Asian Reporter Info
From The Asian Reporter, V23, #09 (May 6, 2013), page 2.
Japanese flock to Murakami book with mystery title
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese readers are flocking to buy Haruki Murakami’s latest even though almost nothing had been disclosed about the book by one of the nation’s most respected and commercially successful writers. The novel is the first in three years for the writer frequently mentioned as a Nobel Prize contender. It went on sale only in Japanese initially. Publisher Bungeishunju said the first printing was half a million copies for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and the Year of His Pilgrimage. The original title reads just as mysteriously. Murakami’s internationally known works include Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. He’s also an accomplished translator of American literature and non-fiction writer. Murakami has become an aggressive critic of Japan’s pro-nuclear policies since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Pinault family to donate looted bronzes to China
BEIJING (AP) — The family that runs French luxury-goods conglomerate Kering has won plaudits from Beijing for offering to donate a pair of looted Qing dynasty bronzes to the Chinese government. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage said the offer from company CEO Francois-Henri Pinault was "an expression of friendship toward the Chinese people." The pieces to be returned are the bronze heads of a rat and rabbit that were among 12 animal heads that were looted from the old Summer Palace in Beijing by French and British troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War. Kering, formerly known as PPR, owns brands such as Gucci and Alexander McQueen that are thriving in China’s luxury market. Pinault was travelling in China with French President Francois Hollande on a visit to strengthen economic ties.
Cambodian opposition urges electoral reform
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian’s main opposition party is calling for electoral reform ahead of general elections in July, saying members of the national electoral committee are biased in favor of powerful Prime Minister Hun Sen. Several thousand supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party staged a peaceful rally in the capital, Phnom Penh. They also called for a review of voter registration lists, saying as many as 1 million people are missing. The National Election Committee says the lists are fine and its nine members are independent and do not need to be changed. The committee’s members were named by the interior ministry and approved last year by parliament, which the ruling party dominates. Hun Sen has ruled Cambodia for decades. Most believe his party will sweep the July legislative vote.
Noguchi on Japan team for marathon at track worlds
TOKYO (AP) — Former Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi has been selected to compete for Japan at the track world championships in August. The 34-year-old Noguchi, who won at the 2004 Athens Games, will take part in the worlds for the first time since winning the marathon at the 2003 edition in Paris. Japan’s athletics federation selected five men and three women for the marathon at the August 10 through 18 worlds in Moscow. Kayoko Fukushi and Ryoko Kizaki will join Noguchi on the women’s team. Kentaro Nakamoto, who was sixth at the London Olympics, was picked on the men’s squad alongside Kazuhiro Maeda, Masakazu Fujiwara, Yuki Kawauchi, and Hiroyuki Horibata.
Bling patrol: Dubai’s $550,000 squad car
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In a city of boundless bling, Dubai police have added a nearly $550,000 Lamborghini to its fleet. The sports car, painted in green-and-white colors of the Dubai force, will not likely be roaring after lawbreakers. Instead, it will be mostly dispatched to tourist areas to show — in the words of deputy police director Gen. Khamis Matter al-Muzaina — "how classy Dubai is." Local media reports said the Italian-made Lamborghini Aventador is the crown jewel of a wider upgrade in Dubai police wheels. The force also is adding some American muscle car Camaros. Dubai seeks to show it has rebounded from its debt crisis with brash plans that include the world’s largest Ferris wheel and a satellite city named after the city-state’s ruler.
Indonesian soccer player banned for life for punching ref
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian player who punched a referee in the face was banned for life by the country’s soccer authority. Pieter Rumaropen, a striker for Papua province club Persiwa Wamena, punched referee Muhaimin in the face after he awarded a penalty to Pelita Bandung Raya during a Super League match in West Java’s capital, Bandung. Muhaimin was taken to a hospital where he received four stitches. Hinca Panjaitan, a member of the disciplinary commission of Indonesia’s Football Association, PSSI, said Rumaropen’s behavior damaged the image of the country’s football. In 2008, PSSI imposed life bans on four players for beating up a referee and his assistants.
Hong Kong boat captains charged over deadly crash
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities have filed 39 counts of manslaughter against the two boat captains whose vessels collided in the city’s worst maritime disaster in decades. The charges police filed are for every death in the October 1 crash. Five other crew members were arrested after the accident. They have been ordered to report back to court later. The Lamma IV boat was taking power company staff and their families to see holiday fireworks when it collided with a commuter ferry, the Sea Smooth, near Lamma Island. All of the dead, including eight children, and most of the nearly 100 injured, were on the smaller boat. The crash was Hong Kong’s worst maritime disaster since 88 people died in a ferry accident during a typhoon in 1971.
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