N. Korean diplomat says jailed American should serve out his sentence
An American Christian missionary who has been detained in North Korea for more than a year should serve out his sentence, Pyongyang’s top envoy to Britain said, in a remark suggesting that the isolated country may not free him anytime soon.
Kenneth Bae was arrested in November 2012 while leading a group of tourists. He was accused of unspecified anti-state crimes and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, though he has been hospitalized in recent months due to illness.
North Korea’s ambassador to Britain, Hyun Hak-bong, said in a video interview posted Thursday that Bae would be freed when he serves out his prison term.
Koreas can discuss date for family reunions: N. Korean diplomat
North Korea’s top envoy to Britain dangled the possibility of progress in staging reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War as he renewed Pyongyang’s demands that Seoul cancel its annual military drill with the United States.
Hyun Hak-bong said in a video interview posted Thursday that the two Koreas can discuss a date for staging the family reunions, breaking the silence the North has kept since South Korea proposed earlier this week to hold the reunions for the aging Koreans.
“As for the practical and exact date, it could be exchanged and discussed between the two sides … Now, we are working on that,” Hyun said in the interview with Sky News, a 24-hour news channel in Britain. Still, he did not elaborate.
Dennis Rodman: ‘I’m Not a Traitor’
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman offered a sort-of apology for his antics during recent trips to North Korea on Friday, in a wide-ranging CNN interview conducted in the rehab facility where he’s being treated for alcohol abuse.
“I don’t go to the camps, I don’t do anything,” Rodman said of his visits to the isolated country. “I’m not a traitor.”
The interview came after Rodman’s last interview with CNN host Chris Cuomo raised eyebrows and even outrage when Rodman angrily defended his “friend,” North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and suggested an American imprisoned there may have been detained justifiably (he later apologized for the latter remark).
Rodman, speaking with Cuomo more calmly this time, expressed remorse about how his drinking has affected his family.
Va. textbook bill on alternative Sea of Japan name heads toward a partisan showdown
Two little words. They looked like an easy way to make a lot of people happy.
On the campaign trail, Terry McAuliffe (D) said that as governor, he’d make sure that new school textbooks note that the Sea of Japan is also known as the East Sea.
The promise was important to Northern Virginia’s large Korean American community, who see the Sea of Japan designation as a painful relic of Japanese occupation.
Korean ambassador meets Virginia politicians
AP via Yahoo News
A debate between Japan and South Korea over what to call the body of water that separates their countries is being played out in the Virginia Capitol.
At issue: whether textbooks approved by the state board of education should note that the Sea of Japan is also called the East Sea.
South Koreans want the change and the sizeable Korean American community in Virginia has put pressure on state lawmakers to make sure it’s a legislative priority this year. The Japanese do not want the textbook requirements changed.
Seniors’ truce good at eatery
Queens Chronicle (New York)
The truce is holding between Korean-American seniors and the McDonald’s at Northern and Parsons boulevards.
That’s the status report from Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), who last week brokered a deal so that the seniors will not monopolize space in the McDonald’s during peak business hours.
Many seniors use the eatery for social gatherings, where they spend many hours and few dollars with their elderly friends.
Police: High-end drug and prostitution ring busted on Super Bowl week
The 18 operators of a high-end escort service allegedly banking on Super Bowl week to deliver “party packs” of cocaine and prostitutes have been charged with drug and sex trafficking, New York authorities said Thursday.
The nearly year-long undercover investigation discovered that in addition to selling the “party packs,” the ring allegedly laundered the illegal proceeds through front businesses that included a clothing wholesaler, a wig wholesaler, a limousine service and a beauty supply wholesaler, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
The ring targeted wealthy customers in New York for large events, authorities said. Last week, a text message was blasted to frequent customers noting that “new sexy & beautiful girls R in town waiting for u.” The enterprise also ran numerous advertisements on the Internet and on public access television.
The Future of L.A.’s Thai Town and Koreatown Communities Ride on a ‘Promise’
Earlier this month, President Obama announced the first five recipient areas of his Promise Zone Initiative, a formal partnership between the federal government, local communities, and businesses intended to help shrink poverty and expand the rosters of the middle class. The initiative enables those areas to receive a share of a $500 million investment in existing federal funding, addressing the areas of job growth, economic stability, education, affordable housing, and public safety.
Aside from San Antonio, Philadelphia, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, Los Angeles was named, specifically a swath of the densely-populated central part of the city, which includes the communities of Hollywood, East Hollywood, Koreatown, Westlake, and Pico-Union.
L.A.’s Promise Zone, which encompasses an irregular-shaped area stretching from Franklin Avenue to Pico Boulevard, and between Highland and Union avenues, includes a predominantly low-income, yet culturally rich section of urban L.A.; though with a majority Latino population, it also includes two of the city’s designated Asian enclaves: Thai Town and Koreatown. Both share well-patronized and well-acclaimed ethnic eateries (many of which are open well into the late night hours), spas, and dense, pedestrian-oriented, transit-accessible corridors. The zone also includes pockets of other Asian immigrant groups, namely Filipinos (in East Hollywood and the Historic Filipinotown-adjacent parts of Koreatown and Westlake) and Bangladeshis (among the already-diverse immigrant multitudes residing in Koreatown).
Seollal a time for exploring Korean traditions
The Lunar New Year holidays, or Seollal in Korean, kick off today. And while Seollal means a time for family and tradition, it also brings a wealth of activities where you can learn about and participate in Korean culture.
Those who are brave enough to fight the cold weather can venture outdoors to museums, concerts, restaurants, and even ski resorts to experience some traditional games and other rituals they don’t get to do everyday.
For Koreans who want to experience how their ancestors spent the Lunar New Year, many museums have prepared all-inclusive experiences. Some of the events even provide free traditional food and beverages.
South Koreans Flex Smartphone Muscles
First time on Seoul’s subway system? Don’t expect a lot of eye contact.
Here, almost everyone is busy playing games like Cookie Run, or sending messages on their oversized smartphones.
Those eyeballs add up. In 2013, South Korea jumped ahead of the U.S. in revenue generated from app sales on Google Inc.’sGOOG +4.13% Play mobile store, according to research and analysis firm App Annie, which tracks app purchases.
That makes South Korea, a country of 50 million people, the second-most lucrative country in the world by that metric, just behind Japan.
By app downloads, which doesn’t take into account the amount of money spent, South Korea also ranks second on Google Play, behind the U.S., whose population is six times that of Korea’s.
4,323 Korean churches in U.S: Christiantoday.us
90 more Korean churches sprang up last year to bring up the total to 4,323 Koreans churches in the United States.
According to Christiantoday.us, California has the most Korean churches with 1,358, which accounts for 31.4% of the total in the U.S. New York came in second with 446, followed by New Jersey (258); Virginia (211); Texas (210); Washington (208); Georgia (197); Illinois (190); Maryland (161); and Pennsylvania (161), in order.
The Korean population was tabulated to be 1,706,822 in the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau report – which means for every 394 Koreans, there’s a Korean church.
Dia Frampton wins hearts
New Straits Times
The cafe was filled with fans who came to see her sing.
Frampton who was first runner-up during the first season of the reality show, The Voice, impressed the crowd with a number of songs. She sang hits songs like Losing My Religion, Heartless and Inventing Shadows.
Her fans could not stop cheering when the singer, who is of Dutch and Korean parentage started to sing.
When she sang The Broken Ones the crowd started singing along and clapping.
Korean Julia Sun-Joo Lee Brings New Face to Black Literature
Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Dr. Julia Sun-Joo Lee has gotten used to the strange looks that sometimes greet her on the first day of class.
“My students may initially be surprised to see me in the classroom,” says Lee, who teaches African-American Literature at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“But I always say that African-American literature is not just limited to African-Americans. It is American literature and is so much a part of the history of this country. It shouldn’t be ghettoized.”
Next up for the South Korean National Soccer Team, who got humiliated against Mexico on Wednesday night in Texas 4-0, is the United States.
The U.S. side is supposed to be tougher and is ranked higher than both Mexico and Costa Rica. The current FIFA ranking has the U.S. at No. 14, while Mexico is No. 21, Costa Rica is No. 32, and South Korea is No. 53.
S. Korean manager Hong Myung-bo all of sudden has a lot to prove.
Here is the U.S. Soccer News release:
The U.S. Men’s National Team will open its 2014 schedule playing before of a capacity crowd of 27,000 fans when it hosts the S. Korea for an international friendly at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 1. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. PT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes Radio and UniMas. Fans can also follow the match live on Twitter @ussoccer.
Choo isn’t afraid to take one for the team
Ian Kinsler set a Rangers record last season in getting hit by eight pitches. That gave him 57 for his career, the most in Rangers history, before he departed for Tigers.
Now Shin-Soo Choo has seven years to catch Kinsler. The odds seem to be on his side.
The Rangers signed Choo to a seven-year, $130 million contract, and one of the reasons is they love his ability to get on base. Choo’s knack for getting in the way of a pitch has done wonders for his on-base percentage, especially last season.
Choo was hit by 26 pitches in 2013, the most in the Major Leagues. It was the 33rd time in Major League history that a batter was hit by at least 26 pitches. The record is 51 by Hughie Jennings in 1896 for the Baltimore Orioles. The modern-day record is 51, set by Ron Hunt of the Expos in 1971. The Rangers record is held by Alex Rodriguez, with 16 in 2001.
Enoch Shin, owner of Turbo Tire in Oakland, Calif., says energy consumption at his shop fell 40 percent after he switched over to a more modern and efficient lighting system. Photo via New American Media.
by ARUNA LEE of New American Media
SAN FRANCISCO — Korean small businesses in California are challenging the naysayers who claim that economic growth coupled with sound environmental practice is not possible. Thanks in large part to government and private incentive programs, they have come to the fore in implementing emerging technologies beneficial for the environment and their bottom line.
In fact, many owners are “going green” precisely because of the economic benefits.
“Korean businesses have adopted green technologies largely in order to reduce their energy bills,” says Jason Lee, secretary general of the Korean Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles. The city is home to one of the largest Korean communities in the country.
Statewide there are just over 450,000 Koreans residing in California, according to recent census figures. Many are small business owners, accounting for roughly 2 percent – or 63,365 – of all small businesses in the state, data from the census show. In 2007, the latest date such figures are available, they tallied nearly $33 billion in economic activity. Continue Reading »
Remember those calculator watches that all the coolest nerds wore? With the new Galaxy Gear, Samsung hopes to target the contemporary gadget geek by packing all the “cool” it can into their first attempt at a modern smartwatch.
The Korean electronics titan unveiled the product on Wednesday at a consumer electronics convention in Berlin which was simulcast in New York.
The device — with a retail price of $299 — has a 1.63-inch AMOLED display (320-by-320) resolution, an 800 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. It features a 1.9 megapixel camera capable of 720p video recording and speaker built into the wrist strap, as well as a microphone for Bluetooth calls through a smartphone.
The Gear definitely has the spec and features edge over its paltry list of competitors in the relatively new smartwatch category, which includes the Pebble and Sony’s SmartWatch. Samsung’s offering hits store shelves in October. Continue Reading »
Samsung is going retro. That is, if retro refers to less than five years ago, when flip phones, or clamshells, were still the most popular design for mobile phones in the United States.
Yesterday, Samsung announced that it is launching Korea’s first clamshell-style smartphone, the Galaxy Golden, through SK Telecom and KT. It won’t be sold in the U.S., which means for those die-hards who are still fans of and somehow functioning with these “antiques,” don’t expect to find these in the near future.
CNET reports that the Galaxy Golden runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and features two 3.7-inch Super AMOLED touch screens mounted back-to-back. Consumers can use the touch screen on the outside, like with regular “slab” or “slate” smartphones. On the flip side — pun intended — the clamshell design offers a keypad for the barbarians who still require physical keys. Continue Reading »
Dating in the digital age? There’s an app for that.
Single South Koreans can now use a new feature on the i-um —meaning “to connect” —smartphone application, which aims to bring together hardworking, professional men and women over their lunch breaks, Reuters reports.
I-um users create profiles and upload pictures, much like you would on any other online dating website, but what makes the service different is the way in which it brings people together. Continue Reading »