Hundreds Still Missing in SKorean Ferry Sinking (Updated)
Author: Julie Ha
Posted: April 16th, 2014
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A relative weeps while awaiting news about missing passengers of a sunken ferry at Jindo port, South Korea.

Photo: Ahn Young-joon/AP

(Updated from earlier accounts.) As of 2 a.m. Thursday, South Korean time, 179 aboard the capsized ferry bound for Jeju-do had been rescued, with six confirmed dead and 290—mostly high school students—still missing and feared dead in what is expected to be one the worst maritime accidents in the country’s history.

Authorities fear that the large number of people unaccounted for may have gotten trapped in the ship, which was completely submerged within two hours of the initial distress call, and that the death toll could rise dramatically, even as search operations continued into the second day.

Four of the fatalities, three of them students, were identified as Park Ji-young, a staff worker for the ferry company; and Jung Cha-woong, Kwon Oh-chun and Lim Kyung-bin, all students from Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. The two others had not been identified.

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SKorean Ferry Carrying 477 Sinks, 2 Reported Dead
Author: Julie Ha
Posted: April 15th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Image via Reuters

This story has updated figures, according to the latest news reports.

A South Korean ferry carrying 477 people, most of them high school students, sank off the southern coast on Wednesday, with two reported dead, according to Reuters.

Rescue efforts were still underway, with CNN reporting that 295 were still unaccounted for, and 180 rescued.

“The ferry is almost completely submerged,” Lee Gyeong-Og, the vice minister of security and public administration, said at a briefing in Seoul. He said that 34 naval, coastguard and civilian vessels were involved in the rescue operation, along with 18 helicopters and Navy SEALs.

AFP reported that 325 of the passengers on the ferry bound for Jeju-do were students from Danwon High School in Ansan, south of Seoul, and that crew comprised the remainder, though other media have reported slightly different numbers.

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SKorea Imposes New Regulations on Mixed Marriages
Author: Steve Han
Posted: April 15th, 2014
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South Korea unveiled this month a new set of policies regulating marriages with foreigners, including requirements for the latter to pass a Korean language proficiency test and for Korean partners to have a minimum annual income of 14.8 million won ($14,000), AFP reports.

Officials backing the latest regulations, effective April 1, say such policies address the two main issues causing marital conflict among such mixed-marriage couples: communication and low income.

“Strong state intervention is inevitable to stop ineligible people from buying foreign brides,” a Justice Ministry official said, according to the AFP. “This is a diplomatic issue related to our national image.”

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Samsung to Respond to Allegations of Lethal Chemical Exposure of Its Workers
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 15th, 2014
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Hwang Sang-ki, with his daughter Yu-mi, before her death in 2007 from leukemia. Image via Electronics Take Back Coalition

The increasing profile and growing public outrage over allegations of lethal chemical exposure of workers at Samsung Electronics Co. has prompted the company to say that it will be releasing its official response to the issue soon.

It will be Samsung’s first public statement on the deaths of dozens of its workers from leukemia and other rare cancers, which family members and activists claim was a direct result of lethal chemical exposure at its chip-making plants. Samsung’s breaking of its silence, seven years after the allegations first arose, follows a recent storm of attention in the media. An extensive report from Bloomberg Businessweek released on April 10—the same day Samsung released its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone—told the story of Hwang Yu-mi, a woman who at age 18 went to work at a Samsung semiconductor plant in 2003 and was dead from leukemia by age 22. The article also detailed her father’s ongoing struggle to expose the truth about what happened to her and the larger movement he launched to call attention to the dangerous use of carcinogens at electronics factories.

A movie based on her story, titled Another Promise, was released in February this year, and Empire of Shame, a documentary detailing a further 57 cases of leukemia and other blood-related cancers across several Samsung plants—including that of Yu-mi’s coworker—premiered in early March. Samsung declined to discuss specific cases for the Bloomberg article, saying in a statement that it spent about $88 million in 2011 on the maintenance and improvement of its safety infrastructure. Continue Reading »

Monday’s Link Attack: SKorean Credit Card Breach; LPGA Pro Called Jenner’s ‘Mystery Woman’; Pyongyang Marathon Hosts Foreign Tourists
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: April 14th, 2014
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Hurst laughs off being called Jenner ‘mystery woman’
NBC Golf Channel

LPGA pro Vicky Hurst unwittingly became “the mystery woman” hugging Bruce Jenner when paparazzi captured them outside a Chipotle restaurant Friday in Malibu, Calif.

The story ran under this headline in the British Daily Mail’s online edition: “Bruce Jenner wears wedding band on right hand embracing mystery woman in Malibu.”

Jenner, the decathlon gold medalist in the ’76 Olympics, is married to Kris Jenner, previously Kris Kardashian, mother to the Kardashian siblings of reality TV fame. Celebrity news sites have been abuzz over the separation and now reports of a possible reconciliation of the couple.

Citigroup Says Client Data Leaked at Korean Consumer Credit Unit

Bloomberg

Citigroup Inc. (C:US) and Industrial Bank of Korea (024110) said client information was leaked from their South Korean leasing and consumer credit units, the latest instances of data breaches at financial firms in the country.

Authorities found 17,000 instances of leaks of information including names and phone numbers, Citigroup Korea Inc. said in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg News questions today. The company was informed of the breaches by the prosecutors’ office in February, it said. The same number of leaks occurred at Industrial Bank of Korea’s IBK Capital Corp., company official Shin Dong Min said by phone from Seoul, declining to elaborate

N. Korea blasts reunification offer as ‘psychopath’s daydream’
Yahoo

North Korea on Saturday blasted South Korean President Park Geun-Hye’s proposal on laying the groundwork for reunification through economic exchanges and humanitarian aid as the “daydream of a psychopath”.

The blistering attack from the North’s powerful National Defence Commission (NDC) was the first official reaction from Pyongyang to a proposal Park made in a speech last month in Dresden in the former East Germany.

North Korea Marathon Opens Pyongyang Streets to Foreign Tourists

NBC News

Pyongyang was filled with runners from all over the world on Sunday for the annual marathon, open to foreign amateurs for the first time.

Nancy Q: Wie finds way to make odd putting stroke work
The Tennessean

The putting stroke is the one skill that can take on a totally different look from one player to the next. That has never been more evident then when watching the putting style of LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie.

Two years ago I witnessed Wie putting at the Navistar Classic. I was very surprised at how “bent over” she was in her setup. So was every other golf instructor and golf critic in the country! In an interview that week, I heard her say she was the one who decided on that putting style, not David Leadbetter, her teacher of many years.

Learning in reverse brought Kogi chef Roy Choi to the top
LA Times

All roads lead back to the Kogi truck.
“It’s like my ‘Sweet Caroline’ and I’m Neil Diamond,” Roy Choi said. “I’ll never be able to outlive Kogi. Kogi is a beast.”
The chef was attempting to articulate what spawning that marvel of Korean barbecued ribs enveloped in tortillas has meant to him in front of a crowd at the 19th-annual L.A. Times Festival of Books. The sprawling two-day event at USC features readings, screenings, musical performances and cooking demonstrations.

The kimchi revolution: How Korean-American chefs are changing food culture
Salon

In a recent interview with food writer Michael Ruhlman, celebrity travel/food writer Anthony Bourdain said that “when you look at all the people who are sort of driving American cuisine right now, they’re all Korean American.” By “all,” he mostly meant “both,” since his list boiled down to two: David Chang and Roy Choi.

Roy Choi is best known as the L.A. Korean taco truck guy, and David Chang is the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group as well as the cult food publication “Lucky Peach.” Bourdain probably intended to mention Edward Lee in this interview as well, insofar as he’d praised Lee’s cookbook, “Smoke and Pickles,” by calling him one of “America’s most important young chefs.”

World Bank’s Kim urges SA to cut red tape around investment
Business Day

WORLD Bank president Jim Yong Kim says countries such as India, South Africa and others in Africa with massive infrastructure programmes should limit red tape to make it easier for investors to bring in the billions of dollars such large projects require.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings on Thursday.

The South African government plans to invest more than R800bn over the next three years on energy, road, rail, school and municipal infrastructure and has called on the private sector to participate. It has identified infrastructure development as one of the areas that can create jobs and provide skills for millions of unemployed people.

Out of the blue
Economist

FORAGING in South Korea’s mountains may soon become more fruitful. Since a wild ginseng digger reported the wreckage of a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on April 3rd, the South’s ministry of defence has been ruminating on rewards for anyone who spots an enemy drone. The report followed the discovery of two other similar aircraft: on March 24th in Paju, a border city; and on March 31st on Baengnyeong island, near the disputed Northern Limit Line which demarcates the two Koreas’ maritime border. North Korean inscriptions on the planes’ batteries; an ongoing military investigation into their engines, fuel tanks and weight; and the sequence of the photographs found stored in one of the plane’s cameras suggest the drones were sent from North Korea. For others, their sky-blue camouflage paintwork, identical to that on larger drones paraded in the capital Pyongyang two years ago, was a giveaway.

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