TIME Aviation

Korean Air Flight Attendant Sues Over ‘Nut Rage’ Incident

Passengers wait to check in at the domestic check-in desk of Korean Air Lines Co. at Gimpo Airport in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 2014.
Lee Jin-man—AP Passengers wait to check in at the domestic check-in desk of Korean Air Lines Co. at Gimpo Airport in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 2014.

Kim Do-hee alleges she was physically and verbally assaulted after serving an airline executive macadamia nuts

A Korean Air flight attendant is suing the airline and one of its vice presidents after the executive allegedly assaulted her over the serving of macadamia nuts.

In a lawsuit filed this week in New York, Kim Do-hee alleged that Cho Hyun-ah became physically and verbally abusive after Do-hee served her the nuts on a plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport that was headed to South Korea last December, the New York Times reports. Cho, who wanted the nuts to be served on a plate, demanded that the aircraft return to the gate so Kim could be taken off the flight in what’s since been called a case of “nut rage.”

Cho, the daughter of Korean Air’s chairman, resigned from her job following international attention and is currently serving a prison sentence after a South Korean court found her guilty of violating aviation safety regulations. In the lawsuit, Kim alleges that she was told to lie to authorities about the confrontation and make public appearances with Cho in order to rebuild Cho’s public image.

Kim is seeking unspecified damages. A spokesperson for Korean Air had no comment to the Times.

[NYT]

Read next: Daughter of Korean Air Boss Treated Crew ‘Like Slaves,’ Chief Steward Says

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME North Korea

South Korean Activist Plans to Airdrop 10,000 Copies of The Interview to North Korea

Stunt planned for late March could raise tensions between the two countries

Despite North Korea’s best efforts to stamp out The Interview, the comedy film about the attempted assassination of Kim Jong-Un may yet land on its territory.

Defector-turned-activist Park Sang-Hak is planning to send as many as 10,000 copies of the movie and 500,000 propaganda leaflets across the North Korean border by balloon on an unspecified date at the end of the month, AFP reports.

The demonstration will coincide with the five-year anniversary of the sinking of a South Korean warship, which the country has blamed on North Korea.

The South Korean government has acknowledged activists’ right to send the balloons but asked them to refrain in order to avoid increasing increasing tensions. North Korea has said it will respond with “cannons and missiles” if the propaganda balloons cross its borders.

“Nobody can stop it,” Park said. “I will keep sending leaflets into North Korea at the risk of my life.”

[AFP]

TIME South Korea

The U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Has Left Hospital 5 Days After a Knife Attack

"I feel pretty darn good, all things considered"

The U.S. ambassador to South Korea was discharged from a hospital in Seoul on Tuesday, less than a week after being slashed in the face with a knife by a Korean nationalist.

Ambassador Mark Lippert said he would not forgo the approachable demeanor he has become known for despite the attack, Reuters reported.

“We have made it our mission to be open and friendly, and that will not change,” Lippert said at a news conference following his exit from the hospital.

The 42-year-old ambassador was left with a punctured wrist and a deep cut on his face, which required him to get 80 stitches.

His assailant, Kim Ki-jong, has a history of violent attacks on diplomats, having been arrested in 2010 for attacking the Japanese ambassador with a block of concrete. The potential charges against the 55-year-old attacker, who said he was protesting last week’s U.S.–South Korea joint military drills, include attempted murder.

“I feel pretty darn good, all things considered,” said Lippert, adding that he hopes to be back at work after recovering fully. “I mean, it was obviously a scary incident. But I’m walking, talking, holding my baby, hugging my wife, so I just feel really good.”

TIME South Korea

Seoul Police Probe U.S. Ambassador Attacker’s Visits to North Korea

U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert on March 5, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea
Kim Ju-sung—AP U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert on March 5, 2015, in Seoul

State media in Pyongyang applauded the slashing of Mark Lippert

The knife-wielding nationalist who attacked the U.S. ambassador to South Korea is having his travel history to North Korea reviewed as police weigh charging him with attempted murder.

Kim Ki-jong slashed Ambassador Mark Lippert’s face in a knife attack ahead of a Korean reunification forum Thursday, leaving a 4-in. gash on his face and a wound on his left hand. Kim claims the attack was a protest against this week’s joint military exercises by South Korea and the U.S.

On Friday, Kim’s house was raided by police, who hope to obtain a detention warrant against the prounification zealot. But central to pursuing an attempted murder charge will be evaluating Kim’s presence in North Korea over the past decades.

Kim made seven trips to North Korea from 1999 to 2007, according to Seoul police officials.

“We are investigating whether there is any connection between the suspect’s visits to North Korea and the crime committed against the U.S. ambassador,” said Yoon Myeong-seong, a local police chief.

Meanwhile, state media in Pyongyang applauded Kim’s actions with typical belligerence, describing the incident as “deserved punishment” for U.S.–South Korean military cooperation, and saying the 55-year-old wielded “the knife of justice.”

[Reuters]

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: U.S. Ambassador Attacked in South Korea

The attacker has attacked an ambassador before

The U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was slashed on the face and wrist by an anti-U.S. protestor in Seoul on Thursday. Watch Know Right Now to find out more, and read more here.

TIME South Korea

North Korea Applauds Knife Attack on U.S. Ambassador

The assailant reportedly shouted "South and North Korea should be reunified”

You can’t see it on television, but South Korean President Park Geun-hye has a scar that runs from her right ear to her chin. In person, up close, it is just visible below her makeup, a smooth cut that follows the curve of her face. She’s had it since 2006, when she was attacked on the campaign trail by a man wielding a utility knife.

On Thursday, in an eerily similar incident, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was slashed on the face and wrist in the South Korean capital. Photographs from the scene showed him holding the right side of his face, with blood visible on his left hand, and his pink tie splattered red. The U.S. Department of State confirmed the attack and said his injuries are not life threatening. CNN reports that he required 80 stitches. (Park’s attack, by comparison, required 60.)

Lippert, 42, was preparing to deliver an early-morning speech at a restaurant attached to the Sejong Cultural Institute in central Seoul when he was struck with a 10-in. blade. The attacker — since identified by South Korean authorities as 55-year-old Kim Ki-jong — reportedly shouted “South and North Korea should be reunified” during the attack, and continued to shout anti-U.S. slogans as he was restrained.

Both governments responded quickly. “We strongly condemn this act of violence,” said Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department. President Park called the incident “intolerable,” likening it to an assault on the South Korea–U.S. military alliance itself. But North Korea applauded the stabbing, calling it a “knife attack of justice.”

The U.S. military has a long-standing presence in South Korea, an arrangement that dates back to the end of the 1950–1953 Korean War. There are currently some 30,000 American troops on the ground, and each spring, U.S. and South Korean forces engage in joint military exercises. North Korea considers the war games a dress rehearsal for invasion, and some South Koreans believe the annual exercises hurt the divided peninsula’s prospects for reconciliation.

Authorities are still investigating the incident, though the timing, and the attacker’s comments, suggest his motivations were political. The suspect said at the scene and online that he was protesting against the start of this year’s military drills. In 2010, Kim lobbed a piece of concrete at Japanese ambassador to South Korea. He received a two-year sentence that was suspended for three years, according to Yonhap, a local newswire.

Notwithstanding these incidents, a daylight attack on a foreign envoy is highly unusual for Seoul. The city of almost 10 million is, by global standards, a peaceful, prosperous place, known these days for its vibrant pop-music and fashion scenes, not political violence.

The well-liked Lippert, a longtime aide to U.S. President Barack Obama who arrived in Seoul in October of last year, was often seen out and about in the capital, greeting local people while walking his family’s basset hound, Grigsby (who, it turns out, has his own Twitter account). Lippert’s son was born in the city, and he and his wife Robyn even gave him a Korean middle name.

Questions are already mounting about security, especially in light of the 2006 knife attack on the now President Park. How did a man with a large knife and history of violence get so close to the ambassador? A spokesperson for the group that hosted the event, the Korea Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, has already apologized for the security breach.

And while the attack might mean tighter security at upcoming events, Grigsby won’t be alone in hoping that the gregarious ambassador is back pounding the city’s sidewalks soon.

Read next: U.S. Envoy to South Korea Injured in Blade Attack

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME South Korea

U.S. Envoy to South Korea Injured in Blade Attack

US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert covers his face as he leaves the Sejong Cultural Institute in Seoul on March 5, 2015.
Yonhap—AFP/Getty Images US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert covers his face as he leaves the Sejong Cultural Institute in Seoul on March 5, 2015.

He was taken to a hospital for treatment

(SEOUL, South Korea) — U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert was slashed on the face and wrist by a man wielding a weapon with a 10-inch blade and screaming that the rival Koreas should be unified, South Korean police said Thursday.

Media images showed a stunned-looking Lippert staring at his blood-covered left hand and holding his right hand over a cut on the right side of his face, his pink tie splattered with blood.

The U.S. State Department condemned the attack, which happened at a performing arts center in downtown Seoul as the ambassador was preparing for a lecture, and said Lippert was being treated at a local hospital and his injuries weren’t life threatening.

YTN TV reported that the suspect — identified by police as a 55-year-old, surnamed Kim — screamed during the attack, “South and North Korea should be reunified.” A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still happening, said the suspect in 2010 threw a piece of concrete at the Japanese ambassador in Seoul.

The suspect shouted anti-war slogans after he was detained Thursday.

Yonhap TV showed men in suits and ties subduing the attacker, who was dressed in a modern version of the traditional Korean hanbok, and Lippert later being rushed to a police car with a handkerchief pressed to his cheek.

The attacker’s comments on Korean reunification seem linked to lingering, deep divisions in South Korea that stem from the Korean War. The rival Koreas have been divided for decades along the world’s most heavily armed border. The U.S., which backed South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War, still stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea, and some South Koreans see the U.S. presence as a barrier toward a reunified Korea, a view North Korea’s propaganda machine regularly pushes in state media.

Anti-U.S. protesters have recently been demonstrating to voice opposition to annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises that North Korea says are preparation for an invasion. Seoul and Washington say the drills, which will run until the end of April, are defensive and routine.

North Korea each year reacts with fury to the drills, which the impoverished country is forced to respond to with drills of its own. In 2013 it threatened nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul, and on the first day of this year’s drills, Monday, it test-fired short range missiles in a demonstration of anger.

Lippert, 42, became ambassador last year and has been a regular presence on social media and in speeches and presentations during his time in Seoul. His wife gave birth here and the couple gave their son a Korean middle name. Lippert was formerly the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian affairs and a foreign policy aide to President Barack Obama when Obama was a U.S. senator.

Obama called Lippert after the attack to express his thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery, the White House said.

“We strongly condemn this act of violence,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. She had no other details.

___

AP writers Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Josh Lederman in Seoul contributed to this report.

TIME Heart Disease

Moderate Amounts of Coffee May Help Keep Arteries Clear, Study Says

Man on desk holding cup of coffee, close up
Getty Images

Coffee in your veins may actually be healthy

Drinking three to five cups of coffee per day may help to reduce signs of blocked arteries, says a new study out of South Korea.

Published Monday in the medical journal Heart, the study involved more than 25,000 male and female workers, who previously showed no signs of heart disease, looking for calcium buildups indicating plaque growth that can cause heart attacks and strokes.

The results showed that those who drank the least amount of coffee, and the most, had a larger amount of calcium in their arteries than those who consumed a moderate amount.

Interestingly, researchers also discovered that the findings were consistent through different subsectors, such as smokers, drinkers and those with obesity issues.

“While this study does highlight a potential link between coffee consumption and lower risk of developing clogged arteries, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand what the reason is for the association,” Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation told the BBC.

Taylor also noted that the results should not be generalized because different cultures have distinct lifestyle and dietary customs that may also contribute to cardiovascular health.

TIME South Korea

South Korea Decriminalizes Adultery, Condom Shares Soar

Inside a Unidus Condom Factory Ahead Of Export Price Index Release
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images An employee unwraps condoms during testing in the research laboratory at the Unidus Corp. factory in Jeungpyeong, South Korea, on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013.

Well, that figures

Stocks of a South Korean condom company increased 15% after news broke that the country decriminalized adultery.

The law against adultery was approved in 1953 and upheld in 2008 under the pretext of protecting social harmony. However, citing grounds of personal freedom, seven judges in a nine-judge panel rejected the ban as unconstitutional Thursday.

“The law is unconstitutional as it infringes people’s right to make their own decisions on sex and secrecy and freedom of their private life, violating the principle banning excessive enforcement under the constitution,” said Constitutional Court justice Seo Ki-seok.

The news saw a 15% jump in shares of Unidus Corp, a manufacturer of condoms.

Some 892 South Koreans were indicted last year for adultery, though none faced jail time.

[Reuters]

TIME portfolio

The Best Pictures of the Week: Feb. 6 – Feb. 13

From the Ukrainian peace plan to Brazil’s worsening drought and the disarmament of South Sudan’s child soldiers to a sex-free Valentine’s Day in Bangkok, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

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