August 26, 2007
By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

The blockbuster film D-War topped the nation's No. 1 search engine Naver's most searched keyword list again last week, showing that people are still interested in the monster movie 26 days after its release.

The movie has drawn more than seven million people to cinemas nationwide.

A heated debate has arisen over the film as many analysts said that it overemphasized patriotism, and that director Shim Hyung-rae's pride in the domestically produced computer graphics is overdone. The fans have defended the movie and its director.

The largest opposition Grand National Party's nomination race was the hot potato of the week. Former Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak was declared the party's presidential nominee Monday.

Lee garnered 81,084 of the total 180,947 in turnout _ 130,898 in party vote and 50,049 in popular vote _ 2,452 ballots more than the 78,032 earned by his rival and former party chairwoman Park Geun-hye.

Lee is considered to be one of the strongest candidates at the presidential election slated for Dec. 19.

Celebrities who fabricated academic records were the talk of the town last week.

After TV actor Choi Soo-jong was reported to have falsified his university background, netizens began searching for other bogus degree holders in the business. Choi wrote on his resume that he graduated from International Economics and Law Department at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), which was not true.

After the news broke out, his agent said Choi passed the entrance exam for the university in 1981 but did not enroll due to poverty. But he wrote in his autobiography about his campus life at the HUFS, and netizens accused him of having lied. Choi placed fourth.

Alongside Choi's scandal, a group of so-called "intelligent entertainers" drew attention. Seoul National University fashion department graduate actress Kim Tae-hee, Hanyang University anthropology major actress Song Yoon-ah and Stanford University English literature master's degree holder and rapper Tablo of Epikhigh were all under the netizens' radar.

Some people are worried that the so-called "verification" may become a witch-hunt that could damage many celebrities' reputations. Kim, Song and Tablo placed third, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Actor Ko Joo-won, famous for going to Sogang University graduate school, drew public attention amid the fake diploma scandal as he spoke about his "genius". He appeared on a TV talk show and said his academic score was among the top 1 percent of high school students in the nation. He placed ninth.

The death of Byun Joong-seok, the wife of late Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung, on Aug. 17, placed seventh. Byun was praised as the ideal wife for a businessman. Unlike the wives of the owners of other conglomerates, who are often criticized for their luxurious lifestyles, the late Byun earned a reputation for being consistently frugal and faithful.

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