New U.S. Ambassador on FTA, Koreas, Himself
Wall Street Journal
The new U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Sung Kim, spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday and waded into the thick of issues shaping relations between the two countries – including the one shaping South Korean politics at the moment, the KORUS free trade agreement.
U.S. Envoy Davies to Meet North Korean Aides in First Talks Since Kim Died
A U.S. delegation will meet with North Korea over its nuclear program on Feb. 23 in Beijing in the first such talks since the death of dictator Kim Jong Il and the succession of his son Kim Jong Un.
Obama administration special envoy Glyn Davies will meet counterpart Kim Kye Gwan to discuss whether to resume formal negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its atomic weapons program, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said yesterday in Washington. The U.S. was in talks to provide food aid before the elder Kim’s death on Dec. 17.
Demonstrators protest China’s arrests of North Korean defectors
Los Angeles Times
Angry demonstrators staged a rally Tuesday near the Chinese Embassy here to protest China’s arrests of dozens of North Korean defectors who face torture, imprisonment and even death if returned to their homeland.
For years, human rights advocates have criticized China’s refusal to recognize North Korean defectors and its policy of returning, or repatriating, all escapees from the North captured on its soil. Beijing’s stance has taken on more urgency in recent weeks, after new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to punish and even kill three generations of family members of anyone who tries to leave the impoverished North.
Trial delayed for businessman accused of killing partner
Denver District Court Judge Sheila Rappaport has ordered a second evaluation to decide if a man accused of killing a business partner and dumping his body in the Utah desert is competent to stand trial.
Public defenders for Joong Rhee, 68, whose trial for the murder of Hae C. Park was scheduled to begin today, requested a second competency hearing after the first found he could be tried, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
S. Korean woman commits suicide after dog’s death
AFP via Straits Times
A South Korean woman apparently mourning the death of her pet dog has committed suicide after leaving a note requesting she be buried with the animal, police said on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old surnamed Kim was found dead at her home in the southern city of Busan on Monday after apparently burning coal briquettes in the bathroom, a Busan police official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Kim was clutching the dead dog when a co-worker found her body in the bathroom, whose windows and door were sealed with tape, he said, adding the cause of death was likely carbon monoxide poisoning.
Korea: The land of freaky, funny love
Korea is one of the world’s best places to spend Valentine’s Day.
Customs and venues range from the sickeningly sweet (matching T-shirts) to the freakish and covert (love hotels) to the grandly romantic (event cafés).
Here are some of Korea’s most curious dating and mating customs and venues.
1. Love hotels
Sweet Hearts for Valentine’s Day
Looking for a soundtrack to your amorous endeavors this Valentine’s Day and beyond? Look no further than ohsweethearts.com, where individually accomplished, L.A.-based songwriters Priscilla Ahn and Charlie Wadhams, recording under the name Sweet Hearts, have teamed up to deliver a free, five-song gift to lovers everywhere.
Ahn, who has recently released two albums for Blue Note (When You Grow Up and A Good Day) has a warm, welcoming voice, and Wadhams, whose songwriting was featured in Walk Hard, is no vocal slouch either. (He co-wrote “Let’s Duet,” one of the funniest things in the movie.) Together, they sound like Belle & Sebastian — minus the twee.
Review: Berkeley’s BeBop gives Korean food a California twist
San Jose Mercury News
Many Bay Area foodies scoff at the idea of “Americanized” ethnic cuisine, vastly preferring a more traditional experience. But sometimes, riffs on old standards just work.
BeBop, which opened in June in the Elmwood neighborhood of Berkeley, is a perfect example. Started by the same folks who run Manpuku (the casual Japanese eatery next door, which is known far and wide for its value for the money), BeBop focuses on Korean comfort food — bibimbap rice bowls, jeon (pancake) and chapchae noodles — with a health-conscious, seasonal California sensibility.
This means that they go easy on the salt, eschew MSG and highlight fresh vegetables. It is heaven for vegetarians and vegans, which is nothing to scoff at when you’re talking Korean food. BeBop not only offers several veggie entrees but it uses a plum-based sauce, rather, than fish sauce, as the base of many of its dishes.
Match rigging spreads to baseball
The Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office said Tuesday that a match-fixing scandal has spread to include professional baseball and basketball.
The prosecution said they had secured testimony from an arrested gambling middleman that some baseball and basketball players were involved in rigging game results.
“A gambling middleman named Kim, arrested last year for fixing the results of football matches, said an associate identified as Kang, who was recently arrested for volleyball match fixing, rigged performance results in baseball and basketball games, too,” a prosecutor said.
Traditional Korean Baby Sling a Hit Overseas
The traditional Korean baby carrier blankets called podaegi are a hit among young hipster parents in the U.S. and elsewhere. Podaegi, which is basically a large piece of cloth with two straps, has become a popular item on online shopping sites. A U.S. online shopping site for young parents called togetherbe features photos of the Korean-style baby carrier and instructions on how to use it.
Crafty couple open Korean paper shop
Town Crier (Toronto, CAN)
Catherine Choi met her husband Hyun Suk while teaching English in Korea.
“He was waiting for an elevator and I walked by and we saw each other and fell in love,” she says.
After travelling back and forth between Korea and Canada, the pair settled in Toronto and opened Hanji Handmade Paper and Gifts on Bloor Street W. near Bathurst Street at the end of November.