Daily Dose: 08/04/08

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» AsianWeek Market Report
» Asian American Civil War Soldiers Honored
» AAPI Serving Institutions Legislation Passes House
» Boston Bilingual Ballot Bill Languishes
» U.S. Ban on HIV-Positive Travelers Is Lifted
» Michigan Congressman Blogs about ‘Asian Invaders’
» Immigrants Less Prepared For Disaster, Study Says
» Asian Law Caucus Hires New Staff Attorneys
» Signs Approved For SJ ‘Little Saigon’ District
» JACL Mourns Cherry Kinoshita
» Plenty to Say About Suffering: Vietnamese Man’s War-wracked Life Horrific, Riveting
» Cusack Calls ‘Shanghai’ Unique Opportunity
» Bashir Blunders While Addressing ‘Asian Babes’
» Badminton is More Than a Backyard Game for U.S. Olympian Eva Lee
» Vera Wang Lavender Label to Launch Shoes
» Jatropha – India’s Bio-Fuel Option

Compiled by Beleza Chan, Steffi Lau and Miriam Ling

AsianWeek Market Report

AsianWeek Market Report
Asian Stock Indexes
NIKKEL_225 Tokyo 12,933.18 -161.41 -1.23%
HANG SENG Hong Kong 22,514.92 -347.68 -1.52%
KRX Busan 3,198.14 -59.68 -1.83%
SSE IX Shanghai 9,375.69 -181.22 -1.90%
BSE Bombay 14,577.87 -78.82 -0.54%
HOSE Ho Chi Minh 439.41 -7.70 -1.72%
SET Bangkok 674.67 -3.99 -0.59%
Asian American Market Report
Yahoo! YHOO 19.32 -0.48 (-2.42%)
Citigroup C 18.69 -0.18 (-0.59%)
Amkor Technology, Inc AMKR 8.20 -0.16 (-1.91%)
Sybase SY 33.95 -0.01 (-0.03%)
UnionBancal Corp UB 55.04 -0.35 (-0.63%)
East West Bank corp,Inc EWBC 12.85 0.42 (3.38%)

Nation

Asian American Civil War Soldiers Honored

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Aug. 1 honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander soldiers who fought in the U.S. Civil War, culminating a five-year battle by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) to help correct the historical record.

Historians have recently uncovered evidence that hundreds of soldiers of API heritage fought on both the Union and Confederate sides. H. Res. 415 posthumously honors Edward Day Cohota and Joseph L. Pierce, both of Chinese ancestry, as examples of this overlooked group of men.

Cohota’s comrades gave testimony of the seven bullet holes in his coat during the battle of Drury Bluff. Pierce fought at the Battle of Gettysburg, volunteering for a dangerous assault on Bliss Farm, a bloody no-man’s land between the Union and Confederate armies. Both men were Union soldiers.

Despite the sacrifice of hundreds of men such as Pierce and Cohota, laws denied them the right to naturalize as U.S. Citizens.

-Sampan

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AAPI Serving Institutions Legislation Passes House

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On July 31, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the final version of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (H.R.4137), which includes the historic Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions program. Similar to other minority-serving institution programs, the AAPISI program is designed to provide greater opportunities and services for underserved college students, including low-income and Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

After more than eight years of community advocacy efforts, the AAPISI program was first passed in September 2007 under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which authorized the Department of Education to issue a total of $10 million in discretionary grants to eligible institutions for two years.

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans commends Congressman David Wu (D-Ore.) and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, as led by Congressman Mike Honda (D-Calif.), on shepherding the AAPISI program into law.

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Boston Bilingual Ballot Bill Languishes

BOSTON – The Asian American community won unanimous passage of the Home Rule Petition to extend Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots in May, but the state legislative session closed on July 31 leaving no chance of enacting the bill into law.

The community sought legislation to extend Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots beyond the December 2008 expiration date and to specifically authorize inclusion of Chinese names on the ballot, after Secretary of State William Galvin repeatedly refused to meet with Asian American leaders to discuss the issues.

Without the passage of new legislation by July 31, Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots will end entirely in December 2008. But, due to Galvin’s opposition to including candidate names in Chinese, this year’s ballots for September 16 and November 4 will exclude transliterated candidate names – i.e., everything will be translated but the most important part of the ballot!

- Sampan

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U.S. Ban on HIV-Positive Travelers Is Lifted

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President George W. Bush recently signed into law the Tom Lantos & Henry J. Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, a presidential initiative to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic that includes a provision ending the ban on HIV-positive travelers and immigrants.

“The ACLU applauds the president and Congress for their leadership in lifting a 21-year ban on HIV-positive travelers and immigrants. Today the president signed landmark HIV/AIDS legislation into law and ended a shameful era in American immigration policy. For a generation, HIV/AIDS was the only disease singled out in our immigration laws as a basis to ban visitors and immigrants from this country. Lifting the ban will remove the discriminatory barrier long faced by HIV-positive people and their families. Now the immigration laws will treat HIV/AIDS like other communicable diseases. This legislation is a major advance for all people living with HIV/AIDS,” said Joanne Lin, ACLU Legislative Counsel.

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Michigan Congressman Blogs about ‘Asian Invaders’

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote-Michigan, the Asian American Center for Justice/American Citizens for Justice, and the Association of Chinese Americans issued a letter recently to Congressman Joseph Knollenberg (R-9th District) calling for a public apology to the Asian American community.

On July 30, Knollenberg wrote a post on his blog (knollenberg.house.gov/blog/) about the recent bill passed by the House of Representatives regarding oversight of product safety, focusing on harmful products from China. The post was originally titled “Protecting Our Families From Asian Invaders” and later changed to “Protecting Our Families From Harmful Products.”

“Instead of focusing on trade affiliations in a global economy, it is conduct unbecoming of a United States Congressman to pander to fear and use anti-Asian remarks,” said Prasanna Vengadam, board member of the Asian American Center for Justice/American Citizens for Justice.

BAY/CALIFORNIA

Immigrants Less Prepared For Disaster, Study Says

LOS ANGELES – Immigrant and limited-English proficient communities are likely less prepared for a major disaster, according to a recently released study.
“This study shows that we are ill prepared to serve the limited-English proficient community in the event of a major catastrophic disaster,” said Stewart Kwoh, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, which released the study in conjunction with the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute and the Asian American Justice Center.
The study, titled “Disaster Preparedness in Urban Immigrant Communities: Lessons Learned from Recent Catastrophic Events and Their Relevance to Latino and Asian Communities in Southern California,” found a lack of preparedness materials in languages other than English. It also found a shortage of staff and volunteers among emergency response crews and nonprofits that do outreach during emergencies.

– Contra Costa Times

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Asian Law Caucus Hires New Staff Attorneys
SAN FRANCISCO – The Asian Law Caucus announced its hiring of two new staff attorneys for the Housing Program. Eva Auyeung was previously Staff Attorney at Eviction Defense Collaborative, is a fluent Cantonese and Mandarin speaker and has significant experience working with Chinese-speaking tenants. Deborah Sheen is a recent graduate of University of San Francisco Law School and fluent in Korean. Previous to law school, she worked as Program Coordinator at the Korean American Coalition. She has also worked with communities on participatory planning and community benefits agreements projects in the past.

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Signs Approved For SJ ‘Little Saigon’ District

SAN JOSE, Calif. – An agreement has been reached about the location and number of banners that will be displayed to mark the newly named “Little Saigon” business district of San Jose.

Under the agreement, a gateway and two focal points will be created with 18 banners attached to streetlight poles for up to three years, according to the city.

The name of the district, which is dominated by the city’s Vietnamese community, has been controversial since 2007 when the City Council approved a measure from Councilwoman Madison Nguyen that designated the area as the “Saigon Business District.”

A large segment of the city’s Vietnamese community immediately began protesting the name, saying the area should be called “Little Saigon” because that was the most popular choice in a survey.

The protests grew in recent months to a point where an anti-communist crusader famous in the Vietnamese community embarked on a hunger strike outside San Jose City Hall over the naming issue.

-CBS 5

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JACL Mourns Cherry Kinoshita

SAN FRANCISCO – The Japanese American Citizens League mourned the passing of Cherry Kinoshita, a long time JACL leader in the Pacific Northwest and the National JACL as well as a leader in the Redress movement. She passed away on July 29.
Cherry Kinoshita was born and raised in Seattle, Wash., from where she left to be interned at the age of eighteen at the Minidoka Camp in Idaho during World War II.
Upon the return from camp after the war, she entered college but had to quit to help her parents who were in their sixties and having a hard time after the internment experience. She returned to college later and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington when she was sixty years old. She also became involved with the local JACL chapter after the war.
She became a key player in the Redress movement from its early days, becoming active with the Seattle JACL movement for redress which began in the 1970s, which helped to bring about the introduction of the first redress bill by a congressman from the State of Washington in 1979.

ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

Plenty to Say About Suffering: Vietnamese Man’s War-wracked Life Horrific, Riveting

Contemporary writers have plenty to say about suffering. At least one of them, Andrew X. Pham, has mastered the subject.

Pham’s book, The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars, is an unusually un-egotistical contribution to the memoir genre, as it is written “on behalf of” Pham’s Vietnamese father, Thong.

Born into a world “where titles, however minor, mattered,” Thong grows up in a relatively powerful and privileged family in northern Vietnam. He lives through the country’s decades-long historical nightmare: the Japanese invasion, the return of the colonial French, the struggle for independence, the communist takeover of his native North, the Viet Cong insurgency in the South. Even in the lulls of history, when Thong had opportunities to build, or rebuild, his life, war looms in the background as “an offshore storm that never left.”

-Houston Chronicle

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Cusack Calls ‘Shanghai’ Unique Opportunity

BANGKOK, Thailand – Known for alternating between mainstream Hollywood and independent films, John Cusack says his latest movie Shanghai is a rare middle ground between the two genres.

Speaking at a set visit in Bangkok on Saturday, the 42-year-old star of movies like Serendipity and Being John Malkovich called Shanghai a unique project that combines the artistry of independent film with the resources of a commercial movie.

The movie also features Hong Kong’s Chow Yun-fat, Chinese actress Gong Li and Japan’s Ken Watanabe.

Cusack called his co-stars “the greatest artists from Asia” and said it was an honor to work with them.

Shooting for the first time in Asia, the American actor said he hasn’t had the chance to explore Thailand because of a busy shooting schedule but has enjoyed the warmth of the Thai people.

“The Thai people seem to be incredibly generous, warm, kind of loving people,” he said.

-Iroquois County Times Republic

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Bashir Blunders While Addressing ‘Asian Babes’

When ABC News imported Martin Bashir from British TV, they knew he was prone to a certain level of tabloid shamelessness. But his tawdry July 25 speech at the Asian American Journalists Association annual gala banquet in Chicago went too far.
“I’m happy to be in the midst of so many Asian babes,” he said onstage, with his 20/20 colleague Juju Chang nearby. “In fact, I’m happy that the podium covers me from the waist down.”
He then noted that a speech should be “like a dress on a beautiful woman – long enough to cover the important parts and short enough to keep your interest – like my colleague Juju’s.” (“See what I have to put up with?” she responded.) Some audience members booed.
ABC wasn’t pleased. “This kind of remark has no place in any setting, and Martin knows that,” said a spokesperson.
And Bashir was contrite. “Upon reflection, it was a tasteless remark that I now bitterly regret,” he wrote in a July 31 letter to AAJA, obtained by New York. “I … hope that the continuing work of the organization will not be harmed or undermined by my moment of stupidity.”

- New York Magazine

SPORTS

Badminton is More Than a Backyard Game for U.S. Olympian Eva Lee

For most Americans, badminton is a backyard game played at parties and barbecues. But for Eva Lee, it is very serious – she is one of five members of the U.S. Badminton team that will be competing for gold at the Beijing Olympics.

Eva Lee told VOA Sports that the fast pace of badminton requires several different kinds of training, including strength, agility and reaction training.

The arduous training is needed. In a single game of badminton at the elite level, athletes can run as many as two miles and have to respond in a split second to the flight of the shuttlecock.

Eva Lee says that the grueling pace takes its toll, even on the best players.

She has qualified in three disciplines and will have to face top opponents from host country China and perennial power Indonesia to win gold.

-VOA news

COMMERCE

Vera Wang Lavender Label to Launch Shoes

Vera Wang’s Lavender Label is on the expansion path.

The contemporary line has signed a three-year shoe license with Brown Shoe, set to launch for 2009. The collection will target the Lavender Label customer and will include a full lifestyle offering of flats, espadrilles, sandals, clogs, pumps and boots.

The deal intensifies Wang’s focus on accessories. The firm already boasts a number of licenses under its signature Vera Wang line, including fragrance, home, eyewear and fine papers. In March, Wang’s Lavender Label began extending into licenses with Accessory Network Group, which will produce and distribute the line’s handbags and small leather goods this spring.

“Clearly, with the Lavender Label apparel business growing at the pace it has, we felt that extending into accessories, especially shoes, is such an important component to not only complement apparel but really help fuel growth for the overall brand,” said Susan Sokol, president of Vera Wang Apparel.

-WWD Markets

GLOBAL

Jatropha – India’s Bio-Fuel Option

With inflation in India crossing the 11-percent mark for the first time in three and a half years, the impact of bio-fuel production on food grain prices is under scrutiny in the country.

The new focus of sustainable energy efforts will be growing bio-energy plants such as jatropha in wastelands.

Jatropha incentives are a part of India’s goal to achieve energy independence by the year 2012. Jatropha oil is produced from the seeds of the Jatropha curcas, a plant that can grow in wastelands across India. Jatropha oil is considered to be an excellent source of bio-diesel.

The Government of India has identified 400,000 square kilometers (98 million acres) of land where jatropha can be grown, hoping it will replace 20 percent of India’s diesel consumption by 2011. This can provide much needed employment to the rural poor of India and also serve as a means to energy independence to India.

- Siliconeer

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