TOKYO: Japan's after-work drinking scene has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing its often jam-packed "izakaya" dining bars to reinvent themselves to survive. For decades, izakayas - a mainstay of Japanese working culture and late-night drinking - have thrived by offering cheap drinks to thirsty office workers in cozy settings. Even though lockdown measures to contain the virus were lifted in late May, izakayas are facing an existential crisis as more people work from home and social-distancing rules force most eating and drinking outlets to halve their seating. "I used to drink out about twice a week. Not anymore," said 26-year-old Erika Aoi. "It was nice to hang out with colleagues after work, so it's sad the culture is shrinking." Hitoshi Yaosaka's shops are among those hit hard. The 10 izakayas he runs in Tokyo have seen customer numbers return to only a third of their pre-pandemic levels, with fewer workers commuting to nearby offices. READ: Japan's … [Read more...] about Japan’s izakayas, once a staple of after-work socialising, crippled by COVID-19 pandemic
Stunner at staples
WASHINGTON: The U.S. economy unexpectedly added jobs in May, surprising economists and analysts who had forecast millions more losing their livelihoods, and raising hopes of a faster economic recovery than expected. More than 2.5 million people were newly employed last month, the Labor Department reported on Friday, but that follows a record drop of more than 20 million in April. The unemployment rate fell to roughly 13per cent compared to almost 15per cent in the prior month. Much of the rise in jobs was centered on hardest-hit industries in food services and drinking places, which added 1.4 million jobs and accounted for about half of the employment gains. The leisure and hospitality sector overall added 1.2 million jobs. But what explains the unexpected jump and should the numbers be taken at face value? STATES REOPENING It makes sense that more people would become employed as stay-at-home restrictions eased. More than 95per cent of Americans were under some form of … [Read more...] about Explainer: May’s jobs report stunner: real deal or head fake?
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas looked extra glamorous as they stepped out for a rare date night at the Golden Globes. The Mask of Zorro star - who tied the knot with Michael in 2000 - dazzled in her show-stopping gown as she linked arms with her man. Catherine, 51, looked sensational in a classy black Dolce & Gabbana off-the-shoulder dress featuring a very high thigh slit. The actress opted for a pair of black open-toed heels as she let her signature black locks flow over her shoulders. Meanwhile Michael, 76, matched his stunning wife by wearing a tailored black two-piece suit with a black shirt and black long tie. The veteran Hollywood star proudly has three Golden Globes to his name - for Wall Street, Behind The Candelabra and The Kominsky Method. And back in 2004, he was the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's lifetime achievement award - meaning he's no stranger to the prestigious event. The pair - who … [Read more...] about Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas dazzle on rare date night at Golden Globes
The Hanoitimes - The foreign-invested sector made up 76.4% of Vietnam’s total exports in the first two months with US$37.07 billion, representing an increase of 30.5% year-on-year. Vietnam reported an estimated trade deficit of US$800 million in February, narrowing the trade surplus in the first two months of 2021 to US$1.29 billion in 2019, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has said in a monthly report. Data: GSO. Chart: Ngoc Thuy Overall, Vietnam's trade turnover in the January-February period is likely to rise by 24.5% year-on-year to reach US$95.81 billion, of which its export value could amount to US$48.55 billion, up 23.2% year-on-year, and imports are estimated at US$47.26 billion, up 25.9%. According to the GSO, the foreign-invested sector made up 76.4% of the total exports with US$37.07 billion, representing an increase of 30.5% year-on-year, and the domestic-invested sector with US$11.48 billion, or 23.6% of the total. Among Vietnam’s key … [Read more...] about Vietnam posts trade surplus of US$1.3 billion in 2-month period
The Hanoitimes - The trade deal will open a new chapter in the Vietnam – UK relations, UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has said. Once coming into force, the UK – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) would serve as a major boost for a number of Vietnam’s export staples, including seafood, rice, garment, vegetables, among others, suggested the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) in a report. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss in a meeting yesterday. Photo: Quang Hieu. In 2019, Vietnam exported seafood worth US$298.2 million to the UK, or 6.7% of the latter’s total fishery imports. With the UKVFTA in place import tariffs for fresh or frozen shrimp would immediately go down to 0%. A zero-tariff rate is set to continue boosting Vietnam’s exports of shrimp and catfish to the UK market, which also makes the sector more attractive in the eyes of investors looking to take advantage of the trade deal. A study … [Read more...] about UKVFTA to boost export of Vietnam key items