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Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia

www.gasiantimes.com July 1-15, 2013 Vol 10 No 13

U.S. Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform


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July 1-15, 2013 Georgia Asian Times


Georgia Asian Times July 1-15, 2013

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GAT Calendar of Events (For latest & updated events, visit www.gasiantimes.com)

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

Tel: 678-971-9388 Advertising: gat@gasiantimes.com Editorial: info@gasiantimes.com URL: www.gasiantimes.com Mailing Address: P.O. Box 922348 Norcross, GA 30010-2348

Copyright Georgia Asian Times 2004-2013

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

GAT 25 Most Influential Asian Americans in Georgia - Awards Dinner

Peachtree City Dragon Boat Festival Date: Sept 28, 2013 Time: 8:00 am Venue: Peachtree City For more info: ptcdragonboats@ gmail.com

18th Atlanta Dragon Boat Festival

9th Atlanta Asian Film Festival (AAFF) Date: Oct 12-25, 2013 Venues: Cinefest-GSU, GPC Dunwoody, University of West Georgia

Date: Thursday, July 18, 2013 Time: 6:30 pm Venue: Happy Valley Restaurant For sponsorship and reservation: contact GAT 678-971-9388

Date: Saturday Sept 14, 2013 Time: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm Venue: Clarks Bridge, Lake Lanier Olympic Rowing Facility For more info: www.dragonboatatlanta.com

JapanFest 2013 Date: Sept 21-22, 2013 Time: 10:00 am Venue: Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway

9th AAFF Premiere Night Gala Date: Friday Oct 11, 2013 Venue: Plaza Theatre, Ponce De Leon Avenue, Atlanta For more info: www.atlaff.org

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678-621-2163


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July 1-15, 2013 Georgia Asian Times

METRO ASIAN NEWS

Indian Consulate in Atlanta Appoints New Visa Service Provider Asian immigrants better off than whites in U.S., according to Brown University study WASHINGTON, June 26, 2013 – Asian immigrants tend to live in highly segregated enclaves in the United States and their income level is often higher than that of white Americans, said a US study out Wednesday. The nearly 18 million Asian immigrants to the United States are the country’s fastest growing minority group, more than doubling since 1990, said the research by Brown University. Data from the US Census provided a snapshot of the Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese living in the United States and how trends have changed. The report, “Separate but Equal: Asian Nationalities in the US,” found that Indians and Japanese were the most economically advantaged nationalities, while Vietnamese had the lowest incomes and the least education among Asian groups. Still, Vietnamese tended to live in neighborhoods that were about on par with average whites, said the report. Every other Asian nationality lived on

average in neighborhoods with higher incomes and more college-educated residents than non-Hispanic whites did, it said. “We are so aware of the disadvantaged situation of blacks and Hispanics that we tend to assume that segregation results in unequal neighborhoods for minorities,” said John Logan, a sociology professor at Brown University.

Atlanta, June 27, 2013 — The Consulate General of India in Atlanta plans to start visa services through a new service provider – BLS International Services USA on July 18, 2013. Visa applicants need to submit their application through the new service provider. BLS International Services USA 5775 Glenridge Drive, Building B Suite 380 Atlanta GA 30328 Website: http://www.blsindia-usa.com

Indian Origin (PIO) / Renunciation Certificate Support Services effectively on July 1, 2013. These services would also be provided though BLS International Services. The Consulate General of India currently provides consular services covering eight southern states including Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands.

The Consulate General of India in Atlanta also intend to start Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) / Person of

“This isn’t the case for any major Asian nationality. And that means there is very little incentive for Asians to assimilate into white neighborhoods.” Chinese were the single largest national group, with more than four million people or a quarter of the Asian total, followed by Filipinos (3.4 million) and Indians (3.2 million).

household income among Asians, at $89,600 in 2010 compared to nonHispanic whites at $54,000. Filipinos were second highest, followed by Chinese and Japanese.

“Indians and Japanese are the more advantaged nationalities, while Vietnamese have the highest unemployment, lowest income, and least education among these groups,” said the report.

“Asians live separately but in some respects they live in better than equal neighborhoods compared to whites,” said the report.

Indians had the highest median

“Although there are variations among the Asian national origin groups (with Vietnamese living generally in the least

affluent neighborhoods, and Japanese, Koreans and Indians in the more affluent areas) the findings are similar for all groups.” Los Angeles and New York have the highest number of Asian immigrants, with nearly 1.5 million in each metro area.


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FEATURE Senate passes comprehensive immigration reform

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2013 - In a vote hailed by US President Barack Obama, the Senate on Thursday passed comprehensive immigration reform that would put 11 million undocumented people on a path to earning citizenship. Chants of “Yes we did!” erupted from the public galleries after senators voted 68-32 to approve the landmark legislation, which pours unprecedented resources into border security, revamps legal immigration and requires a 13-year wait before those without papers can apply to become US citizens. Fourteen Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic side in what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deemed a historic vote. As Vice President Joe Biden presided over the chamber, Reid took the rare move of calling on members to cast votes from their Senate desks. “We’ve taken giant steps forward towards solving our immigration problem today,” an elated Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the four Democrats who crafted the bill with four Republicans in the so-called “Gang of 8,” told reporters. The measure now faces a rocky road in the Republican-led House of Representatives, but Schumer and Republican Gang of 8 Senator John McCain made a direct appeal

to their colleagues on the other side of the US Capitol: work with us to achieve the most important immigration reform in a quarter century. “To our friends in the House, we ask for your consideration, and we stand ready to sit down and negotiate with you,” McCain said. “We may have different views on different aspects of this issue but we should all of us here have the same goal, and that is to take 11 million people out of the shadows, secure our borders, and make sure this is a nation of opportunity and freedom.” Obama welcomed the Senate vote and urged the House to follow suit. “Today, with a strong bipartisan vote, the United States Senate delivered for the American people, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all,” Obama said. But the president warned the bill’s supporters to “keep a watchful eye” on efforts to scupper reform, saying “now is the time when opponents will try their hardest to pull this bipartisan effort apart.” The bill’s authors spent months crafting the 1,000-plus-page document, which pours $46 billion into border security and other efforts, including electronic employment verification and a modernized en-

try-exit system. It requires immigrants to pass background checks, pay fees, fines and back taxes, learn English, gain employment, and as Reid said, “stay out of trouble.” The bill was debated for three weeks on the Senate floor and dozens of amendments were added as Republicans squared off against one another over the merits of the legislation. Obama hopes to sign immigration reform into law this year, but several House Republicans have said the bill will be dead in the water without significant changes, particularly on border security. “The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes,” Republican House Speaker John Boehner told reporters. “We’re going to do our own bill, through regular order, and it’ll be legislation that reflects the will of our majority and the will of the American people.” Opponents have said the bill is too costly, or argue that loopholes will prevent authorities from gaining full operational control of the border before the citizenship process begins. “The one thing people are going to be very unhappy with is if they

vote for this bill, we document all of these undocumented workers, but then we get 10 million more come into the country,” said Senator Rand Paul. Shortly before the vote, Senator Marco Rubio, perhaps the legislation’s most forceful advocate and a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made the closing arguments. Rubio cited his own parents’ flight from Cuba to Florida as reflective of a journey millions of immigrants have taken to a new life in a country whose work ethic, rule of law and opportunity quickly changes them for the better. “Because well before they became citizens, in their hearts they had already become Americans,” Rubio said. Mexico welcomed passage of the bill, with the foreign ministry saying in a statement that it had the potential to improve the lives of millions of Mexicans living in the United States. Earlier this week however Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade criticized provisions that would tighten security along the US-Mexico border. Building more “walls” would not solve the immigration issue, he argued.


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July 1-15, 2013 Georgia Asian Times

TRAVEL Fine wines flourishing in Muslim Morocco BENSLIMANE, July 1, 2013 (AFP) - Vines stretch to the horizon under the hot summer sun in a vineyard near Casablanca, one of the oldest in Morocco, where despite the pressures from a conservative Muslim society, wine production -- and consumption -- is flourishing. “In Morocco we are undeniably in a land of vines,” says wine specialist Stephane Mariot. “Here there is a microclimate which favours the production of ‘warm wines’, even though we aren’t far from the ocean,” adds the manager of Oulad Thaleb, a 2,000-hectare vineyard in Benslimane, 30 kilometres (18 miles) northeast of Casablanca, which he has run for five years.

The social climate in the North African county is less propitious, however, with the election of the Islamist Party of Justice and Development in 2011, and the fact that Moroccan law prohibits the sale of alcohol to Muslims, who make up 98 percent of the population. In practice though alcohol is tolerated and well-stocked supermarkets do a brisk trade in the main cities where there is a growing appetite for decent wine. According to some estimates, 85 percent of domestic production is drunk locally, while around half of total output is considered good quality. “Morocco today produces some good wine, mostly for the domestic market, but a part of it for export, particularly to France,” says Mariot. Annual output currently stands at about 400,000 hectolitres, or more than 40 million bottles of wine, industry sources say, making the former French protectorate the second biggest producer in the Arab world. By comparison, neighbouring Algeria, whose vineyards were cultivated for a much longer period during French colonial rule, produces 500,000 hectolitres on average, and Lebanon, with its ancient viticulture dating to the pre-Roman era, fills about six million bottles annually. Some of Morocco’s wine regions -- such as Boulaouane, Benslimane, Berkane and Guerrouane -- are gaining notoriety. Already it has one Appella-

tion d’Origine Controlee -- controlled designation of origin, or officially recognised region -- named “Les Coteaux de l’Atlas”, and 14 areas with guaranteed designation of origin status, most of them concentrated around Meknes, as well as Casablanca and Essaouira. And in March last year, an association of Moroccan sommeliers was set up in Marrakesh bringing together 20 wine experts. French legacy In the central Meknes region, nestled between the Rif Mountains and the Middle Atlas, there is evidence that wine production dates back some 2,500 years. But the industry was transformed during the time of the protectorate (1912-1956), when the kingdom served as a haven for migrating French winemakers after the phylloxera pest decimated Europe’s vineyards around the turn of the 20th century. As in Algeria and Tunisia, the French planted vineyards extensively, with Morocco’s annual production exceeding three million hectolitres in the 1950s. The main grape varieties used to produce the country’s red wines are those commonly found around the Mediterranean, such as Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Merlot. Mariot, the manager of Oulad Thaleb, boasts that the domain, which he says has the oldest wine cellar in use in the kingdom, built by a Belgian firm in 1923, produces one of Morocco’s “most popular wines”.

Standing by a barrel, he casts a proud eye on the vintage, describing it as a “warm and virile wine”. Abderrahim Zahid, a businessman and self-styled “lover of fine Moroccan wines” who sells them abroad, says the country now produces “a mature wine which we can be proud of”. Morocco’s wine industry now employs up to 20,000 people, according to unofficial figures, and generated about 130 million euros ($170 million) in 2011. But the remarkable progress made by the sector in recent years has taken place within a sensitive social environment. While alcohol production is permitted by state law, and supermarkets and bars enforce no special restrictions on Muslim customers, officially the sale and gift of alcoholic drinks to Muslims is illegal. They are unavailable during Islamic festivals, including throughout the holy month of Ramadan. Separately, the Islamist-led government decided last year to raise taxes on alcoholic drinks from 450 dirhams (40 euros, $53) per hectolitre to more than 500 dirhams. So far this has not noticeably deterred consumption among Morocco’s population of 35 million, although economic realities certainly influence local drinking habits. The wine favored by Moroccans is a cheap red called Moghrabi, which comes in plastic bottles and costs 30 dirhams (less than three euros) a litre.


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BUSINESS

Taiwan’s TSMC gets orders from Apple TAIPEI, June 30, 2013 (AFP) - Apple has struck a deal with the world’s biggest contract microchip maker in what analysts see as an attempt to reduce its reliance on arch-rival Samsung, a report said. The US tech giant forged the agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) earlier this month, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified TSMC executives. It said manufacturing of the chips, to be used in Apple mobile devices, would start early next year. The Journal said the move is the latest in a series of efforts by Apple to lessen its reliance on parts produced by South Korea’s Samsung. But despite the deal with TSMC, Samsung will remain Apple’s main supplier of high-resolution screens, memory chips and processors used in mobile devices through next year, the Journal said. TSMC spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun declined to comment when approached “In line with the company’s established policy, we will not comment on individual clients,” she said. Analysts see the deal as part of Apple’s bid to diversify its supply chains and distance itself from Samsung, its main competitor in the mobile phone market. “It is inevitable that Apple must move to reduce its reliance on Samsung while their legal lawsuits over patents flare,” an analyst at a foreign firm in Taipei, declining to be named. Samsung won a round in its longrunning patents battle with Apple in early June when a US trade panel banned the import and sale of some older models of the iPhone and iPad.

In a separate patent fight in US federal court, Samsung was ordered last August to pay more than $1 billion for patent infringement. A judge later slashed the award to $598.9 million. By diversifying its supply chains, Apple could also cut its costs, said Kuo Ming-chi, analyst at the Taipei-based KGI Securities Investment Advisory Co. “This is crucial as Apple’s profit margin fell to around 37 percent in the first quarter, down from a peak of around 45 percent.” Kuo said the diversification policy was also reflected in Apple’s movement of some of its assembly orders away from Taiwanese manufacturing conglomerate Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn. Hon Hai employs about one million workers in China, roughly half of them based in its main facility in Shenzhen bordering Hong Kong. Apple and TSMC started discussing working together to build chips as early as 2010, according to the Journal report. Apple asked either to invest in TSMC, or to have TSMC set aside factory space dedicated to Apple chips, it said. But both requests were rejected as the Taiwanese company wanted to maintain its independence and manufacturing flexibility, the Journal said.

Japan manufacturer sentiment improves sharply: BoJ TOKYO, July 1, 2013 (AFP) - Sentiment among big Japanese manufacturers jumped in the quarter to June, a Bank of Japan survey showed Monday, with the index hitting its highest level in nearly two years. The upbeat results come after Japanese factories put in an unexpectedly strong performance in May, supplying fresh evidence that the world’s number three economy is picking up as Tokyo embarks on a huge drive to boost growth. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party faces parliamentary elections this month that are widely

expected to see a resounding victory for him, solidifying his power base and giving him the legislative muscle to continue an economy-boosting plan dubbed “Abenomics”. The BoJ’s quarterly Tankan survey on Monday showed that large manufacturers’ sentiment rose to “plus four” from “minus eight” in the previous quarter, representing the percentage of firms saying business conditions are good minus those saying they are bad. It is the first time the widely watched poll, which is used by the central bank to formulate policy, has hit positive territory since September 2011.

South Korea raises 2013 growth outlook to 2.7 percent SEOUL, June 27, 2013 (AFP) - South Korea on Thursday raised its 2013 economic growth outlook to 2.7 percent from 2.3 percent, citing payoffs from back-to-back stimulus measures. The last forecast predicting a 2.3 percent GDP growth was made in March. “We expect to see our economic growth rate to rise by 0.4 percentage point from the previous forecast given the policy impact from the extra budget, property-boosting measures and the interest rate cut,” Choi Sang-Mok, the head of the finance ministry’s economic policy bureau, told journalists.

The government also predicted that the fourth largest economy in Asia would expand four percent next year. Since President Park Geun-Hye took office in February, the government has engaged in various stimulus efforts including a 17.3 trillion won ($14.99 billion) supplementary budget alongside a set of policies aimed at boosting the slumping property market and encouraging corporate investment. Some analysts, however, have warned that the government has set its bar too high, pointing out the latest volatility over a feared winding down of the US stimulus program.


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BUSINESS Myanmar awards telecom licenses to Telenor and Ooredoo YANGON, June 27, 2013 (AFP) - Myanmar on Thursday awarded telecom licenses to Norway’s Telenor and Qatari firm Ooredoo, the government committee in charge of the bids said, opening up one of the world’s last virtually untapped mobile phone markets.

Singapore’s Temasek to boost US, European portfolios SINGAPORE, June 28, 2013 (AFP) - Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings is looking to increase its investments in US and European firms even though both regions remain mired in economic uncertainty, a report said. Temasek is “more bullish than most people” on both regions as it seeks to capitalize on US companies’ edge in sectors like energy, healthcare and technology and European firms’ global reach, a top executive told the Wall Street Journal. “The luxury for us is that we are a long-term investor,” Boon Sim, Temasek’s president for the Americas, was quoted as saying in an interview published Thursday. This “gives us the ability to make investments in the country we like at the time we like,” added Sim, who is also the head of Temasek’s markets group. In March, Temasek -- which has a global investment portfolio of $156.5 billion -- spent $1.35 billion to acquire a five percent stake in the Spain-based oil and gas giant Repsol. In the same month, Dow Jones Newswires reported that the company acquired a five percent stake in German chemicals company Evonik Industries AG for over $780 million. Sim, who joined Temasek from Credit Suisse last year, told the Wall

Street Journal that the firm is planning to open small offices in New York and London. Temasek, one of Singapore’s two sovereign wealth funds, is a major shareholder in the city-state’s biggest firms, including global players like Singapore Airlines, Singapore Telecommunications, and port operator PSA International. According to its latest annual report, covering the year ended March 31, 2012, the fund’s holdings in Asia and Singapore accounted for 72 percent of its total investments, a five percent dip from the previous year. Investments in North America and Europe rose to 11 percent from eight percent in the same period. Temasek is one of Singapore’s two state investment vehicles along with the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC). GIC does not publish the size of its portfolio but the US-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute estimates that it manages $247.5 billion.

Mobile coverage in the former junta-ruled nation is extremely limited, with less than 10 percent of the population enjoying access to a telephone, offering a potentially lucrative pool of some 60 million customers to the bid winners. After three months of deliberation the committee “is pleased to announce... the two successful applicants”, from the 11 global consortiums on a final shortlist, according to the statement. Myanmar launched the tender, which is conditional on a telecommunications law yet to pass parliament, in the hope of quickly increasing mobile coverage across the country to reach around 80 percent of the population by 2016. Few can currently afford mobile phones and SIM card fees, which in the past cost about $200, although the government is now trying to make prices more affordable. The bid process has also been closely watched as a bell-wether of economic reforms aimed at driving rapid foreign investment in the nation, which has witnessed sweeping changes since a quasi-civilian government replaced the military regime 2011. Telenor said it will launch voice and data service next year and plans to roll out coverage nationwide within five years -- a key condition laid down in the tender by Myanmar. “We are looking forward to working with the government and people of

Myanmar in developing the country’s telecommunication industry, a sector that will play a key role in Myanmar’s socioeconomic development,” said Sigve Brekke, head of Telenor Asia. The winners saw off fierce competition from major telecoms players including Singtel, Bharti Airtel and a bid by the Digicel group involving one of Myanmar’s richest men, Serge Pun, and billionaire financier George Soros, who were all eyeing the vast potential of Myanmar’s 60 million population. France’s Telecom-Orange and Marubeni Corporation of Japan, will be back-up options if either of the two successful firms fails to meet the selection criteria, the committee said in its statement. Valid for 15 years, the licenses are the first to be awarded by the formerly junta-ruled nation, and will see the two foreign firms enter a market once monopolized by a pair of state companies. Neither firm immediately released figures on the value of the bid or how much money they will plough into establishing a mobile network across the impoverished and remote country. But one bidder previously had estimated the required spending to develop a Myanmar network at about $2 billion, while Digicel pledged to spend more than $6 billion in the country. Concerns the bid announcement would be put back swirled on Wednesday after a move by lower house lawmakers to postpone the process. But Set Aung, deputy minister of National Planning and Economic Development and chairman of the committee overseeing the telecoms tender said the tender would not be subject to politics.


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EDUCATION Implementation could lead to some confusion because strict limits apply only when websites are “directed” at children. Some critics claim this could stifle some websites by forcing them to demand age verification. The Application Developers Alliance, which represents some 20,000 app makers, had asked for a delay in the rules, saying the changes “are so significant and the penalties so severe that, absent delay, many developers and publishers will simply stop publishing, placing their entire business at risk.”

US online child privacy rules set to get stricter WASHINGTON, June 29, 2013 (AFP) - Toughened US regulations on online privacy for children take effect Monday, offering new protections amid the growing use of mobile apps and social networks by youngsters. The new Federal Trade Commission rules are being hailed by some as a milestone, but critics claim they could stifle the growth of child-friendly websites and services. The rules from the US watchdog, in updating the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, include stricter privacy protections for children under 13 by expanding the definition of “personal information” to include geolocation data, as well as photos, videos and audio files. They also ban “behavioral advertising” directed toward children without parental notice and consent. This would prevent children from getting “re-targeting” ads, which are based on browsing history. “This is an important victory for privacy rights on the Internet,” said Jeffrey Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy, which spent four years lobbying for the new rules. “There is no more secret tracking or behavioral tracking,” he said. “Online services can’t secretly follow a child around the Web and target the child with advertising” based on the youngster’s profile.

Nineteen public health, consumer and digital rights groups endorsed the new rules, telling the FTC they are “necessary to protect children and assist parents in light of the growing use of computers, mobile phones, and tablets, the increasing amount of data that is collected through these devices.” Endorsing groups include the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Consumers Union and the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The rules also apply to mobile apps and “plug-ins” similar to the Facebook “like” button used on millions of websites, but with limitations. Third-party plug-ins will be responsible only where they have “actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from users of a child-directed site,” according to the FTC. Although the new rules are aimed at protecting children on social media, the biggest social network, Facebook, is mostly unaffected because its policies don’t allow children under 13 to join. Chester said this remains a concern because of Facebook’s “sophisticated data tracking” for marketing. “We don’t think COPPA (the new rules) will be enough to protect children from the onslaught of the Facebook business model,” he said.

Daniel Castro at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation meanwhile said the new rules are “misguided” and could prevent websites and developers from developing child-friendly services. “The real problem is that we’ll see sites and apps that will either ignore the rule and ignore the age of the user, or if they are directed at children, they will significantly reduce the features. Or they will move to paid models,” Castro said. He added the rules “set a default so high on privacy and so low on functionality that it is crippling the space for children. It locks the child online space into something that is not very usable.” Some say the rules may have little impact because children are often more tech-

savvy than their parents and find ways to circumvent controls. “It’s incredibly easy for kids” to get around age verification, said Stanley Holditch, online safety expert at McAfee, which recently released a study showing that 85 percent of US children between 10 and 12 used Facebook. The study found one in four in that age group said they had cleared their browser history or used private browsing to avoid detection, and 10 percent said they had configured privacy settings to hide content from their parents. Holditch said it would be “difficult if not impossible for these (social media) companies to comply with these rules” without a draconian system with biometric identifiers or a national database. And he said even companies like Facebook don’t have enough personnel to verify the millions of underage children using the site. To stop geolocation tracking for young children, he said, “they would have to turn off geolocation for everyone,” he said. “There are very real perils out there,” Holditch said. “Kids are giving away info without thinking about it. So it is our role as adults is to teach children the perils of the world.”


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June 1-15, 2013 Georgia Asian Times

FOCUS Typewriter aficionados rewrite history, slowly LOS ANGELES, May 28, 2013 (AFP) - Ermanno Marzorati has rarely been so busy. He is currently fixing a 1930 Underwood typewriter for Tom Hanks. But there are plenty more ancient writing machines awaiting his tender care.

machines, typewriters and mechanical calculators. Occasionally Hanks tweets photos of the vintage typewriters that Marzorati restored in his own collection.

‘Writing on a computer is very distracting, you get stuck’

While the modern world taps away in an ever-increasing frenzy online, the Italian senses a new trend, from his calm Beverly Hills studio: the return of the art of slow writing.

But the obvious question is, why would someone in the 21st century want to type on a heavy and difficultto-use mechanical device, without the possibility of cutting, pasting, erasing or copying?

Marzorati has restored typewriters belonging to Ian Fleming, Tennessee Williams, Jack London, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, as well as celebrities like Julie Andrews, Greta Garbo and John Lennon.

Marzorati said the advantages of computers are over-rated. “Writing on a computer is very distracting, because you get email coming in, you type a word, you delete it, you change it, you get stuck,” he said.

He proudly shows photos of some of his best work, including an orangecolored Underwood machine dating from 1926, on which Orson Welles wrote “Citizen Kane.” It was totally destroyed when he got it. “To me the typewriter is better than the computer, not because I’m old fashioned, but because it slows you down. You have to choose the words carefully because you cannot correct,” he said. “It takes a long time to press the key.” Collector Steve Soboroff says typewriters, unlike computer keyboards, have an intimate relationship with their owners. “I just love the idea of authors, famous people, would spend hours of their lives on these typewriters, so they are very personal. And there’s only one of them, is not like there are hundreds of them. “There’s only one for each,” added the biggest customer of Marzorati, whose studio is full of old printing

Marzorati has a shelf dedicated to his most famous client, and he currently holds 12 machines belonging to the “Forrest Gump” star. In all, the talkative Italian has some 60 machines waiting to be fixed -- an enormous numbers compared to a few years ago. “I’m booked up for six months,” said the 68-year-old, who started repairing typewriters in 2003.

His view is echoed by Christopher Lockett, who regularly takes his 1950 Hermes Baby typewriter with him to write in the open air in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, next to the hipster Los Feliz district. “There are no text windows in blue popping up, you can’t play music on it,” he said. “I shut off my iPhone, I take my typewriter and sit and I don’t worry about the typos, I keep moving forward, and I go dah dah dah dah ding!” He compares the experience of using a typewriter to riding a bicycle.

“Collectors are the exception. Most of the people I fix typewriters for are people who are going to use it,” said Marzorati, who was born in Italy in 1945 and moved to Los Angeles in 1969.

“It’s an alternative to the most efficient way of doing something, it’s about enjoying the ride, and nobody gets angry about the notion of a bicycle. But people are like ‘typewriters are impractical.’

“I feel people, honestly, are getting fed up because all these iPhones, all these electronics, they like to get back to the basics,” he said.

“Well, so is a bicycle and people are still making bicycles and it’s not an issue,” he said.

Lockett, a cameraman and documentary-maker, made a film on the subject last year called “The Typewriter in the 21st Century,” which is currently showing on the independent movie circuit in Los Angeles. “I thought: if the typewriter is going away, and is in part responsible for every great novel from the 20th century, they deserve a proper send-off,” he said. When he set about making the film he was surprised to find that, not only are typewriters not disappearing, but there is a surge of demand for old machines to be repaired and brought back to life. “Suddenly typewriters were all over the internet,” he said. Artist Tim Youd is staging a performance in New York this month in which he taps out a Henry Miller novel on the same model of typewriter used by the writer. Painter Louise Marler last year held a type-in event in Venice Beach. Young inventor Jack Zylkin meanwhile has created a “hack” that allows a mechanical typewriter to be connected to an iPad via a USB port. Lockett said the wave of interest in typewriters should not be misunderstood as a desire to return to the past, and abandon modern technology. “Nobody in the film is saying it is the only way to work. They’re making a case about something everyone is throwing away,” he said.


Georgia Asian Times July 1-15, 2013

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CULTURE Cambodian jungle graveyard mystifies experts PHNOM PEL, June 30, 2013 - Over a hundred ‘burial jars’ and a dozen coffins arranged on a ledge in remote Cambodian jungle have for centuries held the bones -- and secrets -- of a mysterious people who lived alongside with the Angkor era. Why the bones were placed in jars on a cliff some 100 metres (320 feet) high in the Cardamom Mountains, or indeed whose remains they are, has long puzzled experts. For seven years Nancy Beavan, an archaeologist who specialises in carbon dating, has been looking for an answer, painstakingly piecing together clues left by the enigmatic people at 10 sites dotted across the area in southwestern Cambodia. Tests show some of the bone fragments are six centuries old, according to the New Zealander. “Why put these bones in jars? This was a practice that was not observed in any other part of Cambodia,” she said. Ten jars, dating from the 15th to the 17th centuries, and twelve coffins -- the earliest from the 14th century -- have been found at the Phnom Pel site.

Some are believed to have come from the kingdom of Siam, now Thailand. Others, a minority, date back to the powerful kingdom of Angkor, which ruled for six centuries and built the famous Angkor Wat temple complex further to the north. But experts remain mystified as to why the bones were preserved in a Buddhist country where cremation is -- and was -- a key religious custom. Tep Sokha, an expert in Cambodian ceramics, said the jars are of the “highest ceramic quality” and the number indicates that “this was a sacred and widely practiced ritual.” If villagers living near the cliff were aware of the jars, they have stayed away, allowing foreigners to study the relics at their leisure. And the whole study has been left to Beavan’s team. They are picking through the evidence, often left to guess the origins of the artifacts they find including 12 coffins lined up on a rock that are so small they could not even hold a child’s body but which contain the bones of men and women. “These coffins are unique. There is no other example in the history of

Cambodia. They are relics that have never been disturbed,” Beavan adds. Among her theories is that the bones belonged to Khmer tribesmen who lived deep in the mountains far from the influence of the Angkor kingdom, which spanned Southeast Asia from the ninth to 15th centuries, but perhaps failed to reach this corner. “They have nothing to do with the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Angkor but lived in his shadow,” she said. “Who knows, maybe they were also slaves fleeing the Angkor kingdom.” The search for answers took a leap forward in 2005 when fisherman off Koh Kong province found the same Siamese jars in their nets, prompting the discovery of a 15th century wreck containing ivory, Chinese porcelain and Siamese and Angkorian jars. The discovery provided the first scientific evidence of how Siamese jars could have been brought to the Cardamoms. Beavan believes the ship came from the Siamese empire to trade jars for ivory and precious wood. Despite the importance of the find, conservation remains a problem. In Koh Kong, hundreds of objects salvaged from the wreck have been left in a back room of the Provincial Court since 2007, despite Cambodia being one of the few Asian countries to have signed up the UN Convention on the preservation of underwater cultural heritage.

But the discovery has led local authorities to consider establishing a museum for the artifacts which would preserve a long-neglected part of the nation’s heritage. They hope it could become a valuable tourist attraction and spur proposals to protect the region. In 2012, the province recorded 100,000 local and foreign tourists, drawn to the beauty of the Cardamom Mountains, home to stunning waterfalls and one of the region’s most biodiverse forests. For all its natural bounty, the Cardamom region has seen some species gradually disappear as its precious wood forests fall prey to loggers and hunters plundering its rare species. For two years, UNESCO has been building a case to list the mountain range as a key “biosphere reserve”. The ship wreck, the sacred jars and the coffins add a cultural dimension that could boost the case for listing the area. “To do nothing would be a crime,” according to Anne Lemaistre, the director of UNESCO in Cambodia. Time may be running out with many industrial projects, some Chinese-linked, tearing through the heart of the forest and compounding the damage to the ecosystem caused by hunters and loggers.


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July 1-15, 2013 Georgia Asian Times

LIFESTYLE Vietnam’s land rights crisis BUON MA THUOT, June 28, 2013 - Thi Sieu says her family lived for generations on a small plot of land studded with cashew trees until they fell victim to an alleged land grab by powerful local elites, a fate shared with many indigenous farmers in Vietnam’s lush central hills.

“Our M’Nong community does not have much land now. We’ve been kicked out of areas that we had been living in for generations. We’re forced to become farm labourers,” Sieu added.

All land in the communist nation is owned by the state and usage rights are frequently opaque, allowing corrupt local officials and well-connected businessmen to seize land with impunity, according to activists.

Many such local tribes -- collectively known as Montagnards -- sided with the US-backed south during Vietnam’s decades-long war. Some are calling for more autonomy, while others abroad even advocate independence for the region.

The Central Highlands have long been a hotbed of discontent over land rights, thanks in part to government schemes luring big agricultural firms and lowland migrants seeking their fortunes in booming cashew, coffee and rubber industries.

The last major protests against the loss of traditional lands to large-scale plantations was in 2004, and the government is still hunting down those involved. Eight men were recently jailed for up to 11 years for a demonstration in 2002.

Official figures show the area’s population surged from 1.5 million in 1975 to around six million in 2010, prompting complaints from indigenous minorities of forced evictions by newly arrived ethnic Kinh, who make up 90 percent of the population.

‘Robbing villagers’ land for profit

Thi Sieu is a M’Nong, one of a patchwork of indigenous minorities which make up the remaining 10 percent of Vietnam’s roughly 90 million people. She said her family’s trees were felled and ancestral graves destroyed in 2011 to make way for a rubber plantation run by a private company operating with the support of local officials. “They said if we did not go they would beat us and kill us. There was no compensation at all. They cut down our trees. We lost everything -our land and our crops,” said Sieu, 42. “Most of the land in our area now belongs to those who have money. Many of them are Kinh people,” she said.

Three decades ago, before Vietnam abolished collectivisation and began a process of market reforms, land disputes were largely based on demographics and history, and concentrated in “diem nong” hot spots like the Central Highlands. But as the country developed and land values rose, the trouble spread to cities where land values are higher. People realised that by owning land close to cities they could “make seriously more money” than from remote coffee plantations, said Professor Adam Fforde, a Vietnam expert at Australia’s Victoria University. According to octogenarian activist Le Hien Duc -- who began working on land issues in the 1980s -- onceisolated cases of land grabbing have become “rampant.” “Local officials are robbing the villagers’ land for profit,” said Duc, who once worked for the country’s revered

founding President Ho Chi Minh. Villagers have no way to seek redress, as local authorities -- their first avenue for complaint -- are usually involved in the corrupt land deals, she said, calling for a clear land law and a serious anti-graft drive. Nationwide, some 70 percent of complaints filed to authorities concern land. “But there is no solution,” Duc said. “The people get kicked around like a ball between different levels of government -- local, district, province. Then finally, they go to Hanoi.”

Daily protests in the capital Sieu has travelled to Hanoi three times -- at great personal expense -- to file complaints to get her land in the Central Highlands back, without success. She is far from alone in making the attempt. Come rain, shine or police crackdown, protesters can be found standing on a busy street corner near several government buildings in central Hanoi, holding handwritten signs detailing their land grievances. “I have been here four months. The police have tried to remove me many times. But I will not leave -- we will not leave -- until they fix this problem,” said Do Thi Ngoc Nguyen from southern Dong Nai province. With all land owned by the state, people must rely on land use rights certificates, but in reality they offer limited protection.

The problem is set to become more acute this year with the expiry of 20year land use leases, which give many farmers some legal claim to their land. The government has not made it clear how the issue will be addressed. “The robbery of the land, by local government, officials and enterprises, is the root of all the instability we see,” one leading Hanoi-based Vietnamese academic said on condition of anonymity, citing a growing number of protests in the capital. “The villagers always lose,” he said, explaining that authorities commandeer the land in the name of “public interest” only to sell it to developers who build expensive houses and shopping malls. Public opinion is firmly on the side of the land protesters. Farmer Doan Van Vuon became a folk hero after using homemade shotguns to resist forced eviction last year -- an incident that prompted one popular blog to name him “Person of the Year 2012”. He was jailed for five years in April. Other land defenders have paid a different price. Le Thach Ban, 74, walks with a limp after being attacked by thugs last year when he refused to give up his land for a development in Hung Yen province near Hanoi. “I had a punctured lung, head injuries, three broken ribs and spent 23 days in hospital,” he said, vowing to stay despite the efforts to remove him.


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SPORTS

last year that can be made, or may even exist, and surely at this point in the season that is the right thing to do.” As the F1 paddock reeled at the realization of the scale of possible catastrophe that they narrowly missed on Sunday, F1 race director Charlie Whiting revealed he had considered stopping the race. After Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne had each suffered major blow-outs, Whiting says it crossed his mind to stop the race on safety grounds.

Formula One: Teams, FIA tackle under-fire Pirelli SILVERSTONE, June 30, 2013 (AFP) - Formula One’s top teams have called for next month’s so-called ‘Young Drivers Test’ to be used as a comprehensive opportunity to test Pirelli’s tires and resolve some of the problems exposed by Sunday’s blowout marred British Grand Prix. Champions Red Bull and challengers Ferrari both supported plans to take action immediately in the aftermath of a furious race that ended in controversy and tumult with many drivers rejecting the current tires as ‘unacceptable.’. Ferrari team chief Stefano Domenicali said turning the young drivers test into a full-on tyre test with senior drivers was now of paramount importance after the four spectacular Pirelli punctures that wrecked Sunday’s contest. Domenicali said: “It’s something that we have to work together on as an F1 world to solve. I have an idea that of course we need to discuss in the next days - that we have a test here at Silverstone that is supposed to be with young drivers. “Considering the fact that this track

is very demanding for the tires, and we can really with Pirelli do something during these (test) days to solve this issue, I would also say use the race drivers - because this is also for them something very important. “So I can guarantee to you that, from the team point of view, we are very open to trying to find a solution. This is something we all benefit from.” Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said: “There happens to be a test here in a few weeks. It is currently scheduled to be for young drivers, but maybe it should be open to current drivers or test drivers, who can give decent feedback that Pirelli could use on the track where they have experienced the issues they have had.” McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was less enthusiastic because he believes that something has to be done more quickly. “Personally I think it is too late,” he said. “That was being suggested yesterday, but we have an enhanced data set now. Why do we make a big scene out of it? “We have tires we were racing on

“It was quite close to being redflagged -- it did occur to me to do that,” he told reporters. Asked if one more failure would have been enough, Whiting replied: “I’m not going to give a specific number. Obviously to clear up all that debris was putting marshals at risk, and it is not satisfactory. “We haven’t seen a failure like this before -- we have seen other types of failure - and that is what has been addressed. So we need to analyze it very carefully to see if we can establish the cause.” Whiting said the FIA needed answers from Pirelli about what it believes caused the incident before it could establish a way forward.

“It is too early to draw any conclusions,” said Whiting. “They have a lot of analyzing to do, including the tires that didn’t fail because maybe we will find something there that was on the verge of failing that will give us a better indicator of what happened. “It is too early to say what will happen, so it’s too early to say what needs to be done.” The tyre safety issue added to the agenda of next week’s Sporting Working Committee meeting that was already scheduled to take place at the Nurburgring ahead of the German Grand Prix. Whiting believed that the tyre situation needed to move forward before then - so solutions could be put in place. “We will be on it first thing in the morning,” he said. “Pirelli have got to analyze it, to try and find the cause. We need to make decisions earlier than Wednesday.” Nico Rosberg won, but his Mercedes team-mate Hamilton took as many plaudits when he recovered from his massive tyre explosion to finish fourth.


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July 1-15, 2013 Georgia Asian Times

SPORTS Maracana magic as Brazil steamroller Spain RIO DE JANEIRO, July 1, 2013 (AFP) - Brazil destroyed world and European champions Spain 3-0 to win a third straight Confederations Cup title with a dazzling display of football which left the Maracana Stadium in raptures here Sunday. The turbo-charged samba stars roared to victory with two goals from Fred and a stunning strike from Neymar, dominating a weary Spanish side whose strength was sapped after edging Italy on penalties in Thursday’s semi-final. A miserable night for Spain also saw them miss a second half penalty when Sergio Ramos shot wide from the spot before Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was sent off for a professional foul on Neymar. Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said the result as the perfect fillip as he plots a course to an assault on next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil. “People know a much tougher event is coming up (next year),” said Scolari. But he noted: “We can set out on the journey with a little more confidence.” Spanish counterpart Vicente del Bosque meanwhile admitted his side had been outclassed on the night. “There are no excuses. Brazil were better than us. We must congratulate them,” del Bosque said. The touchpaper for an electrifying evening at one of the most iconic venues in football was set during the prematch ceremonies as Brazil’s fans in a 73,531-crowd belted out a spine-tingling rendition of the national anthem. The stirring anthems came as police clashed with protestors outside the ground before kick-off, the latest in a series of violent confrontations which have dogged the tournament since it kicked off.

With the euphoric stadium crowd behind them, Brazil raced into a 1-0 lead after only two minutes through Fred’s first of the night. Hulk lifted over a cross and Neymar slid a hopeful ball to the centre forward, who was prone in the box as he flung out his right leg to hook home from point blank range past helpless Spanish custodian Iker Casillas. Oscar then fired a low shot just wide after Fred played on a Neymar flick before a Paulinho chip almost embarrassed Casillas as Brazil poured forward, visibly boosted by the overwhelming din of support cascading down from stands. Spain briefly responded with a swirling drive from Andres Iniesta which appeared to be drifting just wide before Brazil keeper Julio Cesar pushed the ball away for a 19th-minute corner which Fernando Torres. Scolari, who led the Brazilians to their last World Cup success 11 years earlier to the day, had begun the event playing down expectations after the legendary Pele slammed the current side as not good enough to win top prizes. But in recent days Scolari had suggested now was the time for next year’s World Cup hosts to show they are back in business. Rarely on a football field was a message delivered so emphatically as the hopes of the Spanish, struggling to impose their high tempo possession game, withered and died. Spain central defender Pique, already booked for a first half challenge, was sent off for taking Neymar’s legs under him after the break - the bearded star left the fray to chants of “Shakira,” his Colombian partner. Had Spain found some of the singer’s

rhythm they might have stood a chance - but such was the pace of the hosts’ high-speed interplay they were down and out after David Luiz made a superlative block in the 42nd minute. Torres and Juan Mata produced an all-Chelsea interplay before sending Pedro away and the Barcelona forward arrowed an effort goalwards with Julio Cesar stranded. As Brazilian hearts leapt into mouths, Luiz threw himself across the goalline to clear - prompting cheering that echoed back from the rafters. There were niggly moments as Oscar, one of four Chelsea men on the pitch at the start, earned a booking for diving after a Ramos challenge. Fred then saw Casillas make a fine stop with his legs from a low drive before the centre forward missed a free header. But as the clock ticked down at the end of the first period Neymar made it 2-0, combining with Oscar before the Barcelona-bound starlet, just onside, twisted to smash an unstoppable leftfooted drive past Casillas for his fourth goal of the event.

The 21-year-old vaulted the advertising hoardings to disappear in a sea of frenzied fans before embracing his teammates as the noise level climbed ever upwards. Two minutes after the restart it was 3-0 as the swashbuckling Fred again showed why Scolari is such a fan, firing an unerring low drive wide of Casillas’ outstretched arm after a brilliantly instinctive Neymar dummy. Spain reacted as coach Vicente del Bosque, the only man to coach teams to the World Cup, the Euros and the Champions League, sent on Jesus Navas for Mata - but there would be no resurrection for Spain. After Marcelo fouled Navas there was still time for Ramos to send a spotkick wide for Spain as his effort summed up their evening - put on the spot, and found wanting, while Brazil showed that a sixth World Cup could just be there for the taking.


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HEALTH US urges hepatitis C test for all baby boomers WASHINGTON, June 25, 2013 (AFP) - US authorities on Tuesday urged all adults born between 1945 and 1965 to get tested for hepatitis C, saying millions of Americans are unaware that they are infected with the liver disease. The so-called baby boom generation accounts for three out of four people with hepatitis C, according to Albert Siu, co-chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force. “Many people in this age group contracted hepatitis C from a blood transfusion or unknown or unreported high-risk behaviors,” he said. “Even though they may have no symptoms yet, the evidence is convincing that one-time screening will help find millions of Americans with the infection before they develop a serious liver disease.” The US task force also recommends hepatitis C screening for adults at risk of infection, including people who currently use injection drugs or have in the past, as well as people who received a blood transfusion before 1992. About 1.5 percent of the US population is infected with hepatitis C, making it one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease in the United States today, according to the US National Library of Medicine. The disease can cause cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more Americans died in 2007 from hepatitis C than from the virus that causes AIDS. More than 15,000 people died of hepatitis C infections in 2007, compared to 12,734 who died from HIV-related causes, said the data published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Oily fish helps fight breast cancer PARIS, June 27, 2013 - Eating a portion of tuna, salmon, sardines or other oily fish once or twice a week reduces the risk of breast cancer, according to a review published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Thursday. Researchers based in China looked at 26 previously published studies covering more than 800,000 volunteers in the United States, Europe and Asia whose health was monitored and who gave details about their eating habits. Oily fish is rich in so-called n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, or n-3 PUFAs, which are involved in the immune system, blood-vessel activity and chemical messaging in the brain. The group of n-3 PUFAs has four members, known by their initials of

EPA, DPA and DHA, which are mainly found in oily fish, and ALA, which is chiefly found in nuts, seeds and leafy vegetables. The analysis showed that women with a high intake of n-3 PUFAs had a 14-percent reduction in risk of breast cancer compared with those who had a low intake. But the protective effect came only for fatty acids that come chiefly from fish, and not for ALA acids. Those who showed the most benefit were women in Asia, whose diet was richer in fish than in Europe and America. In statistical terms, every 0.1gramme increase in fish fatty acids per day was linked to a five-percent reduction in breast cancer risk.

As a guide for daily living, this means one or two portions of oily fish per person per week. Breast cancer has been dubbed a “silent killer” of women because it is often diagnosed too late. The disease accounted for 23 percent of total cancer cases among women and 14 percent of cancer deaths in 2008, according to figures in the study. Genetic heritage also plays a role in breast cancer, most notoriously in variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, although how this interacts or not with food, lifestyle and environmental factors is unclear.

UK doctors urged to use preventative breast cancer drugs LONDON, June 25, 2013 (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of women at high risk of developing breast cancer in Britain should be given drugs which could dramatically reduce their chances of getting the disease, doctors were advised Tuesday. In guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), up to half-a-million women with a family history of the illness should receive the £120 ($185, 141 euros), five-year course of tamoxifen or raloxifene. The “one-a-day” programme is an alternative to the surgery chosen by celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Sharon Osbourne, said Nice. Tamoxifen was shown in a clinical trial to reduce the risk of developing invasive breast cancer by about 50 percent in high-risk post-menopausal women.

Another trial found raloxifene reduced the risk by around 38 percent although neither drug is currently licensed as a preventative treatment in Britain. “Tamoxifen is extremely cost effective, that’s because it’s extremely cheap... and treating someone with breast cancer costs many thousands of pounds,” explained professor Gareth Evans, who helped to develop the guidelines. “So this treatment is potentially not just cost-effective but cost saving to the NHS and more importantly for women, they don’t have to go through the stress and trauma of a diagnosis, radiotherapy, potentially chemotherapy. “So it’s a major breakthrough for women that they are going to be able to be offered this treatment in the future,” he added.

Breast cancer awareness campaigners praised the report. “We believe that this guideline is a game changer for people with a family history of breast cancer,” said Caitlin Palframan, assistant head of policy at Breakthrough Breast Cancer. “In fact for breast cancer overall it’s a historic step for prevention. “We think more women will have more options to reduce their risk, which ultimately means we will prevent more breast cancer cases.” Around 50,000 women and 400 men develop breast cancer every year in Britain, according to Nice figures.


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Misc Asia Singapore gripped by Hello Kitty frenzy

Thailand’s traffic cops battle the bulge

BANGKOK, June 26, 2013 (AFP) - Bellies wobbling and chubby limbs swinging, dozens of sweaty traffic cops exercise to the rhythm of Thai pop songs as part of a scheme to reduce the number of overweight police in Bangkok. Poor diets and long hours in a sedentary job on the city’s gridlocked streets have left the Thai capital’s traffic police prone to piling on the pounds. But their health -- and the public image presented by potbellied officers -- has become such a worry that police bosses have laid on free fat-busting classes, enlisting nearly 60 volunteers for a two-month ‘Fit and Firm’ programme. After barely a fortnight on the course, Senior Sergeant-Major Nitas Saisaard says he now weighs a still hefty 138 kilograms (304 pounds) but has shed six kilos and reduced his waistline by three inches. “When I work, it is definitely difficult... when I am directing the traffic -- in the centre of roads, between cars -- I sometimes get hit, brushed by wing mirrors,” the 48-year-old explains, sweat rolling down his forehead after a class. But twice-weekly sessions -- including yoga and aerobics -- are so far working for Nitas, along with a new diet of fruit and soups that banishes his favourite fried street food and bowls of white rice. “I gained weight because I eat a lot at late night... we (traffic police) have uncertain schedules,” says Nitas, who has joined similar schemes before but never quite managed to win his personal battle of the bulge.

SINGAPORE, June 27, 2013 (AFP) - Tempers flared and police had to be called in Thursday as anxious Singaporeans rushed to McDonald’s outlets to buy Hello Kitty plush toys being sold by the fast food chain as a promotion.

Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police Bureau wants cops with waistbands over 36 inches to consider doing the course, enticing them to lose over 10 kilos with prizes of nearly $160 for the best performers. “Senior policemen saw that our officers are too chubby... too fat, so they decided they should lose weight”, said Lieutenant Colonel Sujit Suksamai, who is also taking part in the course. “When police are too fat, they can’t work quickly. Reducing the fat makes them stronger, healthier and faster.” Police chiefs have frequently tried to encourage their colleagues to tackle their expanding paunches by running regular fitness classes including a ‘Fat Fighters’ course earlier this year. Slimming down is also an issue of public confidence in the police, says health expert Kawita Kruenjit who leads some of the exercise and health sessions at a Bangkok private hospital. “When the general public see fat police they wonder ‘how are they going to run after the bad guys?’” she added. In their defence, police say the stress of 15-hour shifts guiding traffic in one of the world’s most congested cities, where they receive little love from motorists who routinely stew in hour-long traffic jams, makes the job incompatible with a healthy lifestyle. But it is the traffic police’s proclivity for the cheap, fatty treats dished out by Bangkok’s ubiquitous street stalls that are doing the most damage, according to Doungrut Wattanakitkraileart, who researches the health of police officers at Bangkok’s Mahidol University.

Hundreds had begun queueing from Wednesday night to get their hands on a kitten in a skeleton outfit, depicting a character from the German fairy tale “The Singing Bone”. It was the last of a series of six limited-edition Hello Kitty characters dressed in different outfits from popular fairy tales which were being sold by McDonald’s this month. In some outlets, chaos broke out amid rampant queue jumping as supplies of the toys ran out soon after the stores opened for business on Thursday. One video uploaded on YouTube showed police officers mediating between two customers in front of a McDonald’s counter.

More than half of 265 traffic police she surveyed in 2011 in one Bangkok district suffered high cholesterol. “Food on sale near police stations is unhealthy, it is oily and salty -- coconut milk curries and fattening dishes... officers can just walk to the front of their police stations and buy their food”, she said, adding low wages deter many from a healthier diet. Fit and Firm is changing habits and some attitudes, even among those who are only marginally on the wrong side of scales. “The first time after 45 minutes of aerobic dance non-stop, my whole body was stiff. But now... I can do it non-stop,” senior sergeant major Wichien Noppan, who is just over 90 kilos, said proudly. “We have to appear in public, so looking smart comes first and our look

Another showed an irate man asking an agitated crowd “Is he Singaporean? Is he educated?”, apparently in reference to someone who had gotten a queue ticket ahead of others. Some customers took to Facebook to register their anger after they went home empty-handed, while others immediately put the toys -- sold for Sg$4.60 ($3.62) with set meals -- up for sale online at far higher prices. Some Singaporeans are obsessed with completing the entire collection. “This is absolutely ruining the Singapore reputation. Poor management and irresponsible,” wrote Catherine Ong on McDonald’s Singapore’s Facebook page. Others voiced their annoyance at compatriots who had let their Hello Kitty mania run out of control. Singapore last went into a Hello Kitty frenzy in 2000, when McDonald’s sold a series of the toys in wedding outfits to usher in the new millenium.

and shape should be firm,” he added. But for others the prospect of slimming down remains distant as long as Bangkok’s street food stalls continue to tempt with delicious, if calorie-heavy, meals. Scoffing a lunch of white rice and a Thai curry in a traffic booth at a busy intersection in central Bangkok, Sub Lieutenant Banyong Wannawong admits it is hard to change the eating habits of a lifetime. Weighing in at a scale-tipping 130 kilos that means his uniform sticks tightly to his paunch, Banyong pithily explains why he is unlikely to trim down anytime soon. “My favorite foods are fattening... I could eat them less but I won’t enjoy them as much.”


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Misc Asia

Words of Wisdom

Poor English saved Japan bankers from Lehman: minister TOKYO, June 28, 2013 (AFP) Japan’s banks emerged from the 2008 global credit crisis largely unscathed because senior employees did not speak English well enough to have got them into trouble, the country’s finance minister said Friday. Taro Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said bankers in Japan had not been able to understand the complex financial instruments that were the undoing of major global players, so had not bought them. “Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks,” Aso told a seminar in Tokyo. “There was an American who said Japanese banks are healthy, but that’s not true at all. “Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that’s why they didn’t buy,” he said.

The one-time prime minister said in January the elderly should be allowed to “hurry up and die” instead of costing the government money with expensive end-of-life medical care. In 2007 he had to apologize for a quip about patients with Alzheimer’s disease and for making light of flood damage in central Japan. But the deputy prime minister, who is known as a dapper dresser and often seen sporting a jauntily-angled hat, on Friday boasted he had managed to keep his foot out of his mouth since Shinzo Abe came to power as premier in December. However, the boast was somewhat undermined when he initially got the name of the prime minister wrong. “I have made no gaffes in the past half year even as newspapers said the Aso administration’s... No, the Abe administration’s biggest problem is Taro Aso’s gaffes,” he said.

Aso’s comments Friday are the latest in a line of pronouncements that have raised eyebrows.

US House backs Taiwan at UN aviation body WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 (AFP) – The US House of Representatives urged the United Nations aviation group to give a role to Taiwan, a small victory for an island whose rivalry with China keeps it from world bodies. Lawmakers unanimously approved a bill that directed Secretary of State John Kerry to use US diplomacy to push for observer status for Taiwan when the International Civil Aviation Organization meets in Montreal in September. Representative Ed Royce, the chair-

man of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the move would be a “significant step” to ensure that Taiwan’s airports have up-to-date technology. “Millions of passengers flying between Taiwan and the US have been greatly disadvantaged by Taiwan’s exclusion,” said Royce, a Republican from California. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a similar bill in May. Its passage by the full Senate is virtually certain as the bill enjoys support

The Buddha once preached that you have to let the child laugh before he cries. Bhutan Proverb Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. Burmese Proverb

Two multiply five, five multiply two. Malay Proverb Once you have locked your door you are the emperor in your own domain. Mongolian Proverb

Content breeds happiness. Chinese Proverb

A husband loves the charm of the ladles tip until dying. Thai Proverb

The father is responsible for his son’s conduct. Chinese Proverb

Preventive measure is better than curative measure. Thai Proverb

If you don’t know how to look back to where you came from, you will not reach your destination. Filipino Proverb

The highest art is the art of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner. Tibetan Proverb

Without perseverance, there is no reward. Filipino Proverb

The person who gets stuck on trivial prosperity will not attain great prosperity. Tibetan Proverb

If you understand everything, you must be misinformed. Japanese Proverb 3 day monk. Japanese Proverb Aim high in your career but stay humble in your heart. Korean Proverb

Hungry bellies have no ears. Vietnamese Proverb When eating choose the place, when playing choose your friends. Vietnamese Proverb

If you’re standing in the hole you’re digging, you should stop digging. Korean Proverb Friends to laugh with are many, friends to cry with are few. Malay Proverb

from both Republicans and members of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party. Taiwan, which was founded by Chinese nationalists after defeat in the mainland’s civil war and has evolved into a prosperous democracy, lost its United Nations seat in 1971 when the General Assembly admitted Beijing. China — which considers Taiwan

a Chinese province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary — has adamantly opposed any international role or recognition that implies that the island is a separate country. But China has not been vocal on Taiwan’s bid for observer status at the aviation organization amid warming relations since the island elected Beijing-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou in 2008.


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TECH Microsoft woos developers with ‘re-blended’ Windows SAN FRANCISCO, June 26, 2013 (AFP) - Microsoft on Wednesday courted application makers with a “re-blended” version of the overhauled Windows 8 operating system released late last year. Windows 8.1 incorporated feedback from users and developers, and came with the promise that the US software giant was speeding up its release cycle to adapt to the dizzying pace of innovation in consumer technology. “We pushed boldly in Windows 8 and got lots of feedback,” Microsoft chief executive Steven Ballmer said while kicking off the company’s BUILD developers conference in San Francisco. “Users said ‘Why don’t you go refine the blend?,” he said. “We will show you a refined blend of our desktop experience and our modern experience.” Cheers burst from the audience when Ballmer assured them that changes in Windows 8.1 included a return of the “Start” button icon on screens that provided shortcuts to commands and applications. Microsoft made a preview version of Windows 8.1 available for developers online at preview.windows.com and said this was just the beginning of a shift to “rapid release” cycles for software. “Rapid release cadences are absolutely essential to what we are doing,” Ballmer said. “It is about the transformation that we are going through as a company to move at an absolutely rapid release cycle; our transformation from a software company to a company building software-powered devices and services.” Windows 8.1 remains true to the vi-

sion of an operating system tuned for touch-screen controls and multi-gadget lifestyles increasingly revolving around tablets and smartphones, according to Microsoft. “When we rolled out Windows we talked about touch, touch, touch,” Ballmer said, noting that when people went to stores there was a dearth of Windows-powered touch computers. He said there would be a “proliferation” of small Windows tablets released in the coming months. Microsoft used the keynote presentation before BUILD’s six thousand attendees to showcase Windowspowered devices ranging from Nokia Lumia smartphones to Lenovo and Acer devices as well as Microsoft’s own Surface Pro tablet. “You will see an outpouring of new devices that are notebook computers in every respect yet have touch fully integrated and usable,” Ballmer said. Microsoft also announced that it was opening its Bing Internet search engine to developers so they can harness its capabilities to power features inside applications. Microsoft is keen to tap into the creative talent of software developers behind hip, helpful, or fun ‘apps’ that can dictate the success of failure of smartphones, tablets and other Internet-linked consumer gadgets. New-generation Apple software for iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers was showcased at a Worldwide Developers Conference here earlier this month, just weeks after a Google event starring Android and Chrome. Ballmer said that the number of apps in the Windows Store will top 100,000 this month, while downloads have

climbed into the hundreds of millions. “The number of apps we see coming into the store is phenomenal,” Ballmer said. Microsoft is under pressure to adapt to a huge shift in how people engage with computers, according to Forrester analyst Charles Golvin. Smartphones and tablets have vanquished the days when people devoted the bulk of computer time to Windowspowered desktop or laptop machines. “Any talk of the personal computer being dead is overblown and ridiculous,” Golvin said. “What matters is being everywhere. PCs still matter; tablets matter, and smartphones matter most if you look at the amount of time people are spending in front of screens.”

The overhauled Windows 8 operating system released in November was designed to power the array Internetlinked devices, but some people balked at having to adapt to the new “metro” tile-style user interface. Some modifications in Windows 8.1 were made to return features that were missed, such as the beloved “Start” button. “Microsoft has to convince people there are benefits to the pain of adjusting to Windows 8,” Golvin said.


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July Horoscope Snake (2013 2001 1989 1977 1965 1953 1941 1929 1917 1905) If you are still battling recent events that threaten to shake up elements of your domestic or professional life, take a moment and think things through. What seems unnecessary or even unwise may only be introducing changes that are abrupt or perhaps challenge your feelings or control; which when they have taken place, will be revealed as nothing less than much needed breakthroughs. Unlikely as it seems, you will be making substantial changes in your work or lifestyle that will be as worthwhile as it will be dramatic. You may have been exploring these for ages, some since last year. After numerous twists and turns, they will come together and in ways as miraculous as they are expected. Horse (2002 1990 1978 1966 1954 1942 1930 1918 1906) There is not much question about what you want to accomplish. There are however lots of questions about how you will overcome existing obstacles and the changes that are creating a degree of confusion and delays. Each offers you an opportunity to review those financial goals and how to achieve them without incurring unnecessary loss or additional handling fees. Do remember taking short cuts may be an option but not necessarily means that you would achieve what you hoped for. Sheep (2003 1991 1979 1967 1955 1943 1931 1919 1907) Decision-making involves several rounds of investigation, discussion and then reflection. That would be the sensible approach in evaluating a tricky situation. However during this month, life-changing aspect leaves you little time even for the simplest questions. Decisions, either large or small are best handled by plunging in. While this may seem out of character, your focus now is action first and not merely talking. The ability to improvise with changing circumstances should certainly help you to overcome the battle ahead. Monkey (2004 1992 1980 1968 1956 1944 1932 1920 1908) You do not consider yourself as being sentimental. Yet circumstances are revealing certain financial arrangements cannot continue as they have been. Your instinct is to battle for their survival. The issue may be more about who is responsible for what, practical matters or the need to make changes rather than whether this or other arrangements can continue into the future. Focus on these improvements and you will be amazed how many trivial issues you can clear up. Rooster (2005 1993 1981 1969 1957 1945 1933 1921 1909) While the word luck may mean one thing to you, the events bound to happen during the month may be different. Unless you are encouraged to explore everything that comes your way, you could refuse something very wonderful indeed. Unwise as saying yes to everything seems, do that first and ask questions later. You will be amazed by the splendid array of ideas and offers that heading your way. Just do not be confused by the various offers on the table, take your time and select those that are within your capability. Dog (2006 1994 1982 1970 1958 1946 1934 1922 1910) Having kept one financial arrangement going for a long time, you are questioning the wisdom of it and wondering how much others care. Ordinarily you would reflect first, and then ask others. However with things moving swiftly, you are better off talking things over immediately before the situation heads forward into unknown directions. Obviously you have your own interest to defend and have every right to know about it. Otherwise it will be your loss.

Pig (2007 1995 1983 1971 1959 1947 1935 1923 1911) Recent busy schedules could easily have worn one down physically and mentally. Remember to take life easier whenever possible and take things as they come. Prolonged staying out late at night certainly is not beneficial to the physical body. The consequences could be loss of appetite, tasteless buds, swollen gums or “heated” liver. It could also affect your sleep pattern, resulting in loss of concentration and affecting your overall work progress. The lists go on and never too late to prevent the situation escalating over the cliff. Rat (2008 1996 1984 1972 1960 1948 1936 1924 1912) During this period of changes, you will want or wish to support others in whatever possible circumstances without jeopardizing your own finances. Yet before you say or do things, ask what the individual in question feels about those dramatic developments. They might be concerned, but it is just as likely they have already realized changes are perhaps timely, if not long overdue. Bear in mind not to rush the situation and continue to explore possible alternative ways or methods. As the phrase says “There are various ways to skin a cat” Ox (2009 1997 1985 1973 1961 1949 1937 1925 1913) It may seem you have done nothing positive but talk about the tricky issues that are on your mind and are a source of concern for those closest. Yet, bizarrely, you have not actually asked them what they want or wish that is their ideal outcome. Act now or there could soon be serious confusion or uncertainty. There is no point in complaining about how tedious it is when life is too predictable. Perhaps you are not aware you are caught in the midst of the situation and it is difficult to say what will happen next.

Tiger (2010 1998 1986 1974 1962 1950 1938 1926 1914) Whether you accept offers of help from certain individuals and say no to others is your own personal choice. Remember that during this period, various essential events simply are not of your choice. These changes are reshaping the world around you and the society to a certain extent and as a consequence, affect elements of your life style. Certain individuals cannot make even simple decisions without exploring very option. You on the other hand, gather whatever facts you can and blend it with your own powerful intuition. This has always worked and will, even if others refuse to recognize it. Rabbit (2011 1999 1987 1975 1963 1951 1939 1927 1915 1903) You have some important financial decisions to make or announce. While most are clear-cut, but one or two are so puzzling that you are inclined to defer them as much as you possibly can. Do not prolong such decision-making; ideally you will want things settled as early as possible. Tactics play a vital role and while you have the upper hand, you could dictate or manipulate the situation to your personal advantage. Others may dislike what you may have accomplished, but sometimes, you are left with no other alternative, but to look after number one first. Dragon (2012 2000 1988 1976 1964 1952 1940 1928 1916 1904) At the moment, planning ahead could complicate your appearances, well-being and life. While you cannot ignore the need to organize your life, you can ensure certain vital things are arranged so they can easily accommodate the twists and turns characteristic of this period. The more flexible arrangements are the better for you and those around you. You are urged not to assume the cycle of change reshaping your life and the world around you is over. There is more to come and be sure you are ready when the moment arrives.

Georgia Asian Times July 1-15, 2013  

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