South Korea and U.S. Gird for Missile Test by North Korea
New York Times
American and South Korean troops increased alert levels on Wednesday as South Korea’s foreign minister warned that North Korea could launch its medium-range Musudan missile “any time from now.”
Although North Korea has tested many of its short-range Scud and medium-range Rodong missiles, it has never flight-tested the longer-range Musudan, believed to have a range of around 2,175 miles. A successful test of the missile would demonstrate the North’s potential to hit not only South Korea but also all of Japan and targets as far away as the American military bases on the Pacific island of Guam.
“Based on intelligence we and the Americans have collected, it’s highly likely that North Korea will launch a missile,” Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se of South Korea told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday, adding that such a test would violate United Nations resolutions banning the country from testing ballistic missiles. “Such a possibility could materialize at any time from now.”
No panic in NKorea despite talk of missile test
AP via Google News
As the world braced for a provocative missile launch by North Korea, with newscasts worldwide playing up tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the center of the storm was strangely calm.
The focus in Pyongyang on Wednesday was less on preparing for war and more on beautifying the capital ahead of the nation’s biggest holiday: the April 15 birthday of the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung. Soldiers put down their rifles to blanket the barren ground with sod and students picked up shovels to help plant trees.
But the impoverished, tightly controlled nation that has historically used major holidays to draw the world’s attention by showing off its military power could well mark the occasion by testing a missile designed to strike U.S. military installations in Japan and Guam.
Ex-N.Korea spy says Kim struggling to control military
AFP via Google News
A former North Korean spy who bombed a South Korean airliner said Wednesday that the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un is struggling to control his military and using war talk to shore up support.
Kim Hyun-Hee, who said she was ordered by Jong-Un’s father Kim Jong-Il to bomb the airliner in 1987 killing 115 people, said she believes the son is still trying to establish himself following his father’s death in December 2011.
“Kim Jong-Un is too young and too inexperienced,” she told Australia’s ABC television in an exclusive interview from Seoul, where she lives at an undisclosed location surrounded by bodyguards.
Gov’t confirms Pyongyang link in March cyber attacks
Amid escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean government on Wednesday announced that North Korea was behind the massive hacking attack that paralyzed networks of local financial firms and broadcasters last month.
Three South Korean banks — Shinhan, NongHyup and Jeju — and their insurance affiliates as well as three TV broadcasters — KBS, MBC and YTN — suffered the cyber attack as malicious code infected some 48,000 computers in their networks on March 20.
Following the initial attack, the Web sites of YTN and anti-Pyongynag organizations also suffered another round of cyber attacks on March 25 and 26.
Korean American Groups Reach Consensus on Comfort Women Memorial
Patch.com (Fort Lee, N.J.)
The Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) group released a statement Tuesday saying that a consensus was reached on the language to be inscribed on the Fort Lee Comfort Women Memorial.
The memorial, proposed by the Fort Lee Korean American Vietnam War Veterans, honors 200,000 women forced into sexual service in military ‘comfort stations’ by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces, had met with resistance from other Korean American groups who did not agree on the language that was to be inscribed upon the memorial.
The Korean American Civic Empowerment organization (KACE) of Queens and Hackensack, wanted to replace “vague and inappropriate expressions” such as “sexual service” with “sexual slavery.” They were also seeking to have each individual country that comfort women came from included rather than identifying them as being from “every country in East Asia.” KACE is also asking that Japan’s flag of the Rising Sun be removed from the design and the girl depicted be made to look more representative of all the victims.
South Korea holds its breath as Psy prepares to release new single
The Guardian (U.K.)
While Kim Jong-un keeps the world guessing if he will make good on threats to start the third world war, millions of South Koreans are agonising over a more pressing question: will Psy’s next single be another global hit, or a mega-flop?
For all Kim’s attempts to create the mood music of nuclear Armageddon, pop fans in the South are about to dance to a different tune – one they hope will confirm the rapper’s status as their country’s unofficial cultural ambassador.
This Friday will see the release of Gentleman, the 35-year-old’s highly anticipated follow-up single to Gangnam Style, the global music and dance sensation that has received more than 1.5bn hits on YouTube since its release last July.
Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen and Rebel Wilson Join Voice Cast of ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′
Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen and Rebel Wilson are joining Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen and other original voice stars in DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed Kung Fu Panda 2, is back as helmer. Also returning are producer Melissa Cobb, executive producer Guillermo del Toro, co-producer Jeffrey Hermann and writers/co-producers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.
The movie is set for a Dec. 23, 2015 release and will be the first co-production with China-based Oriental DreamWorks.
New Musical Stuck Elevator, Featuring Raymond J. Lee, Julius Ahn and Marie-France Arcilla, Debuts in CA
Stuck Elevator, a new musical featuring a hybrid of musical theater, opera, and solo performance, receives its world premiere at San Francisco’s A.C.T beginning April 4 for a run through April 28.
Stuck Elevator, directed by Chay Yew, is billed as “a powerful and poignant hip-hop opera…based on the true story of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours,” according to ACT. “Sounding the alarm will open the doors to freedom, but calling for help also means calling for attention — with dire consequences for this illegal immigrant. Stuck in limbo, he launches into poignant and hilarious hallucinations about his past, present, and future. [It] unleashes an evocative collision of stories, sounds, instruments, and ideas, from immigration and labor to familial obligation and fortune cookies.”
A Korean-American Diner
East Bay Express (Calif.)
At the West Oakland diner known as Pretty Lady, every customer receives a fist bump from Sung Son, the Korean woman who runs the place. It’s an endearing quirk at a restaurant full of endearing quirks. English might not be Son’s native language, but any regular customer will attest that she is fluent in grooving to oldies and in making guests feel welcome. You seat yourself at the horseshoe-shaped counter and, after the bumping of fists, you can ask Son or her husband (who helps out on busy days) for a complimentary plate of kimchi.
Pretty Lady, it should be noted, is not a Korean restaurant. According to Son, the greasy spoon has existed at its Peralta Street location under the same name since the Fifties. She and her husband took over eight years ago, and they kept the focus of the menu more or less the same: omelets, pancakes, burgers, and other American breakfast-and-lunch standards.
New Age Pizza? Frankfurter Danish? Strange Wiener-Bearing Pastries Appear in Koreatown
The Village Voice (N.Y.)
Manhattan’s Koreatown has been remaking itself at breakneck pace over the last two years, as Korean food finally approaches mainstream in New York. There are food courts, barbecues, tofu parlors, upscale formal restaurants with views of the city skyline, and, most recently, a slew of French bakeries aimed at Koreans. One of the newest is Tous les Jours (“All the Days”), and if you’re in the vicinity, you ought to step in and examine the offerings, because some are really off the wall.
The K-pop Effect – South Korea
The viral sensation ‘Gangnam style’ sparked imitations worldwide. Yet closer to home, the dream to be like such K-Pop idols is driving young South Koreans to a darker level of imitation: plastic surgery.
North Korea warns foreigners to leave South Korea
Los Angeles Times
North Korea’s state-run Asia Pacific Peace Committee warned foreigners in South Korea Tuesday to set up evacuation plans.
State media KCNA carried a statement, saying Pyonyang does not want any harm done to foreigners in South Korea in case of a war and urging “all foreign organizations, companies and tourists to work out measures for evacuation.”
Analysts, however, said that a war is unlikely, dismissing the announcement as yet another threat by Kim Jong Un’s belligerent regime.
Don’t be afraid, Seoul’s message to tourists
“So, how can we promote Seoul as a safe destination in the foreign media in the midst of the current North Korea situation?”
That was the question posed by a Seoul government foreign public relations representative at a meeting on Monday, even as Pyongyang continued its militaristic rhetoric, announcing on the same day that North Korea is pulling workers out of a joint North-South industrial zone.
Fearing both short and long term drops in tourism, the Seoul government was seeking advice at a meeting it requested with North Korea expert Andrei Lankov, a professor at Seoul’s Kookmin University.
State Department to Americans: No need to leave South Korea
“The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that despite current political tensions with North Korea there is no specific information to suggest there are imminent threats to U.S. citizens or facilities in the Republic of Korea (ROK),” the April 4 advisory said. “The Embassy has not changed its security posture and we have not recommended that U.S. citizens who reside in, or plan to visit, the Republic of Korea take special security precautions at this time.”
At Tuesday’s State Department press briefing, reporters asked Spokesman Patrick Ventrell whether Pyongyang’s latest threat to Americans in South Korea would lead to any change in the State Department’s advice to American citizens there. Ventrell said it would not.
LA’s Korean community warily watches North Korean threats
Southern California Public Radio
The escalating rhetoric coming out of North Korea these days has some Korean-Americans in Los Angeles on edge; others see it as Pyongyang’s typical bluster.
Michael Won is a staff writer for the Korea Daily, a Korean language newspaper that circulates L.A. and nine other American cities. His mother lives just south of the North Korean border. He’s been calling her more often lately. He says his friends are too: “They are calling their parents more often, just to check out whether they’re emotionally stable and whether they’re not affected.”
Won says he’s never heard a North Korean leader threaten to attack the U.S. so overtly. Won adds that Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s age — he’s believed to be around 30 years old — makes him nervous. “I think were all worried because he’s so young,” Won says. “It makes it very hard to predict what he’s going to do next.”
Annandale’s Korean-Americans react to increasing tensions
Local radio station WKBC has seen a spike in listeners in light of the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Station manager Yong Sik Lee says more people are tuning in to the news instead of music. The station has even recently launched an app so listeners can monitor the news on the go.
Caught in the middle: Asian immigrants struggle to stay in America
It should have been a happy day for Raymond Jose: He had been accepted to college, with scholarships to help pay for it.
But when he told his parents, his mother started to cry.
“I was puzzled why she was crying after hearing such great news,” said Jose, who was to attend Montgomery College in Maryland. “That was when she started to explain to me we were undocumented, that we had overstayed our tourist visas.”
Jose’s family had come to the United States from the Philippines in 2000, when Jose was 9. They first lived in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area but moved four years later to Maryland. Jose had been assimilated into American life and culture and didn’t know that he was undocumented until that day. When he found out, he was heartbroken. His undocumented status prevented him from using scholarship money to help pay for school.
Fort Lee looks to honor comfort women with memorial
Fort Lee Suburbanite (N.J.)
When two Japanese delegations arrived in Palisades Park last spring to persuade the town to remove a stone plaque dedicated to the plight of comfort women, a curious thing happened. Towns across the country, outraged by the demands, began planning monuments of their own.
On April 27, Fort Lee will become the third municipality in the country to bring those plans to fruition, erecting an 8-foot tall memorial to the 200,000 women and girls, mostly Korean, who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
The memorial takes inspiration from South Korea’s Peace Monument, a bronze, life-size statue of a comfort girl, clad in traditional Korean dress, that sits across the street from the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
Finalists for LA City Council’s CD13 get backing from former opponents
Southern California Public Radio
O’Farrell will face former Public Works Commissioner John Choi in the May 21 runoff. Last week, Choi was backed by former candidate Matt Szabo. Monday he was endorsed by Assembly Speaker John Pérez.
“John Choi is a leader with the vision and the plans to create jobs, help solve L.A.’s budget crisis, and make sure essential programs like after-school enrichment and police are protected and expanded,” Pérez said in a statement.
“The Walking Dead” Star Steven Yeun Wrote a Short Story After Listening to Kid Cudi’s “Indicud”
Kid Cudi’s new album, Indicud, hits stores in two weeks. Thanks to a leak (that Cudi isn’t even mad about), many fans have been able to give it a listen. The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun is one of those fans, but he actually got to check out the project during a private studio session with Cudi. The record inspired him to write a trippy little short story, which you can read below, along with some context about his experience before and after hearing the LP.
‘The Language Archive’ review: Tongue-tied
San Francisco Chronicle
Hope in love and other matters is pretty elusive in Julia Cho’s poignantly comic “The Language Archive.” It isn’t that these people are incapable of loving each other. They just can’t find the words to say so in the rocky but beguiling Symmetry Theatre production at the Berkeley City Club.
That’s particularly true for linguist George (Gabriel Grilli). Though fluent in many tongues and eloquent about dying languages, he can’t communicate with his wife. Not that Mary (Elena Wright) makes it easy. Apart from weeping and scattering cryptic notes, which she denies having written, her only clear statement is, “I’m leaving you.” As she does.
Shin-Soo Choo’s offense, defense a study in contrast
For much of Monday’s game in St. Louis, it appeared Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo was destined to be the goat.
With two outs in the first inning, Choo was unable to haul in a Yadier Molina fly ball and two Cardinals players scored. In the sixth inning — again with two outs and Molina batting — Choo again committed an error that led to a Cardinals run.
So through six innings, the Reds trailed the Cardinals 4-2 and three of the four St. Louis runs could have been prevented with good defense in center. And this appears to be an ongoing issue with Choo.
Though he entered the game with zero errors, Choo has had a few instances where it’s been apparent he’s still not completely settled in center — remember, he moved to center from right field for this season. Just from eyeballing his play, going back on the ball presents an issue and he often turns several times as he’s running back. On opening day, there was a Peter Bourjos triple in the 12th inning that Choo badly misplayed.
South Korea Expects Missile Launch by North
New York Times
The South Korean government warned on Sunday that the North might launch a missile later this week, while a top military leader postponed a scheduled trip to Washington, citing escalating tensions on the peninsula.
The warning by Kim Jang-soo, director of national security for President Park Geun-hye, came three days after the South Korea’s defense minister said that the North had moved to its east coast a missile with a “considerable range” but not capable of reaching the mainland United States.
North Korea says it’s pulling workers out of joint industrial zone
North Korea said it would pull out all its workers and temporarily suspend operations at the industrial complex it jointly operates with the South, the latest sign of deteriorating relations on the Korean Peninsula.
The North said it would also consider permanently closing down the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a shared manufacturing zone that is the last major symbol of cooperation between the two countries.
N. Korea warns foreign diplomats of ‘grave inter-Korean situations’: Seoul official
Just two days after warning foreign diplomatic missions to leave Pyongyang, North Korea briefed foreign officials on the developments on the Korean Peninsula, but did not reiterate the warning to evacuate, a senior official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said Monday.
North Korea’s foreign ministry on Friday asked foreign embassy officials based in Pyongyang to leave, saying a war could break out soon and the safety of foreigners could not be guaranteed, but the call for withdrawal was not mentioned during Sunday’s meeting, according a foreign ministry official, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Some L.A. Koreans unfazed by North Korea’s threats
Whittier Daily News
Kyung Moon Hwang, a 45-year-old Claremont resident, has been following headlines about North Korea, but he doesn’t think the communist nation’s combative posturing will lead to war.
The USC history professor said North Korea’s saber rattling is cyclical and always happens around March when American and South Korean militaries have joint war games known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.
“It’s happened so many times in the past that it mitigates the alarm,” said Hwang, who studies socio-political authority and hierarchy in Korea. “It’s more internal politics than shifts in external policies, so I don’t attach too much significance to that.”
Venerating the Kims: Just one more religion?
WHAT is the tenth most widely followed religion in the world? According to www.adherents.com, a site which gathers data on faith from many sources, that honour goes to juche, the national ideology of North Korea, which is credited with 19m followers. As the site’s editors explain, “from a sociological viewpoint, it is clearly a religion”. Juche is more obviously religious in character than either Soviet communism or Maoism. Thomas J Belke, an American Protestant theologian who has writen a book about juche, agrees that it’s a religion. “It has a comprehensive belief system, holy places, distinctive customs…and it displaces other religions.”
It does not take a sociological genius to see that the cult of the North Korean state’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and of his son and successor Kim Jong Il, who ruled from 1994 to 2011, shares many features with established creeds. Images of the Kims, and their all-wise pronouncements, fill the sensory field of every North Korean, in a way that Christianity permeated daily life in medieval Europe or Byzantium. The founder is sometimes presented as a kind of god, and his successor as the “son of a god”—a formula that has echoes of Christian theology. If the latest member of the dynasty to take the helm, Kim Jong Un, has any legitimacy, it is as the grandson of one divine figure and son of another. The young scion is starting to accumulate laudatory titles of his own.
Koreatown DUI driver dies after police use Taser gun
ABC Los Angeles
An investigation is under way after a suspected drunk driver died Friday after he was Tasered by police in Koreatown Thursday.
The incident occurred near the intersection of 4th Street and Vermont Avenue. According to authorities, LAPD officers pulled up to the scene of the car wreck around 11:20 p.m. The driver, police say, appeared to be drunk and was combative.
“This individual was involved in a hit-and-run crime. There may be some intoxication involved, a lot of physical exertion and that is usually the case with Tasers,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
Chief Beck says a Taser was used in this case. But the man, whose name has not been released, started having health problems and was pronounced dead Friday around 1 a.m. at a local hospital.
Rockets’ Jeremy Lin says race was ‘barrier’ to interest from colleges
Jeremy Lin is 24, a global superstar, a full-time starter for the Rockets, and the recipient of a three-year contract worth more than $25 million last summer. That success on and off the court hasn’t made him forget what life was like when he was a high school senior in 2009, when he opted to play basketball for Harvard after receiving little interest from major college programs near his hometown of Palo Alto, Calif.
In a CBSSports.com preview of an upcoming interview on 60 Minutes, Lin points to his race as a factor in his lack of scholarship offers from major programs.
“I think the obvious thing, in my mind, is that I was Asian-American, which is a whole different issue,” he said. I think that was a barrier.”
Asked why race would be a barrier, as Asian-Americans are fully capable of playing basketball, Lin said: “I mean, it’s a stereotype.”
Korean’s Rise Leads to Victory in a Major: Inbee Park Wins Kraft Nabisco Championship
New York Times
After the 2008 United States Open, the major championships were supposed to flow like Champagne out of a bottle. But Inbee Park, like Tiger Woods, saw her major ambitions corked for nearly five years. The impediments, mostly mental, gave way Sunday when Park carded a three-under-par 69, for a 72-hole total of 15-under 273, to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club.
Now the spotlight shifts to Woods, who will try to secure his 15th major title, and his fifth green jacket, this week at the Masters.
Park, a winner in February in an L.P.G.A. event in Thailand, birdied the first two holes on her way to a four-stroke victory over her South Korean compatriot So Yeon Ryu, who said of Park’s performance, “She looks like she played another golf course.”
Michelle Wie’s new putting stance is a source of confusion
Michelle Wie has been many things in her up-and-down career, and polarizing is definitely at the top of that list.
She’s turning heads again this season with a strange new putting stance in which she bends her body in a 90 degree angle to get her head out over the ball. You can see the video above.
Wie is playing the Kraft Nabisco Championship this week (the first major of the year) and sat tied for 12th at 2 under.
A lot of people are questioning Wie’s tactics (Annika Sorenstam questioned her talent earlier in the week), as this is the first year for her to use the bent-over sideways putting style.
Shin-Soo Choo getting on base, setting Reds’ table
The Reds went out and traded for Shin-Soo Choo in an attempt to get a leadoff man who would get on base on a consistent basis. So far through six games, he’s done just that — by any means necessary. His .516 on-base percentage has been aided by getting hit by pitches four times in his first six games as a Red.
“I don’t think they’re trying to hit me. I don’t mind getting by hit by a pitch,” said Choo, who has reached safely in each of the team’s first six games so far this season. “I’ll take it. The second game (of the season, against the Angels), I scored after getting hit by a pitch. I had a lot of hit-by-pitch last year.”
Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu buys downtown condo
Los Angeles Times
Hyun-jin Ryu, the Dodgers’ new starting pitcher from South Korea, has bought a unit at the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live.
The two-bedroom, three-bathroom condominium has 2,082 square feet of living space. Features include 10-foot-high ceilings, expansive windows and views of the Hollywood Hills, the ocean and the downtown skyline. The sales price was not disclosed.
Park Ji-sung ‘Set to Lose Spot on QPR’
With the prospect of relegation for the Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League looming large, there is speculation that Park Ji-sung will have to leave the club after this season.
The Daily Mirror in an article, headlined “QPR set to offload Park Ji-sung, Julio Cesar, Loic Remy and Chris Samba regardless of relegation,” said on Saturday, “Rangers owner Tony Fernandes needs to reduce costs by offloading overpaid misfits in the summer.” The paper added, “[Park] is set to become the first victim of QPR’s nightmare season.”
In Koreatown, the Lakers are the team holding court
Los Angeles Times
For years, the purple and gold claimed a steady fan base in the sprawling community, but this season the intensity has been amplified — with games now broadcast in Korean, a first in the NBA.
Check out our story on the Lakers commentators from the February 2013 issue:
February Issue: Korean Lakers Commentators Talk About Their Dream Job
A priest in Korea played matchmaker for this Lee’s Summit couple
Have you met Maija Rhee yet?” the priest asked 25-year-old Michael Devine for the third time. It was March 1970, and Michael was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English at a Jesuit college in Seoul, South Korea.
The priests were extremely proud of Maija Rhee, 26. She had graduated from the college, gone to St. Louis for additional studies and returned to South Korea to teach. Michael finally phoned Maija, and they arranged to meet at a tearoom.
Maija: “I was shocked because he was 6 feet, 3 inches, and I’m 5 feet. But I really liked the stories he told. They all contained a natural humor, and that really appealed to me.”
Michael. “I thought she was cute. I enjoyed talking with her, and I was impressed with her zest for life and her wide range of interests.”
DFLA – f(x)’s newest member?! Anna Kendrick Behind the Scenes & Interview
MnetAmerica via YouTube
For South Koreans at North’s Edge, Drumbeat of War Is More of a Patter
New York Times
As Lee Jae-eun retrieved her squirming twins from day care and loaded them into a two-seat stroller, she barely glanced up at the olive green Blackhawk helicopter that swept overhead, just above the high-rise apartment buildings.
Even in peaceful times, low-flying military aircraft are a common sight in this residential community near the heavily fortified border that separates capitalist South Korea from the communist North. But these are not placid times, and the roaring helicopters are one more reminder of rising tensions wrought by North Korea’s recent barrage of war threats.
Tensions With North Korea Unsettle South’s Economy
New York Times
North Korea’s torrent of threats — and the matching show of military power and political resolve from the United States and South Korea — began showing signs of unsettling foreign investors’ confidence Friday.
The development magnified the challenges Seoul and Washington face. The two powers are trying to show the North’s novice leader, Kim Jong-un, that they will not be blackmailed by his bluff and bluster. But at the same time, they do not want to escalate the tensions to an extent that they hurt the South Korean economy, the pride of the local population, or President Park Geun-hye’s political standing at home.
Ex-CIA Analyst Expects North Korea to Attack South Korea Before Tensions End
Unless North Korea wants to be annihilated, its leadership has to find a way to climb down from its current wave of provocative rhetoric. But one of the CIA’s former top Pyongyang analysts thinks dictator Kim Jong-un will order a limited strike on South Korea — as a way to actually tamp down hostilities.
“North Korea will launch an attack,” predicts Sue Mi Terry, a Columbia University professor who served as a senior analyst on North Korea at the CIA from 2001 to 2008. The attack won’t be nuclear, she thinks, nor will it be a barrage from the massive amounts of artillery Pyongyang has aimed south.
Instead, Terry believes, “it will be something sneaky and creative and hard to definitively trace back to North Korea to avoid international condemnation and immediate retaliation from Washington or Seoul.” This, she thinks, is what counts as de-escalation in 2013 from the new regime in Pyongyang: a relatively small attack that won’t leave many people dead.
North Korean tensions: Inside the cult of Kim
IT IS hard to talk about normality in North Korea. But as its leaders each day cranked up the threats of merciless all-out war with America and South Korea, residents in and around the capital, Pyongyang, appeared to be busier preparing for the coming of spring than a coming war.
At a time of high tension on the Korean peninsula, a propaganda blitz in Pyongyang warning of something akin to a doomsday “do-or-die” battle was relentless. On March 26th people crowded around television screens to watch a newsreader in pink bark out orders from the top brass of the Korean People’s Army for field units to be ready to attack American bases and conduct “physical action” against South Korea.
The known unknowns of Kim Jong-Un
AFP via Google News
Like his father Kim Jong-Il, North Korea’s new young leader Kim Jong-Un is viewed by much of the outside world with a heady mix of incomprehension, ridicule and fear.
In early March, people were shaking their heads in bemusement at photos of Kim partying with flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang after watching a basketball game together.
One month later, they’re wondering if he might be on the brink of tipping the Korean peninsula into a catastrophic conflict.
Controversy puts planned ‘comfort women’ memorial in Fort Lee on hold
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
Responding to backlash for approving what’s turned out to be a controversial “comfort women” memorial, the mayor and council on Thursday ordered members of local Korean organizations to reach consensus on the monument before proceeding with plans to erect one in town.
Borough officials last month approved a memorial in tribute to the hundreds of thousands of women who served in Japanese military brothels, or “comfort stations,” during World War II.
Mayor Mark Sokolich said he was under the impression that Fort Lee’s Korean American Vietnam War Veterans group — which submitted the design and wording for the inscription — had the approval of other members of the Korean community.
But borough officials this week were surprised to learn that wasn’t the case.
Korean Sex Workers Exploited In L.A.; ‘Madam’ Eun Suk Sun Faces Charges In Korea
Eun Suk Sun allegedly ran a house (or, rather, apartment) of prostitution right here in L.A.’s Koreatown. But it isn’t American authorities who want to take her down for it. Nope, it’s Korean officials. And their wish might come true:
You see, Korean authorities allege that the women exploited by Sun’s operation were also South Korean nationals.
So they want to try the 37-year-old in her homeland, American officials say.
Asian-American Students Outpace Other Groups in Math, Science
Voice of America
Asian-American students outperform other racial or ethnic groups in math and science courses, according to a new study of 367 10th grade students in the Philadelphia area.
The study, published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, claims to be “the first study to examine math and science attitudes and achievement at the intersection of gender and ethnicity across four major ethnic groups,” including whites, Asian-Americans, Latinos and African-Americans.
“Asian-American male adolescents consistently demonstrated the highest achievement compared to other adolescents, mirroring the ‘model minority’ stereotype,” the researchers wrote. “In contrast, the underachievement of Latino and African-American males is a persistent and troubling trend.”
Pew Research vs Asian Americans
Recently, some legitimate questions have been raised about The Pew Internet and American Life Project’s new “Demographics of Social Media Users” study for failing to include Asian-Americans. Unfortunately, Pew’s response has only highlighted the glaring problem that for 20 years Asians have been regularly excluded from all of their research studies, not just this latest one on digital aptitude.
It is puzzling that Pew could so comfortably exclude Asian-Americans less than a year after another Pew report said, “At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, Asians have become the largest stream of new immigrants to the U.S. — and, thus, the latest leading actors in this great American drama. The fact that they are coming at a time when a rising Asia is flexing its economic and political muscles on the international stage only adds to the richness of their unique American journey.”
Korean-American Christian teen teaches the Shoah
Times of Israel
At first glance, it doesn’t seem likely that Christopher Huh, a second-generation Korean-American Christian teenager living in suburban Maryland, would have such a close relationship with Ari Kolodiejski, a Polish-born Jewish grandfather who survived Auschwitz, dysentery and a death march.
Yet Christopher knows the elderly man quite well — which isn’t surprising given that the 14-year-old created him for a graphic novel he published earlier this year.
The 170-page “Keeping My Hope” (Amazon CreateSpace) juxtaposes Kolodiejski with his contemporary family as he tells his Shoah experiences to his granddaughter, Sarah. Kolodiejski’s Holocaust story begins when he is an 18-year-old in Lomza, Poland, shortly before the Nazis’ September 1939 invasion, and continues through his escape from a death march and rescue by a farmer in early 1945.
A budding author and self-taught artist who has been doing pencil drawings since he was about 6 years old, Huh became interested in the Holocaust during a seventh-grade English class unit called “Voices from the Past.” Among the readings were “Voices of the Holocaust,” “Friedrich” and portions of “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl.”
Fountain of youth wasted on middle aged?
The Age (Australia)
Youth is a magnificent state and this is why Margaret Cho has no wish to leave it just for the use of children. In her newest show, Mother, the 44-year-old comic performs a cost-benefit analysis of aging and comes to some ambiguous conclusions.
It is, of course, unlikely that this comedian would come to conclusions of any other sort. Cho, after all, has long delighted in confounding her audience. Comedy for her is a means to convey often confusing ideas. “Ideas that maybe people wouldn’t be otherwise prepared to hear,” she says. Smart as paint and queer as folk, she has always been rather hard to pin down.
A Korean-American bisexual with a sharp tongue and a soft heart, she has long spoken of life as it is lived between states. And now she is exploring the confounding territory of the midlife teen. “I am now old enough to be everyone’s mother,” says Cho. “And yet, I act like a child.” There is, she says, great liberty in her refusal to age. “There is a freedom. You don’t have to have a midlife crisis. You can retain a youthful joy.”
Michelle Wie accepts apology
AP via ESPN
Michelle Wie said Annika Sorenstam apologized to her for comments she made in an interview with Golf Magazine.
“She actually reached out to me last night, said a couple of things got misquoted,” Wie said Thursday after her first round in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. “I thought that was really nice of her to reach out to me. She apologized for what she said, and that’s that.”
Sorenstam’s comments appear in a question-and-answer story in the magazine’s May edition.
“I didn’t read it, so I don’t know what she said,” Wie said when asked how Sorenstam could be misquoted in a question-and-answer format.
Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin enjoys low-profile life in U.S.
South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, who recently made his major-league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers, says he is happy leading a quiet life in his new Californian home.
Speaking with Korean reporters at his downtown L.A. apartment Thursday, the rookie pitcher of the Major League Baseball (MLB) club said he’s had no problem adjusting to life in the U.S., and has even gained a little weight from eating the home-cooked meals his mother, who lives with him, makes every day.
North Korea Moves Missile to Coast, but Limited Threat Seen
New York Times
South Korea’s defense chief said on Thursday that North Korea had moved to its east coast a missile with a “considerable” range, but that it was not capable of reaching the United States. The disclosure came as the Communist North’s military warned that it was ready to strike American military forces with “cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means.”
North Korea has been issuing a blistering series of similar threats in recent weeks, citing as targets the American military installations in the Pacific islands of Hawaii and Guam, as well as the United States mainland. In its latest threat on Thursday, it did not name targets but said it was authorized to “take powerful, practical military counteractions” against the threats from B-2 bombers from the United States, B-52 bombers from Guam and F-22 Stealth jet fighters from United States bases in Japan that have recently run missions over the Korean Peninsula during joint military exercises with South Korea.
As N. Korean threats intensify, first signs of jitters in the South
This bustling South Korean capital has been defined for decades as a place of traffic jams and luxury shopping malls, long days of work and longer nights of sipping rice liquor. Residents rarely behaved as though their routines could be upended in minutes by the Kim regime to the north and its 10,000 artillery pieces.
But after years of largely ignoring threats from North Korea, some residents say they are becoming a bit jittery, with the ascension of an unpredictable young leader in Pyongyang and levels of fury not seen since the early 1990s.
Calls in South Korea for Envoy to North
Wall Street Journal
As North Korea’s barrage of war-like threats shows no sign of easing, some South Korean policy makers are cautiously suggesting that their government move more actively to bring the tension to a peaceful end, with some calling for Seoul to send a representative to the North.
“As part of pre-emptive diplomacy, we should consider sending a special envoy to North Korea,” Chung Woo-taik, one of six members of the Supreme Council of the ruling New Frontier Party, said Thursday in an interview. “We need to deal with them sternly should there be any provocation, but at the same time, we need to open various channels including an envoy to find out what their true intentions are.”
Family a Priority for Immigration Reform Advocates
Immigration reform advocates are pushing Congress to be inclusive of immigrants’ families when drafting immigration reform.
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) kicked off a month-long photography contest Tuesday to highlight the role of family in immigrant communities. The contest “We Are America, America Is Home” seeks to create a visual narrative of all types of families who call the United States home.
Participants are encouraged to submit photos online by April 30, 2013. Photos will be shared with members of Congress and used to promote NAKASEC’s family campaign, according to NAKASEC staff.
‘The Walking Dead’ actor, K-College grad Steven Yeun talks strippers, basketball and Michigan on Conan O’Brien
Yeun now lives in Atlanta, Ga., where the NCAA college basketball Final Four will be held this weekend. The University of Michigan is one of four teams left in the tournament, which is broadcast by CBS and its sister stations, including TBS, home of Conan O’Brien’s show.
Yeun seems to have a natural chemistry with the talk show host. He appeared last year and poked fun at himself for his lack of facial hair. During his latest spot on the show, he donned something similar to a mustache.
Among the highlights of his stint on Conan O’Brien, Yeun cited the Clermont Lounge, a strip club, as one of his favorite places in Atlanta. He also talked about basketball. O’Brien asked if he was excited about the Wolverines. Yeun said yes but added, “Personally, I root for Michigan State with basketball.”
Psy’s “Gentleman” [music video] to star Yoo Jae Suk, Noh Hong Chul, HaHa, and Brown Eyed Girls’ Ga In?
Remember Psy‘s epic performance during ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve‘ with Yoo Jae Suk, Noh Hong Chul, and HaHa? Well if you enjoyed the trio performing alongside Psy, you’ll be glad to hear that they’ll be featured in Psy’s “Gentleman” MV!
Yoo Jae Suk and Noh Hong Chul already made cameos in the video for “Gangnam Style“, but now HaHa will join them to add to the fun in the highly anticipated music video!
The trio have been confirmed by YG Entertainment themselves through a press release, so we can expect them for sure. In addition, it’s rumored that the female singer who will join Psy this time around is none other than Brown Eyed Girls‘ Ga In, who also has a solo comeback of her own coming up.
Tokimonsta Leaves the Nest
But [Jennifer] Lee’s career is proceeding apace. Half Shadows is her second full-length LP and first on dance-music label Ultra, whose roster includes David Guetta, Deadmau5 and Calvin Harris. These are, perhaps, strange bedfellows for an elite member of L.A.’s electronic underground; indeed, she initially rebuffed offers from the EDM mega-label. She eventually relented, however, when Ultra “convinced me that they cared.”
“Nothing is overbearing,” she says of the deal. “They’re not trying to put scantily clad girls all over my album.”
This major-label release brings Tokimonsta to audiences far beyond the Low End scene. At least, she hopes it does. “Everyone wants to go beyond the beat scene,” Lee says. “If they don’t say it publicly, they’re thinking it.”
Reds to keep Choo as permanent center fielder
As the Reds adjust to an outfield without injured left fielder Ryan Ludwick, there was no thought from manager Dusty Baker in moving Shin-Soo Choo over from center field.
Choo, who was acquired in an offseason trade from the Indians, was primarily a corner outfielder throughout his career. Ludwick’s replacement in left field, Chris Heisey, has extensive experience in center field.
Orange Fanatics: Chris Kang is the biggest SU fan living in South Korea
I may be a typical 30-year-old Korean man who works at a Korean corporate company in Seoul, but I promise I am the biggest Syracuse University supporter in Korea, maybe in whole Asia.
My father is a public administration professor here, and I first got to see SU basketball when I was in second grade of elementary school when my father took my family to Syracuse University as an exchange professor. We lived in Syracuse from late 1989 to 1992 and I attended the public elementary school in that area.
My father took me to the Carrier Dome for the first time in 1990, and I was just fascinated by what I witnessed. I was an 8-year-old who didn’t know much about basketball at that time, but after I saw Dave Johnson make a reverse dunk I was deeply tied with Orange basketball forever. I just fell in love with the style of the team and the atmosphere of the Dome at such a young age.
The Masters: John Huh talks about his first time
John Huh recently talked to me about his first trip to the Masters. Huh qualified by finishing in the top 30 of the 2012 PGA Tour money list (28th).
Kyle Porter: What are you most excited about in playing your first Masters?
John Huh: The thing I’m most excited about is … playing the Masters, you know? Playing one of the most historical golf tournaments and courses.
Porter: Have you played the course before?
Huh: No. I had a chance to go out there the week of the Arnold Palmer, but I didn’t.
Porter: Why did you choose not to go?
Huh: I was kind of burned out playing golf, so I was trying to take it slow.
Here’s the Cover of L.A. Son, Roy Choi’s Upcoming Book
Hot off the Eaterwire, here’s the cover for Los Angeles chef Roy Choi’s upcoming book, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food. The book, which was co-written by Tien Nguyen and Natasha Phan with photos by Bobby Fisher, will be the second publication from Anthony Bourdain’s line of books for Ecco. (The first is Daniel Vaughn’s Prophets of Smoked Meat, out in May.)