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Joshua Stanton, a Washington-based attorney who blogs at One Free Korea, chats with the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live about reports that the United Nations’ World Food Programme may soon shutter its operations in North Korea due to inadequate funding. Stanton takes a dim view of the WFP’s anti-hunger efforts in the North, which he examines in a blistering critique he posted today. An excerpt:
[N]o one trusts the WFP’s assurances about how it delivers food aid to those who need it. It isn’t just me questioning that – the WFP’s own inspector general’s own findings tell us that the WFP has outsourced the transportation, distribution, and guarding of the food to the regime. Because the regime’s workers have access to the WFP’s computer records system, the WFP has no sure way of auditing the distribution of the food.
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South Korea won the Little League World Series Sunday with an 8-4 victory over the U.S. finals winner, the Jackie Robinson West All Stars from Chicago. It was the country’s first Little League world championship in 29 years. After the game, the Korean players bowed to their fans in the stands and then ran over to another group of supporters (which probably included their parents) and performed a 큰절.
The team they beat has its own compelling story. The players for Jackie Robinson West are all African-American, which stands out at a time when the percentage of black players in Major League Baseball continues to decline. LaTroy Hawkins of the Colorado Rockies, Carl Crawford of the Los Angeles Dodgers, B.J. and Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves and other African-American big leaguers covered the costs for the players’ parents to travel to South Williamsport, Pa., to see their kids compete. Even though the team lost, the city of Chicago is still going to throw them a parade on Wednesday.
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Here’s Yoo talking about the challenges she faced while shooting the film:
When you arrive in North Korea, you can’t just take a cab or bus. There is always someone that is coming to meet you. They take you around. They’re in charge of you for the whole duration of your trip and your itinerary is more or less determined prior to your trip. And the driver and the guys will report on your activities in separate ways. They are the ones who are able to interact with foreigners. They are the most loyal to the regime. They have to be, because they are susceptible to others. They watch South Korean television dramas in the tour bus if you show it to them. They are not stupid. They’ve been to China, some of them. And they are obviously connected to a kind of security or intelligence apparatus. But they are generally very nice, they’re not threatening in any way.
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Hold on, the former chief of the Jeju district prosecutors’ office was caught on tape doing what?
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Time-traveling back to 1968: here’s a South Korean TV commercial for Haitai milk chocolate bars.
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When ESPN dutifully recapped South Korea’s 8-5 victory Sunday over Puerto Rico in the Little League World Series, the network didn’t let on how nasty the game got. Watch this highlight clip posted by the Korea Baseball Organization (ignore the dreadful easy-listening music in the background). A pitcher for Team Puerto Rico beaned a South Korean player in the top of the second inning. That led to swift retaliation by a South Korean pitcher, who drilled a Puerto Rican batter in the hip in the bottom of the second. And that presumably prompted a Puerto Rican hurler to bounce a pitch off the helmet of a South Korean batter in the top of the sixth. Damn, these kids were playing for keeps.
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Inbee Park (박인비) successfully defended her title at the LPGA Championship by winning a sudden-death playoff Sunday against Brittany Lincicome. The 26-year-old South Korean golfer has now won five major championships.
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The New York Times’ Choe Sang-hun has an interesting story about how Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea has stirred resentment among some Protestant leaders. Choe points out a key political difference between Korean Catholics and Protestants:
[The Roman Catholic] church is more often associated with the downtrodden than are Protestant groups, which generally embrace capitalism wholeheartedly and are aligned with some of the country’s wealthiest citizens and most powerful political leaders.
The story closes with a quote that made me laugh out loud:
Choo Chin-woo, a local newsmagazine reporter who has specialized in covering the country’s churches, said Francis’s comments expressing concern for the poor and his criticism of capitalist greed had made clear the difference between the pope and the Korean leadership of both Protestant and Catholic churches.
“In the standard of the mainstream Korean churches today,” Mr. Choo said, “the pope is clearly a ‘commie.’ ”
Seoul, Korea. 2014
© Taeyoung Park
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Pope Francis arrived Thursday at Seoul Air Base to begin a five-day visit to South Korea. South Korean President Park Geun-hye was on hand to welcome him, while North Korea thoughtfully commemorated his arrival by firing three short-range missiles into the East Sea. Click here for the pope’s itinerary.
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The story of Kansas City Royals superfan SungWoo Lee (이성우) of South Korea is so curious and unlikely that I won’t even attempt to relate the whole tale here. Just check out this account in the New York Times, read this interview at KC sports/entertainment blog Rambling Morons, browse through this photo gallery from the Kansas City Star and watch this video of Lee throwing out the first pitch at Monday’s Royals game versus the Oakland A’s. You can also follow him on Twitter here.
(Photo of SungWoo Lee and Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett tweeted by @GeorgeHBrett)
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