N. Korea slams President Park for fueling inter-Korean tensions
North Korea slammed President Park Geun-hye Tuesday for fueling tensions with provocative anti-Pyongyang remarks made during her recent trip to Europe.
The North’s Korean Central News Agency, citing a statement issued by an unidentified spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK), referred to Park by name and accused her of being a hypocrite and only focused on maintaining a confrontational stance with the DPRK.
The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.
During her recent trip to France, Britain and Belgium, Park, who has made “trust building” the cornerstone of her North Korean policy, called on the isolationist country to get rid of its nuclear weapons and improve human rights.
Syrian regime recruited North Korean pilots – activist group
A British-based Syrian activist group claims Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has recruited 15 North Korean pilots to operate his regime’s attack helicopters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors casualties and developments in Syria’s civil war, cited an opposition-linked website, which claims the North Koreans were brought in due to fears Syrian pilots might defect to neighboring countries.
In the past, there have been reports of Syrian fighter jet pilots defaulting to Jordan with their jets but the reports were never confirmed.
North Korea, a close ally of Syria, is thought to have sold military equipment, including chemical weapons and scud missiles, to the Assad regime in the past.
S. Korea pledges US$5 mln in aid to Philippines
Yonhap News via GlobalPost
South Korea will offer US$5 million in relief aid to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines and send a team of relief workers there, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.
The government decided to provide the Philippines with assistance in cash and relief goods including food, blankets and tents, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The goods will be shipped to the country after the Philippine government’s approval, which is expected to take a day or two, according to the ministry.
Samsung offers US$1 mln in aid to typhoon-stricken Philippines
Samsung Group, South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, said Tuesday that it has decided to offer US$1 million in aid to the Philippines, which has suffered from huge damage by a typhoon.
Typhoon Haiyan cut a wide swath of destruction through the central part of the Southeast Asian country last weekend, taking thousands of lives and leaving thousands of homes destroyed.
The group’s financial aid will be delivered to the country via the Red Cross and World Vision, a nongovernmental humanitarian aid group.
Meanwhile, the group’s flagship unit Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest smartphone maker, will send a 20-member emergency team of its Filipino subsidiary to the areas hit by the typhoon to provide free repair service of home appliances, the group said.
Linking up Europe and South Korea ‘not easy’
Deutsche Welle (Germany)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to pay a state visit to South Korea today, November 12, where he will meet with President Park Guen-hye. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in September and have a full agenda for their two days of discussions in Seoul, including ways of improving bilateral ties, ensuring peace and stability on the fractious Korean peninsula and stepping up cooperation and exchanges.
Putin, however, is particularly keen on a project that could bring major economic and geo-political benefits to Russia: the long-debated plan to connect the furthest reaches of Western Europe with Busan, the South Korean port on the very tip of the peninsula, by railway.
This route would primarily follow the existing Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to the Russian Far East before crossing into North Korea on the short stretch of border that the two nations share, continuing south, traversing the so-called Demilitarized Zone that is the border between North and South and finally ending up in Busan, the largest container ship hub in Asia.
How to Cure South Korea’s English Fever?
Wall Street Journal
How much should a country pay to master the English language?
Based on the economics and outcomes of English tuition in South Korea today, the country is throwing excessive amounts at the task with meager results.
According to Swiss-based language learning company EF Education First, the average South Korean gets nearly 20,000 hours of English education from kindergarten through university. Much of that tuition comes at private institutes known as hagwon that Korean kids flock to stay ahead in the nation’s hyper-competitive educational race.
Ailee’s Agency Takes Legal Action Regarding Distribution of Singer’s Nude Photos
Ailee’s agency, YMC Entertainment, has taken concrete moves in order to take legal action in regards to the distribution of the singer’s nude photos.
A representative from YMC Entertainment stated to a local news source on November 12 KST, “CEO Jo Yoo Myung has personally appointed a lawyer in the U.S. However, we cannot currently reveal specific plans as we are still in the process of closely examining the facts.” The reason for appointing a U.S. lawyer is due to the difficulty of investigating from South Korea, as all sources of the photos are located overseas.
A source from the foreign affairs department of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency also commented, “The foreign affairs department doesn’t always take on every investigation involving foreigners.” Pointing to the lengthy and difficult process of obtaining help from U.S. law enforcement agencies and embassy, the source stated, “It will be hard to expect a proper investigation in the case of Ailee.” The source continued, “But if [the agency] appointed a U.S. lawyer, the speedy procurement of the identity of Ailee’s ex-boyfriend might be possible. It will depend on how much ‘Allkpop’ cooperates.”
Super Junior wows European fans
Super Junior held a successful first concert in London, where about 10,000 fans gathered, SM Entertainment said Monday.
The popular K-pop boy band performed at Wembley Arena in London its signature “Super Show 5.” The audience included not only British fans but also those from France, Germany, Poland, Hungary and other parts of Europe.
The group started off with “Mr. Simple,” which is the lead track from its fifth full-length album, and continued on with such popular songs as “Sorry Sorry” and “Sexy, Free & Single.” All together, the members performed 23 songs.
Samsung Debuts Online Drama Series
Samsung will begin airing a web-only soap opera this week in an effort to ride interest in TV dramas and connect with the country’s smartphone-obsessed youth.
Samsung Group spokesman Kevin Cho said the series is a new step for the company’s social engagement program, targeting South Korea’s twentysomethings with a story about penniless young jobseekers living together and the hardships they face in getting a job.
South Korea’s largest conglomerate by revenue appears serious about the production quality, recruiting an outside studio and K-Pop stars for the six-episode “Infinite Power.”
Video: Rob Gronkowski mocks Asian fan at watch party
Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper are among the NFL players who have come under fire for racially insensitive incidents this year. Rob Gronkowski may be next.
TMZ has posted a video of the Patriots tight end mocking an Asian fan. (See below.) The incident was reportedly filmed during a fan event last weekend. Gronkowski was scheduled to attend a watch party Sunday at Bar Louie in Foxboro.
When an Asian man wearing a Gronkowski jersey began dancing, the Pro Bowler said into the microphone: “They told me he could only cook fried rice.” Gronkowski later referred to the Asian fan as “Leslie Chow” after Ken Jeong’s character in The Hangover.
Sobban: A Korean-Southern diner
Wall Street Journal
There are fewer than 40 seats inside Sobban, the Korean-Southern diner set under the horseshoe-bowed roof and soaring plate windows of a vintage Arby’s. That hasn’t stopped the crowds that (mostly) wait patiently to try this exciting new restaurant — one whose time most definitely has come.
You could argue that Atlanta has emerged as one of the country’s (if not the world’s) great towns for Korean food, and many of the area’s best chefs find inspiration from the restaurants and markets throughout the Northern suburbs. We’re ripe for a Western-style restaurant like this, which assumes a certain level of familiarity and comfort with Korean flavors on the part of the customer, both in terms of its chile heat and its twangy funk of fermented vegetables.
This restaurant also has some budding star power behind it: Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Heirloom Market BBQ. This project seems more like Lee’s baby, and she oversees the menu. It feels one part derived from Korean family recipes and home cooking, one part Southern farm-to-table, and one part rock ’n’ roll new Asian in the manner of Miso Izakaya or Octopus Bar.
Chef Roy Choi Soups Up Instant Ramen With American Cheese
Thought you’d never look at another package of instant ramen again after college? What if American cheese was involved?
In his new cookbook, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, chef Roy Choi of L.A.’s famous Kogi taco truck (among a slew of other popular restaurants) shares this souped-up instant ramen recipe that will forever change the way you look at your 2 a.m. college dinner (or 2 p.m. breakfast).
“Making instant ramen is spiritual, important and methodical for Korean-American kids,” Choi tells Tasting Table. “It’s our peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
America is infuriated by the incessant squabbles between Japan and South Korea
WITH so much in common, Japan and South Korea should be natural partners. Industrialised democracies and firm American allies, they face the same strategic threats: a nuclear-armed North Korea and a rising China. Japan’s emperor even claims Korean ancestry. Resentment at the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910-45 should be fading. Yet the shadow of the past seems to grow darker by the year. Relations are at their lowest ebb since the two countries normalised relations in 1965. And, worryingly for America, officials in both expect worse to come.
Having snubbed Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, at two regional summits last month, Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s president, said in an interview this week that she saw no point in meeting him. Yet Japan is South Korea’s second-largest trading partner. Nor does she rule out meeting Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s youthful despot, whose regime just last month threatened her country with “ruthless pre-emptive strikes of annihilation”.
In both countries, negative stories about the other are staples of the press. Each side’s diplomats ooze exasperated contempt for the other. Koreans blame Japanese politicians for repeatedly stirring up historic disputes. In Japan a senior official says the Abe administration is “sick and tired” of South Korea. The country is like a “single-issue activist”, wilfully ignoring subjects that might unite the countries in favour of those that heighten dissension.
On Pepero Day, a Japanese Rival Lurks
Wall Street Journal
It’s Nov. 11, “Pepero Day” in South Korea, when the marketing folks at Lotte Confectionery Co. would like you to show your affection for friends and loved-ones by exchanging gifts of their chocolate-coated wand-like pretzel snack.
The made-to-order holiday has been a resounding success for Lotte over the years, but there’s a complication this year: a rival product with the same promotional trick.
Legend has it that Pepero Day began in 1994 when middle-school girls in the southern city of Busan decided to give each other Pepero on 11/11 with wishes to become skinny—like the snack stick or the four 1’s that make up the date.
S. Korea calls on North to identify S. Korean detainee
Seoul’s unification ministry formally called on North Korea Monday to provide information about a South Korean citizen who Pyongyang says has been arrested for espionage.
“South Korea’s intelligence agency already said that the claim that an agent was caught is untrue, but since the North has said it is holding a South Korean in custody, Seoul wants to know who the person is,” said ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do.
The North’s Ministry of State Security said last Thursday that it captured a member of the South’s National Intelligence Service (NIS). It gave no name or age of the person in custody other than to say the man had been caught entering Pyongyang and disguised his true identity by conducting missionary work in a neighboring country.
Police: No charges in garbage truck accident that killed three in Glenview
After a three-week investigation, authorities said Friday that no charges or citations will be filed in connection with the two-vehicle crash in October that killed three people.
The Oct. 15 accident killed three Chicago residents, Won Suk Lim, 56, his wife Jung Ran Min, 50, and their friend Gwi Rye Kim, 65.
All three were in a 2006 Kia SUV when it collided with a Skokie-owned garbage truck at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Harrison Street, erupting in flames.
The truck’s driver, whose name has not been released, was not injured.
Leader of Korean prostitution ring in Biloxi sentenced to prison
Sun Herald (Mississippi)
An Atlantic City man who organized and led a Korean prostitution ring found operating in Biloxi has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Chi Sung Jung, 52, had been held without bond in New Jersey since February, when he requested he be prosecuted closer to his home.
Jung accepted a plea agreement to a charge of conspiracy to harbor women in the United States illegally for financial gain. Court papers show the conspiracy took place from January 2011 until Oct. 1, 2012.
Asian-Americans protest Jimmy Kimmel after ‘kids table’ skit says ‘kill everyone in China’
89.3 KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)
Asian-Americans and their supporters are rallying Saturday at ABC headquarters in Burbank. They’re asking the network to suspend or fire late-night talk host Jimmy Kimmel after he aired a skit they found offensive.
The skit shows Kimmel in a roundtable discussion with young children. He tells the kids that America owes China a lot of money and asks them how the US should pay the Chinese back. One boy says “kill everyone in China,” and Kimmel leads a brief conversation in which he tries to steer the kids away from the idea.
‘Walking Dead’ Dissection: Steven Yeun on Glenn’s Close Call — ‘He’s a Man With a Purpose Now’
The Hollywood Reporter
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the "Internment" episode of AMC's The Walking Dead.]
After a week out of the prison, AMC’s The Walking Dead returned to the barred community Sunday with an episode involving threats both inside the compound and at the fences of their safe haven.
Before Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) group returns, Hershel (Scott Wilson), Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) are tasked with caring for the ill, seeing the group’s numbers rapidly dwindle as the virus turns several of the sick. With Glenn’s and Sasha’s health failing, the council’s leader was forced to take out his first member of the undead and care for his son-in-law, all while navigating the undead.
Korean girl group Crayon Pop send fans into a frenzy with their encore of Bar Bar Bar
Daily Telegraph (Austrailia)
About a dozen fans had occupied the front row at the barriers from about 8am.
Crayon Pop, whose latest disco-beat dance song Bar Bar Bar is zooming up the Asian and Western charts, zoomed onto the stage at 2pm, sending the multinational throng of fans screaming, fan-chanting their part in the songs and iPhoning.
The girls, Cho A, Gum Mi, Ellin, So Yul and Way, wore their iconic costumes – this time in lime green – and their scooter helmets. Bar Bar Bar was ranked athe top of the weekly Billboard K-Pop hot 100 chart for the first six weeks since its release.
Riding Shotgun with Roy Choi: L.A. Son Tells the Kogi Chef’s Story
Los Angeles Weekly
So how’s this for an L.A. story? A young couple and their two-year-old son leave South Korea for Los Angeles, where they open a restaurant. It fails, but they refuse to quit — working their family connections to enter the jewelry business. There they achieve such staggering success they’re able to move on up to Orange County, right into Nolan Ryan’s old house. Their son, meanwhile, battles addictions to drugs and gambling, fighting off the lure of thug life to become one of the city’s best restaurateurs, changing L.A.’s dining scene forever by reinventing the food truck for foodies.
That’s Roy Choi’s story. And, yes, it’s a doozy. As Choi tells it in L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, his new cookbook autobiography written with Natasha Phan and L.A. Weekly Senior Food Writer Tien Nguyen, his destiny as a great chef was far from assured. Choi studied political science at Cal State Fullerton, then philosophy. He even dabbled in theatre for a time. After he finished school (the book isn’t clear on whether he graduated), there was a week lost to crack, a year and a half lost to gambling, and countless days lost to a soul-killing job selling mutual funds.
The Psy Impact
Inside Higher Education
Korean pop singer Psy has emerged as an international phenomenon with his viral hit “Gangnam Style,” but his influence is reaching beyond pop culture and into the classroom as many colleges and universities report first-ever waiting lists for Korean studies courses.
As K-pop merges with American pop culture, more students are interested in learning about the Korean culture and language. At Columbia University, where students in the East Asian studies major can choose to study Chinese, Korean or Japanese, Charles Armstrong, professor of Korean studies, is seeing tremendous growth in Korean language course enrollments, especially among students with no ties to Korea.
“The overall trend I’ve seen is where 15 years ago, or even 10 years ago, the bulk of interest in Korean studies was from the heritage community, it’s now shifted to non-heritage students,” Armstrong said. “Most of them, from what I’ve asked and seen, seem to get originally attracted to Korea through music and pop culture.” (“Heritage” in language courses refers to those from families with ethnic or national ties to the country whose language is involved.)
Her personal newscast to San Diego
Union Tribune San Diego
With the return of the 14th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival, Lee Ann Kim is back in the spotlight.
As a former news anchor and reporter at KGTV, Kim was once a daily presence in many San Diegans’ homes. But these days, the Sorrento Valley resident has been working behind the scenes, handling a festival that’s become nationally recognized for its outstanding film selections.
The event, run under the umbrella of Pacific Arts Movement, is happening now and runs through Nov. 16.
Senior diplomats from S. Korea, Japan, China hold talks amid strained ties
Ranking diplomats from South Korea, Japan and China met in Seoul on Thursday to discuss closer trilateral collaboration amid frayed ties over historical and territorial issues with Japan.
The meeting brought together Seoul’s Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Lee Kyung-soo, China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin and Asia Bureau Director General Shinsuke Sugiyama from Japan’s foreign ministry.
The eighth meeting of the three countries’ ranking foreign ministry officials comes amid Japan’s unusually chilly relations with China and South Korea.
Park’s Japan Rebuff Has Domestic Roots
Wall Street Journal
Despite polling data showing public support in South Korea for a Seoul-Tokyo summit, President Park Geun-hye has labeled such a meeting “pointless” in an interview with the BBC. This rebuff has as much to do with current domestic political dynamics as it does with historical grievances with Japan.
President Park has declining but solid approval ratings in the low-60 percentage point range. But the key figure is that only 50% approve of her performance on domestic issues following a series of policy missteps and scandals. Thus, the administration has less wiggle room than is imagined when it comes to spending its political capital.
Because of this domestic vulnerability, there is little appetite to take the risk of moving first on Japan for uncertain rewards. Particularly important to understand is that such a move would invite her domestic critics to revive comparisons with her father, Park Chung-hee, and his complicated legacy.
North Korea says SKorean spy arrested in capital
AP via Yahoo News
North Korea’s security agency said Thursday it arrested a South Korean spy in Pyongyang who intended to rally anti-government forces, a claim that intelligence officials in Seoul quickly called ridiculous and groundless.
Pyongyang regularly accuses Seoul and Washington of working to sabotage its secretive, authoritarian system — statements that outside analysts see as a way to strengthen domestic support for leader Kim Jong Un — but specific claims that an individual spy has been captured, especially before an investigation is concluded, are unusual.
The few details in the statement by an unidentified spokesman for the North’s state security ministry couldn’t be independently verified. North Korea said the South Korean man confessed to illegally entering the country, but there was no statement from him and there were no details about his condition or legal representation.
Christian missionaries in North Korea: Inside the front companies Christians set up to reach the Stalinist dictatorship
For nearly two years, Kenneth Bae, an undercover missionary from Lynnwood, Wash., safely shuttled groups of Christians in and out of North Korea’s Rason Special Economic Zone. In November 2012, Bae’s crusade ended abruptly. The owner of Nations Tour, a China-based front company he formed as a cover to evangelize in the world’s last Stalinist state, Bae was arrested by North Korean agents as he passed through the Wonjong border crossing with a small group of European travelers. The 44-year-old Korean-American was charged with possession of “anti-DPRK literature,” convicted of encouraging foreigners to “perpetrate hostile acts to bring down [the] government,” and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
It is relatively rare that North Korea arrests a foreign national, even rarer when one considers that a company like Nations Tour is hardly unique. The so-called “Business as Mission” movement, which instructs devout Christians to set up companies as vehicles for spiritual outreach, dates back to the 18th century but found new life at the beginning of the 21st. It’s a missionary model that, by definition, assumes a certain amount of risk for those setting out to reach the “unreached.” But the risks haven’t dissuaded the faithful from taking up the cause. Today, there is an extensive, well-financed network of for-profit missions, using shadowy front companies to evangelize in North Korea. Though precise numbers are impossible to pin down, missionary-businesspeople have set up a staggering breadth of enterprises, including tour agencies, bakeries, factories, farms, even schools and orphanages, all in the name of spreading the Good Word.
Fleeing discrimination at home, S. Koreans seek asylum abroad
His name, Ye-da, seemed somehow meaningful – a combination of the Korean words for “Jesus” and “Buddha.” But 23-year-old Lee Ye-da may never again be able to live with the parents who gave him that name. When we arrived at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle International Airport last August, we found it teeming with unfamiliar faces. Making our way to a tourist information booth near the second floor terminal, we saw a young Korean couple – tourists, apparently – chattering as they walked past. In their place appeared Lee Ye-da.
Lee, a South Korean national, lives in France as a refugee. His refugee status was recognized by the French Office for Protection of Refugees and Expatriates (OFPRA) two months before his meeting with the Hankyoreh and seven months after he first submitted his application.
State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim Running For Congress
Honolulu Civil Beat
Donna Mercado Kim, the Hawaii Senate president and longtime lawmaker, will announce her candidacy for Hawaii’s 1st District Seat in Congress today.
Brian Ahakuelo, the business manager of IBEW Local 1260, will also be on hand to endorse Kim’s campaign. The announcement will be in front of Iolani Palace.
A press release for Kim’s campaign initially said she would be the first Korean American elected to Congress. In fact, that honor appears to go to Chang Joon “Jay” Kim, a former politician from California, according to his Wikipedia entry.
BBCN in Los Angeles Hires Saehan’s CFO to Fill Strategy Post
The executive carousel keeps turning among Korean-American banks.
BBCN Bancorp (BBCN) in Los Angeles has hired Daniel Kim as its chief planning officer, effective Nov. 25. Kim, 46, will handle the $6.3 billion-asset company’s strategic planning department, which was created earlier this year, and will advise on acquisitions, revenue diversification and capital management.
Kim is chief financial officer, corporate secretary and acting president at Saehan Bancorp, which is in the process of selling itself to Wilshire Bancorp (WIBC). Kim joined Saehan in 2003 from Pacific Union Bank, where he was manager of the accounting, corporate planning and investment departments.
A swipe at profits
SOUTH KOREA is a notoriously competitive society. But how do those who play its fierce status games know when they have won? Probably when they are invited to apply for “the black”, a credit card issued by Hyundai Card, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor. Cast in “liquidmetal”, a trademarked alloy suited to armour-piercing ammunition, the card is heavy. It is also rare. Only about 2,000 have been issued and only 9,999 ever will be. To qualify, a holder needs high social standing as well as high net worth. The card charges a stiff membership fee and offers a variety of benefits: members were, for example, invited to a mock Christie’s auction, featuring works flown in from New York. But the main reason people want the black card is that it is so difficult to get.
That elusiveness is unusual in South Korea, where credit cards are issued promiscuously. The country has the equivalent of 4.4 cards for every member of the labour force. Koreans made 129.7 transactions per person in 2011, according to Yonhap, a news agency, more than any other country. In comparison, Canadians made 89.6 transactions and Americans 77.9.
Best of South Korean Short Films to Stream on Web, Flights
The 11th Asiana International Short Film Festival takes place from Nov. 7-12 in Seoul, but the annual event supported by South Korea’s Asiana Airlines will also screen works online and on flights.
For the first time, 10 films featured in the Korean Competition section will be shown online through Naver TV Store, a channel on Korea’s largest portal site. Winning works are also available for view through Asiana Airline’s in-flight entertainment system.
“We’ve discussed ways to distribute short films by grouping them together [to meet the feature film running time] but this has not been pursued yet,” said veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki, who serves as the festival director. “Currently it is difficult to distribute short films in a consistent, long-term fashion but we are devising ways to do so.”
Trash, illegal flyers dirty Seoul’s main party drag
Korea Joongang Daily
On a recent Friday night, one of Seoul’s most popular thoroughfares, the street in front of Hongik University – known as Hongdae – was flooded with revelers, bar hoppers and college students.
Around 7 p.m., four street cleaners emerged and began the tedious routine of removing trash from the street.
They picked up discarded cigarette butts, paper cups and cans until 9 a.m. when the area was finally cleared.
But as they left, more people flowed into Hongdae and the situation began to change.
Mountain Kim Builds Character and Strength
The Connection (Virginia)
When Tae Kwon Do Grand Master Mountain Kim opened his martial arts school in Vienna about 35 years ago, it was the second of the eponymous Mountain Kim Tae Kwon Do schools in Northern Virginia. Now, there are approximately 20 Mountain Kim martial arts schools in the area, most of which are franchises. The Vienna and the Oakton schools are still owned and run by Mountain Kim’s family. In fact, should you stop by the Vienna school on Dominion Road, it’s not unusual to see the Grand Master there himself. He is not a titular face, either. Mountain Kim is hands-on in the practice studio and in the office.
“Every day, we teach respect, listening to parents, grandparents and teachers,” said Mountain Kim. “We and the parents and the school work together to teach respect, discipline.”
Mountain Kim calls himself “semi-retired,” but his passion for the values that tae kwon do instills in its practitioners is as self-defining as it was in the Grand Master’s earliest years. He says tae kwon do training is very good for children.
A Mysterious Realm of Exquisite Objects
New York Times
Here’s a good question for “Jeopardy!”: One of the world’s longest-running dynasties, it emerged around 57 B.C. and grew to dominate the Korean Peninsula in the seventh and eighth centuries before meeting its demise in A.D. 935.
The answer: What was Silla?
If the name Silla is unfamiliar, it might be partly because no major museum exhibition about this kingdom’s art, craft and culture has been mounted in the West until now. “Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presents more than 130 objects dating from A.D. 400 to around 800, organized by Soyoung Lee, associate curator, and Denise Leidy, curator, in the Met’s Asian art department, with colleagues at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul and the Gyeongju National Museum.
South Korea will be home to East Asia’s first and the world’s seventh Legoland in 2016, when Jung Island in the city of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province opens the Lego-themed amusement park.
British company Merlin Entertainments will provide $94 million to fund the project that will cost about $470 million for the 1.3 million square meter park. Construction will begin next month and expected completion date is set for the summer of 2016. Gangwon Province will pay for the construction costs for bridges and other infrastructure, while leasing the park’s site to Merlin with no charge for 50 years, with an option to extend the deal for another five decades.
Such a high expenditure levied on Gangwon Province was met with discontent from local city government and civic groups, which argued that the current contract is unfair and requires heavy financial risks to a region that has already been hit hard by the recession. Continue Reading »
Japan ‘disappointed’ by South Korea summit remarks
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Japan had outlined its position on the issues and he hoped South Korea would accept that.
He said Japan would continue to seek to build co-operation with Seoul.
President Park Geun-hye said Japan must apologise for war-time “wrong-doings”.
Japan raps S. Korea for islet claims, alarmed at China’s criticism
Japan’s Foreign Ministry in separate reports has criticized South Korea for selectively interpreting historical records to justify its territorial claim to a disputed group of islands in the Sea of Japan, while registering its concern about China’s stepped-up criticism of Japan over a separate island dispute through its state media.
Together the reports, submitted late last month to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s special committee on territorial issues, strongly suggest the ministry’s willingness to seek LDP support in pushing back on information campaigns.
In analyzing South Korea’s recent criticism of Japan, one of the reports says Seoul has interpreted relevant documents and materials over the history of Takeshima, a group of islets controlled by South Korea but claimed by Japan, “in a way that is consistent with its claims to make it look as if the islands are its own territory.”
North Korean Sailors Reported Killed in October Sinking; South Says There Was No Clash
New York Times
A North Korean naval vessel sank last month, killing an unspecified number of sailors, according to North and South Korean news media.
The news first appeared on Saturday when the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had visited a newly built cemetery for the sailors “sacrificed” on board the vessel, a submarine chaser, during “combat duties” last month.
The news agency gave no further details about what happened but quoted Mr. Kim as instructing his navy to “find all the bodies,” hinting at a sizable death toll. Photos of Mr. Kim visiting the cemetery with flowers showed a large mass tomb encircled by what looked like at least a score of headstones bearing the names and photographs of the sailors who had died.
South Korean Businesses Quit Kaesong
Wall Street Journal
South Korean businesses are exiting the Kaesong industrial park in North Korea, making Seoul’s efforts to attract foreign investment to the site an even tougher sell.
At least nine South Korean firms have ended or have decided to end business at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, just north of the inter-Korean military border, because of uncertain investment prospects and financial crunches following a five-month operational halt amid cross-border tensions.
Officials at the Unification Ministry in Seoul confirmed two of 123 South Korean firms in Kaesong had fully withdrawn from North Korea after selling out their business assets there. They withheld the names of the companies—one manufacturing electronics parts and the other textile.
Road Voyeurism Fueling Surge in Black Box Sales in Korea: Cars
In the world of the wired, South Koreans rule: millions got hooked on social networking years before Facebook; their mobile phones went broadband first; and Internet connections are faster than anyplace on the planet.
Now they’re going pedal to the metal on the next hi-tech craze: “black boxes” for cars, devices that automatically record video and audio as well as time, location and speed.
What began five years back as a way to protect local taxi drivers from passengers who run off without paying has caught on with other drivers — 2.2 million black boxes are already in use, more than the number of autos sold in Korea each year. Broadcaster SBS has enough clips from viewers that it aired more than 100 morning show segments on car crashes.
South Korea is stuck with Internet Explorer for online shopping because of security law
South Korea is renowned for its digital innovation, with coast-to-coast broadband and a 4G LTE network that reaches into Seoul’s subway system. But this tech-savvy country is stuck in a time warp in one way: its slavish dependence on Internet Explorer.
For South Koreans who use other browsers such as Chrome or Safari, online shopping often begins with a pop-up notice warning that they might not be able to buy what they came for.
“Purchases can only be made through Internet Explorer,” says one such message on the Web site of Asiana Airlines, one of South Korea’s two major carriers.
Michelle Rhee revolution faces massive threat — and new accusations
Education reform lightning rod Paul Vallas – who courted controversy helming school districts in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Chicago — isn’t on the ballot tomorrow. But a school board election in Bridgeport, Conn. – the latest district to tap Vallas to oversee reforms — could effectively spell his fate. Tomorrow’s vote will offer the latest referendum on the bipartisan, billionaire-backed mainstream education reform movement, and on a multi-year effort by local Democrats – aided by the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Rhee — to defeat or disempower labor-backed dissenters.
“As I’ve gone around the country, I always point to Bridgeport as one of the signs that the people can beat the power,” former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and high-profile reform critic Diane Ravitch told activists on a conference call last month. Tuesday’s election is the latest round in a long-running war over ed reform, and who should shape it, in the largest city in one of the country’s most unequal states.
For the sake of shielding Vallas and his agenda, activists allege that the city’s Democratic machine has acted indifferent or even hostile to defeating Republicans tomorrow.
Convicted sex offender is charged
Wilkes Journal-Patriot (North Carolina)
A man is awaiting trial in Wilkes District Court on 41 felony counts of being a sex offender on the premises of a place where children gather.
Leonard Lee Yoon, 73, of 540 Obed Heights Drive in the Pores Knob community is also charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses for denying that he was a convicted sex offender when he signed a Wilkes YMCA membership form in April, said Lt. Jason Whitley of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Department.
Whitley said 40 counts of being a sex offender on the premises of a place where children gather resulted from Yoon being at the Wilkes YMCA and one count resulted from him being at the Wilkes County Library from April through June.
Why Girls’ Generation and K-Pop Won Big at the YouTube Music Awards
Wall Street Journal
Last night, K-Pop supergroup Girls’ Generation took top honors at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards, winning Video of the Year for their clip “I Got a Boy” — an eclectic, electric mashup of candy-colored visuals that parallels the song’s peppery stop-start aesthetic. In doing so, they beat out a fairly impressive list of video music titans — including Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, One Direction and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis — sending shockwaves of self-congratulatory glee across the K-Pop fanscape.
That’s because, given the YTMA’s parameters, the Girls’ victory was literally a win by, for and about the fans: Unlike the Grammys and the MTV Video Music Awards, nominees for the YTMAs were selected solely by algorithm, based on likes, shares, views and other metrics of “fan engagement,” and, according to YouTube, winners were chosen based on how many fresh shares the nominated videos got in the month-long runup to the actual event (with YouTube keeping the vote-with-your-browser window open right up to the actual show itself).
Kimchi advertised in New York Times
Korea Times US
An ad for kimchi, South Korea’s representative side dish, is featured in the Nov. 4, 2013 edition of The New York Times. Actress Kim Yun-jin, known for her role in popular TV series “Lost,” modeled for the ad arranged by South Korean Prof. Seo Kyung-duk, an active promoter of Korea.
Author Catherine Chung: ‘I Want To Embrace The Things That I Am’
Catherine Chung went from mathematics to writing, though she says words were always her first love. She was named one of Granta’s New Voices in 2010, and her first novel, Forgotten Country, received honorable mention for a PEN/Hemingway Award last year.
In Forgotten Country, Chung writes of a family with a curse that stretches back generations — from their time in Korea to their life in America. Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, each generation of the family has lost a daughter.
“I tried to pull my hand out of my mother’s grasp, but she held on. She had lost her sister; she had lived in the aftermath of war. This was always what it came down to, in the end. My grandmother had told me once that my mother had never gotten over the death of my aunt. ‘Never talk of it,’ my grandmother had said. ‘Never bring it up.’ “
Could the Royals land a Korean pitcher this winter?
Kansas City Star
There is an interesting prediction about the Royals at the MLB Trade Rumors site.
In a post about the top 50 free agents, the web site predicted the Royals would land two pitchers this winter:
Toronto’s Josh Johnson (no surprise to hear that) and South Korean Suk-Min Yoon.
Yoon, 27, is a right-hander who was the MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2011.
However, this past season, Yoon had a shoulder problem for the KIA Tigers and finished with a 4.00 ERA in 87 2/3 innings. He moved to the bullpen from the rotation. He also pitched in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year, allowing two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 5-0 loss to the Netherlands.
Oh Seung-hwan to Start Seeking MLB Club
Samsung Lions’ relief pitcher Oh Seung-hwan will start trying to negotiate a deal with foreign clubs as he looks to potential suitors in Japan and the U.S.
Oh is hoping to find a place for himself in U.S. Major League Baseball, where several clubs have reportedly expressed interest in him. But he apparently sees Japan as his most realistic next destination.
The righty played a crucial role in the Lion’s victory at this year’s Korean Series, which ended last week. Now baseball fans hope he can prove himself as a successful pitcher in the MLB like Los Angeles Dodgers’ Ryu Hyun-jin.
Glenview boutique owner driven by passion for fashion design
Glenview Announcements (Illinois)
Ask Grace Yoon why she decided to open up her Glenview women’s boutique, Ella Louvi and she’ll say her goal was to share her creativity — her clothing designs — with her customers.
“Owning the store isn’t my first passion,” said Yoon, who opened Ella Louvi last July, just months after she and her former business partner, Stella Chun closed their successful store, Stella + Grace. “I love my customers, and I love helping them pick out beautiful outfits, but designing my own line of clothing is my dream.”
Yoon, who came to the states with her family when she was nine years old grew up in the city and in Glenview.