A South Korean free speech activist received a suspended 10-month prison term for resending North Korean propaganda posts on his Twitter account, according to prosecutors.
Park Jung-geun, 24, allegedly resent over 100 posts from the official Twitter account of the North Korean government. One of the posts he shared said, “Long Live Kim Jong-il!” after the longstanding North Korean leader died last year. Park also wrote that he wishes to send “uranium and plutonium” to North Korea to show his condolences, according to the New York Times.
Park denied the charges against him and claimed that his posts were a mere parody. He was later released on bail. Continue Reading »
Queens woman stabbed to death, boyfriend critical after suicide attempt: officials
New York Post
Queens firefighters responding to a blaze Wednesday found a stabbed woman who later died and her boyfriend trying to hang himself, authorities said.
The unidentified 57-year-old victim was on the bed in a basement apartment on 214th Place in Bayside at about 7:30 p.m.
Her body crushed, but not her spirit
The Daily Pilot (Southern California)
In 2007 Un Joo Kang was in college and working as a makeup artist when a drunken driver crashed into her, crushing the lower half of her body.
But five years later, at Orange Coast College she found Extended Opportunities, Programs and Services (EOPS), which provided her with the help she needed to go in a new direction: architecture.
Asian Americans hit hardest by long-term unemployment
Asian Americans have the highest rate of long-term joblessness of any ethnicity in the United States, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank in Washington.
Last year marked the second year in a row that Asian Americans had the largest share of unemployed workers who were unemployed long term (i.e., for six months or more). In 2011, 50.1 percent of the Asian American unemployed were unemployed long term, up from 48.7 percent in 2010. In both of these years, the Asian American share slightly exceeded the African American share.
Ground Shifts in U.S. Aid Stance to NK
Wall Street Journal
In the two months since North Korea’s announcement of a missile launch scuttled a U.S. plan to offer humanitarian aid, there are signs that Washington may come under pressure to reconsider.
And those signs aren’t just coming from North Korea and the aid groups who have an interest in delivering the food.
South Korea less fixated on North Korea
By all accounts, diplomatic relations between the United States and South Korea are as warm and close as they have ever been. But that’s about to change. When Korean voters go to the polls late this year, the nation’s young people plan to take their revenge. And the U.S. is likely to feel the sting.
As college student Seungwon Choi put it in an interview, “After all these years, we are still under the U.S. We can’t make decisions ourselves. We have to reassume operational control and sovereignty.” In that view, she is far from alone.
Republicans Back Kim For State Senate Seat
If State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) wins her primary battle against John Messer, she will no longer run unopposed. Queens Republicans are backing Jung Dong “J.D.” Kim, a Korean-American attorney, to take on Stavisky, the incumbent who has held the seat since 1999.
Face to face with John Kim, The Kim Law Firm
Biz Journal (subscription req’d)
Houston trial lawyer John Kim grew up a Korean in 1960s Lubbock, and he remembers well the first time he was judged for being different.
“Partially because of my parents’ example and largely due to the community in Lubbock, I never experienced prejudice until I became a lawyer,” he said.
Whose Islands are they? South Korea tries branding in its dispute with Japan
Christian Science Monitor
While both Korea and Japan point to historical documents to back up their respective claims, South Korea has occupied Dokdo/Takeshima for more than half a century. And it remains a key rallying symbol for lingering resentment over Japan’s colonial occupation of the then unified Korean Peninsula in the first half of the 20th century.
Four-Year-Old Modern Family Star Is On Twitter
All Twitter (blog)
The youngest character on the show, Lily, is four-year-old Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. Aubrey joined the Modern Family cast in the show’s third season and launched her Twitter account, @AubreyLily, in October of last year.
Surely a four-year-old having a Twitter account is a TOS violation, you say? Nope. Aubrey doesn’t actually tweet from the account (as you probably guessed because most four-year-olds aren’t reading and writing!), her mom does. Mom uses the account to share photos from public appearances and other kid-style observations.
Business traveler’s guide to surviving a Korean drinking session
In Korea, it’s said that the success of your business roughly correlates to how well you can drink … and how respectful you are to your companions while downing bomb shots by the bucketful.
Most companies in Korea have hoesik (literally, dinner with coworkers; figuratively, official eating/drinking fests involving multiple rounds at multiple venues) at least once a month and sometimes every week.
Choo shining in role as Indians’ leading man
Shin-Soo Choo is tired of being asked how moving to the leadoff spot in the batting order has caused him to hit better.
He doesn’t believe the switch is the reason why his batting average has improved approximately 40 points since moving up. The way he sees it, he was beginning to hit better before the change was made.
Check out the video highlight of the monster home run Choo hit on Thursday night here.
Shin-Soo Choo takes the lead and runs with it: Cleveland Indians Insider
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo has taken to the leadoff spot in the Cleveland lineup since he was moved there May 14. He’s hitting .394 (13-for-33), with four doubles, one homer, three RBI, five walks and six runs in eight games.
Video Subtitling Site Viki Puts K-Pop Content in Spotlight
Now Viki will work as an advance guard for spreading K-pop by signing a deal with LOEN Entertainment, a major music distributor in Korea. Netizens from around the world will be able to watch music videos, interview clips and performances from concerts of idol star IU, girl band Brown Eyed Girls, hip-hop artist Drunken Tiger and more, translated into up to 150 languages including Romanian, Tagalog and Arabic.
SK Takes New Step To Prevent Kidnappings
Wall Street Journal
The Code Adam system is implemented if a child is reported missing in multipurpose facilities. When it happens, all entrances and exits will be closed for 10 minutes as employees search for missing child.
Criminal experts consider the initial reaction, roughly the first ten minutes, critical to finding the child. But most multipurpose facilities in South Korea do not have such guidelines. Under the current law, there is no legal ground to force facilities to actively search for children by closing exits or making announcement.
Love for the Bible behind South Koreans’ interest in Israel
While official estimates are hard to come by, South Korea’s ambassador to Israel, Ilsoo Kim, estimates that there are about 800 Koreans in about 300 families living in Israel. The number, he said, has been growing in recent years. They mainly reside around the French Hill and Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhoods in the Jerusalem area.
“Many have lived here quite a long time,” Kim said. “This reflects their feelings.”
S. Korean man sentenced to death for drug smuggling in China: Seoul official
A South Korean man has been sentenced to death for drug trafficking in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, a senior official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said Friday.
The 53-year-old convict, who is only identified by his surname Jang, was found guilty of smuggling 11.9 kilograms of methamphetamine into China and selling it, the ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
Nikon cancels comfort women photo exhibit without explanation
In an interview with the Hankyoreh on Thursday, 41-year-old photographer Ahn Se-hong, said “I still can’t accept it at all. I will carry on preparing for the exhibition as normal.” Ahn was informed by Nikon Salon on May 22 that his photo exhibition had been cancelled. Ahn photographs of South Korean comfort women were scheduled to be shown from June 26 to July 29 in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Jay Park tears up New York for ‘Verizon APAHM Tour’
Fresh after kicking the tour off the night before at the Fillmore in Maryland, Jay Park was welcomed by a packed house at the Best Buy Theater, located next to Times Square in the heart of Manhattan. The East Coast leg of the tour also showcased opening acts Viennie V and Dumbfoundead.
You Know How We Do by Jay Park x dumbfoundead
Rappers Jay Park x dumbfoundead collaborate on the track “You Know How We Do”. For the video, the pair use footage from the 2012 APAHM Tour in Washington DC and New York. (If you were at the concert, see if you can spot yourself.) Listen to what motivates the duo with DFD and Jay Park on the mics. This is how they do. You can download the single FREE here. This track contains explicit lyrics.
The Fast and the Fictitious
by Jimmy Lee
Like the characters for which he writes, Greg Pak has multiple identities. But now the filmmaker and writer behind such Marvel Comics titles as The Incredible Hulk is using his powers to write a novel completely via Twitter. Pak took the time to chat with KoreAm about his social media and literary experiment, being played out at @gregsnovel.
So how does one write a Twitter novel? Continue Reading »
Foreign minister meets new U.S. ambassador
The new top U.S. envoy to South Korea, Sung Kim, paid his first visit to Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan Tuesday after taking office as Washington’s first Korean-American ambassador to Seoul.
Sung Kim, a career diplomat with expertise on the North Korean nuclear issue, arrived in Seoul last week as Washington’s top envoy to Seoul, becoming the first Korean-American to take the job since the two nations established diplomatic relations 129 years ago.
“I’m sure that your presence in Seoul will be a kind of symbol of the close relationship between our two countries,” the foreign minister told the ambassador.
Interview: Girls Generation Talk Fame, K-Pop, and World Domination
KoreAm contributor Jaeki Cho penned this lengthy Q&A with K-pop megagroup SNSD, a.k.a. Girls Generation.
Complex: I’ve noticed from footages that almost all the performances are done with heels on. How are your feet?
Sooyoung: We’re dying in pain! After a concert, our feet are literally burning.
Seohyun: A lot of calluses.
Yuri: Our feet are in bad shape.
Taeyeon: We take care of them, but they get messed up so easily.
Yuri: We’ve been wearing heels for so long, we’ve gotten so used to them that we feel more comfortable wearing them when we’re going up on stage. It straightens our postures; it makes us feel more confident. It’s not comfortable, but we’re so adjusted now that it feels weird without them.
K-pop: Soft Power for the Global Cool
In recent years, even I have noticed the increasing amount of strangers I meet (both Asian and non-Asian) who become keenly interested in me once they confirm my Korean background: What is Seoul like? Do I watch Korean movies? What are my favorite Korean foods? Who are my favorite music groups, and have I met any of them? (Quite a big change from my early childhood in the suburban Midwest where many people would take the liberty of assuming I was Chinese!)
As an avid cultural traveler, I truly appreciate these conversations with so many individuals who are utterly fascinated with Korean culture. While I do not believe that this is the sole result of K-pop music’s popularity, the initial platform of these early dialogues are usually based upon either Korean pop music or Korean films (quickly followed up by Korean food, education, and plastic surgery).
Undoubtedly there are skeptics of K-pop’s global influence and utility as a soft power tool — but I find such hesitation towards this cultural explosion to often: a) stem from a limited racial approach to the subject, and b) originate from taste levels so mainstream that there is little chance for awareness of trends and cultural currents not yet adopted by big corporations and media.
N.Korea Joins Twitter Era
The North Korean propaganda website “Uriminzokkiri” on Monday joined the global craze for social networking sites by adding Twitter and Facebook tags.
That makes it even easier for North Korean propaganda to reach South Korea unfiltered, since content can now be shared with the click of a mouse. The “share” function is limited to posts denouncing South Korea.
North Korean websites like Uriminzokkiri are blocked in South Korea but can easily be accessed overseas, and can then be shared by overseas Koreans to reach South Korean users.
Will the North Koreans rise up?
What we can say for sure is that the North Korean press has simply not reported on any of the popular uprisings of 2011, obviously for fear of sparking protests within North Korea. In fact, Pyongyang issued a statement in March simply saying Libya’s dismantling of its nuclear weapons program made it more vulnerable to western intervention. In other words, ‘We, the North Koreans, will keep our nukes as our insurance policy against regime change.’ So don’t expect Pyongyang to disarm anytime soon. The regime interprets the fall of Gadhafi as a cautionary tale. Don’t disarm; don’t try to talk to the west; don’t open up.
Meanwhile, the suffering of the North Korean people continues. Just last week, UNICEF reported that millions of children there are at risk of being severely malnourished. These children will be more vulnerable to disease and stunted growth. And there’s little hope that the government has the ability to help even if it wanted to.
[Korean] Bloggers Penalized For False Review
Wall Street Journal
Bloggers trying to profit from their daily activities are nothing new. But the government decided over the weekend that some South Korean bloggers have crossed a line.
On Sunday, the Fair Trade Commission sanctioned 47 bloggers and Internet café owners for “deceitful behavior” that helped them to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The antitrust watchdog levied a total of 20 million won ( $18,000) in fines on four influential bloggers – known in Korea as “power bloggers” — for not telling readers that they received a commission in return for writing favorable reviews of products and organizing group purchases. The fees ranged from 2% to 10% of the total sales.
Lebanon shocks South Korea in World Cup qualifying
AP via Globe and Mail
Lebanon pulled off an astonishing 2-1 win over South Korea in the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Beirut on Tuesday to stay firmly on course for a place in the fourth round.
Ali Al-Saadi gave Lebanon a shock 1-0 lead in the fifth minute but then cancelled out his earlier effort by conceding a penalty, converted by South Korea’s Koo Ja Cheol in the 20th. Abbas Atwi restored Lebanon’s lead from the penalty spot at the half-hour mark and his side held on to seal a priceless victory.
Group B leader South Korea has 10 points, the same as Lebanon, which trails on goal difference after five games. Third-place Kuwait has eight points, while United Arab Emirates has zero.
North Korea upsets Japan as tensions boiled in World Cup qualifier
AP via Herald Sun
Playing before a capacity crowd at Kim Il Sung Stadium, Pak gave North Korea a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute with an angled header beyond the reach of Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.
The match had no bearing on the outcome of the group – Japan has already qualified for the next stage while North Korea can not make it – but there is always tension in this fixture between two nations that do not have diplomatic ties.
This was the first time the Japanese men’s team had played on North Korean soil since 1989.
That tension bubbled over at times, with several shoving skirmishes breaking out. North Korea had Jong Il Gwan sent off in the 77th minute for an aggressive tackle on Atsuto Uchida.
Koreans to Benefit from Automated Immigration Checks in U.S.
Most Korean travelers can soon enter the U.S. without face-to-face interviews with immigration officers at the airport. Seoul and Washington in a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Hawaii on Sunday agreed in principle to put them through electronic immigration gates instead.
Once the new program is in place, Korean visitors to the U.S. can avoid long immigration queues by putting their e-passports to the screen of an automated counter.
To benefit, travelers have to register with a smart entry system Korea implements to get approval from both governments as “trusted travelers.” “Trusted travelers” are those whose biometric information, including fingerprints and photos, is registered with the government, and who are deemed to present no risk.
U.S. soldier allegedly set fire to bar
A U.S. soldier in Korea will be questioned by South Korean police on charges of setting fire to a bar in Seoul, investigators said Tuesday, amid growing public outrage after series of rape cases by American soldiers.
The private first class, whose name was withheld, from the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) was suspected of setting fire to a pub in Itaewon, an area popular with foreigners in Seoul, at 2:30 a.m. by pouring oil on a stove, according to Yongsan Police Station which controls the area.
The Country That Loves PC Gaming So Damn Much
Unlike Japan, South Korea has been predominately a PC gaming country. One of the major reasons for the lack of game console penetration was due to protectionism that made it difficult, if not impossible for Japanese companies to sell their wares in Korea—and vice versa.
The cultures are changing. Japan is opening itself up to Korean products, slowly. Ditto for South Korea. Nintendo now releases localized versions of games and hardware. However, the relationship that Korean gamers traditionally have with gaming is through the PC. And the game of choice is traditionally StarCraft.
The crazy wonderland of Seoul’s party motels
They used to be called “love motels,” for obvious (and optimistic) reasons.
Heavily stigmatized, Seoul’s love motels were long regarded as nothing more than glorified DVD rooms, with decor straight out of adult movies. Horrified parents would hold public protests if any were built in their neighborhood.
In recent years, however, a new generation of Seoul’s boutique motels have started styling themselves as “theme motels” and “party motels,” and have made much headway in making motels become socially acceptable, and even sought after — day or night.
Pro golfer Christina Kim shot back at a rude golf fan on Twitter on Thursday, sparking an immediate reaction from her fans quick to defend her honor.
A Long Island, N.Y. man sent Kim a message via the social media service saying, “You are one big fat kiss of triple bogey death.”
Kim, a San Jose, Calif.-native known for her brash personality and colorful wardrobe, chastised the man for his rude remark.
“Gotta love how people are so fearless on twitter. I may be fat, having a sh-t year on tour, and going through unimaginable things, but at least I’m not a coward,” Kim tweeted. “Everything I tweet, I would Continue Reading »