BEIJING: A Beijing skyscraper confiscated from a fugitive Chinese billionaire was sold in an online auction Tuesday (Aug 20) for 5.18 billion yuan (US$734 million), the latest twist in a salacious saga dating back to before the 2008 Olympic Games.The spectacular 40-story Pangu Plaza, which dominates the area next to the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium that was the centrepiece of the Beijing Games, went on sale for 24 hours on the auction site of Chinese internet giant Alibaba.More than 145,000 internet users followed the auction, but only two bids were cast - with the winner snapping up the property for little more than its reserve price.The buyer was YuCheng Zhiye, a Beijing-based property development and management company, according to the auction site.The building, shaped like a modernist dragon, was put on sale by creditors after being seized from billionaire Guo Wengui, who fled into exile after being accused of corruption in 2014.Now based in New York, he has become an … [Read more...] about Confiscated Bejing skyscraper sold via online auction
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BERLIN: Watching the Hong Kong protests from afar, Chinese dissident-artist Ai Weiwei fears the worst, warning of a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing."I don't think any prediction is too big," the 61-year-old told AFP in an interview in his Berlin studio.China "is a society which sacrifices anything to maintain its control," he warned."In 1989, the whole world was watching and the tanks crushed the students, ... a peaceful demonstration."Ai's bleak warning comes after two months of protests that have turned increasingly violent, and as Beijing has massed security forces nearby on the mainland in a show of force.Although most analysts consider a full-blown crackdown unlikely, fears of worse to come have hovered over the former British colony that was returned to China in 1997.Ai, a long-time and outspoken government critic, says he has no illusions that Beijing values order above all else."At the beginning of this demonstration, two months ago, I already warned … [Read more...] about Ai Weiwei fears “Tiananmen” crackdown in Hong Kong
TOKYO: As Tokyo 2020 Olympics preparations enter their final stage, officials are touting the city's readiness, but activists and workers groups say speedy venue construction has had dangerous consequences.The Olympic opening ceremony is now less than a year away and more than half the new venues being built for the Games are already complete."We are where we want to be," Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike confidently told reporters earlier this month.But some argue the city has kept on schedule at the cost of the health and safety of the thousands of workers building the sites.An official tally shows there have been at least two deaths linked to Olympics construction in Tokyo.In 2017, a 23-year-old Olympic stadium worker killed himself after clocking nearly 200 hours of overtime the month before, with the local labour office recognising his suicide as a case of death from overwork, a phenomenon known as "karoshi".The following year, a man was crushed to death between a crane and … [Read more...] about Tokyo Olympic construction race raises worker safety questions
AT the Asean Summit in Bangkok recently, one of the issues that was discussed was a joint bid to jointly host the FIFA World Cup in 2034. This news will be welcomed by Asean citizens, where football has a passionate following. No doubt hosting the World Cup will have positive impacts socio-culturally and economically yet there are negative effects that must be considered. One argument is the creation of new infrastructure and improvement of facilities. For example, Russia had created more than 800ha of parks and green zones, and it upgraded power stations and built new hotels to cope with the demand during the World Cup last year. These are beneficial to Russian citizens as the infrastructures are in use after the World Cup. Similarly in Asean, upgraded infrastructure could provide much needed electricity and water to poorer areas. During the 2018 World Cup, visiting fans (an estimated 570,000 international fans) spent about US$5,000-8,000 each which contributed an additional US$2.5-4 … [Read more...] about Should Asean nations co-host the 2034 World Cup?