Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia
www.gasiantimes.com December 15-31, 2012 Vol 9. No 23
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2012
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GAT Calendar of Events (For latest & updated events, visit www.gasiantimes.com)
GAT welcome submission of announcement pertaining to community related events. Please email event, date, venue, and time to email@example.com. GAT does not guarantee insertion of event announcement and has the right to deny any posting.
2013 Georgia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting Dinner Date: Tuesday Jan 15, 2013 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: Georgia World Congress Center 2013 Eggs & Issues Breakfast Date: Wednesday Jan 16, 2013 Time: 7:00 am Venue: Georgia World Congress Center NACA Chinese New Year Banquet Date: Saturday, February 2, 2013 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: Canton House, Buford Hwy For more info: www.naca-atlanta.org Tet Vietnamese New Year 2013 VAC Georgia Date: Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 Time: 10:00 am Venue: Grand Ballroom, 6100 Live Oak Parkway, Norcross
2013 Symposium on Asia-USA Partnership Opportunities (SAUPO) Kennesaw State University - Asian Studies Program Date: Friday April 19, 2013 Venue: St.Regis Hotel For more info: www.kennesaw.edu/saupo/ Charity Golf Tournament Organized by Consul General Indonesia Date: Sunday April 21, 2013 Time: 2:00 pm Venue: Hamilton Mill Golf Club - Canongate Golf Club
December 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
METRO ASIAN NEWS
Preliminary Post-Election Analysis Shows Record Turnout for Asian American Voters Washington, Dec 12, 2012 — Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) along with Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, and the National Asian American Survey (NAAS), released preliminary findings of a post-election poll of Asian American voters that showed an enthusiastic and rapidly growing electorate that turned out for candidates and issues that impact AAPI families and communities. The preliminary report, “Behind the Numbers: Post-Election Survey of Asian American Voters in 2012,” was conducted in nine different Asian languages, in addition to English and Spanish, and is the most comprehensive of its kind. It demonstrates the strength, breadth and depth of AAPI voters, many of whom showed no party affiliation but still broke by 71 percent for President Barack Obama. “These post-election findings unequivocally show the growing significance of the AAPI vote, and that AAPIs have the strength in numbers and political conviction to make a marginal difference in elections. Enterprising policy and political leaders should recognize the strategic potential represented by our community,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of AAJC.
The report includes 2,785 interviews and builds on pre-election polls conducted by AAJC, APIA Vote and NAAS that showed an increase in voter enthusiasm, high levels of support for key issues such as healthcare, education and the economy, and an unprecedented number of undecided voters within the Asian American community. “In-language surveys of the community remain important,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, director of NAAS. “Nearly one in two registered voters in our survey took it in an Asian language. Major national surveys that poll Asian Americans exclusively in English are getting only part of the picture.” “It’s time for us to rethink how we conduct voter surveys to include the AAPI voting population,” said Christine Chen, executive director of APIAVote. “This election showed record levels of engagement by our communities, and this momentum will translate into mobilization for local elections in 2013.” Atlanta, December 11, 2012 — Members of the Greater Atlanta Chapter of Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) elected a new board of directors and a new President for 2013-14 term. AREAA members hosted an installation ceremony at the UPS headquarters.
Asian Homeownership in Metro Atlanta a Priority for Realtors Deb Junkin, CEO of Georgia Association of Realtors conduct the installation ceremony and inducted Tim Hur as the new President for AREAA Greater Atlanta chapter. Hur is a managing broker with Point Honor Associates and recently appointed as President’s liaison to Republic of Korea for National Association of Realtors. “Expansion of home ownership opportunities, supporting business growth, advocating for policy positions designed to remove real estate
investment barriers in the community are our main objectives,” said Hur in his speech. Members of 2013 AREAA Atlanta Executive Board of Directors are Dao Malaythong, Becky Nguyen, Donnie Kham, Andrew Nguyen, Gregory Davis, and Matt Sinon. AREAA Atlanta plans to host an annual conference on sustainable home ownership for Asian Americans in the summer.
Opportunity for Asian American students to participate in Conservation Careers Symposium
This opportunity is for diverse Asian Pacific American students (undergrad or grad) studying environmental science/biological sciences/natural resource management/ecology and similar majors to attend an all expense paid symposium sponsored by the Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service. The Symposium is being hosted at two locations - Shepherdstown, West Virginia and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
DOI’s Fish and Wildlife Service is covering all travel costs, room, board and meals at both locations.
Applicants are requested to submit their resume and transcripts as well as answer a few questions to CAPAL (Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership): www.capal.org/FWSsymposium by Friday, December 21. You must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in the fall of 2013 and be a U.S. citizen.
Georgia Asian Times
December 15-31, 2012
20 kids, 6 adults massacred in Connecticut elementary school NEWTOWN, Connecticut, Dec 14, 2012 - A young gunman slaughtered 20 small children and six teachers on Friday after walking into a school in an idyllic Connecticut town wielding at least two sophisticated firearms. The toll was the second deadliest of the recurrent school shootings in the United States. Connecticut State Police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance said 18 children were shot dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School and that two more died of their wounds in hospital. Six adults at the school were killed, Vance said, before the killer was shot -- either by his own hand or police. US media said the school principal was among those killed. Hours after the massacre, there was still no clue to the motives for the shootings in Newtown, a wooded and picturesque small town north-east of New York. State Governor Dan Malloy said simply: “Evil visited this community today.” There were almost no non-fatal injuries, indicating that once targeted, there was rarely any chance of escape, and that the gunman was unusually accurate or methodical in his fire. Vance said just one person suffered an injury and survived. The majority of killings, which began at around 09:30 a.m., “took place in one section of the school, in two rooms,” Vance added, a detail suggesting that the tiny victims were trapped and easily picked off. The children were aged between five and ten, officials said. NBC television reported that the dead killer was Adam Lanza, 20, and that police had earlier confused him with his brother 24-year-old Ryan
Lanza, whose identity card he had been carrying with him when he went into the school. The surviving brother was in custody and being questioned, according to US television reports. Another source of confusion in the huge police probe was whether the shooter killed his mother at the school, where she reportedly worked, or whether she was the extra victim found in a home in Newtown -- the 28th body in the day’s bloodshed. Media reports said the shooter may have first killed his mother, before driving to her school.
the door and I turned around I smelled smoke,” an eight-year-old boy told NBC.
But on the record, police said they were withholding all information on identities of the victims and the killer for the time being.
“Then bullets whizzed by and then a teacher pulled me into her room,” he said, describing “total panic.”
A tearful President Barack Obama went on national television to express his “overwhelming grief.” He ordered flags to be lowered at half mast. Of all US campus shootings, the toll was second only to the 32 murders in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. The latest number far exceeded the 15 killed in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, which triggered a fierce but inconclusive debate about the United States’ relaxed gun control laws. However, the White House on Friday scotched any suggestion that the politically explosive subject would be quickly reopened. Witnesses described an intense fusillade fired at the elementary school, possibly numbering some 100 rounds, and seeing a corridor splattered with blood. “I was going back to my classroom and I heard like a person kicking on
Police swarmed into the leafy neighborhood after the shooting, while other area schools were put under lockdown. “I was in the gym at the time ... we heard lots of bangs, and we thought that it was the custodian knocking stuff down. We heard screaming. And so went to the wall, and we sat down,” another young boy told WCBS television. “Then the police came in. It’s like, is he in here? Then he ran out. Then somebody yelled get to a safe place, so we went to the closet in the gym and we sat there for a little while,” he said, as stunned parents arrived. “Then the police like were knocking on the door, and they’re like, we’re evacuating people, we’re evacuating people. We ran out. “They’re police at every door leading us down this way, this way. Quick, quick, come on. We ran down to the firehouse. There’s a man that pinned down to the ground with handcuffs on,” he said.
Deadly shootings are a frequent occurrence in US public places, often ending only when the gunman is shot or kills himself. On Tuesday, a man with a semi-automatic rifle raked an Oregon shopping mall, killing two people, then taking his own life. In the most notorious recent incident until now a 24-year-old, James Holmes, allegedly killed 12 people and wounded 58 others when he opened fire in a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, in July. Last month, gunman Jared Loughner was jailed for life for killing six people in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011 in an attack targeting congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at point-blank range but survived. However, despite the tragedies, support for tougher gun ownership laws is mixed, with many Americans opposing restrictions on what they consider to be a constitutional right to keep powerful firearms at home.
December 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Robert Parker’s wine bible moving to Singapore SINGAPORE, Dec 11, 2012 (AFP) - Influential US wine critic Robert Parker is moving the headquarters of his newsletter to Singapore after selling a major stake to investors based in the city-state, a report said Tuesday.
China to claim one-third of luxury market: survey SHANGHAI, Dec 11, 2012 (AFP) China will account for one-third of the estimated $175 billion global market for luxury goods by 2015, as growing wealth spurs demand for top-end goods, consultancy McKinsey said Tuesday. Chinese consumers now account for around 27 percent of worldwide luxury consumption, estimated at around $145 billion this year, the global management consultancy firm said in a new report. “Spending by Chinese consumers on luxury products now exceeds that of any other country,” said the report, which surveyed more than 1,000 luxury shoppers in 14 Chinese cities. “China has become the paramount driver of growth in this sector, with purchases by Chinese both at home and abroad accounting for over onequarter of the global total.” The figure includes spending on items such as high-end bags, shoes, watches, jewellery and clothing. A slowdown in the Chinese economy and a crackdown on government corruption, which has affected gift-giving, has caused the market to cool this year, but China’s wealthy and rising middle class will support future growth, it said.
The market for luxury goods is changing as more Chinese travel abroad and consumers seek more varied brands, McKinsey said. “A rapidly-growing share of Chinese luxury shoppers are doing their purchasing abroad,” it said. “Although Hong Kong and Macau rank among their favoured shopping destinations, Europe is also rising quickly in popularity.” High taxes can make imported luxury goods more expensive in China, while the relatively weak euro can make shopping in Europe more attractive. Chinese consumers still prefer shopping for luxury goods at retail stores, making creating an in-store experience important for companies, with online sales still relatively small, the consultancy said. “Chinese consumers’ tastes in luxury products are maturing with surprising speed,” it said, adding experienced shoppers “increasingly prefer low-key and understated goods to ones that are emblazoned with popular logos.”
Parker told the Wall Street Journal he intends to step down as editor-inchief of The Wine Advocate and phase out its print edition, giving oversight to his Singapore-based Asia correspondent, Lisa Perrotti-Brown. “The Asian market has come of age in the last decade or so, and it would be unrealistic not to expect to be part of it,” he said. He declined to name his new investors but described them as “young visionaries” in financial services and information technology based in Singapore who presented him with a plan he could not refuse, according to the report. “They love wine, but they also saw a great business opportunity,” said Parker, who said he will become chairman of the new company and continue to review the wines of Bordeaux and the Rhone for the newsletter. Despite having only 50,000 subscribers paying $75 a year for six issues, most of them living in the United States, the Wine Advocate can make or break a winemaker with reviews based on a 50-100 point quality grading system. Parker said the Wine Advocate’s print version might disappear before the end of 2013, and he would offer incentives to print subscribers to make the change to an online-only format. “Maybe we will offer them Kindles,” he said.
The company’s current office is next to Parker’s home in Maryland farm country. Singapore is a Southeast Asian financial centre with close business and cultural links to China. The new investors are planning an abbreviated Southeast Asian edition aimed at corporate clients such as airlines and luxury hotels, the report said, and the main newsletter will also put more emphasis on Asia’s nascent wine industry. Perrotti-Brown, who also writes for an online Wine Advocate offshoot called erobertparker.com, plans to hire a new correspondent likely to be based in China. “The correspondent will cover wines produced in China, Thailand and other Asian countries,” she was quoted as saying. “We envisage eventually allowing some advertising, but only from sponsors where there is absolutely no conflict of interest,” said Perrotti-Brown. No winery or wine-related business would be allowed to advertise but luxury watches or credit card brands would be acceptable, the report said. Organizers of Asia’s biggest wine and spirits fair Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, held in Hong Kong in May, said China leapt to fifth place among top wineconsuming nations last year, overtaking Britain. Asia is expected to account for more than half of worldwide growth in consumption over the next three years, they added.
Georgia Asian Times
December 15-31, 2012
Chinese cities becoming too costly for expats: survey Microsoft to sell Surface at retail stores SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 11, 2012 (AFP) - Microsoft said Tuesday it would make its Surface tablet computer available to outside sellers as soon as mid-December, citing interest from retailers as well as consumers. “The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see. We’ve increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface,” said Surface general manager Panos Panay, without providing any specific sales figures. A Microsoft statement said retail stores in the United States and Australia would be the first to sell the introductory Surface model with Windows RT, which has many features of a tablet along with an attachable cover-keyboard. A separate statement from the retailer Staples said it will carry Microsoft Surface at all its retail stores and Staples.com as early as Wednesday. Retail availability in other countries will be announced in the coming months, said Microsoft, which began selling the Surface through its website, its “pop-up” holiday stores and permanent branded stores. “Our plan has been to expand the retail presence for Surface after the first of the year,” said Steve Schueler, head of retail sales for Microsoft.
“Based on interest from retailers, we are giving them the option to carry Surface with Windows RT even earlier.” Although Microsoft has provided no sales data, analysts have said Surface is getting only a small segment of the tablet market led by Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle and several others powered by the Google Android system. Microsoft also announced that some of its pop-up stores would remain open past the year-end holidays and several would become permanent Microsoft retail outlets. “These stores will transition into either permanent brick-and-mortar retail outlets or specialty store locations,” a company statement said. Surface, with a starting price of $499, is now sold at Microsoft retail stores in the United States and Canada and online in the US, Australia, Britain Canada, China, France and Germany. Microsoft said last month that its Surface Pro, a version of its new tablet aimed at business users, would be available in January starting at $899 for US customers.
SINGAPORE, Dec 12, 2012 (AFP) - Chinese cities now dominate the list of the most expensive places in Asia for expatriate residents due in part to a stronger local currency, a regional survey showed Wednesday. Of the top 50 most expensive cities in the region, 16, or 32 percent, are from China, according to the survey by human resource firm ECA International. Beijing is Asia’s fifth most expensive city, coming after four Japanese cities and followed by Seoul. Last year Beijing was seventh. Worldwide, the Chinese capital was in 22nd place, up from number 35. Shanghai is Asia’s seventh most expensive city, up a notch from last year. The financial centre is the 26th most expensive city worldwide, up sharply from number 41. ECA carries out a survey twice a year by measuring a basket of common items purchased by expatriates in more than 400 locations globally, such as dairy produce, vegetables, clothing and meals out. The survey does not include housing, utilities and car and school expenses as these items can make a significant difference to costs but are often compensated for in expatriate packages, ECA said. ECA regional director Lee Quane said the cost of the basket of goods and services covered in the survey rose 5.0 percent this year in China, below the regional average of 6.5 percent but significantly higher than the 2.7 percent rise in Singapore.
“This, together with the fact that the renminbi (yuan) has strengthened against many currencies... is making Chinese locations increasingly expensive,” Quane said in a statement. “This could be stripping them of the competitive edge they once had over other locations in Asia as companies looking to set up in the region might think twice, now, about posting staff to China.” Hong Kong is Asia’s ninth most expensive city, while other Chinese cities in the top 50 are Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Tianjin, Qingdao, Dalian, Chongqing, Suzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen, Najing, and Xi’an. Tokyo remains the costliest place for expatriates in Asia and worldwide, followed by Nagoya on both counts. Oslo is the second most expensive city worldwide, trailed by the Angolan capital Luanda, a hardship post for expatriates. Singapore is the eighth most expensive city in Asia, falling from sixth place last year, and is the 31st worldwide. Bangkok is the 28th costliest city in Asia, followed by Kuala Lumpur at 29th. Metropolitan Manila is in 32nd place in Asia while Hanoi is the 36th most expensive in the region.
December 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
TECH Mobile Internet forcing computers to evolve SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 12, 2012 (AFP) - The shift to smart phones and tablets became a landslide this year, crushing desire for laptop computers and pressuring manufacturers to adapt to the mobile Internet era. The trend promised to gain momentum in 2013, with people using handheld gadgets to remain connected to the Web on the go and switching to sophisticated systems in homes or offices.
Google raises “spirit of the times” from online searches SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 12, 2012 (AFP) - Google on Wednesday provided a look at the “spirit of the times” based on what people sought online using the world’s most popular search engine. “While there are perennial themes - ‘what is love?’ topped the list in ten countries - it’s the unusual and surprising that caught our attention in 2012,” Google senior vice president Amit Singhal said in a blog post. Whitney Houston’s unexpected death resulted in information about the singer being the most explored topic globally on the Internet, according to the Google Zeitgeist 2012 report. The “Gangnam Style” dance by performer PSY of South Korea made him the top query in many countries and second only to Houston globally, according to Google. PSY’s video was also crowned the all-time most-watched clip at Googleowned YouTube. “PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ signature dance took the world by storm,” Singhal said. Hurricane Sandy that devastated a portion of the US East Coast was the third most explored topic on Google, followed by Apple’s iPad 3 tablet
computer, videogame Diablo 3, and mother-to-be Kate Middleton the Dutchess of Cambridge. The Summer Olympic Games in London also made it into the Top 10 list of trending search topics for the year. “Then there was the superhuman,” Singhal said of the Zeitgeist report, which was broken down into 838 categories from 55 countries. “Austrian skydiver Felix Bumgartner’s epic freefall jump made him the number six globally trending person of the year.” “The 2012 Olympics and its various athletes made it into almost every country’s top trends,” he continued. “And NBA player Jeremy Lin also rose on the charts this year, making him the Number One trending athlete globally.” Hot topics research on the Internet included proposed legislation, such as SOPA and ACTA to regulate the Internet, and the fiercely fought US presidential election along with political gaffes. “We hope you enjoy exploring what people around the world were searching for in 2012,” Singhal said of the insights posted online at google. com/zeitgeist/2012.
“Tablets will not kill PCs (personal computers),” said Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett. “Tablets will force them to evolve.” Signs that the evolution is underway include Microsoft overhauling Windows to synch the world’s most widely used computer operating system with tablets and smart phones as well as desktops and laptops. Microsoft is even selling its own Surface tablet based on the Windows 8 software released in October. “I don’t think the PC is going away,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley. “What is clear is we are going through some turmoil; the market is resetting itself around new products.” While people opt for tablets instead of laptops for computing on the move, they will yearn for bigger screens and more processing power when they settle down for “real work,” according to analysts. “Your tablet can do so much that fewer people need laptops, but when you get to your desktop you want something that contrasts significantly from your tablet,” Gillett said.
people “go through this illusion they will do it all on a tablet and realize they can’t.” “Tablets will substitute for some, even many, laptops but because a tablet can’t do as much as a laptop it will eventually stimulate PC sales,” Gillett reasoned. “What ultimately happens here is that the laptop and desktop get rethought and re-invented for a tablet world.” The market for tablets and smart phones is red-hot, leaving the PC as an afterthought for many. Microsoft, which was the biggest tech firm in 2009 because of its dominant Windows operating system for PCs, has fallen behind Apple and is struggling to remain a major force amid gains by Google and Amazon. Onetime giants like Hewlett-Packard and Dell are struggling amid sluggish demand as sales of tablet computers and other devices surge. However, Enderle pointed out, Chinabased Lenovo is thriving by selling the gamut of computing devices. “Lenovo is showing success in all categories, supporting the notion that while the market has more products it is all still personal computing,” Enderle said. “Before we were buying a laptop or desktop computer,” he continued. “Now, we are increasingly carrying many products.” Research firm IDC projects global PC sales this year of 367 million, up just a
fraction of a percent from 2011 and marking the second consecutive year of growth below two percent. ABI Research predicts tablet computers will overtake notebook PCs by 2016.
“I think we will ultimately see the reinvention of PCs.”
Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates said that the PC “still is pretty relevant” but “not the center of the computing universe.”
Gillett described a future in which people go seamlessly from working on mobile devices to desktop stations where tablets can be docked and augmented with sensors, processors, bigger screens and more.
“I think people are going to choose a pantheon of devices, and all of these are connected through the cloud... so the user is now the center of the tech universe.”
He refers to the concept as “frames” for computing. The analyst contends that the limping economy is among factors behind a temporary lull in PC purchases destined to end as
More than 32 million tablets were shipped worldwide in the third quarter of 2012, a 75 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, according to Futuresource Consulting.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2012
Asian Real Estate Association of America AREAA (Atlanta Chapter) - Installtion of new President & Board of Directors, Dec 11, 2012
December 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
HISTORY China marks Nanjing massacre amid tense Japan ties NANJING, China, Dec 13, 2012 - Sirens wailed in China’s Nanjing city on Thursday, 75 years after Japanese troops embarked on mass killing and rape, as a modern-day territorial row between the two saw Tokyo scrambling fighter jets. The two countries -- the world’s second- and third-largest economies -- have extensive trade and business links, but the weight of Japan’s wartime atrocities still bears heavily on their relationship. Nearly 10,000 people sang the Chinese national anthem at a commemoration at the Nanjing Massacre Museum, as soldiers in dress uniforms carried memorial wreaths across a stage and officials urged remembrance of the past. Beforehand an elderly woman cried as she placed flowers by the names of family members listed among the victims on a grey stone wall, and a group of Chinese and Japanese Buddhist monks chanted sutras to pray for world peace. “We are here to recall history, grieve for compatriots who suffered and died, and educate the people... about the lessons of history,” said Nanjing Communist Party chief Yang Weize,
the only government official who spoke. China says 300,000 civilians and soldiers died in a spree of killing, rape and destruction in the six weeks after the Japanese military entered its then capital on December 13, 1937. Some foreign academics put the number of deaths lower, including China historian Jonathan Spence who estimates that 42,000 soldiers and citizens were killed and 20,000 women raped, many of whom later died. On its website, the Japanese foreign ministry concedes only that “the killing of a large number of noncombatants... occurred” and says that “it is difficult to determine which the correct number is”. Some ultra-conservative Japanese politicians dispute that atrocities ever took place in Nanjing. Fewer than 200 survivors remain, according to Chinese estimates. One of them, Li Zhong, 87, said he can never forgive, recalling how people had to restrain a man who grabbed a knife to kill Japanese soldiers after his wife was raped.
“There are fewer and fewer of us survivors every year,” he said. “We must never forget history.” Kai Satoru, the son of a Japanese soldier who served in China, was among the hand-picked audience, which included Chinese students, soldiers and government officials, as well as Japanese NGO representatives. “I am here to admit the crimes. They (Japanese soldiers) competed to kill people,” he said. Two Chinese men assaulted a Japanese journalist reporting on the ceremony by kicking him once and attempting to choke him, before several uniformed police intervened to stop them. The journalist, Shanghai bureau chief for Kyodo News Tomoji Tatsumi, said he was not seriously injured. The Japanese government has reported at least seven assaults of its nationals in China since a political row began in September over disputed islands in the South China Sea. The 75th anniversary has taken on added meaning given the poor state of bilateral ties. Japan on Thursday scrambled F-15 fighters after a Chinese state-owned plane entered airspace over islands claimed by both countries. Chinese government ships have moved in and out of waters
around the islands -- known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands by China -- for more than two months. But it was the first time that Chinese planes have ever intruded into Japanese airspace, according to the defense ministry in Tokyo, while China defended its right to overfly what it says is its own territory. Wu Jinan of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies called for vigilance, given the current state of ties. “We need to remain on serious alert about the tendency in Japan to deny the fact of Japan’s wartime aggression,” he said. “The anniversary may only cool relations further to reach a freezing point. Currently, it’s hard to see any signs of improvement.” Protests against Japan erupted in Chinese cities earlier this year, causing an estimated $100 million in damages and losses to Japanese firms, after Tokyo bought the disputed East China Sea islands out of private ownership. Chinese dissidents say the Communist Party nurtures anti-Japanese sentiment as part of its claim to a right to rule. Beijing typically cracks down on public protests but the antiJapan demonstrations were allowed to take place.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2012
Great balls of China to defend against ‘apocalypse’ Qiantun, China, Dec 13, 2012 - As people across the globe tremble in anticipation of next week’s supposed Mayan-predicted apocalypse, one Chinese villager says he may have just what humanity needs: tsunami-proof survival pods. Camouflage-clad former farmer and furniture maker Liu Qiyuan, 45, inspected his latest creation, a sphere several meters tall he calls “Noah’s Ark”, designed to withstand towering tsunamis and devastating earthquakes. “The pod won’t have any problems even if there are 1,000-meter-high waves... it’s like a ping pong ball, its skin may be thin, but it can withstand a lot of pressure,” he said at his workshop in Qiantun, an hour from Beijing. Liu’s seven completed or under-con-
struction pods, made using a fiber glass casing over a steel frame, have cost him 300,000 yuan ($48,000) each, he says, and are equipped with oxygen tanks, food and water supplies. They also come with seat belts, essential for staying safe in storms, Liu said, strapping himself into position before his assistants shook the sphere vigorously from outside. “The pods are designed to carry 14 people at a time, but it’s possible for 30 people to survive inside for at least two months,” he said.
Their insulation was such that “a person could live for four months in the pod at the North or South Pole without freezing, or even feeling slightly cold,” he said. One of the spheres even boasts the domestic comforts of a table, bed and flowery wallpaper. Liu claims he came up with the design after watching the 2009 Hollywood disaster film “2012”, which is inspired by the expiry on December 21 of the Mayan Long Count, a more than 5,000 year calendar used by the ancient Central American civilisation. “If there really is some kind of apocalypse, then you could say I’ve made a contribution to the survival of humanity,” Liu said.
Apocalyptic predictions have provoked widespread fears among believers, including in China, where two rural counties sold out of candles this month after a panic that three days of darkness would begin on Dec 21, the Xinhua news agency reported. A businessman in China’s eastern Zhejiang province has received 21 orders for bright yellow doomsday survival pods also sold as “Noah’s Ark,” for five million yuan each, the state run China Daily reported.
A man from China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang said that he has invested all his savings, approximately $160,000, to build a survival ark, fearing that his home will be engulfed in a doomsday flood.
Chinese authorities have sought to reassure citizens, with Beijing’s police force publishing an online notice on Wednesday stating that “the so-called end of the world is a rumor”, and advising citizens to use “scientific concepts”. Liu first conceived of spherical houses to withstand earthquakes, which occur frequently in China, but switched his focus to survival technology after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which claimed nearly a quarter of a million lives.
Liu, who is married with a daughter, said many were skeptical when he first outlined his plans. But despite building them he has not sold any, and is worried about repaying loans he took from neighbors and friends to fund his
workshop. “I worked for many years without saving much money... I invested most of my money in the pods, because it’s worth it, it’s about saving lives” he said. Keen to demonstrate the design’s strength, he used a step-ladder to clamber inside one pod before an assistant reversed a pick-up truck into it, inflicting only a minor scratch on its surface. Peeking out of the hatch, he grinned triumphantly.
December 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
FOCUS 4000 Years of Healing Goes Scientific
But not all jamu is the real deal, according to jamu gendong producers Mbah (grandmother) Arif and her family. This family of women learned the art of jamu making from their female ancestors, says Mbah Arif, 50, who has been preparing jamu in her home for the past 37 years.
Alzheimer’s prevention, arthritis easing, cancer control, weight loss and even hangover cures are as near as the garden or your local market. According to recent medical research, spicing up your life with some turmeric could prevent or control all of the above and more. The healing qualities of turmeric, known in Indonesia as kunyit, have been known across Asian nations for as long as 4,000 years, and are now being confirmed by hard science in the West and India. A quick flick through Internet pages on the bright orange to yellow turmeric tuber from the ginger family shows research scientists from several US and Indian universities have unlocked at least one of the health secrets of the plant—its primary active ingredient, cucumin. This element has been shown to radically reduce cholesterol, acts as an anti-inflammatory stronger than many pharmaceutical agents on both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, appears to block the transfer of breast cancer cells to the lungs, and controls prostate cancer when eaten with, of all things, cauliflower. The herb most often associated with Indian foods such as curries has also been shown to help with weight loss as cucumin appears to break down fat cells and is a powerful liver detoxifier. Controlled studies in rats found cucumin significantly reduces alcoholinduced liver damage and also has the ability to cross brain membranes and protect the myelin sheaths protecting the nerves the brain depends on for healthy functioning — sheaths that in Alzheimer’s are otherwise broken down. For good health, turmeric should be taken at least once a week, according
has been understood in central Java for centuries and has made its way to Bali. Known locally as jamu, a glass of turmeric is available at many a warung or traditional market, and now hip health cafes.
to Ayurveda practitioner Somvir of the Bali India Foundation, who points out turmeric is the go to medicine for Ayurveda doctors. “Turmeric has been used in Ayurveda since this medical form was created. Turmeric was seen as so important it was also used in daily life in Bali and India. It is a powerful antibiotic so people give turmeric as the first medical step in illnesses,” says Somvir. How the herb is taken affects its behaviour, he adds. Taken with milk, turmeric strengthens bones and increases flexibility, taken as a powder it relieves joint pain, and mixed with boiled apples can relieve a hangover. Modern research is suggesting turmeric may also be an effective antidepressant, without side effects and with a mild mood enhancing ability. Somvir says turmeric’s value for mental problems has also been long understood by Ayurveda. “With mental issues, turmeric is mixed with butter then rolled onto a cotton bud. This is then lit and the smoke inhaled — this can play a great role in stress alleviation,” Somvir says. This ancient knowledge of turmeric
Daily she prepares her jamu from turmeric, tamarind and lime juice, then sets off to walk her 10-kilometre route carrying a load of 22 kilograms of jamu to loyal customers who buy a glass of the liquid gold for just 20 US cents.
“Early each morning I wash then grind the turmeric roots. This is then filtered many times through water and boiled. For turmeric jamu, it takes a half a kilo of fresh turmeric for a litre and a half of jamu. So we use all fresh turmeric, fresh tamarind and fresh limes. Ours is a family business, here everyone knows how to make real jamu — our customers know what we make and they look for that quality. If we were to mix chemicals even just once into our jamu it would ruin our business,” says Sarni, the palms of her hands stained yellow in testament to her daily preparations. The women point out that turmeric jamu is just one of their products, they also make the powerful and intensely bitter sambiloto leaf that is a cure for respiratory ailments. “Sambiloto also cleans the blood, reduces high blood pressure, controls diabetes and eases stiffness,” says Mbah Arif. A jamu specifically for women is made from the sirih (betel) leaf mixed with temu kunci, another ginger-like root.
“Our jamu is all natural — we don’t mix any chemicals at all. We learned to make this from our grandmother — she was from near Yogyakarta. I came to Bali in 1975 to make a better life; I have been making jamu ever since,” says Mbah Arif sitting in her garden that is also her jamu factory. Each female member of her family also prepares jamu daily, each with her own secret recipe.
“Sirih and temu kunci can be used as an eye wash, to reduce itching, to stop sweat odours and also treats thrush. People believe it also helps women have a flat stomach,” says Sarni, adding, “Turmeric is also good for staying young and losing weight. We learned from our ancestors that turmeric keeps the skin smooth and washes fat cells out of the body in urine and sweat.”
Mbah Arif’s daughter, Darwanti, explains the women have their own kitchens and prepare their jamu in privacy.
Medical science is only just catching up with what these women and their ancestors have known for generations. “Turmeric since ancient times has been the herb of the forever young,” says Somvir of this plant that scientists today are discovering has extraordinary antioxidant powers to destroy the free radicals believed to be the primary cause of aging, cancer, memory disturbances and joint inflammation.
“Each of us make jamu, but it all tastes different, some is bitter, some sweet, some salty, we make our own style from our own recipes,” says Darwanti. Sister-in-law to Mbah Arif is 45year-old Sarni, who again stresses the importance of all natural ingredients for quality jamu that will deliver on its health promises.
(Courtesy: Jakarta Post)
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2012
SPORTS Chelsea thrash Monterrey, set up Corinthians final YOKOHAMA, Japan, Dec 13, 2012 - European champions Chelsea outclassed Mexican side Monterrey 3-1 at the Club World Cup in Japan on Thursday to set up a mouthwatering final clash with Brazilian giants Corinthians. The English Premier League club, debuting at the intercontinental tournament, dominated large spells of the first half and had the match sewn up shortly into the second -- scoring two goals within three minutes of the restart. Monterrey were bidding to become the first CONCACAF champions to reach a Club World Cup final, but the strength of Chelsea’s David Luiz in midfield, coupled with the trickery of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard proved too much for the Mexicans. “It was a good game, high tempo, good play, great goals and great movement so lots of positives for us,” interim Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez said. “We knew they were a good team, but we didn’t know if they would be a good team against us,” he added. “The reaction of the team, especially at the start of the second half, was quite good so I’m very pleased with the performance.” Chelsea started the match with the greater intent and Luiz went close to scoring inside the first four minutes, breaking from his unfamiliar defensive midfield position to fire narrowly over the bar from just outside the box. Eden Hazard missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring two minutes later. Luiz played a precision pass which split the Monterrey defence but the Belgian pushed the ball wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Chelsea had their breakthrough on 17 minutes with a beautifully worked goal that was expertly finished by Mata. Midfielder Oscar played a back heel to Ashley Cole on the edge of the penalty box. The left-back then squared it to the Spaniard who took a touch before smashing it past Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.
Rampant Thailand cruise into Suzuki Cup final
Monterrey’s only clear-cut chance in the first 45 came shortly afterwards when striker Aldo De Nigris headed over the bar from close range.
BANGKOK, Dec 13, 2012 (AFP) - Thailand will meet Singapore in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup after a 2-0 second-half demolition Thursday of a luckless Malaysia, who wilted after a soft sending off swung the tie in the host’s favor.
Any hopes the Mexicans had for a second-half comeback were dashed after just 15 seconds of the restart, Fernando Torres grabbing a deflected goal from inside the box with much of the 36,648 crowd yet to return to their seats.
Thai striker Teerasil Dangda, who got the vital late equalizer in the Kuala Lumpur first-leg, was again the hero breaking the deadlock on the hour mark as 10-man Malaysia capitulated after a defiant first-half showing in Bangkok’s Suphachalasai stadium.
The match was over as a contest on the 48-minute-mark when Darvin Chavez put the ball into his own net to make it 3-0.
Theerathon Bunmathan swept home the second five minutes later as the rampant War Elephants again tore through the visitors’ leggy defense, sealing the 3-1 aggregate victory and sending his side into the two-legged final.
A rout appeared to be on the cards at the 68,000-capacity International Stadium in Yokohama but Victor Vucetich’s side steadied the ship and scored a consolation goal through De Nigris in injury time. “I regret that we lost the way we did,” Vucetich said. “We made our best efforts however there were several times where we lost our concentration. “We did have some opportunities to score but the game was decided when we lost those two goals.” Chelsea will play Copa Libertadores winners Corinthians in the final in Yokohama on Sunday. Earlier that day Monterrey will take on Egypt’s Al Ahly in a play-off for third place.
Thailand will travel to Singapore, who edged out the Philippines 1-0 in their semi-final, next Wednesday before the return leg in Bangkok on December 22. The Thais could have scored a hatful as they carved through Malaysia at will in the second period, leaving the visitors to rue failing to hold on to their slender 1-0 lead in the home leg on Sunday. Despite needing just a goalless draw to advance to the final, three-time champions Thailand had vowed to go for the jugular backed by a vocal home support.
And they did not disappoint, zipping the ball around in the early exchanges, but failing to get through a resilient Malaysian defence. Midfielder Datsakorn Thonglao dictated the tempo for the War Elephants’ charge, passing the Thais into control of the game. But the match turned just before the half-time whistle when the referee gave a second yellow card to Malaysian defender Mohamed Fadhli Mohd Shas after an innocuous seeming off-the-ball incident with a Thai player. A man down, Malaysia laboured in the second half, instantly inviting pressure by giving away easy possession. Thailand were ruthless in response, stretching the play at will until striker Teerasil raced through to put them ahead. After that it was a question of how many the hosts would score, with Theerathon finding the net from the left-hand side of the penalty area and only the excellent Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Farizal preventing a humiliation.
December 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
SPORTS Motorsport: FIA puts road safety at the top of its agenda DOHA, Dec 10, 2012 (AFP) - World motorsport’s governing body on Monday put its quest for improved road safety on a par with the fight against some of the world’s deadliest diseases, warning of a high price to pay if nothing was done. The president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), Jean Todt, said reducing deaths and serious injuries on roads around the world was “one of the central priorities” of the body. The FIA is not only the ruling body for the hugely popular sport of Formula One but also the umbrella group for the world’s leading motoring organizations. Speaking at the Doha Goals sporting forum in the Qatari capital, Todt described road accidents as a “plague which causes 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries annually” and cost society more than $500 billion a year. “If vigorous action isn’t taken at all levels, there will be nearly two million deaths and 80 million injuries in 2020,” he warned. The FIA said it intended to act on the everyday level, particularly in developing countries, where the cost of injury and death can be higher for those affected, in particular the affordability and provision of healthcare. “Road insecurity is a plague at the same level as tuberculosis, AIDS or malaria, if only because all these diseases are tending to regress while the number of road accidents are increasing,” he added. “In developed countries, given the education, the application of laws with road inspections, the technical nature of the cars, it’s true that it (accident levels) are down.
FIFA can’t verify claims over Messi record
“But in developing nations, which corresponds to about 90 percent of cases, accidents are on the rise.” The FIA has launched an awareness campaign in conjunction with one overseen by the United Nations, which is currently running its “Decade of Action for Road Safety” initiative. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that 2.3 million people could die in road accidents by 2030, making it the fifth leading cause of death in the world, if nothing is done. In 2004, road traffic accidents were the ninth leading cause of death around the world, according to the Global Status Report on Road Safety, published in 2009. Overall, the FIA and the UN aim to cut road deaths and injuries by five million and 50 million by 2020 through “golden rules” such as wearing a seatbelt or regular tyre inspections. Todt said the FIA could help because “sensational progress” had been made in safety over the years in F1, whose current and past champions such as Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher were also road safety ambassadors. The scheme is working with governments, WHO and the World Bank to make road safety part of “countries’ priorities”, while adapting to their specific needs, he added. Todt, though, admitted that the message was harder to get across in some countries than in others, particularly in places with high levels of corruption and where older vehicles were the norm on roads.
PARIS, Dec 14, 2012 - World football’s governing body on Friday said that they were unable to check whether claims that an African footballer and not Argentina star Lionel Messi was the record holder for the most goals scored in a calendar year. “Thanks for the questions about Godfrey Chitalu. Our official stats are limited to FIFA competitions, so we cannot verify this ‘record’,” FIFA’s communications department said on its Twitter account @fifamedia. “We keep records for all FIFA competitions,” it added. Barcelona forward Messi was hailed by many as the greatest player ever in the game after he scored twice on Sunday to beat the 40-year-old record of Germany’s Gerd Mueller and take his tally to 86 for 2012. But claims emerged on Thursday that he may still in fact be well short of Zambia legend Chitalu, who netted 107 times -- 49 in league matches for Kabwe Warriors and 58 in cup and internationals -- between January 23 and December 10, 1972. A black and white photograph of a smiling Chitalu, dressed in a suit and holding a ball inscribed with “1972 Godfrey Chitalu 107 goals” has been widely circulated on the Internet. Yet there have also been claims that his name was raised by jealous supporters of Barca rivals Real Madrid to prevent the record going to a Barcelona player.
Zambian commentator Musonda Chibulu and fellow researcher Jerry Muchimba, who compiled their data from daily newspapers and the southern African country’s national archives, had said they would try to get Chitalu’s tally ratified by FIFA. The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) also said it wants recognition for the player, who is considered one of the best to have played for The Copper Bullets, who are the current holders of the Africa Cup of Nations. “Kabwe Warriors, for whom Godfrey Chitalu played, is a legendary team in our country,” FAZ president Kalusha Bwalya was quoted as saying on the BBC Sport website. “Their front line had Godfrey Chitalu scoring all the goals -- and even for the national team, this man did a lot. So I think it would be important for people to recognize his feats.” Chitalu died with the whole national football team when their airplane crashed off the coast of Gabon in 1993 on the way to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal. He was head coach at the time. A similar challenge had already been contested on Wednesday by Brazilian club Flamengo, who insisted that their former player, Zico, scored 89 times in the 1979 season.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2012
HEALTH Food viruses can be spread by kitchen knives
PARIS, Dec 07, 2012 - People preparing food are advised to wash their hands to prevent the spread of disease, yet an unseen threat may well lie on their kitchen knife, a new study says.
Researchers at the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia used new knives and graters on six types of fruit and vegetables that had been smeared with minute doses of hepatitis A virus and a “vomiting” bug called norovirus. More than half of the utensils became contaminated by this contact -- and in turn often handed on virus to non-contaminated produce. The experiment was conducted on cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, carrots and cantaloupe and honeydew melons. The type of knife, whether serrated, sharp or dull, did not matter, according to the paper, published in the latest issue of the journal Food and Environmental Virology. Co-author Marilyn Erickson said the findings could be important for people with a weak immune system. As for recommending what to do, she acknowledged that it could be impractical to wash a knife or grater between each vegetable.
Gene sleuths track spread of hospital superbug PARIS, Dec 09, 2012 (AFP) - Gene detectives on Sunday said they had pinpointed how a hospital superbug arose in North America in the early 2000s and spread to Europe before becoming a source of global concern. The germ spread through two different but closely-related strains, not one as previously thought, said the researchers. The evidence comes from a “family tree” of the dangerous bacterium Clostridium difficile as it evolved into different strains over the years, they said. “Between 2002 and 2006, we saw highly publicized outbreaks of C. difficile in hospitals across the UK, US, Canada and Europe,” said Miao He of Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute. “We found that this outbreak came from two separate epidemic strains, or lineages, of C. difficile, FQR1 and FQR2, both emerging from North America over a very short period and rapidly spread between hospitals around the world.” The study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, analysed the DNA from C. difficile samples taken from hospitals around the world from 1985 to 2010.
Two strains of the bug separately acquired genes that made them immune to fluoroquinolone, once the frontline antibiotic against it, the authors found.
The germ disseminated in North America before being introduced into Australia in a single incident, and to continental Europe and Britain, both on at least four incidents.
“Up until the early 2000s, fluoroquinolone was an effective treatment for C. difficile infection,” said investigator Brendan Wren, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Known as “C-diff,” the pathogen ranks alongside Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as a hospital threat.
“We’ve seen that since these strains acquired resistance to this frontline antibiotic, not only is it now virtually useless against this organism, but resistance seems to have been a major factor in the continued evolution and persistence of these strains.” The new study, appearing in the journal Nature Genetics, sheds worrying light on how superbugs can travel easily and swiftly via jet travel and interconnected health systems.
It causes about half a million cases of sickness, and between 15,000 and 20,000 deaths, in the United States each year, according to estimates published in 2009. The bug comprises a bacterium that comes in a spore, or a hardy shell-like jacket, which makes it easily transportable on surfaces or hands. It naturally colonizes the gut and is not a problem for people who are healthy as it is kept in check by other intestinal bacteria.
The first known outbreak of the FQR1 strain was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2001. It then leapt from the northeastern United States to South Korea and Switzerland.
But when antibiotics are used to treat someone who is sick, the drugs can wipe out the “good” bacteria, which leaves C. difficile to multiply uncontrolled.
The earliest outbreak of the FQR2 strain appears to be in Montreal in 2003, but its transmission pathway was different.
As it reproduces, it releases toxins that cause severe, even fatal, diarhoea as well as colitis that may need removal of the colon.
Fossil find challenges tree of life as we know it
However, “it would be wise to wash (the utensil) carefully between meals rather than leaving it on the counter, thinking it’s not that dirty,” using a dishwasher or at dishwater-type temperature, she said.
PARIS, Dec 12, 2012 (AFP) - Organisms long thought to have been the ancestors of early marine creatures may in fact have lived on land, said a fossil study Wednesday that may prompt an overhaul of the tree of animal life.
Previous research into contamination of kitchen utensils and surfaces has focussed on bacteria, not viruses.
If correct, the finding could challenge the commonly held theory that life had thrived in the oceans for hundreds of millions of years before spreading to land.
A 2011 study found that the norovirus is the leading cause of food borne illnesses in the United States. Ingesting as few as between one and 100 norovirus particles can cause vomiting or diarhoea.
The fossils, dubbed Ediacaran and dated to 542-635 million years ago, were unearthed in south Australia in 1946, and were long thought to have been the remains of jellyfish, worms and flowery seafloordwelling creatures known as sea pens.
Now a geological scientist from the University of Oregon, using state-of-theart chemical and microscopic analysis techniques, has concluded the fossils more likely belonged to land-dwelling organisms and were not animals at all. They may have been lichen -- a composite of a fungus and an algae or bacteria -- or colonies of micro-organisms. “The discovery has implications for the tree of life because it removes Ediacaran fossils from the ancestry of animals,” said Gregory Retallack, author of the study published in the journal Nature.
The fossils represent “an independent evolutionary radiation of life on land that preceded by at least 20 million years the Cambrian evolutionary explosion of animals in the sea,” he wrote. Retallack added this did not mean that all Ediacaran fossils everywhere were terrestrial. If his theory is correct, it would indicate that some organisms mastered the transition from marine to non-marine life much earlier than currently thought, Paul Knauth of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration wrote in a comment on the report.
December 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Misc Asia Singapore pets to get newspaper obituaries SINGAPORE, Dec 11, 2012 - Animal lovers in Singapore will soon be able to publish tributes to their dead pets when the city-state’s leading daily launches a special obituary section.
However, a grieving owner may choose to enhance the message by having it published with a photograph of the pet at a “special discounted price” of Sg$50 ($41).
From December 16, the classified ads section in the Sunday edition of the English-language Straits Times will have a segment devoted to pet obituaries, publisher Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) said.
“More and more, we are getting requests from pet owners who want to remember their pets which have passed away, and want to tell the stories of their pets,” said Tan Su-Lin, vice president for CATS Classified, which handles advertisements for the SPH stable of newspapers.
The Pets Corner is a section of the classified ads that already contains a pet adoption column and a lost and found segment. For pet obituaries, tributes of no more than 30 words will be published for free, subject to space availability.
“Pet lovers have the kind of deep, emotional bonds they have forged with their pets and we want to give them a platform to express this in print,” said Tan.
Sock thief at large in Japan: police TOKYO, Dec 14, 2012 (AFP) - A Japanese high school girl who was tackled by a sock-stealing thief is the latest victim in a series of similar attacks against teenage targets, police said Friday. The 16-year-old was walking in an eastern Tokyo suburb on Thursday when she was wrestled to the ground by a man who ripped a sock off her left foot and fled with the goods.
The latest victim was not injured by the thief, who appeared to be in his thirties or forties. It remained unclear if the same man was responsible for all the incidents. “In the third case, a man took the girl’s leggings off. In all the other cases, victims lost one of their socks,” said a local police officer.
At least four other high school girls in the same neighborhood have been victims of sock lifters since September, police said.
Thousands set for South Korea’s ‘battle of the singles’ SEOUL, Dec 11, 2012 - Tens of thousands of lovelorn South Koreans are set to take part in a “battle of the singles” on Christmas Eve -- a mass dating event triggered by an innocuous query posted on Facebook last month. More than 36,000 people have signed up for the event in a park in central Seoul since two young men jokingly floated the idea on the social networking site and met with an overwhelming response. “We only asked ‘What do you plan to do on Christmas Eve?’ and people started to leave thousands of comments that they were single and miserable and had nothing to do,” saidJustin Chanwook Jang, one of the two organizers. “So we suggested this idea to help lonely singles find love on Christmas Eve ... we never imagined it would grow this big,” said 29-year-old Jang, who plans to participate himself.
Some businesses have decided to enter into the spirit of things by allowing single employees the day off on Christmas Eve which falls on Monday, and around 200 firms have offered to sponsor the event.
those who signed up will actually attend, but Jang is confident.
The rules of “the battle” are simple.
“I’m witnessing how social networking sites can help a tiny idea grow so big and so quickly ... it’s overwhelming,” he said, adding that more than 200 people had volunteered to act as stewards.
Women must dress in red and men in white and all gather at the park, which sits on an island in the Han River that bisects the capital.
When it became clear just how many people might turn up, the organizers informed the police and asked them to help monitor the event.
The two groups will stand facing each other a few meters apart until the event starts at 3:00pm (0600 GMT) - then run towards a potential date and grab his or her hands.
News of the “battle” has been publicized on major Korean Internet sites and Twitter, with a flood of postings expressing both excitement, skepticism and concern.
Those who manage to get a date are encouraged to post photos taken with their new partners on the event’s Facebook page.
“This will be a scene we all must watch ... a horde of men chasing after women to grab their hands and girls frantically running away,” tweeted @ ksmfilm.
It remains to be seen how many of
“My only concern is white is not my color. I’ll pretend that I’m sick on that day so that I can leave work early,” said one anonymous commentator. One Facebook user warned that the mass event was an open invitation to sexual harassment and pickpockets. The concept has spread outside Seoul and similar “battle of the singles” have been arranged in several other cities. Some businesses, perhaps scenting a free marketing opportunity, have decided to embrace the event. K2 Korea, a Seoul sportswear company, has offered all single employees a paid holiday, provided them with red and white jackets to wear on the battle day, and even promised a cash prize to those who find a date. “About 70 of our 300 workers are without partners ... we wanted them to have the holiday in a happier mood so
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2012
Misc Asia that they can eventually work better,” a K2 spokeswoman. Seoul online matchmaking site operator I-Um Socius also offered a day off to its employees -- most of whom are young and unmarried. Jang, who is hoping to interest Guinness World Records in what he hopes may turn into the world’s biggest dating event, said he had been approached by a company in New York to organize a similar event in Manhattan next Christmas. Out of a population of some 50 million, South Korea -- one of the world’s most-wired nations -- has 31 million smartphone users and nearly 20 million users of either Facebook or Twitter. But virtual social connection is not necessarily translating into physical
partnerships, as a slowing economy and financial constraints cause many young people to put off the idea of marriage or opt to live alone. According to Statistics Korea, 404,931 couples got married in 1990 across the country. By 2011 the figure had fallen by nearly 20 percent to 329,087. The country’s fertility rate stood at 1.2 percent in 2009 -- the lowest among members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development -- before inching up to 1.23 in 2010. That, combined with growing life expectancy, means South Korea has one of the world’s most rapidly-aging societies -- a trend that will have profound economic implications in the decades ahead.
East Asia students tops in math, science, reading WASHINGTON, Dec 11, 2012 (AFP) - Pupils in smaller, prosperous nations and territories in East Asia lead the world in math, science and literacy, according to a set of global studies released Tuesday in the United States.
The parallel Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) named Hong Kong and Singapore among the top performing countries in fourth-grade reading comprehension.
Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan were the top performers in both fourth- and eighthgrade mathematics in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
Worldwide, out of 45 participating countries, only 12 nations had average achievement below the PIRLS center point of 500, the study observed, and in nearly all countries girls scored better at reading than boys.
“At the eighth grade, clearly the East Asian countries ... are pulling away from the rest of the world by a considerable margin,” the report said in its executive summary.
Students in the United States surpassed the international average, but lagged behind their East Asian and, in some cases, European counterparts.
In science, Singapore and South Korea held the top two tiers at both grades, indicated the studies, which are conducted every four years since 1995 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement (IEA).
The IEA, which conducts its research out of Boston University, posted the studies on its website: timssandpirls. bc.edu.
Japan firm recalls China tea on pesticide fears TOKYO, Dec 11, 2012 - Japanese food company Ito En on Tuesday issued a huge recall of Chinese-grown tea after some of it was found to contain illegal levels of pesticide residue. The firm said it was recalling about 400,000 packages of Oolong tea after spot testing revealed pesticide residue levels above Japanese food safety limits. Ito En said it started testing the tea from China’s southern Fujian province after another Japanese teamaker announced last month it had found similarly high pesticide levels in its China-sourced tea. “We found the higher levels of pesticide residue after conducting voluntary tests following another company’s announcement about Oolong teabags,” said an Ito En spokesman. But he insisted the findings were not an imminent health risk, adding that the firm had not received any complaints from customers. The spokesman said the tea had passed sample testing performed in China, which has been hit by a string of food safety scandals in recent years. The recall also comes as China-Japan trade, worth over $340 billion annually, has taken a hit in the wake of a territorial row over an East China Sea island chain claimed by both countries.
Ito En said it may strengthen its testing of the traditional-style Oolong tea and has sent company officials to China to investigate the matter. “We will suspend sales of the relevant products until we find out the cause,” he said. The tea under recall has expiry dates from mid to late November 2013. China is trying to crack down on product safety violations after a series of high-profile scandals. In 2008, the industrial chemical melamine was found to have been illegally added to dairy products to give the appearance of higher protein content in China’s biggest food safety scandal. At least six babies died and another 300,000 became ill after drinking milk tainted with melamine. The same year, thousands of Japanese people fell ill after eating pesticide-laced Chinese dumplings. Earlier this year, a Chinese dairy producer was ordered to suspend production after a cancer-causing toxin was found in its infant formula.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2012
Published on Dec 15, 2012