Saturday, May 31, 2014

Expanding Starbucks Threatens Local Brands in Korea

A recent piece in Quartz reveals that Seoul has more Starbucks outlets than any other city in the world.
According to the article, the coffeehouse chain has 284 outlets in the South Korean capital, seven more than in New York City.
On a national scale, South Korea ranked sixth in the number of Starbucks locations, with 642.
With Starbucks expanding aggressively in South Korea, it has become a threat to local coffeehouse brands, prompting calls for regulation to protect local brands and maintain diversity in the coffeehouse business in Korea.
Starbucks opened its first store in South Korea in 1999. Since then, it has expanded rapidly. About 30 outlets opened on average every year in the 2000s, rising to about 80 a year after 2011.
A total of 122 Starbucks stores opened in 2013, and the number already had reached 50 as of April this year, according to Starbucks Korea.

Modi's Muslim Problem And Ours

Modi's Muslim Problem And Ours



Narendra Modi was inaugurated as the 15th prime minister of independent India on May 26th, riding into office on an unprecedented wave of support for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which swept parliamentary elections earlier in May.
Although Modi and the BJP’s primary campaign message was that of economic growth, many Indians are concerned about what the future holds for the nation—in particular the minority Muslim population. India has the third largest population of Muslims in the world, behind Indonesia and Pakistan. At 177 million, it is the world’s largest Muslim-minority population.
It would be easy to write off the tensions among religious and ethnic groups and political persecution of Muslims as a problem specific to India. But that view overlooks the larger global narrative about Muslims that has been pervasive since the 9/11 attacks. That narrative has been crafted in large part by the United States, stemming from the U.S.-led “war on terror.”
The culture of Islamophobia in the United States has helped fuel and provide global cover for political and economic policies that discriminate against Muslims and paint the entire community with an extremist brush. Although the reasons behind the ascendance of Modi may be unique to Indian politics, the Islamophobia it is rooted in is not. Because of his own past and the previous policies of his party, Modi will have to go the extra mile to persuade his electorate and the leaders of other countries that he intends to challenge that Islamophobia rather than perpetuate it.
Islamophobia and “War on Terror” Echoes in India

Mongolia Makes Moves to Reach out to Russia in Reaction to Ukraine Crisis

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Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus Form Eurasian Economic Union


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Friday, May 30, 2014

S. Korea, UAE Solidify Nuclear Energy Cooperation


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South Korea's KEPCO breaks ground for Saudi power plant


Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO) CEO Cho Hwan-eik, second from left, poses with other company officials after holding a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of a power plant in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia, Thursday. / Courtesy of KEPCO
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Connecting the Dots on Buddhist Fundamentalism

Buddhist fundamentalism seems to be fast spreading its tentacles in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand, as newspapers report violent attacks on religious minorities and shrill demands to ban “blasphemy” against Buddhism.
Sri Lanka’s Muslim legislators this month urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to protect their minority community from “Buddhist extremist elements,” with hundreds of attacks on Muslims and Christians reported over the last two years.
Last month, a British woman was deported from Sri Lanka for sporting a Buddha tattoo. Meanwhile, the country’s Religious Affairs Ministry has proposed a new law banning religious defamation. The draft bill provides for a Buddhist Publications Regulatory Board to check for any violation of Buddhism, its philosophy or traditions.
In Myanmar, “concerns persist regarding ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in ethnic minority areas, particularly in Rakhine State,” U.S. President Barack Obama recentlysaid while extending some economic sanctions against that nation for another year.
In Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims, whose ancestors were migrants from Bangladesh, has resulted in the killing of hundreds allegedly by ethnic Arakanese Buddhists. More than 180,000 Rohingyas remain internally displaced while many others have fled the country.
In addition, a coalition of Buddhist monks and laypersons in Myanmar has proposed a lawagainst inter-faith marriage, known as the Emergency Provisions on Marriage Act for Burmese Buddhist Women, which would strip Buddhist women of the right to freely choose whom they marry.
In Thailand, where tensions between Malay Muslims and Buddhist residents have existed in the south since 2004, a Buddhist group called theKnowing Buddha Foundation has identified another “threat” to Buddhism. This group is running campaigns to teach the world certain do’s and don’ts on the treatment of the Buddha and his images. “For example, in a movie, a dog’s name is ‘Buddha.’ There is an ice cream shop named ‘Buddhi Belly’ and a bar called ‘Buddha Bar,’” it complains on its website, demanding a law to protect Buddhism and declaration of Buddhism as the country’s state religion.
‘Theravada Buddhist World’

Iran, Turkey and China’s Middle Eastern Pivot


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N. Korea Won’t Cause a Nuclear Domino in Asia (But China Might)


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LG G3: Simple and Smart? A look at one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year.


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Korea: Wagering on Unification


According to Yonhap News Agency, even as other trusts face selling sprees from investors seeking to take advantage of the recent rallies in the stock market, capital is continuing to flood into South Korea’s two unification-tied funds. With their portfolios largely tied to companies operating in the inter-Korean industrial complex at Kaesong, the funds raised around $33.2 million between March 13 and May 23.
While market analysts rarely look kindly on funds that are highly vulnerable to unpredictable political developments and other external risks, an increasing number of investors are clearly anticipating changes in North Korea in the near-future. Park Sung-hyun, a strategist at Hanwha Investment and Securities Co., noted that he believes North Korea will seek a diplomatic breakthrough with South Korea soon, as Pyongyang’s dual strategy of developing nuclear weapons while pursuing economic growth (“Byongjin Line”) has clearly run aground.
Although Park did not set a timeline for when this breakthrough between the Koreas might occur, others were more forthcoming with their estimates. For instance, Jim Rogers, famous for co-founding the Quantum Fund with George Soros in 1973, noted that he believes unification may be possible in five years. Regardless of the exact timing, both Park and Rogers are united in their faith that the potential gains from the merger of South Korean capital and technology with North Korean natural resources and labor far outweigh the risks.
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In Asia, Fears of North Korea's Collapse Grow


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Japanese-DPRK Agreement on Sanctions and Abductees


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How Seoul South Korea Distorts Pyongyang’s North Korea's Trade Statistics


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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Super-Size Me! China’s ’Mini’ Stimulus Starts Expanding

Luxury residential buildings stand on Phoenix Island in the Sanya Bay district of Sanya, Hainan Province, China.
Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
Luxury residential buildings stand on Phoenix Island in the Sanya Bay district of Sanya, Hainan Province, China.

Israel's Tech Industry Is Becoming All About 'China, China, China'

In this handout provided by the Israeli Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets Chinese Vice Prime Minister Liu Yandong during a meeting on May 19, 2014 in Jerusalem.
Photographer: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images
In this handout provided by the Israeli Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets Chinese Vice Prime Minister Liu Yandong during a meeting on May 19, 2014 in Jerusalem.

South Koreans View North Korea as Cooperative Partner


Young Muslims in Tokyo


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Are China and Russia Moving toward a Formal Alliance?


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India’s Security Policies Under Modi


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Abe and Kepco Push Nuclear Restart


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Asia Times Online :: Indian foreign policy at a crossroads

Asia Times Online :: Indian foreign policy at a crossroads


Beijing, Kunming, Urumqi and Guangzhou: The Changing Landscape of Anti-Chinese Jihadists


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India’s Muslims Aren’t All Skeptical of Modi and the BJP


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Should China Fear Islamic Insurgency?


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Flooding and Jakarta’s Urban Poor


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sewol Ferry Tragedy: A Righteous and Overdue Rage Over Corruption


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Is a Russia-Japan Natural Gas Pipeline Next?


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Class War: Thailands Military Coup

Class War: Thailand’s Military Coup

thailand-military-coup

Thailand’s military coup is a victory for the country’s elites and middle classes. But the country’s rural majority is unlikely to stand aside while the elites dictate a new constitution. (Photo: Pittaya Sroilong / Flickr)

Goodbye Afghanistan, hello Asia-Pacific By Jim Lobe



Goodbye Afghanistan, hello Asia-Pacific
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama announced Tuesday his intention to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. In a statement from the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he expects to reduce US troops levels from the roughly 32,000 which remain there now to 9,800 by the end of this year, and to cut that number by about half by the end of 2015.

After this year, US troops deployed to Afghanistan will be used only for training and counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaeda, he said. 

Indochina’s Troubled Year


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China’s Water Pollution Mire


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Navies of the World: The Royal Navy in the Pacific


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Details Emerge on China’s Anti-Terror Crackdown


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China and Japan Battle for Russia’s Allegiance


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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

South Korean Students Delaying Graduation


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In Cyber Dispute With US, China Targets IBM, Cisco


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Shangri-La Dialogue: Beijing’s Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove


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Profit In Peacekeeping – China’s Strategic Gain


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Four Misconceptions About Narendra Modi


BOJ Hints at Tapering, Emphasizes Reform


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Sundubu, my favorite Korean dish.

Ya, that is me enjoying Sundubu at my favorite restaurant in Seosan South Korea.

Sundubu is a seafood stew-soup, with vegetables, mushrooms,  soft tofu, clams, oysters, baby octopus, shrimp, and crab.
All in a spicy red broth.

With it come 4 different kim chee side dishes and a bowl of brown rice.
All for only $7.00.

An effen big mac cost that much and who knows what is in that.

The 500 ml (17 ounce) bottle of excellent, ice cold Korean beer cost $4.00.
Koreans drink their beer out of a glass.
So they look at me very strangely when I drink it out of the bottle. I always get a kick out of that. Lol

There is no tax or tipping in Korea, all is inclusive in the price.

One can always judge a restaurant by how clean the restrooms are.
These are absolutely spotless.
Besides they have an open kitchen so you can see what and how they cook.

If you are in Korea during the next 4 months, email me and I'll take you out to lunch. :-)




China offers Russia a bridge to Europe By Francesco Sisci


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Monday, May 26, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014