This week’s video may cause you to be outraged and ruin your perfectly normal day. So consider yourself warned! Continue Reading »
The rise of North Korea’s new rich
Over the past two decades, North Korean authorities have struggled hard to keep up Stalinist appearances. Generally speaking, they have succeeded: for the casual short-term visitors can be forgiven for their belief that North Korea is still a Stalinist state. What is on display has not changed much – posters with sadistic U.S. imperialist monsters and muscular shock workers, military tunes booming out of loudspeakers and the pompous Stalinist architecture of Pyongyang being chief among them. However, there are things that officials cannot hide: the booming private economy and its unavoidable result – the growing gap between the haves and have-nots.
Nascent North Korean capitalism has produced significant material inequality. There are many very poor North Koreans, but there are also North Koreans who are quite rich – and not all of them are government officials. Apart from big market venders (whose capital can be estimated as worth hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars), there are also a large number of successful mid-level entrepreneurs who are not particularly rich, but still make a decent living in North Korea’s informal economy – and whose income is well above nationwide average.
Ending a Feud Between Allies [OP-ED]
New York Times
Last month Japanese officials once again visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which many Asians deplore as a symbol of Japan’s militaristic past. Soon afterward, South Korea celebrated a law passed in 1900 that claimed sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks, a disputed outcropping in the waters between the countries.
Animosity between Japan and Korea is nothing new. But these latest events have taken relations to a new low and threaten American interests just as President Obama has embarked on a new effort to improve Washington’s position in the region.
Korean-Japanese tensions date from Japan’s invasion of the Korean Peninsula in the late 16th century. But the sorest point remains Japan’s 35-year occupation of Korea through the end of World War II. Japan may have lost the war, but the Japanese have maintained an attitude of national superiority over Koreans, which is matched by a Korean sense of resentment and outrage.
South Korea: Ground Zero for Food Sovereignty and Community Resilience
The bustling, fast-paced, wired metropolis city of Seoul is what most people know of South Korea. Now the fifteenth largest economy in the world, South Korea’s economy is driven by the exports sector controlled by corporations like Samsung, Hyundai, LG and Daewoo. These chaebols have significant global market share: 37 percent in LCD TVs, 33 percent in hand-held phones and 9 percent in automobiles. The term “chaebol nation” aptly describes South Korea’s economy: the top 30 chaebols account for 82 percent of the country’s exports.
It’s hard to imagine that just two generations ago, farming fueled the nation’s economy. In the 1970s, farmers accounted for half the population; today, they represent only 6.2 percent. South Korea’s rapid transformation from an agrarian economy to a highly industrialized one wasn’t accidental; it was the outcome of the central government’s development and trade liberalization policies that in the early 1980s began to see farming as part of Korea’s past, not its future.
The major blow to Korean agriculture fell in 1994, when South Korea joined the WTO and the Agreement on Agriculture, which effectively forced the government to eliminate quotas and tariffs even while major agriculture exporting blocs like the United States and European Union still gave billions in subsidies to their own farmers. The result of all this liberalization: South Korea is only 20-percent self-sufficient in grain production, compared with the 1970s when it was at 70 percent.
A cleaner Flushing is pushed by Kim
Queens Chronicle (New York)
A new initiative to clean up Flushing got underway last week outside the historic St. George’s Episcopal Church on Main Street.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) organized area elected officials, volunteers and Home Depot to get behind his project to power wash streets for a cleaner and less smelly environment.
“I am starting the CleanFlushing Initiative to raise awareness of the difference we can make together to improve the quality of life in our community,” Kim said. “Everyone here has a role to play.”
Daniel Park is seeing green for Tenafly
Councilman-elect Daniel Park, 29, pledges to keep Tenafly green by introducing new ideas and technologies during his three-year term which begins in 2014.
Though the new ideas may be expensive, he believes it’s just a matter of time before more technology, such as solar power and rain gardens, are implemented — thus benefiting the environment.
“It’s long term,” Park said. “When it comes to stuff like that, my inner nerd cries out. I love new tech, I love science so when there’s a chance to push solar or new technologies I’m all for it. It’s just the natural evolution and there’s no stopping it. It just makes sense.”
Harvard professor named head of UF pediatric neurology
Gainesville Sun (Florida)
Dr. Peter Kang from Harvard University is the new chief of pediatric neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, according to a UF media release.
Kang started at UF on Nov. 1. Previously, he was an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and the director of the electromyography laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital. He also started a research laboratory on the genetics of muscular dystrophy and other pediatric neuromuscular disorders, which he intends to expand at UF, according to the media release.
Kang is also the principal investigator on grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Tribeca Film Festival sues in Pier 57 redesign battle
New York Post
The developer selected to modernize the historic Pier 57 on W. 15th Street into a hip retail and cultural center partnered with Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival to gain city approval and then dumped the organization to maximize profits, according to a new lawsuit.
The famous festival claims Young Woo & Associates reneged on a deal to give them naming rights to the rehabbed pier plus $5 million to create a mostly free public arts venue on the roof.
Tribeca began working with the Lower Manhattan-based developer in 2008 to win a bid for the waterfront space from the Hudson River Park Trust, the Manhattan Supreme Court suit says.
Understanding Racism in Korea
We recently posted a video that discussed anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea. In the video we said that in general, older Koreans are anti-Japanese and that younger people are not as racist. And then we got a flood of comments from Korean netizens saying things like “You’re wrong! I hate Japanese people!” … Idiots. I don’t think they realize how ridiculous they seem to the rest of the world. But they have their reasons, and I understand where they’re coming from.
Author’s Note: Racism is a very sensitive subject, and an ultimately complicated issue. A blog post is way too short to fully analyze and explain racist sentiments in any country. But I’m going to try anyway. I’m sure I’ll get some backlash in some form. But remember, these are only my opinions and conclusions, and I take full responsibility for any hate comments or racist internet trolls to come. Let’s get it on!
Justin Chon talks Kdramas, Twilight, and being a Korean American actor with DramaFever
DramaFever was lucky enough to be able to sit down with the Korean American actor, Justin Chon, who you may know from 21 & Over, Crossing Over, and Twilight, to talk about his upcoming roles, what it’s like to be an Asian American actor, and, of course, Kdramas.
1. On His Upcoming Roles:
This evening, Justin guest stars on a new episode of the hit television show, New Girl. He says it’s been a pleasure working with Zooey Deschanel and that she is a complete sweetheart. Justin’s excited to see how tonight’s show turns out because his role as a young Chinese restaurant owner, who is in hot pursuit of Deschanel’s character, has an interesting twist to it that pushes against conventional Asian American stereotypes in Hollywood. Check it out tonight to see for yourself!
K-pop: A horror show for masochists
Do you like being treated like rubbish? Do you enjoy having your warmth and kisses rewarded with a fist to the face and a vacuum cleaner nozzle down your wallet? Do you sometimes find normal pop artists simply too talented, or just too nice?
If you said yes to any of the above, you will just love K-pop, that sugary, neon-coloured funtime that combines the best of a plastic surgery trade show and a mugging in a dark alley.
A few months ago, for example, I saw dozens of fans yelled at, marched out of the Singapore Indoor Stadium by security staff and have their belongings confiscated. Why? Because they dared take photographs of a Korean boy band during a show. Because if there is one place in which an artiste absolutely needs his privacy, it is up on stage in front of 20,000 people.
Lydia Ko Ranked Among World’s Most Influential Teens
Korean-New Zealander Lydia Ko has been included in TIME’s list of the 16 most influential teens in the world for 2013. The U.S. magazine released the list on its website on Tuesday.
“She turned pro this year — the LPGA waived the age requirement for her to join — and she’s already fifth in the women’s world rankings,” the magazine said. “She’s the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event and the youngest person ever to win an LPGA tour event (and the only amateur to ever win two LPGA tour events).”
Others on the list include American singer Justin Bieber and swimmer Missy Franklin, who won six gold medals at last year’s Olympics, and New Zealand singer Lorde, who recently topped the Billboard single chart.
Shin-Soo Choo would be an ideal fit for Red Sox under different circumstances
Playing nine innings while wondering how often Masahiro Tanaka’s pitched to the score while going 24-0 last season …
1. Under different circumstances, Shin-Soo Choo might be heavily coveted by the Red Sox. The Reds’ leadoff hitter last season reached base at a .423 clip last season, with an NL-best 112 walks; David Ortiz led the Red Sox in OBP at .395. Choo has power (21 homers), decent speed (20 steals, but in an inefficient 31 attempts), and is capable enough defensively that Dusty Baker was comfortable using him in center field. Unfortunately, he’s represented by Scott Boras, who also reps Jacoby Ellsbury, and it’s hard to figure on the Sox signing one Boras client to replace another, especially when Choo’s asking price is said to be in the range of Jayson Werth’s $126 million deal.
Former N.Korean Striker to Wed in December
Suwon Samsung Bluewings striker Jong Tae-se will marry a flight attendant who works for a Korean airline in December.
The parents of the couple recently agreed to their marriage and set the wedding date for Dec. 14.
Jong and his fiancée have been dating since May, when they met through mutual friends.
WATCH: The Little-Known History of Asian Takeout in America
When a dish really hits a nerve with the American palate, it can really take off across the entire country, facilitated by food vendors’ freedom to copy good ideas. We saw it happen with General Tso’s chicken. We’re seeing it happen with other Asian-influenced culinary creations too.
When I was researching my book on Chinese food in America, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, which was the basis of my TED Talk, it puzzled me why Korean cuisine (unlike many of its Asian brethren) had not gone mainstream yet.
Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian and Vietnamese restaurants had all hit critical mass, with footholds in suburban towns. But Korean cuisine remained mostly ensconced within Korean-American communities, with an occasional lone outpost defiantly offering bibimbap. This puzzled me, because Korean savory barbecued meats — short ribs, grilled marinated beef — should be widely appealing to an American palate which never met a barbecue recipe it didn’t like. But Korean restaurants basically remained serving Korean clientele, with the occasional Chinese family, like mine, that celebrated our Thanksgivings there.
G Street Food to open third location with dinner service
When David Choi parted ways with Wall Street, not long after the subprime mortgage crisis threw us into recession, the former investment banker cold-called Mark Furstenberg and convinced the chef and baker to open G Street Food together in 2009. From the start, the street-food-themed operation struggled to find an audience, despite a quick expansion of the menu and despite engineering one of the best (if untraditional) banh mi sandwiches in the area.
Within weeks of opening, Choi and consultant Furstenberg went their separate ways. Furstenberg’s now in the process of opening Bread Furst on Connecticut Avenue NW, which could debut as early as February. Choi is in the process of opening his third location of G Street Food on 15th Street NW, which he hopes to launch in mid-December.
Beyond ethnicity: Korea Americans’ clout growing in US literary scene
When new ethnic writers began gaining recognition on the U.S. literary scene in the 1990s, a sudden surge of work by Korean-American authors led to something akin to a “Korean American literary renaissance.” Now, the American literary world is an open port for ethnic literature, offering further opportunities for Korean American authors.
As the presence of Korean-American writers grows there, academic circles here have recently begun to pay more attention to them in a bid to embrace their work as a separate genre within Korean literature.
“Understanding Korean-American Literature” (Variety Crossing Press, Canada, 2013), a recent book, written by Yoo Sun-mo in English, professor emeritus at Kyonggi University’s Department of English Literature, offers a glimpse of the short history of Korean-American literature from its early period in the 1930s up to the present day and the future potential for it through diverse theme changes over time.
Dongdaemun, Korea’s fashion mecca, tells a unique story
Tourist attractions reveal a nation’s lifestyle, ideas and socio-political changes. Dongdaemun, Korea’s fashion mecca, also tells us a unique story.
Today, Dongdaemun is one of the most popular destinations for foreigners, especially Japanese and Chinese, whose main reason for visiting Korea is shopping. The area posted a record 20 trillion won sales revenue last year, comparable to the total sales of nationwide department stores. But did you know that Dongdaemun has been a shopping center since six centuries ago?
Seoul’s New Modern Art Museum Opens
Wall Street Journal
South Korea this week opened a $230 million modern art museum, with the ambition of becoming a center for visual art that crosses over with technology and scientific innovation.
Known as the MMCA Seoul, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s new branch in the South Korean capital is the city’s first national museum dedicated to works from the 20th century and later. It replaces the old headquarters, located 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) south of Seoul, as the country’s main modern-art showcase, offering more than 10,000 square meters of exhibition space. The museum’s other branches include a 1930’s pavilion inside a royal estate in central Seoul and a future conservation center at a site 130 kilometers south of the capital.
South Korea Reveals Moon-Lander Plans
South Korea has unveiled designs for its planned Moon lander, a key part of President Park Geun-hye’s pledge to revitalize the country’s aerospace industry and space program.
The uncrewed module — of which a scaled-down mock-up was unveiled to the press on 22 October — will travel on board a Korea Space Launch Vehicle-2 rocket and is designed to carry a lunar rover weighing 10–20 kilograms, which will look for signs of rare minerals on the Moon’s surface. A robotic orbiter will also circle above the lunar landscape for more than a year at an altitude of about 100 km.
Fifteen government-funded research institutions, led by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) in Daejeon, have agreed to start collaborating in 2014 to develop foundation technologies for the mission next year, the country’s Ministry of Science has said.
Another race-related controversy has struck Korean professional baseball after an online cartoon series depicted Dominican pitcher Radhames Liz running for his life to escape the Ku Klux Klan.
Seoul-based LG Twins starting pitcher Liz came under public scrutiny for hitting Bae Young-sub of the Samsung Lions in the head with a pitch in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game. The Korean media and fans alike blasted the Dominican for celebrating after striking out three straight batters while Bae, who led off the inning, was being transported to the hospital in an ambulance.
However, cartoonist Bounce Kim — a pen name for a two-man cartoonist team — took his criticism one step further. In Monday’s edition of his online cartoon called “Fastball and Jokeball,” which is published several times a week, the cartoon depicts a fictitious conversation between Liz and a lion. The dialogue shows Liz explaining how happy he was to get three straight strikeouts, or K’s (shown as KKK in the cartoon).
The lion then tells Liz, “Okay, I’ll let you get a taste of your favorite KKK,” as the cartoon ends with three robots (labeled as KKK members) chasing Liz who’s running, while screaming, “Ahhhhhhhh!” Continue Reading »
North Korea urged to grant access to UN rights panel
A UN inquiry gathering harrowing testimony of human rights abuses in North Korea appealed Tuesday for access to the country, even as Pyongyang condemned its work as slanderous and provocative.
The three-member Commission of Inquiry chaired by retired Australian judge Michael Kirby has just wrapped up five days of disturbing hearings in the South Korean capital Seoul — mostly testimony from North Korean defectors.
As Kirby prepared to give a final press conference Tuesday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) launched a bitter attack on the UN panel, calling its witnesses “human scum” manipulated by the South Korean authorities.
The commentary said the commission’s work would only set back recent progress towards engagement between North and South Korea after months of heightened military tensions.
Bordering on comradely
WHEN an April tantrum led North Korea to withdraw its 53,000 workers from the Kaesong industrial complex and expel the managers of the 100-odd South Korean firms, it was curtains for the only surviving product of years of attempts by South Korea to work with the North. The regime in Pyongyang claimed its move was out of pique at military exercises—“attack rehearsals”, it called them—that South Korea was conducting with America. In fact, it was all of a piece with North Korean provocations that had run for months and included a nuclear test in February.
Since then, it has looked as if Kaesong would never reopen—and good riddance, many in South Korea clearly thought. First opened in 2004, the enclave of capitalist enterprise houses mainly small-sized textile and electronics factories. The South kept Kaesong on life support, supplying electricity and water and two meals a day to workers. Firms paid around $140 per worker each month, but they paid it to the state, which pocketed a big chunk. Despite the cheap labour, few owners made money there.
Teenagers take action against hate speech-fuelled anti-Korean rallies
The Mainichi (Japan)
The issue of hate speech against ethnic Koreans in Japan surfaced as tensions boiled over on June 16 during a Tokyo rally by a citizens group against special rights for Koreans, leading to several arrests. Meanwhile, young people, namely junior and senior high school students who are K-pop fans, have started to take action against the hate speech-fuelled rallies.
A 16-year-old high school girl from Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, came to know about the anti-Korean demonstrations on Twitter in April.
She became hooked on a South Korean TV drama series when she was in junior high school. Today, she is a groupie of a K-pop singer and follows her when she comes to tour Japan. The girl works a part-time job four days a week that pays her 760 yen an hour so that she can go to her idol’s concerts. She has taught herself the Korean language and has friends in South Korea she has met through the Internet.
“I can’t stand watching people I love get hurt and I have to protect them,” the girl wrote on her Twitter account. On June 30, about two months after posting this comment, she took a local JR Tokaido Line train and went to the Shinokubo area in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward by herself, despite her family’s opposition.
In America, A New Asian Creative Class
I’ve encountered many stereotypes over the past three decades as an Asian American. Trendsetting has never been one of them — until now.
In his 2012 book “The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited,” Richard Florida, a senior editor at The Atlantic, estimates that Asians make up 6.1 percent of creative jobs in America — a number that seems insignificant until you look at it from the reverse. “Asian-Americans are by far the most heavily represented in the creative class work,” Florida writes. “Nearly one-half (47 percent) of them work in creative class jobs, compared to roughly one-third (34 percent) of whites, 24 percent of African-Americans, and 18 percent of Hispanics.” The jobs that qualify as “creative,” Florida says, span “science and technology, arts, media, and culture, traditional knowledge workers and the professions” — in short, anything but the doctors or lawyers their parents may have once groomed them to be.
South Koreans work less but are no happier (except about work hours)
Los Angeles Times
South Koreans may be the hardest-working people on the planet. Their work hours are notorious. They worked so much that in 2004 the government instituted a five-day, 40-hour initiative to dial down the workweek.
Saturdays off! All good, right? But a new study shows that despite a two-day weekend and fewer overall hours at work, South Koreans are no happier. There’s a notable exception: They are happier about spending fewer hours at work!
The Journal of Happiness Studies published the study, whose abstract states that work-hour reductions “had no impact on job and life satisfaction. Thus, long working hours might not be as negatively related to worker well-being as predicted.”
However, “satisfaction with working hours increased.” In other words, workers said: One thing I’m happy about? Working less.
The Walking Dead Q&A: Steven Yeun On Killer Deleted Scenes, Working With Melissa McBride, Norman Reedus
Steven Yeun is on a break from filming Season 4 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” but he can’t go very far without being asked why he’s not on set hard at work, including by AccessHollywood.com.
“You know, I get asked that question quite often,” he laughs, while speaking with Access to promote “The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season,” out today on Blu-Ray and DVD. “If I show up to a coffee shop, they’re like, ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘Why are you here?’ ‘You should be making my show!’”
YG Launches Reality Show to Choose Next Boy Band
Wall Street Journal
Major K-Pop label YG Entertainment is bringing its tough in-house competition to the public eye, with a reality show about two groups that will battle it out for the chance to debut this year.
The two groups of mostly teenage boys will sing, dance and rap for the top spot over 10 episodes of the show called “WIN,” short for “Who Is Next.”
“I want it to be more than just a team that tops music charts….I want it to be a team that will be popular all over the world,” Yang Hyun-suk, the founder of YG Entertainment said during the first episode of the show that was aired on Friday on Mnet, a local cable TV network.
Pressure on the contestants is likely to be intense.
Real Racism: What Aaryn Gries Reveals about Reality TV
The Daily Beast
Aaryn Gries is a racist.
If you’ve watched CBS this summer, this isn’t new information about the twenty-two-year old Big Brother contestant. From saying that Korean-American houseguest Helen Kim should “go make some rice,” to flipping over the bed of African-American houseguest Candice Stewart, Gries has offended half the house—and country—with her sweet-faced, mean girl racism. Her actions have prompted CBS, for the first time ever, to publically address offensive statements made on the show (though they declined to comment for this article).
As a result, Gries has been dropped by her modeling agency and protested at her college. But far from exposing racism on Big Brother, the maelstrom surrounding Gries (and to a lesser extent, fellow houseguest GinaMarie Zimmerman), has had the ironic effect of hiding other, more systemic forms of racism that exist on Big Brother—and in reality television as a whole.
PSY Spotted with G-Dragon and Missy Elliot in Los Angeles
K-pop sensations PSY and G-Dragon have been spotted at a get-together with Missy Elliot, 2AM members and baseball player Ryu Hyun-jin in Los Angeles.
On his Facebook page on Monday, PSY uploaded a photo of himself with G-Dragon and Missy Elliot, enjoying Korean meal in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, G-Dragon and PSY were spotted in the same attires in a photo that 2AM member Jo Kwon uploaded on his Twitter account the same day.
LA Dodger’s Korean baseball player Ryu Hyun-jin and 2AM’s Seulong were in the photo as well, and Jo Kwon also uploaded a picture of himself posing with Missy Elliot.
While PSY is in Los Angeles working on his new album that is set to roll out next month, group 2AM, G-Dragon and Missy Elliot performed at “M! CountDown” in the city for the first time on August 25 as part of Korean culture festival “KCON 2013.″
Review: G-Dragon, Missy Elliott, EXO and more at KCON 2013
Los Angeles Times
It’s enough of a tout for a young rapper when Missy Elliott, a giant of the genre, jumps onstage to spit bars on your single. It’s extra meaningful when that single isn’t in English. So, South Korean superstar MC G-Dragon probably woke up feeling pretty swell Monday, after Elliott tag-teamed him on his own deep-banging track “Niliria” to close out Sunday’s KCON 2013 at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.
The weekend-long festival tackled any and everything to do with South Korean pop music culture — songwriting panels, dance classes, Korean cooking and fashion tips. But the closing concert was a three-hour K-pop Christmas morning for fans who rarely get it to see it live.
Spacey hip-hop, screwy dance-pop and wet-eyed ballads all came together under the mantle of the “hallyu” subculture. The KCON concert was less about any particular sound and more about the kind of American fan who gets into K-pop: earnest, obsessive and a little underground-nerdy in a way that’s now the vanguard of cool in America.
Choo Shin-soo Hits Milestone of 100 Stolen Bases in MLB
Cincinnati Reds’ Choo Shin-soo recorded the 100th and 101st stolen bases of his career on Monday during the first inning of a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at home in the Great American Ball Park. His last stolen base came on Aug. 16 against the same club.
He failed to steal any bases for the Seattle Mariners on his debut season in Major League Baseball in 2005, when he played 10 games. His first came on Aug. 10, 2006, against the Los Angeles Angels. However, since 2009 he has stolen at least 10 bases each year.
Visit from Garvey renders Jeong speechless
Ken Jeong starred in arguably the bro-manc-iest of all bromance movies as the antihero in the “Hangover” trilogy, so it’s probably only fitting that he was part of some serious man love during his recent foray into the wacky world of “Express Written Consent.”
Hanging in the Klondike suite at Dodger Stadium with MLB.com’s Jeremy Brisiel, Jeong — also known as, for “Hangover” fans, Mr. Chow — was happily chirping along about his background as a lifelong Dodgers fan when suddenly, without warning, he was left speechless.
As soon as he told J.B., “I grew up a Dodgers fan. I’m talking a Steve Garvey, [Tommy] Lasorda Dodgers fan. A Dodgers I-choose-Garvey-over-Reggie-Jackson Dodgers fan,” he noticed someone had taken the seat right next to him.
Steve Garvey. Yes, that Steve Garvey.
Bijindo: The Korean island where time stops
From the air, the 99 islands of Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park look like patches of moss on a blue carpet.
Only 30 of them are inhabited, and a boat ride through the islands show glimpses of sleepy shoreline villages and bays dotted with fishing boats.
In the heart of the 545-square-kilometer park, off the main tourist route, is an island shaped like a barbell, called Bijindo.
Bijindo has a unique geographical feature — a powdery white strip of sand tethering two ends of the island together.
Locals call the island Miindo, which means “beautiful island.”
South Korea officials say Asiana crash pilots hospitalized
AP via Fox News
Officials say four South Korean pilots of an Asiana plane that crash-landed in San Francisco this month are being treated for psychological trauma and injuries caused by the incident.
Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry officials said Wednesday that the pilots have been hospitalized in South Korea following medical checkups after returning home over the weekend.
The pilots underwent questioning by a U.S. and South Korean joint investigation team while in the U.S. South Korean officials plan to conduct a separate interview with them.
Cockpit Confucian: Why the racial mudslinging in the Asiana tragedy?
But analysts in Seoul say the lawsuit is emblematic of Korea’s touchy, reputation-driven corporate culture. And while Asiana might have a strong case in South Korea, it is far from certain to prevail in American court, a fact that reflects a cultural gulf between the two nations.
The American legal system protects free speech — including criticism, satire and humor — above a company’s efforts to safeguard its reputation from journalistic errors and ethnic jokes.
In contrast, South Koreans, far more than their American counterparts, prize “face” as a paramount concern.
Asiana jokes: Racist or just bad taste?
The crash of the South Korean carrier had already hit racial notes — with jokes mocking Asian driving or piloting skills and questions whether the crash had to do with the Korean culture.
U.S. comedian Bill Maher quipped on his show, “Now that we know the cause of that Asiana Airlines crash was the pilots flying too slowly, I don’t want to hear another word about me doing Asian driver jokes.” His comment followed an array of similar jokes on social media.
Another North Korean Ship Made Cuba Run in 2012
New York Times
An aging North Korean freighter similar to the one impounded by Panama for carrying concealed Cuban military equipment made the same voyage last year without attracting suspicion, passing through the Panama Canal and calling at the same two Cuban ports, an international maritime traffic monitor said Tuesday.
The monitor, IHS Fairplay, said that both vessels — the 390-foot Oun Chong Nyon Ho, which made the voyage last year, and the 450-foot Chong Chon Gang — normally worked much closer to North Korea, making their trans-Pacific trips to Cuba even more unusual.
“They don’t normally make these ocean passages,” Richard Hurley, a senior maritime data specialist at IHT Fairplay, said in a telephone interview from the group’s London offices. “It’s intriguing to see two fairly small ships making the same pattern.”
Under the Sugar, a Not So Sweet Arsenal
Wall Street Journal
Panama’s discovery of an attempt to smuggle weapons from Cuba to North Korea in an apparent repair deal funded by 10,000 tons of sugar shines a rare light on military links between two of the world’s most isolated states.
While never particularly close, Pyongyang and Havana have had diplomatic relations since 1960 and regular visits between the nations by high ranking officials. The most recent of those was at the start of this month, when North Korea’s army chief of staff Kim Kyok Sik visited the Cuban capital.
There Mr. Kim meet Cuban leader Raul Castro and almost certainly signed off on the deal for the North’s cargo ship Chong Chon Gang to make the journey to Cuba and back.
Republican lawmakers reach out to Korean-American community
More than 200 Korean Americans gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday for an event designed by Republican lawmakers to expand support from the ever-growing minority group nationwide.
“I have the honor of representing one of the largest Korean-American communities in the country,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton, CA) said at the Korean American Meetup held at the Cannon House Office Building.
“Today’s event is an exciting opportunity to open a dialogue between members of Congress and their Korean-American constituents on the issues that matter most,” said Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Honoring Our ‘Forgotten Heroes’
As a grateful Korean-American I have been for quite some time obsessed with getting recognition for our Korean War veterans, whom I am proud to call my “Grandpas.” Afraid that many young people like me might not be aware, I am writing to invite them to salute America’s 1.8 million-plus “Forgotten Heroes” as our nation commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Day on July 27.
These Heroes average age 85, and sadly many will not be with us for the 70th Anniversary. Already for too long, they have been largely forgotten by the public because the Korean War was sandwiched between World War II and the Vietnam War.
So every year my volunteer group, Remember727, holds an event in Washington, D.C., where at 7:27 p.m. we light a candle to pay tribute to their sacrifices and to hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula. It is tragic that after six decades the Two Koreas technically remain at war and is the only divided nation in the world.
Can Jim Yong Kim end World Bank backing for coal-fired power?
The Guardian (U.K.)
In a closed meeting on Tuesday evening, the World Bank put before its executive directors a proposal to stop funding the development of new coal plants globally. Despite provisions that would grant exceptions to allow funding for a few rare coal plants, this proposal is a big step forward for an agency that has supported some of the world’s largest and dirtiest coal plants for years. It is also a key opportunity for World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank into a clean energy future.
Kim is already poised to be a leader in the fight to address climate disruption. Shortly after joining the World Bank as president one year ago this month, he commissioned a report that detailed the catastrophic effects the world would see if global temperatures rose by just four degrees Celsius. Since then, Kim has repeatedly called on countries around the world to take action now in order to avert such a crisis in the future.
Unfortunately, the World Bank’s actions haven’t lived up to Kim’s rhetoric. In the past five years alone, the bank has financed more than $5bn in carbon-intensive coal plants. Currently, it is considering financing a new coal power plant in Kosovo that would burn lignite coal – the dirtiest and most toxic form of coal available. This plant would be built in a country where, according to the World Bank’s own statistics, coal already kills 835 people every year.
Americans Rate Racial and Ethnic Relations in U.S. Positively
Americans view relations between various racial and ethnic groups positively, ranging from 87% who describe white-Asian relations as good to 60% describing black-Hispanic relations as good.
North Korea: Drama ban ’causes crime wave’
A ban on South Korean TV drama has inadvertently caused a crime wave among North Korean teenagers, according to reports.
Youngsters are instead watching Chinese films, many involving violence and stories of revenge, it seems. An increasing number of students then end up carrying knives and imitating “brutal acts” they’ve seen, according to the Seoul-based Daily NK. The website quotes a source in North Korea’s Ryanggang province – close to the Chinese border – as saying: “Many people say they’re scared to go out in the evening, and feel the number of attacks by young people is growing.”
Two Koreans in MLB to Square Off for First Time This Season
If things proceed as planned, Ryu’s second outing will be against the Cincinnati Reds on July 26 at Dodger Stadium. It will be the first time for Ryu and Choo Shin-soo, who is one of the hottest lead-off hitters in the MLB right now, to face each other.
The Los Angeles branch of the Korea Tourism Organization and the Dodgers designated the four-game period between the Dodgers and the Reds from July 25 to 28 as “Korea Week,” during which various activities will be held both in and outside the Dodgers’ stadium. On July 28, which is being dubbed “Korea Day,” members of Girls’ Generation will sing the Korean national anthem and throw a ceremonial first pitch.
Economist Writer Adds Fizz to ‘Boring’ Beer Scene
A correspondent for the Economist decided to help overhaul what he sees as an insipid domestic beer scene by opening a bar that specializes in serving craft beers in central Seoul’s Yongsan district in May.
“Korean beer isn’t tasty, at least that’s how I feel,” said 31-year-old Daniel Tudor, speaking in fluent Korean. The Englishman, who has lived in the country for five years, said he plans to quit his job at the Economist to focus his energies on the bar.
In an article published on Nov. 22 last year, he wrote that Korean food is among the “most exciting” in the world, but domestic beer is so “boring” that even rival brands from North Korea whet appetites more. In line with the magazine’s protocol, the story lacks a byline.