North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un called for a "radical turnabout" in the impoverished country's economy in a rare New Year's address that also appeared to offer an olive branch to South Korea.
Kim's speech, broadcast on state television, was the first of its kind for 19 years, since the death of his grandfather and the North's founding president Kim Il-Sung.
Kim's father, Kim Jong-Il, almost never managed any direct verbal address to his people.
So we've survived the end of the world that was predicted for December 21, and on December 31 we look at the end of yet another year.
And what a year it was.
While there were no major tech scares in the form as wildfire viruses, there was a shake-up with the arrival of Windows 8.
The total refresh in the operating system that adheres to touch and gestures while extending itself across screens from desktop to tablet, also signaled Microsoft's foray into hardware with the introduction of its 'Surface' tablet.
China's sovereign wealth fund will focus more of its $482 billion firepower on Asia in twin bids to beat a rise in protectionism in the West and boost exposure to rapid regional growth, chairman and chief executive Lou Jiwei said.
The man charged with stewardship of a slice of the world's largest store of foreign wealth lauded the British approach to overseas investment in public sector projects as one for the world to follow and said the policy response to Europe's debt crisis was a reason to stay underweight bonds and stocks there.
Fifty-five years after Toyota became the first Asian automaker to sell cars in the U.S., the Far East has climbed to the top of the mountain with American car buyers.
In fact, Asian brands have surpassed the Big 3 in sales this year. It’s a reflection of the resurgence by Japanese brands following last year’s earthquake and tsunami. It also shows a new reality for Detroit where a trimmed down Big 3 with fewer brands is finding it tougher to win over American car buyers.
Why have the Asian automakers moved into the lead in the U.S.?
On Oct. 29, as Hurricane Sandy approached the Northeast, restaurants near Manhattan’s Chinatown and Little Italy were nearly empty. The streets were unusually quiet. Only a few supermarkets, fish markets, gift shops, restaurants and bakeries were open. Many of the people on the streets were local residents or foreign tourists, mostly from Europe, who were staying in nearby hotels. Most employees who were working there were Chinatown residents. A few carpooled, took Chinatown vans or got rides from their boss.
Out of the total amount of real estate investments put in by Asian investors last year, nearly a third or US$70 billion were from the ultra-wealthy.
According to a report from Singapore-based consultancy firm Wealth-X, 250 billion out of US$1.9 trillion of the ultra-wealthy Asians' net worth were from real estate.
"There are so many ultra-high net worth individuals globally, 187,000 in total, 43,000 in Asia alone," said Mykolas Rambus, the CEO of Wealth-X.
"We are talking about over US$25 trillion of wealth they have in excess. For example the average ultra-high net worth (individual) has in China, US$41 million in liquid assets in cash and cash equivalent, ready to invest."
According to the report, most of these Asian ultra-wealthy individuals are from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Other market watchers say most of them are not real estate speculators.
"These ultra-high net worth individuals don't make decisions on a whim," said Colin Tan, research head of Chesterton Suntec.
"They may have considered their decisions to invest in a property or the real estate market over a period of time. They are likely to follow a long-term approach and accumulate properties."
Singapore remains a safe haven for ultra-high net worth investors, particularly those from China looking to diversify their investments beyond China.
Despite recent cooling measures in Singapore, the number of real estate transactions in the second quarter increased by 37 per cent from the previous quarter.
Market watchers say foreign investors are most adverse to capital gains tax, where a certain amount of profit must be paid to the authorities.
There is something inherently mysterious and romantic about Asia…the mysterious Far East. And when it comes to weddings, the rich diversity of Asian cultures, traditions and religions makes for a wide variety of colorful and fascinating wedding customs.
In the land of the rising sun
First, let me define what I mean by “Asian women”. You may be thinking in terms of either Chinese, Japanese, or perhaps Indian or Korean women, and forget about the Southeast Asian countries (of which there are 12 including the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia) and Northern Asian countries, like Pakistan. But it’s crucial to take all these various nations into account. It’s key to keep in mind that Asian women encompass a melting pot of ethnicities, each with their own cultural constructs.
Chris and Lindsay’s wedding will be anything but traditional. Lindsay is English, German and Irish and Chris is Malaysian and Chinese. Both are Christian, but they decided against a church wedding. The couple will be getting married in Altun Ha, Belize, a Mayan ruin with great symbolism. Love is in the air!
ASIANCE: Where did you meet?
Our bride Ashley was born and raised in Hawaii and moved to California to attend college. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Finance and has lived in California ever since.
Bucky, her groom, was also born and raised in Hawaii. Two years after they started dating, Bucky made the move to California, where the couple still resides today with their dog Lucy and cat Lola. Bucky currently works at a BMW dealership, but has recently completed his certification for HVAC.
ASIANCE: Where did you meet?