U.S. gov’t guarded about reports of another citizen detention in N. Korea
The U.S. government would not immediately confirm reports Wednesday that an elderly American man has been detained in North Korea since last month.
“We’ve seen the reports. I can’t provide you any specific details, given the Privacy Act,” Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokeswoman, said at a daily press briefing.
Japan’s Kyodo News Service reported the possibility of another American citizen being held in the communist nation.
The U.S. just issued its harshest travel warning against North Korea in 18 years and no one knows why
The State Department has long cautioned Americans about visiting North Korea, but on Tuesday it went a big step further, issuing a blanket warning against all American travel to the country. This was the first such State Department warning since North Korea began allowing American tourists in 1995, immediately raising the question: why?
The travel warning cited, somewhat cryptically, “the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens in North Korea.” It noted that two Americans traveling on valid visas have been previously arrested. But neither of those was especially recent. Eddie Jun Yong-su was arrested in November 2010, allegedly for illegal missionary work, and released in March 2011. Kenneth Bae was arrested in November 2012 on similar charges and is still being held.
The travel warning does not explain what, if anything, has happened since last November that led the State Department to elevate its warning. A State Department spokesperson said that they could not comment due to U.S. privacy laws but emphasized that travel warnings of this severity are typically in response to “chronic” threats to U.S. citizens. Some early, unconfirmed reports are emerging that an elderly American man may have been detained.
U.S. Drug Bust Puts Spotlight on North Korean Meth Exports
Wall Street Journal
U.S. drug enforcement authorities turned a spotlight on North Korea’s growing capabilities in the global narcotics trade, charging five foreigners on Wednesday with conspiring to import 100 kilograms of methamphetamine into the U.S.
For several years now, U.S. authorities have been watching the rise of meth production in North Korea, much of which is exported overseas in exchange for hard currency.
Increasingly, the drug is also being consumed domestically in the North, spurring concerns of a meth epidemic inside the isolated country.
Nationalism Cools Seoul’s Relations with Tokyo, Warms Seoul-Beijing Ties
Voice of America
Controversy surrounds China’s plan to build a stone monument to Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-guen, who shot and killed imperial Japan’s former prime minister and governor of Korea, Hirobumi Ito in 1909 in the northeast city of Harbin, where the monument is to be erected.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye requested the monument during a July summit visit to China and thanked Beijing’s top policymaker this week in Seoul.
The move sparked a sharp exchange of words between Tokyo and Seoul. Japanese officials said Tuesday that erecting a monument for someone they consider a “criminal” will be of no benefit for the relationship of the two countries. South Korean officials said Tokyo should not make such comments, considering the country’s imperial past.
Prosecutors Detail Bid to Sway South Korean Election
New York Times
Agents from the National Intelligence Service of South Korea posted more than 1.2 million Twitter messages last year in a bid to sway public opinion in favor of Park Geun-hye, then a presidential candidate, and her party ahead of elections in 2012, state prosecutors said on Thursday.
For months, South Korean politics have been rocked by the opposition’s accusations that officials at the National Intelligence Service, the country’s spy agency, and the military conducted an ambitious but clandestine online campaign to help Ms. Park win election as president on Dec. 19.
Prosecutors have indicted several top intelligence officials, including Won Sei-hoon, former director of the spy agency, on charges of ordering an online smear campaign against opposition candidates in violation of election law. A team of agents posted online messages ahead of the parliamentary election in April last year and the subsequent presidential election that lauded government policies while ridiculing opposition rivals of Ms. Park as untrustworthy pro-North Korean sympathizers, they said.
For South Korea’s First Astronaut, Haas MBA Is a Step Into the Unknown
Business school is the final frontier—or at least it is for Soyeon Yi, South Korea’s first astronaut and the second Asian woman in space. A second-year MBA student at University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Yi says adjusting to business school was almost as tough as acclimating to the lack of gravity in space. “I would look up words in the dictionary and couldn’t even understand them in Korean because they were words I never used.”
Recently, Yi had a conversation with Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Francesca Di Meglio. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation:
How did you end up going to space?
The South Korean government announced there was going to be a human space flight program and that anyone over the age of 19 and in good health could apply. It was like an American Idol competition, and about 36,000 people applied. I never thought I would win. The 300 survivors after cuts were on TV competing for the one spot. My mom was really excited because I was on TV. And I made it. I won. I went through one year of training. I was a backup astronaut, so I wasn’t supposed to actually go up in space. But a month before my mission with a Russian crew, I was informed that I’d be flying. In April 2008, I went to the International Space Station for 11 days to conduct experiments. I worked for the program for four more years before enrolling in Haas.
SFO reveals missteps after Asiana crash
San Francisco Chronicle
An automated system designed to alert key managers at San Francisco International Airport to an emergency failed within minutes of the airport’s biggest disaster ever, the crash of an Asiana Airlines jetliner in July, according to an analysis that officials released Wednesday.
Rather than work as designed and send computer-generated voice mails to managers needed to coordinate the response to the Boeing 777 crash July 6, the system worked so slowly because of a software glitch that those on duty had to call more than 100 key officials one by one, said Charles Schuler, head of external communications at the airport. The airport had paid $11,750 a year for the system.
It is not clear what effect the failure had on the overall response to the crash of Asiana Flight 214, in which three passengers were killed and about 180 were injured, officials said. But, they noted, it was one of several areas where the review found room for improvement in SFO’s response to crashes and other emergencies.
[Video] Eric Nam Harmonizes with Jamie Foxx During Interview
Yahoo! Entertainment Malaysia
Musicians Eric Nam and Jamie Foxx found time to create sweet music together even amidst an interview.
On November 20, Jamie Foxx posted two videos up on his Instagram. He wrote “I met this young man on Saturday when he came in to interview me about my role as Electro, as it turns out I was the one sitting across from a star. This young man’s name is Eric Nam from Korea and he is truly talented. Where are my Korean fans? Do you guys know Eric Nam?”
The second Instagram continued, “A little harmony for my Korean fans. We were supposed to be doing an Amazing Spiderman 2 interview but we couldn’t help but to make music. Check him out.”
Roy Choi: He’s the face of L.A. at the moment
Los Angeles Times
At the moment, Roy Choi is one of the most prominent lenses the nation has into L.A. The book tour for his memoir, “L.A. Son,” has placed him on what seems like every news venue, from local blogs to CNN, where he’s been alternately earnest, respectful, reflective, mystical and raunchy. (The book is now No. 12 on the L.A. Times bestseller list.)
His return to L.A. last week was brief – he’s already resumed the book tour in San Francisco. While here, the engagements didn’t stop – an appearance at the L.A. Public Library to chat with chef and KCRW Good Food host Evan Kleiman before a sold-out room and a reading at Skylight Books in Los Feliz Tuesday night.
“This is like my bar mitzvah, my coming out party,” said an ebullient Choi at the downtown library.
All this, plus his restaurants (Chego, Sunny Spot, A-Frame, to name three) and a new restaurant-in-the-works, Pot, has kept him incredibly busy.
Rain comes back with January album release
Korea Times US
Rain, the 31-year-old singer who was released from the military in July, will end his domestic hiatus with an album in January, industry sources said Thursday.
Rain who is currently touring four cities in Japan will perform at the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards that will be held Friday at Hong Kong’s Asia World Expo Arena.
The album will be his first in three years and nine months. Before entering the compulsory military service, the singer whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon released the album “Back to the Basic” in April 2012.
According to the Media, Asians Like Me Don’t Exist
Like so many young people, I fall into the “racially ambiguous” category, making me no stranger to questions like, “Where are you from? No, where are you originally from?”
Most people see my olive skin and dark hair and mistake me for Latina, Native-American, Japanese, Chinese or Korean (because apparently those are the only ethnicities in Asia). That so many people struggle to identify my ethnic background makes me wonder why I rarely see people in the media who look like me. Even now, it’s a challenge to count the number of well-known Asian-Americans in mainstream media on one hand.
For me, the lack of representation of Asian-Americans sends a very disturbing message that people who look like myself and millions of others don’t belong, aren’t welcome.
Film Movement’s Genre Label RAM Boosts Inaugural Slate With Kim Ki-Duk’s ‘Moebius’
RAM Releasing has acquired horror pic Moebius from writer-director Kim Ki-Duk. It’s the follow-up to the filmmaker’s Pieta, which became the first Korean title to take the Golden Lion for best film when it bowed last year at Venice.
His newest movie, which hit Venice and AFI Fest among other festivals this year, continues Kim’s flair for boundary-challenging shock: the plot centers on a wife who catches her husband having an affair and attempts to castrate him for his wrongdoing. Unsuccessful, she instead inflicts the unspeakable act on her own son, setting off a series of events including a hurried genital transplant and pain-inflicted orgasms.
A year later, Choi not part of LPGA rivalries
AP via Boston Herald
Na Yeon Choi finished last year by winning the LPGA Titleholders and buying a new house at Isleworth outside Orlando. She was No. 2 on the money list with nearly $2 million. She was No. 2 in the world. She was the U.S. Women’s Open champion.
One year later, Choi was missing from the conversation.
Inbee Park won three straight majors and last week clinched LPGA player of the year, the first South Korean to win that award. Suzann Pettersen has challenged Park and has a chance this week to win the LPGA money list. Stacy Lewis, who rose to No. 1 earlier in the year, has a slim lead in the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average.
As for Choi?
Uncertain Future for Historic Seoul Building
Wall Street Journal
Space Group’s four-story studio in downtown Seoul is no ordinary property, which is why the architecture firm’s decision to sell the building earlier this year was met with fierce opposition.
The structure was designed by Kim Swoo Geun, one of South Korea’s first modern architects. Its admirers consider it to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the capital. They fear it could be modified or demolished by a private buyer looking to turn it into office or retail space.
Mr. Kim, whose other designs include the main stadium for the 1988 Summer Olympics and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, used the building as his studio from its construction in 1971 to his death 15 years later. Since then, his protégés have run the company he founded, Space Group.
Can the sweet potato latte help a Korean coffee chain conquer the world?
Does the world really need another global coffee chain? It’s about to get one, in the form of Hollys Coffee, a South Korean coffee company that is striking out from its coffee-saturated home market.
Hollys, which was started in 1998, serves espresso, cappuccinos and other typical coffee shop fare, but the company’s signature drink is its “sweet potato latte,” a 445-kcal hot drink made with milk, sweet potatoes and almonds. They also do a brisk business in “anytime brunch,” which mostly means waffles whenever you want them, sometimes topped with a scoop of gelato.
The company is looking for franchise partners in Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong, international business manager Koo Hong Kyo told South Korea’s Straits Times. Hollys has already taken baby steps overseas, and has 15 outlets in Thailand, China, Peru and the Philippines. The company got some financial backing for its expansion when Korean private equity firm IMM purchased a majority stake in corporate owner Hollys F&B for 100 billion won ($9.4 million) in July.
Kim Jong-un ordered propaganda war against Park gov’t: official
Yonhap News via Korea Herald
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was found to have ordered an intensified propaganda war against the Park Geun-hye administration last month in a possible policy shift, a South Korean government official said Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said South Korean authorities picked up intelligence that Kim ordered Kim Yang-gon, the head of United Front Department of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, to lash out at Park and her government.
The United Front and its head is in charge of inter-Korean relations and exercises power over the North’s spy agency.
Fisherman’s return stirs mixed emotions in Korean village
The recent return of a South Korean fisherman abducted by North Korea more than 40 years ago has reopened wounds in a small island village that lost 17 other men in a Cold War conflict that still simmers today.
Jeon Wook-pyo, who reappeared in South Korea in September after escaping from the North through China, has since paid a brief visit to Nongso – a remote outpost of around 170 people on the southern island of Geoje, about five hours drive from Seoul – but he won’t be settling back there.
“It wasn’t a nice feeling that he reminded me of my husband. There was nothing to feel good about,” said 82-year-old Ok Chul-soon, whose husband skippered one of two fishing boats that were seized with all hands, including Jeon, by North Korean patrol boats near disputed waters in December 1972.
She acknowledged Jeon’s return was welcome, but said she was too upset to stay throughout his visit, adding they would meet privately at some time so she could ask for news of her husband.
Reports: South Korean Arrested in Pyongyang a Christian Missionary
Voice of America
Media reports say a South Korean man arrested this month in Pyongyang is a Christian missionary, who was working there to help North Korean refugees.
The Wednesday reports, by the French news agency and South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo, identified the man as 50-year-old Kim Jeong-Wook.
His family and other Christian activists told the news outlets that Kim had been helping North Koreans who escaped their homeland to China for years.
They say Kim was arrested after traveling to Pyongyang to check on the wellbeing of several refugees who had been repatriated by Beijing.
78% of Koreans Support Reunification
Seventy-eight percent of Koreans now support reunification of the peninsula, according to a survey released by the Hyundai Research Institute on Tuesday.
But the younger people are, the less urgent they believe reunification to be. Support was at only 66.8 percent among those in their 20s, 74.9 percent among those in their 30s, 84.6 percent among those in their 40s, and 84.2 percent among the over-50s.
Among academics and other experts, support is almost unanimous with 98.1 percent.
The divide becomes clearer in answer to the more specific question whether reunification would be in the national interest. Some 67 percent of the general public said yes compared to 98.1 percent of experts.
Most believe it will take more than a decade, with 55.4 percent of the general public and 68.6 percent of experts, followed by six to 10 years.
5 men extradited to U.S. in North Korean meth case
U.S. drug agents in Thailand took custody of five men wanted in the United States on allegations of being part of a drug ring that sought to traffic in North Korean methamphetamine and other drugs, CNN has learned.
The men, who have British, Filipino, Taiwanese and Slovak citizenship, were being flown to New York to face charges, according to a source.
Thai authorities announced the arrests after the men were turned over to U.S. authorities. A U.S. law enforcement official said the charges would be made public soon.
The men are part of a broader investigation that federal prosecutors made public in September, filing charges against a group of former U.S. and European ex-military men in a murder-for-hire and drug-importation plot.
Washington urged to block expulsion of Korean-American
Local civic groups called on the United States Wednesday to take action to protect an American businessman of Korean descent from being deported from South Korea after serving a prison term here for pro-North Korea espionage charges.
Michael Chang, whose Korean name is Chang Min-ho, recently finished serving a seven-year jail term in South Korea for gathering classified information and engaging in pro-North Korean propaganda activities in violation of the anti-Communist National Security Law.
However, he is currently being kept at the Cheongju Immigration Processing Center until he can be ejected from South Korea after the Justice Ministry ordered him to leave the country.
“The U.S. government has shown no position on Chang while making special efforts to secure the freedom of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who is in a North Korean jail,” said an alliance of South Korean civic and human rights groups working to win the release of conscientious prisoners in a statement.
Insight: Work ethic, comic hero make Koreans hot shots in car design
In today’s auto industry, where famed Japanese quality and durability are increasingly a given, design is king and, among designers, South Koreans are hot property.
From General Motors’ bold Chevrolet Camaro to the quintessential British gentlemen’s Bentley, more top models carry the flair and signature of a group of designers from South Korea, which some have dubbed “Asia’s Italy” for its impact on car design, fashion and aesthetics.
As competition in the industry becomes ever more cut-throat, partly as gaps in quality and technology narrow, automakers need bolder, edgier designs to differentiate. From a global talent pool, South Koreans stand out.
Hyundai will sell a hydrogen fuel cell SUV in 2014, 300-mile range expected
Hydrogen, not Botox or movie openings, is the talk of LA this week. Hyundai says it will begin selling a hydrogen-powered Tucson compact SUV in 2014. It’s one of several auto show announcements this week in Los Angeles and Tokyo about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles being readied for production. Hyundai says this will be the first mass-market hydrogen vehicle available in the US.
The hydrogen Hyundai Tucson is one of the highlights of the 2013 Los Angeles International Show, with press days Wednesday and Thursday. Hyundai sees a big future for hydrogen-powered vehicles because volume production might push down the cost of hydrogen fuel technology down faster than with the lithium-ion battery technology necessary for EVs and plug-in hybrids.
Is he the next Top Chef winner?
Korea Times US
Will another Korean come away with the title of Top Chef? Stay tuned.
On the heels of Korean American chef Kristen Kish, who won last year’s aforementioned reality TV competition crowning the best chef in America, another Korean chef is among the 19 contestants vying for this year’s title.
Making Season 11 of Top Chef all the more intriguing is L.A.’s own Brian Huskey. The 32-year old Research & Development chef for critically acclaimed restaurants Paiche, Picca, and Mo-chica, also happens to be the oldest son of a well-known real-estate mogul in the Korean community – Han Huskey and his wife Sookie.
Ailee’s Popularity Rises Following Nude Photo Scandal
Multiple K-pop stars over the past year have received considerable backlash from fans and the public for offences as small as not smiling on stage or misusing a word in an interview, but Ailee –who recently had a batch of nude photos leak online– appears to be benefiting from her scandal.
Since the photos hit the web, Ailee’s surged ahead in the fan-voted polls for the 2013 MAMA Awards. She’s now ranking first for Best Female Artist, surpassing Lee Hyori who was previously leading, as well as first in the Best Female Vocal Performance category, beating out last week’s leader, IU.
While it’s obvious that Ailee’s scandal has given her the extra votes to surpass formidable competition like Hyori and IU, you can’t say that she doesn’t deserve to be where she is. Her last two pop singles, “I’ll Show You” and “U&I,” were both huge hits, and she’s also featured on the third most successful single of the year, Baechigi’s “Shower of Tears.”
Spike Lee on “re-interpreting” South Korean action thriller “Oldboy”
Veteran director Spike Lee is packing in the action with his latest film, “Oldboy.”
The new mystery thriller is based off of the 2003 South Korean classic of the same name from Chan-wook Park. The original was noted for its brutal fight scenes and fierce depiction of violence, much of which was kept in tact for Lee’s adaptation.
While the plot details between the two films are fairly similar, the 56-year-old director recently told CBSNews.com that he doesn’t want audiences to see his latest work as just another retread.
“We’re not really calling it a remake, we’re calling it a re-interpretation,” Lee said.
The latest “Oldboy” stars Josh Brolin as Joe Doucette, an alcoholic businessman who gets kidnapped and cryptically held in solitary confinement for two decades. Doucette is suddenly released by his unknown captors and soon must find out who was behind the plot in order to save his daughter.
‘Oldboy’ Reimagines a Korean Tale of Revenge
New York Times
“Rage doesn’t have to fester for years, but revenge?” the director Spike Lee said, as he rapidly autographed 50 movie posters in a downtown Manhattan hotel suite. “That stuff takes time. It’s the oldest staple of films, in stories. It goes back to the Bible.”
In Mr. Lee’s new film, “Oldboy,”Josh Brolin plays Joe Doucett, an alcoholic ad man and negligent father who is imprisoned in a small, mysterious room for 20 years for no evident reason. Believing that he was framed for his wife’s murder, and that his daughter was abducted, Joe’s rage ferments until it is distilled into pure blood lust.
When Joe is finally uncorked from captivity, he is so monomaniacally bent on vengeance that his unnamed city itself seems to bend to his will. In one shot, Joe, wearing a grim black suit and a murderous scowl, literally glides through city streets, which scroll beneath him like moving sidewalks. He seems propelled toward his revenge, as if pulled by some unseen force.
WATCH PRISCILLA AHN’S VIDEO FOR “LEAVE IT OPEN”
Georgia-born singer, Priscilla Ahn, first made waves back in 2008 with “Dream,” a mellow, softly sung acoustic ditty with the clarity of tone and mainstream appeal of Norah Jones (in fact, they shared the same label), and a simple, black and white video that’s been viewed over seven million times. In the interim since then, the 29-year-old singer has released three full length records, but to be frank, this is the first track that’s really made us sit up and pay attention, and it seems Dave Sitek—who released “Leave It Open” on his Federal Prison imprint—is similarly enamored.
It’s easy to hear why. On “Leave It Open” Priscilla trades her trad, stripped blueprint for Casio beats and chillwave synths, with her airy vocals floating and falling in daydreamy echoes. It’s the kind of song best listened to sun-drunk and flat on your back, while reality slips away over the horizon. Meanwhile, the video—premiered above—raises several pertinent questions such as:
Jeremy Lin, Again
On Thursday night, Jeremy Lin stood in the visitor’s locker room of a familiar building surrounded by a throng of New York City reporters whom he must have vaguely recognized. The reporters asked Lin how it felt being back in the city and all the usual revenge-narrative questions, and Lin did what Lin always does — he was polite and noncommittal and thanked everyone and talked about how he was happy that the Rockets had beaten the Knicks. Patrick Beverley, who now starts ahead of Lin as Houston’s point guard, sat across the way, a towel draped over his lap. He seemed amused by the whole spectacle, although not in any malicious or snarky way. “I’m just glad I don’t have a locker anywhere near his,” he said. When Chandler Parsons came out of the shower, he corralled a Rockets team employee. “You gotta help me out,” Parsons said. The team employee gathered up all the bass in his voice and began edging his way through the mass of bodies and recorders and cameras to Parson’s locker, adjacent to Lin’s.
The scene, while lively, almost felt like a chore for the gathered press. Jeremy Lin’s return to Madison Square Garden is still a story, albeit one with diminishing returns. On Thursday night, even the fans couldn’t muster up too much enthusiasm for Lin’s return. There were a few boos when he went to the foul line or checked in at the scorer’s table and certainly more Asian dudes than one would usually find at Madison Square Garden in mid-November.
Hyun-Jin Ryu Bobbleheads Are Coming
Korea Times US
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 vs. the Cincinnati Reds.
Mark your calendar: Ryu Hyun-jin bobbleheads are coming to Dodger Stadium.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have handed out 10 bobblehead dolls in each of the last two seasons. They are always the best attended giveaway nights, to a point where the Dodgers build ticket packages built around them.
Lydia Ko reunited with Michelle Wie for pro debut
Lydia Ko has been paired with American Michelle Wie for her first venture into the professional golfing ranks tomorrow.
The duo are well aquainted with one another from their time competing among the amateur ranks, with Wie today taking to Twitter to voice her excitement at the news of their pairing.
“Excited to play with @Lko424 at her first tournament as a pro! #ifeelold,” Wie said.
As a former teenage sensation, Wie enjoyed a similar path to success as Ko, before turning pro shortly before her 16th birthday in 2005.
Are Asian Men Undateable?
The online dating website “Are You Interested” recently surveyed more than 2.4 million interactions on its site and confirmed what many of us suspect: America loves Asian women.
In fact, Asian female users are more likely to get messages, including inappropriate ones, from male users of any race other than Asian. This trend, popularly dubbed “yellow fever,” is not a new phenomenon, springing instead from an attraction to what some observers say is the exotic appeal of Asian women, and a self-indulging fantasy of being with women who are seen as docile and submissive.
While Asian women seem to be in high demand, Asian men do not. Asian female and non-Asian male pairings are seen to be common, but Asian men are often left out of the discussion over interracial relationships entirely. As one of my black female friends put it, “Asian men, along with black women, are probably the least desirable people.”
Deflecting An Asteroid, With Paintballs
When you think about ways to deflect an asteroid, your mind probably immediately jumps to heavy artillery. Things like lasers. Or Bruce Willis-style nuclear bombs. But Sung Wook Paek is working on a much lower-key approach to preventing Armageddon: paintballs.
Paek, a graduate student at MIT, one day found himself riding a bike and thinking about how we could deflect an asteroid hurtling toward earth. He said cherry blossoms were in bloom on MIT’s campus, and he was navigating across a path littered with little balls of fruit.
“Whenever I rode my bicycle on [the fruit], it popped up and made my bicycle tire dirty,” Peak said. Then the idea hit him: exploding balls of color — probably not the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about diverting a planet-destroying asteroid, but Paek’s idea is brilliant in its simplicity.
An 85-year-old Palo Alto, Calif., man has been detained in North Korea since last month, after crossing into the country on a tourist visa, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
Sources told the newspaper that North Korean authorities arrested Merill Newman, who was set to leave the country on Oct. 26. While North Korea has detained U.S. citizens of Korean descent in the past, it’s unusual for them to detain a man such as Newman, who has no Korean ties aside from having served in the war.
“It’s also very unusual for the North Koreans not to acknowledge, particularly after holding the person for weeks, that they have the person,” said Daniel Sneider, associate director for research at Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. “That may indicate that they haven’t decided what to do with him yet, and therefore they don’t want to admit that they’ve arrested him.” Continue Reading »
When Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj visited Kim Il-sung University in North Korea last month, the president gave a message the students may have never heard before.
Elbegdorj shocked scholars and students of the elite university with a message of freedom and said “no tyranny lasts forever,” according to a transcript of the speech posted on the presidential website.
“Freedom is an asset bestowed upon every single man and woman. Freedom enables every human to discover and realize his or her opportunities and chances for development,” said Elbegdorj. “It is the desire of the people to live free that is the eternal power.” Continue Reading »
China says ‘not aware’ of detention of N. Korean defectors
China’s foreign ministry said Monday it had no information that 13 North Korean defectors were arrested in the Chinese city of Kunming late last week.
“I’m not aware of the specifics you mentioned,” ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters when asked about the detention of the North Koreans who were arrested Friday.
The North Koreans were arrested while trying to board a bus bound for an unidentified Southeast Asian nation, Seoul-based activists said earlier in the day.
“I need to get further information about that,” Qin said.
U.S. envoy on N. Korean human rights arrives in Seoul
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, arrived here Sunday for talks with South Korean officials.
King’s trip comes as Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary, remains detained in the communist North since he was caught nearly a year ago.
The Korean-American has been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor by a North Korean court for committing an unspecified crime against the state.
Seoul Helicopter Crash Raises Fears Over New Skyscraper
Wall Street Journal
The crash of a private helicopter into a high-rise apartment building in Seoul over the weekend grabbed the attention of the local media, though the focus was not on the accident itself but on another skyscraper under construction nearby.
Media reports and politicians Monday raised fresh concerns that the construction of the 555-meter Lotte World Tower, set to be the tallest building in Korea once completed in early 2016, would pose a safety risk to flights over the capital city.
“The government needs to review the possibility of reducing the height of the new building. If an airplane or fighter jet hits it, it will cause an unimaginable catastrophe,” said Lee Hye-hoon, a lawmaker and senior leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, during a party meeting Monday.
Korea Indicts Sellers of SAT Leaks
Wall Street Journal
Seoul’s prosecutors indicted a group of brokers and cram-school officials for leaking U.S. college-entrance exam materials, but the city’s education board said it may let the centers in question continue to operate.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said Monday that 22 individuals were charged for selling SAT materials. A single question was allegedly valued at up to 300,000 won ($284).
One broker allegedly made 358 resales, while a manager at a test-prep center was found to have paid 100,000 won each to people pretending to take the SATs so they can memorize or photograph official test booklets, prosecutors said in a statement, without directly naming the people or businesses involved.
The Love App
Among twenty-ﬁve million, they were two, speeding toward the glowing span of the Wonhyo Bridge on a warm spring night, the scooter trailing pink balloons. They were born in Seoul in 1985 and 1992. They were natives of the most wired city in the world, a megalopolis that is nearly twice as dense as New York but maintains the wide margins of the suburbs—roomy restaurants, boulevards lined with trees. The city belonged to them, beaming its vital signs at speeds of more than fifty megabits per second to its citizens, who bunched and flowed in near-instantaneous reply. Their smartphones were lanterns, illuminating the urban grid. Bubbles within windows within browsers within screens: it was as though, through some mathematical trick, the smaller the interface the more freedom it afforded
Animated Film On The ‘Kamikaze Plane’ Hits A Nerve In Asia
Oscar-winning Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki created beloved films such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. But his latest film is drawing unusually sharp criticism.
The Wind Rises is no ordinary tale: It tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, the Japanese engineer who designed the Mitsubishi Zero, the fighter plane (in)famously used in kamikaze attacks in World War II.
Commentators in South Korea have called the film “right wing” and said it “glorifies Japanese imperialism” and “depict[s] oneself as the victim and portray[s] the calamity of war, but fail[s] to point out the cause.”
Hawaii Five-0′s Daniel Dae Kim dials up diversity
It’s not easy for a Korean-born, Asian-American actor to land a regular starring role in a popular, long-running prime-time entertainment series, let alone two — but that’s exactly what Daniel Dae Kim has done. Philosophical concepts like diversity in casting, racial harmony and respect for different cultures get bandied about in network executives’ discussions, but rarely acted on.
That’s not what has made playing hard-luck Honolulu police Det. Chin Ho Kelly in Hawaii Five-0, now in its fourth season, so richly satisfying, though.
It’s not even the memories of playing Korean fisherman-turned-Mob-enforcer Jin-Soo Kwon for six seasons in the Emmy Award winning Lost.
Original ‘Oldboy’ Gets Remastered, Rescreened for 10th Anniversary in South Korea
A digitally remastered version of Oldboy will be released across South Korean theaters on Nov. 21, exactly 10 years since its original release in 2003.
Under the auspices of its director Park Chan-wook, the film’s visuals have been revamped with color correction and elimination of scratches and dust. The editing and audios remain the same.
Director of the original ‘Oldboy’ is a Spike Lee fan
When South Korean director Park Chan-wook made the film “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” in 2002, there were no plans to follow it up with two more quirky, nasty, violent entries that would eventually morph the three films into what’s now known as his “Vengeance Trilogy.” Director Park wasn’t even aware of the hit Japanese manga (comic book) called “Oldboy” until his producer approached him with a copy.
“He suggested it would be a good project to adapt the manga into a film,” said Park, through his translator, by phone from South Korea. “The element that attracted me was that it took place in a private incarceration facility. The room was described in the manga as being between the seventh and eighth floors — the 7.5 floor — somewhere that nobody can really know exists. And in this place, one of our neighbors, who is known to be missing, is incarcerated. That starting point was something that mesmerized me. I thought the set-up was rather brilliant. That’s why I decided to do it.”
Shin-Soo Choo brings more than just on-base percentage
The last time the Mets and Yankees truly butted heads in pursuit of an elite player was during the 2007 winter meetings, when the lobby conversations at the Opryland hotel in Nashville were dominated by Johan Santana trade chatter.
Omar Minaya won that round by pulling off the trade-and-sign with the Twins for the two-time Cy Young winner. But to borrow one of Scott Boras’ better analogies, the New York rivals have done their shopping in different aisles of the supermarket since then, with the Mets poking around in the freezer section and the Yankees eyeing the prime steaks.
This offseason, however, finds the teams at the intersection of a top Boras client: Shin-Soo Choo, a high-OBP corner outfielder with some power who would be the perfect fit for either club. Despite the Yankees’ surprising number of holes, the Mets, with plenty of their own, have the greater void in terms of talent and star attraction.
Orioles add four minor league free agents
The Orioles today signed four players to minor league contracts, adding two pitchers and two outfielders from four different organizations.
They signed right-handed pitcher Brock Huntzinger, left-handed pitcher Nick Additon, and added outfielders Chih-Hsien Chiang and Kyeong Kang.
The 25-year-old Huntzinger went 5-2 with a 1.83 ERA in relief last year pitching between Double-A and Triple-A in the Red Sox organization. A third-round draft pick in 2007, he worked 68 2/3 innings, allowing 51 hits with 28 walks and 62 strikeouts.
The 26-year-old Additon pitched in 2013 at Triple-A Memphis in the St. Louis organization, going 9-7 with a 4.10 ERA in 24 games, 21 starts. Over 131 2/3 innings, he walked 38 and fanned 117. Additon was drafted out of a Davie, Fla., high school in round 46 of 2006 by the Cardinals.
Lee Sang-hwa breaks world record in women’s 500
South Korea’s Lee Sang-hwa broke the world record in the women’s 500 meters Friday in a World Cup speedskating meet at the Utah Olympic Oval, finishing in 36.57 seconds.
China’s Wang Beixing was second in 36.85, Heather Richardson finished third in a U.S.-record 36.97.
More fast times followed on the track known as the “fastest ice on earth.” American Shani Davis, the world-record holder in the men’s 1,500, won the event in 1:41.98.
Glendale’s Benson Henderson sees UFC grow
It’s been 20 years since the first Ultimate Fighting Championship and its eight-man tournament format.
Benson Henderson, a former UFC lightweight champion from Glendale, has seen the sport transform in the three years he’s been involved.
“It’s come a long ways, 20 years ago and just my short time period in the UFC,” Henderson said. “Crossing a lot of borders, going mainstream and breaking records.
“It’s been amazing for me to actually witness it and be a part of it.”
Not that long ago, mixed martial arts in general, and UFC in particular, was considered a sports sideshow. Sen. John McCain once labeled UFC as “human cockfighting,” and many states would not sanction events. But a series of rules changes and regulations brought much of the mayhem under control, and two years ago UFC made its first big push toward the mainstream, signing a seven-year partnership deal with Fox.
From student to captain; Jane Kim does it all
La Voz Weekly
Jane Kim, a 20-year-old, 5’7 and 140 pound water machine is De Anza College’s women’s water polo captain. Tough in the pool and with the books, the working student athlete does not have time to waste.
Aside from providing leadership to her team, she helps guide others outside of De Anza. Kim is constantly in the water and if she is not in the pool for school, she is at work as a swim instructor.
“After practice, I teach kids how to swim. It can be draining and on my days off, I compete for school,” said Kim. “My weekends consist of tournaments or games.”
What Foods to Eat in Korea When You’re Sick
Feeling under the weather in Korea? Korea is not only famous for their delicious food but also for their restorative and medicinal qualities too! Here are a few to try out:
Are you ill to the point you don’t want to eat anything too heavy or too flavourful? Then ‘Juk’ will be perfect for any circumstance! ‘Juk’ or rice porridge is very popular to eat in Korea and it comes in many different varieties. In Korea it is often eaten after a heavy meal like Korean BBQ, as a delicacy, as a snack , as a comfort food, or even when someone is sick. ‘Juk can be quite bland so Koreans often add some shrimp jeot (Korean condiment) or eaten alongside with different varieties of Kimchi.
Date a Geek: Cristhian Kim of BarkBox
Tell us a bit about yourself (Age, hometown, what you do for a living):
I’m a 27 year old currently living in Williamsburg. I grew up in New York but was born in Paraguay. I’m a developer at BarkBox where we make dogs and dog parents happy by delivering a surprise box of treats and toys each month.
What makes you a geek?
I’m a geek because I love building and tinkering with things. I am fascinated by complex systems, how they are abstracted to simpler parts and how they all work together. Also, the fact that I wrote that last sentence makes me a geek.
Android, iOS, or other?
After being on Android for the last 4 years I just switched to iOS, got myself a Gold 5S and it’s a thing of beauty. I do miss certain Android features such as being able to send a photo/video to any apps that manipulate those files not just the ones that Apple says it’s ok. But I do love the polish and snappy camera of the iPhone.