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COUNTDOWN TO IRAQ, Sovereignty

Koreatown Mourns Beheading

More than 200 people gathered in Los Angeles’ Koreatown on June 22 and lit candles during a spontaneous memorial for South Korean hostage, Kim Sun-il, 33, beheaded in Iraq.

Kim, who also spoke Arabic, worked for Gana General Trading Co., a South Korean company supplying the U.S. military in Iraq.

The city’s Korea Times put out a special edition after learning of Kim’s death.

Thomas Yang, a reporter with the Korean Daily of Los Angeles, said another antiwar demonstration and candlelight vigil by the local Korean Youth Federation was being organized, as well as a local memorial service for Kim.

About 500,000 Korean residents live in Southern California — the largest such population outside the Korean Peninsula. The heart of the community is the Koreatown district of Los Angeles, a sprawling area of markets, businesses and apartments a few miles east of downtown.

REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT

More Matching Funds for Hmong

The federal government will provide additional money to help settle Hmong refugees, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said.

The United States is preparing to resettle 15,000 Hmong, an ethnic minority who helped the CIA in Laos during the Vietnam War. Many of the refugees will live in Wisconsin, Minnesota and California, which have the nation’s largest Hmong populations.

The Hmong have come here as political refugees out of fear of retribution following the communist takeover in their homeland.

Around 4,000 Hmong are expected to arrive in the United States by Sept. 30, and the remaining by the end of the year.

The federal government also is providing 100 percent reimbursement for refugee cash assistance and medical assistance for single and childless couples, $4.2 million in school impact grants, $12.8 million in social services grants, and $2 million in discretionary funding.

CLINTON’S ‘MY LIFE’

APAs Review Bubba’s Book

First in line on June 22 at New York’s Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble to buy former President Bill Clinton’s My Life, was Anil Padmanabhan, bureau chief for India Today, a publication in India.

He said he needed the book to write a review. “People in India are very anxious for the book,” Padmanabhan said. “[Clinton] was the first president in two or three decades who had been to India.”

One Asian Pacific American was not enthralled by Clinton’s autobiography, though. The New York Times‘ Michiko Kakutani, in a June 20 front-page review, panned Clinton’s 957-page book as “sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull.”

HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. to Look at Hawai‘i Security

A Senate committee has unanimously approved a bill that sets up a study to look at the feasibility of establishing a Pacific region in the Department of Homeland Security.

The region would oversee Alaska, Hawai‘i and U.S. territories in the Pacific, said Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawai‘i).

Under the bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Department of Homeland Security would have to submit its findings no later than Feb. 1, 2005.

Inouye said Hawai‘i’s isolation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean means the United States must focus more on securing the air and sea links to the islands.

The bill also includes $1.6 million for a Coast Guard small-arms range in Honolulu. The full Senate will consider it next.

HAWAIIAN MUSIC

Hawai‘i Block Party in China

Hawai‘i is promoting its art and culture to help open markets for island products and services in China.

One group just returned from China, and a larger group will visit in late July, said Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Over 30 people including government officials, entrepreneurs, and entertainers Amy Hanaiali`i Gilliom and Willie Kahaiali`i just returned from a highly successful promotion of the state in Shanghai, Liu said.

“Amy and Willie K. connected with the audience in Shanghai and opened the market for Hawaiian music,” Liu said.

“This is a golden opportunity for Hawai‘i,” said state Sen. Carol Fukunaga, chairwoman of the Senate Economic Development Committee. “This will help us become global citizens.”

The state has raised more than $130,000 in the private sector for the July trip, which will include a big block party in Shanghai’s Xintiandi entertainment district, Liu said.

AIR TRANSPORTATION

Mineta: Airports Need to Expand

Fifteen of the nation’s airports need to expand to meet passenger growth projections, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said as he released a study suggesting more cities should consider building new runways and control towers.

“This report is sobering news,” Mineta said. “We saw the congestion coming … but, indeed, more needs to be done.”

Mineta spoke at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where construction of a $27-million air traffic control tower and a $1.28-billion runway should be complete in the next two years.

The 398-foot tower will be the second largest at an airport behind Kuala Lampur’s 425-foot tower. The runway will be the fifth one at Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport in terms of passengers.

“Smart communities like Atlanta are already planning their future by staying one step ahead,” Mineta said.

INTERNET IN CHINA

Yahoo Launches Chinese Search Engine

Following Google’s lead, Yahoo! Inc. has launched a Chinese-language search portal.

The introduction of Yahoo!’s new website, www.yisou.com, follows Google’s acquisition last week of a minority stake in Baidu.com Inc., China’s biggest independent Internet search engine and one of Google’s strongest rivals here.

Google has offered Chinese-language searches since 2000 and is hugely popular among China’s more than 80 million Internet users — the world’s second biggest Internet market after the United States.

SAMOAn flights

Commercial Flights Resume after 9 Months

Maui-based airline Pacific Wings has applied for an exemption from the U.S. Department of Transportation to start offering flights between American Samoa and neighboring Samoa.

American Samoa hasn’t had scheduled air service since September, when the local Samoa Air went bankrupt. Since then the territory has had to rely on the government-owned Polynesian Air for service.

Pacific Wings President Greg Kahlstorf applied for the exemption at the urging of Gus Hannemann, a consultant to the American Samoa Senate and the older brother of Honolulu mayoral candidate Mufi Hannemann.

“We need them,” Gus Hannemann said.

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