American held in North Korea had pledged to ‘collapse’ country with prayer
Earlier this month, North Korean state media finally revealed the country’s case against an American citizen named Kenneth Bae, who had been detained there since November. They listed three accusations: that he had smuggled in a critical documentary film, that he had plotted to bring the government’s downfall through something called “Operation Jericho” and, oddly, that he had “infiltrated” dozens of students into a hotel in the North Korean city of Rason to establish a base of anti-regime activity.
The charges sounded peculiar, even absurd, perhaps reflecting North Korea’s paranoia about religion in general and Christian missionaries in particular. But it turns out that, whatever actually happened after Bae crossed the border into North Korea last fall, he had pledged earlier to do something very much along the lines of Pyongyang’s accusations.
Most Koreans Believe Park’s U.S. Visit Was Beneficial
More than six out of 10 Koreans felt that President Park Geun-hye’s visit to the U.S. earlier this month was good for Korea, but a scandal involving her spokesman during the trip dampened sentiment.
Gallup Korea polled 1,003 adults from May 13 to 15, after the president returned from her six-day U.S. trip on May 10. It found that her approval rating soared to 56 percent during the trip but immediately fell to 51 percent when the molestation scandal broke.
Disapproval of Park rose from 17 to 27 percent over the same period.
School Officials Address ‘Sea of Japan’ Naming Controversy
Patch.com (Fort Lee, N.J.)
Don’t expect the textbooks in Fort Lee schools to refer to the body of water between Japan, Korea and China as “The East Sea” anytime soon. But if the apparently problematic name emerges in classrooms, there will be active discussion on whether it’s “The Sea of Japan” or “The East Sea,” school officials said Monday night.
The Korean-American Association of New Jersey recently presented a petition with 1,500 signatures favoring the name change in the three towns, including Fort Lee.
The body of water has been referred to as “The Sea of Japan” since the 20th century (when Japan took over Korea), but had been known as “The East Sea” in prior centuries, the Korean-American group said. The International Hydrographic Organization, which is responsible for naming rights of water across the globe, has rejected the use of “East Sea”.
World Bank’s Kim Says Universal Health Coverage Can End Poverty
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said universal health insurance coverage in all countries can help achieve a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.
“Every country in the world can improve the performance of its health system in the three dimensions of universal coverage: access, quality and affordability,” Kim said in a speech in Geneva at the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the World Health Organization’s top decision-making group. “In all cases, countries need to tie their plans to tough, relevant metrics. All of us together must prevent ‘universal coverage’ from ending up as a toothless slogan.”
Asian American Week 2013: Lower East Side Organization Leads Effort To Help Distressed Asian Americans
A grassroots organization on the Lower East Side is working hard to reduce the high rate of suicide in the Asian American community, and for the first time in years, they believe they are making progress due to the highly publicized suicide of soldier Danny Chen. NY1′s Cheryl Wills filed the following report as part of NY1′s Asian American Heritage Week.
Sentencing Tues. in Biloxi prostitution case
AP via San Francisco Chronicle
A Korean man is scheduled for sentencing Tuesday after pleading guilty to harboring women who were in the country illegally for prostitution.
Moonseop Kim has been in custody since his arrest Sept. 30. He was denied bond in October, when an agent testified Kim had overstayed his visa and was in the country illegally.
He faced counts including conspiracy and harboring of women for financial gain and immoral purposes. He pleaded guilty in March to transporting women who were in the country illegally for financial gain in connection with a sex trafficking operation.
Son Ho Young’s Girlfriend Discovered Dead in His Car
It has been reported that Son Ho Young‘s girlfriend was discovered dead in his car. She has reportedly ended her own life.
The Gangnam police station commented on May 22, “A used briquet, an empty bottle of sleeping pills and a suicide note was discovered in the car,” and “We assume that this is a suicide.” It has been reported that the suicide note contained information about the deceased’s debts and other self-pessimistic messages.
Son Ho Young’s reps reported on May 22, “On May 21, Son Ho Young was in the Gangnam Police Station from 10PM to 12AM to be investigated. Before he received a call from the police, he did not know about this at all.”
Cannes: Park Chan-wook’s ‘Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance’ Getting Remake
Silver Reel and Lotus Entertainment have partnered with di Bonaventura Pictures and CJ Entertainment for an English-language remake of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance. The script is written by Broken City scribe Brian Tucker, based on the first film in Park Chan-wook‘s Vengeance Trilogy.
The film centers on two men who are bound by their common sense of loss and headed on a collision course of revenge. The other installments in that trilogy are Oldboy and Lady Vengeance. A remake of Oldboy will be released in October by FilmDistrict, directed by Spike Lee and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin and Sharlto Copley.
Psy Becomes First Korean Singer to Win Billboard Music Award
Psy has become the first Korean singer to walk away with a trophy from the Billboard Music Awards.
He received the Top Streaming Song (Video) award for “Gangnam Style,” the most-viewed music video on YouTube, at a ceremony held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Interview: Producer Kyu Lee on Bringing Psy and ‘Korean Wave’ of Pop Culture to US
Kyu Lee grabbed attention last year for teaming up with Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun to bring Psy stateside, touching off the “Gangnam Style” phenomenon. Known in the media industry as “Q,” he connects A-list Korean stars and directors to the U.S., helping to bring Hallyu (the “Korean wave”) to a wider audience.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kyu immigrated to the U.S. at the age of two. He began his entertainment career with a ten-year stint at Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), where he rose to Executive Assistant to both the Vice Chairman of SPE and Chairman of Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group. Kyu is also the founder and CEO of Kino 33 Entertainment.
Ken Jeong bares his soul – and body – in ‘Hangover 3′
MetroWest Daily News
Though he stole all audience attention away from every other actor in his brief scene as Dr. Kuni in “Knocked Up,” no one was ready for Ken Jeong’s intro in “The Hangover.” He leaped out of a car trunk, wearing only black socks, and proceeded to beat the tar out of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis with a tire iron. That’s right, wearing only black socks. His Mr. Chow eventually became an important character in that film and its sequel. In “The Hangover Part III,” Chow, naked again, of course, is quite often the center of attention. The doctor-turned-actor, who is also a regular on the TV show “Community,” chatted recently in Las Vegas.
Why do you like to be naked onscreen so much?
Chow originally had clothes on in the first one. It was my idea to have him be naked. I was really nervous, asking [director] Todd Phillips if it was OK, that it would be funny to do it naked. And Todd said, “You don’t have to tell me twice.” He immediately gave me a nudity waiver to sign because he didn’t want me to change my mind. I just wanted to service that script. I’ve got nothing to brag about. I wasn’t trying to show off. It was a character choice, not a personal choice. I’m a happily married father of twin 5-year-old girls. I don’t even like to take off my shirt at the beach. I’m really shy. I’m not an exhibitionist. I’m very demure about my body. But an actor acts, that’s why I do what I do. You’ve gotta make fearless choices to be an actor. Otherwise everyone would do it.
Shin-Soo Choo Could Be Good Mets Pickup as Free Agent
New York Times
The first batter to face the winless Marcum could be a big part of the Mets’ future.
He was Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds’ center fielder, and if the Mets really want to contend sometime soon, they should make a strong attempt to sign him as a free agent after the season.
“He’s the big reason why we are where we are right now,” said Brandon Phillips of the Reds, who hold the second-best record in the National League. “Playing against him when he was with the Indians, I always told everybody he’s one of the best all-around players in baseball — underrated. Right now he’s just being himself. It’s a blessing to have him over here.”
Korean high school pitcher averaging 139 pitches per game
Lee Su-min, a 17-year-old pitcher for Daegu Sangwon High School in South Korea, has thrown 974 pitches in seven appearances this season, six starts and one relief outing. He’s thrown a complete game in every start. In his most recent start, Lee threw a whopping 178 pitches in 9 2/3 innings.
Now, obviously with this kind of workload, there’s a reason the coach is doing it. Lee is a stud. He has a 0.44 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings this season. And due to the circumstances, both Lee and his coach believe the workload is acceptable.
“Since we’re playing only on weekends, we get about five days off in between games,” Lee said (Yonhap News Agency). “On my off days, I work with professional trainers at a rehab hospital (in Daegu), doing some strengthening exercises and getting massages. I am not pitching on consecutive days, and so it’s OK.”
U.S. Women’s Open golf champion Na Yeon Choi up to the challenge of defending title at Sebonack
New York Daily News
Sebonack, a Jack Nicklaus/Tom Doak design, will provide a different challenge than Black Wolf Run, where Choi was the only player last year to break par for the week thanks mostly to a 7-under par 65 she shot to set the course record Saturday.
How Not to Promote Korean Food
Wall Street Journal
K-Pop videos, high-end restaurants, bizarre food health studies and other wacky ideas to promote Korean food have been criticized as a waste of taxpayer’s money by the South Korean National Assembly budget office.
A total of 21.9 billion won ($19.7 million) was spent on the “Globalization of Hansik,” or Korean cuisine, last year as part of a marketing campaign that budget office analyst Cho Yong-hee called a “waste of time, manpower and organization.”
The budget office’s report criticized the government for “inefficiency occurred by similar and overlapping programs” by a range of government agencies.
Roy Choi Being “Straight Up” About Chinatown
Listening to Roy Choi talk about his new neighbors in Chinatown is like listening to a boy talk about his favorite schoolyard pals. In this little vid from The Hundreds, Choi goes into the kitchens at Hop Woo, where he introduces the chef as the “master of balls,” and checks out Phoenix Bakery for the buttery almond cookies. He calls Hoan Kiem “the most gangsta” place in Chinatown, and Pho 97, “the OG OG pho spot in LA.”
State media: U.S. man sentenced in North Korea not a ‘bargaining chip’
The case of a U.S. citizen sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp is not a “political bargaining chip,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday.
Pae Jun Ho, known as Kenneth Bae by U.S. authorities, was arrested and prosecuted for various crimes aimed at “state subversion,” KCNA said. It previously reported the Korean-American was arrested November 3 after arriving as a tourist in Rason City, a port in the northeastern corner of North Korea.
In prior instances, North Korea has released Americans in its custody after a visit by some U.S. dignitary.
But Bae’s case could get caught up in the recent tensions between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the North is formally known, and the United States.
Former North Korean detainees start letter-writing campaign for imprisoned American citizen Kenneth Bae
New York Daily News
Kenneth Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for alleged ‘hostile acts’ toward the North Korean government. Journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, detained by Kim Jong-il in 2009, are asking people to send Bae letters of support.
Life in North Korean Complex: A Glimmer of Hope
New York Times
When the order came last weekend to evacuate an industrial park in North Korea, Kwak Kyung-dock, a South Korean factory manager, said he was forced to flee with the suit on his back — and his car filled with so many boxes of the plastic machinery parts made at his factory that he had to tie several on the roof.
“I had to leave like a refugee,” he said.
The flight of South Korean managers like Mr. Kwak, crossing the border in cars overburdened with gear from factories they may never see again, has become the enduring image of a standoff that began when the North successfully launched a long-range rocket in December.
Park, Obama Must Forge Close, Honest Relationship
President Park Geun-hye flew to the U.S. on Sunday to meet with President Barack Obama. They will issue a joint statement to mark the 60th anniversary of the South Korea-U.S. alliance before she addresses a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
Park is accompanied by no fewer than 52 officials, heads of major conglomerates, leaders of business lobbies and representatives of labor unions.
Cheong Wa Dae said the huge business entourage is aimed at “dispelling concerns” among international investors over the risks the South Korean economy faces from North Korea and the weak Japanese yen.
Fort Lee puts off decision about comfort women memorial
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
The mayor and council chose not to approve a comfort women memorial this week, despite pleas from several North Jersey Korean-American groups to move forward.
Still, officials continued to stress they’re in favor of paying tribute to the hundreds of thousands of women, many of Korean descent, who served in Japanese military brothels, or “comfort stations,” during World War II. But the Korean-American community is still divided, they said. Various factions have tussled over the memorial’s inscription and design in recent weeks.
During Thursday’s council meeting, group members acknowledged that, despite some concessions, the groups still had differing opinions about the design but some did not want to delay the decision further.
“That’s why there is the council,” said Dongchan Kim, president of Korean American Civic Empowerment, which has offices in Hackensack and New York. “I understand there are some divided ideas,” he said. “I think it’s time the councilmen decide.”
Authorities, family members seek missing Diamond Bar man
San Gabriel Valley Tribune (Calif.)
Officials and worried family members are asking the public’s help in locating a Diamond Bar man who’s been missing for more than a week.
Yong Soo Chung, 48, was last seen April 24 when he left his home in the 20000 block of Lake Canyon Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“He left in his vehicle and has not been heard from since,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “His family is very concerned and is also asking for the public’s assistance.”
Missing woman’s husband issues plea for public’s help
CBC News (Canada)
The husband of a missing Saint John woman is asking for the public’s continued help for her safe return.
Yeonhee Choi, 45, who is originally from South Korea, has been missing since April 22.
Her husband, Woogoo Han, and teenaged daughter are distributing flyers across the city and offering a $50,000 reward for any tips that help police to locate her.
“I have hope. I never give up [on] my wife’s return,” Han told CBC News.
Protest planned in wake of Missoula teen’s death
Missoula County prosecutors have decided against filing a felony charge against a woman they say hit and killed Hellgate High School senior Chance Geery. Investigators say the woman, Yoon Hee Cho, had driven up onto a sidewalk and struck Geery.
An investigation into the matter had found that Cho, a University of Montana Associate Professor, was distracted, but had not been texting, drinking or speeding. City prosecutors will likely file a misdemeanor careless driving charge.
Some Hellgate students NBC Montana spoke with said that Cho will have to deal with the incident for the rest of her life, and so a felony isn’t necessary. Others expressed anger that a driver who prosecutors say struck and killed their classmate won’t face a felony.
Rice bowls, beer-battered fries at Roy Choi’s Chego in Chinatown
Los Angeles Times
By 10:30 p.m. on opening night at Chego, the crowds had thinned, enough so that late-to-the-party stragglers could walk up to the cashier at Roy Choi’s new Chinatown hub and immediately order the Beefy-T or Chubby Pork Belly rice bowls and easily find a spot at one of the picnic tables outside.
Earlier in the evening, the line of customers had extended all the way to the end of Far East Plaza, an open two-level Chinatown shopping mall on Broadway, which also houses Wing Hop Fung Ginseng and Pho 97, directly across the plaza from Chego.
Chego is tucked into a corner spot in the center of Far East Plaza on the ground floor and has a patio that serves as an en-plein-air dining room, dominated by a pretty light-strung tree and flanked by coin-operated kiddie rides. Choi, in black T-shirt and Dodgers hat, pointed to a spinning Winnie the Pooh ride that might fit a few (slender) adults and said, “I’m going to make that my private dining room.”
Psy to Speak at Harvard
Rapper Psy will give a special talk at Harvard University on Thursday, the Korea Institute at the university announced Saturday. He is to talk about the popularity of K-pop around the world and his own life story.
South Korean Olympic logo is ‘risk-y business
New York Daily News
The 2018 Winter Games are nearly five years away, giving the South Korean host city of PyeongChang plenty of time to reconsider the official emblem.
Organizers unveiled their logo Friday, describing how the first of its two shapes represents “the harmony of heaven, earth, and human” and how the second character symbolises “snow and ice, as well as the athletes’ stellar performances.”
That’s very nice, but The Score predicts many sports fans will look at the second shape and immediately think of an asterisk — and that’s no small thing in the sports world. Readers of The Score might even recall the time the Daily News marked a Barry Bonds home-run record on the newspaper’s cover with an asterisk built out of images of needles and syringes.
Choo finally gives Reds good leadoff hitter
The baseball season is a process. A systematic series of countless decisions and actions building on each other every day for 162 games directed at one end: the postseason.
So, when on May 6 we see Shin-Soo Choo ranking second in the National League to teammate Joey Votto in on-base percentage (.463 to .464), leading in offensive WAR (2.0) and batting .331, a fair question to ask: Will the Cincinnati Reds center fielder keep up this production?
“He’s only going to get, I think, better once he knows the league,” manager Dusty Baker said last week. “Right now he’s going on video and word of mouth from people until he forms his own book so to speak.”
Choo finds his hitting stroke at Wrigley Field
After starting out 3-for-26 over the first seven games of the Reds’ 10-game road trip, center fielder and leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo put a good game together in Friday’s 6-5 win over the Cubs, going 2-for-3 with an RBI single, a double and two runs scored.
Choo followed that up by leading off Saturday’s game against the Cubs with a home run.
Choo, who came into Saturday having reached safely in 27 of his 29 games, had been going through his first hitting slump of the season.
Hank Conger stumbles his way into unintentionally hilarious bunt single (Video)
You’ll often hear coaches encourage their players to “take what the defense gives them.” That advice was heard loud and clear by Los Angeles Angels catcher Hank Conger, and he put it to terrific use in their 5-4 loss to the Orioles on Saturday afternoon.
With Baltimore’s defense shifting hard to the right side in anticipation of the left-handed Conger pulling the ball, he did something that more players faced with those circumstances should feel comfortable doing — he laid down a bunt. And let me be clear here: I’m saying more players should be willing to bunt at the right time, not everybody should be bunting all of the time. I realize bunting as a whole is evil business.
Anyway, Conger laid the bunt down beautifully and had himself the easiest basehit he’ll have all season. Well, right up until the point where he went backside over tea kettle on his way down the first base line. Then it got a little bit more interesting, but since the Orioles defense had already conceded the play, he was able to recover and still get to the bag with a relatively easy, yet completely embarrassing basehit.
U.S. rejects North Korean demand for nuclear status
Reuters via Yahoo News
North Korea insisted on Tuesday that it be recognized as a nuclear weapons state, a demand the United States promptly dismissed as “neither realistic nor acceptable”.
After weeks of tension on the Korean peninsula, including North Korean threats of nuclear war, the North has in recent days begun to at least talk about dialogue in response to calls for talks from both the United States and South Korea.
The North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper rejected as unacceptable the U.S. and South Korean condition that it agree to dismantle its nuclear weapons and suspend missile launches before talks can begin.
US official: N. Korea food situation ‘fairly difficult,’ door still open for aid
A U.S. special envoy on North Korea said Monday that North Korea’s food plight is “fairly difficult” and that Washington is keeping the door open for food aid.
Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, affirmed that the U.S. draws a line between food assistance and politics.
“If there were a request for assistance, it’s something I’m sure that we would look at,” he said during a roundtable meeting with reporters at the State Department. “We try to keep our humanitarian assistance separate from political considerations.”
Park to deliver rare speech at joint session of U.S. Congress
South Korean President Park Geun-hye will deliver a speech at a joint session of the U.S. Congress during a visit to Washington next month for a summit with President Barack Obama, her office announced Tuesday.
The address, set for May 8 local time, comes only one year and a half after her predecessor Lee Myung-bak also addressed a joint meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives during a state visit in October 2011.
State government lags in hiring Asian-American workers
WBEZ (Chicago Public Radio)
State agencies are starting to plan how they’ll hire more Asian-American workers. Tuesday, a new Asian-American Advisory Council, handpicked by Governor Pat Quinn, meets with agency representatives to identify barriers to Asian-American employment and promotion in the state labor force.
The council will also chart out how they’ll recruit, retain, and promote more Asian-Americans.
The effort comes from the State Asian-American Employment Plan, passed in the General Assembly and signed by Quinn last year.
Asian Americans Are on Ascent, Says Pew Survey
The Tiger Mom has been quiet lately, but I think I just heard her roar. If you read the Pew Research Center’s recent survey on Asian Americans, you can’t help but feel her presence.
Pew finds that Asian Americans are doing well—very well—and that their success seems to stem in large part from the culture’s emphasis on academic achievement and hard work. According to a survey of 3,511 Asian Americans, Pew reports:
Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances, and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work, and career success, according to a comprehensive new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center.
So the Tiger Mom was right: Sitting on your kids to make high grades and denying them frivolities like sleepovers will make them more successful—and contented—in the long run. So take that, all you let-your-kids-be-free types!
Q&A: Implicit Bias Effect on Asian American Workers
[Marita Etcubañez, director of programs at the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC)]: While many Asian Americans have high educational attainment and work in professional fields, some encounter a glass ceiling that blocks their professional advancement.
This often takes the form of perceptions that Asian Americans have poor communication skills or that they are passive and lack leadership potential. Reliance on stereotypes should not continue to pose barriers to advancement in the workplace.
With the debate on immigration reform taking center stage, it is also important to highlight the challenges faced by immigrant workers, who are often fearful of bringing claims even though many of their workplace rights are protected under U.S. law regardless of immigration status.
Opinion: Koreans are ‘good,’ ‘bad’ and everything in between
Editor’s Note: World-renowned chef, author and Emmy winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Los Angeles’ Koreatown in “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” with self-described “bad Korean” Roy Choi and David Choe. Grace Lee is a Los Angeles-based independent filmmaker of fiction and documentary films that have explored identity. Her new film is “American Revolutionary” about Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs.
(CNN) – Over the years, I’ve envied the achievements of the “good Koreans”: their Ivy League credentials, their fluency in the Korean language and their dedication to their golf game and families – no matter what.
Even into my 30s, I regularly pondered whether it was too late to go to medical or law school so I could provide for my parents in their twilight years, or at least give them something to brag about to other Korean parents.
I went to graduate film school instead and made films on topics such as zombies, street food and electoral politics. My latest documentary, “American Revolutionary,” is about a 98-year-old Chinese-American woman in Detroit who devoted her life to the civil rights and black power movement.
My career may sound exciting to the average reader. But these pursuits do not come with job stability or a 401(k). Bad Korean.
Korean woman reported missing in Saint John
CBC News (Canada)
The Saint John Police Force’s major crime unit is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing woman.
Yeonhee Choi, 45, who is from Korea, was reported missing after leaving her home on Prince Street on the city’s lower west side on Monday at 6 a.m.
Choi is described as being approximately five-feet, four-inches tall, with short dark hair and two piercings on both ears.
Roy Choi Takes Anthony Bourdain on a Ride Through K-Town
Los Angeles Magazine
The second episode of “Parts Unknown” featured local Chef Roy Choi. Amidst scenes full of sexy street art, scorching spice and L.A. history, the two bad boys took a ride through K-Town together to explain why Korean food hasn’t changed much, even though it’s existed in L.A. and other parts of the U.S. for decades.
This morning, we caught up with Choi to see just how the episode came together.
Wait, first, how did you meet Anthony Bourdain?
I met him as he walked into Ham Ji Park on “The Layover” shoot (in 2011), in a cobalt blue button down shirt, and we connected mid-conversation like we knew each other from an alternate life.
Margaret Cho: Babies scare me more than anything
Excerpted from “No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood” edited by Henriette Mantel. Available from Seal Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright 2013.
I don’t have children, and I am not sure if I have wanted them or never wanted them. It’s weird not to be able to decide. Kids are great, and many of my friends now have almost-grown-up kids, like in their late teens and early 20s, and I see these tall beings I once held in my arms, and I am alarmed, amused, and I want to cry, just for the passage of time and how it grows us like plants. I think about how, during all these years they’ve grown up, I must have grown down. That’s awful to realize.
Korean children get a lot of fuss made over them, I guess because life was tough in the old country, and it was a big deal if you survived. There’s a big party thrown when you are 100 days old, followed by another when you make it to one whole year. My parents took a lot of pictures of me at these parties, although I don’t remember a thing as I was really drunk at both. From the pictures I see the cake, though — all these big multicolored rice cakes, each pastel stripe a steamed layer of pounded and steamed rice flour, not sweet like birthday cake but a delicious treat all the same. It looks like a chewy Neapolitan ice cream, or a gay pride flag made of carbs. It’s the best and I want it, but I think wanting that cake isn’t enough reason to have a baby.
Debate: Who is game’s best leadoff hitter?
Dave: Shin-Soo Choo
The Cincinnati Reds center fielder is off to a stunning start, getting on base more than Joey Votto (his .521 OBP leads the majors, thanks in part to an amazing nine hit by pitches already) and adding some power (three homers, six doubles). It’s no fluke, of course: Choo has a career .385 OBP and he thrived after moving to the leadoff spot last year in Cleveland. And while he’s not known as a burner, he’s averaged 19 steals over the past four seasons. The question with him is how he does against left-handers. So far, so good (OBP over .400), but last year he had just a .318 OBP. If we’re talking all-around game, sure, I’ll take Jackson and his terrific glove over Choo and his questionable range. But for pure leadoff skills, Choo is my guy.
NPR’s FROM THE TOP to Feature 18-Year-Old NYC Guitarist, 4/29, 5/4-5
18-year-old guitarist Bokyung Byun from New York City, New York, will appear on an upcoming episode of From the Top, the hit NPR radio program featuring America’s best young classical musicians and hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O’Riley. Broadcast from Athens, Georgia, the show will air nationally the week of April 29, 2013 and on WQXR-FM 105.9 on May 4, 2013 at 6:00 AM and May 5, 2013 at 6:00 PM. The episode was taped before a live audience at the Hodgson Hall on March 3, 2013; the live taping was presented by the University of Georgia Performing Arts Center.
18-year-old Bokyung Byun is originally from South Korea. Currently, she lives in New York City, New York, and attends Juilliard where she studies with Sharon Isbin. Bokyung participated in the Aspen Music Festival in 2012 and the Guitar Foundation of America Festival in 2007. Bokyung enjoys exploring different culinary tastes, and would like to introduce guitars and guitar music to larger audiences. On the broadcast, Bokyung Byun performs “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” by Francisco Tárrega.
Specialty coffee stars putting down roots in Bay Area
San Jose Mercury News
Now two of the leading figures in the specialty coffee movement are putting down roots in the Bay Area, injecting more talent into what is already a thriving scene for high-end coffee, particularly in San Francisco.
Trish Rothgeb, 46, and Nicholas Cho, 39, are the people behind Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, a small company formerly headquartered in Redwood City but now anchored by a pop-up retail store on Pacific Avenue in the bustling Polk Gulch neighborhood of San Francisco. They sell beans online and in a growing number of retail outlets, including Bi-Rite Markets.
Cho is a champion barista, former owner of an acclaimed coffee shop in Washington, D.C., and a leading thinker and writer about coffee. He is also the exclusive U.S. importer of Kalita coffee equipment.
The pair moved to the Bay Area in 2010 and opened up their Pacific Avenue cafe in October. They are in negotiations to open a full-time retail shop nearby.
North Korea Asks Mongolia for Food Aid
Wall Street Journal
As North Korea heads into the time of year when its food supplies run low, it appears to be looking for new donors.
At a courtesy call on the Mongolian president last week, Pyongyang’s new ambassador made a request for food aid, according to the official website for the head of state.
“North Korea may face (a) severe food shortage,” Ambassador Hong Gyu told President Elbegdorj, according to the account. Mr. Hong then asked for Mongolia to consider the possibility of delivering food aid to North Korea, the account said.
South Korean Official Cancels Expected Japan Trip
New York Times
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se of South Korea has canceled a possible trip to Japan out of anger after Japanese Cabinet ministers visited a controversial war shrine, South Korean officials said on Monday.
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other Japanese cabinet ministers prayed at the Yasukuni Shrine over the weekend. Tokyo said on Monday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe didn’t visit but donated a religious ornament marking the shrine’s spring festival with the title “prime minister” on it.
Jasper Kim: North Korea Needs the Internet, So Let’s Help
Wall Street Journal
Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s recent WSJ interview related to their North Korea trip was a real eye-opener. In it, the Google executives noted that the closed regime possessed the basic hardware to allow its citizens to plug into the Internet.
So the only thing needed is for Kim Jong Eun to literally “flick a switch” to provide Internet access for his nearly 25 million information-deprived citizenry.
As it stands now, North Korea is about the only country in the world almost totally unplugged to the Internet. South Korea, in contrast, has one of the highest broadband Internet penetration rates in the world, and is home to Samsung Electronics, one of the world leaders in mobile technology.
Park meets with Microsoft founder Gates
President Park Geun-hye met with Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Monday where she was expected to seek advice from the technology czar about her vision to use information technology as the main tool to boost economic growth.
Park has often mentioned Gates and late Apple founder Steve Jobs as examples while pitching her “creative economy” initiative that calls for creating new markets and jobs by developing innovative technologies in the information and communications sector and then combining them with other areas.
“I have made such remarks like ‘As examples of talents we need in our times, there are people like Chairman Gates’ and I am pleased to meet with you today,” Park said at the start of the meeting, adding that she feels like she has known Gates for a long time.
Park Chosen Among TIME’s 100 Most Influential People
President Park Geun-hye and Samsung Electronics vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun have been picked for TIME’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2013.
The magazine chose Park because she is the first female president of South Korea who is coping with the threat of provocation from North Korea despite critical views about her “political parentage.”
Pyongyang Palace Intrigue [OPINION]
New York Times
North Korea’s recent nuclear brinkmanship is a sign not of strength but of weakness. No matter how hard this Communist dynasty tries to conceal this fact from the outside world, problems at home — especially strains within the regime itself — are an important factor behind its aggressive external behavior.
The regime’s current woes are largely the handiwork of Kim Jong-il, who died almost a year and a half ago. He was not just a bad ruler, but a disastrous one. He was the mastermind behind the epic failure of North Korea’s economy, which, on his watch, recorded the worst performance of any industrialized state. And he was the architect of the only peacetime famine ever to befall an urban, literate society. Most of that disaster’s victims were officially designated members of “hostile classes,” or enemies of the state, so the regime hardly mourned their deaths. But Kim Jong-il’s tenure was ruinous for the entire regime, including his presumptive legatees.
For Once, Someone Got An L.A. Food Show Right: Bourdain’s Parts Unknown Koreatown Episode
For the second installment of his new CNN show Parts Unknown, which aired last night, Anthony Bourdain explored L.A.’s Koreatown. The show was insightful, revealing and pretty much spot-on, giving an accurate depiction of both the fraught history of K-Town and its current status as one of our city’s culinary and cultural gems. Which is a relief, seeing as no food TV show ever seems to get Los Angeles right, including past L.A.-themed episodes of Bourdain’s Travel Channel show, No Reservations.
Using chef Roy Choi and artist David Choe as guides, Bourdain explored Koreatown through the lens of its history, and in particular the L.A. riots in 1992. Choi took Bourdain to the roof where Choi had watched the neighborhood burn for days on end, and Choe explained the effect of having society fall apart around him as a teenager, even as he himself took part in the mayhem. Thanks (I’m assuming) to CNN’s access to news footage, the show had a ton of footage of Koreatown during the riots, and 21 years later the images of an entire swath of the city devolving into a war zone are still gut-wrenchingly shocking.
Sang Yoon on the History of the Father’s Office Burger
The Father’s Office Burger, possibly one of the most divisive and beloved burgers in LA, was conceptualized by Sang Yoon, chef and owner of Father’s Office. After leaving the world of fine dining, Yoon wanted to open a very simple, casual restaurant with great beer and bar snacks in the vein of Spain’s tapas bars. One of the original menu items was a burger, though it was unlike any burger anyone had ever created. Some argue that Daniel Boulud’s db Burger was the burger that launched the current gourmet burger trend, but it was actually Yoon’s creation at the original Father’s Office on Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue that did it.
Dodgers, Ryu fade in 7-5 loss to Orioles in 1st game of doubleheader
AP via FOX News
Staked to an early four-run lead, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu was in ideal position to earn his third major league win and help the Los Angeles Dodgers end their longest losing streak of the season.
Unfortunately for Ryu and the Dodgers, the South Korean rookie couldn’t maintain the advantage. He allowed two home runs — more than in his previous three starts combined — and Los Angeles ended up losing to the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Saturday in the opener of a split-doubleheader.
Ryu gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out six. Although the 26-year-old didn’t take the loss, he felt compelled to apologize for his performance after the game.
“I can’t really make any excuses. I wish the outcome was better,” he said through a translator. “But I’ll come back and do better next time. I’ll just consider it a big learning experience.”
‘Orphan’: A Novel Imagines Life In North Korea
Last week, The Orphan Master’s Son was awarded the Pulitzer prize for fiction. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin spoke with author Adam Johnson last year about his book. In that interview, Johnson explained that as part of his research he actually managed to finagle a visit to North Korea. He said his government minders maintained tight control over his itinerary, but they couldn’t hide everything.
Setting up shop in Korea, with some help
When Benjamin Hughes, an American arbitrator and mediator, and a 10-year resident of Korea, decided to open up an office space in Seoul recently, he was already on familiar ground.
“I was previously working as a senior foreign legal consultant at a major Korean law firm so I had some idea as to how business was done in Korea,” Hughes says. That is when he turned to The Executive Center (TEC) inside the Seoul Finance Center to rent a serviced office so he could use the space full time to focus on his practice. Thus far, the move has proven lucrative, and his work flow is running smoothly.
“The facilities are excellent and the staff at TEC is very helpful, as well as bilingual in English and Korean.”
America and North Korea: Birthday blues
DEAD for 19 years, but president of North Korea for ever, Kim Il Sung marked his 101st birthday on April 15th in familiar style: with a national holiday, banners, flags and rations of cheap peanuts. One bang the party went without, however, was the launch of a Musudan missile, which would be yet another breach of UN Security Council resolutions, and which many observers had been expecting around the time of the festivities. This must have been a relief for John Kerry, America’s new secretary of state, who visited Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo from April 11th to 15th, warning on the way that the launch would be a “huge mistake”.
Nothing suggested, however, that Kim’s grandson, North Korea’s incumbent tyrant, Kim Jong Un, was listening to Mr Kerry. By the middle of the week, no launch had taken place. But officials in Japan and South Korea were still expecting it—imminently, though perhaps after an interval long enough that it would come as a surprise and reclaim the world’s attention. Nor has North Korea toned down its blood-curdling battle cries. Indeed, in response to protests in Seoul on the occasion of the holy birthday, at which Kim portraits were burned, it issued an “ultimatum” demanding an apology, and threatened “sledgehammer blows” in reprisal.
North Korea Sets Conditions for Return to Talks
New York Times
North Korea on Thursday demanded the lifting of United Nations sanctions and an end to joint American-South Korean military exercises as preconditions for starting dialogue to defuse tension on the Korean Peninsula.
By making demands that both the United States and South Korea had no intention of accepting, North Korea signaled that it would not stand down anytime soon from a military standoff that has lasted for weeks.
But the fact that North Korea has recently begun responding to American and South Korean offers for dialogue, even though they came with steep preconditions, has raised cautious hopes among South Korean analysts that the North might be ready to wind down weeks of hostile rhetoric that at times appeared to bring the peninsula close to a point of conflict.
Experts Urge Evacuation from Kaesong
North Korea experts say it is high time to evacuate some 200 South Korean staff who remain at the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex. The North on Wednesday refused to let in supplies of food and other necessities for the South Koreans.
Kim Hee-sang of the Korea Institute for National Security Affairs said, “It may be impossible for North Korea to seal off the complex completely, but it can really harass South Korean workers there.” He urged the government to evacuate the South Koreans there or risk them being taken hostage.
Kim said evacuating the remaining staff could lead to a quicker resolution to the crisis by showing the North that Seoul is not afraid to shut down the industrial park if necessary.
CHOI ENDORSED BY PEREZ, SOLIS
Los Angeles City Council candidate John Choi announced two major endorsements — from Assembly Speaker John Perez and former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis — last week.
“I am so proud to be receiving the backing of Speaker John Perez,” said Choi. “Speaker Perez has been a trailblazer and a longtime advocate on issues of equality, justice and economic fairness. As speaker and the one of the assemblymembers that represents the 13th District, I am proud to count him as a supporter.”
Another US city sets up a monument to Korean comfort women
“It is more distressing and upsetting to see it for myself. They [comfort women] were only young girls…I respect their bravery in enduring such difficult lives.”
Frank Quintero’s face twisted in dismay as he listened to the voice full of anger. The voice was of Kang Duk-Kyung, one of the former ‘comfort women’, and came from a video installed at War and Women’s Human Rights Museum in Seoul’s Seongsan neighborhood. Quintero, who carefully read the prisoner’s interrogation documents of the Allied Forces in the museum, is the former mayor of Glendale, California.
The former mayor visited Korea on Apr. 14, after passing the bill to establish a “peace monument” for comfort women in Glendale Central Park. The city’s new monument will be the first overseas “peace monument” that is identical to the one established in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul. It will be funded by Korean Americans.
How Republicans Can Win Over Asian-Americans
I am the son of Taiwanese immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1970s seeking opportunity for themselves and the chance for their children to grow up in a more prosperous society. My story is not unusual among Asian- Americans. It’s also a profile that is tailor-made for the Republican Party, which stands for enhancing opportunity. Yet Asian-Americans from my generation (and others) are finding less and less appeal in the Republican Party.
Education advocate Michelle Rhee fends off accusations
Los Angeles Times
Michelle Rhee, head of a group that advocates using student test scores to evaluate teachers, fends off accusations that she failed to pursue evidence of cheating when she ran the D.C. school system.
Ken Jeong revels in Pain & Gain
THERE’S A MOMENT during a news conference for the film Pain & Gain in which Ken Jeong is not the funniest person in the room. Asked a question about who inspires him in life, the actor, famous for wild comedic roles, gives an impassioned yet humorous speech about how his wife inspired the former doctor to quit his practice and jump into acting.
“The first movie I did was Knocked Up, and I was still working as a physician,” Jeong begins. “Even after that movie, I was really afraid to try and do acting full-time. I didn’t have the confidence. It was my wife that fully supported me to quit my job and be naked in movies like The Hangover.”
6 Lessons From “Guts and Glory”: Anthony Bourdain and Roy Choi on Paula Deen, The Taste + Authentic Food
Anthony Bourdain greeted a packed house at the Pantages last night. The Los Angeles installment of Bourdain’s “Guts and Glory” tour took place in the opulent 1930 theatre with a crowd that was more academic than hip, and fiercely local as demonstrated by any reference to L.A. — and especially during the introduction of Bourdain’s co-host, Roy Choi.
The chefs opened with questions for each other, standing for a verbal tennis match, then sat and cracked beers for a more fluid dialogue, finally ending with questions from the audience. Bourdain was ruthless as ever, even mocking the audience for spending hard earned money on the tickets. But his charisma and tendency toward self-deprecation won the crowd over — and made it clear why he’s such a compelling player on the food world stage.
8 things to know about L.A.’s Koreatown
“Have you been to Koreatown yet?” my friend asked eagerly over the phone. It was my third week as a resident of Los Angeles, and I could no longer claim the pure shock of moving to a city so sprawling, so overwhelming, as the reason I had yet to explore its most interesting neighborhoods.
But I had to answer “no.” In a city as vast as Los Angeles, Koreatown seemed especially impenetrable, a huge warren of restaurants, markets, strip malls and residences. As much as I knew that it held a treasure trove of food, culture and nightlife, I was intimidated to even get started.
Now, almost a year later, Koreatown is one of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles. It’s like having an entire other city within a city, a gloriously foreign one at that. There are places in Koreatown where you look around and swear you are in Asia. And yet, it’s also 100% Los Angeles: a strange, sprawling melting pot full of hidden delights.
Psy’s ‘Gentleman’ Nears 125 Million Views, But Can It Match ‘Gangnam Style’?
Can lightning strike twice? We may soon find out thanks to Psy’s new song, “Gentleman.”
While the South Korean rapper’s original world-beating hit, “Gangnam Style” had a slow, then meteoric rise to YouTube dominance last year on its way to an unprecedented 1.5 billion views, in its first five days “Gentleman” is actually outpacing “Style” by a mile. (It took “Gangnam” more than a month to reach 100 million views.)
At press time, “Gentleman” was about to blow by the 125 million mark in YouTube views after tallying more than 20 million in its first 24 hours, easily beating the previous record set by Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” which attracted eight million views on its first day.
THR’s ‘Top Chef’ Cruise Diary: Culinary Rock Stars Take to the Open Seas
Approximately 3 a.m. — Success. The recently named chef de cuisine at Boston’s Menton, having made her way into the galley to make a grilled cheese sandwich, intercepts a room service call from a cruiser. Kristen cooks the order and delivers it to their cabin door.
11:50 a.m. — Alone in an empty dining room, Kristen is deftly tinkering away on a grand piano for what seems to be her own satisfaction. Presumably, she’s slept at some point.
Korean ice skating champion on why he became Russian
Russia Beyond the Headlines
Victor Ahn is a Russian Short track speed skating athlete from South Korea. One of the most accomplished Short Track Speed Skaters of all time, Ahn gave an exclusive interview to RBTH.
Victor Ahn (Ahn Hyun-Soo) won three gold medals and a bronze medal in 2006 Winter Olympics held in Turin, Italy, becoming the most successful athlete there. Ahn is the only male short track skater to have won at least three consecutive world championships. Two years ago Victor has received Russian citizenship to compete for Russia in the 2014 Olympics.