Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia
December 15-31, 2013 Vol 10 No 24
December 15-31, 2013 Georgia Asian Times
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2013
GAT Calendar of Events (For latest & updated events, visit www.gasiantimes.com)
Publisher: Li Wong Account Manager: Adrian West Contributors: Andrian Putra, May Lee, Mark Ho Photography: Ben Hioe, Rendy Tendean
Tel: 678-971-9388 Advertising: email@example.com Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: www.gasiantimes.com Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4502 Suwanee GA 30024 Copyright Georgia Asian Times 2004-2013
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 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.
Asian/American 9th Annual Charity Event Organized by Thai Association World Center USA Date: Saturday, January 9, 2014 Time: 6:30 pm - 12:30 pm Venue: Happy Valley Restaurant For more info: 770-833-7009; firstname.lastname@example.org NACA Chinese Lunar New Year Banquet Date: Saturday, January 25, 2014 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: Canton House Admission: $40 member; Non-member $80; Corporate Table $1,800. For more info: 770.394.6542 Tet Lunar New Year Celebration Organized by Vietnamese American Community of Georgia (VAC GA) Date: Sunday, February 2, 2014 Time: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm Venue: The Wild Bills Concert Hall 2075 Market Street, Duluth GA 30096 For more info: 678.907.6941 Chinese Business Association of Atlanta (CBAA) - Chinese New Year Annual Meeting Date: Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 Time: 7:00 pm Venue: Golden House Restaurant For more info: www.cbaaweb.org
21st Annual CBAA Chinese New Year Gala Concert Date: Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 Time: 3:30 pm Venue: Woodruff Arts Center For more info: email@example.com Legislative Breakfast & Lobby Day Organized by Asian American Legal Advocacy Center Date: Monday, February 10, 2014 Time: 7:30 am - 1:00 pm Venue: Georgia Railroad Freight Depot, Blue Room Individual Tickets: $20 For more info: 404-585-8446; www. aalegal.org Hong Kong Spring Reception for the Year of Horse Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: Carter Center Private Event - By Invitation Only For more info: 404.788.8818
December 15-31, 2013 Georgia Asian Times
METRO ASIAN NEWS Metro Atlanta’s Asian American candidates shares insights on recent election Chamblee, December 10, 2013 — Metro Atlanta’s Asian American community members delivers an enthusiastic turnout to listen to five Asian American candidates who recently ran for office at I Luv Pho #3 restaurant. The networking event was organized by Asian American Legal Advocacy Center (AALAC). “Georgia is the new battleground state for votes. Asian American voters in Georgia can make a difference in the upcoming elections,” said Helen Kim Ho, Executive Director of AALAC in her opening remarks.
“East Meet West” Culinary Experience Promote Culture and Friendship Atlanta, December 2, 2013 — Kennesaw State University’s Confucius Institute and The Ritz Carlton Atlanta premiered an “East Meet West” culinary tasting for invited guests and supporters of the institute at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Atlanta. The culinary event featured Chef Bufeng Ji, a leading expert in Chinese culinary arts and food culture and Chef Xinguo Lu, a pioneer researcher in Chinese medicine and nutrition. Chef Julio Delgado, Executive Chef of Ritz Carlton, Atlanta, presented a menu of Latin cuisine with Chinese influence. “This event is to bring people together through food and culture. We hope to make it an annual event,” said Dr. Barry Morris, Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Board Member of Confucius Institute, Kennesaw State University. Invited guests for the evening were feted with sumptuous dishes prepared by the distinguished chefs. Among the dishes prepared for the evening included Yangzhou Fried Rice, Huaiyang Stewed Pork Meatballs, Gulao Cod Fish, Dry-Fried Shredded Beef, White Mushroom and Lotus Seed Soup, and Chrysanthemum Shaped Daikon Radish with Shredded Scallop Soup. Chef Bufeng Ji has established a
reputation worldwide for his expertise in Chinese food culture. He was the leading chef for the catering service at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Chef Xinguo Lu has been recognized as a “National Chinese Medicine Expert” by the China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chef Delgado presented a series of tasty Latin American dishes included Coconut and Red Snapper Ceviche with Pine Nuts Croquant, Ripe Bananas with Spicy Oxtail and Cheddar Cheese, Fried Codfish and Plantains and Sofrto Sauce, and Guava Brazo Gitano with Sweet Avocado Cilantro Mousse. Artistic performances of Chinese dance, GuZheng and Pipa were delivered by Lisa Chyn, Dier Wu, and Hui Zhang. The Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University was established in September 2008, in collaboration with the Office of Chinese Language Council International and Yangzhou University in China. The Confucius Institute at KSU is one of the tastes growing among exclusive network of 500 such institutes in the world and was named as Confucius Institute of the Year in 2012.
She based her assessment on several factoids including Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) represents 300 percent growth in the last decade in population growth in Georgia, AAPI represents 58 percent of Gwinnett County’s minority population, and a 6.77 percent increase in voters turnout in recent municipal races. “Asian American interest are deeply under-represented and our interest
are not represented at the state legislatures. We need to build the power for the Asian community and the power will ultimately help the state,” adds Ho. The five candidates that presented their insights and experiences in a panel discussion are Judge Carla Wong McMillian, Court of Appeals of Georgia; Eugene Yu, United State Senate Candidate; Louis Tseng, Duluth City Council candidate; Birendra Dhakal, Clarkston City Council candidate; and Hang Tran, Morrow City Council elect. Rep. B.J. Pak (Republican, District 108) and State Representative Pedro Marin (Democrat, District 96) delivers special opening remarks at the event. Asian American Legal Advocacy Center has also scheduled to host a Legislative Breakfast and Lobby Day on February 10, 2014 at Georgia Railroad Freight Depot, Blue Room. For more information on AALAC, visit www.aalegal.org
Consulate General of Japan Celebrates Emperor Akihito’s 80th Birthday Atlanta, December 5, 2013 — The Japanese Consul General celebrated the 80th birthday of His Majesty Emperor Akihito at his residence with a reception. Honorable Kazuo Sunaga, the newly appointed Consul General of Japan in Atlanta, welcomed over 200 invited guests to his residence for the celebration. Georgia shares a sister state/prefecture relationship with Kagoshima. There are currently 11 sister city relationships between Georgian and Japanese cities. “The Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta will mark the 40th year founding anniversary in April 2014,” said Consul General Sunaga in his remark. Official trade ties between Japan and the state of Georgia started in 1973 with the opening of a Georgia State Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism office in Tokyo.
Since then, Georgia has often been regarded as the center of Japanese industry in the U.S. southeast. Japanese affiliated companies have invested over $10.4 Billion in Georgia, where 547 Japanese affiliated companies currently operate. These companies employ nearly 37,000 Georgian workers and among the major Japanese firms operating in Georgia includes Kubota, Murata, TOTO, Yamaha, and YKK. Georgia’s export to Japan amounted to $1.4 Billion and ranking Japan its 4th largest export market. Invited guests were treated to a toast to the Emperor on his 80th birthday.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2013
New Consul General of Japan is optimistic of ties with Georgia Georgia welcome the newest Consul General of Japan on May 28, 2013 when Honorable Kazuo Sunaga arrived for his first posting in the American South. A veteran diplomat with several overseas postings, Consul General Sunaga had last served as Director General for International Affairs in the Bureau of Defense Policy of the Ministry of Defense of Japan in Tokyo. Consul General Sunaga had also previously served as Minister in the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations in New York from 2003 to 2007. “The people here are friendly and genuinely open. Atlanta has been an enjoyable city to live,” expressed Consul General Sunaga on his impression of the city. His office is responsible for over 3,000 Japanese expatriates in Georgia and is responsible for the five-state jurisdiction of Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. “This office has the tradition of supporting Japanese citizens and companies in Georgia. It also plays an important role in strengthening the economic ties between the state and Japan. I want to continue the trend as my mission,” said the 56-year old Consul General. 2014 marked the 40th anniversary for the establishment of the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta. Official trade ties between Japan and
the state of Georgia started in 1973 with the opening of a Georgia State Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism office in Tokyo. Since then, Georgia has often been regarded as the center of Japanese industry in the U.S. southeast. Japanese affiliated companies have invested over $10.4 Billion in Georgia, where 547 Japanese affiliated companies currently operate. “We wanted to build on the special relation that have developed over the years. In the past six months, I’ve been trying to meet as many local leaders and to learn as much as possible,” added the Consul General. He is also appreciative to the American people and companies who have shown generosity and support during the tsunami relief effort in 2011. “We are always supportive to countries in need especially in time of disaster.” The Consul General confirmed that the Japanese government recently manuevered 11,000 forces for Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts in the affected areas in the Philippines. He is accompanied by his wife for his posting to Atlanta. He has three grown children who have graduated and are currently working in Japan. “I recently visited Helen, Georgia. I enjoyed the scenic mountain view,” answers the Consul General when asked of his favorite place in Georgia.
Photo: Ben Hioe “I also enjoyed the visit to Savannah for its beautiful architecture and homes,” adds the Consul General. He keeps his fitness in check by playing tennis or jogging when he has time. “My duty requires me to attend to a lot of functions. The dining can add up quickly.”
The Consul General is anticipating a busy new year in light of the 40th anniversary of the relationship between the state of Georgia and Japan. “I hope to stay fit to attend to my duties,” said the Consul General with a smile.
December 15-31, 2013 Georgia Asian Times
BUSINESS Indian inflation surges to 14-month high MUMBAI, December 16, 2013 (AFP) - India’s inflation jumped to a 14-month-high of 7.52 percent in November, data showed on Monday, stoking expectations of another interest rate hike when the central bank meets this week. The Wholesale Price Index, India’s most closely watched inflation indicator, was up from 7.0 percent in October, led by food prices, which rose nearly 20 percent from a year earlier.
Google opens first data centers in Asia TAIPEI, December 11, 2013 - US search engine giant Google Wednesday opened its first data centers in Asia to cater for soaring demand, and said it would double its planned investment in the Taiwan facility to $600 million. Google inaugurated one of the new centers at an industrial park at Changhua in central Taiwan, and said a similar facility in Singapore was also up and running as of Wednesday. The company last year announced plans to set up three data centers in Asia -- in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. But it later scrapped its plan for Hong Kong, citing land acquisition problems. Despite the change of heart regarding Hong Kong, Google has decided to commit more resources to Asia where the number of Internet users -- mainly using smartphones and tablet computers -- has surged much faster than in other continents. “While we’ve been busy building, the growth in Asia’s Internet has been amazing,” Joe Kava, Google’s vice pres-
ident of data centers, told guests at the inauguration. “The number of Internet users in India doubled, from 100 million to 200 million. It took six years to achieve that milestone in the United States. “Between July and September of this year alone, more than 600 million people in Asia landed on the mobile Internet for the first time. That’s almost two Canadas,” Kava said. “And this growth probably won’t slow for some time, since the majority of people that have yet to come online also happen to live in Asia.” During a rare media visit to Google’s facilities, Kava outlined how the complex is “efficient and environmentally friendly”. For example, water is cooled at night when temperatures are lower and stored it in large insulated tanks before being used to cool servers during the day. Kava at a press conference announced plans to double Google’s investment in the Taiwan centre to
The index is now the highest since September 2012 and spells more bad news for the government as it struggles to jumpstart sluggish economic growth ahead of general elections due by May. Among food costs, vegetable prices surged 95 percent while onion prices soared by 190 percent, Department of Commerce data showed. Rising food costs also pushed up consumer price inflation, which jumped in November to a higher-than-expected 11.24 percent, figures released last week showed.
Government and business leaders have urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start cutting interest rates to help boost growth, which has slumped to a decade-low. But economists expect the RBI to again hike interest rates when it meets on Wednesday, in an effort to tame stubbornly high inflation. “Given the momentum of inflation, a 25 basis points hike in rates is (a) given,” said Shubhada Rao, chief economist with private Yes Bank. The RBI has raised rates in September and October under new governor Raghuram Rajan who has signalled his intention to wrestle down inflation which has been above the RBI’s comfort levels for years. Rajan last week said the bank was “very uncomfortable” with the inflation level but added growth was also “weaker than we would like”.
Inflation for September was also revised higher to 7.05 percent from a previously reported 6.46 percent, the figures on Monday showed.
$600 million, but declined to say how the extra spending would be used. But Google officials said expansion of facilities at the Changhua centre, which covers 15 hectares (37 acres), was already under way. The search engine giant has faced stiff competition in Asia, particularly in the China market.
Domestic search services including Baidu are household names to China’s 485 million-strong Internet population -- the world’s largest.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2013
Japanese business confidence hits six-year high, according to Bank of Japan TOKYO, December 16, 2013 – Japanese business confidence has soared to a six-year high, the country’s central bank said Monday, underscoring growing optimism among major companies despite a slowdown in the world’s third-largest economy. The Bank of Japan’s quarterly Tankan survey, which polled more than 10,500 firms, surged to its strongest level since December 2007, with a reading for large manufacturers rising to plus 16 from plus 12 in September. The non-manufacturers’ index also jumped to plus 20 from plus 14, the best reading in more than six years. The numbers represent the percentage of respondents saying conditions are good minus those who say they are poor. Some analysts expect BoJ policymakers will unleash further easing measures to boost the slowing economy, highlighting the challenges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in his bid to stoke growth with government spending and monetary policy, a blitz dubbed Abenomics. “It’s not only the large, export-oriented companies that are benefiting from Abenomics,” Capital Economics said, referring to the BoJ survey results. “For the first time since the early 1990s, the number of small companies that regard business conditions as favorable exceeds the number of companies that consider them unfavorable.” However, the survey also showed that big firms are cutting back on their capital spending plans for the fiscal year to March. Corporate investment is a cornerstone of Abe’s plan to reverse years of deflation which has weighed on consumer spending and, in turn, producers. The country’s once-anaemic economy had been outpacing other G7
nations in the first half of the year as Tokyo’s growth drive helped push down the yen, boosting exporters and sparking a stock market rally. But Japan’s third-quarter economic growth came in at a final reading of 0.3 percent, down from an initial figure of 0.5 percent — and a sharp slowdown from 0.9 percent expansion in the previous quarter. On an annualized basis, which stretches the data across a full year, growth was 1.1 percent in the quarter against an initial reading of 1.9 percent. The United States is now out-performing Japan, expanding at a revised 3.6 percent annualized rate in the third quarter. The BoJ survey did little to boost investor sentiment, with Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index closing down 1.62 percent. Analysts say investors are cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s twoday policy meeting starting on Tuesday as speculation grows that it will start reeling in its $85 billion-a-month bond buying plan, known as quantitative easing.
China Airlines, Tigerair to set up Taiwan budget carrier SINGAPORE, December 16, 2013 Singapore budget carrier Tigerair and Taiwan’s China Airlines said Monday they would set up a new no-frills airline to tap growing demand for cheap travel in Asia. Tigerair Taiwan will have a paid-up capital of Tw$2 billion ($67.5 million), with the Singapore-based carrier holding a 10 percent stake, the two airlines said in a statement. China Airlines, Taiwan’s leading airline by fleet size, will hold the remaining 90 percent. Tigerair said in the statement the new airline will be managed as a standalone entity but will utilise its website as well as sales and distribution platforms. “The new JV (joint venture) will allow us to extend our presence into the new untapped markets of Taiwan, Japan and Korea,” said Koay Peng Yen, group chief executive of Tigerair.
The formation of the new carrier comes just a month after TransAsia Airways, Taiwan’s first private airline, secured government approval to set up a so-far unnamed budget subsidiary. Demand for discount flying has been rising in Asia. Currently 12 foreign budget airlines, including Malaysia-based AirAsia and Japan’s Peach Aviation, offer services to and from Taiwan. Singapore’s Tigerair, which was previously known as Tiger Airways before a rebranding exercise this year, has been looking for expansion opportunities in Asia. Last year, it bought a 33 percent stake in beleaguered Indonesian carrier PT Mandala Airlines. In March, it raised more than Sg$297 million ($237 million) to fund its Asian expansion plans. Its shares rose 2.00 percent to Sg$0.51 in mid-day trade Monday after the announcement.
Sun Hung-Hsiang, chairman of China Airlines, said: “China Airlines’ knowledge of the Taiwan market coupled with Tigerair’s expertise in the nofrills sector should stimulate demand in the civil aviation market here.”
The BoJ’s own two-day meeting starts Thursday, with all eyes on any fresh moves from policymakers after the bank unleashed a huge monetary easing plan in April. There is speculation it may expand the program — which injects vast sums into the financial system — as growth slows and consumers prepare for a tax hike that critics fear will derail a budding recovery. “The Japanese economy is improving for sure, but it is thanks to the weakening yen,” said Taro Saito, senior economist at NLI Research Institute. “Demand expanded in part due to a
last-minute consumption boost before the tax hike. It may still take some more time before the economy reaches a self-sustained recovery.” Tokyo has approved a spending package worth almost $54 billion to offset the tax hike — to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent — seen as crucial for bringing down Japan’s huge national debt, proportionately the worst among rich nations.
Analysts have warned that Abe’s bold pro-growth program is not enough on its own without promised economic reforms. A proposed shake-up, including loosening labour laws and signing free trade deals, is seen as key to ushering in lasting change in the long-slumbering economy.
December 15-31, 2013 Georgia Asian Times
FOREIGN AFFAIRS India moves diplomat in US arrest row to UN mission NEW DELHI, December 18, 2013 - India has transferred a diplomat at the centre of a political row with the United States to its UN mission in New York to give her full diplomatic immunity, local media reported Wednesday. The transfer of deputy consular general Devyani Khobragade to the United Nations Permanent Mission came after Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid pledged to “restore the dignity” of the diplomat who was strip-searched during her 48-hour detention in New York last week. “To ensure diplomatic immunity to Devyani, India has shifted her to the United Nations Permanent Mission in New York,”
India vows to ‘restore dignity’ of diplomat stripped in US NEW DELHI, December 18, 2013 - India vowed Wednesday to bring one of its diplomats home at any price after her arrest in New York, as she told how she broke down in tears after being repeatedly stripped and cavity-searched. As a leading daily hailed the government for “taking on Uncle Sam”, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid pledged to “restore the dignity” of the diplomat -- whose treatment at the hands of a superpower has touched a raw nerve. Khurshid’s promise came a day after India announced a series of diplomatic reprisals and despite an overnight plea by the US State Department not to let the issue damage relations. “It is my duty to bring the lady back,” Khurshid told lawmakers. “We have to restore her dignity and I will do it at any cost,” he added in the highest-level intervention by an Indian official since deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade was arrested last Thursday. “It’s hurtful, it’s distressing, it’s unacceptable and it is something on which, as we said, we need to give a very clear clarion call that it must be reversed,” he later told reporters. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh fueled the furore by calling her arrest “deplorable”
in brief comments reported by the Press Trust of India. The US Marshals Service confirmed on Tuesday that Khobragade, 39, had been strip-searched like other prisoners after being detained while dropping her two children off at school. US authorities say she not only paid a domestic servant a fraction of the minimum wage but also lied in a visa application for the employee, an Indian national who has since absconded. In an email to colleagues published Wednesday, Khobragade said she told arresting authorities that she had diplomatic immunity -- only to suffer repeated searches and to be jailed with “common criminals”.
lomat could be subjected to such treatment has caused huge offense in a country that sees itself as an emerging world power. India was locked in a furious row with Italy earlier this year when the Rome government initially reneged on a promise to fly two marines back to New Delhi to face trial over a fatal shooting. The marines did eventually return after India ordered immigration authorities to stop Italy’s ambassador from leaving the country. With a general election just months away, the ruling Congress and the nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are both keen to be seen as standing up to the United States over the issue. Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP foreign minister, said Tuesday that India should now arrest American gays who were in India after a ruling last week that upheld a colonial-era ban on homosexuality.
“I must admit that I broke down many times as the indignities of repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches, swabbing, in a hold-up with common criminals and drug addicts were all being imposed upon me despite my incessant assertions of immunity,” she said in the email.
Khurshid said the diplomat was trapped in a “conspiracy” after the helper disappeared in June-July. This prompted her to report it to police, only to receive a phone call from a lawyer offering to “settle the matter”.
“I got the strength to regain composure and remain dignified, thinking that I must represent all of my colleagues and my country with confidence and pride.”
“India takes on Uncle Sam,” read the front-page headline of The Hindustan Times, while the Mail Today splashed with “Bulldozer Diplomacy” on top of a picture of a digger dragging away concrete barricades outside the US embassy on Tuesday.
The revelation that a high-ranking dip-
The Times of India and other media reported. Indian foreign ministry officials were not immediately available to comment on the reports. The row was triggered by the arrest last week of Khobragade, 39, on charges of visa fraud and making false statements about how much she paid her maid, an Indian national. Khobragade is alleged to have paid her maid just $3.31 an hour despite signing a contract to pay her three times that amount.
US consular officials have also been told to return identity cards that speed up travel into and through India. Import clearances for them, including for alcohol, have been suspended. The ultra-nationalist Shiv Sena organization staged an anti-US protest on Wednesday, shouting slogans such as “Down with Barack Obama!” “The way America has tortured our diplomat is wrong. They stripped her down and humiliated an Indian woman, an Indian representative and we will not tolerate that,” said Jaiprakash Baghal, one of the protesters. Another could be seen naked except for an American flag wrapped around his waist and a mask of US President Barack Obama as demonstrators marched towards the American embassy. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf admitted the arrest was a “sensitive issue” but insisted it was a “separate and isolated incident” which should not be allowed to affect broader ties. Harf added that as a consular official, Khobragade does not have full diplomatic immunity but has consular immunity applicable only to her professional duties. Khobragade is alleged to have paid her worker just $3.31 an hour despite signing a contract to pay her some three times that amount.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2013
Walk this way, says China’s heavy metal shoe maker TANGSHAN, December 9, 2013 – A Chinese factory worker says walking in huge iron shoes weighing more than 200 kilograms each can cure back pain, but faces hefty competition in his bid to build the country’s heaviest footwear. “I’ve been walking with iron shoes for seven years,” said Zhang Fuxing, before strapping two crudely-welded iron blocks to his feet. “After they reached 400 kilograms (882 pounds), I felt very proud. Next spring I plan to add 50 kilograms.” Zhang took a deep breath before each wrenching step in the towering footwear, with every impact leaving him struggling for balance. It took him over a minute to take 10 paces, but he claims to walk up to 15 meters each day in the shoes, which he has gradually increased in weight, and touts them as a cure for back pain and hemorrhoids. Zhang, 52, credits his ability to move the shoes — which he leaves outdoors, safe in the knowledge that they are close to impossible for most people to lift — to the Chinese spiritual martial art Qigong, said to involve
controlling the flow of supposed bodily energies.
“I saw someone wearing iron shoes on TV. They said it was good for the heart and bones,” he said.
“It’s not strong muscles that make you able to walk like this, the power comes from internal organs,” he said, adding: “When you walk with your heart it will work.”
At the time Zhang was suffering from back pain “so bad that I couldn’t bend over to wash my face”, but claims his symptoms disappeared just months after donning the footwear, an experience which left him wanting to share them with a wider audience.
Zhang believes his shoes to be the heaviest in China, but admits that competition from a number of other eccentrics renders his claim uncertain. heavy.shoesOne of two Chinese iron shoe wearers to share a Guinness World Record for walking 10 meters backwards in heavyweight iron boots is Zhang Zhenghui from Changsha. According to a 2010 report by the official Xinhua news agency he has gold-painted shoes weighing more than 200 kilograms. Lai Yingying, an entertainer from Fujian in the east, was shown by state broadcaster CCTV wearing shoes tipping the scales at a total of 300 kilograms. A runner, Liu Mei, took to exercising in metal footwear after growing bored of tying sandbags onto his trainers, the state-run China News
He now manufactures a range of weighted metal footwear, which users strap over their existing shoes, in a small factory near his hometown in the northern city of Tangshan, and sells them online.
Service reported, and challenged other exponents to compete for the title of “Iron Shoe King”. His call “hit the world of eccentric stunt people like a tidal wave”, the report said, but there is no record of the contest having taken place. Zhang Fuxing — who runs a workshop making machine parts — says he was inspired by one of these pioneers.
A snazzy red pair weighing 10 kilograms each costs 550 yuan ($90), while the heaviest 60 kilogram boots sell for 1450 yuan. He claims to have sold several hundred pairs, including at least 10 to his neighbors, several of whom gathered around on a chilly morning to watch Zhang take his wobbling steps. “We’ve all worn his iron shoes, it makes your legs feel better,” said Chen Guanghua, a woman in her sixties. “We can’t all play badminton, but anyone can wear shoes.”
December 15-31, 2013 Georgia Asian Times
Election Season Celebration - Asian American Legal Advocacy Center Dec 10, 2013
L-R: Birendra Dhakal, Clarkston City Council candidate & Hang Tran, Morrow City Council elect.
L-R: Eugene Yu, Judge Carla Wong McMillian, Louis Tseng, Birendra Dhakal, Hang Tran speaking in a panel discusiion.
L-R: Alexandra Kuo, Helen Kim Ho, Dr. Kim Reimann, Varinee Sangmalee, Louis Tseng
Rep. BJ Pak (Dist 108) delivering his remark at the dinner.
L-R: Alexandra Kuo, Rep BJ Pak, Dr. Kim Reimann
L-R: Hang Tran and BJ Pak .
Members of Vietnamese Association of Georgia (VAC GA) at the dinner.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2013
LIFESTYLE Mahjong may be Hong Kong’s elixir of life Game has found new life as therapy for the elderly, but is waning in popularity among the young Like a scene out of a Hong Kong triad movie, the mahjong parlour in Temple Street is filled with cigarette smoke, the incessant click-clack of tiles and the grim, hard faces of gamblers. On a prominent altar for Guan Gong, the righteous Taoist God of War, lies a giant bundle of ginger, shaped like a hand. A knife is stabbed through it - an ominous warning, it seems, for anyone contemplating cheating at the tables. The manager of Hong Kong’s oldest mahjong parlour Kai Kee Mahjong laughs it off. “It’s just to create sat hei, a menacing atmosphere, which brings good fortune to our business,” says Devil Yau - his real name, he insists. Filled with mystique, rituals and superstitions - including the famous one about wearing red underwear for luck - playing mahjong has long been a way of life for Hong Kongers. And it has been posited that the game is a possible factor for why they are among the longest-living people in the world. Last year, the city’s men and women came in second in terms of longevity after Japan, living to ages 81 and 86.3 respectively. Various studies have documented the health benefits of mahjong, due to the need for a player to calculate points and remember the rules and tiles already thrown out, as well as for its social interactivity. Three or four players are needed to form a table for a game. In a study published this year, the Hong Kong Institute of Education found that regular mahjong playing and taiji practice among nursing
home residents slow down cognitive decline even for those suffering from dementia, as compared with those engaged in handicraft activities. “Mahjong kept them mentally active through participation in a leisure activity that is enjoyable and mood-lifting,” says Professor Cheng Sheung Tak, a psychology and gerontology academic who led the research. It is, thus, not surprising that the game is finding new life here in a different form: as therapy for elderly patients in hospitals and nursing homes. The Yan Chai Hospital Nursing Home in Tsuen Wan, for one, introduced “mahjong therapy” in 2004. Today, 60 of its 300 residents undergo the programme. Every resident is accompanied by an aide, who tailors the help according to his or her needs. For instance, the focus for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will be to help them regain physical agility in their arms, by rearranging and throwing out tiles. Those who are more mentally sharp will be guided to think through how they will play the game. Since then, the effects have been clear, says occupational therapist Tse Wai Ho, citing an elderly woman suffering from mild Alzheimer’s disease who used to keep shouting and could not concentrate on any particular activity. “During the game, she stayed quiet, and after three months, she stopped shouting even when she was not playing mahjong.” The programme has also become popular among the residents, he says. “They look forward to it and you can heard them reminding one another that today or tomorrow is Mahjong Day.”
But away from nursing homes and hospitals, the game’s own longevity appears at stake.
They are now reaching out to people from China, where mahjong parlours are illegal.
While the sound of swirling mahjong tiles and muttered Cantonese oaths at a weak hand continues to resonate, in homes, at the back of shops and even some wedding banquets, the game purportedly invented by Confucius in 500BC appears to be falling out of favour.
For instance, many of them now abide by Shenzhen-style rules, instead of the Hong Kong or Cantonese style. Instructions are also often rendered in simplified Chinese script - as used in the mainland - instead of the traditional characters customary in Hong Kong.
In particular, mahjong parlours with a whiff of disrepute about them as dens of iniquity, with rough characters, shady transactions and brawls - report dwindling business.
“About 30 per cent of our customers are now from the mainland,” says Gordan Lam, 68 a grandson of Lam Kwan who opened Kai Kee in 1930 - initially as a provisions store, later adding mahjong tables to draw customers. The space with about 20 tables draws around HK$100,000 (US$13,000) in commissions a month, he says.
Today, there are just 66 licensed mahjong parlours in the city - fewer than half of the 144 established in 1956 when the colonial government started licensing what it termed “mahjong schools” to avoid appearing to condone gambling. A visit to five clustered in Kowloon’s working-class districts of Yau Ma Tei and Jordan shows that most players are in their 40s to 60s. “Young people rarely come,” says Yuen Wai, manager at Shui Hing Mahjong in Portland Street. “They would rather play computer games at home.” But hardy establishments are finding ways to survive.
For now, players like housewife Mimi Fung, 46, are keeping them afloat. She began playing mahjong at 14 - and has been hooked since. Trying to sum up its charm, she says: “Mahjong is not only a game, it is like real life. You can tell a person’s personality from the way he plays mahjong.”
Page 12 December 15-31, 2013 Georgia Asian Times
FOCUS rank of vice marshal and is director of the Korean People’s Army’s General Political Department. “We will share the fate with our respected supreme commander by living and dying with him until the very last moment,” he said, while firing off a warning at rival South Korea. “If the enemies drop a single drop of fire on our motherland, our soldiers will immediately storm out to wipe out all the invaders and achieve unification,” he said. At a meeting of top defense and national security officials on Monday, South Korean President Park GeunHye had warned that the recent leadership shake-up in the North could presage some aggressive behavior.
North Korea military, party vow loyalty to Kim Jong-Un SEOUL, December 17, 2013 Massed ranks of military and party leaders pledged complete loyalty to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un Tuesday on the second anniversary of his father’s death, at a time of growing concern over the regime’s stability. The vows of obedience, at an elaborate gathering in Pyongyang honoring Kim’s father and former supremo Kim Jong-Il, followed the shock execution last week of the young leader’s uncle and one-time political mentor Jang Song-Thaek. Jang’s purge raised questions about factional infighting at the top of the Pyongyang hierarchy and prompted both Seoul and Washington to warn of possible provocative acts by the nuclear-armed North. State television showed tens of thousands of military and party officials sitting stony-faced in pin-drop silence for several minutes, before rising to greet Kim with thunderous applause as he took his place on the leadership podium.
“We should be warriors to safeguard the party centre with our lives... with the conviction that we know no one but the great comrade Kim Jong-Un,” ceremonial head of state, Kim YongNam, said in an opening address. He added that the country had made “great strides” in the two years since Kim took over after his father’s death. Under Kim’s leadership, North Korea has successfully placed a satellite in orbit and in February this year conducted its third -- and most powerful -- nuclear test. The mass meeting also heard a keynote address by top military leader Choe Ryong-Hae, who some analysts believe had a hand in the ousting and execution of Jang -- long seen as the nation’s unofficial number two. The military will support “our supreme commander, under any storms and hardships”, said Choe, a close Kim confidant who holds the military
“We can’t rule out... reckless provocations,” Park said, urging the military to step up vigilance along the heavily fortified border. China, the North’s sole major ally and key economic benefactor, said it would stay committed to promoting ties. “The sound and steady growth of (China-North Korea) ties serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and it also (has) positive implications to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia,” said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. There was no sign on the leadership podium of Kim Jong-Un’s aunt and Jang’s widow, Kim Kyong-Hui -- a major political player in her own right who holds the military rank of fourstar general. She had been named by state media at the weekend as attending an official function, suggesting she may have survived the purge of Jang associates. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim JongUn had visited his father’s mausoleum on Monday, in the company of his wife Ri Sol-Ju.
Ri has not been seen since October, prompting speculation she may also have fallen out of favor. Tuesday’s meeting came the day after a massive military rally in Pyongyang, during which Choe urged troops to protect Kim Jong-Un “at the cost of their lives”. Jang’s execution -- just days after he was ousted from all his party and military positions -- marked the biggest political upheaval since the younger Kim inherited power. The purge was staged in an extraordinarily public and dramatic manner, with Pyongyang releasing images of Jang being dragged out of a party meeting. Jang had been seen as Kim’s political mentor but the 67-year-old’s growing political influence and power was increasingly resented by the young leader, analysts said. North Korea’s state news outlets, meanwhile, have erased tens of thousands of articles archived on their websites, according to a watchdog site. About 35,000 Korean-language articles have disappeared from the KCNA website, as well as 65,000 articles in Spanish, English, Chinese and Japanese, said Frank Feinstein, an analyst who tracks the North’s online media for US-based website NK News. About 20,000 articles were also removed from the archives of the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s Workers’ Party, it said. It was not clear if the deletion was permanent or related to efforts to eradicate Jang Song-Thaek’s name from the official archive.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2013
Refurbished Olympic Museum probes the secrets of sport LAUSANNE, December 14, 2013 - Fancy measuring up against the mighty Usain Bolt, or hitting the track with your heart beating like a champion’s? The Olympic Museum helps visitors unlock the secrets of sporting success. The museum in Lausanne, the hub of the Olympic movement, has been metamorphosed during a two-year shutdown and is due to reopen to the public on December 21. Lying on the shores of Lake Geneva, it is the mother ship of 25 Olympic museums scattered around the globe.
pure competition or physical activity. It goes beyond sport,” underlined the museum’s director Francis Gabet. Displayed like icons in the museum are master-copies of all the medals of the modern Olympics, starting with the first edition in Athens in 1896, as well as every Olympic torch, first used in Berlin in 1936 in a return to the games’ ancient religious roots. The 1936 Olympics are best known for the quartet of gold medals won by black American athlete Jessie Owens, whose powerful performances raised the hackles of Nazi Germany’s dictator Adolf Hitler.
The 55 million Swiss franc (45 million euro, $62 million) renovation has gone beyond the purely physical and technological, thoroughly rethinking the way the museum traces the history of Olympianism.
One of Owens’ golds was sold recently at auction for almost $1.5 million, and the museum dreamed of being able to put such a powerful sporting symbol on display.
In a radical change from the previous chronological time-line, visitors will now be treated to thematic exhibits, starting with the ancient Greek Temple of Zeus in Olympus.
“The question arose as to whether we should join the bidding race. But for us, a medal is priceless and there’s a risk of encouraging commercialism,” said Gabet.
“We’re the museum of an idea, a culture and a philosophy called Olympianism. That doesn’t stop at
A host of objects on exhibition in the museum are indelibly associated with gold.
They include the Carmen-style dress of German figure skater Katarina Witt, the retro-style skis of Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy, the outfit of Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, and the fencing foil and kit of Germany’s Thomas Bach, the new head of the International Olympic Committee. “Understand what lies behind the glitz” The museum does not seek to be a Hall of Fame of Olympians, however. “We don’t set out to deny the existence of stars, but our aim is to help understand what lies behind the glitz,” said Gabet. In the museum’s grounds, a 100-metre corridor enables visitors to appreciate the speed of Bolt, the world’s fastest man, with speeding shafts of light replicating his 9.58-second world record.
Thanks to interactive displays, it is easy to imagine oneself as a champion parading at the Olympic Games opening ceremony, living in the Olympic Village and then emotionally entering the stadium. “Time just isn’t the same when your in competition. For some, it slows down and for others, it speeds up. That’s what athletes call ‘getting into the zone’, a mental state of hyper-concentration just before the starting pistol,” Gabet explained. Leaving the museum, visitors have a chance to reflect on the true words of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the French founding father of the modern Olympics, whose statue stands proudly in front of the building. “The important thing in life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well,” he once said.
December 15-31, 2013 Georgia Asian Times
SPORTS Spurs sack Villas-Boas after Liverpool rout LONDON, December 16, 2013 Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked as manager of Tottenham Hotspur after 17 months in the role, the English Premier League club announced on Monday. The news arrived a day after Spurs were thrashed 5-0 by Liverpool at White Hart Lane, which left the north London club five points below the Champions League places in seventh in the Premier League table.
Lee wins record fourth Superseries Finals title KUALA LUMPUR, December 15, 2013 - World number one Lee Chong Wei Sunday became the first player to win four titles in the season-ending BWF World Superseries Finals when he crushed Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto. It is the Malaysian ace’s seventh Superseries title this year - the most he has ever won in a calendar year following victories in South Korea, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong. The Olympic silver medallist, who won this tournament in 2008-2010, easily beat Sugiarto 21-10, 21-12 on home turf. Lee used the full length of the court to move his opponent throughout the match with the fourth seed still feeling the strain of beating Japan’s Kenichi Tago in three games Saturday. “I sensed he was not 100 percent (fit) and attacked him from the start,” Lee said. Lee took a quick 4-0 lead before Sugiarto earned his first point and later went on a run of eight straight points for a 13-2 lead.
After extending this to a 18-4 lead, Lee slowed down towards the end. The second game followed a similar pattern, with Lee winning points at will. The 31-year-old said he believed he could maintain his form into the next year. “To me, age is just a number. I don’t see why I can’t continue as I still have the desire to win titles,” he said. “I still love training as hard, and 2014 is going to be a big year with several team events as well.” Lee’s rival Lin Dan, who did not participate in this Superseries Finals, won in 2011, while last year Chen Long, also from China, triumphed. Earlier Sunday, third seeds Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark became the first European winners of the women’s doubles when they defeated fourth seeded Chinese pair Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua 21-19, 21-12. On a roll, Pedersen teamed up with
“The club can announce that agreement has been reached with head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, for the termination of his services,” read a statement on the Tottenham website. “The decision was by mutual consent and in the interests of all parties. We wish Andre well for the future. We shall make a further announcement in due course.” Villas-Boas, 36, had also seen his side demolished 6-0 at Manchester City last month, despite Spurs having invested around £105 million ($171 million, 124 million euros) on new players during the close season.
Joachim Fischer Nielsen in the mixed doubles to defeat world champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China 12-21, 21-19, 21-10. With this, the Dane became the first player in history to win two titles in the same Superseries Finals. “It’s unbelievable to have played 10 matches (in this tournament) and won them all. It’s also very tiring,”Pedersen joked. “We were the underdogs today, but I’m delighted to have created a little bit of history.” “It’s never easy beating the Chinese, and we had to be at our best to claim the win.”
That expenditure was, however, offset by the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, but Spurs have scored just 15 goals in their 16 league games this season since the Welshman left the club. Villas-Boas’s dismissal represents his second consecutive failure at a London side as he was sacked by Chelsea in March 2012 after only nine months at the Stamford Bridge helm. He joined Spurs the following July but despite leading the club to their highest points tally of the Premier League era last season (72), they missed out on a Champions League place to arch-rivals Arsenal. Speaking after the drubbing by Liverpool, Villas-Boas had vowed that he would not walk away from the club. “The call to make that decision is not mine because obviously I won’t resign and I’m not a quitter,” he said. “The only thing I can do is work hard with the players to get them back on track. This is a top-four squad but in our Premier League form we are not there.”
In the women’s singles, Olympic and defending champion Li Xuerui of China crushed Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying. In men’s doubles, world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia defeated South Korea’s Kim Ki-Jung and Kim Sa-Rang. The $500,000 Superseries Finals bring together the top eight performers in each of the five categories based on points earned from 12 Superseries tournaments. The men’s and women’s singles champions pocket $40,000 each with the runners-up collecting $20,000. The doubles champions earn $42,000 while the losing finalists receive $20,000.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2013
HEALTH Drug halves breast-cancer risk for vulnerable women PARIS, December 12, 2013 Post-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer more than halved the risk of developing the disease by taking an anti-hormone drug called anastrozole, researchers reported in The Lancet on Thursday. Doctors at Queen Mary University in London found a reduction in risk of 53 percent among volunteers who took the drug for five years, compared to counterparts who took a harmless lookalike called a placebo. Anastrozole is not only more effective than the two standard drugs for preventing breast-cancer, tamoxifen and raloxifene, it also has fewer side effects, they added. The study enrolled 3,864 post-menopausal women considered to have a high inherited risk of breast cancer. They were deemed to be in this category if they had had two or more blood relatives with breast cancer, had a mother or sister who developed breast cancer before the age of 50 or had a mother or sister who had cancer in both breasts. At the followup-point, five years after enrolment, 40 women in the anastrozole group had developed breast cancer compared to 85 women in the placebo group. “This research is an exciting development in breast cancer prevention. We now know anastrozole should be the drug of choice when it comes to reducing the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women with a family history or other risk factors for the disease,” said Jack Cuzick, head of the university’s Centre for Cancer Prevention. “This class of drugs is more effective than previous drugs such as tamoxifen and crucially, it has fewer side effects.”
Resistant flu virus keeps contagiousness PARIS, December 10, 2013 - A mutant form of the H7N9 flu virus that is resistant to frontline drugs is just as contagious as its non-resistant counterpart, according to a lab test reported on Tuesday. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, raises a red flag for the virus, which has claimed dozens of lives since its outbreak in February. H7N9 is believed to have spread to humans from poultry, where it circulates naturally. The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) says on its website that “so far”, no evidence has emerged of “sustained” transmission of H7N9 among people. Scientists led by Nicole Bouvier at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York analyzed an early sample of H7N9 taken from a patient in Shanghai. Replicating the virus in high-security conditions, they found it had a mutation that made it resistant to the two frontline antiviral drugs -- Tamif-
lu (lab name oseltamivir) and Peramivir -- and partially resistant to a third drug, Relenza (zanamivir). The mutant variety of H7N9 replicated as easily and as virulently as the non-mutant strain in human respiratory cells in a lab dish, in mice lungs and in guinea pigs. The discovery is unusual as “seasonal” influenza -- common-or-garden flu strains that erupt every winter -- typically loses some of its contagiousness when a strain becomes drug-resistant. Under the principle of “fitness cost,” a mutating virus cannot win on every front: when it gains an advantage in one area, it loses something in an another. The findings mean that health watchdogs will have to be “prudent” in the use of antiviral drugs, said the paper. It called for tests into when, and at what dosage, these drugs should be used to offer the best chance of hitting a virus at an early stage of infection and minimize the risk of creating
resistant strains. H7N9 erupted in eastern China earlier this year. The first laboratory-confirmed cases occurred among three people in the Shanghai area and were reported on March 31. In all, 139 human cases of H7N9 have been reported, with 45 deaths, according to the WHO’s website. In an independent comment, Benjamin Neuman, a virologist at Britain’s University of Reading, said the findings about H7N9 resistance were “unsurprising,” given the recognized ability of flu strains to mutate. “It is interesting that the virus does not seem to show any ill effects,” he told Britain’s Science Media Centre. “But it says more about the limited suitability of drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza, which are not very well suited as single-drug therapeutics, but still have the possibility that they can be useful in combination with other treatments” against bird flu.
Flu vaccine helps ward off serious child illness: study WASHINGTON, December 11, 2013 The flu vaccine prevents the virus more than half the time in children and can also ward off more serious sickness, said the findings of a major clinical trial Wednesday. The randomized, controlled study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is the first of its kind to measure how well the flu shot works specifically in children. Experts said the findings should sway those who question whether the shot is worthwhile, since the flu can lead to deadly complications, particularly among the young and those with weakened immune systems. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu vaccine for all people aged six months and over, but just under 37 percent of Americans received it last year.
According to the study, more than 5,200 children aged three to eight were assigned to receive either a Hepatitis A vaccine or a quadrivalent flu vaccine, designed to protect against four influenza strains. Both vaccines were made by the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which funded the research. The study was carried out at 15 sites in Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Lebanon, Panama, the Philippines, Thailand and Turkey. The flu shot was effective 59.3 percent of the time at preventing influenza A or B, observed via common flu symptoms and confirmed in laboratory tests. And when researchers looked at how the flu shot worked at fending off harsher cases of sickness, such as
pneumonia, brain swelling and seizures, they found an efficacy rate of 74.2 percent. “Influenza vaccine has the potential to prevent death, even if it isn’t as good at preventing mild disease,” said Kenneth Bromberg, director of the Vaccine Research Center and chairman of pediatrics at The Brooklyn Hospital Center. “Influenza vaccine should be looked at with that perspective. Vaccines that prevent death are of value,” said Bromberg, who was not involved in the study. Researchers found that the flu vaccine, when compared to the control shot, also was associated with “69 percent fewer medical visits, 75 percent fewer hospitalizations, 77 percent fewer absences from school and 61 percent fewer parental absences from work.”
December 15-31, 2013 Georgia Asian Times
Misc Asia Buddha relics stolen from Cambodian shrine PHNOM PENH, December 15, 2013 Cambodian police on Sunday said they were searching for a golden urn said to contain relics of the Buddha -- including hair, teeth and bones -- after it was stolen from a shrine. The theft of several small statues and the urn from a mountain shrine in the former royal city of Udong was discovered on Tuesday, according to national police spokesman Kirt Chantharith. The relics are “very important” to Cambodians -- the vast majority of whom are devout Buddhists, he added.
India summons US ambassador over diplomat arrest NEW DELHI, December 13, 2013 - India summoned Friday the US ambassador to New Delhi to protest the “humiliating” arrest of a top diplomat while dropping her children at school in New York, the foreign ministry said. Ambassador Nancy Powell was summoned to a meeting with Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, the day after the detention of deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade, ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told AFP. “We are shocked and appalled at the way she had been humiliated and this will be taken up forcefully with the US,” said Akbaruddin. “She was pursuing her duties and is entitled to courtesies of a serving diplomat.
“Ninety percent of our people follow Buddhism and respect the Buddha and the remains are those of the Buddha,” Kirt Chantharith said.
tion for an Indian national who worked for her as a domestic help. The Indian embassy in Washington said the detention was based on “allegations raised by the officer’s former India-based domestic assistant”. The domestic worker had “absconded” from her employer in June and was already the subject of an injunction issued by the High Court in Delhi, the embassy added in a statement on its website. “The legal aspect of it is separate and there is no justification for what has happened to the young woman,” added Akbaruddin at a briefing with reporters in New Delhi.
“This kind of behaviour against the Indian diplomat, a young woman with two children is entirely unacceptable.”
In response to a question that the diplomat has been accused of forging a visa or other documents, the spokesman said that did not justify Khobragade’s treatment.
Indian media reports said that the New York-based Khobragade was arrested and handcuffed in public for allegedly lying on the US visa applica-
“It still doesn’t absolve the US authorities of traumatising and humiliating the Indian diplomat who was doing her duties in the US,” Akbaruddin said.
“We are confident that we will be able to justify our stand on this issue,” he added. In its statement, the embassy said the US authorities had already been made aware of the injunction from the Delhi court and had been asked to “facilitate the service of an arrest warrant” against the domestic worker. “The US side have been urged to resolve the matter with due sensitivity, taking into account the existing court case in India that has already been brought to their attention by the government of India, and the diplomatic status of the officer concerned,” it said.
“We don’t know where the urn is now. We are looking for it,” he said, adding five guards had been arrested in connection with the theft. The relics are believed to have been brought from Sri Lanka to Cambodia in the 1950s to mark the 2,500th anniversary of Buddha’s birth. In 2002, then king Norodom Sihanouk moved the relics from the capital Phnom Penh to Udong, some 45 kilometre (30 miles) from Phnom Penh -- in a ceremony attended by tens of thousands of people.
Georgia Asian Times December 15-31, 2013
‘Stunning’ tsunami record discovered in Indonesia cave JAKARTA, December 13, 2013 - Scientists said Friday they have discovered a cave on the Indonesian island of Sumatra that provides a “stunning” record of Indian Ocean tsunamis over thousands of years. They say layers of tsunami-borne sediments found in the cave in northwest Sumatra suggest the biggest destructive waves do not occur at set intervals -- meaning communities in the area should be prepared at all times for a tsunami. “It’s something that communities need to know,” said research team leader Charles Rubin, adding that the team wanted to “promote safety of coastal communities”. Professor Rubin and other researchers from a Singapore institute were working with scientists from an Indonesian university when they discovered the cave, south of Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province.
“This is a beautiful, stunning record of tsunamis that you just don’t have very often,” Rubin said. Only huge tsunamis and storm surges can get into the cave, which has a raised entrance -- and afterwards the sediment is protected inside from erosion by wind or water. Rubin said the scientists dated the layers and believe they show that between 2,800 and 3,300 years ago, some four to five tsunamis battered the area. Before the 2004 tsunami, it had been hundreds of years since such a huge destructive wave had hit Aceh, the scientist said. But he said the new discovery suggests that tsunamis are not evenly spaced through time, which should provide food for thought for those involved in policy and planning in the region.
A quake-triggered tsunami devastated Aceh and areas across the Indian Ocean in 2004, leaving some 170,000 people dead in the province alone.
“These don’t happen like clockwork, they have variations in time and variations in size,” he said.
Inside the cave the researchers found layers of sandy sediment, which had been washed in by tsunamis thousands of years previously, Rubin said.
Rubin works at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, an institute that forms part of Nanyang Technological University.
The layers, which contained small fossils from the seabed, were well-preserved and separated by droppings deposited by bats in the cave, he added.
Scientists from the institute were working with researchers from Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh.
Philippine typhoon rebuilding to cost $3 Billion: Aquino MANILA, December 14, 2013 - The Philippines will need nearly $3 billion to rebuild parts of the country destroyed by the deadliest typhoon in its history, the presidential palace said Saturday. President Benigno Aquino told reporters in Tokyo late Friday that scores of towns and cities across the central islands that were devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan needed national government help to clean up debris and restore damaged infrastructure. “The task is really daunting is it not? That’s why we are saying it will take about 130 billion pesos ($2.94 billion) to put everybody in at least a better situation than where they were,” he said according to a transcript released by Malacanang palace. Haiyan smashed across the central islands with peak winds of 315 kilometres (195 miles) an hour on November
8, unleashing tsunami-like storm surges that killed thousands of people on the islands of Leyte and Samar. The official death toll stood Saturday at 6,033, with the authorities still looking for 1,779 people listed as missing. About a million houses were also destroyed, leaving four million people homeless, according to the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Tropical Storm Thelma, which killed about 5,100 people on the Leyte city of Ormoc in 1991, was previously the deadliest storm recorded in the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year. Aquino was speaking on the sidelines of a summit between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the palace said.