Test Seen as Push by Kim for Credibility
New York Times
By defying warnings not only from the United States but also from its ally China to detonate a nuclear device on Tuesday, Kim Jong-un was trying to increase his status as a worthy leader among his people in North Korea and as a foe to be taken seriously among the nations his government considers its enemies.
Mr. Kim — still believed to be in his late 20s when he took over a highly militaristic regime after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in late 2011 — has recently emphasized a better living standard for his long-suffering people, generating hopes that he might lead his country out of its isolation. But at the same time, he has also shown himself to be his father’s son, launching a long-range rocket in December and threatening more missile and nuclear tests in the face of international sanctions.
Obama vows defense of S. Korea in call with Lee
AFP via Google News
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed a steadfast defense of South Korea in a telephone call with outgoing President Lee Myung-Bak after North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test.
“The two leaders condemned this highly provocative violation of North Korea’s international obligations. They agreed to work closely together, including at the United Nations Security Council,” a White House statement said.
The leaders, who have become friends over the past four years, pledged to pursue international measures to impede Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and reduce the risk of proliferation.
Is Obama Still the ‘First Asian American President’?
Wall Street Journal
Outgoing Cabinet Secretary Christopher P. Lu talks about leaving the Administration — and explains why he thinks Obama is still the “first Asian American President.”
Five years ago, when a one-term Senator from Illinois was in the process of stunning fellow Senator and presumptive nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton by seizing presidential front-runner status away from the former First Lady, I interviewed Christopher P. Lu, Senator Obama’s legislative director and Harvard Law School classmate, on an unusual topic:
Sunnyside’s Setup Artist
From a Burger King booth in Queens, a 75-year-old matchmaker pairs Korean-Americans the old-fashioned way.
One day last July, my mother told me that an older Korean man had spotted me walking in her neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens on a few occasions. When the stranger later saw my mom on the street, he was curious to know if I was her daughter since he noticed a resemblance. He asked my mother if I was single, and told her that he wanted to relay a message—that he knew a family friend with a son who would be perfect for me. Did I want to be set up?
I had to go on the date, my mother insisted.
Ordinarily I would have flat-out refused. Like most people, sure, I would love to find a compatible partner and a loving, long-term relationship. However, marriage is not something that weighs on my mind, let alone represents a dire emergency. My mother, however, does not feel the same way. I am thirty-three, unmarried and an only child. In the Korean immigrant community my parents are a part of, these facts elicit headshaking and sorrowful sighs from family and friends alike, as if I told them I had a terminal illness.
15 Korean Rappers You Should Know That Aren’t Psy
Koreans rap? The rest of the world was mostly oblivious to the fact until the dancing horse of the Far East came and crushed the International airwaves with the stupidly infectious pop tune that’s “Gangnam Style.” But let’s hold off on the gimmicky party steps and satirical lyrics for a moment. By rapping, XXL means spitting bars, punchlines, and vivid stories like Jadakiss (gasp), Big L (double gasp), or even Nas (triple gasp). You probably thought Koreans only made syrupy K-Pop records, Samsung cell phones (they’re not Japanese), and nuclear weapons (that’s North Korea). But there’s been an established rap scene for nearly 15 years. While it’s not quite yet an industry, whether as a contender in the pop market, or a successful indie genre, in Korea, hip-hop and rap are prevalent and well with artists, stars, and heroes of their very own.
Lim Yoon-taek Loses Battle with Cancer
Ooh La La Session leader Lim Yoon-taek died of stomach cancer on Monday evening.
Lim had been receiving treatment after being diagnosed with the terminal stage of the cancer in January 2011 and had parts of his stomach removed. The five-member band rose to fame when they won the “Superstar K” reality show, which aired between August and November that year.
Lim revealed during the preliminaries that he was suffering from the disease. He became gaunt as the competition proceeded but managed to go on performing, making him the true winner of the competition in many people’s eyes even before the final.
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds agree
Associated Press via ESPN
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and the Reds have agreed on a one-year contract for $7,375,000, leaving two Cincinnati players in salary arbitration.
Choo made $4.9 million last season with Cleveland, which traded him to the Reds as part of a three-team deal in December. The Reds plan to start him in center field in place of Drew Stubbs — who went to the Indians — and bat him leadoff.
He had asked for $8 million in arbitration, and the Reds had offered $6.75 million. Choo filed for the highest figure among the six Reds in arbitration.
Michelle Wie starts from ‘scratch’
AP via ESPN
Michelle Wie is eager to put a dismal year behind her when she tees off at the Women’s Australian Open, the season-opening tournament on the LPGA Tour.
Wie, playing for the first time in Australia, said Tuesday she has done her best to revamp her game after missing the cut in 10 of the 23 LPGA tournaments she played last year as her ranking dropped into the 60s.
“2012 was probably the worst year I’ve ever had in my entire career,” she said. “It was rough. One thing led to another and it kind of snowballed.”
The golfer Michelle Wie was supposed to be is a 15-year-old Kiwi who just won her country’s Women’s Open
When she first arrived on the scene, Michelle Wie was a 13-year-old phenom, a can’t miss talent who was expected to catapult women’s golf into the rarified status of the PGA Tour. Within a couple years Wie had famously flopped, leading to continued questions about anointing teenage golfers as the next big thing far too early.
Now, it appears another teen is actually is ready to compete for the top of the women’s golf throne. Like Wie she is of Asian descent. Unlike Wie, she hails from New Zealand, is a couple years old (15) and isn’t nearly foolish enough to demand to compete against men on the PGA Tour based on her parents’ sheer bombast.
On Sunday, New Zealand-native Lydia Ko shot a 4-under-par 68 to win the New Zealand Women’s Open, the most prestigious event in her home nation. Her one-shot victory over American professional Amelia Lewis gave New Zealand the first ever New Zealand-born victor of its own national women’s open.
IOC to give medal to South Korean footballer Park Jong-woo despite political banner incident
AP via Washington Post
A South Korean soccer player who displayed a political banner at the London Olympics will get his bronze medal back, the IOC announced Tuesday.
Park Jong-woo was issued with just a warning for his actions after his team’s 2-0 victory over Japan, the IOC executive board ruled. The South Korean Olympic committee will be warned and required to educate its athletes about competition rules.
Korean martial art taekwondo to remain Olympic sport
The traditional Korean marital art taekwondo will remain an Olympic sport for the foreseeable future after surviving the latest scrutiny at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), officials here said Tuesday.
At the IOC Executive Board meeting, taekwondo was kept on as one of 25 “core sports” in the Summer Olympic program. From 26 sports competed at the London Games last summer, IOC President Jacques Rogge and the 15-member executive board decided to drop wrestling.
For the 2020 Summer Olympics, the IOC will add a new sport, with baseball-softball, karate, roller sports, squash, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu competing for the single spot.
International Skating Union Wants Harder Look At Tampering Scandal
Documents obtained by NPR indicate the International Skating Union (ISU) has some doubt about a US Speedskating (USS) investigation of an incident involving sabotage of a rival athlete’s skates.
The USS probe concluded last month with a report from investigators from the White and Case law firm in New York. The report recounted the allegations leveled by American short track speedskater Simon Cho, a 2010 Olympic bronze medalist, as he admitted deliberately sabotaging the skate blade of a Canadian rival during an international competition in Poland in 2011.
Cho accused American coach Jae Su Chun of ordering him to tamper with the Canadian’s skates, and badgering him until he complied.