Thursday, 6 September 2012

Heat wave hits Europe


Heat wave hits Europe


A man and his dogs cool off in the Berounka river in the village of Dobrichovice, near Prague August 20, 2012. Temperatures are expected to rise up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute reported. REUTERS/David W Cerny (CZECH REPUBLIC - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)

People walk through a corridor with water showers at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

People walk through a corridor with water showers at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi NiesnerA man stands behind a shower at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner (AUSTRIA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)Horses enjoy water as they cool off at the Old Town Square in central Prague August 20, 2012. An unusual tropical heat wave with temperatures reaching over 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) hits continental Europe. REUTERS/Petr Josek (CZECH REPUBLIC - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)

People walk through a corridor with water showers at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi NiesnerA man stands behind a shower at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner (AUSTRIA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)Horses enjoy water as they cool off at the Old Town Square in central Prague August 20, 2012. An unusual tropical heat wave with temperatures reaching over 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) hits continental Europe. REUTERS/Petr Josek (CZECH REPUBLIC - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)A boy enjoys a mist fan at the Old Town Square in central Prague August 20, 2012. An unusual tropical heat wave with temperatures reaching more than 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) hits continental Europe. REUTERS/Petr Josek (CZECH REPUBLIC - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT CITYSCAPE)

People swim at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

People swim at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi NiesnerPeople walk through a corridor with water showers at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi NiesnerA youth jumps from a diving platform at Stadionbad, a public outdoor swimming pool, in Vienna August 20, 2012. Austria was hit by a heat wave with temperatures up to 36 degrees Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, according to Austria's national weather service agency ZAMG. REUTERS/Lisi NiesnerChildren play in aqua zorbing balls in a temporary inflatable pool in the garden of the Chancellery during open house day in Berlin, August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas PeterA boy cools off in a fountain in front of the Berlin Cathedral on a hot sunny summer day in Berlin, August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Soaring temperatures continued in much of Europe Monday, August 20, as the mercury climbed up to 100F in cities from Vienna to Paris.
(Agencies)

Longest lived women: Hong Kong


Longest lived women: Hong Kong


An elderly woman receives a flu vaccination at a Hong Kong hospital November 10, 2003. REUTERS/Kin Cheung

An elderly villager sits in front of decorations for a ritual at Sheung Shui Heung in the rural New Territories, Hong Kong in this photograph taken March 7, 2006. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (C) chats with a woman as he visits community facilities for the elderly in Hong Kong August 16, 2011. Li is on a three-day visit to Hong Kong. REUTERS/Government Information Services/Handout

A woman dressed in traditional Chinese wedding costume smiles during the memory training at community ambulatory care in Hong Kong June 21, 2010.REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Elderly women carry flowers at a ceremony in Hong Kong February 14, 2004 to celebrate Valentine's day. REUTERS/Kin Cheung

An elderly woman wearing a face mask receives free treatment from a Chinese acupuncturist in Ngau Tau Kok district, a hotspot of the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong May 2, 2003.REUTERS/Kin Cheung

Valentine's Day gifts popular as Qixi Festival approaches


Valentine's Day gifts popular as Qixi Festival approaches

Women weave decorations onto grassmat products as the Qixi Festival also known as Chinese Valentine's Day is drawing near in Xiyuezhuang village in Shandong province, Aug 13.[Photo/Xinhua]

Women weave decorations onto grassmat products as the Qixi Festival also known as Chinese Valentine's Day is drawing near in Xiyuezhuang village in Shandong province on Aug 13. [Photo/Xinhua]

A girl holds up a Valentine's Day gift in a shop in Bozhou, Anhui province on Aug 5. As the Qixi Festival also known as Chinese Valentine's Day is drawing near, presents for loved ones are becoming popular in shops. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

A girl holds up a Valentine's Day gift in a shop in Bozhou, Anhui province on Aug 5. As the Qixi Festival also known as Chinese Valentine's Day is drawing near, presents for loved ones are becoming popular in shops. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

Qixi Festival is on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month and it falls on Aug 23 this year.

Timeless love


Timeless love


Chinese youth dress up as Niulang and Zhinu to celebrate the Qixi Festival. (Liu Junfeng / For China Daily)

Chinese 'Valentine's Day' experiences revival among the young
American Sean Naismith intends to propose to his girlfriend on Aug 23. "My girlfriend is Chinese and I wanted to do it on that special day, which is also a traditional festival known as Qixi or Chinese Valentine's Day," the 28-year-old Naismith says.
Naismith is just one of an increasing number of foreigners and younger Chinese who are turning or returning to the festival to show their love for their partners.
The Chinese Qixi Festival, or the Seventh Night Festival, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. This year, it is on Thursday, Aug 23.
His girlfriend told him the festival is based on a tragic love tale: a Chinese couple, Niulang (cowherd) and Zhinu (fairy weaver girl), who were separated by Wangmu (the supreme goddess of heaven) after she became angry that a fairy had married a mortal. The lovers could only meet once a year on a bridge formed by magpies that took pity on the two.
Most Chinese will remember the tale as children. If it rains heavily on the evening of Qixi, some elderly Chinese will say it is Zhinu crying on that day as she met her husband Niulang on the Milky Way.
The festival can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Historical records from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317-420) also mention the festival, while records from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) describe a grand evening banquet linked to the event.
By the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties, there were numerous references to Qixi in literary circles.
While the tale of Niulang and Zhinu is a story of timeless love, the fairy was also known to be intelligent and a skilled seamstress. As such, the festival goes by the name Qiqiao Festival, which alludes to the skills of the fairy seamstress.
The day is often characterized by girls praying for intelligence and talent.
Chen Jianguo, a scholar of the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Society, does not think Qixi should be solely considered a Chinese Valentine's Day and linked to the commercialism that infects increasingly popular imported festivals, such as the Western Valentine's Day that call more for chocolates, roses and candlelit dinners than Chinese customs.
"Niulang and Zhinu are a married couple and had children," Chen says. "The Qixi Festival conveys the loyal love between married couples who want to live to a ripe old age in conjugal bliss. It's totally different from the love of the unmarried."
Tian Gao, a folklore scholar of Peking University, thinks Qixi should be taken holistically and believes that it still has a similar basis to that of Valentine's Day - love.
"The Qixi Festival is derived from the needs of lovers," Tian says.
"In the past, girls would conduct a ceremony to beg Zhinu for wisdom and pray for a good husband. Married couples also prayed for a harmonious life."
But Qixi was also known in the past as the Daughters' Festival, focusing on girls.
"It is very important to protect traditional Chinese festivals and restore traditional practices and customs," Tian says. "This might mean avoiding commercialization and allowing more young people to really understand it."
Still, the Qixi Festival, which was listed as an intangible cultural heritage in 2006, has started to regain some of its original meaning and popularity among the Chinese, especially the young.
In Beijing alone, an increasing number of young women can be seen gathering in public squares and gardens to practice needlework and display their handmade hanfu or traditional Chinese costumes.
Members of these hobby groups also select Chinese herbs to make fragrant sachets as tokens of love.
"We do this to preserve our traditional culture in modern society," says Lin Lin, a university student.
Dressed in traditional national robes and holding incense, the girls follow some of the ancient rituals associated with Qixi.
"We regard it as a unique day for girls. According to tradition, girls prepared pastries, fruit and incense as offerings to Zhinu on that day, praying to acquire skills in needlecraft," Lin says.
Other traditional activities to celebrate Qixi are similarly being kept alive.
For example, many couples go to temples to pray on that day to specific Chinese deities to seek blessings for their relationship and eternal happiness.
Those who are familiar with the festival also look into the night sky for two stars, Altair and Vega, to see how Niulang and Zhinu shine bright on the Milky Way.
Others attend the "Valentine's" celebrations in the malls and hotels of international and cosmopolitan cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, where shops promote sales of sweets, jewelry and dinners associated with the festival.
"The revival in interest over Qixi among young people can be attributed to two reasons," says Zheng Zhenze, a folklore professor at the Chinese Folklore Society.
"First, it is a natural response to the challenges of Western festivals. Second, people still need special occasions to channel their affections."

Shower your beloved with gifts from the heart


Shower your beloved with gifts from the heart


Qixi Festival, also known as Chinese Valentine's Day, falls on Aug 23. Besides showering your beloved with flowers, here are some other gift ideas:
Buy a small preserved flower and store it in a crystal ring box. One of the best ways to shop for the flower is through Taobao, a Chinese online marketplace. Search under "preserved flowers" and you will find a variety at an affordable price of about 25 yuan ($4) each.
But, if you think a bouquet is necessary, you are in luck this year.
For the very first time, world-renowned florist Sandra Austoni has brought her collection to China. Based on her understanding of Chinese Valentine's Day, which is all about love, passion and elegance, she has created a bouquet combining yellow roses and cockscomb.
You may place your order at the Blooming Hour Flower Store in Shanghai.
Don't forget the spirits, which can make Qixi Festival even more romantic. French vodka Grey Goose has come up with 10 special recipes for cocktails under the theme "Love". For example, Peach Garden contains lemon, peach juices and a bit of vodka, and tinged a romantic pink, which will enhance the ambience. To find out more, visit Grey Goose counters.
Finally, a diamond is said to be a girl's best friend. Hong Kong Jeweler Tse Sui Luen has launched its Flawless Love ring specially for the Qixi Festival.
The platinum ring's 0.23 carat heart shape diamond shines like a star in the night and it is the perfect ring with which to ask that crucial question.
Those who buy the Flawless Love ring during the Qixi period can enjoy a 23 percent discount. What are you waiting for?

Couples celebrate as Qixi Festival approaches


Couples celebrate as Qixi Festival approaches

A man hands his girlfriend flowers underwater alongside them are the Russian "Zhinu" and Chinese "Niulang" at Zuohai Park, Fuzhou, Fujian province on Aug 18. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

A couple take a romantic dive underwater at Zuohai Park in Fuzhou, Fujian province on Aug 18, 2012. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

Russian "Zhinu" and Chinese "Niulang" at Zuohai Park, Fuzhou, Fujian province on Aug 18. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

Couples play games at Zuohai Park, Fuzhou, Fujian province on Aug 18. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

Qixi Festival also known as Chinese Valentine's Day falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month and this year it is on Aug 23.
Legend has it that on this evening, Niulang, known as the Cowherd, and Zhinu known as the Weaving Maid, meet each other for their annual tryst on a bridge formed by magpies over the Milky Way.

China's next top models bypass the catwalk


China's next top models bypass the catwalk


Model Li Qiqi poses during a photo shoot for a Taobao store in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province August 14, 2012. Credit: REUTERS/Lang Lang

Tian Yuan Yuan is China's top Internet model, a title she earned by promoting products from skin-tight leggings to rabbit fur bags through online shopping site Taobao Marketplace.
Tian is one of 35,000 models who pose for virtual storefronts on Alibaba Group's Taobao, a consumer-to-consumer website similar to eBay where people can sell American board games, antique jade, and just about everything else imaginable. (mm.taobao.com/)
With little to differentiate between more than 6 million electronic storefronts, models like Tian have become the main attraction. Taobao ranks the girls based on sales of the products they pitch, as well as their popularity among vendors and fans who can vote on the website. Sellers can then make an online booking to hire a girl to pose with their product.
"A good model is important for sales," said 22-year-old Tian. "Both your facial expression and body language should match the style of clothing. For example, I will move and pose gently with office dresses, while I act cool in American style clothes."
The leggings she modelled sold some 14,000 units in a single month. She also helped shift more than 6,000 rabbit fur bags.
The models can make as much as 10,000 yuan ($1,600) a day, a far cry from the five-figure payouts top supermodels bank for a photo shoot, but a healthy sum considering average per capita full-year income for urban Chinese was just 21,810 yuan in 2011.
Alibaba is not alone in offering logistical support to small online businesses. EBay Inc, for example, owns online payment service PayPal that helps small vendors accept credit card payments. But Alibaba's models-for-hire service is unusual in that it does back-end jobs such as photography as well as being a platform that supplies the models themselves.
A Taobao store owner can use the free platform to search for models by price or look, or even by specific body part such as hands or legs. Models classified as "Japanese" or "Korean" tend to look younger while "European" and "American" models have more Caucasian features.
"I used to rely on models provided by modeling agencies but because each agency has only a limited number of models, it couldn't meet my business needs," said Huang Shanlei, who sells lingerie on Taobao Mall.
WORKING THE "OFFICE LADY" LOOK
Working with Taobao models was easier because most of them were free agents with fewer restrictions on the types of assignments they could accept or on how the photographs from a shoot could be used, Huang said.
Model Li Qiqi poses for different stores back to back on most days, sometimes in more than 200 outfits a day. With big doll eyes, she describes her look as "Korean office lady".
"If you model on Taobao, you focus on the specialties of the outfit and the features of the outfit. You make sure you don't block it when posing," said 24-year-old Li, a Shanghai native.
Another appeal for vendors is that they can find plenty of Asian models. Asian women are underrepresented among the world's supermodels, in part because few have the height to compete in an industry where 170 centimeters (67 inches) is considered short.
Earlier this year an Alibaba Group executive mused on Chinese microblogging site Weibo that the pretty models advertising items for sale might also be hired to deliver the goods in person to a buyer's home. An Alibaba spokeswoman said there were no immediate plans for such a service, but the firm might later revisit the idea.
Some traditional modeling agencies see Taobao's system as the way forward.
"We are searching online from this year and in fact we believe this trend will be the future," said David Lim, deputy chief executive of model agency Elite Greater China.
"China is the most important consumer market for many brands and definitely using Chinese models for their product promotion is natural."
China's e-commerce industry is set to become the world's largest by 2015, according to Boston Consulting Group.
Alibaba does not disclose transaction figures for Taobao Marketplace but its sister platform, Taobao Mall, which caters to larger businesses, is expected to see more than 200 billion yuan ($31.45 billion) worth of products traded this year, with clothes making up around 30 percent.
(Agencies)

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    2012 Oscars Arrivals - Christopher Plummer Christopher Plummer, best supporting actor nominee for his role in "Beginners", arrives at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012. ...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    2012 Oscars Arrivals - Steven Spielberg and wife Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw arrive at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, CA. Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw arrive at ...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    2012 Oscars Arrivals - Leah Thompson Actress Leah Thompson poses on the red carpet as she arrives at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson) http://abo...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    2012 Oscars Arrivals - George Clooney and Stacy Keibler George Clooney and Stacy Keibler arrive at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, CA. George Clooney and Stacy Keibler arrive at the 84th Annu...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    2012 Oscars Arrivals - Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, CA. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arrives at the 84th Annual Academy...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    2012 Oscars Arrivals - Li Bing Bing Director Li Bing Bing arrives on the red carpet for the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. (AFP Photo/Frederic J. Brown) http://aboutmicro-news.blogsp...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    2012 Oscars Arrivals - Milla Jovovich Actress Milla Jovovich poses as she arrives at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson) http://aboutmicro-news.bl...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    2012 Oscars Arrivals - Berenice Bejo Berenice Bejo, best supporting actress nominee for her role in "The Artist", arrives at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012. (REUTERS/...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    2012 Oscars Arrivals - Penelope Ann Miller Actress Penelope Ann Miller, from the film "The Artist," arrives at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Oscar stars arrive, with one dressed like statue Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTE...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Oscar buzz grips Hollywood as 'Artist' eyes prize French Director Michel Hazanavicius wins best director award for "The Artist" at the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California, Feb...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Oscar turns up the star power for final rehearsal The Muppets, Kermit the Frog, left and Miss Piggy rehearse for the 84th Academy Awards, Saturday, Feb 25, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) R...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Best Oscar Photos by LIFE Presenters Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly wait backstage at the RKO Pantages Theatre during the 1956 Academy Awards. Marlon Brando (right, with French singer and actress Line Re...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    War Horse(2011) War Horse(2011) Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, "War Horse" begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a yo...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    The Tree of Life(2011) The Tree of Life(2011) The impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's following the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his ...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Moneyball(2011) Moneyball(2011) Billy Beane was once a would-be baseball superstar who, stung by the failure to live up to expectations on the field, turned his fiercely competitive nature to management....
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Midnight in Paris(2011) Midnight in Paris(2011) A family, including a young couple, travels to Paris, France for business and have their lives transformed. http://aboutmicro-news.blogspot.com
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Hugo(2011) Hugo(2011) Hugo is a wily and resourceful boy whose quest to unlock a secret left to him by his father will transform him and all those around him, and reveal a safe and loving place he can ca...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    The Help(2011) The Help(2011) It's set at the dawn of the civil rights movement and three Mississippi women are about to take an extraordinary step into the middle of the movement. ... was only on 707 th...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close(2011) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close(2011) Jonathan Safran Foer's novel of same name was critically panned but was commercially successful.The film adaption of the nov...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    The Descendants(2011) The Descendants(2011) Matt King is an indifferent husband and fatherof two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating acciden...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    The Artist(2011) The Artist Hollywood 1927. George Valentin is a silent movie superstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his career and see him fall into oblivion. For young extr...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Nominees - Best actor Brad Pitt Brad Pitt Soon landing roles as typical good guys, he parlayed his burgeoning heart-throb appeal into Hollywood clout to get prestige personal projects such as Seven Years...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Nominees - Best actor Gary Oldman Gary Oldman His isn't the kind of memorable face that stops you in the street. On screen it's another matter. Audiences shivered at his performance as Dracula for Francis...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Nominees - Best actor Jean Dujardin Jean Dujardin Fame on home turf came through a talent show in 1996 with his comedy group at the Carré Blanc theatre. This led to him starring in Un gars, une fille, a p...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Nominees - Best actor George Clooney George Clooney After a decade spent toiling on series television, mostly in roles easily forgotten, actor George Clooney jolted to stardom with his portrayal of the c...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    Nominees - Best actor Demian Bichir Demian Bichir A prolific and acclaimed actor in his native Mexico, Demián Bichir delivered award-winning performances as men of conviction, including Emiliano Zapata a...
  • posted by WatchNewStyle at News - 1 hour ago
    37th Cesar Awards held in Paris French actresses Naidra Ayadi (L) and Clotilde Hesme pose with the trophy after winning the Best Female Newcomer Award respectively for their roles in the movies of "Polis...