The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, January 20, 2014, Page Page 2, Image 2

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January 20, 2014
South Korean boy band BIGBANG rocks in Japan
TOKYO (AP) — South Korean pop group BIGBANG has ended its massively
successful tour of Japan, cementing its status as one of the most popular boy
bands in Asia. The five-member band closed out the tour, which included stops
at all six of Japan’s domed stadiums, with three shows in Osaka. The band is
popular because, unlike some manufactured Korean pop music, its members
often write and produce their own music — a mix of electronic sound, hip-hop,
and rap. That combination also means fans follow the band for other trends as
well. “The fact that people look at what we created, whether it is fashion, music,
or dance moves, and are willing to follow them, makes us feel good because we
feel like we provided great inspiration to them,” BIGBANG member Taeyang
said during the band’s stop in Tokyo. The 16-show tour drew about 770,000 fans.
Band leader G-Dragon, one of the top-earning artists in South Korea, said band
members were nervous at the start of the tour, but relaxed as the shows
progressed and “were able to have fun with each performance.” The other
members of the band are T.O.P, Daesung, and Seungri.
China expects 3.6 billion trips during Lunar New Year
BEIJING (AP) — Authorities expect Chinese to make 3.6 billion trips during
the 40-day Chinese New Year travel period that began January 16. The trips
include intercity flights as well as train and local bus rides to villages during
China’s most important holiday, which is also known as Spring Festival. Each
year, it represents the world’s largest seasonal migration of people as families
reunite. The Year of the Horse starts January 31. The Spring Festival transpor-
tation period lasts 40 days from January 16. Lian Weiliang, vice chairman of the
National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning
agency, said they expect 200 million more journeys than in 2013. He also told a
news conference that snow and bad weather could hamper the mass migration.
Indonesia’s law on ore exports takes effect
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian law banning the export of un-
processed minerals has taken effect. Coordinating economic minister Hatta
Rajasa said the ban is intended to add value to mineral exports by having them
processed in Indonesia and create more jobs. The announcement followed sever-
al days of intense negotiations involving government officials, entrepreneurs,
and experts to explore ways to minimize the impact of the ban. Rajasa did not
mention any exemptions, but said the decision reflected concerns about prevent-
ing mass layoffs, promoting regional economic development, and enabling local
mining companies to continue working. The ban was mandated by a Mining Law
passed by parliament in 2009 that included a provision that mineral ores must
be processed at smelters in Indonesia beginning January 12, 2014.
Philippines to use fewer checks in antigraft drive
MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — The Philippines has launched anti-
corruption reforms including cashless and checkless government transactions
that President Benigno Aquino III says will cut risks of the money falling into
the wrong hands and improve budget management. Aquino says the goal is “to
institutionalize reforms that make it very difficult for unscrupulous individuals
to steal from the people regardless of who sits in office.” Budget secretary
Florencio Abad said the changes spell big savings for the government, which
spends 8 pesos (18 cents) on each of the millions of checks it issues each year.
Aquino, son of revered pro-democracy champions, was elected president in 2010
on promises to fight corruption and poverty.
Probe finds Chinese official traded influence for jade
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese businessman wanted a senior provincial official
on his side and took a hint on how to do that when a deputy governor commented
on the carved jade hanging from his belt, investigators allege. They said Ji
Lichang began acquiring jade for former Anhui deputy governor Ni Fake in
return for mining rights and land for his metal business. In a recent report,
China’s top corruption watchdog said Ni accepted hundreds of thousands of
dollars in bribes, much of it in carved jade. The case illustrates how corrupt
officials and businessmen are increasingly concealing bribery by using gifts of
artwork and precious stones rather than money. Ni came under scrutiny last
June and was expelled from the ruling Communist Party and removed from
office in September.
UNSUSTAINABLE SUSHI. Sushi restaurateur Kiyoshi Kimura poses with a 507-pound bluefin tuna he bought at
auction before cutting it at his restaurant near Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Kimura paid 7.36 million yen (about $70,000)
for the bluefin tuna in the year’s celebratory first auction, just one-twentieth of what he paid a year earlier despite signs
the species is in serious decline. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Price of bluefin tuna
nosedives at Tokyo auction
By Elaine Kurtenbach
The Associated Press
OKYO — Sushi restaurateur Kiyoshi
Kimura paid 7.36 million yen (about
$70,000) for a 507-pound bluefin tuna
in the year’s celebratory first auction at
Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, just five percent of
what he paid a year earlier despite signs that
the species is in serious decline.
Kimura’s record-winning bid last year of
154.4 million yen for a 489-pound fish drew
complaints that prices had soared way out of
line, even for an auction that has always
drawn high bids. Kimura also set the previous
record of 56.4 million yen at the 2012 auction.
The high prices don’t necessarily reflect
exceptionally high fish quality.
“I’m glad that the congratulatory price for
this year’s bid went back to being reasonable,”
said Kimura, whose Kiyomura Co. operates
the popular Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain.
Environmentalists say growing worldwide
consumption of bluefin tuna is leading to its
depletion, and that those in charge of
managing fisheries for the species are failing
to take responsible action to protect it.
Japanese eat about 80 percent of all bluefin
tuna caught worldwide, though demand is
growing as others acquire a taste for the
tender, pink-and-red flesh of the torpedo-
shaped speedsters of the sea.
Stocks of all three bluefin species — the
Pacific, Southern, and Atlantic — have fallen
over the past 15 years amid overfishing. Stocks
of bluefin caught in the Atlantic and
Mediterranean plunged by 60 percent between
1997 and 2007 due to rampant, often illegal,
Asian Currency
Exchange Rates
Units per U.S. dollar as of 1/17
Police probe animal deaths at Indonesian zoo
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An African lion was found hanged on a steel
cable inside its cage in the latest animal deaths at Indonesia’s largest and prob-
lem-plagued zoo, according to a spokesman. Days earlier, a five-year-old
wildebeest died of a suspected stomach problem due to hot weather and
humidity, said Agus Supangkat, spokesman for the zoo in Surabaya, Indonesia’s
second-largest city. He denied any negligence, but said police are investigating
how the 18-month-old lion named Micheal became entrapped by the cable,
which is used by zookeepers to open the cage. The zoo has been criticized over the
deaths of scores of animals, including another African lion and a Sumatran
tiger, over the last few years. The death of a giraffe two years ago with a beach-
ball-sized wad of plastic food wrappers in its belly sparked outrage among con-
servationists. Built over a century ago under the Dutch colonial rule, it houses
some 3,500 animals, among them five African lions and a sole female wildebeest.
An online petition has called on the government to shut down the facility,
dubbed “the zoo of death.” Problems cited by conservations include uncontrolled
breeding, lack of funding for animal welfare, and suspicion that staff may be
involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.
overfishing and lax quotas. Although there has
been some improvement in recent years,
experts say the outlook for the species is still
According to a stock assessment released
last year by the International Scientific
Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in
the North Pacific Ocean, the bluefin tuna
population is at less than four percent of its
unfished size.
“The population has effectively been
decimated,” said Amanda Nickson, director for
global tuna conservation for The Pew
Environment Group. “Over 90 percent of
bluefin tuna are caught before they reach
reproductive age. You have to wonder if this is
remotely sustainable.”
So far, governments and management
bodies have failed to take measures to protect
the species that reflect the seriousness of its
decline, she said.
There were 1,729 tuna sold in the first
auction for 2014, according to data from the
city government, down from 2,419 last year.
The 32,000 yen ($305) per kilogram paid for
the top fish this year compares with 700,000
yen per kilogram last year.
Prices for bluefin tuna imported from other
regions are much lower. A 189-kilogram (417-
pound) farmed tuna imported from Spain sold
for 662,000 yen (about $6,400), or 3,500 yen
($34) per kilogram, compared with a price of
4,800 yen ($46) per kilogram for the same type
of fish sold at last year’s first auction.
“You have to wonder what the last fish is
going to cost,” Nickson said.
Associated Press writer Miki
Toda contributed to this report.
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