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Surabaya chosen to host Asian Fashion Week 2014 Surabaya chosen to host Asian Fashion Week 2014(0)

Surabaya, capital of the province of East Java, has been chosen to host the Asian Fashion Week 2014 which is scheduled to take place from 15th to 18th August 2014 at the Ciputra World, Surabaya.

Previously scheduled to be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, but due to circumstances the venue was altered to Surabaya, stated the President and CEO of Fashion Week Group, Arwin Sharma, in Surabaya on Monday, 12th May 2014 as reported bytempo.co.

The Asian Fashion Week 2014 will bring together fashion designers and fashion enthusiasts from all over Asia and other countries. Among those participating in the Asian Fashion Week are Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam,  Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong and Macau) India, Indonesia,  Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordania, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam  and Yemen.

The event is also a part of the Fashion Week Group that include the Indian Ocean Fashion Week, Silk Road Fashion Week, World Islamic Fashion Week, and World Indigenous Fashion Week.

Asian Fashion Week promotes Asian cultural diversity, encourages dialogue and networking in Asia through the development and growth of its respective Fashion Industries, and the creation of an Internationally-recognized quality “Asian Style Brand” through innovative, unique yet intricate designs of accessories, apparel & garments, handbags, jewellery, products, shoes etc. The event moreover promotes and  encourages the preservation of traditional methods and techniques in Fashion.

ASIAN Fashion Week is aimed to become a major Fashion movement for Asian Designers and a facilitating platform to optimize their exposure internationally, while developing global reach for its expansion, leading to economic growth and, understanding on the principal of fair and free trade.

Surabaya is Indonesia’s second largest city after Jakarta. There are many international flights direct to Surabaya including from Singapore and Australia, Domestically, Surabaya is a one hour flight from Jakarta and forty minutes from  Bali.

More information available at: http://www.asianfashionweek.org/

Nature, Opaque and Mysterious, in All Its Seasons Nature, Opaque and Mysterious, in All Its Seasons(0)

Four of the five sections of “From a Firefly’s Eye,” a suite of dances presented by Zendora Dance Company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Fishman Space over the weekend, took their titles from the seasons. But the show was no pastoral, no pretty nature calendar, and the music was definitely not Vivaldi.

Instead, Nancy Zendora, a choreographer long interested in ancient culture and ritual, presented nature as mysterious, strange and beautiful, but possibly frightening. The five dancers in diaphanous shifts designed by Jennifer Lee could have been initiates in a cult. From bird calls, Hannah Darrah’s sound design swerved into something more like speaking in tongues. The musical recordings that followed were spiky, eerie: compositions by Gyorgy Kurtag, Morton Feldman and Iannis Xenakis, and drums and shamanic voices from Mongolia.

The suggestion of daemonic forces was the work’s most compelling aspect. Ms. Zendora’s choreography was occasionally representational — bird-wing arms, twirling hands descending like falling leaves — but more often, her images were abstract. The preponderance of slow, deliberate motion and sustained poses established a meditative mood, and when bursts of speed ruptured it, the sudden change could startle and disturb like a spirit visitation.

Each seasonal section was preceded by a haiku (written and recited by Yuko Otomo), and Ms. Zendora’s aesthetic was clearly influenced by spare Japanese forms, like Butoh. This approach puts considerable weight on the potency of each image, and neither in design nor in execution were Ms. Zendora’s continuously convincing. The mature performers came closest: Marie Baker-Lee, who has been with the company for 23 years; Craig Hoke Zarah, new to the troupe but with dance experience extending back to the 1970s.

The lizardlike presence of Mr. Zarah in the “Spring” and “Autumn” segments gave the work its greatest intensity. In other spots, the spareness felt merely thin, and alternation between the sedate and the rapid gradually lost its power to shock. When Ms. Zendora popped up in a slatted mask (by Ralph Lee) for the final section, “With Lunar Eye,” her arrival came as a surprise, but nothing she did matched the force of that mask or of the Mongolian ritual music she was borrowing. The costume was right; the spirit was missing.

North Korea’s best hope North Korea’s best hope(0)

SEOUL, South Korea — I escaped from North Korea in 2007. Two years later, I arrived in Mongolia, along with my mother and five other people. Armed with knives and prepared to kill ourselves, we begged the soldiers who caught us not to send us back to our native country.

Like a lot of North Korean refugees, I would like to visit a reformed North Korea one day. I have hope for such a place because while the international community debates how to help North Koreans, change is happening — from within. To paraphrase Lenin, things have to get worse before they get better.

In the last decades of the 20th century, North Korea’s economy went from bad to worse, hitting rock bottom during the famines of the 1990s. To survive, North Koreans began to engage in private market activity, which today accounts for as much as 80 percent of family income. The public distribution system that has provided North Koreans with rations since the 1950s can’t compete with the spontaneous order of the market.

There are many changes going on, and it is my generation — often called the Jangmadang, or “Black Market Generation” — that will make changes permanent.

North Korea’s Black Market Generation has three main characteristics. The first is that it has no devotion to the Kim dynasty. Kim Il Sung founded the country in 1948 and ruled it with an iron fist until his death in July 1994. Born in 1993, I was brainwashed to glorify him and his economic system of “juche,” or national self-reliance — but I have no memory of him. There are some in my generation who profess admiration for him and his progeny, but they just don’t want to lose their “loyal” status under North Korea’s government-imposed “songbun” caste system. They are concerned about themselves, not the Kim dynasty.

The second characteristic: Our Black Market Generation has had wide access to outside media and information. The private market has provided more than food and clothing — it has also provided TVs, bootleg South Korean movies and K-pop videos, USBs and DVDs. As a girl in North Korea, I saw “Titanic,” “Cinderella,” “Pretty Woman” and “Snow White” — not to mention WWE wrestling.

As American philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote: “It is not actual suffering but a taste of better things which excites people to revolt.” North Koreans who have grown up watching such entertainments as I did and know they are not as dangerous as the regime has claimed for decades will be unlikely to enforce censorship once they are in positions of influence.

Already, seeing movies and music videos from South Korea has inspired many North Korean youngsters to talk openly about wanting to live there. Of course, they will eventually recognize that not all South Koreans live like those they see on screen — but they will find that even lower-class South Koreans live better than most North Koreans.

Non-government organizations and others who have managed to get information and movies into North Korea should be proud of themselves: They have had an impact.

The third characteristic of the Black Market Generation: We are capitalistic and individualistic. We grew up with markets; we have experienced buying and selling. I recall regularly going shopping with my mother.

This development of markets is important because it undermines the “songbun” of North Korea. With the government in charge of social classifications and food distribution, it has always determined who could acquire wealth and who would starve. The private market removes that from government control. Members of the Black Market Generation want to be as wealthy as the people they see in foreign movies.

Based on reports I have heard from refugees who have recently escaped to South Korea, the late Kim Il Sung would not recognize his country’s economy today. Politically, the regime still cracks down on dissent and issues meaningless edicts about the evils of capitalism. But it must know: Juche has died, and markets are on the rise.

The Black Market Generation of North Koreans will be the one to change the country’s society. We know both halves of Korea well. We can lead change from the bottom up.

If I ever return to a reformed North Korea, I will be thrilled to meet my peers as we attempt to bring wealth and freedom to people who were forced into poverty by the Kim family dynasty.

Yeon-mi Park is a media fellow at the Freedom Factory think tank in Seoul (anewhumanbeing@gmail.com). She wrote this for The Washington Post with Casey Lartigue Jr., her co-host on “Casey and Yeon-mi Show,” a podcast about North Korean issues.

U.S.-North Korea Teams Talk in Mongolia U.S.-North Korea Teams Talk in Mongolia(0)

It has been confirmed that delegations from the U.S. and North Korea met in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, on Friday last week.

North Korea’s Six-Party Talks representative, Vice-Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho informed journalists waiting at an airport in Beijing earlier today that he had been involved in meetings with a team of U.S. experts. The three-person team is said by third parties to have included veterans Robert Carlin and Joel Wit.

However, is unclear what progress was made through the track 1.5 meetings, which the U.S. government has kept at arms’ length. The administration of President Barack Obama cleaves to a line whereby Pyongyang is required to move on denuclearization prior to further talks, which the North Korean authorities are unprepared to accept.

N. Korea, Japan to meet in Sweden with focus on abductees N. Korea, Japan to meet in Sweden with focus on abductees(0)

Stockholm (AFP) – North Korea and Japan are expected to discuss the fate of Japanese nationals kidnapped decades ago by Pyongyang as their envoys meet for three days of talks in Stockholm from Monday.

The meeting in the Swedish capital takes place after the two countries held their first official talks in 16 months in China in March, speaking on a range of issues including the abduction issue and North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.

The Japanese side is expected to tell the North Koreans that it is willing to lift some economic sanctions imposed on the hermit state if it is convinced that Pyongyang is making a serious effort to investigate what happened to abductees still unaccounted for, Kyodo News said, citing unnamed sources.

“I don’t think it represents any reconciliation between the two sides, but there is a meeting of interests and both would get something off it if there was a deal done,” said Hazel Smith, an expert on Korean politics at the University of Central Lancashire.

“For Japan, it would mean a political success for the government, and for North Korea it could mean, they hope, the possibility of increased trade.”

While relations with South Korea remain testy, Pyongyang’s approach to its dealings with Japan appears to have softened in recent months, especially on the emotive issue of abductions.

In March, North Korea allowed the daughter of a Japanese woman who was kidnapped in the 1970s and later died to travel to Mongolia to meet her grandparents, who had flown in from Japan.

“It’s a sign that the North Koreans are prepared to do pretty much anything in order to get a deal with the Japanese, because they feel it’s achievable,” said Smith, indicating that it could mark the first step towards a wider thawing of tensions.

North Korea outraged Japan when it admitted more than a decade ago that it had kidnapped 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies in Japanese language and customs.

Five of the abductees were allowed to return to Japan but Pyongyang has insisted, without producing solid evidence, that the eight others are dead.

“Needless to say, the abduction issue is one of the nation’s biggest concerns,” Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said last week when announcing the Stockholm meeting. “We would like to draw their positive response.”

At the Stockholm talks, Japan will be represented by Junichi Ihara, the director general of the foreign ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, while North Korea?s delegation will be led by Song Il Ho, the ambassador for talks to normalise relations with Japan, according to Japanese media.

- Why Sweden? -

One of the most remarkable features of the upcoming talks is the Scandinavian venue, as bilateral talks have so far tended to take place in Asia, and China in particular.

Observers said the decision not to meet in China could reflect the ongoing tension between Tokyo and Beijing, especially over territorial issues in the East China Sea, but Japanese media suggested Pyongyang might also want to try a new venue.

“North Korea apparently wants to have in-depth talks in a place away from China at a time when its relations with China are strained,” an unnamed Japanese official told the Mainichi Daily News.

Sweden is considered a neutral country by both sides, said observers. It has had diplomatic relations with North Korea since 1973, and represents the interests of US citizens in North Korea in the absence of diplomatic ties between Washington and Pyongyang.

During the March meeting, the Japanese side protested against the communist state’s launch of ballistic missiles and its threat to conduct more nuclear tests.

Japan may reiterate this in Stockholm, but it is unlikely to make any progress, since North Korea prefers to deal with the United States on this issue, according to analysts.

Pyongyang for its part renewed its demand that Tokyo compensate Koreans for their suffering during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.

Formal ties with Japan could bring huge economic benefits to the impoverished state, while stability in the East Asian region as a whole would also benefit, according to Smith.

“There is still potential for hot conflict in the region, so in the broad scheme of things it’s positive that these two protagonists are actually talking to each other,” she said.

The hopes of North Korea’s ‘Black Market Generation’ The hopes of North Korea’s ‘Black Market Generation’(0)

SEOUL

I escaped from North Korea in 2007. Two years later, I arrived in Mongolia, along with my mother and five other people. Armed with knives and prepared to kill ourselves, we begged the soldiers who caught us not to send us back to our native country.

Like a lot of North Korean refugees, I would not mind visiting a reformed North Korea one day. I have hope for such a place because while the international community debates how to help North Koreans, change is happening — from within.

To paraphrase Lenin, things have to get worse before they get better. In the last decades of the 20th century, North Korea’s economy went from bad to worse, hitting rock bottom during the famines of the 1990s. To survive, North Koreans began to engage in private market activity, which today accounts for as much as 80 percent of family income. The public distribution system that has provided North Koreans with rations since the 1950s can’t compete with the spontaneous order of the market.

There are many changes going on, and it is my generation — often called the Jangmadang, or “Black Market Generation” — that will make changes permanent. North Korea’s Black Market Generation has three main characteristics. The first is that it has no devotion to the Kim dynasty. Kim Il Sung founded the country in 1948 and ruled it with an iron fist until his death in July 1994. Born in 1993, I was brainwashed to glorify him and his economic system of “juche,” or national self-reliance — but I have no memory of him. There are some in my generation who profess admiration for him and his progeny, but they just don’t want to lose their “loyal” status under North Korea’s government-imposed “songbun” caste system. They are concerned about themselves, not the Kim dynasty.

The second characteristic: Our Black Market Generation has had wide access to outside media and information. The private market has provided more than food and clothing — it has also provided TVs, bootleg South Korean movies and K-pop videos, USBs and DVDs. As a girl in North Korea, I saw “Titanic,” “Cinderella,” “Pretty Woman” and “Snow White” — not to mention WWE wrestling.

As American philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote: “It is not actual suffering but a taste of better things which excites people to revolt.” North Koreans who have grown up watching such entertainments as I did and know they are not as dangerous as the regime has claimed for decades will be unlikely to enforce censorship once they are in positions of influence.

Already, seeing movies and music videos from South Korea has inspired many North Korean youngsters to talk openly about wanting to live there. Of course, they will eventually recognize that not all South Koreans live like those they see on screen — but they will find that even lower-class South Koreans live better than most North Koreans.

Non-governmental organizations and others who have managed to get information and movies into North Korea should be proud of themselves: They have had an impact.

The third characteristic of the Black Market Generation: We are capitalistic and individualistic. We grew up with markets; we have experienced buying and selling. I recall regularly going shopping with my mother.

Based on reports I have heard from refugees who have recently escaped to South Korea, the late Kim Il Sung would not recognize his country’s economy today. Politically, the regime still cracks down on dissent and issues meaningless edicts about the evils of capitalism. But it must know: Juche has died, and markets are on the rise.

The Black Market Generation of North Koreans will be the one to change the country’s society. We know both halves of Korea well. We can lead change from the bottom up. If I ever return to a reformed North Korea, I will be thrilled to meet my peers, as we attempt to bring wealth and freedom to people who were forced into poverty by the Kim dynasty.

N. Korean nuclear envoy confirms informal talks with U.S. experts N. Korean nuclear envoy confirms informal talks with U.S. experts(0)

BEIJING, May 26 (Yonhap) — North Korea’s chief nuclear envoy on Monday confirmed that he held an informal meeting with U.S. experts in Mongolia late last week, in an apparent move to explore ways to resume long-stalled multilateral discussions on the North’s nuclear program.

Asked upon arriving at a Beijing airport whether he held informal talks with U.S. experts, Ri Yong-ho, Pyongyang’s chief delegate to the six-nation talks, told reporters, “Yes, yes.” However, Ri declined to give details before being picked up by a North Korean Embassy vehicle.

The informal talks in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar on Friday were apparently aimed at reviving the deadlocked six-nation talks, but it was not immediately known whether any progress was made, a diplomatic source in Beijing said earlier Monday.

The Friday talks involved Ri and three U.S. experts, including Joel Wit and Robert Carlin, former U.S. State Department officials specializing in North Korean issues, the source said.

“Ri and the American experts met in Ulaanbaatar on May 23,” the source said, declining to elaborate on what topics were covered.

“The U.S. government’s stance is that the American experts had nothing to do with the U.S. government,” the source said, adding that Washington “seems not to put any meaning to the informal talks in Mongolia.”

North Korea and the U.S. held two rounds of such informal talks last year, which have served as venues for the two nations to share ideas about resuming the six-party talks.

Since North Korea’s third nuclear test in February last year, the communist country has repeatedly expressed its willingness to reopen the six-party talks “without preconditions,” but South Korea and the U.S. have maintained that North Korea must first demonstrate its sincerity toward denuclearization before the disarmament-for-aid talks can resume.

China has been more accommodating toward North Korea, urging South Korea and the U.S. to lower their bar for talks. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to visit South Korea on Monday with the agenda focused on how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program.

North Korea has been threatening to conduct its fourth nuclear test since last March, although recent satellite images showed no immediate signs of a test.

The six-party forum, which includes the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, has been dormant since late 2008.

kdh@yna.co.kr

N. Korean nuclear envoy, U.S. experts hold informal talks in Mongolia N. Korean nuclear envoy, U.S. experts hold informal talks in Mongolia(0)

BEIJING, May 26 (Yonhap) — North Korea’s chief nuclear envoy met with U.S. experts late last week for informal talks in Mongolia over the resumption of stalled multilateral discussions on the North’s nuclear program, a diplomatic source in Beijing said Monday.

The informal talks in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar on Friday were apparently aimed at reviving the deadlocked six-nation talks, but it was not immediately known whether any progress was made, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

The Friday talks involved Ri Yong-ho, Pyongyang’s chief negotiator to the stalled six-party talks, and three U.S. experts, including Joel Wit and Robert Carlin, former U.S. State Department officials specializing in North Korean issues, the source said.

“Ri and the American experts met in Ulaanbaatar on May 23,” the source said, declining to elaborate on what topics were covered.

North Korea and the U.S. held two rounds of such informal talks last year, which have served as venues for the two nations to share ideas about resuming the six-party talks.

Since North Korea’s third nuclear test in February last year, the communist country has repeatedly expressed its willingness to reopen the six-party talks “without preconditions,” but South Korea and the U.S. have maintained that North Korea must first demonstrate its sincerity toward denuclearization before the disarmament-for-aid talks can resume.

China has been more accommodating toward North Korea, urging South Korea and the U.S. to lower their bar for talks. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to visit South Korea on Monday with the agenda focused on how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program.

North Korea has been threatening to conduct its fourth nuclear test since last March, although recent satellite images showed no immediate signs of a test.

The six-party forum, which includes the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, has been dormant since late 2008.

kdh@yna.co.kr

N. Korean Missile Unit May Be Sanctioned Over Rodong Tests N. Korean Missile Unit May Be Sanctioned Over Rodong Tests(0)

A U.N. panel has reportedly advised sanctioning a North Korean military missile unit for its March test of a pair of Rodong ballistic missiles.

Unidentified diplomatic sources on Wednesday told Kyodo News that the committee of experts that reports to the U.N. Security Council on North Korean sanctions has recommended expanding the black list to cover the North Korean army’s Strategic Rocket Force Command and its head, Kim Rak Gyom. The commander is thought to be close to ruler Kim Jong Un.

Under Security Council rules, Pyongyang is prohibited from using ballistic missile technology. That did not stop the Kim Jong Un regime in late March from test-launching two medium-range Rodong missiles. Some independent foreign analysts now think the test could have involved a slightly altered version of the ballistic weapon that was modified in order to permit it to carry a future nuclear payload.

Meanwhile, former U.S. officials are slated to hold talks in Mongolia with North Korea’s chief nuclear representative, unnamed informed sources told the Yonhap News Agency.

Ri Yong Ho, who represents North Korea at the frozen six-nation nuclear talks, is slated to meet with Joel Wit, a former State Department official who now edits the expert website 38 North, on the margins of an academic forum happening this week in Mongolia, a source said.

No sitting U.S. officials are expected to participate in the “Track 1.5″ talks.

“Like previous informal meetings, this week’s meeting in Mongolia is expected to allow the two sides to exchange views on ways to resume the six-party talks,” the insider said.

The aid-for-denuclearization negotiations involve China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States. The last round of talks took place in December 2008. Since that time, Pyongyang has made considerable headway in its push for a deliverable nuclear weapon and has repeatedly stated that it views atomic arms as central to the regime’s survival. Because of this, the Obama administration’s special envoy for North Korea last week said he was not optimistic about the prospects for returning to nuclear negotiations any time soon.

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