Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia
www.gasiantimes.com October 15-31, 2012 Vol 9. No 19
Political standoff has US on path to â€˜fiscal cliffâ€™
Georgia Asian Times October 15-31, 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: email@example.com Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: www.gasiantimes.com Mailing Address: P.O. Box 922348 Norcross, GA 30010-2348
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GAT Calendar of Events (For latest & updated events, visit www.gasiantimes.com)
GAT welcome submission of announcement pertaining to community related events. Please email event, date, venue, and time to email@example.com. GAT does not guarantee insertion of event announcement and has the right to deny any posting.
8th Atlanta Asian Film Festival
Date: Oct 5-20, 2012 Tickets: $8 per admission Venues: Emory University, GSU-Cinefest For more info: www.atlaff.org
NAAAP’s Chopstix For Charity Date: Saturday Oct 20 Time: 7:00 pm Venue: Andrews Entertainment District Tickets: $55 non members, $45 NAAAP members For more info: www.naaaptlanta.org/ chopstix.aspx
CBAA Fall Business Expo
Date: Saturday Oct 20 Time: 10:00 am -4:00 pm Venue: Doraville Arena 3037 Pleasant Valley Drive, Doraville For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
2012 Asian American College Fair Open to Public
Date: Saturday Oct 20 Time: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm Venue: Korean Church Atlanta, 3205 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, GA 30096 For more info: HB Cho, 678-780-6713
“Leadership Transition and the Future of China” Professor Joseph Fewsmith, Boston University Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 Time: 4:00 pm – 5:30pm Venue: Troy Moore Library, 9th Floor, General Classroom Building, Georgia State University For more info: Kim Reinmann, email@example.com
October 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
METRO ASIAN NEWS Korean Executive Appointed National Association of Realtors Liaison to South Korea The National Association of Realtors has officially appointed Mr Tim Hur as NAR’s President’s Liaison to South Korea.
2 young Indian Americans crashes Ferrari in early morning wreck Alpharetta, Oct 19, 2012 -- Two Indian American men were severely burned after their Ferrari crashed and caught fire in north Fulton County Friday morning. Eighteen-year-old Akshay Panducherry was driving east on Webb Bridge Road in Alpharetta shortly before 4 a.m. when the car left the road, careened into the woods and crashed, according to Alpharetta Department of Public Safety spokesman George Gordon.
Panducherry and his passenger, 21-year-old Harshavardhan Patlolla, managed to escape the burning car, but suffered second- and third-degree burns, Gordon said. They were airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in serious condition.
“I am humbled by the appointment, hope to continue building bridges, and bridging the gap between the different communities, which is further accomplished by being a President’s Liaison and being a voice for the different communities,” said Hur who is the current Vice President of Asian Real Estate Association of American-Greater Atlanta Chapter. Tim Hur was honored as one of GAT’s 25 Most Influential Asian Americans in Georgia Award for 2012. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade associ
The Ferrari car was a gift from Panducherry’s father last week. Gordon said that, per standard procedure, investigators will try to determine whether speeding was involved in the crash.
Chopstix for Charity Benefiting Pan Asian Community Services Atlanta, Oct15, 2012 -- This year’s annual NAAAP’s Chopstix For Charity is scheduled for Saturday, October 20 at Andrews Entertainment District. NAAAP Atlanta’s Chopstix for Charity connects corporations, small businesses and individuals to the local Asian Pacific Islander community through annual fundraising and grant making.
Chopstix for Charity actively supports small, non-profit organizations that provide social services, education or promotes cultural awareness for the Atlanta Asian Pacific Islander community. CFC raises funds through its annual charitable event and distributes 100% of corporate donations to monetary grants.
Tickets are priced at $55 for non members and $45 for NAAAP Atlanta members. For more information, visit www. naaapatlanta.org/chopstix.aspx
ation, representing 1 million members, including NAR’s institutes, societies and councils, involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Georgia Asian Times
October 15-31, 2012
Political standoff has US on path to ‘fiscal cliff’ WASHINGTON, Oct 19, 2012 (AFP) - As the US candidates battle it out in the final weeks of the campaign another showdown looms, with the world’s largest economy coasting towards a potentially disastrous “fiscal cliff.” If President Barack Obama’s Democrats and Republicans in Congress cannot strike a deal by December 31, then the already sluggish economy will be hit hard by sharp cuts in government spending and a surge in taxes. It’s a prospect that has businesses holding back investments and hiring and global bodies like the International Monetary Fund issuing warnings. And yet Congress is not even discussing a way out, and Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney rarely mention the cliff on the campaign trail. “Going over the fiscal cliff would reduce the deficit quickly, but would damage the economy in the process,” said Gary Thayer of Wells Fargo Advisors. “Neither party is willing to make a deal before the election results are clear.”
Without a deal, the government will have to cut some $109 billion in spending next year which, along with the tax increase, will remove some $500 billion from the economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The spending cuts will be split between defense and non-defense parts of the budget. Government contractors will lose business and tens of thousands of civil servants could be furloughed. The CBO says the austerity could shrink the economy 0.5 percent next year and push unemployment back up to 9.1 percent, from the current 7.8 percent. The impact would hit the global economy, slowing growth in developed and developing countries alike, according to the IMF. “The US is in danger over time of losing its status as a reserve currency if we don’t start getting our fiscal house in order,” said Steve Bell, a former Senate budget committee staffer now with the Bipartisan Policy Center. “If we don’t come to some substantial agreement over the next say 12
months, you’re going to see a lot of people start to lose confidence in us both economically and militarily.” No action likely before the elections The cliff is no accident: it was designed by the very politicians who want to avoid it, part of a deal in August 2011 to persuade Republicans to stop blocking the increase in the country’s borrowing ceiling. The two sides came up with was a poison pill: if they could not agree on a more moderate plan to address the country’s gaping deficit and enormous debt, they would have to automatically implement a 10-year plan to radically slash $1.2 trillion in spending beginning in 2013. Both sides hoped to agree on a more palatable plan, but with the November 6 presidential and congressional elections in sight, Republicans bristled at the idea of tax hikes and Democrats resisted major spending cuts. Now, unless they can reach a deal, a package of tax cuts renewed and expanded in 2010 to boost the weak economy will expire, adding some $2,000 to the tax bill of the average
US family, according to the Tax Policy Center. Congress can still rewrite the laws before the end of the year, and a group of eight senators from both parties has held quiet discussions to lay the groundwork for a post-election deal. But the two sides remain deeply divided. Obama is refusing to accept any compromise that does not increase taxes for the wealthy, and Republicans reject tax hikes. Analysts say much depends on how November’s vote comes out. The winners will not take office until late January. If the Republicans capture the White House and both houses in Congress, they could be in no mood to negotiate with Democrats in the “lame duck” period. In that case, the economy could head over the precipice on January 2.
October 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Mongolia’s white-hot growth slows on China woes ULAN BATOR, Mongolia, Oct 10, 2012 (AFP) - Mongolia’s white-hot economic growth has cooled this year as the ripple effects of the global economic downturn -- and especially slowing Chinese growth -- start to hit home. Resource-rich Mongolia defied the global economic gloom to notch stunning 17.3 percent GDP growth in 2011 on soaring coal shipments to its energy-hungry giant neighbor and a surge in foreign investment in its minerals sector. But growth eased to 13.2 percent in the first half of this year, and while that is still among the world’s highest rates, questions are being asked about its heavy dependence on coal exports to China, where economic growth is slowing. Mongolian coal exports have leapt in recent years on voracious Chinese demand, and grew 27.5 percent in 2011 to 21.3 million tonnes, according to government figures, nearly all of it going across its southern frontier to China. But China’s usually turbo-charged growth rates have slowed significantly this year, sapping coal demand, contributing to a 10-15 percent decline in Mongolian coal prices this year and trimming the country’s coal export projections. “We are now hoping that we can equal last year’s export numbers, but it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to beat those figures,” said Damjin Damba, president of the Mongolian National Mining Association. Ninety-two percent of the country’s total exports go to China, according to Mongolian government data, and nearly all of that consists of coal. But economic growth in China slowed to 7.6 percent in this year’s second quarter, the weakest performance in three years. David Paull, managing director of Australia-based Aspire Mining, said Mongolia has been squeezed by seasonal weakness, softer Chinese demand and a pending leadership change in Beijing. Some analysts have said the coming leadership transition is delaying expected Chinese economic stimulus moves. “So there is a grouping of events that are compounding the issue,” Paull said.
Domestic issues also have chilled the investment surge, including the parliament’s recent adoption of a foreign investment law that tightens approval requirements for foreign companies seeking to do business in “strategic” sectors such as minerals. In the run-up to a Mongolian election in June, campaign calls for the nationalization of natural resources created further uncertainty that hurt sentiment. Meanwhile, in late June, SouthGobi Energy Resources (SGR) announced it had suspended its operations at Ovoot Tolgoi, one of the premier coal producers in the country. SGR’s former CEO Alexander Molyneux said operations were halted due to a licence suspension by the government and failure to give other permits. SouthGobi had been the target of a takeover by China’s biggest aluminium producer Chalco, raising speculation that
the government had moved to prevent Chinese control of Ovoot Tolgoi. Landlocked Mongolia is sandwiched between Russia and China, and its proximity to the fast-growing Chinese economy has been a huge plus when coal markets are bullish. But the slowdown is stoking discussion over how to spur development of other industries such as wool production and tourism in order to diversify. “We are talking a lot about what kind of industry can be a better option to mining if we want to diversify our economy. Whether it is tourism or manufacturing, we want ‘mining boom’ to be changed to ‘mind boom’,” said Oyungerel Tsedevdambaa, Mongolia’s tourism minister. There are plans for a $10-billion industrial park in the city of Saishand and the government is considering building a $3-billion rail network to Russia that could open access for Mongolian goods to ports in Russia’s Far East, and on to overseas
Ramping up shipments of copper -of which Mongolia also has significant deposits -- is seen as another possibility.
AirAsia scuttles ‘risky’ plan to buy Indonesian carrier JAKARTA, Oct 15, 2012 (AFP) Southeast Asia’s largest budget airline AirAsia has scrapped plans to acquire Indonesian carrier Batavia Air because the move was too risky, its chief executive said Monday. “In our minds, the timing was perhaps not appropriate as it would have induced too many risks,” AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said in a statement, repeating his carrier’s “aggressive focus” in Indonesia and plans to list in the country. Last week a source familiar with the deal said the Malaysian tycoon wanted to raise up to $550 million by listing shares in the long-haul arm and Indonesian unit of AirAsia as well as in his insurance firm. AirAsia cited the time it would take to integrate the two airlines, including re-branding and merging working cultures, as a reason for scrapping the deal. AirAsia announced the $80 million
Mongolia exported 575,900 tons of copper concentrate in 2011, 97 percent of which went to China, and growing Chinese copper needs are being viewed as a potential lucrative future market. This is especially so with the multibillion dollar Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine due to begin operations later this year and likely to push copper exports up.
purchase plan in July to increase its presence in the region and specifically Indonesia, which has seen a surge in passenger numbers over recent years. The carrier has moved its base from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Jakarta to get closer to Indonesia’s burgeoning aviation market, which potentially caters to nearly 240 million people across 17,000 islands. The budget carrier wants to triple its fleet in the five years from 2013 to meet passenger demand. Indonesia’s domestic airlines carried more than 60 million passengers last year, and the Indonesia Air Carriers Association predicts a 52 percent increase in passenger numbers by 2015. Despite dropping its interest in its Indonesian rival, AirAsia has proposed working more closely with Batavia on areas including ground handling and a pilot training scheme.
Coal can be susceptible to seasonal and other cyclical swings, while copper demand typically remains steady, said Eric Zurrin, director of ResCap, a boutique investment firm based in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator. “Coal is cyclical but copper has a long-term stabilizing effect,” he said.
Georgia Asian Times
October 15-31, 2012
St. Regis loses Singapore tussle over brand name SINGAPORE, Oct 16, 2012 (AFP) - A Singapore court has upheld the right of an Australian-owned hotel to use the Park Regis brand in the city state, throwing out a ban sought by the St. Regis chain, court documents showed on Tuesday. St. Regis, a luxury brand under the US-based Starwood group of hotels and resorts, had applied to Singapore’s Registrar of Trade Marks to stop Park Regis from getting its trademark in the city. But the Park Regis’s owner, the StayWell Hospitality Group of Australia, took the case to the High Court, which ruled on Monday that there was little chance that consumers would confuse one brand with the other. “The ‘Park Regis’ mark, although similar to the ‘St. Regis’ mark, is not likely to be confused with the ‘St. Regis’ brand, particularly when taking into account the likely customers of both,” judge Judith Prakash said in a written judgment.
“There is also no likelihood of damage to the ‘St. Regis’ brand from the use of the ‘Park Regis’ mark and brand.” St. Regis, located in the upscale Orchard Road area, styles itself as a six-star hotel while Park Regis is a four-star establishment located close to the Chinatown district. And while the St. Regis has room rates ranging from Sg$440 to Sg$3,000 ($360 to $2,455) a night, the Park Regis offers rooms for as little as Sg$179 a night, according to their respective websites.
Tech to drive US holiday spending: survey WASHINGTON, Oct 16, 2012 (AFP) - New high-tech devices will get US consumers to open their wallets for the upcoming holiday season, driving retail spending higher, a survey showed Tuesday. The Consumer Electronics Association found overall holiday spending is expected to increase 11 percent this year while spending on consumer electronics gifts also likely will increase.
Besides Singapore, Park Regis has properties in Dubai and several Australian cities.
“Consumers are feeling more confident in the overall direction of the economy this holiday season compared to last year and, as a result, will spend more on gifts, including electronics,” said CEA chief economist Shawn DuBravac.
The lawyer acting for St Regis declined to comment Tuesday on whether the US hotel chain would appeal the decision.
On average, consumers plan to spend $1,634 overall this holiday, up 11 percent from last year, the survey found.
Consumers plan to allocate $842 from their overall budget to gifts, up nine percent from 2011, and $252 of that will be for consumer electronics. Mobile connected devices are the most wanted gifts this season, led by tablet computers, the association said. Tablets are the most wanted gift on both adults’ overall holiday wish list and their gadget wish list. The survey suggested smartphones likely will be the most popular device given as a gift this year, followed by tablets, notebook or laptop computers and DVD or Blu-ray players. One in four consumers will give a gift card for digital music purchases, one in five for electronics book purchases, 16 percent for app purchases and 15 percent for online gaming purchases.
Citigroup CEO Pandit quits, shocking Wall Street NEW YORK, Oct 16, 2012 (AFP) Citigroup shocked Wall Street Tuesday with news of the immediate resignation of chief executive Vikram Pandit and his top aide a day after the number-three US bank posted quarterly earnings. Citi’s board unanimously elected Michael Corbat, head of the Europe, Middle East and Africa division, to succeed Pandit as CEO and fill his seat on the board, the bank said. Pandit’s abrupt departure sparked speculation about the possible reasons -- a fight over compensation, the bank’s quarterly earnings report Monday, or the 90 percent fall in Citi’s share value under Pandit, while other banks’ shares have largely recovered since the financial crisis.
Michael O’Neill, chairman of Citi’s board, rejected the speculation in a conference call after the markets closed. “Vikram chose to submit his resignation and the board accepted it. Contrary to speculation, no strategic, regulatory or operating issue precipitated the resignation,” he said. “Nor is there another shoe to drop. And certainly, there is no issue of conduct or ethics. Vikram is a person of impeccable integrity.” Asked whether pay was an issue, O’Neill said: “Categorically no.” Pandit had foregone a salary in 20092010 when Citi was in the red; share-
holders in April voted against a proposed 2011 $15 million pay package. The New York-based Citi, the thirdlargest US bank with $1.9 trillion in assets, has lagged bigger rivals JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America in recovering from the 2008 Wall Street crash under Pandit’s watch. Also in focus was Pandit’s handling of the bank’s sale of its stake in brokerage Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB), which led to a large write down in the third quarter. Pandit, who joined Citi in December 2007 and steered it through the crisis, said the bank has emerged as a strong institution. “Given the progress we have made
in the last few years, I have concluded that now is the right time for someone else to take the helm at Citigroup,” he said in a statement. In an internal memo to employees, Pandit said: “After five extraordinary years, I have decided to step down as CEO of Citi... There is nothing better than our third-quarter earnings announcement to demonstrate definitively that we have turned this company around.” He called Corbat the “right person” to succeed him, citing his 29-year record of achievement and leadership at the company. Corbat said Citigroup’s fundamentals were solid and the bank was on the right path.
October 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
TECH Microsoft launches new music service SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 15, 2012 (AFP) - Microsoft announced Monday it was launching a new music service which offers free streaming for computers and tablets with the Windows operating system to be launched this month. The Xbox Music service will allow users to stream custom-created playlists for free, along with music subscriptions and downloads, which will be managed in the Internet cloud to enable access on tablets, PCs, phones and television. Microsoft said the new service will be “on par with iTunes,” the leading music service from Apple, with a global catalog of more than 30 million songs. But the service also will have some of the features of music services like Spotify and the Internet radio operator Pandora, along with the music store offerings of Apple and Amazon. It will begin rolling out around the world this week on Xbox 360 and later this month on Windows PCs and tablets and on mobile phones, with some free services and others which are paid. Subscriptions will cost $9.99 in the United States and 9.99 euros in Europe, according to Microsoft. “The launch of Xbox Music is a milestone in simplifying digital music on every type of device and on a global scale,” said Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment at Microsoft. “We’re breaking down the walls that fracture your music experiences today to ensure that music is better and integrated across the screens that you care about most -- your tablet, PC, phone and TV.”
The move comes more than a year after Microsoft pulled the plug on its Zune digital media player, its wouldbe rival to Apple’s iPod. Microsoft began producing the Zune in 2006 but it never really threatened the global dominance of the iPod from rival Apple. However some analysts said the new service might fare better. “Because of Microsoft’s size and what appears to be a new-found ingenuity, perhaps born of a need to reinvent the company or watch it drop to the second tier of tech firms, it has made a series of huge gambles. Xbox Music is one of those,” said Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall Street. “And Xbox Music may be a winner, just because the Microsoft distribution network is so very big.” McIntyre noted that Microsoft can leverage its “tens of millions” of customers with Xbox consoles for the service as well as the massive customer base of PC owners. “This is an extraordinary platform for any service, particularly if the service is free,” he said. The move comes as Microsoft prepares to launch its Windows 8 operating system on October 26 along with its new tablet computer, dubbed Surface. Microsoft is also making an aggressive push into mobile phones with its Windows Phone 8 system that will be available on smartphones made by Nokia, HTC and others.
App cuts up news into digestible bytes SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 15, 2012 (AFP) - Offering a new way to read the news on a mobile device, an app launched Monday delivers content in “flash card” segments in an effort to optimize new formats. “Rather than trying to shoehorn existing content into a new environment, we’ve created the first truly mobile-first news experience,” said a blog post from the creators of the Circa app for iPhone and iPad. “Circa brings comprehensive yet to-thepoint news updates delivered in an engrossing mobile experience.” Circa was co-founded by South Korean entrepreneur Ben Huh, creator of the humoristic Cheezburger Network, and software developer Arsenio Santos.
Instead of articles, Circa presents the news with flash card-like segments of facts, statistics, quotes, pictures or maps. “Each story on Circa has the same details you’d find in traditional articles, but broken down into individual chunks of information that are much easier to consume,” the blog posting said. “It’s the facts, without the fluff.” Circa said it had hired “a team of excellent journalists from around the world” to produce stories “and easily keep them up to date as new details emerge, providing great coverage around the clock.”
Georgia Asian Times October 15-31, 2012
Life after death? Neurosurgeon says he’s been there
WASHINGTON, Oct 14, 2012 (AFP) - Eben Alexander’s quick trip to heaven started with a headache. It was November 2008 and a rare bacterial meningitis was fast on its way to shutting down the University of Virginia neurosurgeon’s neocortex -- the part of the brain that deals with sensory perception and conscious thought. “For seven days, I lay in a deep coma,” he recalled. Yet at the same time, Alexander “journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe, a dimension I’d never dreamed existed.” There he found “big, puffy, pinkwhite” clouds against a “deep, blackblue sky” and “flocks of transparent, shimmering beings... quite simply different from anything I have known on this planet.” It turns out Alexander was not alone. His traveling partner in the afterlife was a young woman with high cheekbones, deep blue eyes and “golden brown tresses” who, amid “millions” of butterflies, spoke to him “without using any words.” “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever,” she told the doctor, a father of two with movie star looks. “You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong.” Alexander recounts his story, and seeks to explain it, in “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife,” to be published in the United States on October 23. His New York publisher failed to respond to interview requests, but
an excerpt from “Proof of Heaven” in Newsweek magazine has stirred the enduring debate about life after death. Inevitably, skeptics wonder if Alexander, who teaches at Harvard Medical School, is going out on a paranormal limb. “It sounds like he had nothing more than an intense lucid dream,” wrote one reader on Newsweek’s website. “A personal anecdote is not evidence or proof, as moving as it may be,” added another. The sarcastic New York blog Gawker challenged its readers to spot the difference, if any, between Alexander’s portrayal of paradise with published accounts of LSD trips. But others stood firmly by Alexander, who has previously spoken of his near-death experience on science TV programs and in a lengthy interview last year with Skeptico.com, a science and spirituality blog.
“These experiences might be a glimpse into our next miraculous and exciting adventure,” he told AFP in an email. “Unfortunately, there is little meaningful research taking place in this field right now.” Dean Mobbs, a psychologist at Columbia University in New York who studies neurobiology and fear in humans, did not dismiss Alexander’s experience -- but he questioned how it came about.
“If there is evidence and proof of an afterlife, this is probably as good as it gets,” Catholic Online, a Web-based Roman Catholic news service, wrote approvingly.
“I think there’s no paranormal component to it,” said Mobbs, co-author of a paper in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences identifying near-death experiences as “the manifestation of normal brain functions gone awry.”
By one estimate, three percent of Americans -- more than nine million -- have undergone a near-death experience. Some have written up their stories on the website of the Near Death Experience Research Foundation.
“I believe our brains can concoct vivid experiences particularly in situations of confusion and trauma,” he said in an interview. “The brain is trying to reinterpret the world and what’s going on.”
“There are tens of thousands of neardeath experiences every year and many of them are very similar to Alexander’s,” said Paul Perry, co-author of several best-selling books on the topic.
Mobbs cited research in which, for instance, Swiss neuroscientist Olaf Blanke has artificially induced an out-of-body experience by stimulating the point in the brain where the right
temporal and parietal lobes meet. He also recalled how the body can unleash “a massive dose of opioids” in the face of extreme danger. Opioids generate feelings of euphoria like those described by near-death survivors. Mobbs also noted that many people who claim to have undergone a neardeath experience were never, in fact, near death -- while the majority of those who have died briefly before resuscitation do not recall going anywhere. In his Newsweek excerpt, Alexander framed his experience in religious terms. One of the few places he has had no trouble getting his story across is church, where “the colors of the stained-glass windows recalled the luminous beauty of the landscapes I’d seen in the world above,” he wrote. “The plain fact is that the materialist picture of the body and brain as the producers, rather than the vehicles, of human consciousness is doomed.”
October 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
STYLE French luxury firm Longchamp eyes China expansion Hong Kong, Oct 17, 2012 (AFP) French luxury handbag maker Longchamp is eyeing a huge expansion in China despite the country’s economic slowdown, its chief executive said as the firm opened a new store in Hong Kong Wednesday. The 64-year-old family-owned brand, famous for its colored fold-up nylon and leather totes, said it was optimistic about the Asian market, especially China, as European economies -- its main markets -- remain “unfavorable”.
YSL draws line under Louboutin red-sole shoe feud NEW YORK, Oct 16, 2012 (AFP) - French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent drew a line Tuesday under its legal battle with Parisian footwear designer Christian Louboutin and his iconic red-soled shoes. In a statement, it said it was “taking steps to close the book” on the trademark dispute by asking the US District Court in New York to dismiss its outstanding counterclaims against Louboutin. “Yves Saint Laurent has decided to end what was left of the litigation and refocus its energies on its business and its creative designs,” said the company, a unit of France’s PPR luxury goods conglomerate. Louboutin is famous in high-fashion circles not only for dizzying high-heel pumps, but also for their bright red lacquer soles that make them instantly recognizable. When Yves Saint Laurent came out with a so-called “monochromatic shoe” that was entirely red from the leather uppers to the outer sole, Louboutin went to court, arguing that red soles were his trademark.
In a September 5 ruling, the US Court of Appeals agreed up to a point, saying red soles were “entitled to trademark protection” -- so long as the rest of the shoe was another color, such as black or beige. Shoes created entirely in one color, like the Yves Saint Laurent model at the heart of the dispute, were allowed, the court said. “The Court of Appeals’ ruling makes clear that the monochromatic shoes that were challenged in the lawsuit do not infringe any of Louboutin’s trademark rights,” said Yves Saint Laurent in its statement. It also “guarantees that Yves Saint Laurent can continue to make monochromatic shoes in a wide variety of colors, including red.” Ironically, an all-red Louboutin studded patent leather pump was named Monday as the sexiest shoe of 2012, based on the results of an online poll by Footwear News and the Saks Fifth Avenue department store. Louboutin has marketed shoes with
“We have no intentions to slow down our expansion plans, especially in Asia,” chief executive Jean Cassegrain, a grandson of the founder, told AFP. He said he had no concerns about China, adding: “The purchasing power of Chinese consumers continue to increase and it is not going to change” even as the Asian powerhouse’s economy slowed. The 400-square-metre (4,300square-feet) outlet is Longchamp’s second mega store in Hong Kong and is located in Kowloon, one of the city’s busiest shopping districts where mainland Chinese tourists flock to splurge on luxury goods. Cassegrain said Longchamp is looking to expand its current presence of seven stores in mainland China
red soles since 1992. He registered the look as a trademark in the United States in 2008. His footwear sells about 240,000 pairs each year in the United States alone, with revenues of about $135 million. A pair typically costs between $700
-- including Beijing and Shanghai -- to about 40 to 50 stores, although he could not specify a timeline. “The challenge is to pick the right locations,” he said, adding that Longchamp has appointed popular Chinese actress Gao Yuanyuan as its ambassador to boost the brand’s profile in the region. China’s economy expanded 7.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, its worst performance in three years, and disappointing data since then has led to fears that third-quarter growth may have weakened further. Third-quarter data is due out on Thursday. Longchamp saw turnover of 390 million euros ($507 million) last year, up 22 percent from a year earlier. China is set to become the world’s second biggest market for luxury goods after the United States by 2017, overtaking France, Britain, Italy and Japan, consumer research group Euromonitor said in a report this month. Luxury-good sales could top $302 billion worldwide this year, up 4.0 percent from 2011, driven by demand in emerging economies, according to the report.
and $1000, but can sell for far more, with the Lady Peep Geek Embroidered Pump listed at $1,695 at the Neiman Marcus department store. On its online store Tuesday, Yves Saint Laurent had no shoes in colors other than black, white or gold lame.
Georgia Asian Times October 15-31, 2012
Star elephant courts controversy in Philippine zoo
MANILA, Oct 17, 2012 (AFP) - An elderly elephant named Mali is the star at Manila’s zoo but also the focus of a campaign alleging animal cruelty that has united the country’s powerful bishops, global pop stars and a Nobel laureate. Mali, who is 38, spends her days picking peanuts from children’s hands and being squirted with water in a concrete-floored enclosure that animal rights groups say is far too small for any elephant to enjoy living in. They also say that, after being shipped from Sri Lanka when she was three years old, Mali is suffering profound loneliness after living her entire adult life without another elephant. “She is definitely unwell. As much as her physical suffering... there is also psychological suffering,” said Rochelle Rigodon, campaign manager for Manila-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA began campaigning for Mali to be removed from the zoo seven years ago, and its efforts to have the elephant spend the rest of her life at a sanctuary in Thailand have brought together a strikingly diverse group of people. British pop star Morrissey, 2003 Nobel laureate in literature J.M. Coetzee and famous animal welfare campaigner Jane Goodall have all written letters to the Philippine government asking for Mali to be transferred. “Mali is cruelly denied stimulation, room to explore... (and) is in danger of
going insane,” Morrissey wrote in a letter to President Benigno Aquino when he performed in Manila in May.
ing on a budget of $1.4 million a year, small for its size. It holds 717 animals from 102 species.
Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has also written a letter calling for Mali to be shifted to Thailand.
Anna Cabrera, executive-director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society accused the zoo’s veterinarians and administrators of “gross incompetence”.
He has formed an unlikely union with local fashion models and actresses, such as Isabel Roces and Chin-Chin Gutierrez, who have posted messages expressing concern about Mali’s plight to their masses of Twitter followers. Their campaign has had some success, with Aquino ordering the Bureau of Animal Industry in May to evaluate if Mali should be transferred to Thailand. So far, no decision has been announced. Animal rights activists say the problems at the zoo are not limited to Mali.
“Old cages made of wire” The zoo, owned by the City of Manila and built in 1959, is a far cry from its glory days in the early 1960s, when it boasted a huge menagerie of lions, tigers, bears, leopards, giraffes, chimpanzees and bison. Many of these animals have succumbed to old age, and there are not enough funds to replace them. Many of the animals that do remain reside in half-century-old cages made of wire and bars, with the zoo operat-
“It (the zoo) stinks... they don’t have the expertise for the animals in the zoo,” she said. However chief veterinarian Donald Manalastas insisted Mali and the other animals were treated well. “We could do better but their (the animals’) care is never compromised,” Manalastas said. He pointed to the advanced ages of Mali and another 38-year-old star of the zoo, Berta the hippopotamus, as proof the animals were being looked after. “If we were not giving them the right food, the proper care, they would not survive. We must be doing something right,” he said. Manalastas also talked enthusiastically about the zoo’s success in breeding the Philippine freshwater crocodile, or Crocodylus Mindorensis, which is critically endangered. From an original four, these reptiles reproduced rapidly until there were 20 last year, according to Manalastas. He said they were able to trade eight to another zoo overseas for a camel that will hopefully arrive next year.
And the zoo undoubtedly remains a popular attraction, with 950,000 visitors a year, many of whom come from poor communities in and around Manila. The Philippines has a dire poverty problem, with roughly one quarter of the population of 100 million people living on a dollar a day or less. The entrance fee for the zoo is set deliberately low at 40 pesos (95 cents) for adults and 20 pesos for children to give the poorer citizens of Manila the opportunity to see wildlife and have a fun day out. “This place is a social service, not a profit-oriented organization,” said Manila City’s parks and recreations chief, Deogracias Manimbo. “It’s an alternative place for lessprivileged people. It is designed for the poor of Manila.” Amid the uproar over Mali, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has rejected calls to relocate the elephant, and his stance is popular among the visitors. “Manila Zoo would not be complete without an elephant,” office worker Rowena Castro said as she pointed to her four-year-old son watching the enormous animal being hosed down by a keeper. “That is the main reason he came: to see the elephant.”
October 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
LIFESTYLE Taiwan showgirls strip for the dead Taoyuan, Taiwan, Oct 9, 2012 (AFP) - Dressed in mini skirts barely covering their hips, the two girls took to the neon-lit stage and moved vigorously to the loud pumping pop music. Their job: to appease the wandering spirits.
cars” -- specially designed trucks equipped with light and sound equipment that can become a stage, allowing them to travel to performances often held in smaller cities and rural areas.
As the temple facade in the background changed color from the fireworks lighting up the Taiwanese night sky, the show climaxed with poledancing and striptease in front of an audience consisting of men, women and children.
“The groups attract crowds to our events and they perform for the gods and the spirits to seek blessings,” said Chen Chung-hsien, an official at Wu Fu Temple, a Taoist landmark in north Taiwan’s Taoyuan county.
“This is hard work but I need to make a living,” said 18 year-old En En, out of breath after stripping for the crowd during the recent religious festival. En En had just earned Tw$3,000 ($100) for her act, which began on stage, but ended as she mingled with the audience, letting men touch her for tips. Folk religion in Taiwan is a unique mixture of the spiritual and the earthly, and one of its most remarkable manifestations is the practice of hiring showgirls to perform at festivals, weddings, and even funerals. The girls work on “electronic flower
“They have become part of our religion and folk culture.” At 26, Chiang Pei-ying is already a veteran performer with nearly 20 years of experience, travelling across Taiwan with her father and two sisters for their family business to entertain audiences -- both alive and dead. Chiang made her debut when she was in kindergarten because she liked singing and dancing on stage and has become a celebrity performer with her sisters, charging up to Tw$80,000 for a 20-minute show. She said she enjoys her line of work, even if she has to deal with some odd requests from customers such as walking around coffins and singing for
the deceased at funerals. “I’ve watched this since I was little so it’s nothing peculiar for me. Performing for the dead is just like performing for the living people,” she said. “They liked to sing when they were alive and their relatives thought they would have liked to have somebody sing for them in the end. For me, I get good tips and I hope I am accumulating good karma too.”
“Hot and noisy” Other performers, however, make much less money and tend to be more discreet about their job, especially those who still do striptease despite risking arrest. Stripping nude is rarely seen in public now because it is a criminal offense, but partial stripping is still performed at festivals, private parties and funerals, people in the business say. “Some people like going to hostess clubs, so when they pass away their relatives arrange striptease to reflect their interests while they were alive,” said Chiang Wan-yuan, Pei-ying’s father and a 30-year veteran in the business. It is difficult to imagine a similar show going on outside a European village church, and some local critics have dismissed the practice, which emerged in the 1970s, as shocking and vulgar. Others, however, see it as a natural extension of a traditional folk culture lacking in the sharp separation of sex
and religion often seen in other parts of the world. Marc Moskowitz, an anthropologist at the University of South Carolina, said the practice evolved out of the special Chinese concept of “hot and noisy”, which brims with positive connotations. “In traditional Chinese and contemporary Taiwanese culture this signifies that for an event to be fun or noteworthy it must be full of noise and crowds,” said Moskowitz, who shot a documentary “Dancing for the Dead” in 2011. He added most people who watched his work appeared to enjoy it and recognize this practice as an “interesting and unique cultural phenomenon,” which to his knowledge is only found in Taiwan. “As I watched these performances I came to appreciate the idea of celebrating someone’s life to help assuage the feelings of grief,” he said.
Georgia Asian Times October 15-31, 2012
SPORTS Red Bull set for marketing history with supersonic jump VIENNA, Oct 14, 2012 (AFP) - Felix Baumgartner, set to leap from the edge of space on Sunday, is no stranger to breaking records. But neither is the firm bankrolling and sponsoring his audacious jump: energy drink maker and marketing trailblazer Red Bull. The Austrian company not only invented a whole new sector in the beverage industry, becoming in less than 30 years a global corporate titan with more than four billion euros ($5 billion) in annual revenues. It has also trodden its own unorthodox path in marketing, re-writing the rule book on how to sell a product, focusing not on taste but on the drink’s energy-giving properties while projecting an edgy, high-adrenaline image. Baumgartner’s spectacular leap from 23 miles (37 kilometres) above New Mexico, which will see him plummet back to Earth at the speed of sound, watched live by millions of people on the edge of their seats around the planet, is the crowning glory of this strategy.
Red Bull the drink was born when Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian toothpaste marketing executive, stumbled during a trip to Asia in the early 1980s across a beverage popular with the locals known as Krating Daeng, Thai for water buffalo, that cured his jet lag. Partnering with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya, who died this year, the pair decided to make it fizzy, can it and sell it beyond Asia under the Red Bull brand. From the beginning Red Bull’s strategy was different. This was the first drink where in the marketing, no importance was put on the flavour -- one early review famously said that “no other new product has ever failed this convincingly” -- but instead on its effect. Urban myths and health concerns about Red Bull abounded, meanwhile, making regulatory approval in many countries a long process. It was even banned in several countries including France for a while.
It will be his second attempt at the feat, after the initial scheduled jump was postponed due to high winds on Monday,
It was said for example that one of its main ingredients, taurine, came from bulls’ testicles. There were whispers too that it was akin to a legal amphetamine, with nicknames including “speed in a can” and “liquid cocaine”.
“This is taking it to a whole new level,” Jonas Feliciano, beverage industry analyst at Euromonitor International, told AFP. “It has turned a PR event into a news event.”
But such talk served only to raise the drink’s profile and increase its notoriety among the young, its main target market, helping Red Bull achieve the holy grail: becoming “cool.”
Very few other companies, one notable exception being Apple, manage to do this, Feliciano said.
The company also eschewed just putting adverts in newspapers and magazines, and as well as merely sponsoring sports teams, it owns them, such as the football club New York Red Bulls and a highly successful Formula 1 team.
The Austrian daredevil is basically “a flying can of Red Bull,” said Christoph Boesenkopf from Austrian advertising agency Wirz.
It has also organized “extreme”
sports events such as hair-raising aircraft racing, something called “Crashed Ice” involving downhill urban ice-skating and the “Flugtag”, where members of the public pilot outlandish, homemade contraptions off piers into water.
Overdose? But Red Bull Stratos, as the project surrounding Baumgartner is known, is something else entirely. His jump, which will see him lifted to the edge of space beneath a enormous balloon before stepping into the void in a specially made suit for 15-20 minutes of freefall before parachuting the rest of the way, has been five years in the making. Supporting him is a 100-strong team of experts. Other events and teams that Red Bull bankrolls very rarely make the front page of newspapers. On Sunday though, more than 40 television networks in 50 countries will carry the live feed and over 130 digital partners will stream it live on the Internet. But such an enormous volume of coverage also means that for Red Bull, if something goes wrong, the backlash could be huge, said media psychologist Peter Vitouch from the University of Vienna.
Three Red Bull athletes have died to date -- Canadian extreme skier Shane McConkey, Swiss BASE jumper Ueli Gegenschatz and American skydiver Eli Thompson, all in 2009. “If there was an accident, the company could find itself accused of behaving irresponsibly, of financing this just for publicity and of driving someone to their death. That would be an absolute disaster,” Vitouch said. But after an initial backlash, Red Bull would survive in the long run -and maybe even benefit, Feliciano of Euromonitor said. “It would be a tragedy. But as morbid as it sounds, the press would just increase further. Bad press is still press.” “But I would assume that if this was something with a ridiculously high fatality rate, you would not see Red Bull’s name attached to it.”
October 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Cleverley thriving after Olympic experience LONDON, Oct 14, 2012 (AFP) - Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley admits his experience at the Olympics played a key role in his rise to prominence with England.
Formula One: Dumping Korea would be ‘mistake’ YEONGAM, South Korea, Oct 12, 2012 (AFP) - The promoter of the Korean Grand Prix has warned it would be a “huge” mistake to abandon the fledgling race, despite suffering heavy financial losses and struggling to attract spectators. Professor Park Won-Hwa, drafted in last year to save the grand prix, told AFP in an interview that he had intensive discussions with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone to seal a revised contract that will run to 2016. “Mr Ecclestone thinks that it is important to have F1 in Korea as the country is a fast-growing country and benefits from a booming economy and fast-growing economy,” said Park. “It would be a huge strategic mistake to withdraw from this part of the world. The future for the F1 is important and not only the day-to-day running.”
Cleverley got his first taste of international action as a member of the Great Britain squad at the London Games earlier this year and now he has been fast-tracked into Roy Hodgson’s England team.
The race lost $50 million in the first year, Park, 62, said in an interview ahead of the third edition of the grand prix on Sunday.
After being deprived of his England debut last season due to injuries at inconvienent times, Cleverley gave a good account of himself at the Olympics.
“We had to renegotiate with Mr Ecclestone and brought a few ideas and persuaded him that Korea cannot continue the event with such a big financial loss.
Hodgson was suitably impressed and rewarded Cleverley with his maiden England appearance in the friendly win over Italy in August.
“The event has to be sustainable for the benefit of both parties. I showed to Mr Ecclestone all the statistics. It took a long time, and in the end Mr Ecclestone agreed to make another contract.” Organizers had to give away free tickets at the last minute for the inaugural race in 2010 to fill the stands, although they did not do that last year and have reduced prices this time in a bid to pull in the crowds.
to represent my country, but I have a bit more hard work and a few more games ahead of me before I become established. “There are plenty of top class midfielders in the Premier League.” Hodgson was especially impressed with the way Cleverley linked up with Old Trafford team-mates Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck to good effect against San Marino on Friday. And the United connection could form a crucial part of Hodgson’s side for years to come. Hodgson has since declared that Rooney, who gave a mature display as stand-in captain against San Marino, is England’s captain of the future.
He has since played in all three of England’s World Cup qualifiers this season and should feature in the crucial trip to Poland on Tuesday.
And having benefited from working with Rooney for both club and country, Cleverley would have no problem if his United team-mate inherited the armband on a full-time basis.
“The Olympics were very important for me. It was perfect for me to get some games and play competitive matches on a big stage,” Cleverley said on Sunday.
“Wayne has all the attributes to be a good captain,” Cleverley said. “He is a winner. You could tell that before the game because he was quite vocal in the dressing room.
“Roy Hodgson was at a couple of the games, I was in good form and I have managed to carry that on into the season.
“I am not the manager but I would certainly be happy playing under a captain like Wayne Rooney. He is a fantastic player and a good leader.”
“I am really proud to have started all four games so far. I am always happy
Georgia Asian Times October 15-31, 2012
HEALTH Calls for more US oversight after tainted drug outbreak CHICAGO, Oct 10, 2012 (AFP) - A deadly meningitis outbreak in the United States blamed on a tainted drug has triggered outrage and calls for tighter regulation of the loosely controlled pharmaceutical compounding industry. At least a dozen people have died and the number of fungal meningitis cases rose to 138 Wednesday after a contaminated drug was shipped to clinics and hospitals in 23 states. Investigators say as many as 13,000 people may have received contaminated doses of the steroid, which is injected into the spine to treat back pain. Critics said drug manufacturers have found a way to sidestep costly and strict oversight by classifying themselves as pharmacies, which are given freer rein to mix drug compounds for patients. “People are just playing Russian roulette when they use one of these compounded drugs,” said Sheldon Bradshaw, a Washington lawyer who was chief counsel for the Food and Drug Administration from 2005 to 2007. “They don’t have to follow good manufacturing practices which, if followed, guarantee that a product isn’t going to be contaminated. They don’t have to spend hundreds of millions on clinical trials to show their drugs are safe,” he said. Problems could be far more widespread than feared because, unlike manufacturers of FDA-approved drugs, pharmacies are not required to report adverse reactions or injuries. And many doctors don’t realize the drugs they are prescribing are not produced at facilities that have received the FDA’s seal of approval. “Our loss and that of others should be a wake-up call to our country,” George Cary told reporters after a memorial for his wife Lillian, 67, in Michigan Tuesday. “The apparent lack of suitable inspections should not have happened.” Several lawmakers have already an-
nounced plans to introduce legislation that would strengthen oversight and others are asking the FDA for more immediate action.
US officials find new drugs tied to meningitis outbreak CHICAGO, Oct 15, 2012 (AFP) - US health officials identified two new drugs Monday which may have infected patients with meningitis as they investigate a widening outbreak tied to tainted products from a Massachusetts pharmacy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged doctors to contact patients who received drugs produced by the firm to warn them they are at risk of developing the slow-moving but potentially deadly infection. “At this point in FDA’s investigation, the sterility of any injectable drugs.. and cardioplegic solutions” produced by the firm are “of significant concern,” the FDA said in a statement. The New England Compounding Center (NECC) recalled all of its products on October 6 after dozens of people were infected with meningitis following treatment with its steroid injections.
Health officials in 23 states sought out the nearly 14,000 people who received the potentially tainted doses in recent months to warn them of the danger.
Another patient who received a different kind of steroid injection has also developed the infection which inflames the protective membranes of the brain and spine.
They have identified 205 cases of meningitis -- and 15 deaths -- so far and the numbers have been rising daily.
The FDA cautioned that it has “not confirmed that these three infections were, in fact, caused by an NECC product.”
A long incubation period has complicated efforts -- one patient did not develop symptoms until 42 days after receiving a tainted injection.
“Investigation of these patients is ongoing; and there may be other explanations for their Aspergillus infection,” the FDA said in a statement.
The FDA did not say how many more people are at risk now that two additional drugs have also been linked to meningitis.
The outbreak has led to calls for tighter regulation of the loosely controlled pharmaceutical compounding industry.
Two transplant patients who received a solution produced by NECC to induce cardiac muscle paralysis during open heart surgery have subsequently developed the rare fungal meningitis, the FDA said.
Critics said drug manufacturers have found a way to sidestep costly and strict oversight by classifying themselves as pharmacies, which are given freer rein to mix drug compounds for patients.
Australians trial Botox to treat hay fever SYDNEY, Oct 9, 2012 (AFP) - The best-selling wrinkle erasing drug Botox will be used in an Australian study to treat hay fever, researchers said Tuesday after it showed promise in providing relief in early trials. Philip Bardin, a professor at the Monash Medical Centre which is linked to Melbourne’s Monash University, said Botox was already widely used in medicine to reduce spasms in muscles following strokes and in treating cerebral palsy. “This is very new way to use an old medication,” he said. Under the trial, a Botox gel will be applied to the nose to hopefully give hay fever sufferers relief from sneezing,
itchy eyes and runny noses for up to three months. “Part of why this is possible is that the Botox molecule has been re-engineered to be able to penetrate through the skin but also through the lining of the nose,” Bardin told AFP. “That’s really the crucial development that has taken place. So consequently it is going to be possible in the future to extend its use from being mostly a cosmetic product... to become possibly even more useful.” In treating hay fever, the botulinum toxin will affect the nerves in the nose and potentially block some of the chemicals released by the nerve endings which play a large role in causing
symptoms, he said. Seventy people will be recruited for the study following a preliminary trial that suggested the drug provided relief. Botox, which makes muscles relax, is a purified form of a nerve poison produced by a bacteria that causes a disease which paralyses muscles and can be fatal. It was first used to treat disorders of the eye muscle -- uncontrollable blinking and misaligned eyes. Its cosmetic use took off in the 1990s after a Canadian ophthalmologist noticed her patients were losing their frown lines after using the medication.
October 15-31, 2012 Georgia Asian Times
Misc Asia ‘Peeping Tom’ on Japan flight avoids charges TOKYO, Oct 14, 2012 (AFP) - A “peeping Tom” who used a pen-shaped camera to take an up skirt shot of a cabin attendant during a domestic flight in Japan has avoided charges after prosecutors failed to decide which prefecture the plane was flying over at the time, reports said. The 34-year-old man extended his hand with the micro-camera while seated and took the picture of the flight attendant, the Asahi daily said on its website on Sunday. He was arrested by police and admitted what he had done, saying he was “aroused by uniforms,” the report added.
The police tentatively determined the photo was taken over the western prefecture of Hyogo based on witness accounts and their analysis of flight data, it said. But prosecutors judged they were unable to rule out the photo may have taken when the plane was over neighboring prefectures, Kyodo added. “Peeping Tom” offenses typically fall under prefecture-level law to prevent public nuisances and their applications require prosecutors to state exact locations of the crime.
The man was on a Japan Airlines flight from Takamatsu in the southwest of the country to Tokyo last month, according to an earlier report by Kyodo News.
Pilot rapped for landing at wrong Indonesian airport JAKARTA, Oct 15, 2012 (AFP) - A foreign pilot has been suspended from flying after landing an Indonesian passenger jet at the wrong airport in a “serious” breach of safety, a transport ministry spokesman said on Monday.
The foreign pilot of the jet, which left Medan in North Sumatra province for the short flight to Padang on Saturday, has been suspended from duty, he added, without revealing the pilot’s nationality.
The Sriwijaya Air plane, carrying 96 passengers and six crew, was meant to land at Minangkabau International airport in the city of Padang, but instead descended to the Tabing air force base some 12 kilometers (seven miles) away.
“For the time being we won’t allow him to fly and he is expected to give an explanation to the aviation safety department today,” he said.
“This incident was very serious and very dangerous for passenger safety as (the plane) landed at a wrong airport,” ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said, adding that a probe by the aviation safety watchdog is underway.
Air traffic officials at Minangkabau airport are also under investigation for their role in the blunder, he added. Indonesia has a checkered aviation safety record, with several deadly crashes over recent years across the massive archipelago where air travel is essential to reach outlying areas.
Researcher links chocolate eating to Nobel prizes WASHINGTON, Oct 11, 2012 (AFP) The more chocolate people in a country eat, the more Nobel prize winners the country produces per capita, according to a note published Thursday in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Flavonoids, antioxidants found in cocoa, green tea, red wine and some fruits, appear “to be effective in slowing down or even reversing the reductions in cognitive performance that occur with aging,” wrote Columbia University professor Franz Messerli. “Since chocolate consumption could hypothetically improve cognitive function not only in individuals but also in whole populations, I wondered whether there would be a correlation between a country’s level of chocolate consumption and its population’s cognitive function,” Messerli wrote.
The results were surprising: according to Messerli, there was “a close, significant linear correlation between chocolate consumption per capita and the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million persons in a total of 23 countries.” Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, which ancient Aztecs and Mayas drank as a beverage. Spanish conquistadors introduced cocoa to Europe in the 16th century, and the Swiss perfected modern chocolate bars in the 19th century. Not surprisingly, Switzerland “was the top performer in terms of both the number of Nobel laureates and chocolate consumption,” wrote Messerli, who said he obtained figures on chocolate consumption from manufacturers.
The United States, France and Germany are in the middle of the list, while China, Japan and Brazil are at the bottom. Sweden, which consumes 6.4 kilos of chocolate per capita per year, was an exception. Based on this rate of consumption “we would predict that Sweden should have produced a total of about 14 Nobel laureates, yet we observe 32.” So either the Stockholm-based Nobel Committee “has some inherent patriotic bias when assessing the candidates for these awards” or Swedes “are particularly sensitive to chocolate, and even minuscule amounts greatly enhance their cognition.” Messerli however provides a caveat: “Obviously, these findings are hypothesis-generating only and will have to
be tested in a prospective, randomized trial.”
Georgia Asian Times October 15-31, 2012
Misc Asia Crocodile escape gives Vietnam school kids day off HANOI, Oct 15, 2012 (AFP) - Primary schoolchildren in part of southern Vietnam were given a day off on Monday after a number of crocodiles escaped from a farm and were seen roaming around residential areas, reports said.
Ca Mau province, but it was unclear how many others remained at large.
The reptiles were prowling around densely-populated neighborhoods after breaking free, according to Thanh Nien newspaper, which said the Kim Dong school had closed “to ensure safety for teachers and children”.
The Thanh Nien report said the farm had around 580 reptiles before the wall collapsed. It was not clear how many escaped.
“The wall of the crocodile farm collapsed because of rain erosion, letting them escape,” Hai said of the incident on Friday at Dinh Binh town.
Bollywood’s glittering star couple set to wed: family
Nearly 60 of the animals had been rounded up, Le Van Hai, said the head of the Forest Ranger Department of
Hanoi communists face ban on ritzy weddings HANOI, Oct 8, 2012 (AFP) - Vietnamese authorities have banned Communist Party members in the capital Hanoi from organizing lavish wedding parties, following a public backlash over extravagant nuptials.
Opulent wedding parties are common in Vietnam, with the guest list usually stretching to about 1,000 people. Some party members questioned whether the authorities would be able to enforce the new rules.
The number of guests is limited to 600 for both families and expensive venues such as five-star hotels should be avoided, according to a notice on the Hanoi city’s official website seen on Monday.
“Vietnamese authorities are very good at proposing laws but whether the laws are applied and strictly obeyed is a different story,” said a 43-year-old party member in Hanoi who did not want to be named.
Lavish weddings organized by party members have “caused anger among the public and badly hurt the personal prestige of party members”, it said. Vietnam’s authoritarian government, which has launched an anti-corruption campaign in recent months, is struggling to contain growing public discontent over a weak economy and a string of scandals involving high-level officials.
MUMBAI, Oct 15, 2012 (AFP) - Two of Bollywood’s biggest stars, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, are set to tie the knot on Tuesday in India’s celebrity wedding of the year, a relative said. Actor Khan, 42, will marry actress Kapoor, 32, at the grand Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai in a union that has long been the subject of frenzied media speculation in the moviemad country. “The wedding is taking place tomorrow and then we will have a reception in Delhi later on. It is a very joyous moment for our family,” said the bride’s uncle, actor Rishi Kapoor. The Bollywood couple, India’s answer to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, have been dating for four years and appeared together in this year’s spy flick “Agent Vinod”. They both come from illustrious families with established links to the movie business. Kapoor, whose hits include “3 Idiots” (2009) and “Jab We Met” (When We Met, 2007), hails from Bollywood’s foremost acting dynasty, begun by her great-grandfather Prithviraj.
Her grandfather Raj Kapoor was a cinematic legend while his brothers and a number of relatives have become well-known names in the industry. The bride’s mother also appeared in films in the 1960s and 70s. Khan became the new Nawab (Muslim prince) of the former princely state of Pataudi last year after the death of his famous cricketing father Mansur Ali Khan, better known as “Tiger Pataudi”. His mother Sharmila Tagore is an award-winning actress and his sister Soha is also in the business. Khan, who starred in 2001’s “Dil Chahta Hai” (The Heart Desires) and “Hum Tum” (You and Me, 2004), has two children with his previous wife Amrita Singh. They were divorced in 2004. Local media reported that a private pre-wedding “sangeet” party was held on Sunday at Kapoor’s Mumbai residence. She wore an ornate traditional orange dress with a golden blouse, while Khan dressed in white.
Georgia Asian Times October 15-31, 2012