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Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia February 15-28, 2018

Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia February 15-28, 2018

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February 15-28, 2018 Georgia Asian Times

Georgia Asian Times February 15-28, 2018

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You didn’t work this hard to worry about the unexpected. Publisher: Li Wong Account Manager: Adrian West Contributors: Andrian Putra, May Lee, Mark Ho Photographer: Ben Hioe Tel: 678-971-9388 Advertising: gat@gasiantimes. com Editorial: URL: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4502 Suwanee GA 30024

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

2018 Atlanta Chinese New Year Festival Authentic food festival, arts & culture exhibitions. Presented by Atlanta Chinatown Mall Date: February 17-18, 2018 Time: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm Venue: Atlanta Chinatown Mall, 5383 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee, GA For more info: 770-458-6660; www. facebook/ATLChinatown 2018 Atlanta Chinese Lunar New Year Festival Date: Sat-Sun Feb 17-18, 2018 Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Venue: Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Atlanta 5377 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee Ticket: $5 per person; Free admission for children under 3 Feet 6 inches. For more info: Chinese Opera Spring Festival Presented by Jiangsu Atlanta Chinese Association Date: Sunday, February 18, 2018 Time: 3:00 pm -5:00 pm Venue: Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth GA 30097

Atlanta Tet Festival 2018 - Vietnamese Lunar New Year Presented by United Vietnamese American Georgia Date: Sunday, February 18, 2018 Time: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm Venue: 6100 Live Oak Pkwy, Norcross, Chinese Opera Spring Festival Presented by Jiangsu Atlanta Chinese Association Date: Sunday, February 18, 2018 Time: 3:00 pm -5:00 pm Venue: Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth GA 30097 Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year Spring Reception Presented by Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York Date: Wed, Feb 21, 2018 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: Georgia Aquarium Strictly by invitation only. New American Hero Awards Gala Date: February 23, 2018 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: Le Meridien Hotel, 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30346

Contact: Jennifer Rose and Rose Pak ATLANTA • 770.457.8118

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February 15-28,2018 Georgia Asian Times


American Korean Friendship Society honors 2 New American Hero Sandy Springs, February 23, 2018 — American Korean Friendship Society (AKFS) and its Board members hosted the 2018 New American Hero Award ceremony at Le Meridien Perimeter. The American Korean Friendship Society is a non-profit and non-political civic organization founded in 1996. The society’s goal is to celebrate and strengthen the unique relationship between the peoples of Republic of Korea and the U.S.A. The Society present its New American Hero Award to Americans from Korean ancestry who has contributed in a significant and noteworthy way to the United States. The program started with an invocation by Reverend Henry Holley, a close friend and former Billy Graham Evangelical Association. The ceremony was solemn as Reverend Holley shared some insights on Billy Graham’s mission work in Korea. Hon. Young-jun Kim, the Consul General of South Korea in Atlanta, delivers a special remark on U.S.-South Korea relationship and friendship. The Society presented its first recognition of the evening to Mr. Han C. Choi with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognized Mr. Choi’s contribution for his leadership and passion for community services for over two decades in Georgia. Guests were treated to a special appearance and in-person interview by

Dan Cathy, CEO, Chick-Fil-A. Frank Blake, Chairman of AKFS and Sunny K. Park, Board member of AKFS, moderated the interviews with Dan Cathy. Byung “BJay” Pak, U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Georgia, which oversees 46 counties in Georgia, including the cities of Atlanta, Gainesville, Rome, and Newnan, and a population of more than six million. “BJay” receives the evening’s first New American Hero Award along with a cash donation of $10,000, which he graciously donated to Grady Memorial Hospital. Steve Stirling, CEO, MAP International, a Christian global health organization that provides medicines, prevents diseases and promote health in some of the world’s poorest countries. MAP International has provided more than $6 Billion in medicines and health supplies to communities in need since its inception since 1954. Stirling grew up in an orphanage in South Korea after he was abandoned by his father when he contracted polio as a child. Stirling eventually was adopted by an American couple where he settled and grew up in Alaska. Stirling receives the New American Hero Award along with a $10,000 cash donation that he donated to the Carter’s Center. For more information on American Korean Friendship Society, visit www.

Hong Kong ETONY celebrates Lunar New Year with Spring reception Atlanta, February 21, 2018 — Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York hosted an annual Chinese New Year Spring Reception at the Ocean Ballroom in Georgia Aquarium. Over 200 guests including business, community, and legislative leaders attended the colorful event. Honorable Clement Leung, Commissioner of Hong Kong delivers the keynote remark at the reception. The commissioner highlighted various initiatives that will expand Hong Kong’s market and strengthen its connectivity with the Chinese mainland and the rest of Asia-Pacific. Such initiatives include the free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN, FTA talks with Australia, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Greater Bay Area Development Strategy that will see Hong Kong’s economy increasingly integrating with that of the Pearl River Delta in southern China.

Leung stated that Hong Kong has retained the title of the world’s freest economy for 24 consecutive years. Hong Kong’s economy has grown by 3.5 percent, mainly driven by robust external trade, retail sales and tourism. The unemployment rate of 2.9 percent is the lowest over the last 20 years. Ms. Joanne Chu, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, also said the office will continue to organize and support events and activities to foster stronger business and cultural ties with U.S. eastern states. Guests were also treated to a colorful lion dance performances and acrobatic rope jumping performances by a group of Hong Kong youths. The reception guests also received a Chinese New Year greeting toast led by Commissioner Leung, Director Chu and Gene Hanratty, Consultant to Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

Georgia Asian Times February 15-28, 2018

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Major redevelopment of Infinite Energy Center to be reveal by North American Properties Duluth, February 13, 2018 — The properties around Gwinnett’s Infinite Energy Center is expected to undergo major redevelopment and expected to break ground by Spring 2019. The 118-acre redevelopment is called Revel and to be led by North American Properties, which had a successful track record in development of Avalon project in Alpharetta and redevelopment of Colony Square in midtown. Revel encompasses 330,000 sf of retail, restaurants and entertainment along with 600,000 sf of Class A office space, a 300-rooms hotel, and a 700-residential units, according to “At Revel, great food and great entertainment will intersect to create street-level energy and vibrant experiences that amplify life in Gwinnett,”

said North American Properties Senior Vice President of Retail Leasing David Weinert in a released statement. “We envision a compelling critical mass of unique to market retailers delivering a synergistic merchandising mix seamlessly integrated with the tremendous experiential destination that already exists.” North American Properties visited Universal CityWalk Hollywood in California, Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, Ariz., Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif., and various mixed use developments and entertainment districts around the country in the process of planning for Revel, according to the released statement. “North American Properties was chosen not only for its ability to create, develop and market a successful

mixed-use development, but most importantly, to build a destination that will engage and entice both our residents and our visitors, creating a ‘downtown’ for Gwinnett, and further activating the Infinite Energy Center convention district as a live, work, play community,” said Preston Williams in a statement. Partnership Gwinnett will host a breakfast at Infinite Energy Center on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 where senior executives from Revel will reveal the project in greater details. Tickets are $45.00 per person, $35.00 for PG investors, $40.00 for Gwinnett Chambers members and available online at

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BUSINESS U.S. jobless claims near 45-year low as economic outlook brightens Washington DC, February 22, 2018 - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 45-year low last week, pointing to strong job growth in February and solid momentum in the economy.

Google raises price of YouTube TV, adds sports, Turner New York, February 23, 2018 Alphabet Inc’s Google is raising the price of its YouTube TV online service for new customers as it adds channels from Time Warner Inc’s Turner, National Basketball League and Major League Baseball, the company said Wednesday. Less than one year after launching YouTube TV, the company is increasing its pricing to $40 per month from $35 per month as it adds Turner’s channels, which include TNT, CNN and TBS, and soon will be adding MLB Network and NBA TV, the company said. Google is expanding its offering at a time when a growing number of competing services, such as Dish Network Corp’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Hulu, are vying to win over the growing number of viewers who are cancelling their cable subscriptions to watch their favorite shows online. The four largest cable and satellite companies lost 1.5 million pay TV customers in 2017. DirectTV Now has over 2 million subscribers, according to AT&T. Sling TV, Hulu and YouTube TV do not disclose how many users they have, but research firm BTIG estimates they respectively had 2.1 million, 500,000 and 350,000 as of the end of 2017. The costs for these competing offerings range from $20 for Sling TV’s most basic offering of 30 channels to

$39.99 for Hulu’s one with more than 50 channels and its library of shows and movies, which costs $7.99 separately. Google is betting that its strong sports offering will help win over more subscribers, said Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships, YouTube TV. “Sports is really one of the key offerings that a millennial would be willing to pay for a live TV service,” she said. To that end, Google has targeted sports fans with its TV ads this year. Ninety-six percent of YouTube TV’s ads on television so far this year have appeared during sports programming, including the Super Bowl, according to, which tracks TV ads. When Google launched YouTube TV last April it was cautious with how much content it was offering so that it could keep the price low enough to entice cord cutters or people considering cutting the cord, Moosnick said. At launch YouTube TV offered almost 50 channels in five markets. With these additions, YouTube TV will have almost 60 channels, and be in 100 markets, Moosnick said. The new pricing will take effect for new users who sign up after March 13, the company said. - Reuters

The economy’s brightening prospects were also underscored by other data on Thursday showing a gauge of future economic activity increasing for a fourth straight month in January. Labor market strength should continue to underpin consumer spending, despite a drop in retail sales in January. “Firms are extraordinarily unwilling to part company with workers reflecting, in all likelihood, the difficulty of replacing them,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week ended Feb. 17, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims fell to 216,000 in mid-January, which was the lowest level since January 1973. Claims for six states, including California, were estimated because of Monday’s Presidents Day holiday. While that probably distorted last week’s data, the underlying trend in claims was consistent with a robust labor market. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims unchanged at 230,000 in the latest week. It was the 155th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market. That is the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. The labor market is near full employment, with the jobless rate at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. Tightening labor market conditions are starting to push up wage growth, which could help to lift inflation toward the Federal Reserve 2 percent target.

Minutes of the U.S. central bank’s Jan. 30-31 policy meeting published on Wednesday showed policymakers upbeat in their assessment of the economy and a number “judged that the continued tightening in labor markets was likely to translate into faster wage increases at some point.” The minutes also noted that “several others suggested that the upside risks to the near-term outlook for economic activity may have increased.” The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies. Prices for U.S. Treasuries rose, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note retreating from a more than four-year high. Stocks on Wall Street rose after two days of losses. STRONG JOB GROWTH The Labor Department said claims for California, Hawaii, Maine, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming were estimated. It also said claims-taking procedures in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands had still not returned to normal, months after the territories were slammed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 2,250 to 226,000 last week. The claims data covered the survey period for the nonfarm payrolls component of February’s employment report. The four-week average of claims dropped 17,500 between the January and February survey weeks, suggesting solid job growth this month. “With upbeat readings coming out of the initial claims data, we think job growth will likely be strong again in February,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.

Georgia Asian Times February 15-28, 2018 

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Delta, United Airlines become latest companies to cut NRA ties New York, February 24, 2018 - Delta Air Lines and United Airlines on Saturday became the latest major corporations to sever marketing ties with the National Rifle Association as the fallout from last week’s massacre at a Florida high school took its toll on the gun advocacy group. The exodus of corporate names, ranging from a major insurer to car rental brands and a household moving company, began after the NRA launched a counter-offensive against a student-led campaign for tighter U.S. gun laws.

Daimler in $2 billion China investment with BAIC as Geely swoops Berlin, February 25, 2018 - Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC plan to invest almost $2 billion in a state-of-the-art factory in China, underlining their relationship as rival Geely makes a surprise swoop on the German carmaker. The two will invest more than 11.9 billion yuan ($1.88 billion) in modernizing a plant to build premium Mercedes-Benz cars including electric vehicles, BAIC said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange dated Friday and confirmed by Daimler on Sunday. The chairman of Chinese carmaker Geely said late on Friday he had bought an almost 10 percent stake in Daimler, in a $9 billion bet to access the Mercedes-Benz owner’s technology. The move poses a challenge to Daimler, which as well as its Chinese partnership with BAIC Motor Corporation has an industrial alliance to develop cars and trucks with Renault-Nissan, which owns a 3.1 percent stake in Daimler. Geely’s Chairman Li Shufu, who quietly built up the 9.7 percent stake, is now expected to meet Daimler executives in Stuttgart on Monday, a source familiar with the matter said, and hopes to meet top German government officials in Berlin.

His approach contrasts with that of previous Chinese investors in German technology companies - such as Midea, which bought Kuka or Weichai, which bought a large stake in Kion - who have tended to engage in lengthy consultation with stakeholders. Berlin said it saw no need to take any action over Geely’s purchase, either in terms of competition rules or of foreign investment rules. “It is a company decision,” a government spokesman said. “Due to the character of the investment as a minority stake, there is no need to act.” The government declined to comment on a report in German tabloid Bild am Sonnntag that Li would visit the German chancellery for a “secret meeting” with Angela Merkel’s economic adviser on Tuesday. Daimler also declined to comment on any possible meetings with Li. Geely said it wants an alliance with Daimler, which is developing electric and self-driving vehicles and is the only German carmaker not to be controlled by a family, to respond to the challenge from new rivals such as Tesla and Uber. - Reuters

The NRA responded by saying its members were being punished, but would not be intimidated, by what it called “a shameful display of political and civic cowardice” from some corporations. In tweets on Saturday, Delta and United said they were no longer offering NRA members discounted rates and they would ask the NRA to remove their information from its website. The issue of gun control, and the NRA’s role in opposing it, became the focus of renewed national debate after a former student killed 17 people on Feb. 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Parkland, using an AR-15 assault rifle he had purchased legally. NRA spokespeople have lashed out at gun control advocates, arguing that Democratic elites are politicizing the deadly rampage in Florida to erode gun owners’ rights. In a statement on Saturday, the NRA said its more than five million law-abiding members had nothing to do with the failures of school security, the mental health system, or both local and federal law enforcement that it said had caused the tragedy.

“Despite that, some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice,” the statement said. “In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.” The attrition of NRA corporate partners began on Thursday when three rental car brands owned by Enterprise Holdings Inc said they were ending discount programs, and First National Bank of Omaha said it would not renew the NRA’s contract to issue a co-branded Visa card. By Friday, the list of defectors grew to include Symantec Corp, which ended a discount program for its LifeLock identity theft product. Home security company SimpliSafe and Hertz Corp also terminated discount programs. Chubb Ltd said it would stop underwriting a NRA-branded insurance policy for gun owners that covers legal costs in self-defense shootings. Another insurer, MetLife Inc, also said it had ended an auto and home incentive program for NRA members. And North American Van Lines said it was scrapping its affiliate relationship with the NRA. The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment protects the right of Americans to bear arms. The NRA, which has long used campaign donations and effective lobbying to command political influence, argues that stricter gun control would erode individual rights. - Reuters

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How stress is slowly killing your spirit Modern living can often times be stressful. Work pressures, hectic schedules, emotional problems, conflicts with family, and an unhealthy lifestyle are just some of the contributing factors that make life stressful. Some experts use the common rubber band as a metaphor to explain how a person can eventually snap under pressure if nothing is done to offset the negative effects of prolonged stress. Rubber bands can be stretched, pulled and twisted but only to a certain extent. Once it is pulled or stretched beyond its limits, it will snap. Now close your eyes and picture a snapping rubber band and use that imagery to understand what stress can do to your health if left unchecked. Admittedly, a little stress in life can be healthy; it is a source of motivation as well as key to survival. However, too much can weaken your immune system, cause persistent headaches as well as insomnia, digestive issues and back pain. Symptoms of too much stress on the body and mind can roughly be categorised as follows: EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS: Agitation, restlessness, feeling emotion-

ally overwhelmed, lack of self-esteem, anxiety. PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: Lethargy, headaches, back pain, upset stomach, chest pains, heart palpitations, insomnia, loss of libido, sweaty palms and feet, dry mouth. COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS: Paranoia, forgetfulness, confusion, poor decision-making ability, pessimism, difficulty concentrating. BEHAVIOURAL SYMPTOMS: Changes in diet, heightened procrastination, fidgeting, increased reliance on alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. Stress is unavoidable in life. The key is how you manage it. There are many activities you can do to release the build-up of stress in your life. It’s important that you find what works and stick with it. Stress busters

by your desk. Maybe you notice your heart pounds when you think of that essay you’ve been procrastinating that’s now due in a week. Maybe you find yourself tensing up every time you remember the family gathering this weekend. Make it a point to record these triggers. Why?

to your mental health but improves your physical health as well. It’s a “virtuous”, not vicious cycle.

Take control of what you can fix. Writing down these stress triggers is the first step to effectively managing your stress simply because you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what it is in the first place. Now that you know it’s actually that deadline that’s stressing you out, set aside some time to start that assignment. You will feel in control again.

Get adequate rest. It’s important to strike a balance between quantity and quality. Sleep as long as you feel it takes to feel revitalised upon waking up. Only you can determine how many hours you need. Again, write it down.

Accept that there are some things you can’t control. If the sky is cloudy, take an umbrella with you. Forget about doing a rain dance to shoo the clouds away. Accepting your limitations is paradoxically liberating.

Below is an outline of actionable steps you can take to manage your stress levels better. Give it a go and you’ll be surprised at how empowered you feel.

Practice relaxation techniques. Take deep breaths. Count to ten. Empty your mind for a minute or two. These are things you can do in the midst of your hectic life to reset it. And it doesn’t take much time.

Write down all the stress triggers. Maybe you realise you break out into a cold sweat every time your boss walks

Get physical. Lift some weights. Kick a ball. Take a stroll through the park. These activities are not only beneficial

Avoid caffeine and alcohol. These contribute to the physical symptoms of stress. Your body can get confused and attribute it to an actual stressor.

Talk to someone. We are social creatures, admittedly to different extents. But the point stands. Venting out can help with putting things into perspective. That mountain you fear may just be a molehill viewed from a different angle. Get professional help. If you still can’t seem to overcome the hurdles of stress, there is absolutely no shame in seeking help from a professional, be it a therapist or a doctor. It’s not admitting defeat but rather equipping yourself with another tool to aid you to be where you want to be. These activities might seem really simple but little victories go a long way.

Georgia Asian Times February 15-28, 2018 


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HKETONY Chinese New Year Spring Reception feb 21, 2018 GA Aquarium

Joanne Chu, Director of HKETONY, speaking with a guest at the Oceans Ballroom in Georgia Aquarium.

Hon.Clement Leung, Commisioner of Hong Kong to USA, delivers the keynote address at HKETONY Spring Reception on Feb 21.

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New American Hero Award - American Korean Friendship Society Feb 23, Le Meridein Hotel Perimeter

BJay Pak, US Attorney GA Northern District, receive the award from Frank Blake, Chairman of Delta Airlines and AKFS.

Dan Cathy, Chairman, Chick-fil-a, sharing his views at a panel discussion.

Steve Stirling, CEO MAP International receive the award from Sunny Park, President of AKFS.

Steve Stirling and BJay Pak, honorees of 2018 New American Hero Awards.

Georgia Asian Times February 15-28, 2018 

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Saoirse Ronan, Oscar veteran at 23, laughs off her chances Paris, Feb 20, 2018 -- Saoirse Ronan is not like other Hollywood stars. Spread out on a sofa in a luxury Paris hotel in a “Mary Magdalene, sorry Maggie Marilyn” pyjama suit looking like a vamp from “The Great Gatsby”, she is joking about her bad skin. The sideburns of acne she has in “Lady Bird”, the acclaimed coming-ofage movie that has won her a third Oscar nomination at the age of 23, were very much her own, she laughed. “No, they were real!” she said. “I had a bad skin at the time so we just didn’t cover it up. “Weirdly I never got bad skin as a teenager at all,” said the Irish actress, who was first nominated for an Academy Award when she was only 13 for “Atonement”. “It was only when I was 21 or 22 when I was doing loads of press that I got it. So, it was you that did it,” she laughed. Ronan is often talked about as one of the most talented actors of her generation — she won a best actress Golden Globe last month for “Lady Bird”, her “sensational” portrayal of a Sacramento teenager in the last year of high school whose lofty ambitions are often at odds with reality and her family’s precarious finances.

She is also one of the most down-toearth, seemingly unphased by having grown up in front of the camera as a child actor from the age of eight. “My Mam came away with me on every job till I was 18, and my Dad is an actor, so they understood the pitfalls.” Puberty before the cameras Even so, “going through puberty on screen can very easily be terrifying. You are so aware of what you look like, and to have a lens pointed at your face,” she said as she promoted “Lady Bird” in the French capital. “So you have to have the attitude that it is more important to get what you are doing right than worry whether you look pretty.” Doing good work has been Ronan’s watchword since she was very young, carefully choosing quality films rather than playing the fame game. “I was offered an action film at the same time as ‘Atonement’ (when she was 12) but I knew even then that was not the direction I wanted to go in,” she said. She was a more obvious choice to play an Irish immigrant in “Brooklyn”, and Ronan insisted that hooking up with indie star Greta Gerwig for her directorial debut on “Lady Bird” was also a “no-brainer”.

“When you read a script where one of the introductory scenes is someone arguing with their mother and jumping out of a car it is a massive selling point. With Greta I knew it would be smart, interesting and funny,” she said. Gerwig, who made her name both writing and starring in “Frances Ha” and “Mistress America” with director Noah Baumbach, said it was a marriage made in heaven. Even though the film is semi-autobiographical, Gerwig said she didn’t really “understand the character until (Ronan) started saying the lines… she is this flawed but amazing heroine.” ‘Momentous’ moment And for her part, Ronan said she cried when Gerwig was nominated for an Oscar. Incredibly it was only the fifth time that a woman had been nominated for best director. “She deserves it so much. It was a really momentous thing for the times we are in to have at least one woman nominated and completely deservedly. That means a lot to all of us,” said Ronan. In terms of empowerment, “getting to play a confident teenage girl” also mattered hugely, she said. “It’s so rare to see a teenage girl just own it in a film — someone who

just goes for it and isn’t afraid to fall on their face. There is a strength and a bravery you can catch from that person.” Ronan is acutely conscious that “Lady Bird” has already become a key cultural reference for many teenage girls. “She is quite outspoken which I am too. She is trying to find her people and her places. When I was around 18 I knew (like her that) I needed to get out and find who I was. “Like Greta and Lady Bird I wanted to go to New York. I was only there eight months but it was enough to say, ‘I’ve found myself!’” she laughed. As for finally lifting an Oscar next month at the third attempt, Ronan insists that she “hasn’t thought about winning. When you win you have to do all the press afterwards, and you don’t get a chance to have a dance. So it is also quite nice losing because you can enjoy the night.”

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Japan Armani school uniform sparks storm Tokyo, Feb 9, 2018 -- A Japanese school’s plan to introduce Armani-branded uniforms for its students has sparked complaints and fierce debate, even reaching as far as parliament. The local education board confirmed that Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district will adopt the designer uniforms from April, with a full set costing parents around 80,000 yen. While the school says the new uniforms are not mandatory, critics said parents would feel compelled to buy them to ensure their children were not left out. Kyodo news agency said the local education board had received a string

of complaints from parents, unconvinced by the school’s explanation that the designer uniform would be good branding. In a letter announcing the uniform, the administration reportedly said the outfits were a bid to tie the 150-yearold school to the upscale Ginza district where it is located. But that did little to sway public opinion. “This shouldn’t have been about designer brands, or tradition. The officials should have thought about the children and made a decision after holding discussions,” one parent, who did not wish to be identified, told national broadcaster NHK.

“This is outrageous, kids’ sizes change,” one disgruntled commentator wrote online.

acknowledged that he thought the planned attire was “expensive for an elementary school”.

The uniform features sharply tailored blazers as well as add-ons like bags that can push the total set’s cost to around 90,000 yen, a price another commentator described as “just too expensive for uniforms for fast-growing children.”

“It might be problematic if only one student cannot afford it,” he said.

Opposition lawmaker Manabu Terada even raised the issue during a parliamentary session, questioning the logic of such an expensive uniform at a public school with students from a range of backgrounds.

But with those days long past, the pricey uniforms appear all the more incongruous to some.

Asked to comment on the issue, Finance Minister Taro Aso, known for his own tailored Savile Row-style suits,

Italian brand Armani retains a particular nostalgic prestige for some in Japan, who associate it with the country’s strongest economic era.

“These uniforms are far more expensive than the suits I’m wearing,” one commentator grumbled.

Georgia Asian Times February 15-28, 2018

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SPORTS Carabao: Thai rocker turned drinks mogul energising English football Bangkok, Feb 26, 2018 -- On Sunday evening an ageing Thai rock star with hooped earrings, signature bandana and a wispy moustache will be at the home of English football to present the Carabao Cup to either Arsenal or Manchester City.

agenda following a decade of political turbulence when crackdowns killed hundreds of student activists. Several songs were banned by authorities, gifting Aed something of a bad-boy reputation.

His prominence will baffle many football fans, not to mention some of the players celebrating the first silverware of the season at London’s Wembley Stadium.

But age and commercial success has diluted Aed’s taste for controversy, more so in the social media age where junta-run Thailand’s sharply polarised politics tend to chew up anyone who speaks out.

But in Thailand, the 63-year-old Yuenyong Opakul is a legend. He is the lead singer of the band Carabao, and co-founder of the energy drink company now sponsoring the English Football League (EFL) cup. Better known as Aed Carabao (pronounced “At”), he helped catalyse the band’s massive following into consumers of high-caffeine drinks. Its giddying ascent since 2002 now sees Carabao outsell Red Bull in Thailand, where hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of the sugary beverages are slurped down each year. With an eye on new markets, Carabao has ploughed cash into English football, hoping for a fast-track to global brand recognition. The company has spent 30 million pounds (US$42 million) to sponsor Chelsea’s training kit, a further 18 million pounds on a three-year EFL cup contract as well as paying to have its name emblazoned on Reading FC’s strip. It’s been a “very successful” investment so far, says Aed. “English people are very focused on football. They didn’t know us before but people are talking about the brand now,” he says sitting in his large garden in a Bangkok suburb.

Open goal Thai money and English football have had a strong chemistry ever since billionaire ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra bought Manchester City in 2007. He flipped it just over a year later for a handsome profit to Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi whose oil fortune has hoisted City into football’s elite. Thailand’s duty-free magnate Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was next in, buying Leicester City for about 40 million pounds (US$58 million) in 2010 and clearing the club’s large debts. Six years later the Midlands minnows stormed to the Premier League title, the players celebrating in shirts stamped with Vichai’s “King Power” brand. Sheffield Wednesday are owned by Dejphon Chansiri of the Thai Union family – the world’s biggest tinned tuna producers – while Singha beer has partnered with Manchester United. A commercial link with English football guarantees swift “international exposure”, says Pavida Pananond, an academic at Thammasat University’s Business School in Bangkok.

“This strategy is not new. Red Bull has done it before with Formula 1 and extreme sports,” she added of the part Thai-owned energy drinks firm. ‘Play until I die’ Aed Carabao is no stranger to brand-building. The one-time architecture student who studied in the Philippines, hence the band’s Tagalog name, has spun fame and fortune from his distinctive country-rock style, rasping voice and acerbic lyrics skewering corruption, inequality and forces of reaction. He designed the skull-and-horns Carabao logo, which is across band paraphernalia – and even copyrighted a hand sign that represents the eponymous buffalo. The band has toured Thailand for more than three decades cultivating a loyal base of nostalgic fans but also youngsters drawn to his stage presence and lyricism. “Like BB King I’ll keep playing until I die,” Aed says with a smile, tucking a streak of black hair into his bandana, a Carabao-branded mug on the table in front of him. The band emerged in the early 1980s with an unabashed pro-democracy

“I am not on anyone’s side,” he says, rejecting criticism he has sold out. “But if the people aren’t educated about democracy, we cannot move forward.” Carabao is a colourful name for a trophy that has traditionally relied on more parochial sponsors, including Britain’s milk board and Rumbelows, a now-defunct white-goods retailer. The Thai tie-up also endured an inauspicious start. In June the EFL was forced to apologise after error-strewn graphics appeared on their online broadcast of the first-round draw for the Carabao Cup. The third-round draw stirred more consternation after it was held in Beijing, demanding a pre-dawn wake-up by British fans to follow it live. Yet the timings reflected Carabao’s relentless marketing push, concerned first with seeking a foothold in China’s massive market. As he prepares to travel to London for the cup final, the genial singer is in similarly uncompromising mood. “I’ll be dressed cool… maybe in a suit because it’s cold, but everything else the same,” he said.

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Snowboarders and freestyle skiers provide half of U.S. team’s medals PyeongChang, Feb 26, 2018 -- The United States got their lowest Winter Olympic medals haul in 20 years at the Pyeongchang Games but things could have been even worse without the snowboarders and freestyle skiers. The extreme sports contributed around half the medals won by the Americans — five of the nine golds and 11 of the total tally of 23. “It has been a crazy ride and I am super proud of everybody,” said Mike Jankowski, head coach of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team. “It is an honour to be a part of these athletes and the staff that put their heart and soul into making the athletes the best.” The US have been top dogs in snowboarding since the sport’s introduction to the Olympics in 1998 but this time around the importance of the extreme sports to the overall medal total was more noticeable than ever. With the addition of big air snowboarding to the Olympic programme in Pyeongchang, the U.S. team were always likely to benefit and so it proved

as they took home two silver medals from that event. “It has been amazing to have this level of success. It is never easy, in fact, it gets more and more difficult every Olympic cycle,” Jankowski told Reuters outside Phoenix Snow Park, the venue where the golds were won. “We have got more nations putting in a ton of funding, a ton of effort into being the best in the world and so it just makes it that much more difficult for us. “As a coach, as competitors and as a team, we love the grind, we love the journey and to be on top feels great.” The first U.S. medal of the Games went to 17-year-old Red Gerard, who claimed gold in the men’s snowboard slopestyle on Feb. 11. With established stars and multigold medallists such as Shaun White, Jamie Anderson and David Wise being joined by teenagers such as Gerard and Chloe Kim, the U.S. team have been a leading force on the slopes here, alongside Canada.

White and Kim won half-pipe golds, Anderson won the women’s slopestyle and Wise took the ski half-pipe honours.

more fans and into our community, our donor base becoming stronger and hopefully giving us more capability for us to do what we do out there.”

Unlike many nations who have competed against them in Pyeongchang, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the programmes they support receive no financial assistance from the country’s administration.

Jankowski, who has been part of the U.S. coaching set-up since 2006, was keen to point out that the U.S. has traditionally fared better at Olympics held in North America, with the team’s best-ever performances at a Winter Games coming in Vancouver and Salt Lake City.

The US Ski and Snowboard programme relies on donations and sponsorship for 100 percent of its funding and Jankowski hopes success in Pyeongchang will lead to financial benefits down the line. “US Ski and Snowboard is so lucky to have a community of donors, fans of the sport, corporate partners who are able to lend their finances to us, in order to get done what we need to get done,” he said. “I think the way we repay everyone is through medals and through success and so to be able to be successful here is something that we obviously strive for all the time. “We hope that it translates into

The only time the United States has topped the Winter Olympics medal table was when they hosted the Games at Lake Placid in 1932.

Georgia Asian Times February 15-28, 2018

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Dementia clearly linked to chronic boozing, study finds Paris, February 21, 2018 -- Chronic heavy drinking is a major risk factor for all types of dementia, especially early onset of the disease, according to a study published Wednesday in The Lancet Public Health. Researchers examining more than 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia in France found that well over half were either alcohol-related or accompanied by an additional diagnosis of alcohol abuse.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines “chronic heavy drinking” as more than 60 grammes of pure alcohol – six or more standard drinks – a day for men, and in excess of 40 grammes per day for women. For the new study, researchers combed through medical records of more than one million adults in France diagnosed with dementia from 2008 to 2013. The link with alcohol was statistically unmistakable, leading the authors to suggest screening, brief interventions for heavy drinking, and alcoholism treatment to help reduce cognitive decline.

Overall, alcohol use disorders were associated with a three-fold higher risk of all types of dementia. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are said to be premature before the age of 65. Previous research was inconclusive on the effect of alcohol on cognitive health. Some studies have shown a possible benefit of light-to-moderate drinking, while others have found that heavy drinking boosts the risk of dementia.

“The link between dementia and alcohol use disorders … is likely a result of alcohol leading to permanent structural and functional brain damage,” said lead author Michael Schwarzinger, a scientist at the Translational Health Economics Network in Paris. Alcohol use disorders are also associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart failure, which may, in turn, increase the risk of vascular dementia, he said in a statement. Heavy drinking a ‘major risk’ Previous research has likewise established a link between heavy drinking

Childhood heart defect survivors have high dementia risk

Islamabad, Feb 14, 2018 -- People born with heart defects may be at higher risk of developing dementia in adulthood, according to a new research, reported the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), citing Health News.

The findings, led by scientists from the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, showed that the risk of dementia was higher in people born with heart defects who developed other heart disease risk factors later in life, such as atrial fibrillation, heart failure and diabetes. For these people, the risk of dementia from any cause, including vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and others, was 60% higher overall than the general population. They were also 160% (2.6 times) at higher risk of developing early-onset and smoking, depression, and low educational attainment – all risk factors for dementia. The study, based on discharge records from all French hospitals over a six-year period, excluded patients with diseases linked to rare dementias, and people with early-life mental health disorders. During the same period, there were 94,5512 people – more than 85% of them alcohol dependent – diagnosed with alcohol use disorders.

dementia before age 65 and 30% higher risk for dementia after age 65, said the researchers in a paper published in the Journal Circulation. “Previous studies showed that people born with heart defects have a higher risk of neuro-developmental problems in childhood, such as epilepsy and autism, but this is, to our knowledge, the first study to examine the potential for dementia later in adult life,” said lead author Carina N Bagge. For the study, the team examined the occurrence of dementia in 10,632 individuals (46% male) born with heart defects, matching each with 10 members of the general population. The researchers found that a person born with a heart defect will develop dementia.

“Our findings suggest that the burden of dementia attributable to alcohol use disorders is much larger than previously thought,” Schwarzinger said. “Heavy drinking should be recognised as a major risk factor for all types of dementia.” Clive Ballard, professor at the University of Exeter Medical School in Britain, described the findings as “immensely important”.

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Misc Asia

Thai court grants custody to Japanese father of 13 surrogate children Bangkok, February 20, 2018 -- A Thai court on Tuesday said it ruled in favor of a wealthy Japanese man who had fathered 13 surrogate children in Thailand, naming him their legal parent and sole guardian. The case harks back to late 2014, when police said they had found 13 babies fathered by a Japanese national with nine Thai surrogate mothers. The children were taken to foster homes and the father has petitioned for custody since early 2015. The man had his sperm fertilize donor eggs, which were then planted in the wombs of the surrogate mothers in 2013, according to a press statement given by the court. No details were given on where the donor eggs were from. The scandal at the time shone an international spotlight on Thailand’s

largely unregulated surrogacy business, prompting authorities to crack down on clinics with nationwide inspections and later to ban commercial surrogacy. The Japanese man was given custody of the 13 children on Tuesday largely due to his financial and professional stability, and he was found to have no links to human trafficking, the court said. Growing up with a biological parent will also be in the children’s best interests, the court added. “The petitioner is an heir and president of a well-known company listed in a stock exchange in Japan, owner and shareholder in many companies, and receives dividend of more than 100 million baht ($3.18 million) from a single company in a year, which shows the petitioner has professional stability

and an ample income to raise all the children,” the court said in a statement. “Therefore, it is ruled that all the 13 children are legal children of the petitioner ... and the petitioner is their sole guardian.” The court gave no further details about the man, but said he plans to raise the 13 children in Japan where he lives, adding that he had previously raised his other surrogate children in Cambodia and Japan. When the case was first lodged in 2014, police had said the man was 24 years old. The man’s lawyer, Kong Suriyamonthon, said his client plans to raise the 13 children, who are aged around 4, in Japan.

When asked why the man would want so many children at the same time, Kong said: “He has personal and business reasons. He was born in a big family, so he wants his children to grow up together.” Thailand was rocked by several surrogacy scandals in 2014, including allegations that an Australian couple had abandoned their Down Syndrome baby with his Thai birth mother taking only his healthy twin sister back to Australia with them. Thailand passed a law banning commercial surrogacy in 2015 as a result, forcing clinics to move to Cambodia, where it was also later banned, and then Laos. - Reuters

Georgia Asian Times February 15-28, 2018

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Misc Asia

Nobel peace laureates to Suu Kyi: ‘End Rohingya genocide or face prosecution’ Dhaka, February 28, 2018 - Three Nobel peace laureates urged Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military on Wednesday to end the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims now or face prosecution. The United Nations and human rights organizations have collected evidence of widespread abuses by the Myanmar military against the largely stateless Rohingya, including murder, rape and arson, prompting nearly 700,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, and have called the crackdown ethnic cleansing. “She (Suu Kyi) must stop turning a deaf ear to the persecution of the Rohingya or risk being complicit in the crimes,” Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman told a press conference in Dhaka after visiting refugee camps at Cox’s Bazar on the southern tip of Bangladesh. “Wake up or face prosecution,” said Karman, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. “If she fails to do so, her choice is clear: resign or be held accountable, along with the army commanders, for the crimes committed,” she added. Since coming to power in 2016, Suu Kyi - who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her decades-long pro-democracy fight - has failed to condemn abuses against the Rohingya which began on Aug. 25 after insurgents attacked police and military outposts. Buddhist-majority Myanmar denies the abuse charges and says its security forces are fighting a legitimate campaign against “terrorists” it blames for the attacks on the security forces.

Northern Irish activist Mairead Maguire said she heard accounts of women who had been raped repeatedly and families murdered and stories of children being thrown into fires and drowned in rivers. “The torture, rape and killing of any one member of our human family must be challenged, as in the case of the Rohingya genocide,” said Maguire, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1976. “This is genocide. We can’t remain silent. Silence is complicity,” she said. The laureates called for those responsible to be brought before the International Criminal Court. “With over a million Rohingya displaced, countless dead or missing, and rape and sexual violence being used as a weapon of war, it is well past the time for the international community to act,” said Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, who in 2003 became the first Muslim woman to win the peace prize. Replying to a question, Karman said the three planned to visit Myanmar and they had sent several messages to their friend Suu Kyi but she had not replied. “We need to see what’s happening there.” - Reuters

Philippines’ Duterte says he’s tired, old, wants to cede power early Manila, February 28, 2018 - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday sought to dispel concerns he will cling to power and become a dictator, saying he wants to achieve his goal of introducing federalism so that he can finish his term early. The former city mayor has long advocated federalism to tackle a yawning wealth gap, empower regional governments and recognize the country’s diverse makeup. A 19-member panel created by Duterte a month ago and composed of constitutional law experts and headed by a retired Supreme Court judge has proposed a federal model similar to the United States. Some critics believe the move to change the constitution to facilitate that would also provide means for Duterte to hold on to power beyond 2022, when his single, six-year term ends. But the 72-year-old said he no longer had the energy. “I will step down by 2020, I will not wait for 2022,” he said in a speech.

“I am old. I have no more ambition. I really would like to rest.” Duterte’s lower house allies last month voted to convene a constituent assembly to revise the charter, scrapping mid-term elections next year and extending the terms of all elected officials. The constitution was introduced in 1987 after the ousting of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a bloodless “people’s power” revolution. Previous moves to change it have failed, with civil society and religious groups thwarting what they see as threats to a system designed to prevent strongman rulers like Marcos from emerging. Fears that Duterte could become an autocrat are compounded by the admiration he has expressed for Marcos. Experts believe Duterte may succeed in changing the charter because of his public popularity and the super-majority he holds in Congress. - Reuters

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Hong Kong harbour gets star attraction with sculpture park New York, Feb 22, 2018 — Hong Kong’s harbourfront is known for glistening skyscrapers and the sight of containerships navigating busy shipping lanes — but a new art project has added a giant pumpkin, a map of the stars and a pair of disembodied legs to the famous skyline. The Harbour Arts Sculpture Park, which officially opened today, is a collection of works by 19 local and international artists including Britain’s Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin, Japan’s Yayoi Kusama, as well as Jenny Holzer and Hank Willis Thomas from the United States. The series of installations aims to increase public access to art in a city known more for its exclusive high-end galleries and lucrative auctions. “I think public art is a unique place to make a statement and I wanted to make a work that people could inhabit and basically become a part of,” said Willis Thomas, perched inside a large metal speech bubble. The work, “Ernest and Ruth”, is one of two of his sculptures in the project, which was organised by the nonprofit Hong Kong Arts Centre in collaboration with local partners.

On the harbourfront, intrigued visitors had already begun taking pictures of themselves with Kusama’s oversized pumpkin sculpture this afternoon, while children played among the other works dotted on the grass. Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong, whose angular golden artwork “Asteroids & Comets” is a constellation of three-dimensional star maps, said younger visitors were the quickest to engage with the art. “This morning some children they saw the work and just charged right in and started jumping up and down inside without reading any of the captions,” he told AFP approvingly. Hong Kong is increasingly burnishing its artistic credentials and has hosted the annual Art Basel, Asia’s largest art fair, since 2013.

Top attractions in Tibet free until end of April Lhasa, Feb 27, 2018 — To promote winter tourism, Tibet has announced that some of its most iconic and popular attractions, including Mount Everest National Nature Reserve and Potala Palace, will be free of charge. From now until April 30, visitors will be able to gain free entry into 115 of the region’s top attractions. While travel to Tibet is normally closed to international travelers in February and March for Tibetan New Year, as part of Tibet Winter Tour 2018, the region will remain open exceptionally as part of Tibet Winter Tour. Some of the most popular attractions include Potala Palace, a nine-story structure with 1,000 rooms, built during the Tang Dynasty by King Songtsen Gampo for his bride.

Entry to Mount Everest National Nature Reserve is also free through April, where visitors can witness the sunrise or sunset against the tallest mountain on earth. Likewise, the most important temple in Tibetan Buddhism, Jokhang Temple, will also open its doors free of charge. Built in 652 by King Songtsen Gampo for his two princess brides, the temple expanded over the next 900 years taking on Chinese, Tibetan and Nepalese designs. Other attractions in Lhasa that will not charge admission fees include Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka, Namtso Lake, Yak Museum, Dezong Hot Spring, Canggu nunnery, Thousand-Buddha Cliff and Tsha-Tsha Rock Cultural Museum.

Georgia Asian Times Feb 15-28, 2018  

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

Georgia Asian Times Feb 15-28, 2018  

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