Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia
www.gasiantimes.com January 15-31, 2018
Former CIA agent arrested with top secret info
January 15-31, 2018 Georgia Asian Times
Georgia Asian Times January 15-31, 2018
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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 30341 For more info: 770-458-6660; www. facebook/ATLChinatown Admission: Free Atlanta Tet Festival 2018 - Vietnamese Lunar New Year Celebration Presented by United Vietnamese American Georgia Date: Sunday, February 18, 2018 Time: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm Venue: 6100 Live Oak Pkwy, Norcross, GA 30093 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 GA 30341 Ticket: $5 per person; Free admission for children under 3 Feet 6 inches. For more info: www.facebook.com/AtlantaChineseLunarNewYearFestival Hong Kongâ€™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 Presented by Korean American Friendship Society Date: February 23, 2018 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: Le Meridien Hotel, 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30346
January 15-31,2018 Georgia Asian Times
METRO ASIAN NEWS CDC director urges flu vaccinations as pediatric deaths mount Atlanta, January 23, 2018 – Of the 30 U.S. children who have died from the flu so far this season, some 85 percent had not been vaccinated, said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, who urged Americans to get flu shots amid one of the most severe flu seasons in years. “My message is, if you haven’t gotten a vaccine, please get a vaccine. Also, please get your children vaccinated,” said Fitzgerald, who is urging citizens “to take every advantage that you can to protect yourself.” The dominant strain during this flu season is an especially nasty type called influenza A (H3N2) that in seasons past has been linked with severe disease and death, especially in the elderly and young. This year’s seasonal flu epidemic is especially severe. In its latest report, the CDC said the virus is present in every state, with 32 states reporting severe flu activity. Although the vaccine is only estimated to be about 30 percent effective against the H3N2 strain, it has been shown in studies to reduce severity and duration if people do become infected, said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fitzgerald conceded in a telephone interview that reports that the flu vaccine in Australia was only 10 percent effective may have caused people to think the vaccine would not be worth the trouble. Fitzgerald said the agency’s flu division has been on the job during the three-day federal government shutdown. Senators on Monday reached a deal to keep the government funded through Feb. 8.
Studies have shown that even a vaccine that has lower overall effectiveness can decrease the number of days spent in hospital, duration of the flu and the degree of symptoms. “That helps support the point of getting a vaccine,” Jernigan said. Fitzgerald said the flu vaccine and antiviral drugs used to fight the flu are widely available across the country, noting that people can go to the CDC website and enter their zip code to find the nearest flu clinics with vaccines. (here) Fitzgerald also recommended that people frequently wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, avoid those who are sick or coughing and carry disinfectant wipes. The CDC does not have numbers for adult deaths from the flu because adult flu is not a reportable disease in all U.S. states. But she said North Carolina, which collects such data, has reported 42 adult flu deaths so far this season. Official estimates from the CDC are expected at the end of the current season, based on a calculation from hospitals and states reporting data to the agency. In the 2014/2015 flu season, in which the H3N2 strain was also the leading strain, there were an estimated 35.6 million cases, 710,000 hospitalizations and 56,000 deaths. At this point, it is not clear whether the current flu season will surpass those estimates, Jernigan said. – Reuters
An abandoned orphan is making an impact to save lives around the world Atlanta, January 10, 2018 — The Korean American Friendship Society (AKFS) has officially announced this year’s recipient of its New American Hero Awards which comes along with a $10,000 cash award. The 2018 award recipients are Steve Stirling, President and CEO of MAP International and Byung J. “BJay” Pak, U.S. Attorney of Northern District of Georgia.
Stirling joined MAP International in 2014 after initially turned down the offer from a professional executive recruiter. MAP International is a Christian global health organization headquartered in Atlanta, provides medicines, prevents disease and promotes health to create hope and lasting change in some of the poorest countries in the world. “I changed my mind after my wife, Sook Hee persuaded me to reconsider the job offer based on the group’s Christian mission,” said Stirling.
Steve G. Stirling personal story of struggle and endurance also makes him uniquely qualify for this year’s award. Born is South Korea, Steve contracted polio as a young child and was abandoned by his own father at an orphanage at the young age of five. He grew up in the orphanage until he was adopted by a loving American family at the age of ten. “I believe God allowed me to get polio for a purpose, and that’s why I’m so passionate about getting life saving medicines to people in need around the world,” says Stirling in an interview with Georgia Asian Times. Stirling is a graduate of Cornell University, with a Masters in Management from Northwestern University, He has an impressive twenty-five year background in executive leadership, diverse brand marketing, fundraising and management in major multinational corporations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) including Heifer International, World Vision, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The job offered less financial compensation and less prestigious title but it doesn’t matter to Stirling as he believes in the the organization’s core mission. Stirling had to trim senior staffs and transformed the organization into a more mission focus organization. MAP International has since being recognized as one of the most efficient and effective nonprofits by Charity Navigator, MAP International has provided $5 billion in medicines and medical supplies, working in more than 100 countries around the world. “I am deeply honored and humbled by the award,” said Stirling, who confirmed that he received a congratulatory call from Sunny K. Park, President of AKFS, about the award prize recently. “It’s an honor and privilege to be Korean American. What we do as Korean American will influence others especially the young people in the community. I hope to play a part in influencing others to play a part in society and inspire others to do the same.”
Georgia Asian Times January 15-31, 2018
Former CIA agent arrested with top secret info Washington DC, Jan 17, 2018 — US authorities said yesterday they had arrested a former CIA agent, Hong Kong resident Jerry Chun Shing Lee, after discovering he had an unauthorized notebook that had the identities of undercover US spies. Lee, a naturalized US citizen also known as Zhen Cheng Li, was arrested late Monday after he arrived at JFK International Airport in New York. The Department of Justice said Lee, 53, grew up in the United States and served in the US Army before joining the Central Intelligence Agency as a case officer in 1994. He served in unnamed overseas loca-
tions and left the agency in 2007, later apparently taking a job in Hong Kong. In a complaint filed in a New York federal court, the Justice Department said that in 2012, FBI agents with court-ordered warrants secretly searched Lee’s luggage while he was traveling in the United States and found he was carrying top secret materials he was not authorized to have. “Agents found two small books containing handwritten notes that contained classified information, including but not limited to, true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations and locations of covert facili-
ties,” the Justice Department said. Lee was charged with unlawful retention of national defense information, a charge that can bring up to 10 years in prison. Officials did not say why it took so long to bring charges against Lee, or whether he had leaked any materials to foreign countries. But the case takes place amid concern in the US intelligence community that the Chinese government has been able to cripple their operations in that country. The New York Times reported last year that starting in 2010, to the end of
2012, the Chinese killed “at least a dozen” sources the CIA had inside China and imprisoned six or more others. A hunt for a “mole” in the agency led to one person, a “former operative” now living elsewhere in Asia, the Times said. But there was not enough information to arrest him. But others in the agency blamed sloppy work and not a mole, the Times added. - Reuters
January 15-31, 2018 Georgia Asian Times
Japan raps Coincheck, orders broader checks after $530 million cryptocurrency theft
Tokyo, January 29, 2018 - Japanese authorities said on Monday they would investigate all cryptocurrency exchanges in the country for security gaps and ordered Coincheck to raise its standards after hackers stole $530 million of digital money from the Tokyo-based exchange. The theft - one of the world’s biggest cyberheists - highlights the vulnerabilities in trading an asset that policymakers are struggling to regulate, as well as the broader risks for Japan as it aims to leverage the fintech industry to stimulate economic growth. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) on Monday ordered improvements to operations at Coincheck, which on Friday suspended trading in all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin after hackers stole 58 billion yen ($534 million) of NEM coins, among the most popular digital currencies in the world. ￼ Coincheck said on Sunday it would repay about 90 percent, though it has yet to figure out how or when. The NEM coins were stored in a “hot wallet” instead of the more secure “cold wallet”, which operates on platforms not directly connected to the internet, Coincheck said. It also does not use an extra layer of security known as a multi-signature system. The hack has drawn into focus Japan’s approach to regulating cryptocurrency exchanges. Last year, it became the first country to regulate exchanges at the national level - a move that won praise for boosting innovation and protecting consumers,
contrasting sharply with crackdowns in South Korea and China. The FSA said it ordered Coincheck to submit a report on the hack and measures for preventing a recurrence by Feb. 13. It added it would conduct hearings with other exchanges after their operators had run their own checks. If any problems or weaknesses with security were found during the course of the hearings, the FSA would also conduct onsite inspections. The regulator also said it had yet to confirm whether Coincheck had sufficient funds for the reimbursement. ￼ But the regulator does not have any rules banning the use of “hot wallets” by exchanges, nor does it set requirements on how much should be kept in “cold wallets,” an FSA official said at a briefing. In response to FSA’s order for improvements, Coincheck said it would promptly strengthen its customer protection and governance and develop its risk management systems. Japan started to require cryptocurrency exchange operators to register with the government only in April 2017, allowing pre-existing operators such as Coincheck to continue offering services ahead of formal registration. The FSA has registered 16 cryptocurrency exchanges so far, and another 16 are still awaiting clearance. Coincheck’s application was made in September.
“It’s been long said that cryptocurrencies are a solid system but cryptocurrency exchanges are not,” said Makoto Sakuma, research fellow at NLI Research Institute. “This incident showed that the problem has not been solved at all. If Coincheck screws up its crisis management, that could deal a blow to the current cryptocurrency fever.” NEM fell to $0.78 from $1.01 on Friday but recovered to $0.95 by Monday evening, according to CoinMarketCap. Crypto-currency related shares mostly rose in Tokyo, with GMO Internet , which offers cryptocurrency exchange services, gaining 5.7 pct. Exchange operators said the hack will likely cause concerns over security to grow among consumers, potentially pressuring the price of cryptocurrencies. “All cryptocurrencies will now be tainted in their minds, so there may be a mid-term negative impact,” said Genki Oda, president of BitPoint Japan. At a NEM-themed pub in the Shibuya entertainment district, Tokyoites took stock of the Coincheck hack - some paying for drinks in the cryptocurrency via their mobile phones. Naoki Yamamoto, a 29-year-old financial services worker, said he had lost thousands of dollars worth of NEM coins. “When I think about the damage that’s been done to other people, (my loss) isn’t bad at all,” he said. “Until the security of asset flows can be guaranteed, the market can’t be trusted.”
CRYPTOCURRENCY RISKS The Singapore-based NEM Foundation, which describes itself as a promoter of the technology underlying the cryptocurrency, said it had a tracing system on the NEM blockchain and that it had “a full account” of all of Coincheck’s lost NEM coins. It added that the hacker had not moved any of the funds to any exchange or personal accounts but that it had no way to return the stolen funds to its owners. In 2014, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, which once handled 80 percent of the world’s bitcoin trades, filed for bankruptcy after losing bitcoins worth around half a billion dollars. More recently, South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Youbit last month shut down and filed for bankruptcy after being hacked twice last year. World leaders meeting in Davos last week issued fresh warnings about the dangers of cryptocurrencies, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin relating Washington’s concern about the money being used for illicit activity. Japan’s top financial diplomat said regulation of cryptocurrencies would likely be on the agenda at the G20 finance chiefs’ meeting in Argentina in March. South Korea will this week ban cryptocurrency traders from using anonymous bank accounts, to crack down on the criminal use of virtual coins. China, worried about financial risks from such trading, has ordered some exchanges in Beijing to close. - Reuters
Georgia Asian Times January 15-31, 2018
Apple plans second U.S. campus, to pay $38 billion in foreign cash taxes Cupertino, January 17, 2018 - Apple Inc will open a second U.S. campus as part of a 5-year, $30 billion U.S. investment plan and will make about $38 billion in one-time tax payments on its overseas cash, one of the largest corporate spending plans announced since the passage of a tax cut signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The U.S spending would be a significant part of Apple’s overall capital expenditures. Globally, the company spent $14.9 billion in 2017 and expects to spend $16 billion in 2018, figures that include both U.S.-based investments in data centers and other projects and Asian investments in tooling for its contract manufacturers.
Between the spending plan, tax payments and business with U.S. based suppliers, Apple on Wednesday estimated it would spend $350 billion in the U.S. over the next five years.
If Apple’s overall capital expenditures continue to expand at the same rate expected this year, the $30 billion investment in the U.S. could represent about a third of its capital expenditures over the next five years.
Apple, however, did not say how much of its $252.3 billion in cash abroad, the largest of any U.S. corporation, it would bring to the United States, after the U.S. tax changes cut costs on bringing funds back from overseas. It also did not say whether the spending plan was driven by the new tax law. Apple has traditionally declined to publicly announce its spending plans. The iPhone maker, whose products are mostly made in Asian factories, said it plans a wave of investing and hiring in the United States and will create 20,000 jobs through hiring at its existing campus and the new one. It will announce the location later this year. About a third of the new spending will be on data centers to house its iCloud, App Store and Apple Music services, a sign of the rising importance of subscription services to a company known for its computers and gadgets. The company has data centers in seven states and also on Wednesday broke ground on an expansion of its operations in Reno, Nevada, where local officials granted it tax breaks on a downtown warehouse.
The announced tax payment was roughly in line with expectations, said Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross. The tax bill requires companies to pay a one-time tax on foreign-held earnings whether they intend to bring them back to the United States or not. Apple had set aside $36.3 billion in anticipation of tax payments on its foreign cash, meaning the payment would not represent a major impact on its cash flow this quarter. Apple also said it would boost its advanced manufacturing fund, which it uses to provide capital and support to suppliers such as Finisar Corp and Corning Inc, from $1 billion to $5 billion. Apple said it plans to spend $55 billion with U.S.-based suppliers in 2018, up from $50 billion last year. AMAZON VS APPLE Apple joins Amazon.com Inc in scouting for a location for a second campus. Amazon finished taking applications from cities in October for its second campus. Apple has not said whether it has settled on a second campus location yet.
Amazon shortlists 20 cities, including Toronto, for second headquarters Seattle, January 18, 2018 - Amazon.com Inc has short-listed 20 cities and regions, including Canada’s Toronto, for the construction of a second headquarters that it says will generate 50,000 new, high-paying jobs in a $5 billion investment. Major U.S. centers including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C. also made it onto the list announced on Thursday, and smaller cities such as Raleigh, North Carolina, and Columbus, Ohio. Toronto is the lone non-U.S. location. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant’s search for a location for a second North American headquarters set off a frenzy among city officials jostling for the economic boost such a project represents, with some of the 238 initial bidders promising billions of dollars in tax breaks. Amazon said on Thursday it expects to make a decision this year. Including Toronto in the shortlist means Amazon must now weigh whether Canada’s advantages - a more open immigration policy focused on luring top global tech talent, and universal healthcare - outweigh potential blowback from U.S. President Donald Trump, who has leaned heavily on U.S. companies to invest more domestically. “There could be consequences politically for making a decision to invest outside of the U.S.,” said Shauna Brail, director of the
Currently, Apple’s largest U.S. operations are in Cupertino, California, at its new “spaceship” Apple Park headquarters, followed by a facility in Austin, Texas where it houses customer service agents and where contract manufacturers assemble some Mac computers. The company also employs several thousand workers and contractors in Elk Grove, California, where it has
urban studies program at the University of Toronto. “The question is how will a company the size of Amazon respond to that kind of a threat.” In November, Amazon said it would open a second corporate office in Vancouver, across the border from Seattle, in an announcement unrelated to the second headquarter search. Toronto’s bid shied away from financial incentives, while New Jersey proposed $7 billion in potential credits against state and city taxes if the company chooses Newark and sticks to hiring commitments. The Atlanta suburb of Stonecrest has offered 345 acres of industrial land to create a new city called Amazon and to make Chief Executive Jeff Bezos its mayor for life. The shortlist news follows Apple’s announcement on Wednesday that it would build a new U.S. campus and create 20,000 new jobs as part of a $30 billion investment, with both underlining the growing power of U.S. technology companies over the economy. Other locations on the Amazon shortlist were Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Miami, Montgomery County in Maryland, Nashville, Newark, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. - Reuters
customer service agents and refurbishes iPhones. Apple also has built its own data centers in North Carolina, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and a recently announced project in Iowa and leases data center space in other states. - Reuters
January 15-31, 2018 Georgia Asian Times
Could money be influencing your dating preferences? If you think it’s good looks, a sense of humor, or sparkling conversation that we find attractive when looking for a short-term fling, think again. According to new UK research it is money, and plenty of it, which many of us find attractive in a no-strings-attached relationship. Carried out by Swansea University in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, the new study recruited 151 heterosexual male and female participants (75 men and 76 women) to look at their relationship preferences in three different environmental situations. In one situation, participants were asked to look at photos of 50 potential partners and indicate whether they would prefer a long or short-term relationship with each.
They were then shown a series of images of luxury items related to wealth, including fast cars, jewelry, mansions, and money, before being asked to look again at the images of the potential partners and once again indicate whether they would prefer a long or short-term relationship. The results showed that after viewing the images that indicated wealth, both the male and female participants chose more partners for a short-term relationship than they did before viewing the images, with the team finding an increase of about 16%. “Not all people prefer long-term committed relationships,” said lead researcher Dr Andrew G. Thomas commenting on the findings. “Evolutionary
psychologists believe that whether someone prefers a short-term relationship over a long-term one depends partly on their circumstances, such as how difficult it might be to raise children as a single parent.” “For example, in environments which have lots of resources, it would have been easier for ancestral mothers to raise children without the father’s help. This made short-term mating a viable option for both sexes during times of resource abundance. We believe modern humans also make these decisions”. In other words, in a wealthy resource-rich environment we are less reliant on potential mates and can therefore choose them just for shortterm relationships.
And just as the photos of wealth changed the participants’ relationship preferences, so did other environmental situations. After being shown images of dangerous animals and videos of people interacting with children, the participants chose more potential partners for long-term relationships. “Importantly, when those circumstances change, we expect people to change their preferences accordingly. What we have done with our research is demonstrate this change in behavior, for the first time, within an experimental setting,” commented Dr Thomas. The results can be found published online in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.
Georgia Asian Times January 15-31, 2018
At Davos, delegates talk down Trump but bet big on America Davos, January 25, 2018 -- Since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency, business has been booming for Monaco-based businessman Manfredi Lefebvre d‘Ovidio. His privately owned luxury cruise operator, Silversea Cruises, registered an immediate pick-up in bookings from its main U.S. market and demand has continued to grow. “Let’s face it, we should be grateful to Trump,” said Lefebvre d’Ovidio, a delegate to the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos where Trump will speak on Friday. “The economy is strong, and the American consumer is spending.” As the world’s top policymakers and executives await Trump to address the Davos summit, they are privately voicing disbelief and disgruntlement at his foreign affairs, retreat on environmental issues and colorful tweeting. African leaders feel insulted after Trump is said to have classified their countries as shit-holes, a comment he denies making. Latin American leaders are criticizing his retreat from a Pacific-wide trade pact. And some top executives say they have declined invitations to meet with him during the summit. But with the U.S. stock market soaring, Trump’s corporate tax cuts padding companies’ pockets and U.S. consumers spending again, companies here are quietly applauding the U.S. president even as many Davos delegates see him as an unwelcome outsider.
“On the values front, it’s hard to see the international elite here in Davos applauding Trump, but on the wallet side of things, it may be different. That is the fundamental tension,” said Helene Rey, economics professor at London Business School. Some government leaders, economists and bankers are warning against an overheating of the U.S. economy, an increase to the $20 trillion national debt and a “race to the bottom” on tax cuts. All the same, firms have high hopes for the U.S. market. Kim Fausing, chief executive of Danish group Danfoss, which makes air conditioning and heating systems, said the company was committed to the U.S. market, where it has a dozen factories. “This is a market that rules itself without too much intervention from the state, so it’s a very attractive market for any company,” Fausing said. Hussain Sajwani, chairman and founder of UAE property firm Damac, is a friend of Trump and his main business partner in the Gulf region. He is looking more favorably at the United States after Congress passed Trump’s corporate and personal tax cuts. “We were looking at property development in the States and the previous tax brackets were not very attractive and now they’re more attractive,” said Sajwani, who owns Damac Hills, a major development that includes the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai. Bob Dudley, chief executive of oil major BP, said he believed the United
States was not the only good destination for oil companies. But he added that the tax cut “certainly makes the United States more competitive”. Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax plan unveiled in December slashed the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and temporarily reduced the tax burden for most individuals as well. In its wake, several U.S. companies have announced plans to increase investments, wages and bonuses. This week, JP Morgan Chase unveiled a $20
billion plan to hike wages, hire more people, open branches and expand its business -- the most explicit response to the tax cuts of any major bank so far. Two weeks ago, when Trump said he would attend the Davos summit, the assumption was that he would be entering a lion’s den of hostile global elites. And in the opening days, speakers criticized his administration for protectionist measures such as recent import tariffs on washing machines and solar panels -- moves that Washington said would protect American jobs.
trade wars, though he too plans to cut corporate tax rates over the next five years. Beneath the criticism, though, a faint chorus of appreciation for some of Trump’s policies can be heard. “I think he’s going to address this group and say well I understand a lot of you may not like me but if you look at your wallets you should love me,” said Harvard University economics professor Kenneth Rogoff. At an early news conference on Monday, the International Monetary Fund cited U.S. tax cuts as one of the reasons for its upgraded forecasts for global economic growth. John Tuttle, head of global listings at the New York stock exchange, said interest from foreign issuers was rising. “It’s been a very good year for non-U.S. listings. In fact I would say a significant percentage, north of 35 percent of the proceeds raised last year by companies on the New York stock exchange were from outside the United States,” Tuttle said.
The “shit-hole” controversy helped sour the mood.
Lefebvre d’Ovidio is extra-grateful to the U.S. administration, after the recent tax cut.
“I‘m from Africa, so the sentiment toward the U.S. president is not too positive right now,” said Jabu Moleketi, chairman of the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
The original tax proposal included a cruise-ship tax provision, but Alaska’s U.S. senators helped strike that out on the basis it would have hurt Alaska’s vital tourism revenues.
French President Emmanuel Macron, in his keynote address, decried a “race to the bottom” that could emerge from countries lowering tax rates and
“We didn’t even get taxed,” he said. “It was an extra.” - Reuters
January 15-31, 2018 Georgia Asian Times
FASHION In sign of times, luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet embraces second-hand watches
Geneva, January 19, 2018 -- Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet said it would launch a second-hand business this year, becoming the first big brand to announce plans to tap into a fast-growing market for pre-owned premium watches.
mercially speaking,” he said, without giving any details about how they would price pre-owned watches.
The company told Reuters it had carried out a test run in one store in Geneva and would launch the business more widely at its outlets in Switzerland this year. If this proved successful, it said it would roll out the operation in the United States and Japan.
“It is important to control the sale of second-hand watches to protect the owners and the value of watches already in the market by keeping the grey market in check,” H. Moser & Cie boss Edouard Meylan told Reuters.
“Second-hand is the next big thing in the watch industry,” Chief Executive François-Henry Bennahmias told Reuters in an interview at the SIHH watch fair in Geneva this week. Luxury watchmakers have hitherto eschewed the second-hand trade, fearing diluting the exclusivity of their brands and cannibalizing their sales. They have instead ceded the ground to third-party dealers. But some are now looking to change tack, driven by an industry-wide sales slowdown combined with a second-hand market that is expanding rapidly, fuelled by online platforms like Chrono24 and The RealReal. “At the moment, in watches, we leave it to what I call the ‘dark side’ to deal with demand for pre-owned pieces,” added Bennahmias, whose company is known for its octagonal Royal Oak timepieces that sell for 40,000 Swiss francs on average. “Anybody but the brands (is selling second-hand) – it’s an aberration com-
Several smaller brands, including H. Moser & Cie and MB&F, have signalled interest in the second-hand trade.
MB&F, which plans to launch second-hand sales via its website this year, told Reuters it expected to typically give a 20% to 30% discount on second-hand watches. A spokesman said customers buying from established watch brands could feel confident they were getting genuine products in good working order and with a valid warranty. Bigger brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Swatch Group, Richemont, and Breitling all declined to comment when asked whether they planned to enter the second-hand market, while LVMH’s watch division was not immediately available. Audemars Piguet said it would launch its second-hand business in several, but not all, of its 26 Swiss outlets, but declined to specify how many stores or give a more precise date. It will initially allow customers to trade in old Audemars Piguet watches as part-exchange for new ones, and then sell on the second-hand watches. It has not yet decided whether to buy second-hand watches for cash, added
the firm, saying its sales had come close to the 1 billion Swiss franc mark last year. Experts say the second-hand luxury watches business, mostly done via online platforms or specialized retailers, is growing rapidly as a new generation of customers that values variety more than permanent ownership enters the luxury world. In an example of the discounts offered online, a diamond-studded Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “with moderate scratches” sells for $9,450 on The RealReal, about a third of the “estimated retail price”. Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said he estimated the size of the second-hand market at around $5 billion a year in revenue, including watches sold at auctions, and that it had outperformed the market for new pieces in the last couple of years. That is still dwarfed by a new luxury watch sector worth 37 billion euros, according to consultancy Bain & Cie. However, Swiss watch exports fell 3.3% in 2015 and 9.9% in 2016, before posting a modest 2.8% rise in the first 11 months of 2017. The United States, where sales of new watches have been falling for years, is the largest market for preowned watches, followed by the United Kingdom and Japan, said US retailer Danny Govberg, who sells new watches for Rolex and other brands, but also
an increasing number of second-hand timepieces. His company said its second-hand sales had grown by 37% to 40% yearon-year over the past five years. In an example of prices, it said it listed a second-hand Audemars Piguet Royal Oak for $24,950 compared with a $32,000 retail price. Together with a partner in Hong Kong and a Singapore-based investor, Govberg recently launched global e-commerce platform WatchBox for buying and selling pre-owned luxury watches. “People sell us watches by the bucket,” he said. He said many people sold watches to buy a new one, so the pre-owned market was actually driving new sales, like in the car market. “The brands are still trying to figure it out, they don’t have the solution yet,” he said. Audemars Piguet’s Bennahmias said watchmakers had to amend business models to deal with changing consumer habits. “We’re witnessing a social and cultural change that forces us to think about what the business will look like in five or 10 years,” he added. “Time flies, we need to watch out.” - Reuters
Georgia Asian Times January 15-31, 2018
Goodbye yellow brick tours; Elton John announces farewell world concerts New York, Jan 25 , 2018— Elton John yesterday announced a three-year farewell world tour, saying he would quit traveling afterward to focus on life with his family. The 70-year-old singer, one of the best-selling recording artists in the world over a 50-year career, told a news conference in New York that his priorities have changed after becoming a parent to two children with his husband David Furnish. “I love them so much. I don’t want to miss them and I don’t want them to miss me,” he said. “I’ve had a good run.” He said his last tour, called “Farewell Yellow Brick Road,” would start in September 2018 in the United States and would last through 2021, taking him all around the world. “It will be a wonderful way to thank people,” he said.
“It’s a way of going out with a bang. I’m not the kind of guy to go out with a whimper.” John made the announcement after a live performance of his hits Tiny Dancer and I’m Still Standing. With a penchant for flamboyant stage costumes and an ear for piano rockers and ballads, John has dominated the pop industry for decades with hits like Your Song and Candle in the Wind. Yesterday, he denied British media reports that he was quitting touring because of ill health. But he said he had been on the road since he was 17, adding; “I can’t physically do the traveling anymore. I want to be home with my children more.” John and Furnish married in 2014 and the couple are raising two sons,
Zachary, 7, and Elijah, 5, who were born through a surrogate mother. “I never thought that I could love anything as much as I love my sons... I never thought I could be a father, I thought I’m too selfish, too set in my ways,” he said. John is due to perform at the Grammy Awards in New York on Sunday. On January 30, musicians including Miley Cyrus, John Legend, Chris Martin and Sam Smith will pay tribute to his music and career at a previously announced concert in New York. John, who has Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards for his work in film and theater including The Lion King and Billy Elliott, said he planned to remain creative but said that after the tour he would likely take 2 or 3 years off from writing music. Once a hard-partying rock star with
a voracious appetite for cocaine and alcohol, John has achieved the kind of long-lasting fame enjoyed by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He also was one of the first celebrities to become involved in the fight against AIDS. His AIDS Foundation, established in 1992, has raised millions of dollars for prevention and services. — Reuters
January 15-31, 2018 Georgia Asian Times
Study: Parents initiating teens to drinking a bad Sydney, January 26, 2018 -- Parents who give their teens alcohol, even to teach them how to drink responsibly, are more likely to do harm than good, according to a six-year study in Australia, published Thursday. Parents who give their teens alcohol, even to teach them how to drink responsibly, are more likely to do harm than good, according to a six-year study in Australia, published Thursday. “Parental provision of alcohol is associated with risk, not with protection,” said lead author Richard Mattick, a professor at the University of New South Wales. “Parents should avoid supplying alcohol to their teenagers if they wish to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms,” he said in a statement. Mattick and colleagues monitored nearly 2,000 teens aged 12 to 18 in three Australian cities, along with their
parents, over a six year period, with participants completing detailed questionnaires every year. At the start — when the teenagers were 13 years old on average — only 15 percent accessed alcohol from their parents. By the end, when they were nearly 18, some 57 percent did so. The proportion of kids who said they had zero access — from parents or other sources — dropped over the same six-year period from four-fifths to one-fifth. The researchers also tracked the incidence of alcohol-related problems, including binge drinking and symptoms of alcohol abuse. At the end of the study, 25 percent of the teens given alcohol by their parents admitted to binge drinking, compared to 62 percent for those who got booze only from outside the home, such as friends or illegal purchase.
The rate of self-reported binge-drinking climbed to 81 percent for teens who had procured alcohol from parents as well as other sources. At the same time, however, researchers noted that teenagers supplied with alcohol only by their parents were twice as likely to access it from additional sources in the following year. Predictably, the study shows that children who had no access to wine, beer and spirits experienced the fewest alcohol-related problems. The findings were reported in the medical journal The Lancet Public Health. The authors acknowledged that the results may not apply to other countries, especially those with lower levels of alcohol consumption, or where binge drinking is infrequent.
France and other southern European countries, for example, are famously lax in restricting access to alcohol for teens, but were all deemed “least risky” in a 2010 World Health Organization (WHO) comparative assessment of alcohol-related health problems. Nor does the study distinguish between parents who encourage or tolerate heavy drinking, and those who — in word and deed — preach moderation. “The findings only tell us whether alcohol was supplied by parents,” noted James Nicholls, director of research and policy development at Alcohol Research UK. “It can’t say whether the way in which parents supply or talk about alcohol has an effect on later outcomes.”
Georgia Asian Times Janaury 15-31, 2018
Federer hails Chung as future top 10 player Melbourne, Jan 26, 2018 ― Roger Federer hailed Chung Hyeon as a future top 10 player today after the South Korean’s Australian Open came to a painful end at the hands of the Swiss maestro.
Federer, who is into his 30th Grand Slam final as he chases a 20th major title.
televisions watching him on Friday, with fan Park Meing-Cheon brought to tears in Seoul.
“We will see much more of him. Top 10 for sure.”
The defending champion was leading 6-1, 5-2 and in full control when Chung retired with foot blisters, bringing the curtain down on a breakout tournament in which he announced himself as a future star in the making.
He added that he did not want to put too much pressure and expectation on Chung as “I don’t think it’s fair”.
“Unfortunately, with the blister wounds on his toes, I couldn’t help crying earlier on,” she said.
The 21-year-old sent 12-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic packing in the quarter-finals, although the Serb was carrying an injury and not at his best. But he also accounted for fourth seed Alexander Zverev in his best Grand Slam showing so far. In 20 years at the top, Federer has seen plenty of players come and go and only had praise for the youngster. “I think he is already a great player, but we are talking next level excellence and I think he will achieve that,” said
But he said: “I think he’s going to have a lot of success. At what stage, how much, we will see.” Chung’s unexpected run to be the first South Korean in a Grand Slam semi-final has drawn new fans to the sport in his homeland where tennis lags far behind golf and baseball in the popularity stakes. It also sparked top television ratings and a spike in sales of tennis gear, with Chung set to return home far more famous, and richer, than when he left.
Red raw Many Koreans were glued to their
Yoon Ji-Su, from Anyang City, forecast great things from him moving forward. “Although the injury is a pity, I hope he recovers well, and I believe there will be great results in the next French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open,” he said. Nicknamed “The Professor” due to his trademark thick white-rimmed glasses, Chung said he retired because his blisters were “red raw”. Despite the anti-climax, he said it was great experience and he was “really honoured” to be on the same court as Federer. “I enjoyed the two weeks, on court and off court. I’m just really happy,” he said.
“For sure, I played really good in the last two weeks. I made first round of 16, quarters and play Sascha (Zverev), Novak, Roger. I had a really good experience. “I think I can play better and better in the future.” One of his key takeaways was the confidence it had given him. “A lot of confidence. I played a lot of good players in the last two weeks. I can play, like, more comfortable on the court with the great players like Roger.”
January 15-31, 2018 Georgia Asian Times
Mourinho signs contract extension at Manchester United London, Jan 26, 2018 — Jose Mourinho has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Manchester United until at least 2020, the club said yesterday, ending rumours he is unhappy at Old Trafford. Mourinho became the first United manager in history to win a major trophy in his first season when he secured the League Cup last year, and he also led the club to victory in the Europa League, the only competition they had never won. United are a distant second in the Premier League to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City this season but are still in the FA Cup and the Champions League. “I am really honoured and proud to be Manchester United manager,” Mourinho, 54, said in a club statement. “I would like to say a big thank you to the owners and to (executive vice-chairman) Mr (Ed) Woodward for the recognition of my hard work and dedication. I am delighted they feel and trust that I am the right manager for this great club for the foreseeable future. “We have set very high standards — winning three trophies in one season (including the Community Shield) — but those are the standards I expect my teams to aim for. We are creating the conditions for a brilliant and successful future for Manchester United.”
Mourinho, who was appointed in May 2016 on a three-year deal, replaced Louis van Gaal with a brief to return the club to the pinnacle of the English game. The 20-time league champions have not won the Premier League title since Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge in 2012-13.
Workrate Woodward said the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss, whose new deal includes an option for a further year, had already achieved a great deal in his time at Old Trafford. “His workrate and professionalism are exceptional and he has embraced the club’s desire to promote top quality young players to the first team,” said Woodward. “He has brought an energy and a sense of purpose to everything that he does and I am sure that will continue to bring results for the fans and the club.” Earlier this month Mourinho dismissed reports he may walk out on United this coming close season as “garbage”. Mourinho had looked an unhappy figure as United’s title bid faltered and they suffered a shock League Cup exit at Championship side Bristol City. There had been suggestions that
First wave of Japan 2019 tickets to go on sale London, Jan 27, 2018 — Fans from around the world will be able to purchase tickets for the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup from today. General ballot applications for Team Packs and Stadium Packs—allowing fans to follow their favourite team through the group stage or base themselves in a particular host city—will go on sale. Applications will be accepted until the middle of February. Tickets for the tournament had previously only been available to a select number of people who are members of the “Japan rugby family” or Japanese club team supporters. A World Rugby spokesman said there had been strong demand for tickets in Japan and he expected the
Mourinho was disappointed at the relative lack of spending power at his disposal, claims which he also denied. And Mourinho was upset at suggestions that his decision to live in a hotel, rather than finding a home in Manchester, was a sign of a lack of professionalism or commitment to the job. Earlier this week United signed Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez in a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to add to their well-stocked forward line featuring the likes of Romelu Lukaku,
same level of excitement globally in the ticket packs to be launched today. “Excitement across Japan is building,” the spokesman said. “On Friday, the organising committee launched the official mascot and we are seeing a great deal of host city engagement, which points to a tournament that will deliver an exceptional experience for travelling fans.” Japan 2019 represents the first time the Rugby World Cup will be held in Asia and also the first time it will be hosted by a country outside the traditional heartlands of the sport in western Europe and the southern hemisphere. The tournament will be held from Sept. 20 – Nov. 2, 2019. — Reuters
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard. Sanchez, who had previously been strongly linked with a move to Manchester City, is in the squad to play Yeovil Town in the FA Cup fourth round tomorrow.
Georgia Asian Times January 15-31, 2018
Study confirms late clot extraction can save brain cells of stroke victims Washington DC, Jan 25, 2018 -- Early treatment is always best for strokes, but a new study adds to the evidence that removing a major brain clot up to 16 hours after the patient was last known to be healthy can still dramatically reduce death and disability. Patients in the trial had a small area of dead brain tissue and a larger area weakened by lack of blood due to a clot in one of the large arteries feeding the brain. Researchers called an early halt to the study because the impact of extracting the clot was so dramatic: 45% of patients who underwent the procedure were functionally independent versus 17% of those who received conventional medical therapy. In addition, the number of stroke patients normally destined for a nursing home was almost cut in half. “That’s unprecedented,” chief author Dr Gregory Albers, director of the Stanford Stroke Center in Palo Alto, California, told Reuters Health by phone. The results were released at the American Heart Association International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles and online by The New England Journal of Medicine. They follow an earlier study, released in November, showing comparable benefits when clot removal was performed within six to 24 hours after stroke symptoms began. The new findings are expected to
change the Heart Association’s guidelines, which now recommend that treatment be given within six hours of symptom onset. “It’s true that maybe in 50% of the population, a stroke grows very quickly. But there’s a substantial population where the stroke doesn’t grow for many hours” after symptoms appear, said Dr Albers. In the latter group, the area affected by the stroke “is very small for 12, 14, 16 hours before it takes off,” he said. “It gives us a tremendous opportunity for people who wake up with their stroke, or who have a stroke far away from a major medical institution, to still give them a shot at a functional outcome.” “There’s no hint that our benefit was waning at all toward the end of the window,” said Dr Albers. “It would be surprising if the guidelines do not go out to 24 hours.” The Albers study, known as DEFUSE 3, didn’t just find that delayed clot removal, known as thrombectomy, improved the odds of functional independence. The benefits were also reflected in the 90-day mortality rates of 14% among the 92 patients in the clot-extraction group compared to 26% in the 90-member control group. Rates of serious side effects did not differ significantly between the two groups – 43% with thrombectomy and 53% with standard care. Symptomatic intra-brain bleeding rates were also similar, at 7% with thrombectomy and 4% without it.
“The results were better than we’d hoped for,” said Dr Albers. The earlier study, known as DAWN, found that clot extraction can help patients if it’s done six to 24 hours after symptoms develop. At 90 days, 49% of the 107 patients who received a thrombectomy along with standard care were functionally independent versus 13% of the 99 who received standard care alone. Although that study did not see a reduction in mortality, “for every 2.8 patients who underwent thrombectomy, one additional patient had functional independence at 90 days,” the researchers concluded, and the benefits were seen regardless of age, stroke severity, time to treatment, and whether the stroke happened when the person was awake or asleep. Dr Albers said DEFUSE 3, conducted at 38 US medical centres, included a broader category of patients – 40% of the patients in the new trial would not have met the stricter criteria in the DAWN trial.
So DEFUSE 3 “extends the number of patients who can be treated” with clot extraction, he said. None of this should detract from the urgency of quickly getting treatment for a stroke victim, Dr Albers said. The first line of therapy – clot-dissolving drugs – needs to be given within four and a half hours of the beginning of symptoms. “It’s important to get both treatments,” he said. “Clot-busting drugs are much better for smaller clots. Thrombectomy is for the bigger ones.”
Janaury 15-31, 2018 Georgia Asian Times
Indian man killed after being sucked into MRI machine Mumbai, Jan 29, 2018—An Indian man died after being sucked into an MRI machine while visiting a relative at a hospital in Mumbai, police said today. Rajesh Maru, 32, was yanked towards the machine by its magnetic force after he entered the room carrying an oxygen cylinder, the city’s police said in a statement. “We have arrested a doctor and another junior staff member under section 304 of the Indian penal code for causing death due to negligence,” Mumbai police spokesman Deepak Deoraj.
The incident occurred on Saturday night at the Indian financial capital’s Nair Hospital. Police said preliminary reports suggested that the man had died from inhaling liquid oxygen that leaked from the cylinder. It is thought the cylinder was damaged after hitting the machine. Ramesh Bharmal, the dean of the hospital, told AFP that an investigation had been launched to determine the exact cause of death, adding CCTV footage of the incident had been handed over to police.
The victim’s uncle said Maru had been asked to carry the cylinder by the junior staff member who assured him the machine was switched off.
erful magnetic field to produce images of the body’s organs. Metallic objects are pulled towards it and must not be carried into the room.
“The ward boy who was supposed to prevent such incidents told my family members to go inside when the machine was turned on. We are shocked and devastated,” said Jitendra Maru.
In 2014 two hospital workers sustained injuries when they were pinned between an MRI machine and a metal oxygen tank for four hours at a hospital in New Delhi.
The state government of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, announced compensation of 500,000 rupees for the victim’s family.
In 2001, a six-year-old boy undergoing an MRI scan in New York was killed when a metal oxygen tank flew towards the machine and crushed his skull.
MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, machines use a pow-
Georgia Asian Times Janaury 15-31, 2018
Hong Kong lawyers condemn ‘unlawful’ disqualification of candidate Hong Kong, Jan 29, 2018 — A group of Hong Kong lawyers today condemned a ban on a democracy activist by the territory’s government to prevent her from contesting a by-election, describing it as the suppression of free expression and a curb on voting. The weekend ban on Agnes Chow, a close ally of high-profile activist Joshua Wong, fuels wider fears of tightening political “red lines” by Beijing that could deny Hong Kong’s restive young people any political outlet beyond street protest. The 21-year-old Chow becomes the 13th politician barred from standing for office or disqualified from the legislature in recent years. The group of 30 mostly liberal lawyers, including the current and former heads of the Bar Association, said they did not mean to endorse Chow’s views, but wanted, instead, to protect candidates’ freedoms.
“The decision has used political opinion or affiliation as a ground to deprive her of the right to stand for election – which is unreasonable, unlawful and unconstitutional,” it said in a statement. Chief Executive Carrie Lam took office last year, vowing to heal Hong Kong’s political wounds, but her administration must also defend what Chinese President Xi Jinping has defined as “red lines” for the city: brooking no challenge to national sovereignty, security or the power of the central government. The Asian financial hub has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since its return from British rule in 1997, allowing autonomy and freedom not enjoyed in mainland China, such as an independent judiciary and limited democracy. Those freedoms, and Hong Kong’s
relationship with Beijing, are enshrined in the territory’s mini-constitution known as the Basic Law that guarantees its capitalist way of life for 50 years. The ban decision sparked anger among opposition leaders, who led a crowd of at least 2,000 people in protest against “political censorship” outside government headquarters on Sunday. “You are shutting the gates to us running for office,” said a visibly upset Wong, just a few days after he was released from prison on bail pending appeal. “We will open other gates to find a path for Hong Kong’s democratic movement.” Cases before Chow’s involved radical candidates actively demanding independence or legislators who delivered profanity-laden oaths of office, but her disqualification effectively thwarts her Demosisto party, seen as an emerging
outlet for the city’s young people. In calling for “self-determination”, Demosisto leaders say they are not advocating independence but instead demanding a referendum on Hong Kong’s future after 2047, which would include independence among other options. — Reuters
January 15-31, 2018 Georgia Asian Times
Dance bars, mobile phones and Chelsea jerseys: Changing face of Bhutan THIMPHU, Jan 18 — For decades Bhutan had no television, no traffic lights and a culture that had barely changed in centuries. Today, bars dot the capital, Thimphu, set in mist-covered mountains, teenagers crowd internet cafes to play violent video games, and men smoke and gamble in snooker halls. There are still no traffic lights after residents protested against the installation of one, but otherwise the once-isolated Buddhist country tucked between India and China is changing, and bringing the modern world’s problems in its wake. Inside a gaudily lit dance club, guests watch a 38-year-old woman swaying to the songs they choose, usually traditional folk music but sometimes a Bollywood number or two. Lhaden, a divorced mother-of-two, dances until midnight, and like thousands of her compatriots, is struggling to make ends meet.
“I’m not happy or sad about things, I have no other choice,” said Lhaden, who only has one name. Bhutan measures its national wealth by a Gross National Happiness index aiming to build a contented, fulfilled society. But Lhaden, who earns US$125 a month, is counting the pennies. “I live in such a small flat so I can afford food and clothes.” Signs of change are everywhere, pulling the country of snow-capped, jagged mountains, forests, rivers and clean air into the modern world. Smoke billows from construction sites across the country and a giant bronze-and-gold Buddha statue that commands the entry to the Thimphu valley now shares space with modern telecom towers. On the streets and even in the countryside, jeans have become as
commonplace as the traditional Bhutanese knee-length gho robes for men and the ankle-length kira dresses that women wear. Bhutan’s US$2.2 billion economy remains predominantly agricultural, but mobile phones and TV sets are everywhere, even in the Phobjikha valley, a tourist haven about seven hours’ drive from Thimphu and in winter, home to Bhutan’s famed black-necked cranes. “Children are spending more time on their mobile phones and not studying,” said Ap Daw, 43, a farmer who
also bemoans the rising mounds of trash by the road. Next to his house, a squad of Buddhist monks has discarded their crimson robes to play football, in Manchester United and Chelsea jerseys. Daw’s 13-year-old son, Sonam Tshering, a football fan himself, has big dreams too. “I would love to become a science teacher and watch Cristiano Ronaldo play for Real Madrid,” said Sonam as he helped feed the family cattle. — Reuters
Georgia Asian Times cover the multicultural Asian American community in metro Atlanta and Georgia.