Obituary: Shinae Chun, Korean American Political Pioneer
Author: Young Rae Kim
Posted: October 25th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Shinae Chun, a visionary and trailblazer for Korean American women, passed away in her home in Silver Spring, Md., on Oct. 15 after battling lung cancer for several years. She was 70 years old.

Chun became the highest-ranking Korean American appointee under the Bush Administration in 2001, when the U.S. Senate confirmed her as the 15th Director of the Women’s Bureau. During this time, she worked as a tireless advocate for women in the work force.

Chun was the first recipient of the Network for Korean American Leaders (NetKAL) Exemplary Leadership Award for Public Service, and cherished by the Korean American community. Continue Reading »

Friday’s Link Attack: SUV Victim’s Cop Uncle Orders Crackdown on Motorcyclists; Palestinian Girl Finds Solace in K-Pop
Author: Young Rae Kim
Posted: October 18th, 2013
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As Seoul Keeps Heat on Tokyo, U.S. Plays Referee
Wall Street Journal

Relations between South Korea and Japan remain in an extended deep freeze, with a visit by Japanese lawmakers to a controversial war shrine on Friday morning likely to provoke another stern response from Seoul.

Other long-simmering disputes over territory, wartime sex slaves and concern in South Korea over Japan’s military ambitions add to headaches for countries like the United States that count both Japan and South Korea as close allies.

In recent weeks, U.S. diplomats have been using private meetings to urge both sides to tone down the rhetoric and focus on common interests — the threat of North Korea, for instance, or the rise of China.

Panama to send detained North Korean crew, ship home: minister
Reuters

The North Korean crew and ship detained in Panama for smuggling Cuban weapons three months ago will soon be returned to the reclusive Asian nation, Panama’s foreign minister said Thursday.

The crew’s return would mark the end of a bizarre chapter between the three countries that provoked international controversy after the ship was seized in July for smuggling military-style arms under 10,000 tons of sugar.

Repairs to the ship are nearly completed so the crew can sail back in the same vessel, Foreign Minister Fernando Nunez Fabrega told Reuters.

Trooper Claims SUV Attack Victim’s Uncle Ordered Clampdown On Bikers
Jalopnik

A New York State Trooper admitted on video that Alexian Lien, the Range Rover driver in the infamous SUV vs biker attack, has an uncle who is a boss in the State Troopers and he has “sent the word down” to stop any and all bikers for the smallest offenses.

The video shows two bikers getting stopped on the Palisades Parkway going north out of the city, about fifteen minutes from where Alexian Lien was beaten in front of his wife and two-year-old child. The state trooper uses his SUV as a temporary roadblock — stopping across traffic — to pull over two riders for allegedly speeding. The trooper asks the rider if his helmet cam is on and the rider lies, saying it’s off.

Korean American Attorney Selected ‘Democrat of the Year’
Korea Times US

Korean American attorney Hanna Yoon has been selected by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party as the ‘2013 Roosevelt Democrat of the Year’ for Assembly District 53.

The award will be given out during the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner on Sunday, October 20 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel at LAX. At this event, grassroots activists from each Assembly District will be honored as Democrats of the Year, and former Korean American Democratic Committee president Yoon will be one of the 24 recipients.

A ‘Family’ Mission
Open City Mag

Kevin and Minkyu share a room on the top floor of Milal Mission, a religious group home for Korean-Americans with disabilities in Flushing, Queens. But, the two are more like brothers than roommates. Kevin, 19, has a speech impediment that makes his words unclear, and Minkyu, 31, is the only person in the home able to translate and give Kevin a voice.

This strong family-like environment is at the core of Milal’s services, which includes long term care, an after school program, and a weekly recreational program at a nearby church. Nestled on a tree lined street, it is a much needed resource for Korean-American youth and adults with disabilities in this neighborhood.

Soldier pleads not guilty, apologizes for S. Korea subway incident
Stars & Stripes

One of six soldiers accused of harassing a South Korean woman on a subway apologized in court Thursday for the incident as he appealed his fine to the court.

Pvt. Damian Roedl, 20, of the 2nd Infantry Division, told the Uijeongbu District Court he wanted to “just apologize for my comrades’ actions. It was very disrespectful and it was uncalled for, and I’m sorry for all this.”

Roedl was among a group of soldiers who railway police say were acting up on a Dongducheon-to-Incheon train the night of Feb. 2 — playing a “boom box” loudly while dancing and shouting — when a Korean woman in her early 20s asked them to quiet down.

Palestinian Girl Finds Hope Through K-Pop
Chosun Ilbo

A Palestinian girl has won the top prize at an essay contest held by Korea University.

In an essay describing her reflections on how she became a fan of Korean pop music and dramas, Samir Maisa (19), a student at Al Quds University in Palestine, wrote, “I heard a saying that there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. I decided to choose the latter.”

She said that Korean dramas appeared in her life one day like a “miracle” to give her hope of a better tomorrow.

Korean Karaoke a National Anthem
Chicago Tribune

Visiting during yet another flare-up of tensions with Kim Jong Un’s North Korea, I wondered how the South Koreans were going to handle it. So how did the locals react? By singing, of course.

The Japanese may lay claim to the creation of karaoke, but it’s the Koreans who have adopted the form and made it their own. Noraebang (NO-reh-bong), or “song rooms,” are scattered throughout this city of more than 10 million, tucked into residential and commercial blocks; they attract people of all ages late into the night.

Incheon Airport Accused of Excessive Full-Body Scans
Chosun Ilbo

Incheon International Airport subjected nearly 40,000 passengers to full-body scans without warning for the last three years, according to Democratic Party lawmaker Park Ki-choon.

In a parliamentary audit of the country’s main airport Thursday, Park pointed out that the airport administered scans which make the passenger appear naked of some 40,000 people who were randomly and unknowingly assigned code “SSSS” on their boarding passes from 2010 until May this year.

MLB takes formal step for big league clubs to sign pitcher Yoon Suk-min
Yonhap News

Major League Baseball (MLB) has tendered a status check on the South Korean pitcher Yoon Suk-min, baseball officials here said Friday, a formal administrative step before a big league club can sign any professional player from here.

According to the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), MLB on Friday asked for Yoon’s status in the top domestic league. The KBO said it informed MLB that Yoon, 27, is currently under contract with the Kia Tigers and will be eligible for free agency after the end of the ongoing postseason.

Korean-American Vicky Hurst hoping for maiden LPGA win in mother’s birthplace
Yonhap News

Vicky Hurst, a U.S.-born golfer with Korean heritage, is still seeking her first LPGA Tour win, after enjoying a successful amateur career and putting together an impressive season on the second-tier tour.

Hurst, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2009, would like nothing more than to end the drought in South Korea, the land of her mother’s birth.

“It would mean a lot,” the smiling Hurst said Friday when asked about winning the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship this week. Held on the Ocean Course at Sky72 Golf Club in Incheon, west of Seoul, it is the only LPGA event held in South Korea each fall. Hurst has played here every year since 2009.

Korean Food Fair Comes to New York’s Times Square
The Daily Meal

The first annual Korean Food Fair will be held in New York’s Time Square Oct.19-20, showcasing Korean signature dishes with tastings from major Korean food companies. The free-of-charge food fair is organized directly by the Korean government’s Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, and will be focused on the growing popularity of Korean food within the U.S. Bulgogi, bibimbap, and kimchi, are just a few of the many Korean dishes that have been well received by diners across America, and the new food fair aims to further expand the interest in and knowledge of Korean food and culture.

South Korea Considering Paying to Free Prisoners in North Korea
Author: Steve Han
Posted: October 16th, 2013
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A program that would pay North Korea to free South Korean citizens imprisoned in the hermit country is currently under consideration, according to officials in Seoul.

Unification Minister  Ryoo Kihl-jae said in a statement that the program could free an estimated 1,000 South Koreans and help them return home after years of imprisonment.

South Korea says the North held more than 24,000 people from the South hostage after the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953. About 500 of them are believed to be alive today in addition to another 500 prisoners who were abducted since then, although North Korea denies the existence of South Korean abductees. Continue Reading »

Korean President, Japanese Prime Minister Awkwardly Ignore Each Other at Summit
Author: Steve Han
Posted: October 8th, 2013
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President Park was all smiles with Chinese president Xi Jinping (left) but cold with Japan’s prime minister.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave each other the cold shoulder after the two leaders found themselves sitting next to each other at the APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia on Monday.

The seating arrangement at the summit was in alphabetical order of countries, putting Korea next to Japan. The two leaders didn’t greet each other and “looked in different directions” the whole time, according to a Blue House official.

The iciness between Park and Abe is indicative of the strained relations between Korea and Japan, as two countries continue to stand at odds with contentious geopolitical debates on issues such as territorial disputes and Japan’s alleged past war crimes. Continue Reading »

California State Assembly Candidate Makes ‘Kick Butt’ Promise for 2014
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: October 8th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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Image via YoungKim2014.com

The California Republican Party convention this past weekend in Anaheim highlighted some of the challenges facing the GOP in a heavily Democratic state. While conservatives expressed their concern that the party is drifting too far to the center, others warned members to be cautious about what message the party is sending out, especially as it tries to increase its membership among young people and a growing ethnically diverse population.

Young Kim, a self-described 1.5 generation Korean American, looks to be one of the new faces of the GOP that reflects the demographics of current-day California. Kim will be challenging Democratic incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Latina, for control of the 65th district in the State Assembly.

The 51-year-old announced her candidacy last Friday and created some ripples at the convention when she told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I will kick her butt,” in regards to Silva. Continue Reading »

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