New South Korea flights boosts American’s Asia presence

American Airlines launched its newest route to Asia last week, debuting daily nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and South Korea's Incheon International Airport near Seoul.The first flight operated Thursday, landing in Seoul on Friday local time. The Seoul route gives American a new destination in Asia, a region where it's lagged behind its big domestic rivals.LOCAL REPORT: AA launches service to South Korea, with new flights from DFW (The Dallas Morning News)"American officials have acknowledged that they trail larger competitors United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which have robust networks to Japan and mainland Asia," The Dallas Morning News writes. "But American is using selected route additions and its partnership with fellow oneworld member Japan Airlines (JAL) to expand its Asian access to customers," the newspaper adds. PHOTOS: The new look of American AirlinesAA's Seoul-DFW route will be among those that it operates as part of its joint-venture agreement with JAL. The other Asian destinations that American flies its own planes to are Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo."South Korea's continued growth as a key business market has created increased demand for direct travel to and from the region," Chuck Schubert, AA's VP for network planning, says in a release. "This new route enhances our expanding global network and further establishes American's position as the preferred carrier for one-stop connections between Asia and major business and leisure destinations in North, Central and South America."AA will fly the route with Boeing 777-200 aircraft, adding that its in-flight experience will come "with special attention to the culture of the airline's Korean customers." AA says customers in-flight menus will include several Korean and Asian food options, including the "signature Korean dish" bibimbap. JAUNTED.COM: Surprisingly yummy airline Meals: Korean bibimbap on AA JAUNTED.COM: How to prepare for a trip to South Korea The new flights also Continue Reading

Trump heads to Asia to talk trade, North Korea nukes

WASHINGTON — In the midst of the Russia investigation and a tax cut push on Capitol Hill, President Trump will spend 10 days on an Asia trip devoted to trade and the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons.In visits to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, Trump plans to advocate changes to trade deals and to pressure allies into confronting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un."In the big picture, there's trade, there's North Korea, and there's the re-assessment of the U.S. commitment to the region," said Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia studies with the Council on Foreign Relations. "Those are three big issues across the board."And Asia's anxious about Trump. Fear that his aggressive rhetoric on "Rocket Man" Kim could lead to a military confrontation with North Korea, possibly involving nuclear weapons, and concern about what his "America First" rhetoric will mean for trade relations with the United States."I will be traveling to Asia to advance America's economic and national security priorities," Trump said, touting his trip during a tax reform meeting this week at the White House.In a high-profile speech to the South Korea National Assembly in Seoul, Trump plans to stress his ongoing efforts to pressure China and other countries into ending economic assistance to North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear weapons. Allies, meanwhile, will be looking to see how bellicose Trump is toward toward Kim.At other events throughout the week, including a speech to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, Trump is expected to demand new trade policies throughout the region.Domestic politics could well intrude on Trump's trip. It comes less than a week after a special counsel unveiled charges against three former campaign aides in connection with the investigation into Russian interference in last year's presidential election.Trump and aides are also pushing Congress to pass a new Continue Reading

SUPERGROUP’S ‘SOLE’ SURVIVAL. Asia reunites 25 years after it began, with a Foxwoods show

It was called a "supergroup" before it even produced a note - and, indeed, its self-titled debut album was a megahit that spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the charts. But the heyday ended for Asia after the band swooped out of Britain to conquer the U. S. in 1982. There were countless breakups and reformations. People came, others went, personalities clashed. Now Asia's original members have reunited for a silver-anniversary tour. They'll stop at Foxwoods next Sunday for a much-anticipated one-nighter in the Fox Theatre. "This tour will be the first time all of the original band members will be together since 1983," says keyboard player Geoff Downes, one of Asia's founders and the man who kept the candle burning. "We had a meeting in London after the new year, and we all pretty much said, yeah, let's do this. We've always kept in touch with each other. I've kept one form of Asia or another going [since '83], but we all wanted to get back as the originals. So we decided to give it a go. "When we got back in the studio to rehearse it was quite the thing. A lot of hugging and stuff. We got into the music. And we discovered how much we all missed being together. " The label "supergroup" refers to bands formed by musicians who'd been hugely successful with other groups. Downes had been with Yes and helped form the Buggles in the '70s. Lead singer John Wetton was a part of King Crimson. Guitarist Steve Howe was also a Yes man, and Carl Palmer was a founding member of the seminal group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, with more than 30 million records sold. So when record mogul David Geffen got the idea to form Asia, they all signed on. "None of us even dreamed that first album was ­going to be so popular and sell like it did - not only in the U. K. and America but around the world," Downes recalls. "We weren't ready for it. Geffen was looking for a Brit rock band that had heritage - and that's what we became. He marketed it to the hilt. But after that Continue Reading


THE UNITED STATES is in a delicate diplomatic dance with China over UN-approved sanctions that call on nations to search cargo headed to or from North Korea. Secretary of State Rice told CBS' "Face the Nation" that she plans to travel to Asia this week for serious discussions on how to use the resolution's "interdiction provisions." "I don't think I want to speculate on how [interdiction authority] is going to be used," she said. "It's a powerful tool, but one that needs to be fully understood." "I don't think anyone wants to cause conflict," she added. The resolution passed unanimously by the UN Security Council on Saturday allows nations to stop cargo ships to check for weapons of mass destruction and related items. Beijing has expressed reservations about interdiction and warned the 15 Security Council members not to take "provocative steps." After voting in favor of the resolution, Wang Guangya, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, said his country was "not in favor of inspections" because "we feel that it will lead to negative consequences." The search provision in the resolution was toned down at Beijing's request, but still authorizes countries to inspect cargo. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who said the resolution wasn't strong enough, said that China's participation in enforcing it was essential. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told CNN yesterday that "the overwhelming predominance of the inspections would take place in ports or at land crossings or that sort of thing." The resolution, passed after North Korea said it conducted a nuclear weapons test, bars trade with the country in dangerous weapons, imposes bans on heavy conventional weapons and luxury goods, and asks nations to freeze funds. "It will be enforced because member states have an obligation to enforce it," Rice said of the resolution. "There will be some matters to be worked out . . . but this is a really resounding defeat for North Korea." Continue Reading

Even as drought continues, California gets ‘second-hand smog’ from Asia, researchers say

California is suffering from "second-hand smog" drifting in from Asia and other places, researchers said on Tuesday, even as the state's prolonged drought has made air quality worse. About 10% of ozone pollution, the main ingredient in smog, in the state's San Joaquin Valley farm region comes from other countries, mostly in Asia, said Ian Faloona, an atmospheric scientist with the University of California, Davis. "What's happening upwind strongly affects what's happening downwind," Faloona said. If California were a human body, the area around the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco would be the mouth, "breathing in air from across the Pacific Ocean," he said. Faloona's conclusions, which are still preliminary, come during an increase in air pollution in the most populous U.S. state, as drought and warmer temperatures have triggered a spike in the number of winter days thick with soot and dirt. Faloona presented his findings at a conference near Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. His research, funded by the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Management District, looked at pollution at higher elevations. "Secondhand smog from Asia and other international sources is finding its way into one of the nation’s most polluted air basins, the San Joaquin Valley," UC Davis said in a news release on Tuesday. The residents of the San Joaquin Valley have asthma at twice the rate of people in other parts of the state, the university said. Despite considerable improvement in California's notoriously troublesome air, the San Joaquin Valley recently missed a federal deadline for cleaning up its winter air of sooty particulates, a development blamed on warm, dry conditions and stagnant air. Last summer, California was out of compliance with federal ozone rules for 99 days in the San Joaquin Valley, up from 89 the year before. Sooty particulates, which cause brown haze in the late autumn and winter, were up throughout the Continue Reading

Republicans must lead on trade: Yes, Obama’s been arrogant on the TPP, but Asia is too important not to give him the fast-track authority he deserves

That free trade is advantageous to both sides is the rarest of political propositions — provable, indeed mathematically. David Ricardo did so in 1817. The Law of Comparative Advantage has held up nicely for 198 years. Nor is this abstract theory. We’ve lived it. The free-trade regime created after World War II precipitated the most astonishing advance of global welfare and prosperity the world has ever seen. And that regime was created, overseen, guaranteed and presided over by the United States. That era might be coming to a close, however, as Democratic congressional opposition to free trade continues to grow. On Tuesday, every Democrat in the Senate (but one) voted to block trade promotion — aka fast-track — authority for President Obama, which would have given him the power to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal being hammered out with 11 other countries, including such key allies as Japan, Australia and Singapore. Fast-track authority allows an administration to negotiate the details of a trade agreement and then come to Congress for a nonamendable up-or-down vote. In various forms, that has been granted to every President since Franklin Roosevelt. For good reason. If the complex, detailed horse-trading that is required to nail down an agreement is carried out in the open — especially with multiple parties — the deal never gets done. Like all modern Presidents, Obama wants a deal. But he has utterly failed to bring his party along. It’s not just because for six years he’s treated all of Congress with disdain and prefers insult to argument when confronted with opposition, this time from Democrats like Elizabeth Warren. It’s also because he’s expended practically no political capital on the issue. He says it’s a top priority. Has he given even a single televised address? The trade deal itself will likely pass the Senate eventually, there being eight or so Continue Reading

‘Superbug’ strain of typhoid fever spreading across Africa, Asia

An antibiotic-resistant "superbug" strain of typhoid fever has spread globally, according to a new study. Costly vaccines are available — though not widely used in poorer countries — and regular strains of the infection can be treated with antibiotic drugs. However, the study found that the "superbug" version, driven by a single family of the bacteria, called H58, is resistant to multiple types of antibiotics, is now becoming dominant. "H58 is displacing other typhoid strains, completely transforming the genetic architecture of the disease and creating a previously under appreciated and on-going epidemic," the researchers said in a statement about their findings. The research, involving some 74 scientists in almost two dozen countries, is one of the most comprehensive sets of genetic data on a human infectious agent and paints a worrying scene of an "ever-increasing public health threat," they said. Typhoid is contracted by drinking or eating contaminated matter and symptoms include nausea, fever, abdominal pain and pink spots on the chest. Untreated, the disease can lead to complications in the gut and head, which may prove fatal in up to 20 percent of patients. Vanessa Wong of Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who was part of the international team, said that since typhoid affects around 30 million people a year, robust and detailed good global surveillance is critical to trying to contain it. The research team sequenced the genomes of 1,832 samples of Salmonella Typhi bacteria that were collected from 63 countries between 1992 and 2013. They found 47 percent were from the H58 strain. The team found that H58 emerged in South Asia 25 to 30 years ago and spread to Southeast Asia, Western Asia, East and South Africa and Fiji. They also found evidence of a recent and unreported wave of H58 transmission in many countries in Africa, which may represent an ongoing epidemic. Kathryn Holt, a scientist at the University of Continue Reading

Hundreds engulfed in flames in Taiwan water park as colored powder explodes, injuring at least 470 at ‘Color Play Asia’

A freak inferno at a Taiwanese water park left 516 people injured Saturday as terrified revelers scrambled for their lives from the fast-moving flames, officials said. Amateur video shot at the Formosa Water Park indicates the fire erupted as organizers of the “Color Play Asia” event sprayed a colored powder on the crowd of about 1,000 dancers. “It started on the left side of the stage,” one witness told a Taiwanese television station. “At the beginning I thought it was part of the special effects of the party. Follow The Daily News on Facebook. Click here to "Like." “But then I realized there was something wrong, and people started screaming and running.” The red, green and purple powder seemed to combust in midair, creating what some reports described as a cloud of fire descending on the crowded dance floor. The Ministry of Health & Welfare reported 183 of the injured were now in intensive care units at local hospitals. Eight people had life-threatening injuries, according to the island’s official Central News Agency. Incredibly, no one died in the fiery disaster — although some victims reportedly suffered burns over 40% of their bodies as they ran through the falling flames. “Our initial understanding is this explosion and fire . . . was caused by the powder spray,” local fire officials told theBBC. “It could have been due to the heat of the lights on the stage.” Eric Chu, the mayor of New Tapei City, told a news conference that the park was closed immediately for a thorough probe. Investigators quickly focused on five suspects: The “Color Play” organizer and four technicians working the event, according to the official Central News agency. Event officials issued a quick apology and promised their cooperation with fire officials. Rescuers used inflatable Continue Reading

Porn legend Asia Carrera, whose driver’s license photo shows her wearing colander on her head, arrested for drunken driving

Veteran porn star Asia Carrera, aka Asia Lemmon, aka the woman who wore a colander on her head for her driver's license photo, has been arrested for drunken driving in Utah, with a blood alcohol content of .254, according a report. Carrera, 41, was arrested at the Washington County School District, where she had passed out on a couch, TMZ reported. Carrera, whose real name is Jessica Steinhauser, admitted to driving with her daughter, 10, in the car. The child's father, author Don Lemmon, was killed in a car accident in 2006. There was no word on whether child welfare officials were involved in the case. Breath analysis done at the scene showed her blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal driving limit of .08. She was arrested and released on Thursday. Carrera had a 12-year porn career spanning from 1993 to 2005, according to the Internet Adult Film Database website. Her films included "Search for the Snow Leopard," for which she won an Adult Video News award in 2000, "A is for Asia," in 1996, and "Best Sex in the West" in 1997. She was most recently the subject of headlines in November, when stories surfaced about her driver's license photo. The longtime porn actress was wearing a pasta drainer as a hat. She said her choice of headgear reflected her religious beliefs in the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, aka "Pastafarianism," which opposes the teaching of intelligent design, instead of evolution, in public schools. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Hundreds targeted in Asia for illegally downloading, sharing ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Academy Award-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club is earning fame in Asia not for its cinematic wonder alone, but as a cautionary tale for thousands of people who could face legal action for illegally sharing the 2013 film. The film's co-producer Voltage Pictures has obtained court orders in Singapore and Australia, forcing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to reveal the names of hundreds of suspected offenders who downloaded and shared the film illegally. The scale of the crackdown has been unprecedented, identifying more than 500,000 unlawful distributors worldwide, according to Voltage Pictures. "We can only pursue a small proportion, but the hope is that will be sufficient to raise awareness of this massive problem," said Michael Wickstrom, vice president of Royalties and Music Administration at Voltage Pictures, said in an email to Reuters The film, for which Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for best actor, is about a homophobic, rodeo-loving Texan who contracts AIDS and becomes an unlikely savior for gay patients and drug addicts desperate for treatment. The legal case has sent shivers down the spine of illegal downloaders globally. "Everyone is now warning each other not to download illegally online," said a 24-year-old Singaporean studying in the United States, who wished to be known only as Clement. Voltage Pictures has not demanded specific damages, but alleged infringers are being invited to make a settlement offer. Failure to comply will result in legal action, said Samuel Seow Law Corporation, legal representative for Voltage Pictures in Singapore. But Wendy Low, a lawyer from Rajah & Tann who has been contacted by some alleged infringers for legal advice, said court proceedings were usually not pursued in cases of small-scale downloads because of the legal costs. "The damages recoverable may be pegged to the price of a licensed movie download or a DVD, and this may outweigh the legal fees and investigation costs Continue Reading