Tag Archives: Hong Kong

22 Incredible Pictures Of The Morning After Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

hong kong

Pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong have continued into Monday morning with thousands of sleeping protesters still occupying the streets.

While images of exhausted police and demonstrators are now being broadcast and reports the riot police have withdrawn, the protestors look set on staying put.

This movement is now being dubbed as “The Umbrella Revolution” with people shouting: “Do something good for Hong Kong. We want real democracy!”

Over the weekend, reports of violent clashes between the protestors and police were seen with police throwing tear gas at the crowds and constructing defense barriers.

In response, thousands sought to protect themselves with homemade goggles and improvised shields. Twenty-six people have reportedly been taken to hospital and 148 arrested.

The clashes come as a climax to last week when students boycotted classes to protest Beijing’s plans to vet candidates and rejecting open nominations for Hong Kong’s 2017 leadership elections.

Since China took over Hong Kong from the British in 1997, it has maintained certain liberties and control unseen in mainland China.

Now, Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” premise is being directly challenged.

The Chinese government are calling the protests illegal. Despite their efforts for a media blackout, extraordinary scenes of deserted and litter strewn streets have still emerged from the city.

In an effort to stem the tide of images, the government have now banned Instagram on the Chinese mainland.

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17 of the world’s most beautiful clock towers

The clock is of course better known as Big Ben, which is actually the name of the bell inside, which was installed in the tower in 1859. The tower itself is called Elizabeth Tower.

Clock towers of the world

Equally worthy of our admiration, and with remarkable stonework, is the Rajabhai clock tower, in a university compound in Mumbai, India.

Clock towers of the world

One of the most famous clocks in Europe is the astronomical clock found on the Old City Hall in Prague. The movements of its allegorical mechnical figures always draw a crowd to the Old Town Square. It was installed in 1410 and death, portrayed as a skeleton, strikes the time.

Clock towers of the world

This clock tower, the Zytglogge in Berne, Switzerland, is less lofty but also photogenic. It is found in the old part of the city which is a UNESCO heritage site, and was built between 1218-20.

Clock towers of the world

Clock towers in farther flung destinations bear subtle influences of local architectural styles, such as this one in Bukittinggi, Indonesia, which has a distinct south-Asian flavour.

Clock towers of the world

Or this Islamic-style clock tower in Kuala Lumpur, which is attached to the Sultan Abdul Samad mosque.

Clock towers of the world

This caravanasi in Acre, Israel is known as the Khan Al-Umdan. It was built in 1784, with the clock tower overlooking granite pillars that surround a courtyard.

Clock towers of the world

In Beirut, Lebanon, the elegant Hamidiyyeh Clock Tower, originally built in 1897, was reconstructed following the civil war.

Clock towers of the world

The Mekkah Royal Hotel clock tower is the tallest in the world (601m) and also known as the Abraj Al-Bait Towers. It dominates a government-owned complex of buildings in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The clock face is also the world’s largest, at 43m in diameter.

Clock towers of the world

It may be (much) shorter but this clock tower in Metz, France, has its fair share of admirers.

Clock towers of the world

Another grand, European clock tower is found at the city hall in Munich, Germany. It’s gothic style is reminiscent of Big Ben, but it was built much later, in 1908.

Clock towers of the world

In Moscow, certainly the reddest clock on the list, the Spasskaya Tower flanks the eastern wall of the Kremlin and is the complex’s main tower, built in 1491 by an Italian architect. The clock appeared later.

Clock towers of the world

This is the Old Kowloon station clock tower, one of Hong Kong‘s most recognisable landmarks. It’s 44m tall and was completed in 1915. Time only stopped ticking during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in the Second World War. The tower is a lone survivor, as the rest of the station was demolished in 1977.

Clock towers of the world

More recently-built clock towers can be found in more modern styles, such as this, in the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin. A policeman used to stand on the top and direct the traffic. Germany’s first traffic lights were installed in 1924.

Clock towers of the world

Also notable is this, the Deira Clock tower, insalubriously sited at a busy roundabout in Dubai. The arms of this Sixties’ concrete structure gracefully arc towards a boxy clock that balances on their tips in the centre.

Clock towers of the world

In America, the Philadelphia City Hall clock tower is not to be sniffed at, completed in 1901.

Clock towers of the world

San Francisco‘s, at the Ferry Building Marketplace, strikes a pose in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. It survived two major earthquakes in 1906 and 1989.

Bibo StreetArt Restaurant in Hong-Kong

BIBO restaurant in hong kong furnished with street arta french restaurant in hong kong has been furnished with works of street art from renowned designers – a collaboration between anonymous project coordinator BIBO and creative design agency substance.

inside, installations by invader, JR and mr brainwash are accompanied by hangings from banksy,damien hirst and daniel arsham offering diners a new way to experience art. the space has also become a studio for new work, with creatives from around the world invited to undertake independent projects.

bibo street art restaurant substance hong kong designboom
external signage and the view from upper lascar row

occupying a heritage building in on hollywood road, the space embodies a 1930s parisian saloon with luxurious marble floors and elegant light fittings.

in order to connect french cuisine with contemporary street art, a new history for the building was created: the abandoned regional headquarters of the fictional ‘compagnie générale française de tramways’ (CGFT).

bibo street art restaurant substance hong kong designboom
the bar is crafted from layers of unevenly stacked marble

some furniture, train timetables and unused ticket rolls remain as part of the design, rendering the new inhabitants squatters, or artists who gather in the vacated building to share food and ideas.

the structure’s fittings include brass pipes that are reminiscent of subway ventilation systems, while complex light fixtures appear as train signal lights. referencing abandoned construction sites, the bar is crafted from layers of unevenly stacked marble, with individual dining tables created from misaligned stone slabs.

bibo street art restaurant substance hong kong designboom
JR’s famous eye motif gazes at drinkers sitting at the bar

BIBO is a space that I had never seen before; I wanted to see it but couldn’t find it anywhere. it’s a vision that passion has brought to reality,’ commented BIBO, the project’s mysterious coordinator. ‘at the core of the project is an artistic concept.

I invited street artists from around the world to create installations directly on the walls, even before the design was finalized. alcoves, doors, walls, ceilings have been used by the street artists as surfaces to express themselves. we wanted things to look slightly unfinished, but in an organic way. it makes the artists feel more at home. hence the idea of a squat.

bibo street art restaurant substance hong kong designboom
menus are printed on fictional train schedules from the past

when BIBO came to us with his pioneering idea, we were faced with the challenge to create a fine dining restaurant and bar that would be a backdrop for street and contemporary art,’ explained maxime dautresme, creative director of substance design agency.

‘the idea of 1930s design was a perfect fit, modern enough to serve as a setting to constantly changing and extremely eclectic artistic expression, while creating an elegant and comfortable environment in which to serve french gastronomy.’

bibo street art restaurant substance hong kong designboom
entry to BIBO’s restrooms

dautresme continues, ‘we wanted to connect the decade, street art and gastronomy. street artists often begin their careers spray-painting trains and trams. they also like to occupy disused heritage buildings and construction sites.

they express themselves by layering their art on surfaces with a history. this building has age and is in a part of town with history and character. what if it had once been the office of a prosperous french transportation company?

bibo street art restaurant substance hong kong designboom
creatives from around the world are invited to undertake independent projects

Gold Smuggling Increases 7x In India And Surpasses Illegal Drug Trade

Seized gold bars are kept on displayed by custom officers at the international airport in Kolkata November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

(Reuters) – Indian gold smugglers are adopting the methods of drug couriers to sidestep a government crackdown on imports of the precious metal, stashing gold in imported vehicles and even using mules who swallow nuggets to try to get them past airport security.

Stung by rules imposed this year to cut a high trade deficit and a record duty on imports, dealers and individual customers are fanning out across Asia to buy gold and sneak it back into the country.

Sri Lanka, Thailand and Singapore are the latest hotspots as authorities crack down on travellers from Dubai, the traditional source of smuggled gold.

In a sign of the times, whistleblowers who help bust illegal gold shipments can get a bigger reward in India than those who help catch cocaine and heroin smugglers.

“Gold and narcotics operate as two different syndicates but gold smuggling has become more profitable and fashionable,” said Kiran Kumar Karlapu, an official at Mumbai’s Air Intelligence Unit.

“There has been a several-fold increase in gold smuggling this year after restrictions from the government, which has left narcotics behind.”

From travellers laden head-to-toe in jewellery to passengers who conceal carbon-wrapped gold pieces in their bodies – in the mistaken belief that metal detectors will not be set off – Indians are smuggling in more bullion than ever, government officials say, driven by the country’s insatiable demand for the metal.

That suggests official data showing a sharp fall in gold buying, which has helped narrow India’s current account gap, may significantly underestimate the real level of gold flows.

The World Gold Council estimates that 150 to 200 tonnes of smuggled gold will enter India in 2013, on top of the 900 tonnes of official demand.

Between April to September alone, India’s customs officials seized nearly double the amount of smuggled gold it nabbed in all of 2012.

“Though the quantum of seizures has increased, in our opinion it reflects only 1 to 2 percent of total smuggling,” said a revenue intelligence officer in Mumbai who declined to be named. “Dubai is still the number one place from where gold gets in and Singapore is slowly emerging. Sri Lanka has become a staging point.”

Grappling with a high trade deficit and weak currency, India imposed measures this year to crimp demand for gold, the second most expensive item on its import bill after oil. It imposed a 10-percent duty on bullion and a 15-percent tariff on jewellery. Imports plunged to 24 tonnes in October from a record 162 tonnes in May.

SUPPLY CRUNCH

Gold is an integral part of Indian culture, offered at weddings and festivals. India was the world’s biggest gold consumer until last year but will be overtaken by China in 2013.

India has now stepped up cooperation with nearby countries to stem the smuggling.

Last week, Sri Lanka limited the amount of jewellery its residents can take out of the country and it will try to monitor whether they bring it back. Pakistan banned all gold imports in August for a month as it believed much was being smuggled on into India.

Indian gold premiums have soared to $130 an ounce over London prices due to the supply crunch, compared with about $2 an ounce in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.

Banks and other official trading agencies in Singapore and Thailand that had supplied gold to their Indian counterparts have stopped due to India’s new rules.

But smaller dealers and retailers say they have been selling more to Indian customers than ever before, in jewellery and other forms.

Brian Lan, managing director of Singapore-based dealer GoldSilver Central Pte Ltd, said he has sold about 10 kg (22 lbs) of gold to a single Indian customer and gets multiple similarly big orders on some days.

“We have Indian dealers buying from us directly on a regular basis,” said a second Singapore dealer. “They say they have their own means of taking it in without getting caught.”

China’s richest man lost $15 billion in one hour

China’s richest man, Li Hejun, is having a really bad week.

The chairman of solar panel firm Hanergy (HNGSF) lost $15 billion on Wednesday when shares in the company plummeted 47% in Hong Kong trading — in about an hour. The company saw $18.6 billion wiped off its market value.

Trading in Hanergy shares was halted Wednesday pending release — the company said — of an announcement “containing inside information.” The company has not commented further since, and the shares are still suspended.

Li owns just over 80% of Hanergy. He failed show up for the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, which began as the shares were plunging. A company spokesperson said he was attending the opening of Hanergy’s clean energy exhibition in Beijing instead.

The lack of a company statement is adding to the confusion surrounding the stock crash. Bespoke Investment, a New York research and wealth management firm, called “the Hanergy story a complete mess.”

And there was another mystery crash in Hong Kong on Thursday. Goldin Financial and Goldin Properties, owned by billionaire Pan Sutong, nosedived more than 40%. Both companies said they had no idea why their shares were plunging, and that they had no information to disclose to investors. Like Hanergy, the two companies had soared to astonishing highs over the past year.

Investors, regulators and analysts have questioned Hanergy’s rapid share rise, and how the company was turning a profit, for months. They’ve used the company as an example of the risk of investing in emerging markets.

Before Wednesday’s plunge, Hanergy’s shares had surged 625% over the past year, making it seven times bigger than First Solar, the top U.S. solar firm. At its peak in April, the company was worth more than $45 billion, allowing Li to overtake Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma as China’s richest man, according to a ranking by Hurun released in March.

But the huge climb spurred questions over market manipulation. And more concerns were raised earlier this year, when the company said 60% of its sales came from its Beijing-based parent company, Hanergy Holding Group. Li is also chairman of the parent.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission had been investigating market manipulation for weeks, citing an unidentified source. In recent months, the Financial Times has reported on Hanergy’s accounting practices and unusual price movements.

Hanergy uses a specialized technology to create thinner, more flexible solar panels. The company has 15,000 employees, and branches around the globe.

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