Covering The Multicultural Asian American Community in Georgia
www.gasiantimes.com September 15-30, 2017
Sept 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
Georgia Asian Times September 15-30, 2017
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2017 JapanFest Date: Sat-Sunday, Sept 16-17, 2017 Time: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; 10:00 am5:00 pm Venue: Infinte Energy Center For more info: www.japanfest.org 13th Atlanta Asian Film Festival Date: Oct 13-28, 2017 Venues: Georgia State University-Dunwoody, Georgia Gwinnett College For more info: www.ATLaff.org
September 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
METRO ASIAN NEWS Pick your own muscadines – a fun and relaxing activity for the family Looking for something fun and outdoor to do with the family or love ones this coming weekend — consider visiting Sugar Hill Berry Farm, a 23-acre fruit farm located near Murrayville, Georgia. Jerry Hill, the owner of Sugar Hill Berry Farm, grows blueberries, muscadines and peaches at its farm. He offers visitors the experience of picking fresh fruits directly from the plant. The farm practices using minimal pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
Visitors to the festival enjoys variety of Asian and Japanese food offerings by Atlanta premiere restaurants groups at the festival food court.
Consul General Takashi Shinozuka, the Consul General of Japan-Atlanta, conducts a traditional Japanese customary opening ceremony on the first day of the festival.
Millennials are attracted to the festival for its Japanese anime and gamings offerings. Many dressed accordingly to their favorite anime characters.
Over the 2-days festival, the family themed festival attracted over 20,000 visitors. The festival features workshops on traditional arts and games, traditional and modern kimonos, food, taiko drums, anime, and vendors selling Japanese goods. Taiko drums has been a major attractions and this year’s festival featured performing teams by Matsuriza Taiko Drums from Orlando and Ronin Taiko Drums from Fort Lauderdale.
Visitors to the festival comes from metro Atlanta and the southeastern states such as South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. For more information on JapanFest, visit www.japanfest.org
“We have about three weeks left in the season for muscadines picking. Now is the best time to pick ‘em as they are ripe and juicy,” adds Hill. Muscadines season typically start from Labor Day weekend until late October. Peach season normally runs from June 1 until the second week of August. Sugar Hill Berry Farm has attracted many visitors since Hill opened the farm to visitors about four years ago. “We have people from different nationalities and countries visiting the farm. I have a world map that visitors would pin their country of origin — it shows folks from all around the world,” said Hill proudly.
JapanFest celebrates Japanese unique arts, anime, culture, food and music Duluth, Sept 16, 2017 — The Japanese community in metro Atlanta hosted its annual 2-days JapanFest celebration at the Infinite Energy Center.
Hill was utterly surprised when a large influx of Asian families would visit the farm when the fruit picking seasons are open. “The reason we chose to grow muscadines is it’s a healthy fruit, and people who like muscadines, love muscadines,” said Hill. “It’s hard to find a place to pick them, so it’s kind of niche. They don’t ripen uniformly. Some will be ripe and some won’t, so you don’t pick these things by the clump.” “Muscadines are a native grape in the the South. You will find them on the edge of the woods,” Hill added. “A lot of grapes that you buy in store are grown somewhere else. The health benefits of a muscadine grape are extremely high and it is very tasty.” The farm has over 300 peach trees and has over 3 acres of muscadines for customers to pick themselves. You will also find variety of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables available for sale at the farm’s country store. Hill also make its own honey along with jams, jellies, and others available
“Asians love muscadines and the sweetness of the fruit. More so, they enjoy coming to the farm with their family for fresh air and connecting with nature,” said Hill with a smile. “It is also fun to see visitors unplug from their cell phones and electronic game devices. The farm seems to have the magic to do that.” Sugar Hill Berry Farm Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Sundays and holidays; Group weekday U-pick by appointment Venue: 6646 Jake Kemp Road, Murrayville Social media: Facebook/Sugar Hill Berry Farm Contact: 770.540.6952
Georgia Asian Times September 15-30, 2017
U.S. financial regulator launches unit to police cyber-threats New York, Sept 26 ― The US Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it is setting up a special unit dedicated to identifying cyber-related misconduct. The announcement came days after the top US financial regulator disclosed that it had been the victim of a hacking attack in 2016, and that the perpetrators may have been able to profit from the information. In a statement the SEC said the new unit, which has been in the works for months, “will focus on targeting cyber-related misconduct” including market manipulation schemes, hacking and intrusions into retail brokerage accounts. “Cyber-related threats and misconduct are among the greatest risks facing investors and the securities industry,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “The Cyber Unit will enhance our ability to detect and investigate cyber-threats through increasing expertise in an area of critical national importance.”
The attack on the SEC targeted the agency’s EDGAR database, which contains data from publicly traded companies such as earnings statements and corporate transactions. A “software vulnerability” was quickly fixed after the intrusion was discovered, but the hackers had already been able to access “non-public information,” the SEC said of the cyber-attack. The news came on the heels of one of the worst-ever breaches of personal data, revealed after the American firm Equifax announced it was the victim of a hacking attack that compromised the personal data of more than 140 million Americans, 400,000 Britons and 100,000 Canadians. Deloitte also acknowledged Monday that its computer systems had been targeted but insisted the consequences were limited. In its announcement yesterday the SEC also said it was launching a “Retail Strategy Task Force” aimed at identifying “misconduct impacting retail investors.”
Lazada expands Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace in SE Asia Singapore, Sept 25, 2017 — Online retailer Lazada Group said it will sell select items from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Taobao marketplace in three more countries in South-east Asia, expanding the partnership between the two e-commerce firms. Taobao Collection will be offered in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand in the next few weeks through Lazada’s platform, it said in a statement today. Lazada began selling Taobao products in Singapore and Malaysia earlier this year. In June, Alibaba invested an additional US$1 billion in Lazada to boost its stake to 83 per cent. “This is a true testament to the way the Lazada and Alibaba teams have come together to build the business in a fast and efficient way combining consumer insights, technology know-how and local expertise,” said Aimone Ripa di Meana, Lazada’s chief marketplace officer.
The products are curated to appeal to local tastes in the different countries and will be offered in the respective local languages on the Lazada sites, the company said. Lazada, launched in 2012, is headquartered in Singapore and also operates in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. South-east Asia is becoming a new battleground for e-commerce companies that are hoping to grab a piece of the market of 600 million people where only a fraction of total retail sales are currently conducted online. Amazon.com Inc launched its Prime Now quick delivery service in Singapore in July, while JD.com Inc and top Thai retailer Central Group are forming a US$500 million joint venture in e-commerce and financial technology. — Reuters
September 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
Blockchain booster: Singapore eyes commodity fintech firms Singapore, Sept 26, 2017 ― Singapore is aiming to position itself as a hub for blockchain development in commodity trading, with start-ups looking to boost access to trade finance and eliminate the opportunity for fraud. Several firms launching in coming months will offer digital “smart contracts”, which use blockchain rather than traditional paper agreements. The technology offers potential cost savings, and could open up new sources of funding, such as private wealth or from investors outside the major currencies. At the same time, proponents say the public ledgers used by blockchain will boost supply chain transparency, reducing the opportunity for the sort of warehouse fraud seen in the metals industry where parcels of metal have been sold to multiple buyers. The moves come as global demand for trade finance faced a US$1.5 trillion hole last year as banks pull back from the capital intensive sector due to stricter regulatory requirements, the Asian Development Bank said in a report this month. About 40 per cent of the shortfall was in Asia Pacific and the biggest gaps
were faced by companies in emerging economies and small and medium-sized firms, it said. “A lot of the shortfall in trade finance is from the Asia Pacific. There’s no shortage of money here – but a lot of it is trapped within local currencies in the region,” Yvonne Zhang, co-founder of Aquifer Institute, which is launching a digital trade platform. Banks also tend to favour larger players with bigger balance sheets who are chasing larger deals, she told Reuters. “The smaller guys tend to get put into a corner ... yet they are overcharged for what financing they can get.” While the possibility of saving billions of dollars a year by scrapping millions of paper documents is enticing, the secretive commodities industry may take some persuading to move to a common platform. Hurdles to be ironed out include common legal standards, links between different dealing platforms and persuading all participants in the supply chain to take part. Singapore, like other centres, has set
itself to attract fintech firms across a range of industries, offering funding and non-financial support, but commodities is a key enterprise for the trading hub. “Many commodity traders have been experimenting with, and implementing company specific initiatives around big data, traceability and block-chain,” Amreeta Eng a director at Singapore’s international trade arm, SingaporeIE, said at a metals conference this month. Blockchain, which is best known as the system underpinning bitcoin, is a public online ledger of transactions maintained by a network of computers on the internet. Financial firms hope that the nascent technology can reduce the cost and complexity of burdensome processes such as international payments and securities settlement. Aquifer wants to use its platform to connect Asian institutional and private capital with firms seeking trade finance, offering more pathways for financing, faster turnaround of capital and lower risk of fraud. Swiss-based Lykke, capitalised at about US$440 million, is building a series of decentralised marketplaces that will list and trade cryptocurrencies
and trade tokens, that could represent a commodity by grade and delivery point, for example. “The plan is to work with people that want to build the markets that suit them, or we’ll build them into our own marketplace,” director Seamus Donoghue told Reuters. Lykke aims to tap private wealth markets in New York and Singapore for funds to provide market liquidity. It has applied for securities licensing in several major jurisdictions and plans to become a regulated market operator in Singapore. Tradecloud, a supply chain trading platform for miners and manufacturers will launch in Singapore next month. However, industry sources said the changes might still be more evolution than revolution. “The impact of blockchain on physical trading, even in concept, seems limited outside of tech circles so far,” said a London-based source at a global trading house. ― Reuters
Georgia Asian Times September 15-30, 2017
A majority of adults disagree with Trump on firing athletes who kneel during anthem: Reuters/Ipsos poll New York, Sept 27, 2017- A majority of Americans disagree with President Donald Trump’s assertion that football players should be fired for kneeling during the national anthem, even though most say they would personally stand during the song, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday. The Sept. 25-26 poll found that 57 percent of adults do not think the National Football League should fire players who kneel. This included 61 percent of NFL fans who watch at least a few games per season. The results were split along party lines, however, as 82 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans disagreed with the president’s comments about firing football players. Trump waded into the issue last week at a political rally when he bemoaned what he saw as a decline in the sport. Among other things, Trump criticized players who want to draw attention to what they believe is social and racial injustice by refusing to stand during the anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now’,” Trump said at the rally. “He’s fired!” Trump, who once owned a pro football team in a now-defunct rival league, added that the NFL is “ruining the game” with a fixation on player safety. The president’s comments sparked a swift and widespread rebuke from the NFL last weekend as many players, coaches and owners kneeled, locked arms or stayed off the field during pregame ceremonies.
Yet, when it comes to professional athletes, there is less agreement about what is appropriate. While 58 percent of adults said that “professional athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem at sporting events,” there is rising support for those athletes who do not. In the latest poll, 40 percent of Americans said that they support the stance that some pro football players have made to not stand during the anthem. That is up from 28 percent who answered the same way in a similar Reuters/Ipsos poll last year.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll explored the complicated feelings that many Americans have about how to express their nationality.
In addition, 53 percent of Americans do not think it is appropriate for the president to comment on “how the NFL and its players conduct themselves during the national anthem.”
Eighty-five percent of adults said, for example, that they almost always “stand in silence” when the national anthem is played at an event they are attending. Seventy-four percent said they almost always put their hand over their heart.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a small number of other NFL players started kneeling during the national anthem last year to protest a series of high-profile police shootings that involved African-Americans.
The issue had largely faded at the start of the 2017 season, in part because Kaepernick was no longer playing for an NFL team. Trump’s comments, which were made in front of a conservative-leaning crowd in Alabama, reinvigorated the debate and made pregame NFL ceremonies mustsee TV. The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,622 people, including 628 Democrats, 583 Republicans and 919 people who watched a football game at least a few times during the season. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 5 percentage points.
September 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
Supermodel reunion at blockbuster Versace tribute in Milan
Milan, Sept 23, 2017 -- Donatella Versace authored the defining moment of Milan fashion week on Friday with a blockbuster show honouring her late brother Gianni which closed with a surprise supermodel reunion that brought the cheering crowd to its feet.
including Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, Kardashian mum Kris Jenner and Gucci creative mastermind Alessandro Michele. Superstar model sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid were there too — but to show off the collection to the crowd of buyers, fans and bloggers.
Security guards had to brush back the audience when it rushed the catwalk once a white curtain at the head of the room peeled back at the show’s close to reveal the guests of honor.
On July 15 the two-decade anniversary came and went for the murder of Versace, who was shot dead on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion. The gunman, 27-year-old Andrew Cunanan, took his own life days later after an inexplicable crime spree that left at least five dead.
Out stepped Cindy Crawford, Carla Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen and Claudia Schiffer in gold lame as the George Michael anthem “Freedom ’90” pounded from the sound system. Each of the women — all now in their 40s or 50s — had personally worked with Gianni during their years on the runway. “Gianni this is for you,” a voice declared throughout the show, which featured a greatest hits of the murdered designer’s canon. There were his iconic baroque designs on dress and trouser combinations, a glittering number bearing Andy Warhol’s pop art Marilyn Monroe and rock’n’roll leather adorned with shimmering tassels. Broad, square-shouldered suits, tight pastel-coloured velour-looking dresses as well as swimsuits adorned with sea stars and shells defined the collection. It was all done before a starry crowd
“We pay homage to not only (Gianni’s) artistic genius but to who he was as a man, and above all, as my brother,” Donatella wrote in her notes on the Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Armani shrugs off global mess Giorgio Armani’s show earlier in the day aimed for the same determined joy, which flew in the face of a world that seems dogged by disaster at the moment — some natural and some man-made. The clothes he sent down the runway were bright and modern, full of vivid prints and crisp cuts. What was not there was outrage over Donald Trump, fear that North Korea’s cold war might get hot and no trace of the carnage left by a string of earthquakes and monster hurricanes. “It’s not because it’s a sad moment that I have to make women sad on the
runway,” the veteran designer told reporters after the show at Teatro Armani. Art with a “capital A”, Impressionist paintings — but not one in particular — drove him to create a collection with plenty of flowers, bright silky pinks and lots of sequins. Providing a bit of star power for the 83-year-old’s show were Monaco’s Princess Charlene and Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who is the face of Armani’s Si perfume. On the catwalk there were plenty of small jackets, short dresses with sloping hemlines and luminous pleated skirts. The models also showed off vertiginous, see-through high heels. Gauzy jacket and trouser suits embellished with bright designs as well as silky green or silver skirts were major themes. They were all part of what the designer’s notes called the “sophisticated, linear elegance of the Armani language.” New kid at Cavalli As ever, the show concluded with the designer emerging briefly from backstage in his trademark working clothes of long-sleeved top and hightech sweatpants to briefly accept the audience’s applause. The show comes just two months after the Armani group announced it would reorganise its brands, concen-
trating on three core labels and trimming its network of boutiques. The change up was announced in July when Armani confirmed its sales had fallen five percent in the previous year. Big brands, including Prada, have struggled to find their mojo after revenues across the luxury world were hurt by a slowdown in Asia and currency volatility. Friday was also the big day for British talent Paul Surridge. He made his maiden showing in Milan since being named creative lead at Roberto Cavalli, known for its exotic prints and pioneering the sand-blasted jean look. It was big on slinky monotone dresses with see-through sections, zebra-print trousers and vests as well as flowery, flowing gowns. On the outdoor runway set in a Milan park, there was also some classic evening wear mixing leather and light fabrics, as well as massively oversized chrome-coated sunglasses. “I tried to dig deep to find a new sensuality, which I think is missing in women’s fashion today and to try and pioneer a new look as Mr Cavalli did in his origin,” said Surridge backstage after his show.
Georgia Asian Times September 15-30, 2017
‘Terminator 6’ gets 2019 release date Los Angeles, Sept 28 — He will be back just like always and by that we mean the sixth instalment of the Terminator franchise has received a release date. Paramount Pictures announced that Terminator 6 be out on July 26, 2019. Linda Hamilton will be returning as Sarah Connor with Arnold Schwarzenegger also back to reprise his iconic cyborg role. While not much plot details are known, James Cameron has confirmed that the movie will be a follow-up from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Deadpool’s Tim Miller will be directing the film with Cameron returning as a producer. Read more at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/showbiz/ article/terminator-6-gets-2019-release-date#7gosf6y7zV3GoxrI.99
JJ Abrams to make live-action version of anime blockbuster ‘Your Name’ Los Angeles, Sept 28, 2017 — JJ Abrams is developing a live-action remake of Your Name. Variety reported that Abrams and Paramount Pictures had won the rights to adapt the blockbuster anime. Eric Heisserer, who was behind Oscar-nominated Arrival, will write the screenplay. Your Name revolves around a pair of teenagers from different parts of Japan who discover they can swap bodies.
The Makoto Shinkai-written and directed movie is the fourth-highest grossing film of all time in Japan and the highest grossing anime film at the worldwide box office, earning US$355 million
September 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
JapanFest 2017 Sept 16-17, 2017 Gwinnett Infinite Energy Center
Georgia Asian Times September 15-30, 2017
Lucasfilm: J.J. Abrams to take over ‘Star Wars IX’
Los Angeles, Sept 13, 2017 -- Scifi filmmaker J.J. Abrams is to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” Lucasfilm announced on Tuesday, following the departure of Colin Trevorrow over creative differences.
Lucasfilm, which has parted company with several of its directors recently, starting with Josh Trank, who dropped out of developing a “Star Wars” spinoff in 2015, citing the enormous pressures of being involved with the franchise.
Abrams — a familiar face in the “Star Wars” universe who directed “The Force Awakens” (2015) — will co-write the film with Chris Terrio, who won an Oscar for the screenplay for “Argo,” (2012), the Disney-owned studio said.
“Rogue One” itself made headlines in 2016 when Tony Gilroy (“The Bourne Legacy”) was brought in to helm extensive reshoots just a few months ahead of the release of the Gareth Edwards-directed movie.
“With ‘The Force Awakens,’ J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement.
Lucasfilm announced a week ago that Trevorrow had left as director of “Episode IX,” attributing his exit to differing visions between the filmmaker and studio executives.
Abrams has considerable pedigree in sci-fi, having successfully rebooted the “Star Trek” franchise, directing two of the new films, as well as producing the “Cloverfield” trilogy and the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.” The “Force Awakens” is the third-highest grossing movie of all time, taking $2.1 billion, and spin-off movie “Rogue One” was beaten only by “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016. But it hasn’t been plain sailing for
The Hollywood Reporter, citing unnamed sources, said the main point of contention was ongoing “script issues,” with Trevorrow being forced into several rewrites. The weekly trade paper reported that the relationship between Trevorrow and Kennedy had become “unmanageable,” although it added that she had tried to avoid losing another director. ‘Huge opportunity missed’ In June, Lucasfilm sacked directing duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“21
Jump Street,” “The Lego Movie”), who were just weeks away from wrapping principal photography on the hotly-anticipated Han Solo spinoff.
The pair were replaced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard after clashing with Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan, according to reports. Trevorrow’s departure was seen as a significant upheaval as he is considered hot property after scoring big with Universal’s creature feature “Jurassic World” (2015), the fourth-highest grossing movie of all time. Reaction to Trevorrow’s replacement was divided on Twitter, where the announcement quickly became one of the top worldwide trending topics, with more than 37,000 tweets. Many fans expressed admiration for “The Force Awakens” and signaled their approval of the decision, although others saw it as a missed opportunity. “‘Star Wars Chapter Nine: Revenge of the Lens Flare,’ written and directed by JJ Abrams,” quipped New York Times columnist John Podhoretz, referring to the director’s predilection for the visual effect he used extensively in “Star Trek” (2009).
“Still no female director in the Star Wars franchise as JJ Abrams to return in place of Colin Trevorrow. Huge opportunity missed,” said Melissa Silverstein, artistic director of New York’s female-focused Athena Film Festival. “I LOVED Force Awakens so I’m sort of okay with Abrams returning, but at the same time, dang. Star Wars needs to fix its diversity problem,” said Tim Hanley, author of “The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale.” The untitled Han Solo movie is due out on May 25 next year, while filming has yet to start on “Star Wars: Episode IX,” slated for release 12 months later. “The Last Jedi,” the next film in the “Star Wars” franchise, directed by Rian Johnson, opens on December 15.
September 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
Two-thirds of American adults get news from social media, survey shows San Francisco, Sept 9, 2017 — About two-thirds of American adults are getting “at least some of their news on social media” with two-in-ten doing so often, according to a Pew Research Centre survey this week.
American adults saying they get news from the social media site. Alphabet Inc’s YouTube was next with 18 per cent while only about 11 per cent of US adults said they get their news on Twitter.
About 67 per cent of American adults somewhat rely on social media platforms such as Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Snapchat for news, the survey showed, compared with 62 per cent in 2016.
The research also showed about three-quarters of non-whites or 74 per cent, get news on social media sites, up from 64 per cent in 2016.
For the first time in the Centre’s surveys, the research also found that 55 per cent of Americans adults over 50 were consuming news on social media sites, up from 45 per cent in 2016. “While a small increase overall, this growth is driven by more substantial increases among Americans who are older, less educated, and non-white,” the research said. Those under 50 years of age remained more likely than their elders to get news from these sites — 78 per cent said they consume news on social media platforms, unchanged from 2016. Facebook remained as the dominant platform for news with 45 per cent of
Social media news use also increased among those with less than a bachelor’s degree, up none percentage points to 69 per cent in 2017 from the previous year. Alternatively, among those with at least a college degree, social media news use declined slightly this year. While Twitter lags far behind Facebook and YouTube in total news consumers, the site still seems to be benefiting from US President Donald Trump who is one of the most active politicians on the social media platform. Pew found that 74 per cent of US adults who use Twitter say they get news there, up from 59 per cent of the site’s users in 20
World’s biggest beer festival Oktoberfest opens in Munich Munich, Sept 17, 2017 -- The drinking has begun as wet weather and enhanced security did not dampen the spirits of beer enthusiasts at the 184th Oktoberfest which opened in Munich on Saturday. Six million people from all over the world are expected to visit the world’s largest beer festival, which runs until October 3. This year, visitors will be able to download an app that shows nearby tents with available space. It will also help festival goers find lost friends — which will be useful as the largest tent fits 10,000 people. Drinkers will face higher beer prices — a litre of beer will cost up to 10.95 euros ($13), 25 cents higher than last year, when 6.6 million litres of beer were guzzled over the two weeks. Oktoberfestis hoping more people will come to the festival this year after attendance in 2016 dipped in part due to concern over terror attacks. Security has since been bolstered at the festival, with backpacks as well as large bags now being banned.
The entrances will be watched over by more than 650 security guards, up by 200 from last year, CCTV cameras have been added and a new loudspeaker system can now be used to alert visitors in three languages: German, English and Bavarian. Germany was rocked by a number of attacks last summer. In Munich, an 18-year-old shot nine people dead at a shopping mall before turning the gun on himself. In the southern region of Bavaria, where Munich is located, two other attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group: a failed Syrian asylum seeker blew himself up at a music festival, wounding 15, and a 17-year-old Afghan refugee injured five in an axe attack. On December 19, 2016, the country was traumatised when a man hijacked a truck and ploughed into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.
Georgia Asian Times Sept 15-30, 2017
IOC says no doubts about Korea Games amid French unease Paris, Sept 22, 2017 — Olympics organisers sought today to ease French concerns about next year’s winter Games in South Korea, saying the safety of athletes was their priority and nations in the region had no doubts that the event would go ahead. With tensions on the Korean peninsula rising, France yesterday became the first nation to publicly raise the possibility of skipping the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Olympics on security grounds. North Korea, which conducted a sixth nuclear test on September 3 to global condemnation, said today it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after US President Donald Trump threatened to destroy the reclusive country. “We are monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region
very closely.” an International Olympic Committee spokesman said. “Athletes’ safety and security are of course a primary concern for the IOC. This is why even in the past few days at the United Nations we continue to be in touch with the heads of state concerned.” “In none of the discussions, has anybody expressed any doubt about the Olympic Games 2018,” the spokesman said, adding that preparations for the Games remained on track. The multi-billion dollar Pyeongchang Olympics will be held just 80km from the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, the world’s most heavily armed border. Monitoring developments France’s Sports Minister Laura
Flessel had said yesterday if the crisis deepened and athletes’ security could not be assured, “the French Olympics team will stay at home.” “We’re not there yet,” she added, just a week after the IOC awarded the 2024 summer Olympics to Paris. Other Winter sports powerhouses said they were monitoring developments but had no plans to miss the Olympics. “Waiving participation of the Swiss team is at the moment not under discussion,” one of its Olympic committee officials told Reuters. The US Olympic committee said it was working with authorities to ensure the safety of its delegation, while Russia said security was each host country’s responsibility and China’s foreign ministry said it was not aware of any
plans for the its Olympic team to not attend. Sweden also had no plans to stay away. “I cannot really see it (a situation of not going),” Swedish Olympic council CEO Peter Reinebo told news agency TT. “It would take an overall assessment of the IOC and the local organising committee, an international decision by the United Nations or a strong general counsel from the Swedish authorities. But none of those (conditions) exists at the moment. We are completely focused on going.” North and South Korea remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty. — Reuters
September 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
F1: Hamilton takes big step toward fourth title Singapore, Sept 17, 2017 - Lewis Hamilton took a huge stride toward his fourth Formula One title on Sunday by winning an incident-packed Singapore Grand Prix after Ferrari title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out at the start.
The Briton cashed in after Vettel, Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s front row contender Max Verstappen smashed into each other as they raced off the wet starting grid and into the first corner.
The Mercedes driver now has a 28-point cushion over the German with six of the 20 races remaining.
Raikkonen had made a storming start from fourth, Vettel a less impressive one from pole position while Verstappen went for the middle ground and was caught in a Ferrari sandwich as they converged.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who also emerged from the opening lap carnage unscathed, was second for the third year in a row with Finland’s Valtteri Bottas completing the podium for Mercedes. “God blessed me today for sure,” said Hamilton, who set a lap record on his way to a third win in a row, as he spoke from the podium on a night where everything fell into his lap. “I came here today really thinking it was about damage limitation, and we’ve come out ahead. So I’m very grateful,” he said later. “To come to a track that was potentially our weakest circuit, and come away with a win like this and those points, it’s really such a fortunate scenario...so I definitely have a skip in my step.”
The stewards summoned all three and decided no driver was predominantly to blame.
BITTER BLOW The first race to be hit by rain in the decade that Singapore has hosted Formula One had started in treacherous conditions, puddles gleaming in the floodlights, after a formation lap behind the safety car. With Hamilton starting fifth, everything looked set for Vettel to retake the overall lead that he had surrendered only two weeks earlier at Monza in Italy. And then it all went wrong, the
collision with Raikkonen punching a hole in the side of Vettel’s car before he spun into the wall at turn three.
It was probably a good thing I had a poor start as I’d have been caught up in it.”
“It’s bitter but it’s done,” said the German, a four times Singapore GP winner, whose retirement ended a run of 18 successive points finishes and left him with a mountain to climb.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who will move to Renault next season, finished fourth for Toro Rosso to score the best result of his career.
”Championship-wise it’s a big step forward,“ recognized Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. ”The quickest car and the quickest driver were out within a minute into the race and that can happen all the time. “Today we benefited from their misfortune, it happened to us in the past.” The incident allowed Hamilton into a lead he would keep through two more safety car periods and a perfectly-timed switch to dry weather tires. Australian Ricciardo had been confident of victory, despite missing out on pole on Saturday but could not keep up with the Briton’s pace on Sunday. “I‘m a little bit disappointed to miss out on the win. But I’m still going to be grateful and happy with another podium,” he said. “I watched the chaos in front of me.
Force India’s Sergio Perez was fifth with Briton Jolyon Palmer, making way for Sainz at Renault, scoring his first points of the season and best career finish with sixth. Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne was seventh for McLaren, also his best performance to date, ahead of Canadian teenager Lance Stroll in the Williams and Romain Grosjean in the Haas. French rookie Esteban Ocon scored the final point for Force India in 10th. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, who had been in third place early on, also set the unenviable record of most races without ever standing on the podium (129). After three safety car interruptions, the race ended with 58 of the 61 laps completed after hitting the two-hour mark. Only 12 of the 20 cars finished. Reuters
Georgia Asian Times Sept 15-30, 2017
HEALTH Sitting for longer shortens your life You can spend a lot of accumulated time on your bottom in the course of a day. Or you can sit for lengthy spells without a break. Both, it turns out, are very bad for you. Whether you’re a heavy sitter or a binge-sitter, racking up prolonged sedentary time increases your risk of early death, according to a study published in the Sept 12, 2017, edition of the Annals Of Internal Medicine. That conclusion held up even after researchers took account of mitigating factors, such as time spent exercising. Even for people who hit the gym after a long day in a desk chair, sitting can be deadly. The findings led the study’s authors to suggest that people who sit a lot should get up and move around every 30 minutes to counter the health risks that come with prolonged sedentary behaviour. The study team, led by Columbia University exercise researcher Dr Keith Diaz in the United States, tracked the movements of close to 8,000 Americans older than 45 by asking them to wear an accelerometer on their hip. Over a period of 10 days, sitting or lounging behaviour took up the equivalent of 12.3 hours over a 16-hour waking day – about 77% on average. That’s a whole lot of sitting. But subjects differed in the extent to which they hunkered down for long stretches without getting up and moving around. When researchers measured the “bout length” of subjects’ sitting spells, they found that 52% lasted less than a half-hour, 22% lasted between a half-hour and just under an hour, 14% lasted 60 to 89 minutes and 14% went on for more than 90 minutes.
The sit of less harm After tracking the subjects for four years, the researchers found that those who racked up the most time sitting were most likely to have died during the study period, and those who spent the least time sitting were least likely to have died. That was no surprise. But when they looked at the death rates as a function of how often subjects went long hours without getting up, they saw a similar pattern: Those whose sitting bouts tended to be lengthier were more likely to have died than were those whose sitting spells tended to be shorter. Make no mistake, the authors of the new research cautioned: “Accumulation of large volumes of sedentary time is a hazardous health behaviour, regardless of how it is accumulated.” But logging sedentary time in shorter bouts of sitting “is the least harmful pattern of accumulation”. Study participants who racked up the most time in a chair tended to be older, were more likely to smoke, and were disproportionately African-American. They tended to be teetotalers, to have a higher body mass index (BMI), and were less likely to get much intentional exercise. They were also more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, worrisome cholesterol readings, and a history of stroke, atrial fibrillation or coronary heart disease. Such findings, of course, beg the question of which comes first – the immobility or the illness that leads to death. “Observational studies, no matter how well designed, cannot imply causality,” University of Toronto, Canada, cardiologist Dr David A. Alter warned in an editorial.
But the findings of this prospective population-based study do fit with those of experimental studies.
“Even if you’re a gym-goer and think you’re safe on account of your excellent effort, you are not,” he said.
In trials involving humans sequestered in research labs, scientists have shown that racking up prolonged, uninterrupted bouts of sitting and lounging cause more worrisome short-term changes in metabolic and cardiovascular function than sedentary behaviour that’s interrupted by periods of physical activity.
“No one gets away from this stuff…. Excess sitting, this study seems to suggest, is a death sentence.”
It only makes sense that those shortterm changes translate over time to more profound changes in the risk for diseases linked to sedentary behaviour, said Dr James A. Levine, an obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic in the US, who studies the health effects of sitting. “If you’re sitting too much, you need to do something about it – like right now,” he said.
In his editorial, Dr Alter worried that people intent on reversing patterns of sedentary behaviour will have a lot on their plates. To live longer, healthier lives “may require us to count the total number of hours we are sedentary per day, the total number of minutes we sit at a time, the total number of standing breaks we take per hour, the total number of steps we take per day, and the total metabolic equivalent of task-minute volume of exercise we achieve per week,” he wrote.
“Unless you get moving now, you’re in trouble later.”
“Yikes! That sure is a lot of counting over the course of a lifetime – all to reverse the evolutionary patterns of a society gone lazy,” he added.
The finding that a workout will not undo the harms caused by prolonged sitting is unsurprising, Dr Levine added.
“Might it not just be easier to return to our origins as hunters and gatherers?” – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service
Sept 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
Japanese firm to offer ‘drive-thru’ funeral service Tokyo, Sept 13, 2017 -- A Japanese funeral parlour is set to offer relatives the chance to pay their final respects to deceased loved ones without leaving the comfort of their cars. The firm claims that the “drive-thru” service is a first in Japan, where a rapidly ageing population means funerals are anything but a dying trade. Elderly mourners can register their names on a touchscreen tablet device and make a traditional offering of incense just by rolling down a car window — a process relayed to screens inside the venue for the grieving funeral host to watch. The initiative aims to speed up funeral services and also to give infirm relatives the chance to participate, said the firm’s president Masao Ogiwara. “Older people may hesitate to attend
a funeral because they have to ask for help to get out of the car,”said Ogiwara “But we want as many people as possible to be able to come to say farewell to their friends or neighbours,” he said. It usually takes at least 15 minutes for someone in a wheelchair to offer incense at the altar during a traditional Japanese funeral ceremony. Ogiwara said the time is cut down to just a few minutes by the service, which the Kankon Sosai Aichi Group in the central Nagano prefecture expects to offer from December. ‘Rent-a-monk’ With a high average life expectancy, Japan is on the verge of becoming the first “ultra-aged” country in the world, meaning that 28 percent of people are aged 65 or above.
The latest government report shows that 27.3 percent of a population of 127 million — one in four people — are aged 65 or older and the figure is expected to jump to 37.7 percent in 2050. Drive-through funerals are the latest in a series of Japanese innovations attempting to win a slice of the competitive 1.76-trillion-yen ($16-billion) funeral business. One trend that has sparked controversy is a so-called “rent-a-monk” system, where at the click of a mouse, a mourning family can order a monk delivered to perform the funeral rites. Another company went even further by replacing a real Buddhist monk with a chatty human-shaped “Pepper” robot for a funeral. How about a mail-order funeral? For
those who cannot afford to pay expensive funeral fees, a temple near Tokyo accepts the ashes of the deceased via mail and places it in its burial facility. If visiting a grave in a remote area is too much trouble, one firm has pioneered an app allowing relatives to pay a virtual visit to the gravesite. And in urban areas where space is tight, several buildings have been constructed to house the ashes of hundreds of dead people. Mourners are given a card which they place on an electronic sensor, whizzing the right ashes automatically to an altar for prayer.
Georgia Asian Times September 15-30, 2017
An ancient Chinese fishing community washes ashore Datang, Sept 21, 2017 — Along southern China’s snaking rivers, an ancient fishing community that once lived and worked exclusively on the water has been finding its way to land. Wooden fishing boats, wispy nets and bamboo steering poles are typical of the traditions of the “Tanka” — the term for generations of rural Chinese who have eked out an aquatic existence. They are not an ethnic minority, but rather so named for their unique customs and egg-shaped vessels (Tanka, or “danjia,” is homophonous to the Chinese word for egg). In Guangdong province’s Datang town, home to the country’s largest surviving Tanka population, this way of life risks evaporating as younger Tanka seek more prosperous opportunities on dry land. Chen Yongfu, a 45-year-old Datang native, grew up on a fishing boat but now works at a restaurant in town.
some older Tanka are holding fast to their ancestral occupation. Lin Ziqiang, 43, and his wife, surnamed Chen, take their boat out to fish at sunrise every day, coming back to the shore next to a towering bridge at around 1pm. Later in the early evening, the couple sells their fresh catch at the market by the Beijiang River, making between 3,000 and 4,000 yuan a month. It is the only occupation Lin and Chen have ever known. They met in the Tanka boats as children, and Lin’s father still joins them sometimes on the water. Their own children’s lives will be different: One 22-year-old son is working in the city, while their 19-year-old is studying at university. The community today is a collision of these two cultures — the older fishers and the younger Tanka taking to land.
“I moved out from the boat long ago, after I graduated from school,” Chen said. “I went to work in bigger towns and never returned to this kind of fishing boat life.”
Boats are parked haphazardly together along the shore, their decks packed with fishing equipment, blankets and sometimes sleeping bodies. Men and women in straw hats balance rods holding nets of carp on either end.
He recalled that even weddings used to be held on the boats, jammed with tables and guests, creating “a pretty lively scene.”
On a recent morning in Datang, an older woman in rubber boots squatted on a small bank as she pulled in a fishing line.
“Now,” Chen said, “there is no wedding culture for the Tanka anymore as all the younger generations moved onto land to live just like everyone else.”
Beside her, a girl stood in a red and white uniform, holding onto a pink Disney princess backpack. Jumping from a boat to the sandy shore, she began her walk to school.
Yet despite government incentives for relocating into homes on land,
Prayers, buffalo and horse races at Cambodia’s Festival of the Dead Kandal, Sept 21 — Hundreds gathered yesterday to watch horse and buffalo races at Vihear Sour Pagoda, northeast of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, on the last day of the annual Festival of the Dead. “It is funny to watch the horse and buffalo races here,” said Morn Ray, a 28-year-old villager living nearby, who comes each year to enjoy the spectacle of colourfully decorated animals being raced down a dirt track. The two-week festival is traditionally a time when Cambodians pay respects to their deceased relatives and offer alms to monks. At the pagoda, people place various food dishes on the floor, an action
believed to generate good merit for the souls of their deceased loved ones. “I prayed for those who have died to come and collect our food and drink offerings, and then asked them to grant all of my family members good luck,” said Khat Rim, 65, who had travelled to the pagoda from Phnom Penh. The Festival of the Dead took on added significance after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, a regime that killed about a third of the country’s population. As many as 2.2 million people were executed or died of torture, starvation or exhaustion during the Khmer Rouge’s murderous bid to create a peasant utopia from 1975-1979. — Reuters pic
Sept 15-30, 2017 Georgia Asian Times
Nest looks to shake up home security San Francisco, Sept 21 — Nest yesterday set out to shake up the home security market, unveiling an internet-age alarm system.
“We build technology that is designed to fit into your life, not the other way around,” Nest co-founder Matt Rogers said during the event.
A unit of Google-parent Alphabet, Nest was founded about seven years ago by a pair of former Apple engineers and its first product was a smart thermostat that adapted to lifestyles and even suggested ways to conserve energy.
“It felt right to re-imagine security; we start with products that are unloved and we make them very loved.”
The Silicon Valley-based company has maintained a focus on homes while expanding its product line to include security cameras as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. “Security is an industry desperate for innovation,” Nest chief executive Marwan Fawaz said at a media event in San Francisco. Nest yesterday unveiled a ‘Hello’ video-camera doorbell, stylish outdoor security cameras, and a home-monitoring system that keeps people tuned in by means of smartphones.
Adding intelligence Through collaboration with Google, Nest continues to “add layers of intelligence” to its services and cameras, according to Fawaz. Google has made a priority of investing in artificial intelligence and infusing such machine smarts into its array of offerings. A base unit for the new Nest Secure alarm looked a bit similar to a Google Home personal assistant device, but had yet to be infused with its capabilities. The Hello doorbell, which will be released early next year, could detect when people were in sight and recognize faces.
Nest designed its own components for the home security system, down to lipstick-case shaped motion detectors and a key fob for turning it on or off. “Can you think of a better industry for us to disrupt?” said Nest director of product marketing Maxime Veron. “What if home security was so simple you actually use it?” Premium price A Nest Secure starter pack with a suggested price of US$499 will begin shipping in November. The home security systems sound piercing alarms when triggered, and send alerts to residents’ smartphones. Nest is working with a home security monitoring service to add that to the mix. A new Nest Cam IQ for use outside homes will also begin shipping in November, at a price of US$349. Nest will be facing strongly estab-
lished competitors in the home security market, which is rich in lower-cost options, according to Gartner analyst Brian Blau. “Nest is focusing on smart features, and leveraging its relationship with Google,” said Blau. “That may make them stand out.” Nest security offerings had an Apple-style spin — devices pleasing to the eye, fun to use, and tied into an ecosystem of gadgets capable of working together, Blau said. A door appeared open to weaving Google services or smarts into that Nest ecosystem via internet connections. “Maybe the biggest value they have is the integrated nature of it and the Google smarts,” Blau said. “It is hard to put a value on having that smart system that evolves over time without a need to upgrade.”