Increase in Activity Reported at North Korean Nuclear Test Site
New York Times
North Korea has increased activity at its main underground nuclear test site, digging new tunnel entrances in what could be preparations for another nuclear test, a Washington-based research institute reported Thursday.
The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, which based its conclusion on analysis of commercial satellite images of the site in Punggye-ri in northeastern North Korea, said there was no sign that a test was imminent.
The report came a day after North Korea’s Foreign Ministry reaffirmed that the isolated country would continue to expand its nuclear arsenal, despite warnings from the United States that it will not engage in the dialogue that Pyongyang is seeking until the North moves toward denuclearization.
Mother: Reunion with US man jailed in North Korea ‘emotional
The mother of American Kenneth Bae, who is imprisoned in North Korea, told the BBC his health had improved following two months of medical treatment.
But Myunghee Bae said her worst fear was that he would get sent back to a labour camp.
The Korean-American was arrested last November and sentenced to 15 years’ hard labour in May.
Mr Bae, described as a tour operator and Christian missionary, was accused of plotting sedition.
It’s Now Dr. Kim Jong Un, Thanks to Malaysian University
Wall Street Journal
A Malaysian university has given North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a new title – Dr. – offering the controversial figure its first degree to a foreign head of state.
Mr. Kim Jong Un might seem like an unlikely recipient for a university’s degree. But, despite grabbing world-wide headlines through a series of nuclear missile tests and threats to strike U.S. cities, he received an honorary doctorate in economics from Kuala Lumpur-based HELP University.
Paul Chan, vice chancellor and president of HELP, said the award was meant to build “a bridge to reach the people” of North Korea. He said Mr. Kim accepted the degree through his ambassador in a ceremony that was held Oct. 3 in North Korea’s embassy in Malaysia.
‘Choco Pie’ on table for campaign to address N. Korean human rights problem
Call it the “Choco Pie Project.”
The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) plans to give away free Choco Pies near the White House next week in a bid to enhance public awareness of the human rights conditions in the communist nation.
The event will take place at Farragut Square on Wednesday, coinciding with the opening of two-day public hearings by a special panel of the U.N. Human Rights Council looking into the human rights abuses in the North.
Faced with overwhelming pressures, South Korean women have gone on baby-strike
Mothers with young children spend nearly five times as long looking after their family and home as fathers do, calculates Jayoung Yoon of the Korea Labour Institute. But at least the ratio is getting better. In 2009 men gave about half an hour a day more of their time to domestic chores than they had done ten years earlier, and women shaved off roughly 20 minutes. In the Korean sex wars, the front line moves slowly.
The burden of child-rearing poses a formidable obstacle to women’s professional ambitions. Women in their 20s now have higher labour-force participation rates than men, but many drop out in their 30s. They typically return in their mid-40s, though often not to the kinds of corporate jobs they held down before marriage. Instead they work for themselves or their families, often with lower pay and perks (see chart 1).
The 54th parallel
SITTING IN SEOUL’S Tapgol Park under the bronze statue of a patriotic hero, an elderly gentleman reads his newspaper with the aid of a pocket magnifying glass. When asked, he spells out his name (“Mr Jeon”) in the Chinese characters familiar to Korea’s pre-war generation.
In his younger days Mr Jeon worked as a carpenter and builder. Now 87, he is a regular member of the park’s greying congregation: “There’s no other place to go for an old person like me.” He and his companions spend their time complaining about their ailments and corrupt politicians. “In the daytime this spot is packed.”
South Korea is ageing faster than any other country in the OECD. Last year almost 12% of the population were aged 65 or over. By 2030 that proportion will double. The number of South Koreans of working age will peak in just three years’ time, according to the OECD’s Randall Jones and Satoshi Urasawa. By 2040 their number will drop by about a fifth.
Korean-Americans undertake campaign to help accused intelligence analyst
Korean-Americans are taking part in a campaign to help Stephen Kim, who has been waging a battle in the courts since US prosecutors charged him with violating the Espionage Act by leaking material related to national security in 2010.
“We’ve decided to hold our first fundraiser in Flushing, New York, on November 21,” said Lee Myung-seok, former president of the Korean-American Association of Queens, New York on Oct. 22. “We’ll establish a committee for helping Stephen Kim, and we’ll launch rescue committees in each major city.”
“We’re also planning to send petitions to the White House, the Justice Department, and major media outlets,” Lee said.
Wilmette man’s Barrington Hills home invasion trial begins
Prosecutors and witnesses described two hours of armed violence in a Barrington Hills home nearly five years ago as the trial of a Wilmette man on charges of home invasion and kidnapping got underway in Cook County Circuit Court today.
Kuhn Kim, 28, of the 1600 block of Sheridan Road, is also charged with armed robbery, aggravated battery and other crimes in a 22 count indictment stemming from the Dec. 5, 2008 incident.
The bench trial before Judge Kay Hanlon in Rolling Meadows branch court began following lengthy psychiatric examinations and several incidents in which Kim violated conditions of his $1.5 million bond, including a case of reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia. He has been in Cook County jail since his bond was revoked last year.
District man sentenced to 40 years in prison for 2010 fatal shooting of Fairfax man
A District man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday for the 2010 slaying of a man who authorities say was shot in the face in Southeast Washington.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell F. Canan sentenced Marlon Williams, 34, in the Sept. 13, 2010, killing of Min Soo Kang, 37, of Fairfax County. According to prosecutors, Williams was identified after he stole Kang’s 2010 Cadillac Escalade after the shooting. The vehicle was equipped with OnStar GPS tracking, which enabled police to locate the vehicle. Prosecutors said that Williams’s prints were found in the vehicle.
Prosecutors said Williams shot Kang about 4:30 a.m. in the 3500 block of Croffut Place SE. Kang was shot multiple times in the chest, face, finger and forearm.
Seoul, San Francisco Mayors Pledge to Strengthen Ties
Voice of America
In South Korea, the mayor of Seoul has met with his counterpart from San Francisco to strengthen sister city relations, and discuss encouraging Internet-based business.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon affirmed nearly four decades of sister-city relations with pledges to strengthen economic, cultural and education exchanges.
Mayor Park praised San Francisco’s reputation for innovative business and said he hoped its Korean-American community could act as a bridge across the Pacific.
High-security isolation for South Korea’s exam-setters
AFP via NDTV.com
Every October, hundreds of South Korean teachers and professors are sequestered – like jurors in a mafia trial – in a secret, guarded compound: prisoners of their country’s obsession with education.
For one month, they are kept in complete isolation under conditions that resemble house arrest, with everything down to their food waste subject to rigorous examination.
Their sole task is to compile the annual college entrance exam – the importance of which in the minds of stressed-out students and their often equally stressed-out parents is almost impossible to exaggerate.
What’s it like to live on $26 a week?
Prince George Citizen (British Columbia)
As a registered dietitian, Erica Kang knows what it takes to eat a healthy, balanced diet, but this week she didn’t consume nearly enough calories and was short many vitamins and nutrients.
Kang didn’t slack off her regular eating routine because she wanted a break nor was she on the latest diet craze, instead she took part in the Welfare Food Challenge to both raise awareness about low social assistance rates in B.C. as well as learn what’s it’s like to live on a food budget of just $26 a week.
“Even for somebody trained, with five years of schooling, I wasn’t able to manage what was an adequate diet for my needs,” Kang said after completing the challenge this week.
Plastic Surgery Perfected With 3-D?
Wall Street Journal
3-D technology is helping plastic surgeons make more-precise cuts and easing patients’ anxiety by giving them an advance look at their future faces. The WSJ’s Kurt Achin reports from Seoul, South Korea.
North Korean Leader Tightens Grip with Removal of Top General
New York Times
North Korea’s state media on Thursday confirmed the removal of a hard-line general as its military chief, the latest sign of a military overhaul in which the country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, has replaced nearly half of his country’s top officials in the past two years, according to South Korean officials.
The firing of Gen. Kim Kyok-sik and the rise of Gen. Ri Yong-gil to replace him as head of the general staff of the North’s Korean People’s Army was the latest in a series of high-profile reshuffles that Kim Jong-un has engineered to consolidate his grip on the North’s top elites.
Since taking power upon the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in late 2011, Kim Jong-un has replaced 44 percent of North Korea’s 218 top military, party and government officials, the South’s Ministry of Unification said in a report. He engineered this and other reshuffles to retire or sideline the old generals from his father’s days and promote a new set of aides who will owe their loyalty directly to him.
Don’t go to the land of death, North Korean ‘slave labourer’ urges tourists
A woman who spent nine years in a North Korean slave labour camp has urged tourists not to visit the reclusive state.
As Kim Jong-un, the country’s ruler, oversees final preparations for Thursday’s opening of North Korea’s first ski resort, Kim Young-soon said it was wrong “to pay into the coffers of the regime.” A British company is offering Christmas in Pyongyang, but Ms. Kim, 77, said: “Why give money to a leader who cares nothing for his people?”
As a young woman Ms. Kim danced for Kim Il-sung, then the country’s leader and grandfather of the current leader. A friend of hers was the secret mistress of Kim Il-sung’s son, Kim Jong-il, and after gossiping about their relationship Ms. Kim was sent to the infamous Yodok prison camp – with her parents and son, who were deemed guilty by association.
S. Korea, U.S., Japan hold joint naval drill
South Korea, the United States and Japan began a two-day drill in waters off the Korean Peninsula, Seoul’s defense ministry said Thursday, amid heightened tensions with North Korea, which angrily responded to the trilateral joint exercise involving an American aircraft carrier.
The drill, which was delayed for a few days due to a typhoon, started in waters off the peninsula’s southern coast as part of routine trainings, mobilizing the nuclear-powered, 97,000-ton carrier USS George Washington as well as Aegis destroyers of South Korea and Japan.
The training also includes the guided-missile USS Antietam CG-54 cruiser and guided-missile USS Preble DDG 88 destroyer. Fighter jets, anti-submarine helicopters and early warning aircraft will also be included.
South Korea Risks Overplaying Its Hand with Japan
Wall Street Journal
While his many detractors would never admit it, former President Lee Myung-bak oversaw an impressive rise in South Korea’s international profile. This rise, combined with Korea’s economic and technological achievements, have created a new confidence among the Korean public—polling data shows many perceive the country as increasingly influential on the international scene.
The Park Geun-hye administration is now acting on that confidence in its diplomatic dealings, but it is in very real danger of overplaying its hand when it comes to relations with Japan.
So far, Seoul has snubbed most of Tokyo’s advances for high-level meetings and stuck to a line that Japan needs to do more to address historical grievances first.
Seoul warns of frayed ties over Japan’s Yasukuni visit plans
South Korea warned Japan Thursday that their bilateral relations will face even more difficulties if Japanese politicians go ahead with their plans to visit the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in October.
“Visits to the Yasukuni shrine by ranking Japanese political leaders will not only jeopardize the South Korea-Japan relations but also cause severe difficulties in the steady development of ties among countries in the region,” Cho Tai-young, the spokesman of the South Korean foreign ministry said in a briefing. “I urge them not to pay the visit.”
The call came as two cabinet members of the conservative Shinzo Abe administration — Yoshitaka Shindo and Keiji Furuya — are reported to be planning a visit to the war shrine during the country’s autumnal festival next week.
Samsung Set for $1.4 Billion Windfall After Seagate Stock Sale
Samsung Electronics Co. will reap a $1.4 billion windfall from its decision two years ago to accept stock in Seagate Technology Plc (STX:US) as partial payment for selling its computer hard-disk drive business.
Samsung sold the unit in April 2011 for $687.5 million in cash and $687.5 million in stock. Since then Seagate’s shares have more than doubled and Samsung agreed to sell part of the stake back to the Dublin-based company.
Samsung exited its 22-year-old business making hard drives to focus on consumer electronics, memory chips and medical technology. The world’s biggest smartphone maker will sell back 32.7 million of its Seagate shares for $1.51 billion. It will keep another 12.5 million shares, valued at $561 million based on yesterday’s prices.
Jane Kim Steps In To Help Mid-Market Tenants Facing Eviction
Following on yesterday’s breaking news about the 100+ people getting evicted from two buildings on Market between 6th and 7th, Supervisor Jane Kim is hoping to get the word out to tenants that there may be help for them after all.
Kim’s office spoke to SFist yesterday and they feel as though there may be some solutions no one has talked about yet. They’d like to hear from as many tenants as possible before going forward.
In addition to a meeting this morning in which Kim is discussing some legislation to protect non-profits from eviction (public comment is at 11 a.m. at City Hall, Room 250), she’s joining a meeting with tenants of 1049 and 1067 Market Street tonight, Wednesday, at 8 p.m. in the 4th Floor lobby of 1005 Market.
‘Grandfather’ of Korean cinema sees life through a lens
“Film is my passion,” the 77-year-old said. “And you must follow your passion.”
Affectionately known as the “Grandfather of Korean cinema”, a large number of Im’s acclaimed productions have focused on what he sees as the erosion of Korean culture in a society that has seen rapid change in recent decades.
With giant posters of him displayed all over the city, Im has been an omnipresent force at this year’s 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which is screening 71 of his movies while making him the subject of a series of seminars and panel discussions.
Margaret Cho brings new show to S.F.
Margaret Cho, the comedian, actress and singer, is one of San Francisco’s most celebrated natives. Although her parents, who owned a bookstore in the city, have relocated to San Diego, Cho, 44, says she still feels a connection to her hometown, even if that connection involves a needle.
Currently in the midst of an international comedy tour called “Mother,” Cho called from the road to talk about her tour – which plays the Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium on Saturday – her new albums, her revived TV series and her thoughts on San Francisco.
2AM to Grant K-Pop Christmas Wishes with First Solo U.S. Concert
When Billboard caught up with 2AM in Los Angeles, the K-pop boy band famous for their ballads commented that “in L.A. and the U.S.A., the fans are more passionate.” The quartet will see those “passionate” fans soon with their first-ever solo concert in the United States. 2AM’s “Nocturne in Christmas” show will take place at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia L.A. Live venue on December 15. Merry Christmas, K-pop fans!
Fans can also get up close and personal with the foursome at a “high touch” event held prior to the concert. At these engagements, attendees get to give the 2AM guys a high-five. Based off of boy band B.A.P’s high touch event in New York, expect a handful of fans to be bawling after meeting the idols.
2AM last visited America to perform as one of the headliners at KCON 2013. The boys not only belted out singles like “One Spring Day” and “Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die,” but also performed Bruno Mars’ Hot 100 No. 1 hit, “Just the Way You Are” (below).
G-Dragon was a surprise guest in Justin Bieber’s first Korean concert
On the 10th, Justin Bieber’s first Korean concert as part of his ‘Believe Tour’ opened at the Olympic Park’s gymnasium in Seoul. After performing his hit songs for about fifty minutes, he said he would introduce a guest. At that time, G-Dragon made a sudden surprise appearance to perform his song “Crayon.”
G-Dragon was welcomed warmly by the crowd as all of his Korean fans got on their feet. The response to G-Dragon seemed even more enthusiastic than when Justin Bieber was performing! It was very reminiscent of G-Dragon’s own concerts.
After his “Crayon” performance, G-Dragon said before leaving, “As Bieber will show you a better performance, I hope you will have fun until the end.”
Kim Jang-hoon gives out Hangeul T-shirts in New York
Pop singer Kim Jang-hoon promoted Hangeul in the United States with an event giving out T-shirts emblazed with the Korea alphabet in New York, Wednesday.
The event was to celebrate Hangeul Day, which falls on Oct. 9 each year.
Kim and Korean students at New York University handed out 600 white T-shirts in Washington Square Park.
The T-shirts had two variations ― one lettered with “nanum,” a word meaning sharing, and the other with Hangeul, both written in Korean.
The Walking Dead Countdown: Will Maggie Get Pregnant? Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan Talk “Beautiful” Season Four
Hmm…Does Diapers.com deliver to post-apocalyptic prisons? The Walking Dead’s Maggie and Glenn might want to start looking into such things, because—and we are only speculating here—we have a sneaking suspicion a baby might be on the way for the show’s core couple.
In anticipation of Sunday’s season-four premiere of TWD, we spoke with Steven Yeun (Glenn) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie), and, acting like a true nervous daddy-to-be, here’s how Yeun responded to a question about whether Maggie might ever get pregnant:
“You know, I think that’s definitely a genuine, um, you know, thing that could be,” Yeun stumbled. “And, um, obviously, I can’t really address that at any point. But you know, there’s genuine fears that go along with trying to live a normal life in that world, and that all applies into what makes it more dangerous, or what makes you more vulnerable, so it’s all cool.”
Daniel Dae Kim is proud of ‘Hawaii Five-0′ for its minority representation
Canadian Press via 660News.com
South Korean native Daniel Dae Kim says skirting Asian stereotypes is something that’s been important to him since he started his acting career, first onstage in classic plays and improv comedy and then in onscreen projects including the film “Crash” and TV’s “Lost.”
And it’s a goal he feels he’s continuing with “Hawaii Five-0,” which is into its fourth season on Global and CBS.
“One of the things I’m proudest of on ‘Hawaii Five-0′ is the fact that we have so much minority representation, and it’s not done in a token way, it’s not done in a stereotypical way,” Kim, 45, said in an interview.
“All of us have interesting characters to play, and that is a great direction for television to go in.”
The case against Shin-Soo Choo
The Mets have turned their attention to the offseason, amid expectations that the Wilpons will be spending like it’s 1998.
And the apple of the Big Apple’s eye appears to be Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds right fielder who was second in the NL in on-base percentage. Choo is a fine player, and I can see why he will generate interest as a free agent, but when I look at Choo I see the next version of Jason Bay — a 31-year-old outfielder with severe flaws coming of a year he is unlikely to replicate.
The biggest problem with free agents — particularly those coming off of great years — is that it’s easy to assume that their most recent season is their true level of performance when it’s most likely not. The Mets can look at Choo’s .285/.423/.462 line and think he will repeat that for a few years, but what if his future performance is more in line with his 2011 performance: .283/.373/.441? Or even worse, 2010: .259/.344/.390.
‘Stun Gun’ Kim stuns Silva with knockout
Kim Dong-hyun lived up to his ”Stun Gun’’ nickname Thursday (KST) at the UFC Fight Night 29 in Brazil, where he knocked out crowd favorite Erick Silva in what arguably was the biggest win of his career.
The welterweight fight had been billed as a clash of styles, with the underdog Kim rated a top-class grappler and the explosive Silva being one of the most feared strikers in his weight class.
Kim has a chance against Silva only if he can take him off his feet, observers had said. If anyone of them claims they pictured the 31-year-old Korean dropping Silva with a left, they are probably lying.
Insider Guide: Best of Seoul
In Seoul, you can shop at brilliantly lit malls at 4 a.m., sing karaoke an hour later, then get McDonald’s delivered to your doorstep for breakfast.
The city’s 10.4 million residents can also brag about the world’s top airport (ice rinks and movie theaters included) and a stunningly efficient public transportation system featuring high-tech details from massive touch-screen displays at subway stations to tickers at bus stops announcing which bus is coming when.
Business travelers like to drop by the centuries-old temples and palaces for a quick walk on the way to meetings in the Jongno financial district, while design fanatics devise their own tours of the latest skyscrapers and stadiums.
A Korean American man in San Francisco is hoping someone will come forward and claim ownership of a pit bull that attacked his dog last week, ABC 7 reports.
Ray Kang was walking his dog, Skylar, a 10-year-old beagle and Labrador mix, at Esprit Park, a popular off-leash dog park in the San Francisco Dogpatch neighborhood when she was attacked.
“Within seconds she was in the pit bull’s jaws and the pit bull was shaking her like a rag doll,” Kang told ABC. “I questioned why, you know, he wasn’t in control of his dog in the first place.” Continue Reading »
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto asked that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors retract its condemnation of his remarks justifying Japan’s use of sex slaves during World War II.
In a letter sent to Osaka’s sister-city, the Japanese right-wing politician said his words were “misunderstood” by San Francisco’s equivalent to a city council as he never “legitimatized or defended” Japan’s institution of “comfort women,” a term used to describe sex slaves.
“My statements … have always been consistent with my concern for the protection and enhancement of women’s dignity and human rights,” he wrote.
Hashimoto came under scrutiny across the world in May, after he said that comfort women were “necessary” for Japanese soldiers during the war. Continue Reading »
by Ngoc Nguyen and Asha Du Monthier of New America Media
San Francisco Sheriff’s Department deputies requested Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily retract a story by one of its reporters alleging that he was discriminated against when he was booted out of San Francisco General Hospital, while reporting on the victims of the Asiana Airlines crash.
Sing Tao Daily, one of the largest Chinese-language newspapers in the United States, which has a bureau in South San Francisco, stood by its reporter, saying it would not retract the story.
The plane, carrying 307 people who were mostly Chinese and Korean nationals, crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, killing three and injuring about 120 people. The victims were sent to trauma units in hospitals throughout the Bay Area.
On July 9, Sing Tao reporter Zheng Zhang and Jieyu Yan, a reporter with SinoVision, Inc., were escorted off the premises of SF General by Deputy E. Simms, for allegedly violating hospital policy. The Sheriff’s Department is contracted to provide security at SF General and other hospitals. Continue Reading »