This Time, a Less Predictable Pyongyang [News Analysis]
New York Times
Pyongyang’s recent sequence of decisions struck many outside analysts as baffling, even by North Korean standards. The government first made a deal with Washington in February to suspend long-range missile tests and then went ahead with a rocket launching last week, something it knew was regarded by the Americans as tantamount to a missile launch. It then invited foreign journalists for the launching but ended up not showing it to them.
Unlike the case with its last two failed satellite launches, which it insisted were successful, this time it admitted to its people that the rocket failed.
One people, two very different Koreas [OP-ED]
Los Angeles Times
What is incredible is that the two ‘halves’ of the Korean peninsula have fostered such disparate systems when they’re populated by people of the same ethnic origins.
US: No progress in North Korea missile program
Associated Press via Google News
North Korea’s recent failed rocket launch shows that the communist country has made little progress in its spaceflight program, the head of the U.S. missile defense program said Wednesday.
The assessment by Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly raises questions about the immediate threat to the United States from a North Korean long-range missile and the billions that the U.S. spends to counter it.
North Korea Spent a Whole $15 Making Its Website
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has a Flash-heavy official webpage in English, to instruct the curious about the peculiar ways of its homebrewed “Juche” ideology (“…the masters of the revolution and construction are the masses of the people and that they are also the motive force of the revolution and construction…”). Not a bad look — functional, elegant — and certainly a step up from the GeoCities-esque design of its official news agency.
But, as it turns out, it’s an amateurish look. North Korea’s using a webpage template that costs $15.
Take a look at the source code. A keyword search for “envatowebdesign” will turn up a prompt comment from the site’s theme seller telling the person who bought it how to customize. Only whomever built the thing for Pyongyang didn’t bother. It’s a bit like leaving the plastic overlay on your fancy new TV telling you about the screen size. A quick check on the source code of the IgniteThemes “Blender” template confirms that it’s what North Korea built. Price check? $15.
Sudden Discussion on Race Grips South Korea
The Wall Street Journal
“While outrage at a brutal murder is natural, it is shameful to allow this to descend into racism and xenophobia,” Hankyoreh said. It said that the name-calling and criticisms were “irrational” and pointed out that Americans did not resort to sweeping generalizations against Koreans in the wake of shooting incidents that involved Korean-Americans.
Chosun Ilbo sees a double standard in the pride that Koreans are taking in the appointment of Korean-born American Jim Yong Kim to head of the World Bank with the knee-jerk, xenophobic criticism of Ms. Lee and other immigrants.
“It does not befit the world’s 15th-largest exporting country to get excited about the achievements of an American who comes from Korea but on the other hand to react with hostility to an immigrant who achieves something here,” a Chosun columnist wrote. “Such double standards are unacceptable.”
‘East Sea’ Spat Moves to White House Website
Koreans and Japanese are clashing on the White House website over the name of the body of water separating the two countries. After the Korean community in the U.S. filed an online petition with the White House demanding the publishers of public school textbooks there refer to it not only as the “Sea of Japan” but also the “East Sea,” Japanese Internet users began to fight back, claiming that “Sea of Japan” is the historical name.
As of Tuesday morning, 27,700 people had signed the petition submitted by the Korean community in Virginia. It urged 1,300 leaders of local Korean communities in America to take part in the petition. If more than 25,000 people sign the petition within 30 days, the White House reviews it and states its position or holds a hearing to determine the validity of the claim and hands the matter over to the relevant agency.
UC RIVERSIDE: Korean-American center sponsors competition
The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.)
UC Riverside’s Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies is holding a Quiz Bowl to test middle-school students’ knowledge of the center’s namesake.
The competition Thursday at Young Oak Kim Academy in Los Angeles is for students in Los Angeles who read “Unsung Hero: The Story of Col. Young O. Kim.” The book about the highly decorated U.S. Army World War II and Korean War veteran and humanitarian activist was translated into English last year by Edward Chang, the director of the center and professor of ethnic studies at UCR.
Using science to bring together enemies
While tensions remain high between the United States and North Korea, the relationship is more cordial between their scientists.
Scientists from both nations are collaborating via nongovernmental organizations and universities on projects ranging from tuberculosis research and deforestation issues to digital information technology.
The idea behind science diplomacy is to build bridges and relationships through research and academics despite political tensions. This month, a delegation of North Korean economic experts visited Silicon Valley to see various American businesses and academic institutions such as Stanford University. It may seem like a bizarre concept that two countries, at odds with each other, would share scientific knowledge.
Nine teenagers nabbed for murdering and burying friend
Nine teenagers have been detained on suspicion of beating a teenage girl to death and burying her body in a park, police said Wednesday.
The nine, including six high school students, are accused of brutally beating to death the 18-year-old with blunt weapons in an apartment in Goyang, north of Seoul, on April 5, for supposedly badmouthing them to others and refusing to heed their instructions, the Ilsan Police Station said.
The teenagers are also suspected of burying the victim’s body in a neighborhood park the following morning, the police said.
John Cho, Clark Duke Join ‘Identity Thief’
The Hollywood Reporter
John Cho and Clark Duke have joined the cast of The Identity Thief, a Universal comedy being toplined by Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.
Stills of Lee Byung-hun Whet Appetite for ‘G.I. Joe’ Sequel
New stills from “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” a sequel to a 2009 blockbuster “G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra,” have been released on U.S. websites, heightening fans’ excitement about the soon-to-be-released film.
Some of the images feature close-up poses of Storm Shadow, the role played by Korean actor Lee Byung-hun.
In Melbourne, New York’s David Chang talks microbiology
Microbiology is not something that we might associate with food, but according to New York chef David Chang, it’s the unsung hero of flavor.
The Michelin chef, who recently visited Australia for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, spoke in detail about his personal discovery of microbes — invisible organisms which play an influential role in cooking.
Windows Phone exec exits five months after being poached from Samsung
Microsoft’s Gavin Kim was a high-profile capture for Redmond, as it poached the former Samsung and Motorola exec to bolster its Windows Phone marketing team. Now, just five months into the job, he’s departing after marshaling the “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign into the world. The company wouldn’t go into specifics beyond saying that it was a personal decision to leave and Microsoft bears him no ill will — but then that’s what they always say.
JeongMee Yoon Explores Color And Gender In “Pink And Blue Project”
The Huffington Post
South Korean artist JeongMee Yoon first embarked on “The Pink and Blue Project” when her five-year-old daughter couldn’t get enough candy-colored possessions. She photographed her daughter Seowoo amongst her sea of pink things, from dolls to dresses to stuffed animals. She then began photographing little boys and girls amongst their color-coded belongings in a quest to better understand how gender shapes our lives from such a young age.
Yoon’s project is both adorable and unsettling. As toddlers, girls are already surrounded by primping and domestic products while boys are more interested in science, weapons and violence. The ready-made molds of femininity and masculinity are strongly present in the girls’ tutus and Easy Bake ovens and the boys’ Superman outfits and swords.
Just like dad, Kim Jong-un a boss at sports
Kim Jong-il was probably the greatest athlete who ever lived. As has been widely documented, he shot five holes-in-one in his first try at golf and he once bowled a 300. Considering he could change the weather based on his moods, he was probably a boss at Ultimate Frisbee.
But what about his son, North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong-un? It’s been reported that he’s a huge basketball fan, but little has been revealed about his godlike athletic prowess.
Though we lost several interns in the process, Fandom’s sources have been able to penetrate the mysterious regime and uncover some incredible details about the Supreme Commander’s physical super-abilities. And to say the least, he’s a chip off the ol’ block.
– While Kim Jong-Il famously traveled everywhere by train, his rotund successor travels exclusively via somersault. It is said that he can cover up to a thousand miles of terrain per day. Glorious.
– Kim Jong-un is taller than Wilt Chamberlain and is twice as good with women.
AP PHOTOS: Flower show celebrates N. Korea founder
AP via Google News
North Korea’s failed rocket has reappeared in a new form — at an annual flower show that combines floral extravaganza with high praise for the country’s founding father Kim Il Sung.
To mark what would have been Kim’s 100th birthday, thousands came to central Pyongyang to view elaborate displays, mostly of the violet orchid Kimilsungia named in his honor and the red begonia Kimjongilia named for his son and successor, Kim Jong Il.
Nameless Gangster: Rules of Time [REVIEW]
Largely set in 1980s Busan, “Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time” is a rags-to-rogues crimer whose finely chiseled portraits of greed, self-preservation and depravity are buttressed by powerhouse perfs. Methodically chronicling the volatile alliance between a corrupt official and the city’s top mafioso, helmer-scribe Yoon Jong-bin (“Unforgiven,” “Beastie Boys”) achieves a down-and-dirty realism, but falls short of the Scorsese-style gangland epics to which it aspires, and likewise lacks the satirical punch of Ryoo Seung-wan’s political thriller “The Unjust.” Local B.O. recorded a satisfactory $32 million-plus; offshore, pic won’t languish in anonymity, either.