will headline the star-studded cast.
Kim, who retired from competition after last month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will hold her farewell ice shows in Seoul from May 4 to 6.
Other medalists from Sochi will take the ice here in May, the agency said. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia, the gold medal-winning duo in the pairs, will be joined by the bronze medalists in the same event, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany.
On the Line: Eddie Choi of Milk + Honey, Part Two
Hardest lesson you’ve learned.
Never be lazy. Do what you got to do, and don’t move it to tomorrow. There’s always consequences to what you do, good or bad.
Last song playing on your radio:
Foster the People, Coming of Age.
For a small space, Milk + Honey has fantastic atmosphere. Who designed the patio?
The frame of the patio and plants were designed by the landlord of the mall. He is a designer.
Korean Bakery Chain Triumphs in Manhattan
A recently opened store of Paris Baguette in Manhattan is recording profits despite gloomy predictions that it was a flagship outlet too far.
SPC Group, the operator of the bakery chain, said on Monday that the outlet opened last Friday in an upscale neighborhood of 70th Street and daily sales have been surpassing overall costs.
It is unprecedented for a Korean bakery to put up good performance downtown in a major U.S. city. The group said its two other stores in Manhattan that opened last fall, on 40th Street and 50th Street are also posting profits.
Thousands Mourn Fallen LAPD Officer Nicholas Lee
Korea Times US
Hundreds of mourners, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gov. Jerry Brown, gathered on Thursday to pay tribute to Los Angeles police Officer Nicholas Choung Lee, who was killed when his patrol car was struck by a dump truck.
Lee, 40, died at the scene of the crash, which occurred around 8 a.m. Friday near Robert Lane and Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills, about one block across the city line. His partner, who was just three months out of the police academy, was hospitalized and released Saturday night. The two were responding to an “unknown trouble” call when the crash occurred.
An investigation into the crash is continuing, but Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said last week the initial indication appears to be that the truck, which wound up on its side after striking the patrol car, may have lost its brakes.
Japan Prime Minister Says He Will Not Revise 1993 Apology to ‘Comfort Women’
New York Times
Moving to defuse a heated diplomatic dispute over World War II-era history, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday that his government would not revise a landmark 1993 apology to women forced to work in Japanese military brothels.
It was the first time since taking office more than a year ago that Mr. Abe has explicitly stated that his right-wing administration would uphold the official apology, known as the Kono Statement. That statement, issued by Yohei Kono, then the chief cabinet secretary, admitted that Japan’s military played at least an indirect role in forcing the so-called comfort women to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.
“I am deeply pained to think of the comfort women who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering, a feeling I share equally with my predecessors,” Mr. Abe told Parliament. Referring to the Kono Statement, the prime minister said, “The Abe cabinet has no intention to review it.”
N. Korean defectors who once settled in S. Korea face deportation from Canada
More than 600 North Korean defectors, who initially settled in South Korea, are on the verge of being deported from Canada while attempting to take refuge there, an informed source said Thursday.
The Canadian authorities accuse them of disguising themselves as those who just fled the communist nation, said the source from South Korean political circles.
They actually defected to the capitalist South and gained citizenship there, according to the source who is on a trip here after visiting Canada.
“The people with the nationality of South Korea, who fled North Korea, filed applications for a refugee status with the Canadian government. But their applications were rejected and they face deportation,” said the source.
South Korea to join search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane
South Korea has decided to send two military aircraft to join the international search and rescue operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Friday.
The country plans to send a P-3C Orion patrol aircraft and a C- 130 military transport airplane to carry out search and rescue tasks, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting the ministry.
It has also ordered 39 South Koreans from the military to depart for Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to join the international search and rescue efforts, Xinhua said.
Seoul counselors help curb suicide
Thirty counselors at the Seoul Suicide Prevention Center (SSPC) are on standby 24/7 in a fight to bring city’s suicide rate down.
“Suicide is not a disease. An impulse to kill can happen to anyone. When it happens to you, you need people to talk to. That’s what we are trying to do for the callers,” Choi Min-jung, an SSPC counselor, said.
The SSPC, launched in 2005, is under the supervision of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
This reporter spent two nights recently at the center, to observe the counselors’ work. The writer was not allowed to listen to callers for privacy reasons, but overheard counselors often begin the conversations with questions: “You seem angry. Would you mind sharing more about your feelings?”
Sex crimes against minors soars in recent years
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
The number of sex crimes against minors rose sharply in the past five years but more than 40 percent of convicted offenders were released on probation, government data showed Thursday.
According to the data by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the number of sex crimes, such as rape, indecent assault and brokering prostitution, against children and juveniles rose 52.7 percent from 1,068 cases in 2007 to 1,631 in 2012.
The findings are based on a research conducted by the state-run Korean Women’s Development Institute on supreme court cases of sex crimes against minors during the 2007-2012 period.
Korea-U.S. FTA Scorecard Shows Seoul the Bigger Winner
Wall Street Journal
The U.S.-South Korean free trade agreement marks its second anniversary Saturday.
The landmark deal, effective since March 15, 2012, helped boost bilateral trade. A question is which side benefits more? The answer is Seoul, not Washington, according to trade data in South Korea.
Bilateral trade has risen 4.1% for the past two years with the South Korean surplus—or the U.S. deficit—growing, show Seoul’s trade ministry data. The data show South Korea’s surplus in trade with the U.S. widening to $17 billion for the first year after the pact took effect and $20 billion for the second year—from $12 billion for a year before the deal.
Beneficiaries from the two-year free-trade pact include South Korean auto-parts suppliers, petroleum-goods producers and processed-food makers as well as U.S. pumping-machine manufacturers, pesticide producers and fruit growers—whose exports to the other side grew sharply.
68-year old Korean American man left brain-dead after falling accident may save up to six lives as an organ donor
Korea Times US
A 68-year-old Korean American man who was left brain-dead after a falling accident may save the lives of up to six people as an organ donor.
Jung Sang-gil was the owner of Dae Hung Refrigeration who lived in Los Angeles’ Koreatown for 28 years.
He was declared brain-dead after he fell from a ladder on March 6 while climbing onto a market rooftop located on James M. Wood Blvd. and Bonnie Brae St.
Jung was a giving person who had made it known that he would donate his organs if necessary, his family said. He died on Sunday after his family made the decision to follow his wishes. His liver and kidneys have been donated through surgery, and the hospital will use his lungs and other organs after testing them for compatibility.
‘Clergy Academy’ trains recruits on mental health
Southern California Public Radio
In immigrant circles, depression and other mental health issues often carry heavy stigma. Those in crisis may forgo treatment and instead seek help from one of the most trusted people in the community: the local clergy member.
But church leaders lack the training to treat mental health, and the help they provide is often restricted to the spiritual.
“They just say only, “Let’s pray.’ And that’s about it,” said Young Ahn, a mental health services coordinator for Los Angeles County.
To better equip faith leaders in immigrant communities, the county’s Department of Mental Health this year officially launched a program called ‘Clergy Academy.’ Pastors and clergy who go through the 12 courses earn a certificate.
Asian Americans nominated for key White House admin positions
Northwest Asian Weekly
President Obama announced on March 6 that he will nominate Nani A. Coloretti to be the Deputy Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Erika Lizabeth Moritsugu as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Coloretti is currently the Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a position she has held since November 2012. From 2009 to 2012, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget. Prior to joining the administration, Ms. Coloretti worked in the San Francisco mayor’s office from 2005 until 2009, most recently serving as budget director. She was a budget analyst for the Department of Public Safety in the state of Hawaii from 1991 to 1992.
Iron Man and Captain America Bound for Gangnam
Wall Street Journal
“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” by the U.S.’s Marvel Studios, will be filmed in Seoul, possibly as soon as this month.
The Korean Film Council told Korea Real Time that the government-supported agency, together with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, will sign a memorandum of understanding with Marvel Studios next Tuesday, when details about the location and timing of the shoot will be revealed.
Yonhap News Agency earlier reported that the Seoul Metropolitan Policy Agency had met with the relevant agencies on Wednesday to discuss possible traffic control and support for the shooting. According to the report, the movie will be filmed from March 30 until April 12 and various parts of the city, including the bustling Gangnam subway station, will be used as locations.
Examining the recruitment of Shin-Soo Choo
The Rangers made a big move in November trading for Prince Fielder. And, of course, there would be major ripple effects.
The deal came together so quickly that the Rangers didn’t get a chance to inform Ian Kinsler that he was leaving the team that drafted and developed him before Twitter was abuzz with the news.
General manager Jon Daniels closed the deal just before boarding a plane, but it required MLB approval. As is chronicled in an ESPN The Magazine story on Kinsler, the second baseman found out via text after news broke through social media. Daniels was 30,000 feet in the air, and before he could power on his Wi-Fi the blockbuster was national news.
Watch Roy Choi Use Google Glass To Make Irish Burritos (And Get His Recipe)
Roy Choi started a new age in the worldwide street food movement when he opened up his Korean fusion taco truck, Kogi. Since then he’s become the de facto spokesman for street cuisine, and the folks at Google have taken note.
It’s not all that shocking, really, considering that Kogi’s popularity spread like wildfire due to Twitter, technology, and mobile culture. Now Choi is one of Google Glass’ Explorers, testing out the technology and showcasing how it would work in a kitchen setting.
To be honest, the geeky glasses seem like they’d come in handy as a cook. We use our iPad as a recipe reference quite a bit, and the screen can get a little messy. With things perched on your head, it seems like there’s less room for water (or wine, if you’ve been known to sip and cook like us) damage.
Pot Cafe is open in the Line Hotel: French bread pizza, butter mochi bars and more
Lost Angeles Times
Pot Cafe, the bakery annex of Roy Choi’s Pot lobby bar and still-to-come Pot restaurant in Koreatown’s Line Hotel, is now open. Tucked into a corner of the main floor of the hotel, it’s Choi’s version of a Korean bakery.
“It’s set up like any bakery but instead of Danish and croissants and morning buns [there are] red bean buns, cream buns, French bread pizza,” Choi said. “If you walk into a Korean bakery, you’ll know what I’m talking about — like 85C, Paris Baguette. We want to take that whole culture and put our twist on it.”
So in the pastry cases are rows of Asian cream buns with fillings such as red bean, custard and cream; toasted bread-and-butter buns such as Bun B the G topped with honey butter, candied ginger and sea salt and the Kimchi Squat with kochujang chile butter and topped with nori; Hawaiian pull-apart bread; mocha chip cookies (including a gluten-free version); Ritz candy bars; and French bread pizza, including a sloppy joe pizza topped with beefy sauce and melted American cheese.
‘Top Chef’ finalist Shirley Chung’s culinary adventures in South Korea
Las Vegas Sun
“Top Chef” contestant Shirley Chung became a fan favorite as she won several weekly episodes of Season 11 in New Orleans, but there was a coast-to-coast collective sigh of sympathy when our Las Vegas chef was eliminated after making the final three and competing in Maui.
Celebrity chef and judge Emeril Lagasse raved about her cuisine during filming, so much so that one of her winning dishes was added to the menus at all of his restaurants, including here in Las Vegas.
During our weekly coverage of her progress, Shirley, who had worked here for acclaimed culinary kings Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Jose Andres, told me that she was weighing several offers to open her own dining venue here.
North Korea Skillfully Evades Sanctions, U.N. Panel Says
New York Times
Recent inspections and seizures of banned cargo have shown that North Korea is using increasingly deceptive techniques to circumvent international sanctions, a panel of experts said in a report to the United Nations Security Council published Tuesday.
After a series of nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests by North Korea over the past decade, the Security Council has adopted resolutions calling for increasingly vigorous sanctions aimed at crippling the North’s financial and technical capability to build weapons of mass destruction.
In its latest annual report, posted Tuesday on the United Nations website, the panel of eight experts said that North Korea has persisted in defying those resolutions not only by continuing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs but also by engaging in illegal arms trade.
Growing Chinese Influence Worries N.Korean Officials
There are “serious concerns” among some North Korean officials that North Korea could turn into a vassal state of China amid growing economic dependence on its sole ally, a defector said Monday.
Kim Chong-song, who under his real name used to be a senior member of the Workers Party, is the highest-ranking North Korean defector living in the South and spoke to media here for the first time.
“Without Chinese capital and goods, it would be impossible for the North Korean government to operate, and ordinary people would not be able to carry on with their daily lives,” Kim said. “North Korea grew so dependent on China in the 20 years of Kim Jong-il’s rule that it’s now impossible to construct buildings, grow farm produce, or sustain the regime without imports of Chinese materials, fertilizer and pesticides.”
S. Korean charity to send aid to N. Korea under tension
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
A South Korean charity announced on Tuesday it will provide aid for children and expectant mothers in impoverished North Korea, under lingering tensions on the peninsula.
ChildFund Korea said it will ship 200 tons worth of wheat flour and bean flour north of the border. It represents South Korea’s largest private aid to the North under President Park Geun-hye.
According to ChildFund Korea, North Korea has pledged to share the foodstuffs with about 23,000 children and 29,000 pregnant women.
Unified Korea would become world’s 8th largest economy by 2050: think tank
If North and South Korea were to unify within the next year, Korea would have the eighth largest economy in the world by 2050 with a per capita income exceeding that of Japan, a report by a local think tank claimed Tuesday.
According to Hyundai Research Institute (HRI), one of South Korea’s largest research institutions, unification would generate new growth engines and create a sizable domestic market that would make the country less reliant on overseas markets.
“The increase in population and market would make it possible to deal effectively with the drop in economic growth potential and the country’s weakness to external economic developments,” said Hong Soon-jick, head of the HRI’s unification economy center.
Canada, South Korea conclude long-delayed free trade deal
Canada and South Korea announced on Tuesday they had wrapped up talks on a long-delayed free trade deal which had stalled for years amid squabbles over exports of autos and beef.
The deal – outlined in a statement by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper – is particularly important for Canada, which is trying to cut its reliance on the U.S. market.
The agreement is the first Canada has concluded with a nation from Asia, a fast-growing part of the world that Ottawa is deliberately targeting.
Canada’s Trade Ministry says exports to South Korea in 2012 were worth C$3.7 billion ($3.4 billion) while imports from South Korea hit C$6.4 billion.
Pope Visit Caps Banner Year for Korean Catholics
Wall Street Journal
The Pope says he loves Korea. And to prove it, he’s making his first trip to the country later this year, adding to a recent string of coups for South Korea’s Catholics.
On Monday, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis would visit in August, marking the popular pontiff’s first trip to Asia since he was elected pope, a year ago this week.
The papal visit, the first to South Korea since John Paul II’s visit in 1989, is the latest — and biggest — coup for South Korea’s Catholic church this year, which generally keeps a lower profile than the country’s Protestants.
SBS Hands Over Footage in Dating-Show Suicide
Broadcaster SBS has handed over raw footage from the blind-date program “Jjak” to police after a contestant killed herself during filming on Jeju Island last week.
A police spokesman said investigators want to check whether the woman suffered “undue pressure or humiliation” during filming of the typically adversarial program.
The contestants on the show, a Korean version of U.S. program “The Bachelor,” are herded together in a hotel for weeks and filmed practically every waking moment.
LA Web Festival to screen ‘Kimchi Warrior’ animation
Kimchi superhero animation will screen at one of the largest U.S. web series festivals.
According to the LAWEBFEST 2014, Korea-born director Kang Young-man’s “Kimchi Warrior” episodes are included in its final play list for the five-day event scheduled for March 26-30. It is the first time that a Korean director has been invited to the festival.
Kang’s two episodes, each running 5-6 minutes, contain blend of martial arts, comedy, and the promotion of good health. Web series are three-to-six minute-long serialized videos in various genres that are rapidly spread through YouTube and SNSs.
“It is a unique blend of martial arts, comedy, and the promotion of good health. Based on the premise of ‘Popeye,’ our hero obtains supernatural strength by consuming the most prominent Korean dish to defend mankind from the world’s most notorious diseases such as swine flu, mad cow disease, malaria and SARS,” Kang, director of L.A.-based YMK Films, said in a statement on its website.
In second camp, Dodgers and Ryu more comfortable
The Dodgers use the word “comfortable” so much to describe pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu this Spring Training compared to last, you’d think he’s throwing from a Barcalounger.
The fact is, it’s the Dodgers who are more comfortable this Spring with Ryu.
Last Spring, they had a rocky honeymoon. Ryu reported out of shape, unaware that Major Leaguers are expected to be ready from Day One of camp and not work themselves into fitness.
He believed the six-year, $36 million contract he signed to leave Korea assured him a spot in the starting rotation. Management, though, got a little worried as he struggled in exhibition games and began talking about “competing” for a job.
IOC admits misquoting Yuna
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) admitted that a quote attributed to figure skater Kim Yuna was fabricated in a news story published on its website during the recent Sochi Olympics.
“It was originally written by one of our ‘young reporters’ (young trainee reporters from the Youth Olympic Games), but Kim Yuna’s agent contacted us to say she felt that the quote was not accurate,” IOC media relations manager Sandrine Tonge told The Korea Times on Monday.
“We felt it was better to remove it since this was not integral to the story and we wanted to be accurate.”
Stargazers Witness Close Encounter
A bright shining object in the skies captivated observers in Suwon on Sunday night. Experts say it was probably a shooting star.
The object blazed across the night sky for some moments before crashing to earth.
Several videos capturing the scene from in-car systems were posted on social networking sites.
On Monday morning, a black rock measuring 25 by 50 cm and presumed to be part of a meteorite was found in a greenhouse in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province.
Korean Emoticons Infographic
Dom & Hyo
Check out this super cute infographic about Korean emoticons. This useful guide will show you some new ones, for sure.
World’s Largest Asymmetrical Building to Open in Seoul
Wall Street Journal
Seoul unveils to the public next Friday what is likely to be South Korea’s most controversial building in recent memory.
Designed by Pritzker-winning Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, the seven-story Dongdaemun Design Plaza is the world’s largest asymmetrical free form building, according to its operator Seoul Design Foundation. With a floor area of 86,574 square meters (931,875 square feet), the structure spans three underground levels and four above ground, and occupies a site of more than 25,000 square meters — equivalent to 3.5 soccer fields.
The building’s exterior is noted for its grass-covered tops and its 45,133 aluminum panels, each individually shaped.
Built on a historic site adjacent to the ancient capital’s east gate, the structure contains exhibition spaces and conference centers as well as workshops and boutiques. The shows for the 2014 Fall/Winter Seoul Fashion Week will take place at its opening next Friday.
Japan Won’t Alter Apology to World War II Sex Slaves
New York Times
Japan will not revise a landmark apology to women forced to work in military brothels during World War II even as it moves ahead with a review of the testimony used to create that apology, a spokesman for the Japanese government said Monday.
Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters that the conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had no intention of changing the 1993 apology, called the Kono Statement. The apology admitted for the first time that the Imperial military played at least an indirect role in forcing the women, known euphemistically as “comfort women,” to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.
Mr. Suga was responding to rising criticism from South Korea, a former Japanese colony where many of the women came from, of an announcement made two weeks ago by Mr. Suga that the government would review evidence used to support the apology. At that time, Mr. Suga said the government would form a panel of experts to review the evidence used to back up the statement, mostly testimony made two decades ago by 16 aging former sex slaves.
North Korea Election: A Sham Worth Studying
Kim wins. That is the unsurprising outcome of North Korea’s first legislative election under the leadership young dictator Kim Jong Un. State media report that nearly 100% of eligible North Koreans voted in Sunday’s poll, and 100% cast votes in favor of the status quo. This is only partly as ridiculous as it sounds: voting is mandatory and there is one option on the ballot.
Indeed, when North Korea votes, it votes. When exactly 100% of eligible North Korean set out to cast votes 100% in favor of pre-determined politicians, they were carried forth on “billows of emotion and happiness,” state media reported. And nowhere were they happier — or more billowy, presumably — that in Kim Jong Un’s district, Mount Paektu, the Korean peninsula’s highest peak. The group that voted at the storied site were so moved by the exercise that they spontaneously burst into song, state media said.
North Korean Flagged Tanker Puzzles Observers
Wall Street Journal
Is North Korea trying to import oil from rebel forces in Libya?
The Libyan government and militias are threatening to attack a North Korean-flagged tanker off its coast that they say rebels are hoping to use to export oil from the port of al-Sidra.
“Any attempt (by the tanker) to move, it will be turned into scrap,” Libyan Culture Minister Al-Habib al-Amin said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
The presence of the tanker, named “The Morning Glory,” has puzzled observers because it’s very unusual for North Korean-flagged vessels to appear in the Mediterranean.
Dennis Rodman pledges to end North Korea trips
Dennis Rodman, back from a North Korea trip that included an exhibition game and birthday song for Kim Jong Un, has pledged he will not make a return visit to the dictator if that is not what people want.
Rodman said he went to North Korea with pure intentions, stating that he only wants to “do great things in life” in a television interview with ESPN’s Mark Schwarz.
“I wish they understood the whole purpose of why I went to North Korea,” Rodman said. “I wish they did.”
Kim Jong-un’s Sister Secures Place in Nomenklatura
North Korea’s state-run media have for the first time mentioned leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Yeo-jong by name, suggesting she has established a position of some influence for herself in the corridors of power.
North Korean state TV on Sunday reported that Kim Jong-un visited a polling station at Kim Il-sung University for elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly on Sunday, accompanied by military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae, Workers Party deputy directors Kim Kyong-ok and Hwang Pyong-so, “and comrade Kim Yeo-jong.”
Challenging South Korea’s Gender Barrier
Wall Street Journal
When Cho Eun-sook started her career as the first female software developer at LG Electronics Inc. in 1988, there was no such thing as maternity leave. Instead, she took vacation days to give birth to her two sons.
Now in her 27th year at the company, Ms. Cho runs mobile accessory development and is one of three female vice presidents at the company.
Ms. Cho was one of more than 120 female engineers who met to discuss women working in technology at an event hosted by Google Inc. in Seoul on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.
Fugitive tracked by Tribune is returned from S. Korea
U.S. authorities today extradited international fugitive Kyung Ho Song to Chicago from his native South Korea, more than a decade after Song fled Cook County to avoid being tried on charges of drunken driving and reckless homicide.
The hunt for Song was reactivated after the Tribune contacted prosecutors and police about the dormant case in connection with its 2011 “Fugitives From Justice” investigation. The Tribune separately tracked down Song in a suburb of Seoul and interviewed him there in early 2012.
Korean authorities arrested Song in December 2013 on a U.S. provisional arrest warrant, and the Korean ministry of justice authorized his extradition back to Chicago.
Affirmative action amendment has some Asian-Americans furious
Southern California Public Radio
A proposal to reinstate affirmative action at California’s public universities is riling some Asian-American groups more than any recent political issue, with critics unleashing their anger on social media and in protests and public meetings.
At issue is a Democrat-backed bill that would lift a 1996 ban keeping University of California and California State University schools from considering race or ethnicity in admissions and recruitment.
SCA 5 – short for Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 – passed on a party-line vote in the state Senate late January, and if it’s approved by the supermajority in the Assembly, Californians could vote on the issue as early as this year.
More charges after cyclist killed in W. Colorado
AP via Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A 29-year-old Palisade woman involved in a crash in western Colorado that killed a man on a cross-country bicycling trip is now facing several drug charges.
Prosecutors say Tonie Rosales used cocaine for two days in September before heading to Delta for a court hearing relating to a prior DUI arrest. She struck and killed 25-year-old Eunjey Cho on U.S. Highway 50 on her way to court Sept. 18 and was formally charged with the drug offenses Thursday.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1gc4wnD ) Rosales already has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide — one alleging DUI and another alleging reckless driving.
Brentwood girl gets two perfect ACT scores, looks to future in science
For most students, taking the ACT is a rite of passage.
It can be an eye-opening and sometimes brutal experience, often repeated to achieve better results and possibly gain college scholarship money and win selective admission.
But for Joyce Kang, a senior at Brentwood High School, the college entrance exam was a piece of cake both times she took it. That’s right: She made the highest possible score — 36 — both times.
Kang had to endure the exam a second time because she didn’t take the ACT written assessment the first time.
Folk rockers Run River North flows in the right direction on debut album
Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven’t heard of.
Week of 03/07/2013
WHO: Run River North
WHAT: Run River North
Run River North first came to our attention in a method befitting the the style of music they play. The six-piece had assembled its own music video (under its then name Monsters Calling Home) shooting inside a Honda Fit. The car company appreciated the gesture and hooked them up with Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Uncomfortable questions with Shin-Soo Choo
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)
Shin-Soo Choo’s big league career began when he was 22 as a rookie with the Seattle Mariners. He is 30 now, and should be fairly secure with the seven-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Texas Rangers in the offseason. He should be able to live off that for at least two to three years.
A native of South Korea, Choo is expected to bat leadoff hitter, and be the Rangers’ every day left fielder. He was nice enough to answer some uncomfortable questions.
Dodgers to start Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu in Australia openers
Los Angeles Times
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly made official Sunday what had been suspected for some time: Left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are set to start the team’s season-opening games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia.
But anything beyond that, Mattingly said, is still to be determined.
“We still haven’t made all our decisions on exactly how we’re going to set up our roster,” he said. “So those are issues that we continue to talk with guys about.”
IOC Deletes Fake Quotes from Kim Yu-na
The International Olympic Committee has quietly deleted fabricated quotes from Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-na that appeared to downplay controversy over judging irregularities at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The IOC published an article with the implausible quotes on its official website on March 6, focusing on figure skaters from the Innsbruck Youth Winter Olympics who won medals in Sochi.
One skater in focus was Russian gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova. The IOC claimed Kim had been “magnanimous in defeat” after a highly dubious judging decision in Sochi put her in second place.
Kim Yu-na to hold farewell ice shows in May: agency
South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na will hold farewell ice shows in Seoul this spring, her agency announced Monday.
All That Sports said Kim will take the center stage at her corporate-sponsored ice shows from May 4 to 6 in the nation’s capital.
The 23-year-old star retired from competition after the Sochi Winter Olympics last month. She picked up the silver medal behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, after winning the gold at the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.
The agency said the three days of performances will be Kim’s last appearances on ice as a figure skater. Through the agency’s press release, Kim said she hopes to take the opportunity to show her appreciation for her fans.
Beverly Kim and John Clark Plan to Open Parachute
When the husband-and-wife chef team Beverly Kim and John Clark took over the now-defunct Bonsoirée in 2012, they fulfilled a dream of working together on a Korean-inspired modern restaurant. Unfortunately, the dream lasted only a few months there, and Bonsoirée closed.
After a year-plus deferral, they’re leaping back into their restaurant-ownership dream, and if you leap, you need a Parachute (3500 N. Elston Ave., Avondale, no phone yet). The 40-seat, liquor-licensed, Korean-American-perspective restaurant is scheduled to open in April.
Kim and Clark say the food will pull together traditional Korean flavors with new and creative ones. “Reminiscent of familiar traditional flavors, but presented in a new creative way,” Kim says. As an example, they offer a crispy mung bean pancake with pork belly, black garlic, and kimchi. The menu breaks down into snacks in the $4 to $7 range, appetizers such as crudos or salads, rice and noodles, and larger plates intended for sharing and costing between $18 and $25.
Korea’s Most Popular Online Eating Shows
Wall Street Journal
One of South Korea’s hardest-to-explain phenomena in recent months is the boom of “mokbang”: Internet-streamed shows where hosts eat often supersized meals – for the audience’s pleasure.
Choi Ji-hwan, a top mokbang host, told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that one of his satisfied viewers was on a diet seeking a vicarious thrill. Others were living alone and enjoyed his virtual company as they ate “together.”
Every night on a local YouTube-like platform AfreecaTV, multiple show hosts vie to be selected by hundreds of thousands of viewers. Several of them make a living through these shows and have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.