Deputy Editor in Charge, Political and General News, Asia
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May 4, 2010

Greece weighs on Asian shares

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The dollar inched up on Tuesday, boosted by strong U.S. data indicating the world’s largest economy was on the mend, but worries about Greece’s bailout and China’s policy tightening curbed earlier gain in Asian shares.

The dollar firmed against a basket of major currencies, and hovered near 8-½ month highs against the yen while the euro huddled near one-year lows.

May 4, 2010

U.S. data perks dollar; Greece weighs on shares

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The dollar inched up on Tuesday, boosted by strong U.S. data indicating the world’s largest economy was on the mend, but worries about Greece’s bailout and China’s policy tightening curbed earlier gain in Asian shares.

The dollar firmed against a basket of major currencies, and hovered near 8- month highs against the yen while the euro huddled near one-year lows.

Apr 26, 2010
via Fan Fare

Korea’s Queen of Cannes is back

By Jon Herskovitz

South Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon returns to Cannes for the first time since she impressed global critics with her role as a widow trying to rebuild her life in the 2007 movie called “Secret Sunshine”. Jeon was an obscure actress as the time but now returns with much greater fanfare as she plays the lead in the South Korean movie “The Housemaid.”

Reuters met Jeon, who was dubbed by local media after she won her award as the “Queen of Cannes”,  last week at a coffee shop in Seoul not far from an ancient palace that once housed Korean kings. Here are excerpts from the interview:

Mar 23, 2010
via FaithWorld

“Last Supper” paintings show how food portions grew over millenium

Photo

The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci

We’ve been overeating our way through ever-larger portions over the past 1,000 years, a U.S. study revealed after studying more than 50 paintings of the Biblical Last Supper.

The study, by a Cornell University professor and his brother who is a Presbyterian minister and a religious studies professor, showed that the sizes of the portions and plates in the artworks, which were painted over the past millennium, have gradually grown by between 23 and 69 percent.

Feb 12, 2010
via Fan Fare

Bethenny’s baby bump stars in Red Dress show

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By Jan Paschal

Forget about eating for two.  Reality TV star Bethenny Frankel was walking the runway for two, showing off her baby bump in a short ruched dress during the Red Dress Collection 2010 Show on Thursday night at New York Fashion Week.

The DJ played “Baby Love” by Diana Ross and the Supremes while Frankel strutted down the runway. But she had to keep tugging at the hem of her tight red dress by designer Isabella Oliver in a vain attempt to keep her black Spanx shapewear from being seen. The crowd in the Tent in Bryant Park didn’t seem to mind. (Frankel’s best known for her role on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City.”)

Feb 11, 2010
via Fan Fare

Gutsy after Gaga – Meryl makes her mark in New York AIDS gala

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By Jan Paschal

Even Meryl Streep  gets stage fright, or so she joked to the
star-studded crowd at amfAR’s New York Gala.  Streep,
a two-time Oscar winner and an Oscar nominee for best actress
in “Julie & Julia,”  wowed the black-tie audience at the American foundation for AIDS research by singing
a capella solo — after Lady Gaga’s dramatic performance.

  “It really takes guts to get up and sing after Lady Gaga ,”
Streep said, warming up the room full of A-listers, who braved
a New York blizzard to get to the gala on the eve of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week .  “We’ve got the sacred and the profane right here.”
    That was a nod to Lady Gaga’s star turn in a white bikini
at the white baby grand piano, which she played while
belting out a bluesy romantic ballad, with a few expletives. Streep sang an Irish song called “The Parting Glass” in
tribute to her friend, the late Natasha Richardson , the Tony
Award-winning actress and amfAR trustee, who died
last March after a skiing accident.
     Streep’s clear contralto voice rang out over the hushed room
and prompted many to brush away tears, including Natasha’s
mother, the actressVanessa Redgrave , who is perhaps the
best-known member of Britain’s theater royalty.
      Redgrave told Reuters that she had asked Streep to sing as
part of the gala’s tribute to her daughter, who had
raised millions for AIDS research over the past decade by
dreaming up events such as a charity auction of Oscar dresses.
        “It was lovely, wasn’t it?” Redgrave said, adding that Streep
chose the song.
        The event raised between $1.1 million and $1.2 million for
AIDS research, a record for a single amfAR gala, an amfAR
spokesman said.
        Among the guests: The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson , who
told Reuters she’ll be keeping an eye out for “a bit of madness”
on New York’s fashion runways; actress Zoe Saldana  of Oscar-nominated film “Avatar “  in a
Louis Vuitton  dress with a short full skirt and open back;
actress Sigourney Weaver  of “Avatar” in a black turtleneck
evening look; actor Alan Cumming  sans tux jacket, madly
working his BlackBerry after the house lights came up; actor James Gandolfini  (late of “God of Carnage” on Broadway and HBO’s “The Sopranos”) and IMG Fashion’s senior vice president Fern Mallis , the woman
who runs the tents in Bryant Park, gamely snapping a
couple’s picture on their camera, as the evening wrapped up.

Dec 21, 2009

Luxury goods are a guilt-inducing indulgence?

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – What’s Christmas without a little indulgence and a lot of guilt, with a global survey showing two in three people occasionally treat themselves to a luxury purchase, but a third then feel bad about it.

The survey of 8,100 people by market research firm Synovate also showed that luxury really was what you made of it, with over a third defining it as everything above what is necessary. Nearly a fifth said it was having time to do whatever you wanted.

Nov 6, 2009

U.S. becomes top country brand under Obama: survey

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Barack Obama has done it again. The president’s starpower has made the United States the place most people want to visit and do business with, according to an annual survey that ranks nations like retail brands.

The Country Brand Index, compiled by brand consultancy FutureBrand, found the United States had unseated Australia, which held the top spot for the past three years. Australia came in third this year with Canada rising to second place.

Oct 30, 2009

Thank heavens for the downturn? Some people think so

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – It seems the financial crisis isn’t all doom and gloom: one in four people are glad the world’s economy slumped like it did, because it helped them realize their priorities in life, according to a global survey.

Market research firm Synovate polled around 11,400 people across the world and found more than half had permanently changed their attitudes toward money over the last 12 months.

Oct 29, 2009

Broadway musical “Victor/Victoria” dances again in Asia

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A Singapore theater company is staging “Victor/Victoria” for the first time in Asia, more than a decade after it left Broadway and with jazz singer Laura Fygi in the role that actress Julie Andrews made famous.

The musical comedy, written by Blake Edwards and set to the music of Henry Mancini, opens in Singapore on November 9 and is the latest in a handful of Broadway productions to be staged in the Southeast Asian country better known for its strict laws than its arts scene.

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      "Miral is one of three deputies editors in charge of the political and general news file out of Asia, with an special eye on the dynamic and diverse region of South Asia"
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