Kenneth Bae’s mother tells of heartbreak after seeing, leaving imprisoned son
Walking into a Pyongyang hospital room to greet her imprisoned son, Myunghee Bae was overcome with emotion. Talking exclusively to CNN, Bae said it was a “very happy moment. At the same time, I could not believe he was a prisoner in North Korea; a new realization.”
Bae was granted a five-day visa to North Korea and three short visits with her son, Kenneth; a total of six hours, in which she says there was not one moment’s silence. “He said he’s being treated very fairly,” she said. “He was taken to a special labor camp, so he was the only prisoner, and a whole lot of people have to stay with him, guards and doctors.”
Kenneth Bae, an American citizen, was arrested in November of last year and sentenced in May to 15 years of hard labor. The North Korean regime says he was found guilty of “hostile acts” and attempts to topple the government. His mother says he has a profound love for the country and its people, and any offense he caused was not intentional.
Engaging with North Korea
Los Angeles Times
Pyongyang, North Korea — I became British ambassador to North Korea a year ago, and since then I have seen firsthand the nature of the regime. Its human rights record is appalling; it continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and to sell its military know-how to other states. And yet, I’ve also seen that it is possible to engage with the regime constructively.
The United Kingdom is one of just a handful of Western countries that have diplomatic relations with North Korea (known formally as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and that maintain embassies in Pyongyang. We are there because we support international efforts to encourage North Korea to engage positively with the outside world and to stop its provocative and repressive behavior. There is a better course for the government if it wishes to take it.
Make no mistake, North Korea continues to aggravate the international community in cycles of threat, provocation and conciliation that have become a familiar, even expected, theme.
MTA officer struck by car at Verrazano Bridge
ABC News (New York)
An MTA Bridges and Tunnels officer was critically injured when he was struck by a vehicle Sunday morning at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Authorities say 61-year old Thomas Choi, a 10-year veteran, had parked his wrecker truck near the entrance to the Brooklyn-bound lower level of the bridge near the facility administration building when he was struck by a Nissan Maxima with New Jersey plates at around 7:45 a.m.
The 26-year-old female driver from Bayonne remained at the scene. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad. The driver and four passengers inside the car were not injured.
Mayoral Candidates Court Asian American Vote, Fill Up On Soda Ban Debate
NY1.com (New York)
Friday afternoon Bill de Blasio got a warm reception in Chinatown, picking up the endorsement of the Lin Sing Association, a coalition of Chinese-American groups and local elected officials, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“We’re going to make a very focused effort in the Chinese community,” De Blasio said.
It was a different scene in Flushing, where Republican Joe Lhota attended an Asian Americans for Lhota fundraiser at a Chinese restaurant. Attendance appeared to be sparse, though Lhota said many supporters were arriving later.
miss A’s Min gets embroiled in a racism controversy
Min recently posted a photo onto her Instagram that she apparently found funny – a photo that had Rick Ross’ head attached to Sunmi’s body. While that might not seem too offensive, the photo also included a fried chicken leg with the caption “Rick Ross – Lacking 24 servings”.
The fried chicken jab is a derogatory jab at many African Americans, and has a history back to when slaves would fry the leftover chicken from plantation owners to eat them.
The photo deeply offended many on the internet, and she has since deleted the photo from her Instagram. However, there are those defending Min since Rick Ross/chicken memes are popular. He is know for his love of chicken and even owns a chicken restaurant.
‘Konglish’ Is Pervasive in K-pop Songs
Finding a K-pop song with lyrics entirely in Korean is getting increasingly difficult. Behind the changes are musicians and producers who seem to regard the mixture of Korean and English as fancy, and more importantly, are trying to make K-pop more appealing to the global audience.
Yet English lyrics are not always worded properly. Many international K-pop fans say they are even frustrated by what they call “awkward” English terms or expressions in K-pop.
“They (international K-pop fans) become annoyed with strange English lyrics,” Mimsie Ladner wrote in an article she posted on the Huffington Post under the headline, “K-pop and the Future of Korea.” She went on to say they are also frustrated by “seemingly identical tunes that blare from just about every storefront of the country.” Another foreign K-pop listener echoed the view, saying, “If [K-pop musicians] are going to use English, they should use real English.” The listener, who refused to be identified, said, “It’s always random, meaningless words like ‘man,’ ‘girl,’ ‘you,’ ‘baby,’ ‘Come on,’ which only lower the quality of the songs.”
Accommodations | A New Hotel in L.A. Celebrates its Koreatown Surroundings
New York Times
In L.A.’s golden age, when streetcars clanged past urban orange groves and Carmen Miranda was Hollywood’s nod to ethnicity, the high life thrived on a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard near Vermont Avenue. Today, a generation after gang wars and riots sapped the life out of this district, it has re-emerged as the lively epicenter of the city’s Koreatown, bustling with restaurants, nightclubs and shops. The area has long been off the tourist map, but this is about to change with the opening of the Line in November.
The hotel’s creator, Andrew Zobler, is the man behind the Beaux-Arts-style NoMad Hotel in Manhattan and the cheap-chic Freehand Miami hostel. But the Line, designed by Sean Knibb, is something different for both Zobler and Los Angeles. Korean-American culture — or at least a high-end permutation of it — is the 388-room establishment’s organizing theme. ‘‘There is so much good stuff coming out of Korea today, and nobody has really captured that in a hotel,’’ Zobler says. Setting out to educate himself on Korean culture, he encountered the celebrated chef Roy Choi, who will preside over the hotel’s two restaurants: Pot, which serves a new take on hot-pot cuisine, and Commissary, a vegetarian eatery. The 24-hour thrum of the neighborhood inspired Zobler to make the hotel an all-hours social hub. There will be a late-night bakery, a newsstand that never closes and a nightclub that stays open until the wee hours, called Speek, created by the twin brothers Mark and Jonnie Houston, who grew up just four blocks from the hotel.
Shipbuilding in South Korea: Extreme drilling
SOUTH KOREA’S shipyards are having a busy time at the moment welding the behemoths of the shipping industry into shape. Clustered around Busan, the country’s second city, the big three yards—Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and Hyundai Heavy Industries—are churning out Maersk’s “Triple-E” class, which at 400 metres in length are the world’s biggest container ships; an oil barge that at 460 metres long is just under half the height of England’s tallest mountain, Scafell; and some of the largest-ever jack-up oil rigs. Equally impressive are the latest “ultra-deepwater” drill ships. These are being built at SHI, and were described to your correspondent on a visit to the yard as “giant Black&Deckers” by one engineer. The first of these, the Viking, was christened recently by Maersk, the ship’s owner.
As inland and offshore wells nearer the coast run down after decades of exploitation, so Big Oil is being forced ever farther out to sea. The new type of drilling vessel is specifically designed to work in the very deepest of waters, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of west Africa. At 228 metres they are relatively short compared with the giant new container ships, but what they lack in length they make up for in technical wizardry. The Viking, which is going to be used by ExxonMobil, can operate in depths of more than 3,000 metres of water and then drill down through another 12,000 metres of earth.
Food Fair Highlights Health Benefits of Korean Food
Korean food and culture is based on health. And finding ways to incorporate foods such as seaweed into dishes—including ice cream, noodles, and other snacks—is a never-ending pursuit.
Seaweed is an extraordinary source of nutrients that includes protein, iodine, and vitamins. It has three times the amount of calcium than milk, according to the Korean Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation.
“I think the health benefits and varieties of Korean food is not very well known,” said Kim Jae Soo, president of the Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation. The Korean Food Fair, held in Times Square on Oct. 19–20, was organized by the corporation.
South Koreans Cut Back on Coffee
Wall Street Journal
The South Korean coffee frenzy seems to be waning, with data showing a drop in imports and average household spending on the popular beverage.
Almost every other building in Seoul and other cities houses a café, but South Koreans appear to have cut back on coffee as the country’s economic woes keep a lid on consumer spending.
Each household spent an average of 7,873 won ($7.4) on processed coffee or tea in the April-June period, down 1.8 percent from a year earlier. That was the second straight quarterly fall after a 1.4% drop in the January-March period, said Statistics Korea on Monday. The latest declines followed five years of nonstop quarterly gains until 2012.
14 Reasons Why Living in Seoul, Korea is Awesome!
1. Public Transportation in Seoul
Transportation in Seoul is very affordable. The 1050 won (approximately $1USD) base fare is the envy of commuters in other major cities with more expensive public transportation systems. Plus, public transportation in Seoul is super convenient. You can get to pretty much every corner of Seoul only relying on subways and buses. Public transportation is also very safe in Korea. Sure there’s a few crazies here and there, and some lines do tend to get more crowded than others, but that goes for any public transportation system in a major city. The majority of Seoul commuters are exhausted businessmen and students that just want to go home in peace. If you’re already living in Seoul, you know how valuable public transportation has been to you.
Gov’t Has ‘No Plans’ to Join U.S. Missile Defense
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Wednesday played down suspicions that South Korea is about to join the U.S.-led missile defense program by the back door.
Kim told reporters South Korea “clearly will not participate in the U.S. missile defense program.” He said the military is not currently considering purchase of SM-3 or THAAD interceptor missiles that form the core of the program.
The SM-3 can destroy North Korean ballistic missiles at an altitude of 150 km and the THAAD at a lower altitude of 100 km.
What’s behind South Korean president’s new strategy on North Korea?
Christian Science Monitor
For nearly 20 years, South Korea and the world’s biggest powers have sought to pry from North Korea a promise – that it would keep – to end its nuclear weapons program.
They have used carrots and they have used sticks. As inducements, the powers offered to build North Korea a nuclear reactor, provided fuel, and gave food. When that failed they have tried punishments, freezing Pyongyang out of the world financial system and imposing sanctions to starve the government there of all sorts of goods.
Yet twin clouds of steam from North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor, spotted last month in satellite images, suggest all those efforts have come to naught, and raise questions about how the international community – distracted by Iran and Syria – can deter North Korea’s seemingly insatiable desire for nuclear weapons.
North Korea Slams South’s Claim Kim Wants Reunification by Force
North Korea bristled at comments by the head of South Korea’s intelligence service that leader Kim Jong Un will seek to reunite the two countries by force within three years.
The remarks are a smear campaign against North Korea, and the head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service will “meet the most shameful end” for it, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said today in a statement distributed by the official Korean Central News Agency.
NIS chief Nam Jae Joon commented on Kim’s possible intentions earlier this month, according to South Korean ruling Saenuri party legislator Cho Won Jin. Cho didn’t say how Nam obtained his information.
N.Korea ‘Disguised Civilian Cargo Planes for Military Show’
North Korea flew civilian cargo planes painted in camouflage during a military parade earlier this year in an apparent attempt to make its arsenal seem bigger than it really is, U.S.-based website NK News said Tuesday.
The “Victory Day” parade on July 27 featured three Russian-made IL-76 military cargo planes, but they were actually civilian cargo planes owned by North Korean carrier Air Koryo, according to the NK News. The website claimed that they were recently spotted at an airport in Moscow with remnants of camouflage on their trail wings.
NK News said the ploy was designed to “exaggerate” the North’s military power.
Kim Tours South Korea, Lectures At Top Schools
Queens Gazette (N.Y.)
Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Flushing), the first Korean American to be elected to office in New York state, accepted an invitation by the Overseas Korean Foundation to lecture at the number one women’s college, Ewha Womans University, and the top two high schools in South Korea (Cheong Ju Foreign Language H.S. and Korean Minjok Leadership Academy). His lectures mainly focused on the importance of developing leadership traits like determination, perseverance, and grit among our youth.
The Overseas Korean Foundation (OKF) is a department of the South Korean government that was founded 17 years ago to build and maintain close connections with Koreans all around the world. Every year, OKF sponsors political and public leaders worldwide to tour and lecture at some of South Korea’s top schools.
China, Spitting and Global Tourism
New York Times
That’s because spitting is a major reason Chinese tourists can feel unwelcome abroad, commentators say. And more are traveling: Chinese will make about 100 million trips next year, up from 82 million last year, and over 90 million this year, Shao Qiwei, the head of China’s National Tourism Administration, said in Chicago last week.
“In recent years the world has more and more opportunities to know China,” Sun Yingchun, a professor at the Communication University of China, wrote in Huanqiu magazine. “But discrimination and prejudice against Chinese people abroad hasn’t diminished,” he wrote. “Even though Chinese people bring tourist business with them they are also castigated by foreigners. Some foreigners don’t feel kindly toward Chinese tourists because they say they are ill-mannered.” He singled out spitting, loudness, line-cutting and littering.
No one agonizes about it more than some Chinese. Sun Yat-sen, the revolutionary leader and first president of the Chinese republic said in a 1924 speech, “Spitting, farting, growing a long fingernail’’ to pick one’s nose, ‘‘not brushing teeth,’’ in these things ‘‘all Chinese people are unrestrained.”
Anti-Bullying Programs Found to Produce Smarter Bullies and More Victims
Efforts to stop bullying in schools have produced unintended results, specifically more kids being picked on by smarter bullies.
Two academics examined bullying data involving 7,001 students from across the country, expecting to find that anti-bullying programs have mitigated this problem.
But Dr. Seokjin Jeong, a researcher and criminologist from the University of Texas at Arlington, and Byung Hyun Lee from Michigan State University were surprised to learn that the programs actually made things worse.
Their study found that students at schools with anti-bullying programs were more likely to be victimized than students at schools with no such programs.
What’s actually behind the low Asian-American obesity rate?
At first glance, it seems like most Asian-Americans pretty much have this whole obesity thing under control, by the looks of new national statistics. An estimated 11 percent of adult Americans of Asian descent are considered obese. Compare that to the nation’s obesity average as a whole, which stands steady at about 35 percent.
It’s the first time obesity estimates for Asian-Americans have been included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a research program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They haven’t been included before because people of Asian descent only make up about 5 percent of the population (though by 2042, that is expected to climb to 9 percent).
Why are Asian-Americans so much thinner? The answer may not be obvious, some experts say.
UCLA and Pepperdine Students Give K-Town Some Love
Students and staff members from UCLA School of Dentistry and Pepperdine University gave some love to Koreatown.
The UCLA School of Dentistry, in a collaborative partnership with Wilshire Bank, provided free dental care in Koreatown of Los Angeles last Saturday. The event took place at the Wilshire State Bank located at 3200 Wilshire Boulevard, and approximately 40 staff members and students from the UCLA School of Dentistry participated and treated about 250 Koreatown patients. 100 patients will receive follow-up care at the School’s Westwood clinic this Saturday.
Unemployment, Poverty Grow Among Asian Americans in Los Angeles County
Voice of America
More Asian Americans live in Los Angles County than anywhere else in the United States. A recent report by Asian Americans Advancing Justice L.A. found that, from 2000 to 2010, Asian Americans were the fastest growing group in L.A. County. The report also found that the number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in L.A. County who are unemployed and living in poverty continued to grow. Long Beach, California, is home to the largest Cambodian community outside Cambodia.
Several Asian American communities have some of the highest poverty rates in Los Angeles County. Research analyst Kristin Sakaguchi said many people in Asian communities here diverge from the stereotype of Asian American success and easy assimilation.
“A lot of these communities are marginalized and not really focused on,” said Sakaguchi.
PSY And Steven Tyler Are Teaming Up
PSY took over the music listening world with the K-pop electro banger “Gangnam Style,” but the truth is that he looks to classic rockers for inspiration.
In an interview with Italy’s L’Uomo Vogue magazine, the singer said that he collaborated with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler for a track on his new album.
“When I was in middle school, I literally cried when they were singing ‘Crazy’ or ‘Amazing’ or whatever, they were my lifetime role models, and now I am collaborating with Steven Tyler, what the fuck, man? I love my life,” PSY said.
Tom Hiddleston Dances, Sings His Heart Out On Korean TV Show
He may play the evil Loki in the “Thor” movies, but in real life Tom Hiddleston is all about sprinkles and sunshine — and these videos prove it.
The 32-year-old English actor channeled his inner Michael Jackson as he busted out his dance moves on a Korean television show, knocking over chairs and almost ripping his tuxedo pants while doing so.
But that’s not all …
The Art of Breaking Taboos
Wall Street Journal
For South Korea, Kim Ki-duk presents a dilemma. The internationally acclaimed director is one of the country’s best-known filmmakers. His films have collected a host of awards at some of the world’s most prominent festivals, including the top prize at last year’s Venice Film Festival for “Pieta.”
But his work often finds a warmer reception abroad than at home. Mr. Kim, whose other films include “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” (2003) and “3-Iron” (2004), has hardly been a box-office darling—or even the critics’ favorite—in South Korea. (He once threatened to stop releasing his films in the country.) He is known for courting controversial subjects. His latest film, “Moebius,” offers a stark example.
The film—which is devoid of dialogue—follows an adulterous husband, his vengeful wife, their teenage son and the woman whose relationship with the husband puts the story in motion.
Suk-Min Yoon rumors: Twins interested in Korean pitcher
The Minnesota Twins will have scouts at Korean pitcher Suk-Min Yoon’s upcoming showcase and are interested in signing him, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
Strengthening the Twins interest is the fact that Yoon is a free agent and will not require a posting fee to sign with an MLB team. However, Yoon is represented by agent Scott Boras, who is known for driving up prices of his clients.
The 27-year-old has pitched for the Kia Tigers since 2005, working as a starter up until 2013, when a shoulder injury caused him to lose velocity on his fastball and moved to the bullpen. He would likely be looked at first as a starting pitcher by MLB teams.
The Chicago White Sox Should Acquire Shin-Soo Choo
Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn must find someone to bat leadoff and play center field if they are going to be competitive in 2014 and beyond.
Since the farm system is not prepared to help out in either capacity for at least two more seasons, and Avisail Garcia is seemingly the only outfielder with any long-term upside, Hahn needs to sign Shin-Soo Choo to a free-agent contract. It is a signing that must be made, actually. There is simply no other choice right now.
Let’s take a deeper look at why Choo makes so much sense for the White Sox:
Park In-bee Under Pressure to Seal Golf Title
Wall Street Journal
As the U.S. women’s professional golf tour winds down with its late-season swing through Asia, this weekend’s KEB-Hana Championship in South Korea should have been a comfortable victory lap for Park In-bee in front of her home supporters.
Instead, she’s looking over her shoulder.
The 25-year-old Seoulite blitzed the field by winning the first three major tournaments this year and appeared to be cruising toward becoming South Korea’s first winner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s Player of the Year award.
S. Korea’s Park teeing it up one last time this week
Grace Park is coming out of retirement this week for a special farewell appearance in her South Korean homeland.
Park, 34, will tee it up Friday in the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship at Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course in Incheon, South Korea. She will be paired with fellow South Korean legend Se Ri Pak and American Cristie Kerr.
Park announced her retirement at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in 2012. She hasn’t played in an LPGA event since but was offered a sponsor exemption to play this week. She’s considered one of South Korea’s pioneers of women’s golf, having joined Pak, Hee Won Han and Mi Hyun Kim as trailblazers making impacts in the United States and internationally in the LPGA ranks.
Asia’s parents suffering ‘education fever’
Zhang Yang, a bright 18-year old from a rural town in Anhui province in China was accepted to study at a prestigious traditional medicine college in Hefei. But the news was too much for his father Zhang Jiasheng.
Zhang’s father was partly paralysed after he suffered a stroke two years ago and could no longer work. He feared the family, already in debt to pay for medicines, would not be able to afford his son’s tuition fees.
As his son headed home to celebrate his success, Zhang Jiasheng killed himself by swallowing pesticide.
Zhang’s case is an extreme. But East Asian families are spending more and more of their money on securing their children the best possible education.
In richer Asian countries such as South Korea and emerging countries like China, “education fever” is forcing families to make choices, sometimes dramatic ones, to afford the bills.
Ginko Trees in Seoul – Pretty, But The Stench is a Problem
Wall Street Journal
When the Seoul Metropolitan Government first named the gingko tree as its official tree more than 40 years ago and started to plant it widely along city streets, one problem was overlooked: the stench.
The trees help cut pollution and dust in the city, cast shade in sizzling summer, and are loved by Seoul citizens most of the year, but turn into a headache in autumn.
The gingko trees and their yellow leaves make for beautiful scenery but the nuts they drop get crushed by pedestrians, making for slippery streets and foul odors.
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.
Now You See It: Inside North Korea’s tightly controlled society, the truth is rarely simple.
The monks followed us out to the parking lot. It was a cool autumn morning, and there was silence inside the Ryongthong Temple, a hillside complex of Buddhist shrines outside the North Korean city of Kaesong. Centuries ago Kaesong was home to Korea’s kings, and Ryongthong was a bustling religious center. But this morning the temple was empty. There were no ringing bells, no worshippers lighting incense—only two monks in gray robes walking through the complex with ostentatious serenity. Down in the city, loudspeakers on Kaesong’s empty main street were bellowing songs of praise for Kim Jong Un, the young man North Koreans now call the Supreme Leader.
Photographer David Guttenfelder and I had come to the temple with our minders—the anxious government bureaucrats who accompany foreign reporters everywhere they go in North Korea. I briefly interviewed one monk, dutifully scribbling a few banalities in my notebook. “Buddhism helps people be clear, clean, and honest,” he said.
A Buddhist temple in North Korea would seem a natural place for a reporter to ask about freedom of worship. Researchers say six decades of a one-family dictatorship have effectively crushed organized religion here. But if I asked, and one of the monks even hinted at any unhappiness with the regime, I knew he would go to prison, disappearing into a hidden gulag that human rights workers say holds between 150,000 and 200,000 people. So I didn’t ask, and we walked out shortly after.
North Korea rewards athletes with luxury apartments
The North’s KCNA news agency said several athletes, including 2012 Olympic gold medalists Om Yun-chul, An Kum-ae and Kim Un-guk, moved into their luxury new homes along the banks of the Pothong river.
North Korea, which is technically still at war with the South after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty, often rewards successful athletes with a life of luxury for glorifying the impoverished, repressive state.
Weightlifter Om, who won the 56 kilogram weight class at the London Games, was overcome with emotion and paid tribute to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the country’s Songun, or “Military First”, philosophy.
World Bank, Rooted in Bureaucracy, Proposes a Sweeping Reorganization
New York Times
Jim Yong Kim, the genial American physician who took over as the president of the World Bank last year, recently conducted a survey of its 10,000 employees. The survey revealed a “culture of fear,” pervasive “fear of risk” and a “terrible” environment for collaboration at the huge development institution, which lends more than $30 billion a year and works in more than 100 countries.
The bank, which provides a range of services to developing countries, from infrastructure loans to health grants to budget advice, was in danger of becoming a series of regional banks rather than a world bank, Dr. Kim said in an interview at its headquarters, two blocks from the White House. Worse, he feared its internal culture and structural organization might hamper its progress toward its newly made goals of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 and ensuring inclusive growth.
“We could become less than the sum of our parts,” Dr. Kim said.
Report: Patient arrested after attacking hospital staff
ABC News Charleston (S.C.)
Mount Pleasant police were called to East Cooper Medical Center on Hospital Drive after a patient attacked the doctors and nurses who were trying to treat him.
According to a police report, responding officers found the patient, identified as 19-year-old Min Kyun Kim, on the floor with several hospital staff members on top of him, holding him down.
Officers noted a pool of blood around Kim’s head, all over the floor and wall and on the hospital security guards that were trying to restrain him.
Run River North Stays The Course — And Finds Success
Run River North is a band that’s gotten a few more breaks than most on its level. Last year, the Los Angeles-based Korean-American musicians produced a music video from inside their Hondas. The video went viral — and straight to the carmaker. The company rewarded the group with a surprise performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Before the band landed on the popular late-night program, Run River North had already been approached by a major label.
“We got flown out to New York, and wined and dined. We didn’t even know that still happened,” says Alex Hwang, the band’s lead singer and songwriter.
Busan: Why the 2013 Fest Snubbed Hollywood
When the organizers of this year’s Busan International Film Festival announced that Asia’s biggest film event would open with an obscure drama from the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, insiders were quick to grasp the underlying message.
The film, Vara: A Blessing, directed by a Buddhist monk, Khyentse Norbu, not only demonstrates Busan’s role as a showcase for Asian cinema, it also underscores the growing importance of Asian cinema on the global film scene. Indeed, while most international festivals bend over backward to open with a splashy Hollywood tentpole, Busan’s decision to open with Vara underscores the new normal in global cinema: Asia doesn’t need Hollywood as much as it used to.
“We’ve made it a policy to choose Asian films as the opener and closer,” says festival director Lee Yong-kwan. “In the past, we chose mainstream works, but we felt it was more important to showcase the diversity of Asian cinema this year.”
Busker Busker Sweeps K-Pop Hot 100 With Eight Top 10 Entries
More than a year after the release of Busker Busker’s smash-hit “Cherry Blossom Ending,” which achieved an unmatched feat by hitting No. 1 K-Pop Hot 100 in both April 2012 and 2013 (an unmatched feat), three-piece ensemble Busker Busker’s highly-anticipated sophomore album was released on Sept. 25. It has dominated the chart with every track on the album zooming and battling their ways to the top slots. Eight out of the nine tracks entered the Top 10 with the lead single “Love, At First” debuting in at No. 1. Busker Busker’s chart dominance is as follows:
No. 1 “Love, At First”
No. 2 “Too Much Regret”
No. 3 “Love Is Timing”
No. 4 “Your Lips”
No. 6 “Night”
No. 7 “Cool Girl”
No. 8 “Beautiful Age”
No. 9 “Autumn Night”
No. 11 “Juliette”
Hong Kong K-pop contestant, 14, left in tears after organisers offer plastic surgery
South China Morning Post
Aspiring singer Shimali De Silva was surprised when she got through to the finals of an international Korean pop talent competition last year.
Her surprise quickly turned to shock, however, when organisers of the K-Pop Star Hunt took her to see a plastic surgeon, who told her, “You’re 14, but you look 30″, and proposed major changes to her appearance.
“They told her she was too dark and her nose was not proper,” the Hong Kong teenager’s mother Ruanthi recounted to the Sunday Morning Post last week.
Odd couple: Ryu, Uribe become best of friends
Manager Don Mattingly is puzzled, too.
Members of Korean media who have followed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu since he was a teenager are tickled, but they are not completely surprised the rookie’s best friend on the team is Juan Uribe, a player many think he wouldn’t have much in common with.
“It’s like the Odd Couple, him and Uribe get along so well,” Mattingly said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Ryu, 26, is from South Korea and knows only a few phrases in English. The Dominican-born Uribe, 34, is one of the most popular players in the league and primarily speaks Spanish and knows English, but he doesn’t know a word of Korean.
Much-maligned footballer Ki Sung-yueng vows to apologize to ex-coach
South Korean footballer Ki Sung-yueng, heavily criticized over writing derisive online comments toward his former national team head coach, vowed on Monday to make a personal apology.
The midfielder for Sunderland in English Premier League arrived at Incheon International Airport Monday to join the national team’s training camp this week. South Korea is scheduled to host Brazil on Saturday and Mali on Oct. 15.
Ki, once a fixture on the national team, is back on the squad for the first time under the current head coach Hong Myung-bo, who succeeded Choi Kang-hee in June.
Cubs’ reliever Lim Chang-yong expresses confidence vs. MLB bats
Yonhap News Agency
The Chicago Cubs’ reliever Lim Chang-yong said Monday he was never afraid of Major League Baseball (MLB) hitters in his first U.S. season, adding that his confidence will help him put up better numbers next year.
The 37-year-old right-hander returned home Monday following a short stint with the National League (NL) club in September.
Lim made six appearances after getting called up from the Triple-A Iowa early September. He allowed three earned runs in five innings on six hits and seven walks. He struck out five batters and didn’t have a win-loss record.
The Greenwood Korean joint breaking Seattle’s culinary apartheid
Restaurateur Steven Han is the young, successful owner of a collection of Japanese restaurants in Seattle, places where cool kids and aficionados eat. He is a sort of Asian Ethan Stowell — about the same age with three restaurants to Stowell’s six.
Stowell’s restaurants are all Italian even though he is not explicitly Italian. Similarly, Han’s restaurants (Umi Sake House, Kushibar, and Momiji) are all Japanese, even though he happens to be Korean.
In casual conversation late last year, I asked Han why, being a first-generation Korean-American, he has never attempted to add a Korean restaurant to his empire. Two of his places are in Belltown, one in Capitol Hill. All are polished, efficiently run, and reasonably respect the traditions behind the food they serve.
The Korean-American Fusion Burger
Umami Burger from bopNgrill
The Umami Burger from Chicago’s bopNgrill is a kind of culinary autobiography of Korean-American owner William Song. After combining Asian flavors with the classic American dish, the Cordon Bleu-trained chef lent his creation an extra personal dimension – and deep, complex flavors – by topping it with sun-dried tomato confit and truffled duxelles, or finely chopped mushrooms with garlic, onion (and his addition, truffle oil). Song says mushrooms in particular pack an umami punch, and pairing them with the tang of sun-dried tomatoes really brings out flavor. “You go to these burger joints all over America and they put sautéed mushrooms on top,” Song says. “That’s what we’re doing – just more detailed.” Note, though, that this burger requires a little extra prep time, about 25 to 45 minutes for the duxelles alone, but the patient cook will find it worth the wait. “Cook it slow so all the flavors can meld,” Song says.
50 Instagram Pictures to Make You Love Seoul
Life in Seoul is full of small beautiful moments that make every day a wonder. Thankfully the citizens and visitors of Seoul appreciate this and have used the app Instagram to capture and edit some of the “if you blinked, you would have missed it” visuals of Seoul. Here are 50 of the Seoulistic staff’s favorite Instagram photos of the city, history, life, and food of Seoul.
A rendering of Terminal 2 at Incheon International Airport. Image via Gensler
Incheon International Airport, one of Asia’s busiest, started construction last Thursday on a second passenger terminal, which is scheduled for completion by the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
The new terminal, which will cost $2 billion, encompasses the third part of the airport’s three-phase construction project. It will include a passenger terminal, new railways and roads and a second traffic center by 2017, the Korea Herald reports.
The 72-gate, 7.4 million-square-foot terminal’s design was inspired by the Asian Phoenix, according to Keith Thompson of the global design firm, Gensler. The terminal will feature indoor gardens, a koi pond and natural lighting that travelers can enjoy while shopping, dining or just relaxing. These will join the various facilities already available in the airport, which include hundreds of shops, a hotel, a skating rink, a golf course and a casino. Continue Reading »