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Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia November 15-30, 2012 Vol 9. No 21

Happy Thanksgiving

Georgia Asian Times November 15-30, 2012

Publisher: Li Wong Account Manager: Adrian West Contributors: Andrian Putra, May Lee, Mark Ho Photographer: Ben Hioe, Rendy Tendean Tel: 770.335.4593 Advertising: Editorial: URL: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 922348 Norcross, GA 30010-2348

Copyright Georgia Asian Times 2004-2012

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 Calendar of Events (For latest & updated events, visit

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

Global Korea: Perspectives on K-pop, Culture, Politics, Business, and Education Date: Thursday, November 15 Time: 12:00 pm Venue: Speakers Auditorium, GSU Student Center Moderator: Dr. Kim Reimann, Director of Asian Studies Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science Open to students, faculty, staff and the community. For more information: BPSOS-Atlanta Walkathon to raise awareness about breast cancer Date: Saturday, Nov 17 Time: 9:30 am - 12:00 pm Venue: BPSOS-Atlanta office For more info: 770-458-6700

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday Date: Thursday, Nov 22

Korea-SEUS Chamber of Commerce-Annual Dinner Date: Thursday Nov 29 Time: 6:00 pm Venue: 201 17th Street, NW , Ste 1700 Atlanta GA 30363 For more info: June Towery 404-3226597

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November 15-30, 2012 Georgia Asian Times

METRO ASIAN NEWS As Exports Lose Steam, Domestic Sources Will Drive Georgia’s Growth in 2013 Atlanta, Nov 14, 2012 -– Domestic confusion and uncertainty triggered by the looming “fiscal cliff” are causing more harm to the U.S. economy than the slowdowns in Europe and Asia, according to Rajeev Dhawan of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. “The damage from the fiscal cliff is done and playing out now,” Dhawan writes in his quarterly Forecast of the Nation, released today. “The issue is can we can contain it?” The forecaster offers a conditional yes, contingent on the president and Congress soon reaching a credible grand bargain that assuages capital markets. Striking a deal is all the more imperative, Dhawan says, because the United States must look domestically for sparks to ignite economic growth in the coming year– as it did until the 1990s. The reason: Exports are down, falling 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2012, a sharp reversal from 7.0 percent growth in the second quarter. Across the Atlantic, “Don’t expect the Europeans to solve their debt problems anytime soon,” asserts Dhawan. As a result, he says, “Growth will be a luxury item out of Europe’s reach for the coming years.” China had provided what Dhawan characterizes as a “release valve” for U.S. and German industrial and electrical machinery exports. But the nation’s growth has slowed appreciably, as evidenced by government statistics and monthly indicators. Additionally, efforts to dampen home price inflation in big cities have led to a slowdown. Compounding the problem, the forecaster says, “China’s leadership is focused on battling the party’s image of corruption and the Bo Xilai scandal rather than tackling economic growth.” Based on these and other variables, “We shouldn’t expect any upside from global growth in 2013,” Dhawan says. But the forecaster paints a somewhat brighter picture for 2014 when the fiscal cliff will hopefully be resolved with a credible down payment towards budget deficit reduction. “When combined with the full impact of stimulus measures from the worlds’ central banks will lead to an improvement in corporate mood,” says Dhawan. “This

will result in higher investment spending leading to better job growth.” As a plus, as Chinese stimulus measures and European debt solutions pay dividends, U.S. exports will pick up, adding to the previous growth momentum.

cliff” will make for “a nervous upcoming six months,” but that anxiety will mitigate in the second half of the year when a bipartisan grand bargain is reached with a clear down payment towards deficit reduction.

Highlights from the Economic Forecasting Center’s National Report Real GDP will grow only 0.9% in the fourth quarter and 1.0% in the first quarter of 2013. After 2.1% growth in 2012, GDP growth will be only 1.5% in 2013 due to moderate-at-best domestic consumption and abysmal international trade. In 2014, real GDP will grow at a stronger rate of 2.6%.

Where Georgia exports grew by almost 20 percent in 2011, year-to-date numbers (January to July) show an increase of only 2.3 percent. Additionally, the dour international economy and concomitant decline in exports will have a cascading effect on other industries in the Peach State. “A global slowdown led by China affect Georgia’s transportation and manufacturing sectors via lower demand for state exports – especially of machinery, aircraft and vehicles,” the forecaster says.

The U.S. economy created almost 700,000 jobs from July to October 2012 – a rate that will moderate in coming months. In 2013, expect 115,000 jobs per month on average and 160,000 per month in 2014. The unemployment rate, which dipped to 7.8% in September, will be around 8% for the next two years.

Among Georgia companies taking a hit is Delta Air Lines, which derives almost half of its mainline revenue (total passenger revenue excluding regional operations) from international operations. In its third quarter report, the company’s mainline revenue grew by only two percent, down from 11 percent growth in 2011.

Export growth decelerates sharply from 3.0% in 2012 to only 0.2% in 2013, rising to 5% in 2014.

The state’s other key sectors – construction, corporate and local government – have what Dhawan characterizes as “dim growth prospects” for the coming six months. Combined with exports, transportation and manufacturing, they constitute half of Georgia’s employment base. “Other areas will grow, but negative spillovers from the leading sectors will mean that their growth likewise will be impacted.”

Housing starts will average 0.764 million units in 2012 and gradually rise to 0.980 million units in 2014 – nowhere near the pre-recessionary level of 2 million-plus some six years ago. The 10-year Treasury bond rate will remain below 3% through 2014.

As Exports Lose Steam, Domestic Sources Will Drive Georgia’s Growth in 2013 Exports, which were until recently a bright star in Georgia’s economy, are presently on the wane due to a worldwide downturn that is hitting China and Europe especially hard. As a result, the Peach State must look to domestic sources for growth in the coming year, according to Rajeev Dhawan of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. In his quarterly Forecast of Georgia and Atlanta, released today, Dhawan posits that this dynamic and the looming “fiscal

The lone exception will be healthcare, which has grown consistently even during the great recession. “The first half of 2013 will be weak but then will pick up,” Dhawan says. The reason? “Congress will have found a solution to the fiscal cliff, which will improve business confidence, leading to better job growth prospects.” As Georgia heads into 2014, the Chinese will have jumpstarted their economy and the European Union will have gotten a handle on its debt crisis. “The resultant upturn in the world economy will lead to an increase in Georgia’s exports that will have a positive ripple effect across Georgia’s key economic sectors,” Dhawan says.

Highlights from the Economic Forecasting Center’s Report for Georgia and Atlanta Georgia’s employment base will grow by 50,800 in calendar 2012, of which 10,900 will be premium jobs (a 1.2% annual growth rate). In 2013, the recovery will be similar, with the state adding 55,300 jobs (1.1% annual growth), of which 9,800 will be premium jobs. In calendar 2014, job numbers will rise to 77,300 (1.8% annual growth), including 15,300 premium jobs. Georgia’s unemployment rate will average 9.1% in 2012, and in 2013 unemployment will drop to 8.9%. As Georgia’s economy picks up in 2014, the unemployment rate will decline further to 8.2%. Nominal personal income in Georgia will rise by 3.8% in 2012, followed by another increase of 3.9% in 2013. Expect a strong increase of 5.0% in 2014. Atlanta’s employment base is expected to grow in 2012 by 39,200 jobs (1.7% annual growth) with 7,800 premium jobs. In 2013 Atlanta’s economy will add 40,900 jobs (1.5% growth), including 7,600 premium jobs. In 2014 Atlanta’s employment growth will pick up with a strong addition of 54,000 jobs (2.1% growth) with 11,300 premium jobs. Atlanta’s housing permits will increase by 56.4% in 2012 to 13,191 units, thanks to a boost in multifamily housing permits (96.7%). Single family permits will rise by 40.4% this year. Permit activity will increase by 3.3% in 2013, with single family permits increasing barely by 1.8% and multifamily permits growing only 6.0%. Permit activity will grow strongly in 2014, posting an overall increase of 24.7%. This year total housing permits will be about 16,987 units or 25% of the levels in 2005.

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November 15-30, 2012 Georgia Asian Times


China’s yuan hits record high on economic recovery SHANGHAI, Nov 13, 2012 (AFP) China’s yuan currency hit a record high against the US dollar on Tuesday, as a recovery in the domestic economy and US political pressure helped the unit strengthen, analysts said. Trade data released Saturday lifted confidence in the domestic economy, according to analysts, while an expected US government report on exchange rates may be prompting the central bank to guide the yuan higher. The yuan touched an intra-day high of 6.2262 to the dollar, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System, marking the strongest level since China launched its modern foreign exchange market in 1994. It also registered a record closing high of 6.2265, firming from Monday’s close of 6.2291. “China’s economic recovery, albeit weak, may attract foreign capital to put investment in yuan-denominated assets, driving demand for the currency,” said a Beijing-based foreign exchange analyst, who declined to be named. China’s exports rose 11.6 percent

in October, according to official data, accelerating for a second straight month in fresh evidence of a broader rebound for the world’s second-largest economy. The nation’s trade surplus, a source of friction with the United States and other countries, widened to $32 billion, up from $27.7 billion in September. “Recent data showed the worst may have come and gone for the domestic economy,” said Industrial Bank analyst Jiang Shu. “There are expectations that US quantitative easing will proceed as previously scheduled after President (Barack) Obama’s re-election, leading to a weakening dollar and creating room for (yuan) appreciation,” he said. Chinese authorities may also be prompting the yuan higher in a gesture to appease criticism that the unit is vastly undervalued, ahead of an upcoming US exchange rate report, Jiang said. The US Treasury Department issues a semi-annual report on exchange rate policies that addresses China, among other countries.

Philippines lifts ban on South Korean noodles MANILA, Nov 13, 2012 (AFP) - Philippine authorities have lifted a ban on six brands of South Korean noodles after government tests disproved earlier reports they had unsafe amounts of a cancer-causing chemical, health authorities said. The Food and Drug Administration said health department tests found that the noodles made by Nongshim Co. had safe amounts of the “benzopyrene” chemical, contrary to what had previously been alleged in some press reports.

“The test results have been reassuring as all benzopyrenes have been found below the limits... set for the recall advisory,” the agency said in a statement posted on its website late Monday.

HTC and Apple reach global settlement TAIPEI, Nov 11, 2012 (AFP) - Taiwan’s leading smartphone maker HTC said Sunday it has reached a global settlement with technology giant Apple, bringing an end to all outstanding litigation between the two companies. The deal includes a 10-year licensing agreement over patents, HTC said in a statement, without providing further details. “HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation,” HTC CEO Peter Chou said in the statement. Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC.” “We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.” HTC and Apple were locked in more than 20 cases in the world including some pending the ruling of the International Trade Commission of the United States, according to an HTC official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“This is definitely a positive element to HTC, especially when it is being knocked by poor sales,” said Mars Hsu of Grand Cathay Securities “Unlike the lawsuits between Apple and Samsung focusing on the alleged infringement of iPhone outlook, the suits with HTC are more related to alleged technology infringements,” he said. Apple won an order last December from the US International Trade Commission, which issued a “limited exclusion order” directing that HTC stop bringing offending smartphones into the United States effective on April 19. In May, US mobile carrier Sprint said it had to delay the introduction of an Android smartphone from HTC after the devices were blocked by US customs in the first enforcement of a win in a trade complaint by Apple. HTC’s net profit in the three months to September tumbled 79.1 percent from a year ago to Tw$3.9 billion ($133.1 million), down sharply from Tw$18.64 billion.

Technology giants have taken to routinely pounding one another with patent lawsuits. Apple has accused HTC and other smartphone makers using Google’s Android mobile operating system of infringing on Appleheld patents.

Revenues totaled Tw$70.2 billion, meeting the lower side of the Tw$70 billion-Tw$80 billion range it had previously forecast. The revenues marked a sharp decline of 48 percent from a year ago when they were Tw$135.82 billion.

The Philippines had ordered the recall on October 31, drawing a formal complaint from the South Korean embassy that insisted the noodles are safe to eat.

“Korean officials have offered assurance that the subsequent products of the affected brands are safe,” the Philippine statement added.

The embassy urged the Philippines to lift the noodle ban. Benzopyrene is used in food dyes, and can upset stomachs according to scientists.

Georgia Asian Times

November 15-30, 2012 

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Japan’s economy shrinks, raising fears of recession TOKYO, Nov 12, 2012 (AFP) Japan’s economy shrank in the latest quarter, data showed Monday, raising fears it could slip into recession due to financial turmoil in Europe, a strong yen and a painful diplomatic row with China. The world’s third-largest economy contracted 0.9 percent between July and September from the previous three months, equivalent to an annualized 3.5 percent drop which Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda described as “severe”. The fall is yet more bad news for an economy that was already showing signs of strain, with tumbling factory output and the worst September trade figures in three decades. Commentators warned the future is bleak, with a litany of worries including the Chinese consumer boycott of Japanese goods caused by a territorial row, an export-denting strong yen and the expiry of incentives for car buyers. Noda -- under pressure to call a general election -- told parliament on Monday he would work “with a sense of crisis” to address the country’s economic woes. “I have also been instructing ministers concerned to draw up an economic package, possibly this month,” Noda said, as he pointed to the first $5.0 billion tranche of a previouslyannounced stimulus. The package came on top of measures taken in the wake of last year’s quake-tsunami disaster, when Tokyo tried to spur growth by offering incentives for fuel-efficient vehicle purchases and measures to rebuild the northeastern coastline after the disaster. While the latest figures beat market expectations of a 3.9 percent annualized contraction, it was the sharpest decline since last year’s crisis, with

household and company spending as well as exports all slowing. Another three months of shrinkage in the October-December quarter would mean Japan has slipped back into a technical recession, which is defined as two successive quarters of contraction. Economy minister Seiji Maehara pointed to those fears on Monday with comments likely to heap pressure on the Bank of Japan for further stimulus. “We cannot deny the possibility that the Japanese economy has entered into a recessionary phase,” Maehara told a press briefing. Last month, the Bank of Japan unveiled $138 billion in fresh monetary easing after central banks in the United States and debt-hit Europe also announced fresh measures to fuel growth.

Samsung plans no settlement with Apple: executive SEOUL, Nov 14, 2012 (AFP) - A top Samsung executive said Wednesday that the South Korean electronics giant had no plans to follow Taiwanese firm HTC in seeking a settlement over its patent disputes with arch-rival Apple. Samsung and Apple are currently embroiled in patent lawsuits in 10 nations including the United States and Germany, accusing each other of stealing design and technology.

The central bank, which also said it would provide new loans to banks, had been under pressure from politicians calling for urgent action. It was likely to face renewed calls for stimulus in light of the growth data Monday.

HTC, which had been locked in similar suits with Apple around the world, announced Sunday that the two companies had reached a deal to end all outstanding litigation and sign a 10-year licensing agreement over patents.

Japan’s trade picture has become increasingly bleak as exports to China, especially in the car market, suffer because of a consumer boycott.

“We have no such intention,” J.K. Shin, the head of Samsung Electronics’ mobile unit, told reporters when asked if Samsung would seek a similar settlement.

This was sparked by Japan’s nationalization in September of an East China Sea island chain claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing. RBS Securities chief Japan economist Junko Nishioka told Dow Jones Newswires that the economy was unlikely to show growth again “until the April-June period at the earliest”. The strong yen is a particularly acute problem for major exporters such as automakers, with Honda and

Nissan recently warning their fullyear profits would shrink because of the surging currency and the China dispute. Last month, Japan posted its worst September trade figures since 1979 due partly to the China row as well as weakness in the United States and Europe, two key export markets. US-bound shipments were up just

Samsung -- the world’s top mobile and smartphone maker -- was ordered by a US jury in August to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages for illegally copying iPhone and iPad features for its flagship Galaxy S smartphones. It has appealed the ruling. Since then, two separate rulings by courts in Japan and the Netherlands have dismissed Apple’s claims of patent infringement. Shin also said Wednesday that Samsung expected fourth-quarter smartphone sales to be as strong as the third quarter, when its newest Galaxy S3 device became the world’s top-selling smartphone.

0.9 percent in September, while exports to debt-hit Europe dived 21.1 percent. Exports to China were down 14.1 percent.

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TECH India unveils new version of ‘world’s cheapest tablet’

NEW DELHI, Nov 12, 2012 (AFP) - India has launched a new version of what is dubbed the world’s cheapest computer -- on sale to students at the subsidized price of $20 -- with a quicker processor and an improved battery. The Aakash tablet has been developed as a public-private partnership aimed at making computing technology available to students in a country where only one in ten uses the Internet. Makers of the tablet, Britain-based Datawind, say the Aakash 2 is powered by a processor that runs three times faster than the original. It also has a bigger touch screen and a battery with a life of three hours. Company CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said glitches in the first version have been removed in the latest model, which runs on Google’s Android operating system. “This time we have done our homework and all the problems which were found in Aakash-1 have been dealt with,” said Tuli. “We are much more confident about Aakash 2 because the hardware is different and the applications are also new... a change in the (design) team has made all the difference,” the Datawind chief executive said. The first version of the Aakash was launched by the government in October last year but it was marred by problems including a short battery life, initial long waiting lists and difficulties with distribution. At the upgraded computer’s launch on Sunday, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee stressed the importance of digital tools for students.

“Technology-enabled learning is a very important aspect of education,” Mukherjee said.

New BlackBerry to launch January 30 OTTAWA, Nov 12, 2012 (AFP) - The launch for the new BlackBerry 10 platform will be held January 30, as smartphone maker Research in Motion tries to regain traction against surging rivals. The Canadian firm said Monday the launch “will happen simultaneously in multiple countries around the world.”

“This must be adapted to our specific needs and introduced expeditiously in all educational institutions across the country.”

The struggling tech firm will unveil two new smartphones as well as the BlackBerry 10 operating system, aimed at regaining momentum against smartphones from Apple and those using Google’s Android operating system.

The paperback-book-sized Aakash 2, developed by Indian engineers at elite public universities operated by the Indian Institute of Technology, has a screen measuring seven inches (18 centimeters).

“In building BlackBerry 10, we set out to create a truly unique mobile computing experience that constantly adapts to your needs,” RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins said.

“Unlike the previous version which was a non-starter, this time around there are some functions and features around the Android tablet which make it a decent computing device for that price,” stated, an Indian website that analyses gadgets. The first 100,000 devices will be sold to students at engineering colleges and universities at a subsidized price of 1,130 rupees (20 dollars). Subsequently Aakash 2 will be distributed to bookstores in Indian universities.

“Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best in class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cuttingedge multimedia capabilities. All of this will be integrated into a user experience -- the BlackBerry Flow -- that is unlike any smartphone on the market today.” The launch comes with RIM, once the dominant smartphone maker, rapidly losing market share. RIM’s stock price has fallen to its lowest level since 2003, and in June the company shed 5,000 staff or 30 percent of its workforce.

Datawind says the commercial sale price without subsidies for Aakash 2 is 3,500 rupees (64 dollars).

According to research firm IDC, BlackBerry’s market share continued to sink, falling to just over four percent of the worldwide market by the end of the third quarter, as Android garnered 75 percent.

More than 15,000 teachers at 250 colleges have been trained in the use of Aakash for education, according to the human resource development ministry.

The BB10 itself was to have been launched in late 2010, but the company in June announced a delay, a move which means it will miss the critical holiday shopping period.

The country has nearly 115 million Internet users, the world’s third-largest number after China and the United States, data from the Internet and Mobile Association of India shows. But this only represents about 10 percent of the population.

If it fails to impress, observers are predicting the end of RIM. Heins, who was brought in at the start of the year to replace RIM founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis and turn around the company, announced last week that BB10 encryption has been certified as secure for use by government agencies and others dealing with sensitive information.

The announcement aimed at RIM’s traditional key business and governmental customers, came after the Pentagon ended its exclusive deal with RIM to supply its vast workforce with Blackberry smartphones. Another government agency, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, also said it was dropping the Blackberry device altogether in favor of Apple’s iPhone. The US military and intelligence agencies have long preferred the Blackberry due to security concerns and had worried that Apple, Android and other smart phones lacked sufficient safeguards. But the technology has advanced and Pentagon officials said innovative applications available on other smartphones could be useful for different units or offices. Recently, RIM showcased its success in emerging markets, but analysts noted that the company is initially losing money in this push for market share. Unmoved by the BB10 launch announcement, they are keeping their valuations of RIM unchanged, for now. “We believe BB10 may be able to generate traction, but only as a Tier-2 device or even a Tier-3 device, in line with the current BB products,” said Northern Securities analyst Sameet Kanade. Jeffries Group noted that RIM will also see increased competition from Microsoft entering the fray with its Windows 8 operating system, “attempting to establish W8 as the third mobile ecosystem.” The two new BB10 devices, one with a QWERTY keyboard and one with a touchscreen, according analysts, will offer a catalogue of new applications, including games, productivity, social, lifestyle and leisure, multimedia and published content, as well as apps designed for business and enterprise use. Messages, notifications, feeds and calendar events will be organized in a “hub” that can be checked “with a simple gesture” while working on other applications. Users will also be able to keep personal applications and information separate from work data.

Georgia Asian Times November 15-30, 2012

EVENTS Official Opening Indian Consulate in Sandy Springs, Oct 22

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Photo courtesy: Indian Consulate Atlanta

Work underway on contested mega-dam: Laos official BANGKOK, Nov 8, 2012 (AFP) - Laos has begun work on a controversial multi-billion dollar dam, an official confirmed Thursday, defying objections from environmentalists in its bid to become a regional energy hub. His Excellency Mrs Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to USA delivering an opening remark while Mr Ajit Kumar, Consul General India Atlanta stands by.

Construction on the main part of the $3.8 billion hydroelectric project at Xayaburi -- stalled for about 18 months over concerns about its impact -- formally began after Laos said it had adapted the design to assuage its neighbors’ fears. “We started working on the river yesterday after a ground-breaking ceremony,” said deputy energy minister Viraphonh Viravong, refuting a previous report that the country’s Prime Minister had said work had not begun. The project, led by Thai group CH Karnchang, has sharply divided the four Mekong nations -- Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand -- who rely on the river system for fish and irrigation.

His Excellency Mrs Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to USA delivering a toast with Mayor of Sandy Springs Eva Galambos and CG Ajit Kumar.

Thailand has agreed to buy most of the electricity generated by the dam, but Cambodia and Vietnam have raised fears it could ruin their farming and fishing industries. Laos has said the project is on course to be completed by the end of 2019. “The ambassadors of Vietnam and Cambodia were there at the ceremony yesterday,” Viraphonh said, responding to a question over whether Laos’ neighbours had complained about the official start of construction. Communist Laos, one of the world’s

most under-developed nations, believes the dam will help it become “the battery of Southeast Asia” by selling electricity to its richer neighbours. But environmentalists say the project will be disastrous for the 60 million people who depend on the river for transportation, food and economy. They fear Mekong fish species will become endangered as vital nutrients are trapped and dozens of species are prevented from swimming upstream to mating grounds. Urging further study into its likely impact, Li Lifeng of the WWF conservation group on Wednesday said the region should make a stand now or “risk resting the future of the Mekong on flawed analysis... that could have dire consequences for millions of people.” Vietnam and Cambodia have refrained from criticizing the start of construction, and both have backed Laos to stick to a pledge to halt work if a negative ecological impact is detected. Thai senators, however, were outspoken on Thursday, saying construction should be suspended for at least a decade pending further scientific studies. “The lives of 60 million people will be wrecked and catastrophically destroyed. It is an act of sabotage to the Mekong River which is the nature’s treasure”, said Senator Prasan Marukpitak, the head of an environment subcommittee.

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HERITAGE South Korea’s top cultural treasure rises from the ashes SEOUL, Nov 9, 2012 (AFP) - Five years ago, as he watched TV images of South Korea’s foremost historical treasure being engulfed in flames lit by a lone arsonist, Hong Chang-Won remembers having to turn his head away. “It was too heartbreaking to see such beautiful architecture being destroyed like that,” said Hong, a registered master craftsman who specializes in traditional Korean ornamental painting. Seoul’s 600-year-old Namdaemun (South Gate), listed as “National Treasure Number One” and a source of immense cultural pride, was burned pretty much to the ground on February 10, 2008. The largely wooden structure that had managed to survive the devastation of the 1950-53 Korean War was reduced to ashes by a disgruntled 69year-old man with some paint thinner and a cigarette lighter. Nearly five years later, following one of the longest, most expensive restoration projects ever undertaken in South Korea that involved scores of highly-skilled artisans like Hong, Namdaemun is ready to return. The restored landmark is set to be unveiled, on schedule, in late December.

From the outset of the 25 billion won ($22.7 million) project, the Cultural Heritage Administration had decided that the reconstruction work should be carried out as faithfully to the original as possible. “It has been extremely difficult, but given that it’s Korea’s landmark, we put traditional methods and materials as our highest priority,” said the head of the administration’s restoration team, Cho Kyu-Hyung. “The building holds not only a historical significance, but also a great symbolic meaning for all Koreans,” Cho told AFP during a preview tour. Building from the past Historians and master craftsmen using traditional construction techniques were invited to review documents dating back centuries, as well as a blueprint drawn up in 1963 when the government dismantled the gate for repair work. “The only modern ‘tools’ that we used were trucks to deliver the stone and timber. Otherwise everything was done using original technologies,” Cho said. Molten steel was poured into special moulds to fashion traditional-style nails, while all 22,000 roof tiles were handmade. Hundreds of pieces of pine timber had all been cut and allowed to dry out naturally -- a process that takes several years -- and the stonework was cut and crafted with traditional tools. Decorative paints, however, had to be imported from Japan, since the

art of making them in the traditional fashion, without chemicals, had been lost among Korean specialists. Six master craftsmen specializing in stone craft, woodcraft, roof tiles and ornamental painting were invited onto the project, said Cho, with each craftsman assisted by as many as 40 licensed apprentices. As the expert in charge of the painting, Hong’s team was the last to work on the project and he watched carefully as the apprentices followed his outlines of lotus flowers and leaf patterns drawn on the giant timbers. “We tried hard to restore the colors and styles of the time when it was actually built,” Hong said. “At first glance, the newer Namdaemun might look less colorful and rather toned down, but it will look much more serene and graceful,” he added. The dominant colors were of light blue and dark green, with more vivid tones of orange and red used only as highlights. The patterns were copied from temples built around the same time, as well as pictures taken from the early 1900s. “And since some pillars remained intact even after the fire, we also took them into account,” Hong said. Protecting for the future

The pagoda-style, two-story gate located in the centre of downtown Seoul was first constructed in 1398, then rebuilt in 1447 and renovated several times after that. The structure that burned down in 2008 had still contained some 600year-old timber. The fire took out the entire roof, most of the upper floor and some of the lower floor. Proposals to give the restored version a fire-resistant coat was rejected, Cho said, because it would have caused some discoloration of the paintwork. “We did research and tests and came to conclusion that the best solution was to take every possible precautionary measure, such as installing thermal sensors around the building,” Cho said. The destruction of Namdaemun sent shock waves through the country, with sorrowful Seoul residents swarming around the charred ruin, laying flowers and writing grieving messages. The arsonist, Chae Jong-Gi, was eventually jailed for 10 years. A court ruled he had “inflicted unbearable agony on the people and damaged national pride,” noting that the gate had been considered “the treasure among all treasures which had survived all kinds of historic disasters”.

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Last of Nepal’s Kusunda speakers mourns dying language

KATHMANDU, Nov 11, 2012 (AFP) - As Gyani Maiya Sen nears the end of her life she worries that her final words may the last ever spoken in her mysterious mother tongue. The 76-year-old, part of a vanishing tribe in remote western Nepal, is the only surviving speaker of Kusunda, a language of unknown origins and unique sentence structures that has long baffled experts. “There’s no one else with whom I can speak in my language. I used to speak with my mother but since her death in 1985, I am left alone,” she said by telephone.

as endangered, meaning they are falling out of use, and six, including Kusunda, as “critically endangered”. “Language is part of culture. When it disappears, the native speakers will not only lose their heritage and history but they will also lose their identity,” said Tribhuvan University linguistics professor Madhav Prasad Pokharel. “Kusunda is unique because it is not related to any other language in the world. It is also not influenced by other languages,” said Pokharel. “In linguistic terms we call it a language isolate.”

Yet the frail, gnarled tribeswoman is the focus of renewed interest among linguists across the world who are trying to ensure her language survives in some form after she has gone.

Until recently, there were two other native speakers of Kusunda, Puni Thakuri and her daughter Kamala Khatri, but Puni died two years ago and Kamala migrated to India for work, leaving Sen the sole surviving native speaker.

Sen’s Kusunda tribe, now just 100 members strong, were once a nomadic people but she has found herself living out her twilight years in a concrete bungalow built by local authorities in Dang district, western Nepal.

Tribhuvan University, in Kathmandu, started up a project 10 years ago to document and preserve Kusunda, inviting Thakuri and Khatri to the Nepalese capital. But as the money ran out, the research ground to a halt.

“How can I forget the language I grew up learning? I used to speak it when I was a child. Even now, I wish I could talk to someone who understands my language,” Sen said in Nepali.

The project has been given new life by Bhojraj Gautam, a student of Pokharel who recently spent months recording Sen speaking, and gaining the knowledge to speak basic Kusunda himself in the process.

Nepal, wedged between China and India, is home to more than 100 ethnic groups speaking as many languages and linguists say at least 10 have disappeared in recent decades.

As part of the project, funded by the Australian Research Council, Gautam has written down the entire language and the outcome, he says, will eventually be a Kusunda dictionary and a comprehensive grammar.

UNESCO lists 61 of Nepal’s languages

Kusunda, incorrectly first classified as a Tibeto-Burman language, has three vowels and 15 consonants, and reflects the history and culture of its people.

“The native speakers shifted to other languages. Factors such as marriage outside their tribe, migration and modernization also contributed to the loss,” Pokharel said.

“They call themselves ‘myahq’, which means tiger. That’s because they think themselves as the kings of forests,” Pokharel said.

When King Mahendra dismissed the elected government in 1960 and put in its place an autocratic, partyless system which would govern Nepal for the next 30 years, the use of languages other than Nepali was discouraged.

The origins of the Kusunda people have never been established but they are believed to have lived in the midwestern hills of what is now Nepal for hundreds of years. They traditionally rely on hunting to survive and are adept at using arrows and bows for killing wild animals, with lizards and wild fowl being their meal of choice. Pokharel said Kusundas have no equivalent of the word “green” because the forest-dwellers are surrounded by vegetation and don’t recognize greenery as something that needs its own word. The tribe has been dying out for decades, with women marrying outside the blood line, and the language is perishing with it as many take to speaking Nepali.

With the end of a decade-long Maoist insurgency in 2006 and a revived focus on the rights of minorities, indigenous people have started to preserve their language and culture. But while it may be too late for Kusunda, Pokharel said a national institution was needed to try to protect Nepal’s other dying languages. “Transferring language to a non-native speaker is important and indeed the only way to save it,” Pokharel said.

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Affordable Cantonese Dishes in Duluth Rice plates, noodle soup, congees, and other popular Cantonese dishes are standard items at this eatery located inside the Hong Kong Supermarket at Pleasant Hill Road. In addition, you may order off the standard menu that includes dishes such as Pan Fried Beef Noodle - HK Style, Singapore Fried Rice Noodle, etc. The wonton noodle soup ($6.50) comes with extra large shrimp wontons and yellow egg noodles. The noodles are texturally chewy and the wontons are freshly made. However, my gripe is with the soup -- as it is laden with msg and they put more of it that any place else in Atlanta! A good wonton noodle is always measured by the quality of the soup base and the accompanying egg noodle. Honey BBQ Pork with rice plate ($6.25) is a must try at this eatery. Crispy and crunchy BBQ pork meat goes well with the generous serving of steamed rice. Scallion oil chicken on rice plate ($6.25) is also a safe bet. This is a

popular Cantonese dish that is popular among Chinese from Guangdong province. They also serves a variety of congee to order: dried scallops, pork & preserved egg, pork blood, pork kidney & liver, chicken, fresh fish, fisherman’s congee and several others. prices range from $2.25 to $7.25. You may also order “yu teow” or chinese fried dough to go along with the congee for $1.50 A variety of dim sum dishes are available for ala carte order on Saturday and Sunday. Be prepared to for a long wait as it averages about 25 minutes per order for dim sum dishes. Overall, the services is a typical for a food court eatery. Do not expect attentive service nor timely delivery of your order. Prices is reasonable given the sizable portion and quality of the dishes. Best BBQ 2300 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth GA 30096 Tel (770) 623-2638

Ang Lee says Taiwan made ‘Life of Pi’ movie possible TAIPEI, Nov 7, 2012 (AFP) - Oscarwinning Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee said Wednesday he could not have made his new 3D film “Life of Pi” if he had opted for Hollywood as the shooting location rather than Taiwan. “The movie couldn’t have been shot if it hadn’t been in Taiwan... it couldn’t have been done in Los Angeles,” Lee said in Taipei during a visit to promote the movie which will hit US and Taiwanese theaters on November 21. He said the decision not to shoot the movie in Hollywood had allowed him and his crew to think outside the box. “If we had been in Hollywood, the tech team would probably think they were know-it-alls but in Taiwan they didn’t and they were exploring from the start.” About 70 percent of the movie was shot in Taiwan, including a now-abandoned airport in the centre of the country where Lee’s team built a specially designed wave-generating tank.

The movie is based on the Booker prize-winning novel by Yann Martel about an Indian boy adrift on a lifeboat in the Pacific with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a tiger. It features a newcomer, 17-year-old Suraj Sharma from India, in the lead role of Pi Patel, who was chosen out of 3,000 candidates during casting sessions across India. “The movie depends on Suraj. I would not shoot the film if it weren’t for this person and his talent,” Lee said. “He is very spirited... I was moved by his sincerity.” The filmmaker, who is based in New York, was hailed as the “glory of Taiwan” after becoming the first Asian to win a best director Oscar for his gay cowboy drama “Brokeback Mountain” in 2007.

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SPORTS Ulsan thump Al Ahli to be crowned kings of Asia ULSAN, South Korea, Nov 10, 2012 (AFP) - Ulsan Hyundai thumped Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli 3-0 Saturday to lift their first AFC Champions League trophy and become the third South Korean club in four years to be crowned kings of Asia. Goals from Kwak Tae-Hwi, Rafinha and Kim Seung-Yong raised the roof at Ulsan’s home stadium and ensured Kim Ho-Gon’s side followed in the footsteps of Pohang Steelers and Seongnam Ilhwa, winners in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Al Ahli rarely troubled the hosts’ defence throughout the 90 minutes and in the end Ulsan ran out comfortable winners to end the tournament unbeaten in front of an impressive crowd of 42,153. “Ulsan have been waiting a long time for this win and we knew we had to win the game, but to do that we had to play our normal game just like before,” said coach Kim, 61. “I wanted the players to put Al Ahli under pressure from the first minute and get the ball through to the strikers. So today’s win is because of the players.” Al Ahli’s Czech coach Karel Jarolim admitted his team had underperformed, but he said Ulsan were worthy winners. “Maybe we are expecting a lot from the players and it’s true they didn’t perform well, but it’s not because they didn’t want to but because Ulsan are a strong team and they played well,” said Jarolim. “Most of the players did their best but Ulsan are strong and they deserved to win. This is football. “After the first goal I think we created a few chances to score at least

one goal in the first half, but the strikers didn’t score and they didn’t work with the ball very well. “I was planning to make some changes in the second half but I was surprised when Ulsan scored and after that I thought our players lost their concentration and didn’t focus well on the match.” Ulsan started the game brightly, with Rafinha and Kwak both going close in the opening 10 minutes in what was threatening to be a one-sided affair even at such an early stage. In the 13th minute, Ulsan claimed the lead their impressive start deserved when club captain Kwak ambled up from defence to meet Kim Seung-Yong’s free kick with a firm header. Juan Estiven Velez tried his luck from long range on two occasions as Ulsan sought to extend their advantage and Al Ahli continued to struggle, but both attempts were well off target. Al Ahli offered little serious threat in attack and, with four minutes left in the half, Kim Shin-Wook hooked his attempt wide as Ulsan sought what was turning out to be an elusive second goal. That though changed midway through the second half when Velez’s ball was headed across goal by Kim Shin-Wook and into the path of Rafinha, who scored his fifth goal in five Champions League games since arriving from J-League side Gamba Osaka. And, with 15 minutes to go, Kim Seung-Yong added a deserved third for the dominant Ulsan when his leftfoot drive from a tight angle gave Al Ahli goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf little chance.

Major League side bids $25 million for Korea’s Ryu SEOUL, Nov 10, 2012 (AFP) - Hanwha Eagles on Saturday announced they had accepted a bid worth more than $25 million from an unidentified Major League team for South Korea’s top left-handed starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin. “We’ve decided to accept the highest posting fee worth $25,737,737.33,” the Eagles said on its official website. “We believe this figure is acceptable for the rights to the top ace in South Korea,” it said. The winning team will now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Ryu through agent Scott Boras. Given the contract is worked out, the Eagles will then receive the posting fee.

Ulsan’s fans celebrated wildly after the win which also secures their team a berth at next month’s FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. “I’m so happy for the players. The players want to play in the FIFA Club World Cup and it’s the same for me

Ryu’s posting fee is reportedly the third largest ever, following Japanese pitchers Yu Darvish’s worth $51.7 million and Daisuke Matsuzaka’s worth $51.1 million. “I’ve made a step forward for a dream come true,” Ryu was quoted as saying on the Eagles website. “I will make every effort in order to ensure that my challenge will serve as a source of energy for the Korean people, especially for children.” Ryu, 25, is not a hard-thrower with a fastball of between the high 80-mph and the low-90 mph (128-144 kph) but he has a good command and an excellent changeup.

and I’m really happy to go there,” said Ulsan’s coach Kim. “This is my happiest time today. I have achieved so much through this AFC Champions League victory.”

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SPORTS India’s Singh named for Royal Trophy SINGAPORE, Nov 9, 2012 (AFP) Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh has been named for the Asian team to take on Europe at next month’s Royal Trophy, organizers said Thursday.

Philippines scours globe for talent MANILA, Nov 9, 2012 (AFP) - Philippines baseball officials have scoured the US and Japan professional leagues for players with the talent and eligibility to help the national side make it to the world championships, officials said. Similar tactics have already been employed by the country’s rugby union and football teams, with some success. “We’re looking far and wide for good players with at least one Filipino parent. Everyone else is doing it,” said Hector Navasero, president of the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association. The obvious plum target was Tim Lincecum of World Series champions the San Francisco Giants, said Navasero. The Filipino-American pitcher starred in relief in the Giants’ World Series sweep of the Detroit Tigers last month, but declined the Philippine offer out of respect for his father. “His mother was born in the Philippines, but it was his father who raised him after the couple split,” Navasero said. Instead 14 players mostly from the US minor leagues have been recruited, and will join the Philippine team at a qualifying tournament in Taiwan on November 15. New Zealand, Taiwan and Thailand are also competing, with the winning

team qualifying for the World Baseball Classic in March next year.

Singh, who pulled out of this week’s Barclays Singapore Open with a finger injury, joins South Korean Majorwinner Y.E. Yang and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa for the event in Brunei from December 14-16.

Trophy for the fourth time,” Singh, who has won 20 tournaments and two Asian order of merit titles, was quoted as saying in a press release. Singh, 41, withdrew from the Singapore Open after shooting six-over 77 in the first round, as he struggles to recover from a finger injury sustained in July during his victory at the Scottish Open.

“I am really looking forward to playing for the Asian Team at the Royal

The minor leaguers in the Philippine team are led by pitcher Geno Espineli, who had one season in the majors with the San Francisco Giants in 2008, posting a 2-0 win-loss record with a 5.06 earned run average. The pitching staff also includes 21year-old left-hander Ryuya Ogawa, who is a combined 0-1 and 3.60 ERA in five innings pitched for the Chunichi Dragons in the Japanese pro league over the past two years. The Philippine national football team, the Azkals -- slang for mongrel dogs -- mined European soccer to improve the record of Asia’s perennial doormats, who were ranked 195th by FIFA in 2006. Former Chelsea FC youth players Phil and James Younghusband, as well as goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who plays professionally at Bristol Rovers, have since helped boost their ranking to an all-time high of 143rd. Using a similar approach the Philippines’ rugby union team, the Volcanoes, secured the services of six Australian-Filipinos who play professionally in Japan -- and have since risen to 56th in the world and fifth in Asia.

FIFA drops Bangkok futsal stadium BANGKOK, Nov 7, 2012 (AFP) - Football’s governing body FIFA has forced Thailand to move the knockout stages of the Futsal World Cup from a purpose-built $40 million stadium after the venue failed safety tests. A FIFA inspection team found the Bangkok Futsal Arena “will not be ready” to host the main games of the indoor football competition including the November 18 final, the body said in a statement. Despite spending of a reported $40 million, the venue has been dogged by construction problems including a delay until late last week of the delivery of the wooden flooring that makes up the pitch.

Although “significant progress has been made, including the installation of a pitch” the stadium fell short of key safety criteria, FIFA said Tuesday. “The safety of spectators, teams and all other visitors to the stadium are of paramount importance. FIFA... therefore concluded that such a fundamental issue... cannot be compromised.” The quarter-final, semi-final and final matches will be played at an another indoor stadium in Bangkok which is hosting group games. Holders Brazil, who have scored 17 and conceded just once in two group matches so far, and two-time former champions Spain are favorites to claim the title.

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HEALTH Fifth of US youth with HIV unaware during first-time sex WASHINGTON, Nov 9, 2012 (AFP) - Twenty percent of young people born with HIV in the United States don’t know they’re infected when they have sex for the first time, according to a new study released Friday. The study, which appeared in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, also found that most of the juveniles who were aware of their status said they did not tell their partners before becoming intimate. In addition, a majority of these sexually active HIV-positive youth reported some sex without condom use. “Our findings show that these young people act very much like their HIV-negative counterparts across the country,” said Rohan Hazra of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “However, because of their HIV status, it is extremely important for health care providers, school counselors and family members to reinforce the importance of practicing safe sex, taking medication regularly and disclosing HIV status to potential partners.” The study consisted of 330 HIV-positive 10- to 18-year-olds who were given computer-guided questionnaires. It is being billed as the first to comprehensively examine factors linked to the initiation of sexual activity among young people born with HIV. Nearly 10,000 people in the United States are living with HIV they got at or before birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, participants of the study who had initiated sexual activity reported having their first sexual experience at the age of 14. A third indicated that they had been honest about their HIV status with their first partner. According to the study, 62 percent of those who were sexually active said they had sex at least once without the use of a condom. It also found that youngsters who did not take anti-HIV drugs on a regular basis were more likely to initiate sex than those who did so as prescribed.

Mixed results for malaria trial vaccine PARIS, Nov 09, 2012 (AFP) - New tests with a candidate malaria vaccine have shown it to be less effective in weeks-old infants than older babies, a “frustrating” result in the fight against the killer disease. The trial vaccine, RTS,S, was shown in Phase III tests to protect only a third of six- to 12-week-old infants inoculated, its developers announced at a teleconference on Friday. The result from tests on 6,500 infants was “modest” compared to success rates of between 47 percent and 55 percent in children between the ages of five and 17 months, said a study report in the New England Journal of Medicine. “We... would have liked to have seen higher efficacy than we have of course,” said Andrew Witty, chief executive officer of vaccine developer GlaxoSmithKline, calling the results “a little frustrating”. But he stressed: “This is not a mission we should just walk away from,” with the mosquito-borne disease killing hundreds of thousands of children per year. “This remains the lead and still the most encouraging (malaria) candidate vaccine,” said Witty. A year ago, the RTS,S team announced that the candidate vaccine cut risk in half

over a period of 12 months in African children between the ages of five and 17 months who had been inoculated. The biggest trial of its kind, underway at 11 sites in seven African countries, seeks to create a vaccine to block the parasite that causes malaria.

not the complete solution,” said London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine immunologist Eleanor Riley of on the findings. It can be effective if used with other prevention measures such as insecticidetreated bed nets.

Several vaccine development projects are under way around the world, with many of them in the clinical trial phase.

University College London vaccine expert Jane Zuckerman added the outcome was not completely unexpected.

The disease kills an estimated 655,000 people every year, mainly children under five living in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Complex immunological responses are intrinsic in the development of a malaria vaccine,” she said.

Dr Salim Abdulla, who leads the Tanzanian leg of the trial, said three doses of the drug had reduced clinical malaria in tiny babies by 31 percent, and severe malaria by 37 percent.

Abdulla said the positives include confirmation that the vaccine is safe and that it can be administered with other childhood vaccinations without any worrying side-effects.

“We will continue to examine the different factors that may be behind the different levels of efficacy,” between the two age groups, Abdulla said.

“The efficacy came back lower than we had hoped, but developing a vaccine against a parasite is a very hard thing to do,” said US billionaire Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which sponsors the trial.

The researchers expect to have final trial results by 2014, including data on the vaccine’s efficacy over a longer period of 30 months, and the potential benefits of a later, booster dose. “These data simply confirm that the vaccine is potentially useful in significantly reducing the risk of malaria, but that it is

“The trial is continuing and we look forward to getting more data to help determine whether and how to deploy this vaccine.”

Birds of a feather don’t share a sick bed PARIS, Nov 07, 2012 (AFP) - House finches avoid sick members of their own species, scientists said Wednesday in a finding that could be useful for tracking the spread of diseases like bird flu that also affects humans. Laboratory tests showed that the house finch, a particularly social North American species, was able to tell the difference between sick and healthy fellow birds and tended to avoid those that were unwell. This was the first time that avoidance of sick individuals, already observed in lobsters and bullfrog tadpoles, has been shown in birds, according to a paper published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters. “In addition, we found variation in the immune response of house finches, which means that they vary in their ability to

fight off infections,” said co-author Maxine Zylberberg of the California Academy of Sciences. “As it turns out, individuals who have weaker immune responses and therefore are less able to fight off infections, are the ones who most avoid interacting with sick individuals.” This all meant that there were differences between individual birds’ susceptibility to disease, the time it would take them to recuperate and their likeliness to pass on the disease. “These are key factors that help to determine if and when an infectious disease will spread through a group of birds,” said Zylberg -- and how quickly. “This becomes particularly important for

us in trying to figure out and predict when and how infectious diseases that affect both birds and ourselves ... will spread through wild bird populations and end up in areas where wild birds and humans interact extensively, creating the opportunity for these diseases to cross over from birds to humans.” The H5N1 strain of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, spreads from live birds to humans through direct contact. It causes fever and breathing problems and has claimed 359 human lives in 15 countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, from 2003 to August of this year, according to the World Health Organization.

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Misc Asia Indonesian city targets pot-bellied police Tangerang, Indonesia, Nov 9, 2012 (AFP) - Overweight policemen in an Indonesian city have been ordered to join an exercise program as many of them are currently too slow to catch fleeing criminals.

TOKYO, Nov 9, 2012 (AFP) - A Japanese maitre d’ was crowned world’s best on Friday in an international competition to find the top high-end server. Shin Miyazaki, 35, who works at Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon in Tokyo, proved his mettle through nine rounds that tested his ability to dress a salad, flambe a pineapple and identify which wine works well with certain flavors.

“The pot-bellied police run too slow,” said Wahyu Widada, police chief of Tangerang, near the capital Jakarta. Around 130 officers deemed excessively overweight out of the 1,473strong force will undertake compulsory physical exercise three times a week for a total of four-and-a-half hours. The exercise program includes aerobics and running, he said.

Japanese maitre d’ wins world cup for waiters

“Once they reach their ideal body weight, they are free to walk out of the program,” said Widada. He also warned the officers would have to watch their diet: “Exercise means nothing if they continue to consume greasy food at home.”

Miyazaki beat off competitors from 14 different countries under the gaze of an expert jury who were examining everything from how he put customers at ease to how he made the Irish coffee after desert.

“I practiced every day for years, I’m hooked, and now I get this award,” an emotional Miyazaki said as he received the Georges Baptiste Cup. “But this is only the beginning, tomorrow I go back to work to do my best.” The Georges Baptiste Cup was established in France in 1961 in honor of the chef and butler of the same name. It expanded to include European entrants three decades later and in 2000 went global when it was held in Canada. Subsequent editions were held in France, Mexico and Vietnam.

Japan’s gadget failures: the futures that never happened TOKYO, Nov 11, 2012 (AFP) - It gave us the Walkman, the pocket calculator and heated toilet seats, but Japan’s path to innovative greatness is littered with failures such as the TV-shaped radio and the “walking” toaster.

Browsing Masuda’s collection sends the viewer through a portal to a different time, a period when the “three sacred treasures” -- the television, refrigerator and washing machine -- were status symbols to which all self-respecting housewives in booming Japan would aspire.

These and other retro appliances are part of a treasure-trove offering a glimpse of futures that never happened on Japan’s journey to becoming a worldwide byword for invention during the late 1950s and early 1960s. “Way back before Cool Japan was an Uncool Japan,” said Kenichi Masuda, 49, referencing the marketing slogan Tokyo uses to sell itself at home and abroad. Masuda has made a life’s work of gathering the also-rans in the race to consumer supremacy. Witness Iwatsu Electric’s “Both Phone” -- two telephones attached

back to back with only one receiver, apparently to allow someone to make calls from either side. But only one at a time. Marvel at Fuji Electric’s doubledecked electric fan -- the “Silent Pair”, which definitely is a pair, but not exactly silent.

But for those who could not afford a real television -- Japan’s first domestically-produced set cost the equivalent of three years’ salary for a mid-1950s high school graduate -- the next best thing was readily available. The “Sharp Cinema Super” is a radio in the shape of a television and cost 10,900 yen -- a little more than a

month’s salary for an elite public servant of the time. “The delight of having the impression of watching TV would, however, fade quickly with this still screen, “ said Masuda, adding: “I bet the man who bought this was scolded by his wife.” Panasonic’s television-shaped gas stove GSF-1 is the most expensive model among a range of gas heaters the company sold over 30 years. “Is there any real meaning in this? No, but this shows how people admired television sets,” he said as he showed the stove, one of the 2,000 items he has amassed over nearly three decades. Other marvels include the “satellite-type” washing machine -- a round metal pod with a handle that stirs dirty laundry in water and detergent. The product was launched in 1957,

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Misc Asia amid public excitement over the Soviet Union’s Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. Sharp’s “Quicky” -- a pair of electric scissors and Toshiba’s prosaically named “CK-31A” electric can opener were both failures. Hitachi’s “Piano” is a desk-top electric fan that is, for no discernable reason, shaped like a miniature piano and is supposed to emit a gently scented breeze. Not to be confused with typical hotel “conveyor belt” toasters, Toshiba’s “walking-type toaster” has a slit entrance for the slice of bread, which is then “walked” vertically down inside the toaster on metal rails. When the toast eventually emerges at the other end, it feels like a major achievement. “This didn’t sell. There’s no way Japan’s small kitchens had room for a product whose size and price were twice those of common models,” Masuda said. His personal favorite in this category is Toshiba’s “Snack-3”, a device that can warm milk while toasting a slice of bread and frying an egg. Would-be consumers might have seen through this one. “People may have wanted to have Western-Style breakfast at the time... though you would become tired of that fairly quickly,” he said. For Masuda, these quixotic gadgets show the bravery and idealism of Japanese companies in a high-growth era that was crowned by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the launch of bullet trains. “They are adorable. You can see how they came about from companies pouring so much effort in to pleasing customers. It’s just that sometimes, these efforts backfired,” said Masuda.

“But they were serious products made by adults for adults.” Japanese consumer electronics evolved from this trial-and-error period to sweep the world in the late 20th century -- with Sony’s Walkman standing as perhaps the epitome of Nippon Know-how. But then it all went wrong. Household names that appeared almost indestructible in the 1980s -Panasonic, Sharp and Sony -- are shadows of their former selves, struggling to keep up with their South Korean and Taiwanese rivals. For Masuda, these companies lost their nimbleness and their playful sense of adventure when they got too large. “As they grew bigger and bigger, they became mindful of ‘marketing,’ ‘profitability’, ‘safety’ and the like. They may have become too slow to act,” he said. “But companies in this period were vigorous and had a ‘go-for-it’ spirit. They weren’t afraid of failures.” So how do they get back to their roots? That, admits Masuda, has him stumped. “If I knew that, I’d be a company president.”

‘Virgin Mary’ draws hundreds of Malaysian Catholics KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11, 2012 (AFP) - Hundreds of Catholics have gathered in prayer and worship outside a Malaysian hospital after seeing an image said to resemble the Virgin Mary on one of the windows. Pictures of the image have gone viral among local Christians on Facebook and large crowds have gathered at the Sime Darby Medical Centre just outside Kuala Lumpur. Those assembled Sunday maintained they can now also see an image of an adult Jesus Christ just two windows away from his mother. Nearly 100 Catholics were still at the hospital Sunday, lighting candles, singing hymns and saying prayers. Several tourist buses added to the congestion. Some have come from as far as Singapore, over 300 kilometers (187 miles) away, to see the image on a seventh-floor window which they describe as a miracle. “We believe Mary, mother of God, has a message for us, as she is looking down on us and then at a Malaysian flag. We can also see Jesus and he is also moving, they are not static,” said Eunice Fernandez, who lives nearby. The 54-year-old housewife dismissed claims the image could be a hoax.

Sime Darby, which is primarily a plantations conglomerate, could not immediately be reached for comment. Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of Malaysian Catholic newsletter The Herald, said the church would need to investigate and verify the authenticity of the images and “the experiences of the witnesses”. “It could be private revelations. We have to make sure they are not imagined but real apparitions,” he said. Catholics make up a size able minority in Muslim-dominated Malaysia.

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Georgia Asian Times Vol 9 No 21  

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