Unified Korea’s flagbearer Lim Yunghui leads the delegation during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium in Jakarta on August 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRYNorth and South Korea marched together in a stirring display of unity as the Asian Games, one of the world’s biggest sports events, opened in a blaze of colour in Jakarta on Saturday.South Korean women’s basketball player Lim Yung-hui and North Korean footballer Ju Kyong-chol jointly held the Korean Unification flag aloft as they led the athletes out to an ovation from the packed crowd.ADVERTISEMENT Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs About 1,500 dancers in traditional dress then performed a tightly choreographed routine before Afghanistan led the athletes’ parade into the stadium.There were huge cheers when the two Koreas, whose athletes together number about 1,000, marched into the stadium together wearing pristine white and blue uniforms.‘You can feel proud’Widodo was then seen dancing in his seat as Indonesian singer Via Vallen took to the stage, before the stadium fell silent to honour the victims of the recent Lombok earthquake.“You can feel proud of your home country Indonesia,” said Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia, before Widodo declared the Games open.ADVERTISEMENT Indonesian badminton great Susi Susanti, the women’s singles Olympic champion in 1992, lit the Games cauldron and the ceremony closed with a noisy music performance and spectacular fireworks.It provided a vibrant start to the Games, whose build-up has been dogged by logistical headaches and security fears after Indonesia suffered its deadliest terror attack in a decade in May.The sprawling archipelago has also been grappling with its latest earthquake disaster after strong tremors in Lombok, an eastern island, left more than 400 people dead.Indonesia, a country of about 270 million, stepped in to host the Games at short notice after Vietnam pulled out, citing the event’s eye-watering costs.Indonesia has a poor track record in hosting multi-sports events — the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang suffered serious corruption problems and delays, and two people died in a stadium stampede.Rights group Amnesty International said at least 31 people were killed in a “shoot first and ask questions later” police crackdown on petty crime.But officials say all venues are ready for competition and tournament-related problems so far have been relatively minor, from the ticket website crashing to misspelt words on signs.About 18,000 athletes and officials from 45 Asian countries will be at the Asiad, organisers said, looking to make their mark across a range of sports from swimming to sepak takraw and bridge.The Asian Games encompass nearly the full Olympic programme and are considered the pinnacle by many participating nations, for whom Olympic success often proves elusive. 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DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil It is the second such symbolic gesture this year by the two Koreas, who also walked together at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony — an event that heralded an unprecedented warming of ties.The North and South, still technically at war, are joining forces in women’s basketball, canoeing and rowing during the 40-sport, two-week regional Olympics in the Indonesian capital and Palembang, a port city on Sumatra island.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and North Korean Deputy Prime Minister Ri Ryong-nam, watching from the VIP seats, rose together holding hands and beaming as the Korean athletes marched.The ceremony opened with a skit purportedly showing President Joko Widodo doing stunts on a motorbike in Jakarta’s streets before riding into the Gelora Bung Karno stadium, to roars from the crowd. 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A crackdown on meth, tighter border controls, no-money-down mortgages and the lure of large profits are behind the rise of indoor pot farms in the San Gabriel Valley and elsewhere, according to authorities. Since March, police have raided almost two dozen homes and businesses converted to large-scale marijuana farming operations. Officials believe many of the farms, which employ an assembly line-style operation and can generate up to six harvests a year, are funded by entrepreneurial gangsters looking for easy money during hard times. “My spin on it is Asian \ and Caucasian biker gangs have developed a form of marijuana that is double the potency of Mexican marijuana,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Dennis Werner. “The more expensive the product, the more money they can get out of it.” Narcotics officers from Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties as well as agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and detectives from the Pomona and Azusa Police Departments participated in the seizures. In all, the 23 houses and one business accounted for a street value of more than $50 million worth of pot. As with any good business model, pot growers need an outlet. Economic forces create a market. Crackdowns on methamphetamine labs provide a knowledgable work force; easy-to-obtain mortgages furnish the land; medical marijuana dispensaries and a re-emergence of the ’60s pot culture supplies the customers, said Gerald Caiden, a USC professor of economics and political science who specializes in political corruption and organized crime. Beyond that, “It’s not too difficult to come up with a little capital and use a little entrepreneurship,” said Lt. James Whitten of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The history of one house, at 1512 Eldertree Drive in Diamond Bar, that was raided on March 21 is typical of the grow homes, Whitten said. The house sold for $823,000 in January, according to records from the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office. The buyer, who has not been identified by authorities, apparently put together a purchase loan with little money down and made no payments for insurance or taxes. Inside the home, detectives found marijuana valued at $12.5million and an elaborate system of lighting and irrigation rigged to bypass municipal utility service. The unidentified buyer also owns a home at 7715 Emerson Place in Rosemead that deputies raided two days later and seized less than $1 million worth of drugs, Whitten said. A similar setup was employed there, officials said. Again, the home was purchased with very little money down and retained little or no equity. “We think the facts resemble a series of cases in Northern California,” Werner said, “where grow homes were bought with 100 percent financing.” The typical arrangement consists of the buyer obtaining a mortgage for 80 percent of the purchase price and then a silent second for the remaining 20 percent, Werner said. Kiet Chung, 40, of San Francisco was arrested in the Eldertree Drive house and charged with cultivation of marijuana for sale. He is being held at the Pitchess Detention Center without bail. The unidentified homeowner has been in contact with detectives through an attorney, Werner said. Although many of the houses display similar links and purchase patterns, detectives have been unable to nail down any threads tying them all together. While Asian gangs, known as drug trafficking organizations or DTOs, seem to control much of the San Gabriel Valley trade, Werner said biker gangs and other criminal organizations are also involved. A recent series of six busts in Palmdale involved African- American suspected gang members. Four were taken into custody and 690 plants were seized, Werner said. The varying ethnicity of suspects all the more proves the profitability of such ventures, Caiden said. “This is a terrific business and marijuana is a great cash crop,” Caiden said “The profits are enormous. If it wasn’t so profitable, it wouldn’t be worth the risk.” Links to the San Gabriel Valley crop up in many other busts. Last Monday, San Bernardino County deputies uncovered a grow home in Yucaipa. They arrested Huaiwen Zhu, 24, of Rosemead and Minghua Liang, 29, of Rowland Heights. A check of public records indicates Liang is connected to the now defunct Ever-Union Trading & Investment Inc. The company, which authorities claim swindled investors in Taiwan, was busted in October by Taiwanese officials and detectives from the Sheriff’s Fraud Bureau. Liang had been missing ever since, authorities said. Police said the men arrested in many of these cases refuse to talk. Most of the homeowners they interview claim to have little knowledge of the activity. “Several of the owners are elderly, in their 60s or 70s,” Werner said. “Who knows? They may be straw buyers. In a couple of cases, \ said they had posted \ at a laundry. Somebody moved in and they get cash every month. Each case is different.” Similar to meth labs, grow homes present a variety of poisonous perils from the merely mild to considerably lethal. “These houses become toxic waste dumps,” Werner said. “Mold permeates the walls. … They dump gallons of liquid fertilizer. It’s a horrible health hazard to the community regardless of how you stand on marijuana.” There is also a criminal element the farms seem to attract. An indoor farm in Azusa began to draw the attention of authorities because of the people it attracted. “I noticed different people, weirdo-druggies walking down the alleyway,” said Sherri Wells of Glendora, who works in a bakery supply company in the same complex. “After the fact though I realized how crazy it is that you don’t notice something like that until after it happens.” Authorities said some of the product might find its way to medical marijuana dispensaries, like one busted by authorities in West Covina on Monday. “They have to get their product somewhere,” Whitten said. “It would be a good venue for them to sell. Right now though we have no actual information leading us to any one of those places.” If dispensaries are the ultimate destination for the tons of marijuana produced at area grow homes, police might be overstepping their bounds, according to Bruce Margolin, head of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Margolin said the law protects pot grown for purely medicinal purposes. “But, the law is only as good as those who interpret it,” Margolin said. “Sometimes you have rogue cops. They want to go out and kick in the door and seize the product. Very few, if any, \ have been prosecuted.” But grow farm operators are choosing houses in the outlying suburbs because it suits their immediate needs. “Working out of a house cuts down the risks,” Caiden said. “When you cut down the transportation costs and any exposure to antiterrorist measures, you increase profits.” email@example.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2717 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
As the year comes to a close, both hiring managers’ and job seekers’ attention will begin to turn away from the hiring process and on to the holidays. And who can blame them?While you might be tempted to press “pause” on your job search during the holiday season, if you want to make your New Year’s resolution to find a job come true, you have to keep the job search alive between the turkey dinner and holiday caroling.Full-time, permanent hiring this holiday season is projected to be the most robust since 2006, with 34 percent of U.S. employers planning to hire full-time employees in the fourth quarter, according to a recent CareerBuilder study — all the more reason to continue your search.To land a job you love by the new year, here are five things to start doing today:1. Put together a wish list.It’s time to put together your holiday wish list — for jobs, that is. With only a few months left in 2015, blindly applying to job posts isn’t going to do you much good.The first step in any successful job search is to develop a solid game plan. Decide what companies you’d like to work for and what job openings interest you the most. What kind of job or company do you see yourself in? Where do you want to end up by January?Don’t be afraid to add a few “hopefuls” to the list — it is a wish list, after all.2. Make a realistic timeline.Keyword: realistic.In order to land a job you’ll love by 2016, you need to set goals that are achievable between now and the new year. Start by outlining what you’d like to accomplish each week. For instance, maybe you devote this week to creating your wish list and tailoring your resume and cover letter to each item on the list. You can focus on applying next week, following up the week after that, and so on.Consider creating a calendar specifically for your job search. This way, you can keep track of the companies you’ve applied to and followed up with, networking events, and interviews all in one place.3. Reach out to your connections… To stay in line with your job search timeline, it can help to reach out to any (and every) professional connection you might have. These connections can inform you of job opportunities that aren’t yet being advertised, which can give you a leg up on the competition.What’s more, your professional connections can also serve as references when it comes time to interview. It’s a win-win.4. …and make new ones.The holiday season means corporate holiday parties and events (i.e., new networking opportunities). Take advantage of any holiday events, fundraisers, and parties that are open to the public, and use them to make new professional connections.Attending and networking at these events gives you an opportunity to meet and speak with the company’s employees, learn about the company culture and current job openings, as well as helps employees put a face to the name on your application.5. Be open to seasonal work.While the forecast for full-time, permanent hiring this holiday season looks merry and bright, the holiday season also calls for seasonal employees. If there’s a seasonal opportunity with a company on your wish list, don’t cross it off just yet.According to the aforementioned CareerBuilder survey, an encouraging 57 percent of employers expect to transition some seasonal staff into full-time, permanent roles — up from 42 percent last year. Who knows? The key to landing the job of your dreams may be to start off in a seasonal position.What are some other tips for landing a job before the new year?