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President Obama signs bill eliminating ‘Oriental’ from Federal Law

U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill Friday that modernizes the terms used for minorities.

NBC News (by Stephany Bai):

President Barack Obama has signed a bill eliminating all known uses of the term “oriental” from federal law.

The bill, which was sponsored by Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), was passed by the House of Representatives unanimously on Feb. 29 and again by the Senate on May 9. It was co-sponsored by 76 members of Congress, including all 51 members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said in a statement that she was “proud to have seen this effort through.”

After months of advocacy in both chambers of Congress, derogatory terms in federal law will finally be updated to reflect our country’s diversity,” she said. “Mahalo to President Obama for his quick action.

Oriental” had still existed in Title 42 of the U.S. Code, which was written in the 1970s. It will be replaced with “Asian Americans.”

In a statement, Congresswoman Meng expressed relief that “at long last this insulting and outdated term will be gone for good.”

Many Americans may not be aware that the word ‘Oriental’ is derogatory,” she said. “But it is an insulting term that needed to be removed from the books, and I am extremely pleased that my legislation to do that is now the law of the land.

Maryland declares Jan. 13 ‘Korean American Day’

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, center, smiles with his daughter Jaymie Sterling, left, daughter Kim Velez, second from left, granddaughter Daniella Velez, 2, and wife Yumi, right, during his inaugural gala in Baltimore, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Hogan is the 62nd governor of Maryland. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

Korea Times:

The U.S. state of Maryland has declared Jan. 13 as “Korean American Day” in recognition of contributions the Korean community has made to the state.

Gov. Larry Hogan and Korean-American First Lady Yumi Hogan declared the day in a ceremony at the Governor’s Reception Room at the Maryland State House.

In 2005, Congress designated Jan. 13 as Korean American Day in commemoration of the 1903 arrival of 102 Koreans in Hawaii in the first Korean emigration to the U.S. But Maryland is the first U.S. state to separately declare Korean American Day.

Hogan, who calls himself a “hanguk sawi,” which means a “son-in-law of South Korea,” has gained wide media attention not only because he was elected governor as a Republican in a traditionally Democratic state but also because of his Korean-American wife.

Yumi Hogan, an accomplished abstract landscape painter who teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art, is Maryland’s first-ever Asian-American first lady. The Washington Post even carried a long piece about their love story, including how they met at an art show in 2000 and married in 2004.

Chinese web firms delete more than 60,000 accounts as new rules loom

Wall Street Journal: (by Josh Chin)

Chinese Internet companies have deleted tens of thousands of user accounts as the country prepares to enforce new registration rules that will further cement government control over online discourse.

A total of more than 60,000 accounts across a number of Chinese Internet platforms were deleted in recent days, chiefly because of misleading or harmful usernames, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement dated Thursday. Among them were accounts that masqueraded as government departments, carried commercial names such as “Come Shoot Guns” and “Buy License Plates,” spread terrorist information or sported erotic avatars.

Unverified accounts falsely claiming to represent state media were also shut down, the agency said, adding that it covered everything from microblogs to chat accounts to online discussion forums. Companies listed as having taken part in the cleanup included top U.S.-listed Chinese tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , Tencent Holdings Ltd. , SinaCorp. and Baidu Inc.

The comprehensive creation of a clear and bright Internet space requires active and positive conduct from enterprises,” the regulator’s statement said.

The new rules aim to further tame the country’s already tightly controlled Internet by prohibiting the use of deceitful or harmful identities and requiring Internet users to submit genuine personal information when registering for online services. They were announced earlier this month and go into effect March 1.

China has attempted to implement similar limits in the past, with mixed success. The current effort, however, arrives at a time of intense ideological and political tightening as Chinese President Xi Jinping moves to reassert Communist party dominance over public discourse, particularly online.

Venture capitalist and Chinese blogging pioneer Isaac Mao warned that requiring users to register with their personal information to use any Internet service would stifle expression and creativity online.

It definitely has a chilling effect,” Mr. Mao said. “In the long run, freedom of speech and freedom of innovation will be dramatically harmed.

Weibo Corp. ’s microblogging service deleted 5,500 accounts, according to the regulator’s statement. They included accounts that spread information related to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist group from the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Tencent canceled instant messaging and other social media accounts related to gambling, firearms, fake invoices and fake food-safety information, the regulator said.

Neither company immediately responded to requests for comment.

Some analysts have warned that the new rules could make things challenging for Chinese Internet companies by increasing operational costs while reducing total user numbers.

Yet tighter registration might also improve the quality of their users, said Xiaofeng Wang, a senior analyst at Forrester.

Marketers and consumers have become more mature. They’re getting past the stage where they care only about the total number of users,” she said. “They’ve realized the important thing is the actual, active users.”

Baidu dismissed the idea that the deletions would have an impact on its business. The search giant removed more than 23,000 accounts from its popular PostBar, or Tieba, discussion forums, mostly for promoting “vulgar” culture or featuring erotic avatar images, the agency said.

It’s a vanishingly small percentage of the total number of Baidu PostBar accounts, which number in the hundreds of millions,” said Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo. He declined to comment further on what the company was doing to comply with the new requirements.

The regulator didn’t say whether Alibaba had deleted any accounts, but said the company had set up a special working group to manage usernames on its various platforms. Alibaba declined to comment.

Ms. Wang said further restrictions on speech could hurt the attractiveness of social media platforms, but said that companies were unlikely to resist. “With the Internet, you always have to obey certain rules if you want to operate a business in China,” she said.

Condom sales boom in South Korea after nullifies anti-adultery law


Next Shark: (By Max Chang)

South Korea’s highest court just nullified an anti-adultery law first passed in 1953 that made cheating on your spouse legal.

One side-effect to the ruling is that South Korea’s biggest condom maker is booming — shares of latex manufacturer Unidus Corp. climbed 15%, the daily maximum in Korea’s stock exchange.

The court smacked down the long-standing law saying it violated the country’s privacy laws and infringed on people’s freedom to make their own decisions on sex. The law was first enacted in 1953 to protect the rights of women in a male-dominated society.

According to CNNMoney, 50,000 South Koreans have been convicted of cheating on their spouses, 35,000 of whom were sentenced to jail time. With no fear of punishment, we can only assume men and women of unhappy marriages are racing through the possibilities of their significant others-on-the-side. Hey, if they invest in condom manufacturing early enough, they can even fund their dalliances.

The law has been challenged many times before, the last being in 2008 when the court upheld it because the law protected social harmony.

korean drama

This is undoubtedly going to make for some really spicy South Korean dramas to come.


Monterey Park’s controversial ‘modern Latin alphabet’ sign ordinance squashed


The Southern California city of Monterey Park — which boasts a 70% Asian population — has been wrestling with a controversial proposed ordinance that would have required English on all business signs. The City Council last Wednesday unanimously voted to allow a controversial “modern Latin alphabetordinance to die during its second reading.

Had the regulation passed, businesses with only logographic script, such as Chinese characters or Sanskrit, would have had to add letters that English speakers could read phonetically, even if the word itself cannot be found in a dictionary.

All of Monterey Park’s business signs technically comply. So Betty Hung, policy director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, said the proposed ordinance is unnecessary. In fact, it violates the constitutionally protected notions of free speech, equal protection and due process, she said.

 “We recommend that the City Council consider an alternate approach, which has been called the ‘harmony resolution,’ ” Hung said.

Such a resolution would encourage businesses to hang signs in several languages. The City Council instructed staff to keep track of business sign applications and to note any signs that don’t have the modern Latin alphabet. City Council members said they want to review the list every six months.

Since the ordinance was proposed several months ago, officials have received about 200 sign applications, according to city staff. Those applications included modern Latin lettering.

The City Council unanimously decided to consider AAAJ’s harmony resolution at a future date.

Wednesday was the fourth time the sign ordinance was brought before the City Council.

Even Mark Keppel High School students ­— a population that rarely gets involved in city politics — spoke up. Students talked about how GPS and mobile apps such as Yelp make finding businesses simple.

About 10 speakers spoke in favor of passing the ordinance. Betty Tom Chu, former Monterey Park mayor, said she could read only about 20 words in Chinese even though she is ethnically Chinese.

“It is your duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents, and your failure to do so constitutes negligence, which will subject the city to much more lawsuits,” said Chu, a former attorney.

Monterey Park previously had an ordinance mandating business signs be in English. The city attorney deemed the rule unconstitutional and eliminated it.

Councilman Mitchell Ing said there was no public outrage over the outdated English ordinance. It was in the municipal code for 27 years.

In fact, cities such as San Marino, Torrance, San Gabriel, Rosemead and Arcadia still have laws that require business signs lettered in English or the Roman alphabet, Ing said. Many of those communities faced racial turmoil similar to that which Monterey Park faced in the 1980s.

A “fear” of a return to xenophopia was resurrected when the modern sign ordinance was introduced, resident Henry Lo said.

There’s a concern that inadvertently we may be repeating history, a history going back to the ’80s when this city was divided,” he said. “And I think a lot of the people here tonight don’t want to repeat that history, a history that is well-known, not only by its residents but also others outside of Monterey Park. It’s well-documented in history books.”

Check out this link:

Monterey Park’s controversial ‘modern Latin alphabet’ sign ordinance squashed