How Choco Pie infiltrated North Korea’s sweet tooth
The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked — even overwhelmed.
He summed up their reaction to the South Korean snack in one word: “Ecstasy.”
Much like what Twinkies are to Americans, South Korea’s Choco Pies — two disc-shaped, chocolate-covered cakes, sandwiching a rubbery layer of marshmallow cream — are ubiquitous, cost less than 50 cents and are full of empty calories.
S. Korea holds live-fire drill despite North’s warning
South Korea on Tuesday carried out a live-fire drill on its northwestern islands despite North Korea’s warning of “grave consequences,” but the closely-watched exercise ended without clashes with the communist state.
South Korea has carried out live-fire exercises on the frontline islands every two or three months to improve Marine Corps’ readiness. The drills have often been met by protest from Pyongyang.
Ahead of Tuesday’s exercise, the North’s National Defense Commission sent a fax through the western military hotline to National Security Office chief Kim Jang-soo urging President Park Geun-hye to cancel it, defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.
Korea slams Japan over Dokdo
South Korea Tuesday denounced Japan for Claiming Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in its newly revised teaching manuals for Middle and high schools.
The denouncement follows the Japanese Education ministry’s Disclosure of new manuals stating that Dokdo is Japanese Territory, rejecting Seoul’s earlier Call to withdraw the Claim.
“Japan Will Face the consequences,” said Cho Tai-Young, a Spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Decision to keep U of I Urbana-Champaign campus open leads to twitter firestorm
Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Ill.)
No disciplinary action is planned against the students who sent racist, sexist and threatening tweets targeting University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise who declined to offer a day off due to the weather on Monday.
The tweets were sent after an email was delivered to all students in the Urbana-Champaign campus Sunday that advised them to bundle up and be careful Monday because of the extreme cold, said University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign spokeswoman Robin Kaler.
Kaler said they notified university police, who determined there was no “threat.” The university is not planning any disciplinary action, characterizing it as “a free speech issue.’’
Sacramento-area woman’s quest for Korean birth mother stalls
Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
Fawn Press-Dawson’s quest to find her birth mother has stalled after two weeks in South Korea.
The 21-year-old from Gold River – whose well-chronicled search has drawn international attention – flew to Seoul with her adoptive mom, Andee Press-Dawson, on Jan. 10, armed with her adoption papers, her birth mother’s name and the knowledge that only a tiny number of Korean adoptees actually find their biological parents.
Last Thursday, Andee came home while Fawn moved into a guest house for Korean adoptees searching for their roots operated by South Korea’s Eastern Social Welfare Society.
Lawsuit filed in collapse of Rittenhouse fire escape
A civil lawsuit has been filed against the owner and landlord of a Center City apartment building where a fire escape collapsed, killing one man and seriously injuring two women.
The suit was filed on Monday on behalf of the families of 22-year-old Albert Suh and 24-year-old Laura O’Brien.
It was just before midnight on January 12th when Suh, O’Brien, and a thirdperson, identified as Nancy Chen, were standing on the fire escape outside their fourth floor apartment, located at 229 South 22nd Street in the city’s Rittenhouse section.
The roommates were throwing a party, and had allegedly stepped out onto the fire escape when the collapse occurred, sending all three plummeting 40 feet to the ground below.
Vienna man sentenced in largest-ever bid-rigging scheme
Oh Sung Kwon, 48, a Northern Virginia businessman, was sentenced yesterday to 46 months in prison on federal charges stemming from a bribery scheme in which he paid thousands of dollars to an Army official in return for government contracts, as well as a separate scheme involving fraudulent real estate sales and refinances.
Kwon, also known as Thomas Kwon, of Vienna, pled guilty in September 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count each of bribery, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and willful failure to file a tax return. He was sentenced by the Hon. Emmet G. Sullivan. Judge Sullivan also ordered Kwon to pay $1,188,500 in restitution and the same amount in a forfeiture money judgment. Upon completion of his prison term, Kwon will be placed on three years of supervised release.
Kwon was the co-founder and chief executive officer of Avenciatech Inc., a government contractor based in Annandale. He is among 17 people and one corporation that pled guilty to federal charges for their roles in the largest domestic bribery and bid-rigging scheme in the history of federal contracting. The investigation is continuing.
Internet Cafes Get a Makeover
Wall Street Journal
In South Korea, Internet cafes, known as PC Bangs, have long been places of refuge for hardcore video gamers battling it out in games like League of Legends.
But some now feel they’re under attack from a push to make PC Bangs more hygienic, including a complete smoking ban from this year. The core clientele of PC Bangs have long been predominantly male, many of whom enjoy a good smoke while gaming.
Some in the industry are scrambling to find ways to attract new clients by giving PC Bang interiors drastic makeovers and looking for alternative sources of revenue, such as by turning into hybrid restaurants. The changes aren’t being welcomed by regulars of these cafes.
‘The Bachelor’ week 4 recap: Juan Pablo takes ladies to South Korea
The fourth episode of this season’s “The Bachelor” saw Juan Pablo take the ladies outside of the country for the first time. JuanPabs and the ladies flew to Seoul, South Korea. There was a one-on-one date and two group dates.
Lots of kissing, flesh-eating fish, tears, a Korean pop group, eating octopus and, yes, more cattiness. Monday night’s episode had it all. When the episode finished, two more ladies were sent home and the plan to travel to Vietnam was revealed as the remaining ladies sipped champagne.
The group arrived in South Korea for a few days. Juan Pablo can’t even speak English all that well and now, going to Korea, he was forced to try his hand at another language.
The first date card arrived and read, “Pop!”
Korean SNL to meet original SNL
Hosts of the Korean version of Saturday Night Live (SNL) will fly to New York City this week to watch the live taping of an episode of the original SNL.
A spokesman for tvN, a cable channel that produces SNL Korea, said on Monday top comedian Shin Dong-yup and Yoo Se-yoon will depart for NYC on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, at the invitation of NBC, a major American broadcaster that created the widely beloved late-night live television sketch comedy show in 1975.
“The two will visit the live studio for SNL and meet with its directors,” tvN said in a statement. “They will discuss a variety of production issues with the directors. They also plan to participate in events promoting Korean culture.”
Kim Yu-na gets favorable draw
Figure-skating megastar Kim Yu-na is about as sure-fire a gold-medal candidate as there is among the athletes booked for the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Now, observers think her odds improved even further after she was placed in the fourth group of skaters competing in the women’s individual competition that begins on Feb. 20.
In the Olympics, athletes in figure-skating appear in reverse order of the world rankings.
While Kim, the reigning Olympic champion, is clearly the woman to beat at Sochi, her world ranking slipped to No. 15 as she missed several scheduled appearances during the 2013-14 season after suffering a foot injury in September.
On a sled and a prayer, Korea’s ‘Miracles on Asphalt’
For South Korea’s “Miracles on Asphalt” bobsleigh team, having ice on the track is a big problem.
Chilled to the bone by the biting cold of the Taebaek Mountain range, officials from the Korea Bobsleigh Skeleton Federation use shovels and mops to smash and sweep ice from the ‘push track’, which simulates the action at the start of a run.
The Alpensia Ski Resort in Pyeongchang, which is to host the 2018 Winter Games, has no proper ice track and athletes have to push their sleds on rails to practice the all-important start.
Despite the inadequate facilities, South Korea will compete in the skeleton at the February 7-23 Sochi Games, as well as sending two teams in both the men’s two- and four-man bobsleigh events and a two-woman bobsleigh team.
Lydia Ko’s profile expected to soar in the USA
Stuff (New Zealand)
Lydia Ko is already a huge name in golf, but one of the world’s leading golf writers predicts she could follow the likes of Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie and have an appeal that transcends the sport.
Two months after turning professional, 16-year-old Ko is the talk of the US golf scene as she heads to Christchurch to defend her New Zealand Women’s Open title at Clearwater, starting on Friday.
The start of her rookie season at the Bahamas Classic this week when she finished seventh equal made headlines as did her switch from Kiwi coach of 11 years Guy Wilson to David Leadbetter, the self-proclaimed “world’s leading golf instructor”.
AIDS vaccine test results faked
An Iowa State University assistant professor resigned after being accused of spiking rabbit blood to falsely show that an AIDS vaccine was working in the research animals.
Dong-Pyou Han was an assistant professor of biomedical sciences. He resigned in October after admitting responsibility, an ISU spokesman said.
The fraudulent results helped an ISU research team gain millions of dollars in federal money, according to James Bradac, who helps oversee AIDS vaccine grants for the National Institutes of Health.
More N. Korean defectors going back
More North Korean defectors are returning to their reclusive homeland, causing embarrassment for the South Korean government.
This trend could create a negative impression about living conditions here in the minds of the North Korean public, dampening their desire to seek alternatives to the dictatorial and hereditary leadership of Kim Jong-un.
Last week, North Korean media released an interview with a woman who returned home after defecting to South Korea in which she expressed contempt for her two-year stay here.
N. Korean Defectors Celebrate Christmas
Voice of America
North Korea, an atheist one-party state, does not allow celebrations of Christmas or other religious holidays. But, many North Korean defectors do mark the holiday, because they are rescued by Christian missionaries who convert them and bring them to South Korea.
A Christmas service is not unusual in heavily Christian South Korea but most of the Durihana church members are North Korean defectors.
In 14 years the church has rescued about 1,000 defectors, who flee through China to Southeast Asia, and many convert.
Korean scientists create a tool that can help separate fact from fiction on Twitter
Bigfoot was finally discovered in 2009 — at least according to rumors circulating on Twitter. With misinformation rife on social media, users could do with a tool that can sift truth from fiction.
Now Sejeong Kwon and colleagues at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have designed an artificial intelligence system that, they claim, does this correctly around 90 percent of the time. If built into social networks, it could help people avoid embarrassing retweets or reshares of false information.
The system analyzed language used in more than 100 rumors — some later confirmed, others unfounded — that went viral on Twitter over a period of 31 / 2 years. The researchers found that false rumors were far more likely to contain negative terms such as “no” or “not” than positive terms such as “like” or “love.”
Korean noodle shop helps Memphis break character
This Mississippi River city is proud of its barbecue, its fried chicken, its soul food. But the food scene here is often stereotyped because of it.
Those foods are what tourists typically obsess over, standing in line at Central BBQ for smoky ribs or Gus’s Fried Chicken for juicy drumsticks. When told that there’s a place in Memphis that makes standout Korean food like soups and noodle dishes with meat and seafood, some may scoff.
But Crazy Noodle is real, and it might be proof that people in intensely Southern cities like Memphis, where collard greens are made correctly and macaroni and cheese is listed on some menus as a vegetable dish, are welcoming the cuisine of immigrant communities.
Experience Gangnam Style!
Gangnam, in southern Seoul, passes for a hip, savvy place in Korea among international visitors thanks to the popularity of K-pop sensation Psy’s music video “Gangnam Style.”
The song’s popularity is fading into history, but the district has become a tourist magnet, attracting internationals and K-pop fans alike. It has luxury brand stores and fancy restaurants lined along the streets. But, most of all, it is home to major entertainment agencies such as SM, JYP and Cube Entertainment. Some 150 small and big agencies prosper in the area.
Living up to its name, the Gangnam Tourist Information Center in Apgujeong offers K-pop fans unique experiences to feel closer to their beloved stars. While the first floor of its two-story building functions as a normal tourist center, the second is dedicated to “hallyu” or Korean pop culture.
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 »