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February 27, 2010 | By John M. Glionna and Yuriko Nagano
Kim Yu-na could be excused if she had cracked under the pressure. Going for gold in Vancouver on Thursday night, the slight South Korean figure skater carried more than her own expectations of victory; she represented the yearning of a nation. And when Kim delivered with a skate for the ages, Koreans had not just their country's first-ever figure skating gold medal, but something many treasure even more: the defeat of Kim's closest rival, Mao Asada of Japan. When it comes to sports, there is little sweeter to a Korean than a victory over Japan, its former colonial occupier and the country against which it measures success.
August 24, 2011 | By John M. Glionna and Khristina Narizhnaya, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il traveled to Russia for the first time in nearly a decade, holding rare talks Wednesday with President Dmitry Medvedev that made progress on such issues as an energy deal and nuclear disarmament, according to Russian media reports. Meeting in remote eastern Siberia, the two leaders brought varying agendas, experts say: Kim is desperate for economic aid for his starving country while Medvedev seeks to bolster Russia's role in northeast Asia and promote its rapidly expanding economy.
December 20, 2011
Choices on the menu Re "School menu fails student test," Dec. 18 The failure of the new school lunch menus again proves that no matter how much the do-gooders in government wish it were different, they can't and shouldn't try to dictate taste and behavior. Whether it is the food we eat, the light bulbs we use, the mileage of the car we buy, the decision to gamble on the Internet or with whom we choose to be intimate — stay out of our lives. John Piccininni Newport Beach I read this article with skepticism.
July 17, 2012 | David Pierson and Paul Richter
North Korea's tough-minded military chief is out. Disney characters are in. Seven months after taking power in one of the world's most-closed societies, youthful Kim Jong Un appears to be consolidating his grip on North Korea, whose only two previous leaders were his late father and grandfather. At the same time, he appears to be putting his own, less hermetic, stamp on the nation's culture. Answers to bigger questions -- whether to expect any meaningful change in North Korea's relations with the outside world or its ability to feed and clothe its own people -- remain far from clear.
August 7, 2012 | By Jung-yoon Choi, Los Angeles Times
CHEONAN, South Korea - Kim Sung-eun let out a sigh as he checked email from a North Korean defector in China. The teenager had been sending the pastor emails for months, begging for help in escaping China. "I live in despair every day. I need to get out of here, pastor. Please save me," the email read. Agonized, Kim started to write a reply, his hand resting on his mouth as he selected words to comfort the teen. Such urgent emails and calls are common for Kim, who has been helping North Koreans find freedom from their repressive Communist nation for more than a decade.
July 23, 2009 | Ju-min Park
As a connoisseur of kimchi, South Korea's national dish, Kim Soon-ja takes a package of the fermented cabbage everywhere -- even overseas. But there has always been one indelicate matter: how to mask the garlicky and often offensively pungent odor. "My tour guide asked me not to take out my kimchi in public because it can be distasteful to foreigners," Kim, 56, says of a trip to Europe several years ago.
March 4, 2011 | By Robert Abele
One of South Korea's biggest recent hits in movie theaters, "Detective K" is a slapdash mixture of comedy, mystery, action and historical drama that proves diverting in spots but mostly exhausts with its genre-jumping restlessness. Set in the Joseon dynasty of the 18th century, director Kim Suk-yoon's epic yarn concerns the investigative efforts of a whip-smart, king-commissioned detective (Kim Myung-min) trying to solve a series of murders that might have something to do with embezzled taxes, a sultry female trade magnate (Han Ji-min)
July 24, 2010 | By John M. Glionna and Ju-min Park, Los Angeles Times
Kim Jong-ik recalls the odd feeling of being watched, a sixth sense that often made him shoot a look over his shoulder. "I had a hunch," he said, "that I was some sort of target." For months, government officials here conducted a surveillance campaign focues on the 56-year-old chief executive of a financial company, monitoring his e-mails and credit card charges and secretly searching his office. Kim, whose firm performed work for a former state-owned bank, was later indicted on charges of criminal libel after he posted a video on a company blog that was critical of President Lee Myung-bak.
May 3, 2010 | By Barbara Demick and John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
When North Korea's reclusive leader, Kim Jong Il, ventures outside his hermit kingdom, he must be in need of something, and for his current trip to China, the wish list is especially long. From his last real ally, the 68-year-old dictator is seeking protection from international sanctions and the nod to install his twentysomething son as his successor, as well as money to prop up a faltering economy. Famously phobic about flying, Kim reportedly arrived in China on Monday, in a style befitting one of the world's last Cold War dictators: on an armored train and in what was supposed to be complete state secrecy.
August 4, 2011 | By John M. Glionna and Jung Yoon-Choi, Los Angeles Times
Kim Jin-suk spends her days cloistered in a metallic cell 15 stories above the ground, solemnly watching the world scurry about far below. The 51-year-old labor activist is a prisoner of choice. Since January, she has waged a solitary protest on Crane No. 85, a mammoth industrial apparatus, to condemn layoffs at a major South Korean shipping company in this southern port city. For 211 days, she has focused attention on what she says are the excesses of the country's corporate culture, in this instance the 400 job cuts announced by the bosses at Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction last year.
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