Tag Archives: China

Amazing News Clips You Should Watch

19 Apr

This past couple of days has given some great clips from TV. Here are four of my favorite. You should take some time and watch them.

1) Fault Lines: Fast Food, Fat Profits (Al Jazeera): You probably don’t think of Al Jazeera first when you think of great news documentaries, but maybe you should. This short 20-minute documentary talks to all players in the food wars, and does a great job of explaining the problem briefly.

2) Paul Allen on Gates, Microsoft (60 Minutes): The co-founder of Microsoft has a new book out called Idea Man that offers an inside look into the founding of the world’s most important tech company. Allen seems to have an ax to grind, but you can make up your own mind. He rarely does interviews so this is a rare look.

3) China’s Ghost Cities (Dateline Australia): This short clip looks at the property bubble that’s forming in China and how many of their cities lie unoccupied. It raises bigger questions, like how long can China sustain its current rate of growth? Fascinating perspective from all sorts of people.

4) Three Cups of Tea Controversy (60 Minutes): One of the more inspiring tales of charity work in the past couple of decades may be a hoax. Greg Mortenson says that when he descended from K2 (the second highest mountain in the world), people in a small town nursed him back to health. In response, he promised to build them a school. A successful book and charity followed. It may all be false though. Incredible report and brilliant reporting.

World’s Weirdest Pickpocketer

2 Apr


A well-to-do, retired Vietnamese-American restauranteur has been arrested for pickpocketing Chinese people in New York City. Ha Vasko, 67, lives in a $400,000 house in Florida but travels to New York City to rob Chinese people and redistribute the wealth.

She allegedly views herself as a sort-of Robin Hood figure who can’t stand the Chinese. “I hate Chinese people. They sell fake stuff, take the money and send the money back home,” Vasko confessed to police, according to court papers obtained by The New York Post. “They get benefit cards and they don’t contribute anything back. So I take their money and give it to people who need it. I give it to homeless people who need it.

The New York Police Department focused on her after multiple violations. She stole repeatedly over the course of a year, allegedly attempting to bribe an officer at one point. After being charged with bribery and “jostling” in December 2009, Vasko had to return multiple times to NYC for court appearances. Once court was finished, she would head to Chinatown to pickpocket some more. This pattern occurred multiple times.

Her lawyer described her as “a diagnosed kleptomaniac with serious mental health problems, including lingering post-traumatic stress from the war in Vietnam.”

Man Pays £1 Million for a Dog

17 Mar

Big Splash

A multi-millionaire Chinese coal baron has purchased Big Splash— an eleven-month Tibetan mastiff— for the staggering sum of 10 million yuan ($1.521 million or £945,000). These dogs are considered status symbols for the emerging class of newly rich Chinese. Many consider them to be a pure “Chinese” breed and note that the dogs are rarely found outside of Tibet.

Big Splash is nearly 3-feet tall and weighs more than 180 pounds. The price of Tibetan mastiff puppies has skyrocketed over the past couple of years from 5,000 yuan to hundreds of thousands or even millions.

Though it may sound callous, the new owner may consider the dog to be a sound investment. Other breeders may recruit Big Splash’s services (he’s male) and pay up to 100,000 yuan per “sample.” The dog’s breeder thinks the man could recoup his investment in a couple of years.

“The price is justified,” Lu Liang, who raised the dog, said. “We have spent a lot of money raising this dog, and we have the salaries of plenty of staff to pay.”