Daily Dose: 12/02/08

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» AsianWeek Market Report
» Chinese Americans Petition Against Bill Richardson
» The New Team: Christopher Lu
» Mike Honda Speculated as Contender for Post in Obama Adminstration
» Crow Collection of Asian Art Tracks a Generation Shaking Free of History
» Asian American Literary Awards w/ David Henry Hwang and B.D. Wong
» Liu Xiang To Be Operated On
» Asian Money Costs Climb as Deepening Recession Curbs Lending
» Asian Nations Watching U.S. Plans for Auto Industry
» U.S. ‘Warned India’ About Mumbai
» Bush Pledges Aid to India After ‘Violent, Brutal’ Mumbai Attack
» Thai Airport Protests Called Off
» Glimpse of N. Korea Disappears

Compiled by Connie Zheng and Adrienne Aguirre

AsianWeek Market Report

AsianWeek Market Report
Asian Stock Indexes
NIKKEI 225 Tokyo 7,863.69 -533.53 -6.35%
HANG SENG Hong Kong 13,405.85 -702.99 -4.98%
KRX Busan 2,173.76 -76.01 -3.38%
SSE IX Shanghai 6,795.81 31.84 0.47%
BSE Bombay 8,739.24 -100.63 -1.14%
HOSE Ho Chi Minh 307.45 -7.26 -2.31%
SET Bangkok 387.32 -3.60 -0.92%
Asian American Market Report
Yahoo! YHOO -0.92% 0.58 (5.40%)
Citigroup C 6.97 0.53 (8.22%)
Amkor Technology, Inc AMKR 1.94 0.05 (2.65%)
Sybase SY 22.29 0.20 (0.88%)
East West Bank corp,Inc EWBC 13.06 1.04 (8.57%)

NATION

Chinese Americans Petition Against Bill Richardson

NEW YORK — In response to the news that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will be the new commerce secretary, a petition opposing the appointment was circulated, quickly collecting 80 signatures. The China Press reports that the petition was initiated by UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus Ling-chi Wang and several other Chinese Americans, who support Dr. Wen Ho Lee.

A YouTube video named “Wen Ho Lee Revisited” shows that former President Bill Clinton and Judge James Parker apologized to Lee, but Richardson refused to do so. Wang said they will send the petition to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In their letter to President-elect Obama, it says Richardson, who was U.S. secretary of energy during the Clinton administration, intentionally revealed Lee’s name to media and accused Lee stealing nuclear secrets for China.

After finding Lee innocent, Judge Parker criticized the Department of Energy’s accusation, which “embarrassed the entire nation.” The letter to Obama says that the New York Times also apologized to Lee, but Richardson has held his position and criticized Judge Parker’s apology.

— New America Media

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The New Team: Christopher Lu

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Christopher Lu knows the president-elect’s record better than almost anyone. As cabinet secretary, he will have to represent Obama’s position to each of the cabinet secretaries and agencies, keeping them on message with the White House.

Lu formerly served as legislative director and acting chief of staff in Obama’s Senate office. He left his post to serve as executive director of the Obama-Biden transition project. In 2005, Obama hired Lu away from his job as deputy chief counsel to Rep. Henry A. Waxman on the staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Before taking his first job on Capitol Hill, Lu spent five years in the Washington office of the law firm Sidley Austin.

Lu’s work on the Obama-Biden transition effort for the past several months provides a bridge to his new job.

— The New York Times

BAY/CALIFORNIA

Mike Honda Speculated as Contender for Post in Obama Adminstration

Mike Honda, a Democrat from San Jose, has represented California’s 15th Congressional District since 2001, and he hopes to be considered for the post of U.S. secretary of education.

He’s a California native and spent his early childhood in a Colorado internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. He served two years in the Peace Corps in El Salvador before starting a 30-year career as an educator.

He did stints on San Jose’s planning commission and school board; on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors; and in the state Assembly before his 2000 election to Congress.

Honda, 67, now serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

He and Obama in May introduced a bipartisan bill in their respective chambers to make America’s students and future labor force more competitive in science-related fields.

Honda is in his second term as the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus’ chairman, and he serves as House Democratic Senior Whip, responsible for helping to get members in line for crucial votes.

He holds a master’s degree in Education from San Jose State University.

— Contra Costa Times

ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT

Crow Collection of Asian Art Tracks a Generation Shaking Free of History

DALLAS — The Crow Collection of Asian Art has celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with a series of exhibitions focusing on other public and private Texas collections of Asian art. Previous shows have highlighted work from Japan, India, Southeast Asia and China. The series draws to a close with two concurrent exhibitions, one on Japanese folk art and another on contemporary work from across Asia.

The Crow show includes only about two dozen pieces, but in a sense it’s comprehensive: It contains several of the major names that have emerged from China in this century and covers some of the principal themes that crop up in any discussion of the contemporary Chinese scene.

The new Chinese painters have found socialist realism, with all its endless images of happy workers and idealized youths, a particularly rich resource for both parody and serious re-examination.

— The Dallas Morning News

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Asian American Literary Awards w/ David Henry Hwang and B.D. Wong

EVENT: 11th Annual Asian American Literary Awards
DESCRIPTION: Playwright David Henry Hwang will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Hwang will be reunited with actor B.D. Wong (Law and Order) for a special reading and conversation. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hwang’s influential and Tony Award-winning M.Butterfly, in which B.D. Wong made his Broadway debut and also won a Tony. Awards will also be given to Mohsin Hamid, Vijay Prashad and Sun Yung Shin for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. You’ll receive a free paperback of M. Butterfly.
DETAILS: $30 non-members, $100 VIP, Dec. 8, 7:30-9p.m., Iris and B. Gerald Film Center at NYU, 36 East 8th Street, New York.
CONTACT: (212) 494-0061

SPORTS

Liu Xiang To Be Operated On

BEIJING — Former world and Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang will be operated on by the Houston Rockets’ doctor for a foot injury that forced him to withdraw at the starting line during the Beijing Olympics.

Tom Clanton, who performed surgery on Rockets center Yao Ming earlier this year, is expected to operate on Liu’s Achilles injury within weeks in the United States, the China Athletic Association said Tuesday.

“The main reason for selecting him is because he performed surgery on Yao Ming and Houston also has Yao Ming and his family to help take care [of Liu Xiang],” Feng Shuyong, vice director of the China Athletics Administrative Center, was quoted as saying on the CCA’s Web site.

Liu, the 2004 Olympic champion and former world record holder for the 110m hurdles, has developed bone spurs between the Achilles tendon and ankle bone. Other treatments, including traditional Chinese medicine and deep massage, failed to help.

The 25-year-old Liu, promoted as the face of the Games leading up to the Beijing Olympics, walked off the track just before the start of his first heat in the packed National Stadium in August.

— AP

COMMERCE

Asian Money Costs Climb as Deepening Recession Curbs Lending

Asian money-market rates rose as the deepening global recession undermines banks’ willingness to lend, prompting central banks to extend interest rate cuts.

The Tokyo three-month interbank offered rate, or Tibor, climbed to a 10-year high and Hong Kong’s Hibor jumped the most since Oct. 28. The Reserve Bank of Australia slashed borrowing costs today to the lowest level since 2002, adding to the biggest round of cuts since 1991. The Bank of Japan decided to adopt temporary measures to help companies obtain funds at an emergency board meeting in Tokyo.

Credit markets seized up after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. on Sept. 15, spurring governments and central banks around the world to bail out financial institutions and pump cash into money markets.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of regional shares tumbled as much as 4.5 percent after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index sank 8.9 percent yesterday.

— Bloomberg

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Asian Nations Watching U.S. Plans for Auto Industry

WASHINGTON — The deadline for major U.S. automakers to present plans to Congress on how they would use $25 billion of emergency loans to bailout the industry is fast approaching. Some Southeast Asian nations will be paying close attention to what lawmakers decide.

One country that will be affected is Thailand. G.M. says it is closing a plant southeast of Bangkok for two months starting in mid-December and will cut more than 250 jobs.

The Thai Minister of Commercial Affairs says the collapse of any one of the major U.S. automakers could hurt related industries, like Thailand’s rubber industry.

Hanhyeong Pyo, an associate at the Hyundai Research Institute, says South Korea is also watching. He says many major U.S. companies will likely fall like dominoes if one of the Big Three automakers fails, which could make it more difficult for South Korea to borrow foreign currency.

Pyo says the collapse of a major U.S. automaker could make it more difficult for South Korea to sell its exports in the U.S.

— VOA News

GLOBAL

U.S. ‘Warned India’ About Mumbai

MUMBAI, India — The United States warned India about a possible threat at least a month before last week’s Mumbai attacks, U.S. media have quoted unnamed officials as saying.

One senior U.S. official also told the BBC there were “strong indications” that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba group was behind the carnage.

Pakistan, which has denied having any involvement, has offered India a joint investigation team.

One U.S. official said that India had been told of an apparent plot to launch an attack on Mumbai from the sea, Associated Press news agency reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit India on Wednesday and the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says India will present its case against Pakistan and try to persuade Washington to apply diplomatic pressure on Islamabad to comply with its demands.

— BBC News


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Bush Pledges Aid to India After ‘Violent, Brutal’ Mumbai Attack

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President George W. Bush pledged full U.S. support to India after the 60-hour siege of Mumbai killed hundreds, including at least six Americans, in the bloodiest assault in the South Asian nation in 15 years.

At least 195 people died in the attacks on the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi-Trident hotels, a Jewish center, a railway station and a restaurant, said S. Jadhav, an official at the Mumbai’s disaster management unit. More than 295 people were injured in attacks that ended early yesterday, Mumbai time.

Six Americans died in the carnage, and an unknown number is missing, Mulford said. India, with 1 billion people, is the world’s largest democracy.

“We pledge the full support of the United States as India investigates these attacks, brings the guilty to justice and sustains its democratic way of life,” Bush said in a statement on the South Lawn of the White House.

— Bloomberg Press

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Thai Airport Protests Called Off

BANGKOK, Thailand — Thai anti-government protesters have agreed to end their occupation of Bangkok’s airports, allowing thousands of stranded tourists to leave.

The deal follows a court ruling that forced Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to step down over election fraud and disbanded his governing party.

Thailand’s important tourism industry was crippled and exports of everything from electronics to fresh food were either stopped or had to be switched to ships or transported to Malaysia to be flown out.

Passenger flights from the main international airport could resume as soon as Dec. 4. Protests had shut down Thailand’s two main airports for more than a week.

The date signifies the importance in the crisis of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose birthday is celebrated on Dec. 5.

Although now elderly and frail, the king is greatly revered by Thais and continues to be a powerful figurehead.

— BBC News

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Glimpse of N. Korea Disappears

The journey from Seoul to Kaesong is just a short drive between two cities on the same peninsula.

But the special tourist buses, which began running 12 months ago, are laden as much with symbolism as they are with passengers.

For thousands of South Koreans, the chance to visit a real North Korean city and to glimpse the reality of daily life is an act of pilgrimage and time travel rolled into one.

But in February this year, a newly elected conservative president, Lee Myung-bak, took office.

He made it clear that the policy of engagement would no longer be unconditional, insisting that the North get rid of its nuclear bomb and improve its human rights, as a precondition for further aid and trade.

Rather than comply with the calls for faster nuclear disarmament and reform, a deeply angry North Korea seems perfectly willing to sacrifice the tens of millions of dollars it earns each year from the joint tourism projects.

— BBC News

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