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Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia

www.gasiantimes.com

Cherry Blossom

April 1-15, 2017


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April 1-15, 2017 Georgia Asian Times


Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2017

Publisher: Li Wong Account Manager: Adrian West Contributors: Andrian Putra, May Lee, Mark Ho Photographer: Ben Hioe

Tel: 678-971-9388 Advertising: gat@gasiantimes.com Editorial: info@gasiantimes.com URL: www.gasiantimes.com Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4502 Suwanee GA 30024 Copyright Georgia Asian Times 2004-2017

All Rights Reserved: including those to reproduce this printing or parts thereof in any form without permission in writing from Georgia Asian Times. Established in 2004, the Georgia Asian Times is published by Asiamax Inc. All facts, opinions, and statements appearing within this publication are those of writers and editors themseleves, and are in no way to be construed as statements, positions, endorsements by Georgia Asian Times or its officers. Georgia Asian Times assumes no responsibility for damages from the use of information contained in this publication or the reply to any advertisement. The Publisher will not be liable for any error in advertising to greater extent than the cost of space occupied by the error and will only be made for a single publication date. The Publisher reserves the right to reject any ad or articles submitted for publication that may not be in good taste for a free publication.

GAT Calendar of Events GAT welcome submission of announcement pertaining to community related events. Please email event, date, venue, and time to gat@gasiantimes.com. GAT does not guarantee insertion of event announcement and has the right to deny any posting.

Macon Georgia International Cherry Blossom Festival Date: Mar 4-Apr 2, 2017 For more info: www/cherryblossom. com Atlanta Dogwood Festival Date: April 7-9, 2017 Time: 10 am -11 pm Venue: Piedmont Park Admission: Free For more info: www.dogwood.org Symposium on Asia USA Partnership Opportunities (SAUPO) Organized by Kennesaw State University Date: Friday, April 14, 2017 Time: 7:00 am - 6:00 pm Venue: Loews Atlanta Hotel Celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month & Scholarship Award Ceremony Annual Unity Gala Organized by Asian/Pacific American Council of Georgia (APAC) Date: Saturday, May 6, 2017 Time: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Venue: Sonesta Gwinnett Place Atlanta For more info: 770.833.7009 Atlanta Jazz Festival Date: May 26-28, 2017 Time: 11 am -11 pm Venue: Piedmont Park Admission: Free For more info: https://www.facebook. com/atlantajazzfestival 23rd Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival-Atlanta Date: Saturday, Sept 9, 2017 Time: 7:00 am -6:00 pm Venue: Lake Lanier Olympic Kayaking Center, Gainesville, Georgia For more info: DragonBoatAtlanta.com 13th Atlanta Asian Film Festival Date: Oct13-28, 2017 Venues: Georgia State University-Dunwoody, Plaza Theatre For more info: www.ATLaff.org

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April 1-15, 2017 Georgia Asian Times

METRO ASIAN NEWS “Movers & Makers” Awards winners recognized by Partnership Gwinnett Duluth, March 28, 2017 – Partnership Gwinnett, in collaboration with Gwinnett Technical College, announced the winners of its 6th Annual Movers & Makers Awards during a ceremony hosted at the Infinite Energy Forum. The Movers & Makers Awards, presented by Jackson EMC, are the County’s annual recognition of exceptional Gwinnett-based companies involved in the manufacturing, processing, or distribution of tangible products. The program was attended by over 300 of the County’s community leaders and industry experts, and is the largest event of its kind in the state of Georgia. “Gwinnett Technical College is committed to helping drive strong economic development and to serve as a workforce resource within the communities we serve. We are, once again, proud to partner with Partnership Gwinnett and recognize companies that excel as Movers and Makers,” said Dr. D. Glen Cannon, President of Gwinnett Technical College. “Manufacturing and supply chain organizations are an essential part of our local business community and economy,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman, Charlotte Nash. “We’re delighted to honor and show our appreciation for Gwinnett’s best representation in these industries.” The three manufacturing winners for 2017 included: Small Manufacturer of the Year Winner (1-99 employees): KRAIBURG TPE Medium Manufacturer of the Year Winner (100-199 employees): Rehrig Pacific Company Large Manufacturer of the Year Winner (200+ employees): OFS “We are honored to have been recognized by Partnership Gwinnett as the 2017 Small Manufacturer of the Year at this year’s Movers and Makers

Awards,” said Jeff Frankish, Managing Director for KRAIBURG TPE. “We have found a tremendous amount of support from our community over the years and we look forward to our continued growth here in Gwinnett.” The two supply chain winners for 2017 included:

New Asian supermarket caters to multiethnic community plans grand opening in Duluth A new 100,000 sf grocery catering to the fast growing international community in metro Atlanta recently had a soft opening last December. Yong Hui (YH) Supercenter consist of a 50,000 sf supermarket, 5,000 sf retail shops, and 40,000 sf food court serving authentic ethnic Asian cuisines.

es. Our food items would satisfy every ethnic Asian shoppers ranging from Chinese, Filipinos, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Laotian, Singaporean, Taiwanese, Thai, Malaysian, and Vietnamese,” said Huang. Fresh produce are sourced from local farmers. The meat department will feature freshly cut whole pigs and goats, according to Huang.

Supply Chain Pioneer of the Year Award Winner: PAI Industries, Inc. Corporate Citizen Award Winner: NIDEC ELESYS AMERICAS

“This is our first startup venture in the metro Atlanta area,” said Jen Huang, General Manager of Yong Hui (YH) Supercenter, in an exclusive interview with Georgia Asian Times.

The Movers & Makers Awards also recognized the community’s MVP, Most Valuable Provider, to the manufacturing and supply chain industries. This year, the award was presented to Burgess Manufacturing.

Located near Duluth’s Costco and across the street from the popular Movie Grill on Venture Drive, this new grocery store has been attracting a growing stream of shoppers from multi-ethnic Asian community.

Companies were evaluated based upon criteria involving impact in the local community, corporate responsibility, and workforce excellence programs.

It is also located within 3 miles radius from competing supermarkets such as Assi, Nam Dae Mun, Great Wall, and Super H Mart.

Operating hours are 9:00 am to 10:00 pm from Monday-Friday. Weekend hours are 9:00 am to midnight. Diners will have access to free Wi-Fi at the premises.

In addition to the awards presentation, attendees heard from Martin H. Richenhagen, President and CEO of AGCO Corporation, as he presented this year’s keynote address. He spoke about the future of AGCO and the manufacturing industry, as well as how AGCO is incorporating new and innovative technologies into their operations.

Jen Huang, General Manager of YH Supercenter, working hard to ensure the supermarket caters to the multicultural Asian community in metro Atlanta. “The reason we picked this site is due to its convenient and accessibility to I-85. This location is also on a less heavy traffic flow street,” added Huang.

“Average price of food is about $10. We hope to be competitive and to provide good value to our diners.”

“The Movers and Makers Awards is proof that Gwinnett County is a great place to not only conduct business, but one that offers these companies a place to grow and thrive,” said Deven Cason, Project Manager, Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain, for Partnership Gwinnett. “Partnership Gwinnett is happy to recognize the great work that manufacturing and logistics companies are doing for our community and we congratulate the 2017 winners on their achievements.”

Shoppers are able to choose a wide variety of fresh produce, fruits, dry goods, sauces, noodles, rice, and food items that cater to Asian taste. YH plans to add more organic and freshly sourced vegetables from local farmers in the coming weeks. A seafood section featuring a wide variety of locally sourced seafood including fish, shrimps, live fish and crabs are on display. “We are trying hard to meet our diverse customers taste and preferenc-

Located next door to the grocery supermarket is a contemporary designed food court with 300-400 seats. Diners can experience authentic regional Chinese cuisines from Szechuan, Guilin, Hunan, Tianjin, Shanghai. Bakery, ice cream, Chinese BBQ, and Japanese ramen will also be featured.

YH Food court under construction – scheduled for opening in early Spring 2017. Retail section will showcase a hair salon, travel agency, boutique shop, jewelry shop, beauty supplies, and internet retail store. “We want to be competitive in terms of pricing, service, and freshness of our items. Also, we want to provide our customers a good shopping experience at our store,” said Huang. An official grand opening is scheduled for early Spring 2017. YH is currently offering a brand new Mercedes-Benz car as a lucky draw top prize for shoppers. – Georgia Asian Times


Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2017

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April 1-15, 2017 Georgia Asian Times

BUSINESS

Vote to repeal U.S. broadband privacy rules sparks interest in VPNs Washington DC, March 29, 2017 — The vote by the U.S. Congress to repeal rules that limit how internet service providers can use customer data has generated renewed interest in an old internet technology: virtual private networks, or VPNs. VPNs cloak a customer’s web-surfing history by making an encrypted connection to a private server, which then searches the Web on the customer’s behalf without revealing the destination addresses. VPNs are often used to connect to a secure business network, or in countries such as China and Turkey to bypass government restrictions on Web surfing. Privacy-conscious techies are now talking of using VPNs as a matter of course to guard against broadband providers collecting data about which internet sites and services they are using. “Time to start using a VPN at home,” Vijaya Gadde, general counsel of Twitter Inc, said in a tweet on Tuesday that was retweeted by Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey.

Gadde was not immediately available for comment. Twitter said she was commenting in her personal capacity and not on behalf of the company. The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted 215-205 on Tuesday to repeal rules adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission under then-President Barack Obama to require broadband providers to obtain consumer consent before using their data for advertising or marketing. The U.S. Senate, also controlled by Republicans, voted 50-48 last week to reverse the rules. The White House said President Donald Trump supported the repeal measure. Supporters of the repeal said the FCC unfairly required internet service providers like AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc to do more to protect customers’ privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc’s Google or Facebook Inc. Critics said the repeal would weaken consumers’ privacy protections.

VPN ADVANTAGES, DRAWBACKS Protected data includes a customer’s web-browsing history, which in turn can be used to discover other types of information, including health and financial data. Some smaller broadband providers are now seizing on privacy as a competitive advantage. Sonic, a California-based broadband provider, offers a free VPN service to its customers so they can connect to its network when they are not home. That ensures that when Sonic users log on to wi-fi at a coffee shop or hotel, for example, their data is not collected by that establishment’s broadband provider. “We see VPN as being important for our customers when they’re not on our network. They can take it with them on the road,” CEO Dane Jasper said. In many areas of the country, there is no option to choose an independent broadband provider and consumers will have to pay for a VPN service to shield their browsing habits.

Private Internet Access, a VPN provider, took a visible stand against the repeal measure when it bought a full-page ad in the New York Times on Sunday. But the company, which boasts about a million subscribers, potentially stands to benefit from the legislation, acknowledged marketing director Caleb Chen. VPNs have drawbacks. They funnel all user traffic through one point, so they are an attractive target for hackers and spies. The biggest obstacle to their routine use as a privacy safeguard is that they can be too much of a hassle to set up for many customers. They also cost money. “The further along toward being a computer scientist you have to be to use a VPN, the smaller a portion of the population we’re talking about that can use it,” said Ernesto Falcon, a legislative counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which opposed the bill. - Reuters


Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2017

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BUSINESS

Consumer confidence hits 16-year high in boost to economy Washington DC, March 29, 2017 — U.S. consumer confidence surged to a more than 16-year high in March amid growing labor market optimism while the goods trade deficit narrowed sharply in February, indicating the economy was regaining momentum after faltering at the start of the year. The economy’s strengthening fundamentals were underscored by other data on Tuesday showing further increases in house prices in January. Robust consumer confidence and rising household wealth from the home price gains suggest a recent slowdown in consumer spending, which has hurt growth, is likely temporary. “We think that real consumption will firm moving forward,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JP Morgan in New York. “It looks likely that the recent spending data were held down by some temporary factors related to unusually mild weather and a delay in tax refund issuance.” The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index jumped 9.5 points to 125.6 this month, the highest reading since December 2000. Consumers’ assessment of both current business and labor market conditions improved sharply in March. They also anticipated an increase in their incomes. The survey’s so-called labor market differential, derived from data about respondents who think jobs are hard to get and those who think jobs are plentiful, was the strongest since 2001. This measure closely correlates to the unemployment rate in the Labor Department’s employment report. It is consistent with continued reduction in slack in the labor market, which is near full employment.

The dollar rose against a basket of currencies, while prices for U.S. government bonds fell slightly. Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher, with Dow Jones industrial average .DJI on track to snap an eight-day losing streak. Both consumer and business confidence have surged in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in last November’s presidential election. The Trump administration has pledged to pursue business friendly policies, including tax cuts and deregulation. The Conference Board said the cutoff date for the survey results was March 16. This was a week before Republicans in the House of Representatives failed to pass health legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a stunning political setback for Trump. The failure to push through legislation to overhaul the health care system stirred concerns in markets about the difficulties Trump may have in implementing other policies, including tax reform. “The question then is whether or not consumers will remain upbeat if legislation stalls,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “At some point, those hopes for a stronger economy will fade if legislative victories remain elusive.” JOBS BOOSTING CONFIDENCE While other economists expected a pull back in confidence in April, they said household optimism was being driven by the labor market’s health and not Trump’s promises. Labor market strength could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again in June, they said. “Recovery is what the survey in-

dicates and, more to the point, the answers on jobs and income are rooted in current experience not expectations for what Trump will or won’t do,” said Steven Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard. “If reality pans out as consumers and we expect, the Fed has three more hikes to go before the year is done.” The Fed raised rates a quarter percentage point at two of its last three meetings, most recently earlier in March. The survey showed increases in consumers planning to buy cars and major appliances. There was, however, a drop in intentions to purchase a home after recent strong gains. Separately, the Commerce Department said in its advance economic indicators report the goods deficit fell 5.9 percent to $64.8 billion last month as imports and exports fell. It also said inventories at retailers and wholesalers both rose 0.4 percent last month. The data prompted economists at Barclays to raise their first-quarter gross domestic product estimate by four-tenths of a percentage point to a 1.6 percent annualized rate. Morgan Stanley lifted its forecast to

a 1.5 percent pace from a 1.0 percent rate. “The recent widening, in our view, reflected the stabilization and rise in energy prices, as some of the improvement in nominal goods imports reflects petroleum,” said Michael Gapen, chief economist at Barclays in New York. “In addition, we think the widening in the trade deficit reflected the end of the multi-year industrial recession in the U.S.” A third report showed the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 5.7 percent in January on a year-over-year basis after increasing 5.5 percent in December. House prices are being driven by tight inventories. Economists expect further price gains despite rising mortgage rates. “Very tight market conditions suggest that price growth will continue at similar rates for the rest of this year, as rising earnings and high levels of confidence support housing demand even as mortgage interest rates rise,” said Matthew Pointon, property economist at Capital Economics in New York. -Reuters


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April 1-15, 2017 Georgia Asian Times

ENTERTAINMENT

reaction of numerous otherwise rapt critics who thought the movie’s perilous deep dive into the “uncanny valley” had undermined its many positive qualities. Cushing, who played villainous Death Star commander Grand Moff Tarkin in the original film, died in 1994, while Fisher had stopped looking like 19-year-old Leia decades before her untimely death just two weeks after “Rogue One” came out.

Lucasfilm lost sleep over uncanny resurrections of ‘Rogue One’ Los Angeles, March 27, 2017 — It grossed US$1 billion and picked up numerous awards nominations, but a particular aspect of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” proved one of the most controversial moments in the entire franchise. Fans were polarized by the computer-generated appearances of the long-dead Peter Cushing and a youthful Carrie Fisher, with some admiring the technical wizardry but many dismissing their inclusion as downright creepy. With Lucasfilm planning to release the DVD and Blu-ray of “Rogue One” on April 4, fans will get an insight into just how well the film’s crew understood that its flirtation with the “uncanny valley” of computer-generated human images was a huge risk. In a bonus featurette entitled “The Princess and The Governor,” animation supervisor Hal Hickel discusses a cutting-edge special effects process he describes as a “long series of failures resulting in victory.”

“There were many dark days, many sleepless nights, laying awake, worrying about these shots,” he says. Developed by a Japanese robotics professor in 1970, the “uncanny valley” is the hypothesis that human replicas that appear almost, but not quite, like real humans elicit feelings of revulsion. Its name refers to the sudden dip in our emotional response, which generally grows more positive the more human the replicas look — until they are so life-like that we are creeped out. “Close up digital human works is one of the hardest problems in computer graphics,” visual effects supervisor John Knoll explains on the featurette. “You don’t want to be sitting there in the theater saying ‘Yeah, something doesn’t look right. What do you think that is?’”

‘Unnerving’ Unfortunately, this was the exact

So the idea of creating CGI versions of the actors was hugely divisive, with The Washington Times’s Eric Althoff dismissing their inclusion as “effing weird.” Kelly Lawler of USA Today complained that while Tarkin was “unnerving,” the Leia cameo was “so jarring as to take the audience completely out of the film at its most emotional moment.” Tarkin and Leia are played by Guy Henry and Ingvild Deila, with the digital likenesses of the original actors superimposed by San Francisco-based effects studio Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). “It takes a lot of preparation to get into this character because everyone remembers Leia very well, so it needs to look exactly right,” Deila explains on the featurette. “And so they spent a lot of time on my hair, obviously. They dyed it twice and then added some extra hair… in the front because her hairline is a bit lower than mine. And also a big chunk of hair to make the buns. “Then all these dots were put on right before we started shooting so that they could put Carrie Fisher’s face on top of mine.”

‘Carrie loved it’ While archived audio is mined for Leia’s sole word of dialogue, Henry comes up with a passable Cushing impersonation for his substantial scenes of dialogue. “It was a very difficult process because there’s no way to really go back in time and capture the appearances of these actors,” said ILM creative director Paul Giacoppo. “So we had to really bring every single possible skill set to bear, to try to recreate the details of their facial appearance and skin likeness and performance.” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, a producer on the movie, says she wouldn’t have green-lit the digital resurrections if visual effects supremo John Knoll hadn’t been so confident he could pull it off. As for Fisher herself, the actress managed to see her cameo before her death last December 27 at the age of 60, Knoll told ABC News, and gave it her blessing. “She was involved in the process and, you know, she saw the final result and she loved it,” he said. “She got to see the scene. (Kennedy) showed it to her. So, I got a call afterwards from Kathy saying, ‘Well, Carrie loved it.’”


Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2017

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FASHION

couldn’t go through it,” he explained. So he striped it down to 0.14 millimeters wide and bonded it with fabric to make it stronger. He then stitched it into a lace butterfly pattern. “It’s quite heavy so when you move with the dress it makes a 3-D silhouette,” he said. Throughout he was careful to preserve the color of the wood, making it look almost like pencil shavings or delicately processed tree bark, and there were belts and statement bags in the same material.

Innovative fabrics bark up Tokyo fashion tree Tokyo, March 26, 2017 — Wood fashioned into lace and sculpted into evening dresses: the Hanae Mori Manuscrit label led the way this Tokyo Fashion Week in showing the world the original craftmanship that helps set Japan apart from the crowd. Dresses of persimmon wood lace paired with soft falling black fabric were the star of the show at designer Yu Amatsu’s autumn/winter 2017 collection for the brand that left fashionistas giddy with excitement. Discs of chestnut and walnut were used on a dress of interlocking triangular panels, an homage to Issey Miyake’s iconic Bao Bao bag, while wood was fashioned into sleeve ties and delicate butterfly hair pieces. Japan is famous for high-tech and specialty fabrics, which not only supply the likes of Chanel and other celebrated couture houses, but also provide

constantly shifting inspiration for homegrown designers. Misha Janette, a Tokyo-based stylist, creative director and blogger who has lived in Japan since 2004, said Japanese fashion was often less about entertainment and more thoughtful with “amazing” material. “They’re really, really keen on working with young designers to create new fabrics… that sets them apart,” she told AFP. “Each little village has its own special kind of fabric.” Amatsu said the theme of his collection was “combine” — combining fabrics to create something that was both different and more beautiful. 3-D silhouette The persimmon was originally very hard. “Even the sewing machine needle

Inspiration comes from the world at large. “I’m always looking around to find something interesting which can be key for new designs, like the movies, music, architecture and so on,” he said. But wood was far from the only innovative fabric on the runway this Tokyo Fashion Week, which showcased the work of 52 designers. Husband-and-wife label ROGGYKEI, known best for dressing US superstar Lady Gaga a handful of times, bases itself in Japan’s second city of Osaka to be close to specialist fabric factories. The pair have no plans to relocate, recognising their “made in Japan” heritage was a big boon when they exhibited in Paris in 2012. Good technique The fabric is 50 percent polyester, 50 percent wool, which designers Hitoshi and Keiko Korogi said makes it more supple. They also use some processed fabrics which they dye and wash. There was a stole made out of a special cashmere woven from Mongolian yarn in Japan’s Nara and coated

to make it washable and yet prevent pilling. They presented tie-dyed and indigo-dyed stoles too. ROGGYKEI also used discarded pieces of cloth that would otherwise have been thrown out, and mixed natural materials and chemical fibre. But at least one Japanese designer with an emphasis on cutting edge fabrics admitted to shopping elsewhere. Takuya Morikawa offered a high-energy, Americana-inspired collection of silk dresses, fur and a maroon velvet jumpsuit for label TAAKK, which he set up in 2012 after working for Issey Miyake. “All the fabrics are originals,” he told reporters. “The jacquards were made in Japan, but I had the embroidery made in China and India as it would have cost a lot to do in such good quality here.” “Of course Japan has good technique, but I am not too hung up on it. I’d rather use good things from everywhere in the world.”


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April 1-15, 2017 Georgia Asian Times

LIFESTYLE

Japan counts down to cherry blossom fever Mito, April 1, 2017 — Japan’s cherry blossom season kicks off boozy parties across the country and draws tourists from far and wide, but the annual coming-of-spring ritual isn’t official until inspectors like Hisato Nishii sign off on it. Over the past few weeks, local weather offices have been sending civil servants like Nishii out to so-called barometer trees that signal when sakura — cherry blossom in Japanese — have bloomed.

The very short season — full blooms only last about a week before the petals start falling off trees — has long been cast as a symbol of the fragility of life in Japanese art and literature. “Sakura have soaked into Japanese people’s minds because they come at a time when many are starting a new chapter in their life,” Nishii said, as he inspected a barometer tree in Mito city, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

It’s no small matter. Millions of Japanese celebrate the explosion of white and pink flowers heralding the change of season, with the Tokyo area expected to hit full bloom this week.

“They capture people’s hearts because they bloom only for a short period of time.”

Parks are full, restaurants are packed, and companies get in on the action with sakura-branded merchandise, from pink beer cans to flower-motif candy.

Blooms in a particular area — they start as early as March in southern Kyushu and as late as May in northernmost Hokkaido — are official when a half dozen or more flowers blossom on a barometer tree.

The festivities come at a time when Japan kicks off a new business year, many university graduates start their first full-time jobs, and older colleagues shift into new positions.

‘We drink because it’s spring’

Inspectors initially come once a day, but once the buds start swelling up, the visits increase to twice daily, Nishii said.

The location of a sample tree is a tightly guarded secret to prevent pranks. “We carefully observe them so as not to miss any open buds and once we confirm it, we officially announce the blossom season’s start,” he said. The Japan Meteorological Agency has been monitoring cherry blossoms since 1953, but timing the blooms is still far from an exact science. A big rainfall can wash out the delicate flowers while a cold weather snap sometimes delays their appearance. It’s a nail-biting experience for some, including many tourists who book travel around the expected times for a full bloom when trees are covered in a blanket of flowers. Parks in Tokyo have already been filling up as friends, families and colleagues stake out choice spots, laying plastic tarps on the grass as they start hours-long parties under the pretty-inpink trees.

Yusuke Kinoshita was one of thousands of locals and tourists who gathered in Ueno Park, one of the capital’s most popular sakura viewing spots, even before the blooms started. “I’ve been drinking since 10 this morning,” the 39-year-old hotel worker said one recent weekday afternoon after his shift, noting that his boss would be joining the boozy party later on. “It’s the Japanese way for the most junior colleagues to stake out a spot and get the party going once the boss comes. “We drink because it’s sakura season,” he added. “We drink because it’s spring.”


Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2017

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ART

to,” said Marc Zapata, a 22-year-old firefighter seated at a table in the “upper bar”. The feud even stoked old divisions between left- and right-wing families dating back to Spain’s bloody 1936-39 Civil War.

Gain trust So in 2014 the village’s new municipal council came up with the idea to invite local residents and street artists to create one giant mural.

Street art revives divided Spanish village Fanzara (Spain), March 26, 2017 — Fanzara is a small Spanish country village whose handful of mostly elderly residents were once so bitterly divided that their allegiance to one camp or the other determined which bar they frequented. So heated became the local tussle over plans to build a toxic waste dump that it aroused old Civil War-era rivalry and prompted neighbors to cross the street to avoid one another. But, today in Fanzara, the bad blood is almost forgotten and the village has been revived — thanks to street artists from around the world. Tourists now flock to admire giant murals created by invited urban artists on the sides of buildings in the village, which has become an open-air art gallery. To the chimes of the village bell and dogs barking in the distance, Fanzara, some 80 kilometres north of the eastern port city of Valencia, has become a living canvas for colorful artwork. A three-wall picture depicts a robot

with long, thin arms chasing cats, while another nearby mural features a creature with large white eyes holding a tiny planet in its hand. “We looked for an arts and culture project that everyone could take part in and that would re-establish good relations among villagers,” said former municipal councillor Javier Lopez, one of the project’s architects. For years, residents of Fanzara — 70 per cent of them pensioners — had been at loggerheads over the waste incinerator proposal. It was defeated in the end and the right-wing municipal council promoting the project was swept from power in 2011 elections. But locals say tensions remained long after the plan was dropped, with supporters drinking in the village’s “upper bar”, while opponents, who were concerned about the incinerator’s environmental impact, preferred the “lower bar”. “We would know what side you were on depending on which bar you went

It turned into a street art festival, with 21 artists descending on Fanzara a few months later who ended up decorating dozens of grey walls encouraged by enthusiastic locals. Some could be seen hoisted on cranes as they painted the walls. Three years later, Fanzara’s annual festival, known as the Unfinished Museum of Urban Art (MIAU), has joined the circuit of street art events, including prestigious festivals in Copenhagen and New York.

‘Seeing the change in people’ Since 2015 more than 2,300 children have taken a guided tour of the works, helping to invigorate the life of the village that is home to just 18 schoolchildren. Fanzara now has 105 works and many residents have embraced the festival. More than 200 artists from around the globe have already applied to take part in its next edition, from July 6 to 9. “Life is good and peaceful here. There is a pharmacy, a doctor, a butcher’s shop, a bakery... and now with MIAU, it is international,” said resident Elisa Edo. “You open up a lot with all these people who come from elsewhere” to look at the works, the 64-year-old added. For the second edition of the festival in 2015, several locals even put up the visiting street artists in their homes under a program dubbed “Adopt an Artist”.

Initially many villagers had been reluctant to hand over the wall space.

“What I liked the most was seeing the change in people,” said Lopez.

But the artists gradually gained their trust by working closely with them and designing works that reflect village life.

The street art gallery still has some detractors, though.

A Spanish visual artist, who goes by the name of Hombre Lopez, depicted residents’ faces on pebbles at a nearby river. The mural of the robots chasing cats is near a small street, which has been taken over by stray felines. “The original goal of mural art is just that: to reach people, take art out of museums,” says Lopez.

“We have lost the intimacy that is typical of a village,” said Sara Martinez, 21, as she sat at the “upper bar”. She complained that, during the festival, artists “paint until nightfall. We hear all the time the ‘bip bip ‘of the cranes.” Fanzara’s Socialist mayor Ana Romero said, however: “The village is better.” “I think the opponents are a minority.”


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April 1-15, 2017

Georgia Asian Times

FASHION

Labrador retriever still leads the pack of most popular U.S. dogs New York, March 21, 2017 — The friendly, and often clumsy, Labrador retriever has retained its long held title as the most popular dog breed in the United States, while the fearless Rottweiler has climbed to its highest ranking in 20 years. The nation’s most sought after dogs of 2016 were unveiled in New York City on Tuesday by the American Kennel Club, a purebred dog registry that releases a list of top dog breeds each year. Labrador retrievers, commonly called “labs,” have held their slot as the most popular breed for each of the past 26 years, making them the longest reigning leader of the pack. “Labs, they’re just great with people; they’re great with everyone,” said Theresa Viesto, who breeds labs in her hometown of Newtown, Connecticut, and is registered with the Club. “You

never hear about a lab getting into a dog fight.” Viesto and her 4-year-old yellow lab, Reggie, attended the news conference alongside a roomful of stretching, scratching and wrestling dogs and puppies representing the top ten breeds. Placing second, third and fourth were the German shepherd, golden retriever and English bulldog, respectively. Beagles were fifth most popular while French bulldogs placed sixth. The top six breeds remained the same as in 2015. Poodles were seventh and Rottweilers eighth, each jumping one spot higher than the last lineup. Yorkshire terriers dropped two spots to place ninth and boxers held firm in the tenth spot. While the most popular list is generally a reshuffling of longtime

top breeds, Rottweilers have seen a resurgence in popularity recently after falling out of favor in the late 1990s, said Gina DiNardo, the Kennel Club’s vice president. It was not clear why Rottweilers were making a comeback - the last time the breed placed at its current level was in 1997 - but a strong economy generally prompts people to seek bigger and costlier dogs, including Rottweilers, DiNardo said. Rottweiler owner Alexandra Niles, from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, said it was the breed’s devoted nature that won her heart. “They’ll pretty much do anything for you,” said Niles, with her hefty 4-year-old Rottweiler, Talos, sprawled out on the floor next to her. “He never leaves my side,” Niles said about her companion, adding that he enjoys swimming and “doesn’t mind” being dressed up in costumes.

The American Kennel Club maintains the country’s largest registry of purebred dogs. Once a breed is added to the list of some 200 breeds and varietals currently recognized by the club, it is eligible to compete in the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Perhaps ironically, Westminster has never selected a Labrador retriever as winner in the shows 141-year history. “Hopefully someday they will be,” DiNardo said.


Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2017

Page 13

SPORTS

Stung Mercedes vow to strike back in China Melbourne, March 27, 2017 — Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes are vowing to come back hard in China after being ambushed by resurgent Ferrari in the Formula One season-opener in Australia. The German outfit, who have ruled the sport for the last three years, got a rude awakening in the first race of the new season when Sebastian Vettel beat Hamilton by almost 10 seconds in Melbourne yesterday. Vettel’s triumph has overturned early-season expectations and raised the prospect of a Ferrari-Mercedes battle for the world title over the remaining 19 races. All eyes will now be on the next grand prix in Shanghai on April 9 to see if Ferrari can repeat their improved performance through Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. “If it wasn’t already clear after qualifying, then it’s certainly clear now that this is going to be a season of very small margins,” Mercedes technical director James Allison said.

“Credit to Ferrari, they had a very quick car and we just weren’t quite good enough to stick with them. We won’t panic, though. “It’s race one of a long season and we scored some very good points with both cars in Melbourne. We’ll be determined to come back stronger in China and make sure those small margins go our way next time.” While Vettel’s first win for Ferrari since Singapore in 2015, and his 43rd victory overall, has supercharged the season, he said there was still a lot of work to do. “This is one of many steps and we have to enjoy what we do. It’s great to see people smiling,” said Vettel. “Now we have to reset to go to China and try to do a good job.” ‘About time’ for Ferrari Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne said the team returning to the top of the podium was long overdue, with the

victory meaning a non-Mercedes driver leads the championship for the first time since 2013. “It was about time,” Marchionne said. “We’ve been waiting for this victory for almost a year-and-a-half. Hearing the Italian national anthem again was very moving. “Sebastian delivered a great race and I am sure Kimi will be soon up there battling alongside his team-mate.” But like Vettel, Marchionne is not getting carried away at the start of a globe-trotting season which will wrap up in Abu Dhabi in November. “It is absolutely essential to remember that this is not the destination but the first step on a long road that must see us all focused on improving each and every day,” he said. Shanghai will also be an opportunity for Australian Daniel Ricciardo to bounce back after his traumatic outing in Melbourne. The amiable Red Bull driver crashed

in qualifying, was hit with a grid penalty and started yesterday’s race from pit lane, before his car stopped on lap 29 of his 58-lap home GP. “Sure, I’m disappointed now but it is what it is. I’ve been here before so I’ll wake up tomorrow and be motivated to get ready for China,” Ricciardo said after the race. “If any Aussies have a bit of energy left in a few weeks, then come out to China and you’ll hopefully see a better race from me.” The weekend setback continues Ricciardo’s run of terrible luck at his home grand prix, where he was disqualified from second place in 2014 for breaching fuel rules.


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April 1-15, 2017 Georgia Asian Times

SPORTS

Lippi says China must keep momentum Beijing, March 27, 2017 — China’s fledgling revival under Marcello Lippi will be tested by Asia’s top team Iran in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday, while Australia need to return to winning ways when they play UAE. China shocked South Korea 1-0 last week for their first win of Asia’s final qualifying groups, and Lippi says there is much more to come from Team Dragon.

Korea),” said the 68-year-old Italian, according to Xinhua news agency. “But it is not enough to win a ticket to the World Cup. We need to continue this momentum and win the following matches.” Lippi added: “We still have room to improve. We didn’t play the same level as we did in the last match against Qatar.”

Elsewhere Japan host Thailand, South Korea play Syria and table-topping Saudi Arabia entertain Iraq as the road to Russia 2018 heads towards its conclusion.

However, playing Carlos Queiroz’s Iran away is a different proposition to last week’s home game in Changsha, and Lippi said China cannot afford to sit back in the Azadi Stadium.

Lippi, who coached Italy to World Cup victory in 2006, has been hailed as a hero for fashioning China’s rare win over South Korea, which hauled them off the foot of Group A with four games to go.

“In the first half, we played too defensively when we were under pressure. I don’t want to see the same 45 minutes in the following matches any more,” he said.

He said China now need to maintain their momentum. They now lie five points back from an automatic berth and have games to come against Syria, Uzbekistan and Qatar, after their trip to Tehran. “We worked hard to get the three points we needed (against South

“In the second half, my team was well organised in defence and created several chances to score. We still have much work to do.” Cahill not ‘flinching’ Meanwhile Tim Cahill remains bullish about Australia’s prospects despite

a run of four straight draws which has put their automatic qualification in doubt. The Saudis and Japan are level on points at the top of Group A, occupying the two automatic spots, with Australia three points behind in third and currently in line for a place in the play-offs. But Cahill, Australia’s record scorer, said he took heart from their victory at the 2015 Asian Cup, which followed a run of indifferent results. “Leading into the Asian Cup I think everyone was worried and thought we had no chance, and we ended up lifting the trophy,” Cahill told the team website. “When Ange said we would lift it six months prior I know it was hard for people to believe, but me, Mile (Jedinak), Millsy (Mark Milligan), Bresc (Mark Bresciano), we didn’t bat an eyelid. “I don’t think I’ll be flinching much now.” The game in Sydney is shaping as a must-win for UAE, whose 2-0 defeat to Japan last week left them fourth in

the group and piled pressure on their coach, Mahdi Ali. Ismail Matar, who skippered the side last week, told The National newspaper “this is for the federation (to decide)”, when asked about Ali’s future. “Our coach is with us now, so we have to face the problems together. We have to focus on the next game together and that is it,” Matar was quoted as saying, adding that the players remained behind Ali. “And we will be until the last day,” he said. Among other fixtures, South Korea, second in Group A behind Iran, will expect to bounce back from their defeat to China when they host war-torn Syria in Seoul.


Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2017

Page 15

HEALTH Stem cell therapy helps some men with erectile dysfunction Paris, March 25, 2017 — Men unable to have an erection after prostate surgery enjoyed normal intercourse thanks to stem cell therapy, scientists are to report Saturday at a medical conference in London. In first-phase clinical trials, eight out of 15 continent men suffering from erectile dysfunction had sex six months after the one-time treatment, without recourse to drugs or penile implants. The positive result showed no signs of flagging during a subsequent yearlong monitoring period. “As far as we know, this is the first time that a human study with a 12-month follow up shows that the treatment is lasting and safe,” said Lars Lund, a professor at Odense University Hospital in Denmark who took part in the trials. “That is much better than taking a pill every time you want to have intercourse,” he said. The results were promising enough to convince Danish health authorities to authorize so-called phase III “dou-

ble-blind” randomized trials in which one group of men is given stem cell therapy and another placebos.

Men with diabetes would be the next target group for clinical trials, Lund said.

Only men recovering from prostate cancer and able to control their bladders will be enrolled in the new experiments, Lund explained by phone.

The results reported at the European Association of Urology conference could be an effective “therapeutic option for patients suffering erectile dysfunction from other causes,” Haahr said.

All-purpose stem cells To perform the procedure, doctors remove fat cells from a patient’s abdomen via liposuction. The cells undergo a brief treatment and emerge as all-purpose stem cells, meaning they can mutate into almost any specialised cell in the body. “We do not cultivate the cells or change them in any way,” said Lund’s colleague Martha Haahr, head researcher and lead author of a study detailing preliminary results, published last year in EBioMedicine. The stem cells are then injected with a syringe into the penis, where they spontaneously begin to change in to nerve and muscle cells, as well as the

endothelial cells that line blood vessels. Men are under general anaesthesia while all of this happens, and are discharged from hospital the same day. Prostate surgery is responsible for about 13 percent of erectile dysfunction cases. Up to 80 percent of men experience difficulty having sex immediately after an operation, previous research has shown.

It is estimated that nearly half of men between the ages of 40 and 70 experience erectile dysfunction to some degree. The global market for drugs treating the disorder is expected to top $3.4 billion (3.15 billion euros) by 2019. Failure to perform sexually can also, in some men, result from relationship problems, performance anxiety or repressed homosexuality, Haahr said.

Diabetes accounts for 40 percent of erectile dysfunction cases, and vascular disease another 30 percent.

When might you get Alzheimer’s? New gene test may tell San Francisco, March 22, 2017 — International researchers said Tuesday they have found a way to assess a person’s genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by a given age, a tool that could lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

Most people with the disease begin to show symptoms in their 60s, but rarer cases of early onset Alzheimer’s can begin as early as the 30s.

The report in the journal PLOS Medicine was based on genetic data from more than 70,000 Alzheimer’s patients and elderly people without the disease participating in several major global studies on dementia.

“For any given individual, for a given age and genetic information, we can calculate your ‘personalized’ annualized risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD),” said co-author Rahul Desikan, clinical instructor at the University of California San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting some 47 million people worldwide, and has no cure and no effective treatments.

“That is, if you don’t already have dementia, what is your yearly risk for AD onset, based on your age and genetic information.”

More research is needed before the test can be made available to the public. Also, researchers noted that their databases mainly included people of European descent, and therefore they could not accurately predict the risk of Alzheimer’s in other ethnicities, including African Americans or Latinos. “This limitation is an unfortunate product of available genetic studies,” said co-author Chun Chieh Fan, a doctor in the department of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego. “To have good predictive performance, the genetic risk score requires

a large amount of data to train, but currently only European cohorts have reached this critical mass.”


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April 1-15, 2017 Georgia Asian Times

Misc Asia

It was hugely controversial and investigations concluded it was largely man-made — the cumulative result of an illegal redesign, an overloaded cargo bay, inexperienced crew and a questionable relationship between the ship operators and state regulators. Now more visitors than ever before come to Jindo, said local official Choi Minwoo — over 100 every weekend. But instead of staying in the area, they pay their respects to the dead at a shrine in Paengmok, placing white chrysanthemums before a wall covered in pictures of dead children, and leave.

Businesses cursed by ‘devil’s waters’ of South Korea ferry sinking Jindo (South Korea), March 27, 2017 — When South Korea’s Sewol ferry sank three years ago killing more than 300 people, it also devastated businesses close to the wreck site. Now owners hope its salvage will herald a change in their fortunes. The ship went down in an archipelago off southwestern South Korea, whose 1,700 islands make up the Dadohaehaesang national park, the country’s largest. Rocky outcrops dot the waters, while bigger ones offer beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and accommodation with scenic ocean views, along with temples and seasonal festivals.

At a harbor on the southern side of Jindo, the closest large island to the wreck, motorboats used to be chartered for marine trips by fishermen and tourists. Now they lie tied to the dock and their owners sit idle nearby. Business was down by half, said captain Park Tae-il, as anglers — his main clients — avoided the area. “Fishermen call it the devil’s water,” he said. “The atmosphere is cold because so many young lives were lost.” The sinking is one of South Korea’s worst-ever maritime accidents, and almost all the victims were schoolchildren.

“They are on their way to another tourist location,” said Choi. That has crippled tourist businesses. Lim Jung-sook opened a guesthouse on the island, just a year before the accident. In her first 12 months in business, she charged US$300 (about RM1,325) a night for a two-bedroom cabin in peak season, and all her rooms were full, she said. But business plunged after the disaster, and even a 50 per cent price cut failed to attract custom. “Even my friends refuse to come, saying they are not comfortable vacationing wearing sunglasses and straw hats in such (a) subdued atmosphere,” said Lim.

‘Empty lot’ On the way into Paengmok, a signboard stands in the middle of an empty gravel lot, describing an elaborate plan to turn the site into a cultural complex with accommodation, shopping centers and leisure facilities from December 2014 to December 2017. The proposal is part of a multi-million-dollar tourism development project for Jindo county, but instead the families of missing ferry victims have been camped out at the spot, waiting to recover their dead children. “The plan has been delayed,” said local official Choi, who is in charge of the scheme, citing the accident as one of the factors. Now completion is expected in three to four years, by when he hopes Jindo will have been able to recover from its image as the “devil’s island”. Business owners hope that last week’s successful raising of the wreck will herald a revival for their enterprises. Freshly caught seafood was once one of the area’s attractions, but demand was destroyed by the disaster. Businesses ceased operations, said fried chicken vendor Lee Myung-seok. “No one bought seafood from Jindo waters because of the belief that they fed on human flesh,” he said. “My heart still aches when I pass by the harbor,” Lee said, letting out a long sigh of grief.


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Page 17

Misc Asia Hong Kong chooses new Beijing-backed leader amid political tension Hong Kong, March 26, 2017 — A Beijing-backed civil servant, Carrie Lam, was chosen to be Hong Kong’s next leader on Sunday amid accusations that Beijing is meddling and denying the financial hub a more populist leader perhaps better able to defuse political tension. The majority of the China-ruled city’s 7.3 million people have no say in deciding their leader, who is chosen from among several candidates by a 1,200-person “election committee” stacked with pro-Beijing and pro-establishment loyalists. Lam, who will become Hong Kong’s first female chief executive when she takes office on July 1, won 777 votes compared with 365 for her closest rival, former financial secretary John Tsang, who polls show is more popular. There were several invalid protest ballots including one that carried an obscenity. “Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious divisiveness,” Lam said in a victory speech. “My priority will be to heal the divide and to ease the frustration, and to unite our society to move forward.” Lam also pledged to follow through on election promises including introducing a “two-tier” profits tax, reducing tax to spur research and development, tackling the high cost of housing by increasing land supply and boosting education spending. She also promised to defend the rule of law and freedom of expression as integral to underpinning prosperity. “Hong Kong needs new thinking,” she said.

TENSIONS Some scuffles broke out outside the voting center between protesters and police, who used metal barricades to keep the demonstrations well away. The activists denounced Beijing’s “interference” amid widespread reports of lobbying of voters to back Lam, rather than Tsang. Some protesters chanted “I want universal suffrage” and unfurled yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the civil disobedience “umbrella movement”, when the result was announced. “Lies, coercion, whitewash,” read one banner. A big yellow banner calling for full democracy was hung from the Lion Rock peak overlooking the city. “The central government has intervened again and again,” said Carmen Tong, a 20-year-old student. “It’s very unjust.” Hundreds of Lam’s supporters waved Chinese flags and cheered inside and outside the venue after her win. Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, Beijing has gradually increased control over it even though it promised wide-ranging freedoms and autonomy not allowed on the mainland under the formula of “one country, two systems”, along with an undated promise of universal suffrage. Many, including opposition democrats, fear Lam will stick to the tough policies of staunchly pro-Beijing incumbent Leung Chun-ying, who ordered the firing of teargas on pro-democracy protesters in 2014 and who was not seen to be defending Hong Kong’s autonomy and core values.

“She doesn’t have a strong foundation, nor will she have a honeymoon after she’s elected,” said political scientist Ivan Choy. “But whether she will further divide society we still have to wait and see what she does, whether she will continue the approach of Leung.” All of Hong Kong’s three other post-handover leaders have struggled to balance the demands of China’s stability-obsessed Communist Party leaders, with the wish of many residents to preserve the global financial hub’s liberal values and rule of law that have long underpinned its economic success. In 2014, parts of the city were paralyzed when tens of thousands of protesters blocked major roads for nearly three months to demand Beijing allow full democracy; demands that were ignored amid some violent clashes. China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office congratulated Lam, saying she should not disappoint the people and should seek to “comprehensively unite all sectors of society”, strengthen development, and “work hard to forge a new situation”, the official Xinhua news agency said. Some city residents see China’s creeping interference in business, media, politics, academia and the judiciary as tarnishing the city’s international business allure. The detention in 2015 of five Hong

Kong booksellers who sold material critical of Beijing also dismayed many residents. The upheavals over the city’s autonomy and democratic reforms have roiled a new generation and weighed on the city’s economy, ranked 33rd globally by the World Bank in 2015. Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, warned this week the city couldn’t afford another five years of strife. Hong Kong had been presented with a reform package, offering the possibility of a direct vote for this leadership race, though only of candidates essentially pre-screened by Beijing. The blueprint was vetoed in 2015 by pro-democracy lawmakers as “fake” Chinese-style democracy. Political and social divisions have led to some legislative and policy-making paralysis and the stalling of major projects, including a cultural hub and high-speed rail link to China. While Hong Kong’s proximity to China has been a boon, bringing investment and spending, businesses have also faced growing competition from mainland firms in sectors like services and property. Housing prices, now among the world’s highest, are widely seen to have been pushed up by a wave of buying from rich Chinese, intensifying anti-mainland China sentiment. - Reuters


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TRAVEL

Stroll in Emperor Nero’s garden with Rome virtual tour Rome, March 23, 2017 — It’s a breathtaking view and you can almost smell the lavender: Visitors to Rome can now stroll through Emperor Nero’s Golden House and sumptuous gardens thanks to a new virtual tour. Only a section remains of the vast landscaped palace which once stood in the middle of the ancient city, its walls decorated with gold-leaf, ivory and gemstones, among gardens boasting vineyards, pastures, woods and an artificial lake. Treasures looted in Eastern cities were displayed in the complex of porticoes and rooms built by Nero after the great fire of Rome in 64 AD had razed the aristocratic dwellings in the area. On his death, Nero’s successors did not take long to scrap the palace, building the Colosseum for gladiator battles on his ornamental lake in 70 AD, filling the Golden House with earth, and erecting the Baths of Trajan on top in 109 AD. The complex was lost for centuries, before being rediscovered in the Renaissance by accident and becoming a must-see for artists from Raphael to Michelangelo, who were lowered into one of the rooms by a window in the ceiling to study the frescoes by candlelight. Strapping on virtual reality headsets, visitors can now see that room

as it was when it was filled near to the roof with earth and as it would have looked in Nero’s time, its marble walls gleaming in the sunlight.

‘Glimmer like jewels’ “It’s called the Domus Aurea (Golden House) not only for the gold leaf in the frescoes but because it was designed so that the rays of the sun would bounce off the marble and waterfalls to glimmer like jewels,” architect Gabriella Strano said yesterday. The viewer steps, virtually, past the columns and into the garden, crossing lavender beds and the lawn to look out across Rome. Visitors, who must book in advance to join groups of up to 25 people, can also look behind and above them with the 360-degree technology viewers. “There were no kitchens here, or bathrooms or heating. The rooms were all open onto the gardens or the view of the lake. It was probably a place to take walks and relax,” said architect Elisabetta Segala. The complex officially opened to tourists in 1999, but was forced to close again when water damage lead to partial roof collapses. The fault lay with the public gar-

dens on top of the buried palace, and in 2010 it was decided the area would have to be redesigned.

Roman garden Not only is the garden soil four-metres thick in parts and porous — weighing 30 per cent more in heavy rains — but oaks and pines have stretched roots down over 25 metres to feed on the mineral salts in the mortar between the ancient bricks below, weakening the structure. “We need to treat the frescoes to stop them going green, but as even the smallest intervention removes a layer of the original work we are first resolving the problem with the gardens before doing a final restoration,” Strano said. Part of the new tour shows visitors how architects and archaeologists plan to save the complex — if funds

can be found. The government has so far stumped up €13 million of the 31 million needed to shore up the walls and transform the land above. Fifty trees will be uprooted, with smaller potted fruit and olive trees put in their place. The flower beds, which will echo the layout of the palace and baths below, will feature plants grown in Roman times, from rosemary to irises. The beds will be shallow and placed over a system of thermal insulation and drainage which will protect the frescoed rooms below by maintaining the climate underground at exactly 16°C and the 90 per cent humidity to which it has long been acclimatized. Italy has appealed for private sponsors to help with the restoration work.

Georgia Asian Times April 1-15, 2017  

Georgia Asian Times covers the multicultural Asian American community in metro Atlanta and Georgia.

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