News Pulse – 8/3/2011

The International Examiner August 3, 2011 Comments Off

Oregon’s Rep. Wu Resigns from House Amidst Allegation


Oregon House Representative David WuOregon House Representative David Wu, announced July 26, his decision to resign in the wake of allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances on an 18 year-old. Rep. Wu offered the following statement:

“The well-being of my children must come before anything else. With great sadness, I therefore intend to resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis. This is the right decision for my family, the institution of the House, and my colleagues.”

The previous week, the Oregonian reported that an 18-year-old woman accused Wu of an aggressive, unwanted sexual encounter. Wu admitted the encounter, but said it was consensual. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on July 25 asked the House Ethics committee investigate the allegations against the 56- year-old lawmaker.

The child of Taiwanese immigrants, Wu was the first Chinese American to serve in the Oregon House of Representatives. He was first elected in 1998 and is serving his seventh term. He also announced he would not seek an eighth term.


Gary Locke Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to China

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On July 27, the Senate unanimously confirmed outgoing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the next U.S. ambassador to China, making him the first Chinese American to assume that post, according to the Washington Post. Locke replaces Republican Jon Huntsman, who left the China post to enter the 2012 presidential race. He will arrive in Beijing at a delicate time in U.S.-China relations. The two countries only recently resumed military ties after a period of tension; China cut off most contact with the Pentagon last year after the United States sold arms to Taiwan and President Obama met with the Dalai Lama.

Yet even as the countries have become more competitive they are more intertwined than ever. China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt — a fact that now has China nervously watching the roiling debt ceiling debate in Washington.

Locke became the first Chinese-American governor during his rise to prominence in Washington state, including as its governor from 1996-2004. Ambassador Locke told the Foreign Relations Committee that he would press the Chinese for market and legal reforms, saying they were in their own best interests. He also expressed concerns about human rights violations, noting China’s recent crackdown on journalists, activists and lawyers.

Andrew Yang Wants to Put Bright Minds in Poor Cities

Andrew YangWhat struggling cities need more than anything else are jobs, and the best way to create jobs is to send bright young entrepreneurs to help start up new businesses. That’s the concept behind Andrew Yang’s startup, Venture for America (VFA), a New York City-based non-profit. VFA is launching its organization by kicking off an application process to recruit an inaugural pool of at least 50 graduating college seniors from the class of 2012 (“Fellows”). These fellows will live together while working for start-ups in Detroit, Providence and New Orleans, three of the nation’s most economically-challenged cities.

“Our concrete goal is to generate 100,000 U.S. jobs by 2025,” announced Yang, VFA’s CEO. VFA hopes to do for business startups what Teach for America has done for education — bring young, talented grads to work in underserved communities for at least two years, hopefully spurring new enterprises in parts of the U.S. that are generally shunned by top college graduates.

“The overwhelming majority of seniors from the country’s top universities opt for traditional careers in service-based industries within big cities like New York, Boston and San Francisco,” notes Yang. “Far too few of them are engaged in job-creating enterprises — especially within communities dealing with economic transition. Our country’s inability to channel its talent to create jobs is a major weakness for the U.S. in the global economy, and will only get worse if it’s not addressed.”

Yang was inspired to start VFA based on his own experiences after graduating from Brown. He went to Columbia Law School and became a lawyer. Too late, he discovered that he had little interest in law. He then started an unsuccessful dotcom in 2000. Apprenticeships with two entrepreneurs showed Yang the value of learning entrepreneurship skills on the job. In 2001 he went to work for Manhattan GMAT, a graduate test-prep firm, and rose to CEO before leaving the firm in 2005.


Diverse APIA Workforce Faces Many Challenges

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers face significant challenges in the labor market, according to a new report prepared by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Center for Labor Research and Education at UCLA. The report, covered by Asian Week, titled “Diversity and Change: Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers 2011”, reviews over 50 years of government data and provides the most in-depth picture to date of the AAPI workforce in the United States.

The study portrays a highly diverse workforce. About three-fourths of AAPI workers were born outside of the United States, but a high share have become U.S. citizens. AAPI workers are more likely than whites to have a four-year college degree or more, but AAPI workers are also less likely than whites to have a high school diploma. AAPI women workers are concentrated both in typically high-paying occupations in health, finance, and computer-related fields, as well as typically poorly-paying occupations, such as cashiers, cleaners, and wait staff.

AAPI men are also concentrated in many of these same high-paying occupations, but also in low-paying occupations including cooks, truck drivers, and janitors. “The research reflects the complexity and diversity of the AAPI workforce, and challenges the stereotypes that are perpetuated by the model minority myth,” said Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center and an author of the report.


Facebook to be Unblocked in Vietnam Thanks to Capitalism?


The social media giant, Facebook, has been censored in Vietnam for years, and while access is intermittent at best and only the tech-savvy few can circumvent the block, it appears an agreement has been made between Facebook and the Asian country. FPT, Vietnam’s telecom giant, signed into partnership with Facebook in mid-July, according to the Vietnamese news site, OneVietnam.org.

FPT was accused of initially shutting down Facebook in the country. With the new partnership, FPT will help promote and sell ads for Facebook and consult in developing the Facebook application especially for the Vietnam market. Analysts say this is a huge first step for the communist country, who appears to be emerging on the world scene. Firstly, the access to Facebook further opens the channel for Vietnamese people to be part of the global network (Facebook is 500 million members strong). Second, it is an indicator that Vietnam has a willingness to deviate from the policies of its neighbor to the north.

Asian American Students Disadvantaged by College Admissions Process


The existence of obstacles to Asian Americans gaining admission to elite universities stems from the perception that, as a group, they have performed relatively well in higher education, according to an article in Hyphen magazine. From 1976 to 2007, the percentage of Asian American college students increased from 1.8 to 6.7 percent, according to the US Department of Education. Most Ivy League schools now have undergraduate Asian-American student populations between 15 and 20 percent; Caltech and the University of California, Berkeley, regularly top 40 percent. Considering that Asian Americans make up only 4.5 percent of the US population, many elite universities see an overrepresented pool of Asian-American applicants when they pick their freshman class. As the newest generation of Asian Americans seeking college admission, the landscape they face shifts continuously.


Some schools have historically held Asian Americans to a higher standard, whereas others have opened their doors and held out enticing offers to attract more Asian American applicants. Then there’s the University of California, whose new rules could sway its admissions toward more inclusion of historically underrepresented Asian ethnic groups — at the expense of some Asian American groups that have traditionally been admitted in high numbers. Often, several factors limit admissions for Asian Americans at elite universities, making it harder for seemingly qualified applicants to get in. Dan Golden, the author of “The Price of Admission”, which documents the advantages given to white applicants at elite universities, believes subtle quotas for Asian Americans come from three primary factors. First, many seats at these schools are simply not available for Asian Americans because few are children of large donors, are athletes or are relatives of alumni, otherwise known as legacies. These groups receive preference in the admissions process and typically comprise about one-third of an entering class. Moreover, Asian Americans are not typically considered for affirmative action, unless the applicant hails from traditionally underrepresented groups, such as Southeast Asians. Second, Golden believes admissions officials consciously limit the number of Asian Americans for fear that they would become too large a part of the student body. Finally, Golden thinks admissions officers sometimes stereotype applicants.


The North Korean Food Dilemma


In a recent KoreAm magazine article, Korea specialist David C. Kang provides an overview [here, abbreviated] of the North Korean food aid quandary:

Q: How bad is the food situation in North Korea?
Kang: The United Nations’ World Food Program, along with two other U.N. agencies, have released a study concluding that potentially 6 million North Koreans, a quarter of the population, need urgent food aid, citing a harsh winter in which some crops were down 44 percent from expected levels. But … there are those who oppose assistance for a variety of reasons. Some argue that the North Korean regime’s behavior should change before any aid is given, while others contend the situation is not so dire.

Q: What is the current U.S. government stance on providing food aid?
Kang: The overall stance of the U.S. government has been one of “strategic patience,” which means ignoring and containing North Korea until it first makes concrete steps to back down from the belligerent behavior of the past few years and to show measures intended to rein in the nuclear weapons program. The U.S. has also not yet made any decision about the humanitarian situation. South Korea’s approach is generally the same.

Q: Will denying North Korea food aid lead to popular unrest against the government?
Kang: In the present situation of nutritional scarcity, it is the youngest and oldest, the weakest and the most politically vulnerable, who will be most directly affected, not the elites. However, a number of North Korean experts have concluded that bottom-up revolt or uprisings are unlikely to occur no matter what the conditions, given the almost complete lack of civil society, institutions, groups or potential opposition leaders in the North that could organize or lead such protests.

Sixteen Million Filipinos Carry Hepatitis B

According to the Filipino news source, the Inquirer, about 16 percent of the Philippines’ population, or 16 million Filipinos, are carriers of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), a “silent infection” globally seen as a very serious liver ailment. Dr. Judy Lao-Tan of the Hepatology Society of the Philippines (HSP) revealed that the hepatitis B virus is hyperendemic in the country and most infected people, particularly carriers, hardly present symptoms. The HSP called for voluntary testing for the infection. The group is committed to the study of liver health and formulating policies and expertise in preventing and treating liver-related diseases.

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