The LPGA waived its age limit for Lydia Ko, allowing the 16-year-old golf phenom to join the tour starting next year.
Already a two-time champion on the LPGA Tour, Ko is No. 5 in the women’s world rankings. She requested an age waiver with the LPGA last September since she was younger than the required age of 18. The teenager, born in Seoul and raised in New Zealand, plans to participate in rookie-development sessions early next year before the season begins in February.
“We are looking forward to having Lydia as a full-time member for the 2014 season,” LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Wha said. “It is not often that the LPGA welcomes a rookie who is already a back-to-back champion.” Continue Reading »
Bring it On
Armed with talent, drive and a remarkable ability to self-critique, FOX 11 sportscaster and Cage Talk host James Koh is a man on the rise.
by STEVE HAN
photos by MARK EDWARD HARRIS
Get better. Fox 11 sportscaster James Koh lives by those simple words, and they may help explain how he became a four-time winner of the Emmy Award, the television industry’s equivalent of Hollywood’s Oscars, even before he joined Fox Broadcasting Company’s West Coast flagship station last year. Koh is Fox 11’s sports reporter and anchor, and the host of Cage Talk, L.A.’s only local sports TV show on mixed martial arts, which comes on when there’s a (free-to-air) UFC fight on Saturdays.
“Every single day, I wanted to get better,” said Koh, speaking of his early years breaking into the broadcasting industry. “That’s still how I am.”
Frankly, the 33-year-old hasn’t been on television that long. He started in 2008 at local news station KBAK in Bakersfield, Calif., working as a journalist and fill-in anchor. Two years later, he assumed the same duties at KSWB in San Diego, until Fox 11 nabbed him in March of last year. Continue Reading »
North Korea Hands Over 6 South Korean Detainees
New York Times
Six South Koreans who had been held in North Korea on charges of illegal entry returned to their home country on Friday, after the North released them in a gesture that could help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The six men were handed over to the South Korean authorities at the border village of Panmunjom, the South’s Unification Ministry said in a statement.
North Korean officials also handed over the remains of a woman. They said that the woman was the wife of one of the six men, and that she was killed during a quarrel with her husband, South Korean officials said.
Nuclear North Korea: Bad or mad?
UNDERNEATH THE “TOWER of the Korean War”, a monument in Seoul resembling a bronze sword, is a bunker managed by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. Inside, visitors learn how to protect themselves from a North Korean attack, chemical (seal the windows), biological (cover your mouth and nostrils) or nuclear (find a bunker).
A squad of cadets, in the middle of their 21 months of mandatory military service, troop inside, don 3D glasses and watch a stirring televised account of the bombardment of Yeonpyeong island in November 2010 by North Korean artillery, which killed two soldiers and two civilians in the first shelling of South Korean territory since the end of the Korean war. The North Koreans, some analysts assumed, were trying to bolster their new general, Kim Jong Un, in preparation for his succession to the throne of the Kim dynasty.
N. Korean diplomat based in Ethiopia defects to S. Korea: sources
A North Korean diplomat based in Ethiopia defected to Seoul in August after seeking asylum at the South Korean Embassy in the African country, multiple sources said Friday.
The North Korean man, whose identity is unknown, stormed into the South Korean embassy in Addis Ababa, asking for help for his defection to the South, they said.
“At that time, he worked for the North Korean office of the trade representative in Ethiopia … I’ve learned that he is not a senior official, though,” one source said without elaborating further.
North Korea is losing a crucial source of income: Koreans in Japan
Possibly the only thing that North Korea needs and craves more than nuclear brinksmanship is hard currency, which is essential for the country’s survival but which international sanctions make very difficult to secure. The hermit kingdom has a number of ways to bring in cold, hard cash, but one of its previously most reliable has hit yet another setback in what appears to be its permanent decline.
That source of income is a group known as Chongryon, or the “General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.” The Japan-based, pro-Pyongyang group links North Korea with the sizable community of ethnic Koreans living in Japan. Since its 1950s founding, Chongryon has done three things, and done them all pretty well: pushed pro-Pyongyang ideology among Japanese Koreans, funneled money from those Japanese Koreans into North Korea and, most important, has run all sorts of business that existed solely to generate cash for the North Korean regime.
With Impeccable Timing, ‘Dokdo Day’ Arrives to Stir More Nationalistic Fervor
Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s territorial dispute with Japan over a minuscule rocky outcropping in the ocean has been out of the headlines for some months, but Tokyo and Seoul are doing what they can to try and fix that.
Earlier this week, the two foreign ministries embroiled themselves in a tiff over a YouTube video that Japan’s foreign ministry posted on its website, asserting sovereignty over the uninhabited islets known internationally as the Liancourt Rocks.
NTSB went to South Korea as part of Asiana Airlines crash inquiry
Los Angeles Times
National Transportation Safety Board officials have traveled to South Korea as part of an investigation into the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet at San Francisco International Airport, in which three people died and more than 180 others were injured.
The investigators interviewed managers and training personnel and “observed Asiana procedures in a simulator and an exemplar aircraft,” according to a NTSB announcement Friday.
Investigators in Korea also combed through records from the airplane involved in the accident.
Man wanted for August sexual assault
KTVA CBS 11 News
Police are searching for a man charged with sexually assaulting a woman in late August.
James Kim, 56, faces two counts stemming from the incident. In a statement released Wednesday, Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Castro wrote Kim was gone when officers arrived at his residence to place him under arrest.
Police initially believed Kim fled to Korea, but new information pointed in a different direction. They now believe Kim is still in Anchorage, Castro wrote, possibly staying with people who don’t know about his recent activity.
Korean Victims of Hiroshima Bomb Awarded Medical Costs
A Japanese court has ruled that it is against the law not to cover the medical costs of victims of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb who live outside Japan.
Under a relief law for atomic bomb survivors enacted in 1994, the Japanese government covers all medical expenses of victims who received treatment in Japan but not of those treated elsewhere.
Lee Hong-hyun (67), a Korean victim who lives in Korea, filed the lawsuit along with the surviving families of two other Korean victims.
The judge said there is “no clause in the relief law that limits the provision of medical expenses only to Japanese territory.”
TEA to Present Julia Cho’s 99 HISTORIES, 10/24-11/16
99 Histories is a powerful story about the bond between mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts across three generations. 29-year-old Korean American violin prodigy Eunice comes home pregnant and unmarried, and tries to mend her estranged relationship with her very Korean mother. Haunted by memories of a violent past, Eunice must confront her ghosts before she can move forward. This is a riveting and poignant drama of memory, legacy and home – what is remembered is made up, the only homelands that exist are the imaginary.
Theatre Esprit Asia (TEA) is proud to present “99 Histories” by Julia Cho, and directed by Terry Dodd, opening Thursday, October 24 and running through November 16. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m. Single tickets are: $25 at the door, $23 advance; $20 anytime students/seniors 60+ with ID, groups of 6 or more. Tickets are available by calling 303-856-7830 or online at www.theatre-esprit-asia.org. All performances are held at Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010
MLB players from Park Chan-ho to Ryu Hyun-jin fuel baseball boom at home
The Korea Baseball Organization said last month that South Korea’s top professional baseball league has passed the 6 million mark in attendance for the third straight year. It’s a reminder of how the ball game has emerged as a national pastime.
Not only diehard baseball buffs but also ordinary families, couples and friends are visiting the ball parks together to watch the heart-thumping, live drama. People also constantly talk about the games and players in the workplace, at schools, cafeterias and on social networks.
It’s a bit of a stretch to say that Korea is a “baseball nation” yet, but it’s also safe to say that baseball is now an integral part of Korean leisure.
Yankees interested in Korean relief pitcher
New York Post
With all the emphasis on Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and which team he signs with, Oh Seung-Hwan, a Korean right-hander, is also drawing attention.
The Yankees are among the MLB clubs that have scouted the 31-year-old reliever who is a seven-time All Star in the Korean Baseball Organization and has spent nine years with the Samsung Lions.
Like Tanaka, Oh has to go through the posting process which won’t begin until Nov. 1.
From Whitney High to UC Irvine to Pro Boxing
Korea Times US
Cerritos resident and UC Irvine graduate Daniel Kim will make his long-awaited professional boxing debut on Friday night at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula.
The 23-year old Korean American Junior Welterweight is scheduled to fight four rounds against Cory Muldrew (0-3) from Phoenix, Arizona. Both weighed in at 142 pounds on Thursday.
Orange County-based boxing promoter Roy Englebrecht appears to have high hopes for the 2012 Southern California Blue & Gold champion. Kim joins a trio of undefeated fighters promoted by Englebrecht – Alexander Flores (13-0), Dwain Victorian (2-0), and Curtis Millender (3-0 in MMA).
Wall Street Journal
A long-held winter practice of Koreans may be declared an intangible cultural heritage by Unesco.
Kimjang—the making and sharing of kimchi, Korea’s pickled-vegetable staple— has been listed by a Unesco advisory committee that evaluates new candidates, Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration said Wednesday. The final decision will be made during the Unesco sessions slated for Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 2 to 7.
Kimjang would become the country’s 16th intangible cultural heritage, joining the likes of the epic chant pansori (approved in 2008), traditional martial art taekkyeon (2011) and the lyrical folk song arirang (2011).
Tacky Tourist Items You Can Buy at the North Korean Border
It’s hard to imagine the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, the world’s most heavily armed border, as anything other than a long, dreary stretch of dangerous terrain. Just last month, a man was killed by South Korean soldiers while attempting to swim into North Korea. It’s just the most recent fatal incident along the 150-mile-long DMZ, in place since 1953.
It’s a different story in the border city of Paju, South Korea. There, life looks more similar to Niagara Falls than a place of half-century-long political tension.
North Korea may have secretly engineered computer games to launch mass cyber attack
Some free-to-use computer games may secretly be North Korean plants, South Korea’s national police agency warned Tuesday, according to South Korean media. The seemingly innocent games, designed to appeal to as many users as possible and thus to spread widely on computer networks, could carry malware code controlled from Pyongyang. The code, once activated, would take control of the host computers and allow North Korea to launch mass cyber attacks against major South Korean targets.
This might sound outlandish, but North Korea has actually tried this before, and gotten awfully close to pulling off a potentially deadly attack. Last June, South Korean police discovered that North Korea had used free-to-download video games to infect up to 100,000 South Korean computers, which it used to conduct coordinated cyber-attacks agains Incheon International Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports. The infected users had no idea their computers were being used to take down a major airport.
Another Rival for Kim Jong-un’s Affection Surfaces
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s wife Ri Sol-ju had another rival for the position of first lady of the most repressive country in the world, according to a North Korean source on Tuesday.
The source said Kim contemplated marriage to Seo Un-hyang. Like Ri and his ex-girlfriend Hyon Song-wol, who was executed by firing squad earlier this year, Seo was a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra.
She studied music at university and became a popular actress in propaganda films. The sources said Seo was “a good singer and had an outgoing personality,” which gave her the confidence to laugh at her mistakes while performing in front of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his son.
Tourism in North Korea: the secret state is opening up
The Guardian (U.K.)
All the hoo-ha that’s surrounded the recent opening of North Korea’s ski resort, framed as it’s been by the western press as the answer to chubby Kim Jong Un’s wont to indulge his Swiss ways, has overlooked the fact that every dollar spent on tourism is a dollar not spent on centrifuges or Mercedes.
I’ve been to North Korea many times since 2002, when I first went to research for a guidebook on the land, and genuinely, a tourist ski resort is really quite a canny investment. Dollar for dollar it has the potential for a far quicker and greater return than investing, for example, in manufacturing industry, which depends on regular supplies of power, raw materials, detailed and up-to-date market data and actual access to international markets, none of which the North has. For a ski resort, the hill’s free, the snow’s free, it’s just up to the tourists to decide to come.
S. Korea urges Japan to delete Youtube video claiming on Dokdo islets
South Korea on Wednesday urged Japan to promptly delete a Youtube video claiming its sovereignty on the Dokdo islets, known as Takeshima in Japan, calling the action as anachronistic and provocative.
“We strongly protest against the Japanese government trying to damage our dominium over the Dokdo islets as Japan’s Foreign Ministry produced a video that makes nonsensical claims on our territorial islets and distributed it on the Internet,” Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, urging its neighboring country to delete the video immediately.
The 87-second-long video, which was posted on the Youtube a week ago, claimed that Japan set up its dominium on the islets in the 17th century and it was reconfirmed in 1905, saying that South Korea has taken illegal control over the rocky outcroppings since 1952 when then President Rhee Syngman drew the so-called Syngman Line.
Video emerges in bikers’ brutal assault on Henry Hudson Parkway driver
New York Daily News
Graphic video surfaced Tuesday showing a Manhattan father being dragged from his luxury SUV by a mob of bikers yelling profanities and demanding that the victim “get out!”
The 19-second clip shows Alexian Lien, 33, being pulled from his Range Rover by his head and thrown to the ground in the vicious Sept. 29 beatdown.
The new video was obtained by WABC Channel 7, which reported it came from a witness to the assault that capped a 4-mile chase on the Henry Hudson Parkway.
Seoul Sausage, One Year After
Time flies when you are having fun making sausages. The culinary reality television show-winning Seoul Sausage turned one-year old earlier this month.
Since the proprietors of Seoul Sausage won ‘The Great Food Truck Race’ on the Food Network and opened their brick-and-mortar restaurant in Little Osaka of West Los Angeles within six days of one another, the one-year anniversary they recently celebrated was technically for both milestones.
The trio of 1.5 generation Korean-American entrepreneurs – the Ted and Yong ‘Kim brothers’ and chef Chris Oh, have started a successful catering company, become reality TV show champs and run a successful restaurant and a food truck, gaining some celebrity status along the way. They won’t reveal much about their future plans, probably due to contractual obligations or out of respect for whomever they may be working with on their next project, but you get the sense there’s plenty in their oven, including the possibility of a second location in downtown Los Angeles and some more television and magazine appearances.
First Korean astronaut addresses controversy over MBA study in U.S.
Korea’s first astronaut Yi So-yeon refuted Wednesday a lawmaker’s claims that taxpayers’ money spent on her has been a waste since she is pursuing a seemingly unrelated degree in business, saying that still her ultimate goal is to help advance Korean space technology.
“It was a decision I made after realizing that I can’t live the rest of my life talking about what I did in space for 11 days. I chose to pursue an MBA because I want to be someone who connects science with investors,” Yi told Yonhap News Agency by phone.
How Singles Took Over Seoul
More and more Koreans are deciding to stay single or, if they marry, to have no children. Like most developments this is led by the capital, where the number of people who live alone has increased more than 10-fold over the last 30 years, while that of childless couples has grown more than four times.
The figures come from data about the 3.6 million households within city limits released by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Tuesday.
Childless married couples accounted for a mere 5.51 percent or 101,135 households in 1980, but that surged to 12.8 percent or 423,229 in 2010.
Hyundai breaks ground on US$35 million auto parts plant in U.S.
Hyundai Dymos Inc., an auto parts unit of Hyundai Motor Group, broke ground on its US$35 million plant in the United States on Tuesday, company officials said.
The plant set to be completed in the U.S. state of Georgia by the end of next year will supply passenger seats to its sister company Kia Motors Corp., which runs an assembly plant in the southeastern state.
Hyundai Dymos, which makes powertrains and seats for passenger vehicles, plans to hire 350 locally at its first U.S. plant, according to the officials.
Spend Hal’s Money: Shin-Soo Choo
SHOULD THE YANKEES SPEND HAL’S MONEY?: Choo might turn out to be the top outfielder on the Yankees’ board, but that doesn’t guarantee they will go after him hard. Choo holds an edge over Jacoby Ellsbury because he is less injury-prone and not as reliant on his legs. Choo is a year younger than Curtis Granderson and is considered a better defender, but not as powerful a hitter. Compared with Carlos Beltran — whom the Yankees like — Choo is more durable.
But Choo might be a luxury item for the Yankees. After Cano, he is in the mix, along with Ellsbury and Brian McCann, as the second-most coveted offensive free agent on the market. (If teams overlook Granderson’s 2013 injuries, he could be considered as well.)
Lydia Ko warned of Michelle Wie woes as pro
New Zealand golfing sensation Lydia Ko has been warned about the perils of turning professional.
The 16-year-old made her long awaited announcement today via social media , but New Zealand caddy Steve Williams believes the pressure on her will now only increase as she tries to juggle her golf game and commercial commitments.
Ahn returns to form for Cardinal
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.)
For Kristie Ahn, it’s never been a matter of talent on the tennis court.
As a freshman on The Farm, she captured the singles crown at the ITA Northwest Regional Championships. There was a 24-match winning streak from Jan. 6 to May 1 of 2010. But then Ahn sprained her ankle and missed the rest of the season. She played in three matches as a sophomore, suffering a stress fracture on her left foot.
Ahn didn’t feel 100 percent until May, when she helped the Cardinal win the NCAA women’s tennis title by providing the clinching point in the final.
Korean cuisine will be in the spotlight as Korean Restaurant Week hits New York
New York Daily News
It’s all about barbecue and kimchi as the first Korean Restaurant Week hits New York City.
The showcase of Korean cuisine — now through Nov. 3 — will offer prix-fixe lunches and dinners, specials and promotional dishes at two dozen restaurants.
Ten of the participating eateries are in Queens, and most of those are located in Flushing.
The aim of the promotion is to expose New Yorkers to Korean dishes, said Ja-Boon Kwak, president of Korean Cuisine Globalization Committee. The committee is sponsoring the event with the Korean Food Foundation.
Michelle Wie announced her intention to play in the 2016 Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, when golf becomes a part of the official program for the games.
Wie said that after her visit to the London Olympics in 2012, she became inspired to make it her goal to make the U.S. team and will make it one of her top priorities. She will 26 years old when the games begin in 2016.
Wie, often criticized for failing live up to the early hype of her career, has been known to step up her game when representing her country. She was recently a captain’s pick for the Solheim Cup last August in which the Americans suffered a disappointing loss to the Europeans on home soil. Continue Reading »