Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Military Parade in Pyongyang Hails 'Spirit of the 50s'

North Korea staged a military parade in Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang on Sunday to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War. The massive show of confidence for leader Kim Jong-un and his regime was attended by senior brass and officials and dignitaries from abroad including China's Vice President Li Yuanchao.

In a speech delivered on Kim's behalf, senior military figure Choe Ryong-hae stressed the "spirit of the 1950s," which he summed up by "the strong belief that there can be no fatherland, people, or homes without a leader, defense of the leader against all odds with a willingness to die for the defense of the country and its leader."

This spirit "is a more formidable weapon than nuclear arms," he added.

Choe said the spirit of the 1950s has been "consistently inherited" by Kim Jong-un through his father Kim Jong-il, the nation founder's son.

The rhetoric mainly aims to legitimize Kim junior's hereditary leadership and instill loyalty to him.

North Korean Soldiers carrying backpacks with a radioactive symbol are seen during a mass military parade on Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on Saturday. /North Koreas Korean Central News Agency 
North Korean Soldiers carrying backpacks with a radioactive symbol are seen during a mass military parade on Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on Saturday. /North Korea's Korean Central News Agency
Kim himself wore a Mao suit rather than military uniform and did not speak.

The parade was smaller than the one held on Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday in April last year. Some 12,000 to 13,000 soldiers and about 300 pieces of military equipment took part, a South Korean government source said, compared to 15,000 and 800 last April.

One group of soldiers in the parade carried backpacks with a radioactive symbol. A South Korean military source said it is unlikely that they contain nuclear weapons, so the regime is probably just trying to give the impression that it has deployed nukes warfare ready and there is a unit in charge of them.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Samsung Overtakes Apple in Mobile Phone Profits

Samsung Electronics has made greater profits from mobile phones than Apple for the first time.

Market researcher Strategy Analytics on Monday said Samsung achieved US$5.2 billion in operating profit from mobile phone sales in the second quarter this year, overtaking Apple's $4.6 billion.

Apple had reigned as by far the most profitable mobile phone maker since releasing the iPhone 3GS in the third quarter of 2009, chiefly because it makes more clean profit per phone than any other firm.

But disappointing sales of the iPhone 5 released last year cost Apple the edge as Samsung's sales were buoyed by the runaway hit Galaxy S4.

Samsung has dominated the smartphone market in terms of sales since the third quarter of 2011 and been the world's biggest handset maker since the first quarter of last year.

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Facts You Should Know About Sunscreen

Up to 90 percent of skin aging that is not simply due to the ravages of time can be attributed to exposure to the sun, some experts believe. Protection from the sun is a must if people want to prevent wrinkles, freckles and dry, saggy skin. But what can sunscreen do, and what can it not do to help your skin stay younger?

◆ Is sunscreen only for sunny days?

No. People need to always wear sunscreen regardless of the weather and seasons, because clouds do not filter out all UV rays.

◆ Is it safe to stay in the sun longer with sunscreens with higher SPF numbers?

Sunscreen tends to get rubbed or washed off by sweat or water exposure, especially during swimming. Once out of the water, sunscreen should be put on again. Otherwise it is best to reapply it every two to three hours, a cosmetics expert says.

◆ Do cosmetics with SPF offer enough sun protection?

Cosmetics with SPF are advertised as an effective alternative to sunscreen, but experts agree that sunscreen should still be applied separately. The mixture will provide better protection.

◆ Do darker-skinned people need to wear sunscreen?

People with both dark and light skin are vulnerable to aging of the skin due to sun exposure. Caution is the best policy as UV rays may cause skin trouble and even skin cancer.

◆ Is it safe to use old bottles of sunscreen?

Once opened, the effectiveness of sunscreen can diminish, especially when it is exposed to high temperatures, so discard old opened bottles. But if it has been stored unopened at room temperature, it can be used for up to three years.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Obama declares Korean War Vets Day

A Korean War veteran salutes in front of the memorial monument at the Korean National Cemetery in Seoul, Friday. About 220 veterans and their families from 21 nations have been invited to attend commemorative events to mark the 60th anniversary of Korean Armistice Agreement and visit former battle sites across the nation. / Yonhap

By Kang Seung-woo of The Korea Times

Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation Thursday that declared July 27 as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

In a proclamation to honor the 60th anniversary of the cease-fire agreement that ended the three-year conflict, Obama told his country to honor the Korean War veterans.

“We remember ordinary men and women who showed extraordinary courage through three long years of war, fighting far from home to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met,” he said.

“Most of all, we remember those brave Americans who gave until they had nothing left to give. No monument will ever be worthy of their service, and no memorial will fully heal the ache of their sacrifice. But as a grateful nation, we must honor them ― not just with words, but with deeds.”

The Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950, was halted after an armistice, not a peace treaty, was signed on July 27, 1953, leaving the two Koreas still technically at war. More than 36,000 American soldiers were killed in the war, with over 103,000 injured, according to the U.S. government.

Obama, 51, will commemorate the anniversary with a speech on Saturday at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington and he will become the first U.S. President to participate in a formal ceremony to mark the Korean armistice. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will accompany him.

The President also praised the remarkable economic development of South Korea.

“In six decades, the Republic of Korea has become one of the world’s largest economies and one of America’s closest allies. Together, we have built a partnership that remains a bedrock of stability throughout the Pacific. That legacy belongs to the service members who fought for freedom 60 years ago, and the men and women who preserve it today,” he said.

In line with the U.S. move, the Korean government proclaimed the Armistice Day Friday as “United Nations (U.N.) Forces Participation Day” to honor the veterans who fought in the war.

“The U.N. Forces Participation Day will shed light on the significance of U.N. forces that fought in the Korean War and honor their contribution and sacrifice,” the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs (MPVA) said.

“It aims to improve relations with allied U.N. members and help post-war generations learn the nation’s history.”

For this year’s event, government officials, representatives of armistice monitoring groups and U.N. organizations from 27 nations were invited to South Korea by the veterans affairs service in appreciation of their contribution and to show them the nation's remarkable development over the past six decades.

Incheon Aiport of South Korea A Dating Hot Spot

There's nothing like rainy skies and muggy weather to put a damper on plans couples make to spend a pleasant day outdoors. But there's no need to fret because Incheon International Airport offers a wide range of indoor activities. The sprawling airport complex also hosts various performances all year round free of charge.

The most convenient way to get to the nation's main air gateway is to hop on the airport express. It takes 55 minutes to get there from Seoul Station and costs just W3,950 (US$1=W1,127).

Sweeping views of the Han River and West Sea await passengers as the train passes by Digital Media City, Gimpo International Airport, Geomam and Unseo stations along the way. The vast mud flats on the west coast are especially atmospheric during the rainy season.

A multiplex theater sits in front of the Incheon International Airport stop. Buy a movie ticket first and spend some time looking around if you have time to kill.

At the corner of the ticket booth, handprints of celebrities are displayed along with posters of former box office hits.

Next to the theater is a skating rink. It costs W4,000 for adults, W3,000 for teenagers and W2,000 for children to rent a pair of skates for an hour.

The rink is open all year round as it's made of polyethylene, which is more slippery than ice but does not get you wet if you fall.

The airport also features musical performances 365 days a year on the first floor of its passenger terminal, with a schedule that changes each month.

Additionally, on the fourth floor of the same terminal is a Korean-style pavilion where visitors can relax with a cup of coffee or tea as they watch planes take off and land.

For more details, visit the airport railway website at http://www.arex.or.kr/jsp/main.jsp, or call 032-745-7788.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mood swings during menopausal transition

By Lee Hye-jun

I remember when my mother turned into a very different person during her menopausal transition. She would get emotional quite often _ she is a calm person in general _ and got annoyed easily at every family member. Looking back, I realized she was going through a big change of her life as a woman. I felt bad that I was not being more supportive of her.

A few years later, I brought up that time trying to have a sweet mother-daughter moment. Mom’s response was unexpected. She remembered neither being emotionally challenged nor giving me a hard time. How could she have forgotten it all?

Menopause is derived from the Greek words “men” (month) and “pausis” (cessation), a point when menstrual period permanently ends. During menopausal years, some women experience severe symptoms from estrogen deprivation, whereas others show unnoticeable reactions.

The most common discomfort is experiencing hot flushes, the sudden onset of a sense of intense heat over the head, neck, and chest, accompanied by an increase in heart rate. Hot flushes occur mostly in the first year after the last menses. Although, they disappear in 50 percent of women after four to five years, they last up to 15 years in 10 percent of women. Extremely low estrogen levels also leave the vagina dry, resulting in frequent vaginitis, painful intercourse and urinary diseases. Other common menopausal complaints are fatigue, headaches, irritability, aching joints and muscles, night sweats, and insomnia.

Many of us, including me, assume that estrogen deprivation at menopause is responsible for mood swings as well as physical disturbances. However, about 85 percent of women experience no mood difficulties during the menopausal transition while experiencing the same estrogen deprivation as other women. Indeed, statistically depression is less common among middle-aged women.

We tend to relate menopause and depression because middle-aged women face more life events that affect mood than women in other age group. The vicissitudes of life are commonly prevalent around menopause: major illnesses and even death in a spouse, relative or friends, retirement from work, separation from children, and financial insecurity. Moreover, a small population of women who are more sensitive to hormonal changes may have a tougher time undergoing an ordeal.

Additionally, mood is greatly affected by above-mentioned physical discomfort resulting from estrogen deprivation such as hot flushes, dry vagina, aching joints and insomnia. For example, hot flushes can disturb the quality of sleep, thereby diminishing the ability to cope with stress the next day.

Mood swing during menopausal transition can be a complex interaction of all of above. Particularly, women with underlying psychological problems are at greater risk of new onset of depressive symptoms.

My mom forgot about that time because she must have not experienced extreme mood difficulties or depression. She could have been simply irritated by the physical discomforts or perhaps I was just being annoying. If your mom shows mood swing lately, do not blame her hormone first. Look closely if she is going through a major life event or severe menopausal symptoms, and be supportive. Last but not least make sure you are not the reason.

The writer is a doctor at Maria Fertility Hospital in Seoul. For further questions, send an e-mail to the writer at hyejunlee@mariababy.com, or call the hospital’s English-speaking coordinator at 82 (Korea country code) 2 (Seoul area code) 2250-5577 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 2250-5577 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or visit the hospital’s website, http://eng.mariababy.com/.

Gwangju Wins Bid for 2019 Swimming Worlds

Gwangju has been named the host of the 2019 world swimming championships. World governing body FINA announced in Barcelona on Friday that the city in the southern part of Korea has been picked based on presentations without voting.

Budapest, which bid for both the 2019 and 2021 championships, was chosen to host the later event.

In this year's event being held in Barcelona until Aug. 5, over 2,500 athletes from more than 180 countries have gathered to compete for 67 gold medals. In 2019, over 20,000 athletes are expected to come to Gwangju as another high-profile event, the Masters Worlds for swimmers aged 25 and above, will take place on the sideline of the championships.

Residents of Gwangju celebrate in the city hall after the southwestern city was named the host of the 2019 world swimming championships on Friday. 
Residents of Gwangju celebrate in the city hall after the southwestern city was named the host of the 2019 world swimming championships on Friday.
However there were some nervous moments several hours before the announcement as the city's preparatory committee for the event was accused of forging a signature of high-ranking government officials in a bid document.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that the committee forged the signatures of former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and former Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik in a document guaranteeing that the government's financial support would be similar to that given for the 2011 Daegu IAAF World Championships in Athletics.

What a nice contribution : Lee Young-ae to star in variety show

Actress Lee Young-ae as she appeared in an ad in the New York Times.
Leading Korean actress Lee Young-ae will make a rare appearance in a special Chuseok holiday program in September.

The 42-year-old star of the Korean drama “Jewel in the Palace” will star in the variety show where eight foreign college students majoring in Korean language or Korean literature will camp down at a “hanok” or traditional Korean residence for three days. The show tentatively titled “Welcome” and planned by the network MBC will also pit the students into two teams for a Korean language battle. The first episode planned for September will invite students of Korean language department at the Ankara National University in Turkey.

The network officials said that Lee embraced the idea. After giving birth to twins, the actress has largely been promoting popular Korean content overseas. She not only jointly created the “bibimbap” or Korean mixed-rice ad along with Professor Seo Kyoung-duk of Sungshin Women’s University and Dokdo advocate that appeared in the New York Times, but also featured as its model. She also invited the students and the founder of the Democracy Prep Charter School in Harlem New York that successfully adopted the Korean education model.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This Year's Mud Festival Packs Even More Thrills

The Boryeong Mud Festival will open for its annual 10-day run on Friday at Daecheon Beach in South Chungcheong Province. One of the charms of the festival is its innovative way of letting visitors unwind through a series of mud-related programs and activities.

The festival offers over 60 fun events and programs including those featuring hands-on experience, exhibitions and night-time events. Mud raves, mud slides, mud massages, and body painting using colored mud are just some of the messy attractions on offer.

A concert featuring popular bands such as Ooh La La Session and Dalshabet will celebrate the opening of the festival at 8 p.m. on Friday, followed by a display of fireworks. On the following day, street parades will bring a festive mood to the downtown area at 2 p.m. and to the beach area at 5 p.m., with promotional ambassadors including TV celebrities Lee Pa-ni and Kwak Hyun-hwa joining them.

The Air Force's Black Eagles aerobatic team will also put up an air show over the beach at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

The mud festival draws the largest number of foreign visitors among the nation’s festivals, and some foreign media like CNN and the Huffington Post have recently posted articles on it.

Old Village in Goryeong Preserves Ancient Customs, Crafts

Most of the people living in the rural village of Gaesil in Goryeong, North Gyeongsang Province are over 70, but children's laugher can be heard throughout the year as youngsters come to experience local arts and crafts such as riding wooden rafts and making yeot, or sweet, sticky toffee made by boiling grains with malt.

These days the village is seeing more foreign visitors leave messages on the village's welcoming signboard, which features a dozen or so languages.

About 100 inhabitants live in 50 households in this small town and are mostly related, thus creating a strong sense of family bonding. "Almost 99 percent of the residents are related to one another. The village is fairly small, but it has a long history of 350 years," said one of the residents.

Visitors can enjoy making water pistols out of bamboo and cooking traditional Korean confectionaries.

"These days it's not easy to get the chance to make yeot. My kids really like it, and it also triggers memories of childhood days," said a housewife in her 40s from Daegu.

More active programs are also on offer, such as riding wooden rafts, and spending the night in a traditional Korean home with a meal of steamed rice cooked using bamboo.

"It's the kind of place where people can get hands-on experience at all sorts of traditional pastimes," said Kim Byung-man, head of the local village association. "We only hope that many people come and learn about Korea's traditional culture."

Time permitting, it's a good idea to stop by Daegaya Museum which houses artifacts from the ancient Gaya Kingdom and is only a 10-minute drive away.

In front of the museum, a cluster of ancient tombs provide a rare glimpse into life on the peninsula in bygone centuries. It also features various relics from the Paleolithic to modern periods.

For more information on the village, visit www.gaesil.net or call (054) 956-4022. To learn more about the museum, log on to its website at www.daegaya.net or call (054) 950-6071.

Good news for tourist : Korea to Ease Path for Foreign Tourists


Foreign tourists will be able to enjoy a 10-percent discount in Korean hotels from next year, and a tourist police will be introduced in October to crack down on nuisances for visitors.

According to the plans announced by the government on Wednesday, foreign tourists will be entitled to a 10-percent VAT refund on hotel bills at the airport or port from early next year. The scheme will be test-run run for one year.

The aim is to attract Japanese tourists, whose numbers has dwindled drastically due to weak yen and sour relations between Korea and Japan over territorial and other issues.

The deficit in Korea's tourism industry against Japan in the first five months of this year was US$1.6 billion, 11 times greater than a year ago.

Also, multiple entry visa will be issued to many more Chinese nationals to promote tourism in Korea. About 3,000 people including spouses and children of Chinese nationals who already have a multiple entry visa for Korea, residents of Beijing or Shanghai, or students at 112 universities chosen by the Chinese government will benefit.

There was a 17-percent increase in the number of Chinese travelling abroad last year, and their spending soared by 40 percent to $102 billion.

Visa requirements for Southeast Asians will also be eased, giving those who have visited Korea before and without a history of illegal overstay a 30-day multiple-entry visa.

The government will set up a separate 100-man tourist police under the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency in October this year, and expand it to Busan and Incheon later. They will patrol tourist sites such as Myeong-dong, Insa-dong, Dongdaemun Market, and Itaewon, and crack down on overcharging, illegal taxis and unlicensed tourist guides.

Casinos exclusively for foreigners will be allowed to open on Korean cruise ships.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Manipuri Woman in Top 100 most influential people in world on armed violence reduction


New Delhi, 2 July 2013 :
 In 2011, at least 526,000 people died violent deaths around the world. Over three-quarters of these occurred in non-conflict settings. A wide range of people around the globe are working to change this depressing reality. But who are these men and women who have dedicated their lives to making the world a safer place?
Members of London-based organization called Action on Armed Violence have published on 28th June a list of 100 people who are outstanding examples of those trying to change the world for the better. The list includes, United Nations Secretary General Ban ki Moon, Nobel Laureates like Jody Williams and Former US President Jimmy Carter and survivors like Malala Yosufzai. The complete list can be found at this website http://aoav.org.uk/2013/top-100-the-most-influential-people-in-the-world-of-armed-violence/

It is with great pride to share that amongst the list of 100 most influential people in the world in armed violence reduction, hailing from Northeast state of Manipur in India, Binalakshmi Nepram is one of the icons listed. Speaking on hearing about the recognition, Ms Nepram said, “We are delighted to share that after years of hard-work on finding ways to reduce armed violence,we found our name in the list. To a humble struggling organisation and team like us,this news has come with great joy. We are honoured and humbled to be in list.We thank all who trusted us, supported and inspired us in this journey.Our work for peace will go on with renewed vigor”

Manipuri Woman in Top 100 most influential people in world on armed violence reduction
Manipuri Woman in Top 100 most influential people in world on armed violence reduction

Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, born in the state of Manipur located in India’s Northeast region. She is a writer-activist and is a strong voice in the India and Asia region who is spearheading work on making women-led disarmament a movement and an issue that is meaningful to people’s lives. Ms Nepram has a Masters in History from Delhi University and an M.Phil in South Asian Studies in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University. Ms Nepram has published several articles and papers in both national and international journals on issues relating to armed violence, small arms proliferation, peace processes, women and peace building. She is author of four books namely a book of poetry called “Poetic Festoon” published in 1990; “South Asia’s Fractured Frontier: Armed Conflict, Narcotics and Small Arms Proliferation in India’s Northeast” published 2002, “Meckley”, a historical fiction based on the conflict in Manipur published in 2004 and an edited volume titled “India and the Arms Trade Treaty” published in 2009.

In 2004, Ms Nepram co-founded India’s first civil society organization which is working on conventional disarmament issues, namely the Control Arms Foundation of India. And in 2007, in order to help thousands of women who are affected by gun violence in her home-state Manipur, Ms Nepram launched the Manipuri Women Gun Survivor Network. She has represented Indian civil society in various disarmament meetings at United Nations in New York.
In 2004, Ms Nepram was awarded a Ploughshares fellowship to work on small arms mitigation in Indo-Myanmar/Burma region. In 2006, Bina was awarded the Dalai Lama Foundation’s WISCOMP Scholar of Peace Award given to women who are working on conflict resolution and peace process and completed a pioneering work on women and micro-disarmament issues.

Bina’s work with Manipur women gun survivors was given the “Best Humanitarian Initiative of the Year 2010” at Women Leaders in India Conference held in New Delhi on 10 December 2010 and in September 2010 she was conferred with international Sean MacBride Peace Prize for 2010 by International Peace Bureau based in Geneva. In August 2011, Bina was given the CNN IBN Real Heroes Award for her work in supporting thousands of women survivors of gun violence in her home state Manipur and she was recipient of Ashoka Fellowship by Washington DC based Ashoka : Innovators of the Public. In 2011, CNN IBN awarded her team Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, “Indian of the Year “Award in Special Achievement category.
Till this day, Ms Nepram and her team continues to dedicate their lives working in villages of Northeast India transforming lives of impoverished poverty stricken women affected by conflict while continuing to research,write,advocate for change with governments,parliamentarians and United Nations

Office of Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network
& Control Arms Foundation of India
Email: cafi.communique@gmail.com
Delhi office : B5 / 146, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi-110029, India
Phone: +91-11-46018541 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +91-11-46018541 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: +91-11-26166234
Web: www.womensurvivorsnetwork.org / www.cafi-online.org


Korean Body Shape 'Becoming More Western'


The body shape of Koreans is becoming more Western. According to a survey by the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards of 1,228 people between 40 and 69 last year, Korean adults' legs are now about 1 cm longer than their counterparts' eight years ago.

Forty-something men are 1.3 cm taller and have 1 cm longer legs, while those in their 50s boast 1 cm longer legs although their average height is the same as their predecessors'.

For men in their 60s, the average height and leg length are down 0.3 cm and up 0.7 cm.

While the average height does not show a uniform trend, body proportions have changed to longer legs. As for women in their 40s to 60s, they are now 1.3-2.4 cm taller and have 0.4-1 cm longer legs.

Obesity has decreased among both genders and all age groups. Men now have slimmer chests, waists and hips while women are taller with a lower body mass index.

The changes are attributable to growing interest in health, which in turn changed people's diet and caused them to exercise more, the agency said.

Meanwhile, as people grew older their body shape changes to less muscular tissue and a bigger belly.

Lotus seson all over in Asian Countries

Sunday, July 14, 2013

'Makgeolli' storable for 100 days

Ivory-colored traditional rice wine "makgeolli"

The state-run food laboratory has developed a new fermentation technology, extending the distribution period for Korea’s traditional rice wine Makgeolli to 100 days from 30 days.
The Korea Food Research Institute (KFRI) said the new technology slows down the liquor’s fermentation process.

Experts said it will help the products’ worldwide distribution. The demand for Makgeolli continues to rise in overseas markets. But exporting the products in large quantities to remote nations by vessels has been impossible since the current storage technology keeps its taste unspoiled only for up to one month.

“We’ve found that Makgeolli keeps its taste unspoiled for up to 105 days,” a KFRI official said. “We will soon start promoting this to domestic Makgeolli makers.”

Makgeolli is found to have potent anti-cancer properties that are 10-25 times greater than beer and grape wine, according to a recent study by the KFRI.

Source: The Korea Times

Dokdo Essay Contest winners

Esther Hyunjin Yoon Marie Alexis Miravite

The Korea Times and the Northeast Asian History Foundation are proud to announce the 12 winners of the 2013 International Dokdo Essay Contest.

The given topic of their essays was Ten Truths about Dokdo — Not Known in Japan.

Esther Hyunjin Yoon, a senior at Yongsan International School of Seoul, won the Gold Prize. She will receive 1.5 million won in prize money and a plaque.

Marie Alexis Miravite, a student of multimedia studies in the University of the Philippines Open University and Kim Mi-na, a student at Namsan Middle School in Changwon, won the Silver Prizes.

Each of them will receive 500,000 won in cash and a plaque.

Three people were selected as Bronze Prize winners. They are Choi Seung-ho, a retired English teacher, Murray Barnett, and Hong Chang-ki, a student at the Mander Portman Woodward Cambridge.

They will be each given 300,000 won in prize money with a plaque.

Six notable entries were selected.

They are Bang Jun-suk, Kwon Sun-chang, Guangyu Qiao, Prasanna Bolla, Jeffrey Cahak and Park Eun-ji. Each of them will receive a gift certificate worth 50,000 won.

All winning essays will be published in The Korea Times, a booklet and an e-book.

The winners will be individually informed of the schedule for the award ceremony.

Spearheading South Korean 'hallyu' through agriculture


By Lee Hyo-sik
Original Source : http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2013/07/328_139172.html


RDA transfers Korea’s agricultural knowhow to developing world

Lee Yang-ho, Administrator of the Rural Development Administration
When people hear “hallyu,” the Korean cultural wave, they usually think it has something to do with Korean films or pop music.

But the Rural Development Administration (RDA), the state-run agricultural research institute, has been promoting a more comprehensive meaning of hallyu abroad over the years.

Specifically, RDA has been sharing its advanced agricultural knowledge and knowhow with developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America to help them boost crop production and diversify farm products. The institute, founded in 1906, is headquartered in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, and operates four research affiliates specializing in crops, horticulture, herbs and livestock, respectively.

RDA invites hundreds of government officials and students from dozens of developing countries each year to come to Korea and to participate in educational courses on agriculture.

It has also dispatched its employees overseas to help developing nations boost agricultural production and protect crops from pests or diseases.

In an interview with The Korea Times, RDA Administrator Lee Yang-ho said the state-funded institute will step up its efforts to share its extensive knowhow on agricultural science and technology by working with more developing nations.

“On June 25, I arrived in Uganda after a 20-hour flight from Korea. I saw firsthand how dire the situation is in the African country,” Lee said. “Uganda’s agricultural sector badly needs a full-scale makeover in order to feed its population of 35 million. We have many things to do there.”

Until 1965, the African nation was better off than Korea, according to Lee. Now he feels it is pointless to compare the two countries.

“It feels like Uganda has not moved forward for many years. It desperately wants to learn about Korea’s advanced agricultural science and knowhow,” the administrator said. “We will extend full support to one of the world’s poorest countries.”

While in Uganda, Lee signed an agreement with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to set up a Korea Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA) center in the country by the end of 2013.

“President Museveni asked me to send RDA employees to his country to help develop its agricultural industry. We have actively responded to his call and will do everything we can to assist Uganda.”

In May, Museveni visited the RDA headquarters and toured its research facilities. He expressed a desire to learn more about Korea’s agricultural knowhow during a meeting with Lee.

“Museveni visited North Korea three times. But he knows there is nothing to learn from the communist state, which suffers from a severe food shortage,” Lee said. “Uganda wants to benchmark Korea to move forward its agricultural and other industries.”

He said the African nation, slightly larger than the entire Korean Peninsula, has more arable farmlands, but its crop production is much smaller than Korea’s.

“The size of Uganda’s arable land is much larger than that of Korea. But its land produces less than ours due to outdated cultivation skills and lack of fertilizers, among others,” Lee said.

“They do not know how to efficiently store crops after harvest. So, the significant portion of harvested crops goes to waste. They do not know how to control diseases and pests either.”

He said things will start improving in Uganda when a KOPIA center is set up and goes into operation.

A Rural Development Administration (RDA) researcher shows government officials from African nations how to operate an irrigation facility inside a greenhouse at the RDA headquarters in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, in this file photo. / Courtesy of Rural Development Administration

Establishing more overseas offices

The state-funded agricultural research institute has set up and operates KOPIA centers in 15 developing countries, including Vietnam, Kenya, Brazil and Myanmar. It spent 7.3 billion won ($6.6 million) in 2012 to manage the centers, each of which has 11 RDA employees all year around.

They provide on-the-spot, tailor-made technical assistance, undertake joint research activities with host countries and offer training programs. “We first established KOPIA centers in five nations in 2009. The number has increased to 15. Through the facilities, we have given a wide range of technical assistance to farmers and agriculture industry officials in these countries,” Lee said.

RDA undertook a project to boost vegetable production in Vietnam. In Algeria, local farmers learned from a KOPIA center about how to cultivate seed potatoes, while farmers in Kenya were taught to cultivate rice.

In Africa, the institute currently operates centers in Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Algeria and Ethiopia. “By the end of this year, we will set up our fifth African KOPIA center in Uganda. We will also establish presence in Peru this year,” Lee said. “By the year’s end, we would like to increase the number of overseas cetners to 20.”

Initiatives for Asia and Africa

The institute has launched two multilateral initiatives for Asia and Africa in a bid to offer more locally-suited assistance. It plans to kick off a third one for South America.

“We launched the Asian Food & Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) in November 2009 in cooperation with 10 Asian countries in an attempt to boost agricultural productivity across the region. We have transferred techniques and knowhow to our Asian counterparts to help them boost yields and achieve a sustainable agricultural industry,” Kim said.

The countries AFACI has helped include the Philippines, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Thailand.

In July 2010, RDA also started the Korea-Africa Food & Agriculture Cooperation Initative (KAFACI) to further boost cooperation with 17 African nations, including Cameroon, Ethiopia and Uganda. The institute has been offering knowhow on how to effectively deal with diseases and pests affecting rice and other crops. It has also transferred a wide range of agricultural techniques to increase production.

Lee said Korea has emerged as a role model for many emerging economies across the globe for its successful rural development over the years, adding the institute has built a win-win system with its counterparts in developing nations.

Training public officials from developing world

RDA has helped raise Korea’s profile abroad as a leading agricultural nation, Lee said, stressing that it created a human network of government officials and opinion leaders in host nations, who view Korea favorably. Nearly 43,000 people from 117 countries have participated in RDA training programs from 1972 to 2012.

Those who took part in its educational courses have formed an alumni network after returning home. Alumni associations have been set up in seven countries, including Indonesia and Thailand.

“The favorable sentiment toward Korea will definitely help expand business opportunities for us and private agricultural firms here when securing overseas farms and exporting products. We will continue to boost cooperation with developing nations in the field of agriculture,” Lee said.

Learning from Israel

The administrator then talked about Israel’s agricultural industry, saying that Korea needs to learn more from the Middle Eastern nation.

“After visiting Uganda, I went to Israel. The ‘creative economy’ is a buzz word in Korea these days and many say we should model our venture industry after Israel’s. I think Korea’s agricultural sector should also study Israel’s and learn from it,” he said.

Most of the Israeli territory is desert, Lee said. “But it cultivates peanuts, sweet potatoes and other produce, and exports them to Europe. This is because the country has developed and uses state-of-the-art technologies to produce drought-and pest-resistant breeds. It also recycles used residential water for agricultural use.”

Israel has also expanded its knowhow on the storage of harvests so that it can ship a variety of produce to Europe.

“Korea should benchmark Israel. It needs to invest more to come up with more advanced cultivation methods in line with increasing climate changes. In particular, we need to develop better ways to store farm products longer,” he said.

When asked about the possible Korea-China free trade agreement and its impact on the local farmers, Lee said the accord has both pros and cons.

“Obviously, farmers that produce rice, onion, garlic and other general crops will likely be hit by the surging imports of cheaper Chinese produces,” he said.

“But at the same time, we can target wealthy Chinese consumers who are willing to pay more for high-quality and safe farm products. I think we can export milk, baby formula and other raw and processed products, which Chinese consumers view as safe.”

Lee also said RDA will continue its research on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“One of our seven main research projects is about GMOs. We cannot just sit idle while the United States and other countries move forward in the field,” Lee said. “For now, we will only do research and have no plans to commercialize genetically-engineered products. For the commercialization of GMO products, we need public consensus.”

Saturday, July 13, 2013

25 best foods for summer

In some countries, the coldest, sweetest dishes are considered the best foods for summer.
In others, the hottest -- in both senses of the word -- are considered the best way to beat the heat.
Whatever the logic, we're ready to dig into all these summer foods.

kulfiThe matka (clay pot) keeps the kulfi insulated.


This will probably upset gelato fans, but of all the icy, creamy desserts out there, kulfi's our pick for the best one for summer.
A traditional Indian ice cream developed to melt slowly in the heat of the Indian subcontinent, kulfi tends to be creamier and denser than its Western counterparts, with flavors such as rose and mango.
It's served in matkas (little clay pots) that keep it even more insulated.
Best at: Mumbai restaurants and dessert shops. Street vendors sell popsicle-like versions.

eloteIt’s hard to go back to plain old butter after trying seasoning like this.


The Mexican version of corn-on-the-cob may be higher in calories than other styles, but the taste makes the extra weight worth it.
After being grilled, sticks of golden corn are slathered with cheese or mayonnaise. Chili powder and lime juice are sprinkled on top.
Best on: the streets of Mexico.
naemyeonMul naengmyeon goes best with some hot galbi.

Naeng myeon

These Korean cold noodlesare served with ice cubes in the broth to keep the dish chilled while you eat.
Chewy buckwheat noodles are mixed with slivers of cucumber, pear, boiled egg or beef and submerged into icy broth for a tangy concoction laced with sharp mustard oil.
Best at: Woolaeoak branches in Seoul.
GazpachoGazpacho is thought to have Arab roots.


A cold tomato and bread-based soup that originated in Andalucia, gazpacho bursts with summery flavors.
Traditionally pounded under a mortar and pestle to a creamy consistency, the soup's main ingredients are tomato, cucumber, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and most importantly, stale bread. That last one is what gives it body and distinguishes it from being just a liquid salad.
Best in: a Seville tapas bar.

vichyssoiseThese days it can be difficult to find vichyssoise -- the fat content is too high for the health-conscious.


Vichyssoise is an elegant cold soup made from potatoes, leeks, cream and chicken stock.
Possessing a beautiful vanilla color and a silken consistency owing to the heavy cream, it's served at a cold temperature, which keeps the taste light and refreshing.
Although French recipes with similar soups have been around for centuries, the late chef Louis Diat says that he first coined the name “vichyssoise” at The Ritz-Carlton New York in 1917.
Best in: New York restaurants that claim the soup as the city’s native invention.
AcarajéAfrican influence.

Acarajé and vatapá

From the land of eternal summer, acarajé is Brazil’s representative street food.
It comes from the country's northeastern regions, where cuisine is influenced by African culture.
Black-eyed peas are crushed and made into a ball, then deep fried, and formed into a bread-like base to hold vatapá, a creamy mix of shrimp, ground peanuts and fragrant coconut milk.
Best in: Salvador de Bahia during the Dia da Baiano festival.
som tumOne bite of this flavor bomb will get your energy flowing.

Som tum

Thailand’s green papaya salad combines briny fish sauce, tart lime juice, the kick of chili peppers and the freshness of unripe papaya.
It's all pounded under a mortar and pestle to form a delicious antidote against hot-weather lethargy.
Basically fat-free, som tum is a favorite for Thais trying to lose weight.
Best at: Somtum Der in Bangkok.
Great summer meal in Korea: beer with a side of chicken. Or is that the other way around?

Korean fried chicken

A trendy food in South Korea that’s caught on around the world, Korean fried chicken has won us over as a crunchy finger food for hot weather.
Koreans have perfected the holy fried chicken trinity: crispy, thin skin that still retains some gooey fat underneath, a strong spicy flavor and delicious moist meat.
We recommend it with cold beer or soju and a side of pickles.
Best at: 3 a.m. in Seoul's hip Hongdae district.
bun chaHanoi is obsessed with char-grilled pork served with cold plain rice, vermicelli and a bouquet of fresh herbs and greens.

Bun Cha

Two summer favorites, barbecue meat and salad, come together perfectly in this dish.
The explosion of flavor comes from Vietnamese food's ubiquitous dipping sauce, nuoc mam pha, made of fish extract, sugar, chili, lemon juice, garlic and a generous dose of MSG.
Best in: Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

Live on brain freeze and sugar highs all season.


The name of this Filipino dessert means “mix” and that’s just what it is -- a jumble of sweet and colorful ingredients mixed together.
Halo-halo got official Anthony Bourdain approval when the intrepid eater tried Jollibee’s version in Los Angeles on a recent episode of “Parts Unknown.”
It can include anything from sweetened beans and chickpeas to preserved fruit and ice cream flavored with mango, taro, coconut or other summery fruit.
Best at: the Peninsula Manila.
36 hours on a Philippine bus

spam musubiThere are lots of ways to enjoy Spam.

Spam musubi

A slice of fried spam on top of sushi rice wrapped with nori is one of our favorite foods for summer because it reminds us of the beaches in Hawaii, the backdrop to all our fantasy summer vacations.
Best after: riding a wave on the beaches of the Big Island.

Bruschetta dates to the 15th century.


An antipasto that can be eaten as a light summer dinner.
Not many better ways to showcase one of summer’s best products: ripe tomatoes, scarlet and bursting with flavor.
Best at: your favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant.

chongqing hot potSpicy hotpot from Chongqing may be the last thing Westerners expect on a list of favorite foods for summer.

Chongqing hotpot

Chongqing is one of the hottest corners of China and residents believe that Chinese spicy food forces diners to sweat, thereby helping to expel heat and excess moisture to help cool the body.
It's therefore natural that hotpot is a favorite summer food for locals -- the bubbling pot of spicy broth comes filled with scarlet chilies and heaps of mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns.
Best at: night markets in Chongqing.

Fluffy and creamy, cotton ice should be served with dollops of syrup and fruit.

Shaved milk ice

Known as “cotton ice” in Chinese, this Taiwanese dessert has become popular across East Asia in the last few years.
Instead of plain crushed ice, this version is made with frozen condensed milk that's run through a shaving machine to create thin sheets of white milk ice that piles up in folds.
Best at: a Taipei night market.

cevicheCeviche is one of South America's most popular seafood dishes.


This raw dish originated in Peru and is consumed throughout Latin America.
It’s so fresh and so good, Peru has a national holiday in honor of the dish.
Best at: Lima restaurants on the Day of Ceviche.

sobaJapanese noodle fans believe the best way to experience the texture of quality handmade soba noodles is to eat them cold.

Zaru Soba

To make Zaru Soba, buckwheat noodles are run through ice-cold water then drained on a bamboo sieve known as a “zaru.”
The noodles are served directly on the zaru with a topping of shredded nori and a dipping sauce made of dashi, soy sauce, mirin and a dab of wasabi.
Best at: a Tokyo izakaya with a flask of cold sake.
watermelon rindSummer’s ambassador: the noble watermelon.

Sliced watermelon rind

When it’s hot outside, watermelon is one of the first foods we crave.
The rind is usually thrown out, but it can be saved to make pickles or dressed to make a salad -- the extra crunchy part of the melon makes an excellent juicy substitute for boring old lettuce.
It's also good stir-fried or stewed.
Best at: a Beijing restaurant during one of the city’s legendary heatwaves.

affogatoSimply good.


Affogato means "drowned" in Italian, and we really wouldn’t mind being dunked into a sea of this Italian dessert.
A scoop of vanilla gelato is scooped into a cup and a shot of hot espresso is poured on top.
The result is a beautiful swirl of semi-solid ice cream and streaks of golden, bitter coffee.
Adding a shot of Amaretto or coffee liqueur ups the flavor.
Best in: Italian outdoor cafes.

satayBarbecued meat on sticks -- essential summer eating.


The national dish of Indonesia, satay can be made from any type of meat.
Turmeric is added to give satay its characteristic yellow color.
It’s likely an adaptation of Indian kebabs, as it became popular after the influx of Indian immigrants in the 19th century.
Best at: street stands in Java.
peach cobblerSouthern-style cobbler with Georgia peaches on homemade biscuits -- perfect for summer nights.

Peach cobbler

Peach cobbler is a timeless, simple American dish that coats cooked peaches in a blanket of biscuit crust.
Summer gives rise to the best peach cobblers, as intense heat is needed for the plant to mature and produce a perfect, succulent sweet-tart peach.
Best in: Georgia during the Georgia Peach Festival.

Don't be put off by the smell. There's a reason why durian is called the king of fruit.


This famously challenging fruit is the alleged king of all fruits in Asia.
Durian addicts who love the fruit's distinct rotten-garbage odor look forward to durian season every year -- the fruit can be grown only in tropical areas and is available between June and August.
Of 30 varieties of durian, the most expensive is mao shan wang, which sells for up to $10 per kilogram in Singapore.
Best had: fresh from a market in Singapore.
mezeA spread of small dishes for a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern breakfast, lunch or dinner.


The meze plate is usually served as an appetizer platter throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East and has a little bit of everything.
It can be as simple as a piece of feta cheese with a few kalamata olives, or an impressive spread of hummus, tarama, cacik, baba ganoush, falafel, dolma and haloumi cheese.
All foods are served cold and go well with a light beer by the sea.
Best at: a seaside tavern in Santorini.

salmonBaked salmon -- one of the easiest dinners to make.


We can fish for salmon all year round, but the biggest sport fishing season for wild salmon (most of what we eat is farmed) is in Alaska during summer and early fall months.
That’s when wild salmon spawn and run back to rivers.
Once that fish is caught, there are a bewildering number of ways to prepare it for a summer dinner. Poached in champagne or grilled outdoors, it’s all delicious.
Best at: a beachside barbecue after a fishing trip in Alaska.

injeraSalads are sometimes served on injera.


The national bread of Ethiopia, injera is a flatbread with a spongy texture and sour taste.
The acidity perks up appetites and the porous texture makes the bread a great carrier for sauces and wet salads.
Best in: an Ethiopian restaurant in Los Angeles, where there's a high concentration of Ethiopian diaspora.
summer smorgasbordDidn't think it was a real dish, did you?

Summer smorgasbord

The Scandinavian buffet has seasonal versions.
The summer smorgasbord retains all the classic items, such as grav lax, rye crispbread, pickled cucumbers, cheese, and the quintessential pickled herring, but hot foods are omitted.
Best in: Sweden where wild strawberries are usually added to the spread.
More on CNN: World's 50 best food