South Korean report details alleged abuses at North Korea’s prison camps
A South Korean government-funded human rights group has released a series of raw firsthand accounts of North Korea’s political prison camps, Seoul’s first comprehensive attempt to catalogue the atrocities that Pyongyang denies take place.
The 381-page report, based on about 200 face-to-face interviews with defectors who survived the camps, is a significant step for a South Korean government that has long remained quiet about the human rights abuses of its neighbor.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un issues rare public drubbing — of a roller coaster
This just in: North Korea is not a paradise in some ways — and this news comes from Pyongyang’s official mouthpiece, the Korean Central News Agency.
On Wednesday, KCNA reported that newly anointed leader Kim Jong Un had visited an amusement park where he scolded park officials for poor upkeep of the park, according to the Yonhap News Agency in South Korea.
N. Korea executed at least three over cannibalism: think tank
North Korea has held public executions of at least three people on charges of cannibalism in recent years, a South Korean state-run institute said Thursday, the latest development that could support what has long been rumored in the isolated country.
There have been accounts among North Korean defectors in the South that some North Koreans ate and sold human flesh during the massive famine in the late 1990s that was estimated to have killed 2 million people.
Study: Outside media changing N. Korean worldview
AP via Google News
The growing availability of news media and cellphones in reclusive North Korea likely forced it to admit within hours that its long-range rocket launch last month was a failure, the U.S. human rights envoy to the country said Thursday.
The envoy, Robert King, was speaking at the launch of a U.S. government-funded study that says North Koreans now have unprecedented exposure to foreign media, giving them a more positive impression of the outside world.
Casino company analyst pleads guilty in $860,000 slot scheme
Las Vegas Review-Journal
As an analyst for the state’s largest casino company, Tony Ahn was a trusted employee who had access to valuable players club information.
But federal court documents show that Ahn, 27, betrayed that trust in 2009, hatching an elaborate slot machine scheme from within the company, then known as MGM Mirage, to unlawfully win $863,895 .
Ahn used his company position to identify regular customers with unused free play points, transferred the points to counterfeit players club cards and recruited people to gamble with the cards at the company’s casinos along the Strip, the court documents allege.
Ridgefield man pleads guilty to conspiring to defraud banks of more than $1.1M
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
A Ridgefield man pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to defraud banks by obtaining loans for companies that didn’t exist — part of a larger scheme that authorities say netted more than $1.1 million for an identity theft and fraud ring.
Hong G. Cho, 55, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in Newark to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Authorities said he conspired with an Edgewater woman to steal $115,000 from three Bergen County banks in 2007.
Palisades Park monument to WWII ‘comfort women’ sparks historical tug-of-war
Bergen County Record
Three Korean lawmakers on Wednesday placed bouquets of white chrysanthemums near a stone monument in Palisades Park dedicated to “comfort women” — more than 200,000 Asians who were reportedly forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers before and during World War II.
The moving tribute, however, comes just days after four officials from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party claimed that there is no proof sex slaves existed and asked for the monument’s removal, saying it portrayed historical inaccuracies, Palisades Park Mayor James Rotundo said. Historical accounts, interviews and testimonials, however, document the story of the comfort women.
Giffords’ surgeon to speak at graduation
Arizona Daily Wildcat (Univ. of Arizona)
Dr. Peter Rhee, one of two surgeons who operated on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the chief of the University of Arizona Medical Center trauma division, will speak at the undergraduate commencement ceremony on Saturday to remind attendees that every day is a good day.
Roy Choi Goes Vegetarian
The restaurants will stay open, and the old standbys will remain unchanged. Using more vegetables is, at least for now, mainly a culinary challenge. “Now everything I do, I’m trying to cook in vegetable state of mind, and if meat flies in meat flies in,” he said. “I’m like a boxer tying one arm behind my back, to see if I can knock you out.” Now at Chego, instead of just the Beefy T;—prime rib in chili fried rice—Choi is serving the Leafy T, featuring tofu. A special named MCA, in honor Adam Yauch, of the Beastie Boys, who died last week, is a rice bowl with mushrooms, cauliflower, and asparagus.
Cheezburger Creator Launches SimpleHoney To Find Hotels You’ll Love
Without being there, it’s hard to tell what a hotel is really like.
That’s what a startup called SimpleHoney is trying to solve. It was co-founded by Eric Nakagawa (a software developer who created the famous Icanhascheezburger blog) and Joyce Kim (a former corporate attorney who was previously CEO of Korean pop music site Soompi.com and is probably best-known to the startup community as co-host of the GigaOm Show).
South Korea’s foreign-born: The lovable Ms Lee
MENTION Jasmine Lee at the Philippine market in Seoul’s Hyehwa-dong district, and faces instantly brighten. Ms Lee, born in the Philippines, recently became the first foreign-born South Korean to win a seat in the National Assembly, running for the ruling Saenuri party. “Everybody loves her”, says a Filipina stallholder selling cassava cakes.
Well, not quite everybody. After Ms Lee’s election last month, thousands of virulent Twitter messages labelled her a “mail-order bride” and plenty worse. The local media responded with a bout of soul-searching over the scourge of racism.
Soldier gets 6 years in prison for rape of South Korean teen
Stars and Stripes
A three-judge panel on Wednesday sentenced a U.S. soldier to six years in prison for raping a South Korean teenager in September.
Pvt. Kevin Robinson was found guilty of raping the 17-year-old at her residence in Seoul after a night of drinking. He also was convicted of larceny for stealing the victim’s laptop.
South Korea set to launch multi-billion-dollar expo
AFP via Google News
After four years of work and $10 billion in investment, an international expo will open Saturday at a glittering hi-tech venue on the site of a former dusty cement terminal in South Korea.
A total of 104 nations and 10 international organisations will stage exhibitions over the next three months in the city of Yeosu under the theme of “The Living Ocean and Coast”.
Tackling the Entertainment Industry’s Dark Corners
Wall Street Journal
Korea’s would-be stars, take note: The industry you are going to venture into will be a bit safer, if not more favorable.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said on Wednesday that it will tidy up some of the messiness of the entertainment industry, in conjunction with the Korea Entertainment Producers’ Association.
Spicy Food Fight: Fukuburger vs. Kalbi Burger
A drive down Wilton Avenue led us to Koreatown’s Kalbi Burger, a strip mall diner that specializes in Korean-fusion burgers. When kimchi first met taco all those years ago, did anyone doubt that burgers would follow suit? The most recent addition to Kalbi’s list of creations, which include a banh mi burger and one involving sautéed kimchi and thousand island dressing, is the spicy “Jeju Do” Burger for $6.95, a pork burger named after the tiny island south of Korean famous for its fatty and succulent black pigs.
Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar 2 Official as UFC 150 Headliner
MMA Weekly via Yahoo Sports
The Mile High City will welcome a main event rematch between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar as they headline UFC 150 on August 11. Henderson and Edgar will head to Denver for their second fight, as confirmed by UFC president Dana White on Tuesday.
Comical, creepy or kind of cool? A night in the countryside at 7 wacko Korean pensions
These Korean pensions are not in Seoul, but somewhere out there, with glow-in-the-dark walls, weird murals and beds shaped like beer cans, shoes and jail cells.