Light beams, fireworks and water jets exploded from the banks of the Pearl River as China marked the opening of the Asian Games, two years after dazzling the world with a gala opener to the Beijing Olympics.Unlike the land-bound festivities at the Bird’s Nest stadium that featured thousands of performers moving in coordination in 2008, Asian Games directors paid tribute to coastal Guangdong province’s seafaring heritage on Friday. The provincial capital Guangzhou, in particular, is a key Chinese port that has served as a hub for international trade since the days of imperial rule.The venue on tiny Haixinsha island was configured like a sailboat for the 4 1/2-hour opening festivities designed by Chen Weiya – famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s deputy when he crafted the Beijing ceremony. The 27,000-capacity stadium stood as the cabin; four towering pillars in front of it unfurled eight video screens that doubled as sails.The ceremony kicked off with a small boy floating down from the sky on a leaf-like carriage lit in green. He poured water from a bottle, setting off giant fountains which sprayed in arcs across the stage. Four dozen water goddesses seemed to walk across the water, followed by a dozen fairies rising out of pools in the stage floor.Performers flapping large pieces of red cloth scrambled across the stage to create the image of petals dropping on water. Other actors entered in a large sampan-like vessel, recreating a journey in rough seas, with the would-be sailors swaying on ropes and ladders amid waters represented by large flags waved by hundreds of dancers.advertisementStar classical pianist Lang Lang performed on a white grand and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” actress Zhang Ziyi sang as synchronized swimmers danced and water sprouted before them.Performers on jet skis zoomed into the stadium and performed tricks.In a playful segment, dozens of dancers attached to wires seemed to run across cityscapes flashed across the video screens, climbed mountains and formed formations to look like eagles flying through the sky.In a nod to Chinese hurdling superstar Liu Xiang, who is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that forced him to withdraw from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the dancers formed hurdles across a track while one jumped smoothly over them.In keeping with the night’s nautical theme, instead of walking into the stadium, the athletes arrived on boats which ferried them down the Pearl River. Brightly illuminated in bulbs of different colors, the 45 boats were decorated with Asian landmarks – including Japan’s Mount Fuji, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Jordan’s Petra and India’s Taj Mahal. China was represented by the Temple of Heaven, the Bird’s Nest and the country’s pavilion from the recently concluded Shanghai World Expo.Director Chen had the tough task of matching the jaw-dropping lighting of the cauldron in Beijing, where retired gymnast Li Ning performed the honors while suspended in mid-air. He got creative instead. When the final torch bearer, Olympic champion diver He Chong, approached the Guangzhou cauldron – which emerged from the stage supported by four giant arches – he lit a big firecracker with two children who then muffled their ears. The sparks that followed set the cauldron aflame.Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao declared the games open. He was joined in the dignitaries box by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, as well as International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.As the athletes marched into the stadium, one closely watched entrance was the Japanese. Relations between Beijing and Tokyo have deteriorated recently after Japanese officials arrested a Chinese captain near islands claimed by both sides, a move that sparked protests across the country. The Japanese delegation were cheered – but less boisterously than other teams such as North Korea and Pakistan and the semiautonomous Chinese territory Hong Kong, with whom Guangzhou shares a common Cantonese culture. Taiwan, the self-ruled island that split with the mainland amid civil war in 1949, was also welcomed warmly.A round-robin football match between Japan and China earlier in the week also ended without violence, even with the Japanese winning 3-0.The huge scale of the event has posed a logistical dilemma for the Chinese organizers.Except for members of the public who won a lottery for tickets to the show, most residents of this wealthy city of 10 million will be left with TV coverage – even though many could have enjoyed a picturesque view of the proceedings from either side of the river. Officials locked down areas near the stadium, ordering residents within a half-mile radius to leave their homes for the night – apparently to eliminate the threat of sniper fire. They were, however, asked to leave their lights on to help maintain a glittering skyline backdrop.advertisementTickets to the ceremony went for as much as 6,800 Chinese yuan ($1,025).- With inputs from Associated Press
SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Pacquiao no match for LA burglars Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Filipino-Canadian forward Sean Anthony emerged as the first Cignal-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the 44th season after contributing key numbers in NorthPort’s strong start in the Philippine Cup.A known hardworker on both ends of the floor, the 6-foot-4 Anthony registered averages of 20.5 points 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals as NorthPort beat Blackwater and NLEX to climb to a share of the lead with Phoenix.ADVERTISEMENT Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations During the Batang Pier’s opening game on Jan. 16, Anthony came off the bench and scored 19 points, hauled down five rebounds, issued the same number of assists and had one steal as they ripped the Elite, 117-91.Four days later, the 2010 sixth overall draft pick sizzled with 22 points, nine rebounds, seven steals and five assists to power NorthPort to a 95-90 win over NLEX.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsNorthPort’s back-to-back wins marked the franchise’s best season start in two years.“We know Sean, always ready to give his best,” NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio said. “We can always count on him to deliver.” View comments
You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.2 roundsRonda Rousey was knocked out for the first time in her UFC career, going down in the second round against underdog and the anti-Rousey Holly Holm. [Los Angeles Times]10 percentAccording to Pornhub, a website that provides the exact services you think it does, traffic plummeted by 10 percent when “Fallout 4,” a hotly anticipated video game, became available to the gaming public. [VentureBeat]10.4 percentThe Chicago Cubs will increase season ticket prices by an average 10.4 percent following a run at the World Series and forthcoming deals with free agents. [ESPN]19 percentFollowing a wild weekend of college football, Alabama is now the most likely team to win the national title, with a 19 percent chance according to FiveThirtyEight’s model. [FiveThirtyEight]20 bombsWith 129 reported dead from the terror attacks in Paris, France has taken an increased role in combating the Islamic State, coordinating a 20-bomb campaign in northern Syria. [Sky News]1,000 resignationsMore than 1,000 members reportedly resigned from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints following the announcement that the Mormon church would no longer baptize the children of same-sex couples. [The New York Times]1,900 spiesU.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the government will hire an additional 1,900 spies for its intelligence agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ following the terror attacks in Paris. [The Telegraph]71,871Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has surpassed Brett Favre’s record for most career passing yards. Manning now has 71,871 yards, but was pulled from the field in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs in favor of backup QB Brock Osweiler. [Pro Football Reference]$10.3 billionAmount collected by public universities from student fees to support athletics programs over the past five years, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education and Huffington Post investigation. A lot of schools are beginning to question how much that investment is really worth. [Chronicle of Higher Education]If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.
Now playing: Watch this: See at Amazon Save $20 3:53 The best tabletop board games for video gamersBest gifts for gamers going back to school Amazon has quietly put a big selection of high-end tabletop and board games on sale. This lineup is largely different from the (also excellent) Prime Day tabletop lineup, so if you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for then, you might see it be below. Post a comment 0 See at Amazon Save $22 I was waiting for this Lovecraft-themed game to get a deeper discount during Prime Day, but it never got more than a $10 cut. Now it’s a real bargain and takes the haunted-town vibe of the Arkham Horror game series to a global scale. The full list is available here, and below are my suggestions for some top picks. Note that these are potentially short-lived deals, so prices may change with little notice, and are probably good for today only, July 29. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Computers Computers Gaming Toys and Tabletop Games A great NYC update to the classic King of Tokyo game, this is a family-friendly kaiju romp, with enough depth to keep more serious gamers interested. Also, the comic-style art is awesome. Tags Iello See at Amazon See at Amazon Space Cadets: Away Missions, $39 Pandasaurus Games Amazon What’s that? Even with Arkham Horror (both board and card games), Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness and others, you still need more Lovecraft games? This one is based on one of Lovecraft’s best-known tales, sending you up an Antarctic mountain, where madness awaits. See at Amazon Fantasy Flight Games Eldritch Horror, $36 Iello Does the Nintendo Switch Lite make the 3DS irrelevant?… King of New York, $28 Ignore the $99 list price (it’s usually around $60), but know that $39 for this retro space adventure is still a great price . There’s a solid Star Trek: TOS vibe, with a shot of Mars Attacks, as you send crew members into the unknown. Literally unknown, as the maps of alien spaceships and planets are revealed one hex tile at a time. Stronghold Games Save $15 Share your voice Save $21 Wasteland Express Delivery Service, $37 I haven’t played this one personally, but I’ve heard good things about it. A mix of Fallout and Mad Max, the stars here are cool-looking minis of various wasteland vehicles, all delivering food, weapons and other survival gear, while watching out for raiders. Note that Amazon claims this is discounted from an MSRP of $90. It’s usually available for around $60, which still makes this a good deal. Save $23 Mountains of Madness, $25
In the office of the small paint factory he helps run, Pramod Patel is clear on the problem holding back India’s manufacturing growth: cash, or a lack of it.Clients, he said, are taking months to pay, sometimes 150 days as compared to the standard 30, choking up businesses like his “Reliable Paints” and hampering the creation of much-needed jobs.”We have a lot of potential in our business, but we have no confidence in the payments,” Patel said. The workers around him prepare paint to be decanted by hand into cream and grey coloured cans.While there is no comprehensive data for the cash cycle of India’s manufacturing industry, manufacturers interviewed in the industrial heartland of Gujarat have said that cash is moving at a glacial pace.They reported that clients delaying payments, sometimes for the best part of a year, is evidence of an uneven recovery and of India’s credit drought as banks tackle $100 billion of troubled loans.Central bank data shows that loans to medium-sized industrial companies were down 10% by mid September, compared to the start of the financial year in April. Loans to small companies dropped more than 3% in the period.Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Chief Minister of Gujarat, India, has sought to improve life for manufacturers. He wants to boost a sector that accounts for under one-fifth of the economy, compared to one-third for China — the world’s largest manufacturer.But, the reality on the ground is tough.Even India’s industrial bellwether, Larsen & Toubro, has reported deterioration. Chief Financial Officer R Shankar Raman has said that payments take around 100 days after they fall due, compared to a standard 60-75 days.That is hovering around the longest payment period in over a decade, he added.”MADE IN INDIA”India badly needs manufacturing to fuel its recovery and create jobs. After all, India will be home to a working age population of 900 million people by 2020, roughly one-fifth of the world’s potential workers.Modi’s government has promised to make it simpler to operate in the country, with plans for a unified bankruptcy code, a unified goods and service tax, and more flexible labour laws. Last week, it lifted restrictions on foreign investment in 15 sectors, including defence.But, this part of Gujarat — a state that was ranked top in a World Bank-supported study on the ease of doing business in India’s 29 states — manufacturers have said that the smallest and weakest among them could be pushed to the wall, unless reform is implemented and recovery arrives swiftly.A plethora of different taxes still wrap small firms like “Reliable Paints” in red tape. Others have reported battling outdated factory rules: some are fined for a lack of spittoons, for example, in areas where spitting on the floor is forbidden.There are signs of hope. L&T’s Raman said that he expects the numbers to hit the bottom, provided promised government spending kicks in and banks pass on lower rates.”The way the recovery is structured right now, it is not broad based,” said economist Sonal Varma at Nomura. However, government spending could improve cash flows even for smaller firms within 6 to 12 months, she estimated.Gujarat, for one, has pushed taxes online, cutting down on the paperwork and opportunities for corruption, and manufacturers have said that that had made processes smoother.But, until reforms come in, the bureaucracy is overhauled and real spending starts, factory managers in this baked corner of Gujarat – where paints, pumps and engineering parts dominate production â€“ have said that their clients will continue to struggle.
A Muslim bride wears ornaments during a mass wedding ceremony in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 14, 2007 (image strictly representational).Reuters fileAxis Bank, India’s third-largest private sector bank, continues to be in the limelight since the buzz about its merger with Kotak Mahindra Bank started a few weeks ago. The bank was quick to dismiss the rumours. To make things more clear, CEO Shikha Sharma said suitors would be disappointed as the “bride” (Axis Bank) was not interested.Read: Sensex, Nifty likely to cheer BJP’s bull run in BMC elections”It’s good to feel like a beautiful bride that everybody is aspiring for, but the point is that if the beautiful bride is not putting up her hand for marriage, then you can have a lot of suitors but there won’t be a marriage,” Shikha Sharma of Axis Bank told the Economic Times.The earlier denial by the lender was more formal and muted.”In this connection please note that in light of repeated reports appearing in some sections of the media, we reiterate that the said news is baseless and unsubstantiated,” the bank had informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) last Monday.The third quarter results of both the banks were in sharp contrast to each other, as reported a few days ago.Downbeat Q3 results of Axis Bank Axis Bank’s net profit had plunged 73 percent to Rs 579.60 crore in the December 2016 quarter (Q3) as against Rs 2,175.3 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal. Net interest income (NII) rose 4.1 percent to Rs 4,333.7 crore from Rs 4,162.1 crore.Net non-performing assets (NPAs) as a percentage of total advances rose sharply to 2.18 percent in Q3 as against 0.75 percent in the corresponding quarter in fiscal 2016. Total advances stood at Rs 347,175 crore; retail lending accounted for 43 percent of total advances at Rs 149,538 crore.As of December 31, 2016, the bank had a network of 3,211 domestic branches and extension counters situated in 1,946 centres, and 13,726 ATMs. The government of India holds 12 percent in Axis Bank through SUUTI and an additional 18 percent via state-run life insurer LIC and other non-life, public sector insurance companies. Axis Bank was in the news post demonetisation for all the wrong reasons.Kotak Mahindra Bank Q3 results were upbeat On the other hand, Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) had reported a 39 percent rise in its Q3 net profit to Rs 880 crore in comparison to Rs 635 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal. NII increased 16 percent to Rs 2,050 crore in Q3 from Rs 1,766.21 crore in the year-ago period.Net and gross NPAs of KMB stood at 2.42 percent and 1.07 percent, respectively.The bank had 1,348 branches as of December 31, 2016. Total advances stood at Rs 129,261 crore, of which retail lending was Rs 51,582 crore.India’s biggest lender by advances is public sector State Bank of India (SBI) while the top private sector lender is ICICI Bank. HDFC Bank is the second-largest among private banks.On Thursday, Axis Bank shares closed at 528 apiece, ICICI Bank ended at Rs 284 and HDFC Bank lost marginally at Rs 1,394. The stock markets were closed on Friday on account of Maha Shivaratri.Meanwhile, State Bank of India informed stock exchanges on Thursday that its merger with five associates – State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur– will come into effect from April 1, 2017. The Connaught Place branch of Axis Bank in New Delhi, December 15, 2016.IANS
Carl Edward Murphy Smith, oldest great grandson of AFRO founder, John H. Murphy Sr., died Dec. 15 after a long illness. The Baltimore native and Morgan State University graduate spent most of his career with Bell Atlantic and Verizon, and was an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Over the years Smith served as a member of the Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce Board, Chairman of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse, Vice Chairman of the Baltimore City Planning Commission, The Baltimore City Social Services Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness. Smith also coached basketball in the Project Survival Youth Program.Carl Edward Murphy Smith (Photo credit: Jackie Van Ly)He was much more than a mere cousin, it was said of Smith who had the distinction of having been among the oldest of the Murphy cousins. “He was the big cousin we all looked up to,“ said the Rev. Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper, pastor of Freedom Temple AME Zion Church. “He was a faithful friend who cherished our family.”Another cousin, Robert Murphy Matthews Sr. called him, “our go-to guy for Murphy family history,” also remembering Smith as “all our babysitter.”The brother of AME Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Smith also is the father of, Qiana Jehan Murphy Smith, Jonee’ Murphy Coates Brown, Michelle Denise Howard and Blair Carl Murphy Smith. He is a former member of the AFRO American Newspapers board of directors.“An initial Celebration of Life Service for Carl Edward Murphy Smith will be held on Thursday, January 4, 2018 (Smith’s birthday) at The Clubs at St. James, 3779 Members Club Blvd, Southport , NC 28461. For more information, please call Blair Carl Murphy Smith at (917) 608-3994.A second Celebration of Life Service will be held in Baltimore beginning on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 11 a.m. for the family hour, with the service following at noon, at Payne Memorial AME Church, 1714 Madison Ave,. Baltimore MD 21217”Please click here for a slideshow of some photos reflecting some of the joys of Carl Edward Murphy Smith