SHANGHAI, Jan 10 (AFP)
China has permanently expelled popular French perfume Opium from its markets following consumer complaints that its name sent an improper message to youth, industry sources said Monday.
The exclusive agent in China for Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), the perfume�s manufacturer, confirmed media reports that the State Commercial and Industrial Bureau in late December revoked the product�s registration, effectively banning sales.
�It has already been removed from shelves across the mainland,� a Guohangxin Technology Co. Ltd. official told AFP, adding that Opium had been sold in the country for five years.
�All we can do is to express regret, and we also feel it�s very sudden,� the official said, describing the decision as �not very consistent with the country�s entering the World Trade Organisation (WTO).�
First introduced in 1977, Opium has become one of the world�s 10 most famous perfumes, she said.
The official Business Daily earlier in the day reported that the decision originated with consumer complaints in southwestern Chengdu city around two years ago.
Consumers reportedly objected to the name, attacking it as a form of �spiritual pollution� sending a warped message to youth.
The matter shifted to the central government level after the manufacturer protested a local ban.
Opium has particularly strong historical symbolism in China, as addiction to the narcotic was extremely widespread in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Imperial China�s crushing defeat in the first Opium War with Britain � sparked in 1839 when Beijing tried to halt imports of the drug � was the start of decades of humiliation at the hands of Western colonial powers.
But the agent said linking the product to the Opium Wars politically �is not very appropriate.�
Its name is simply meant to be naughty and suggestive, like Christian Dior�s Poison, she said.
The state bureau�s decision is final and cannot be appealed, she said, refusing to disclose the amount of sales that would be lost.
One of Shanghai�s leading department stores said it had not yet received official notification and was still selling Opium.
�Its aroma is popular with customers, but the high price keeps it from being a top seller,� a sales clerk said.
The least expensive bottle, a version for men, sells for 500 yuandollars).
YSL is owned by French retail group Pinault Printemps Redoute.
ALMATY, Jan 10
January 6 the Kanat Akhmetov�s brass band of Kazakhstan has come back from its tour. The brand visited the annual brass festival in Taiwan , in a small town of Chai-ei-city. This was the second performance by our musicians at this festival. The audience did not sympathize with brass bands from Japan, America and other countries, as they did with the Kazakhstani band. Taiwan women�s passionate sympathy was so strong, that many members of the brand lost their T-shirts, as they had to present them to their fans (It was warm in the country). Those who did not wish to give their cloth, nevertheless lost them, as oriental girls tore pieces. They asked our guys to put their autograph on those pieces of their T-shirts or shirts. The Kazakhstani musicians were glad to do that.
Making performances twice a day during a week, the brass band impressed the audience so much that they proposed musicians to exchange the national Taiwan dishes with rice and sea products to pizza and hamburgers. The Kazakhstanis appreciated the offer.
The brass band stayed in Thailand, where within a day they acquired a tan in the most prestigious rest zone of �new Russians�. Everything would be okay, if there had been no but.
The musicians had to return home standing on foot in the cargo section of the aircraft. The flight lasted for 15 hours. They had a rest on three passengers� seats available in the cargo section, one by one.
By Alessandro RAIMONDI
LAUSANNE, Jan 2
The winter tourist season has just started under the auspices of �Tourism Switzerland�, the authority presided by Dick Marty, meant to advertise the beauties of the Confederation and the excellent level of its infrastructures.
With no seas, but with the superb majesty of the Alps, the country is a magnet for sky lovers pouring in this white paradise from all over the world.
On an average basis a full winter season is crowded by as much as 35,000,000 overnight stays - this the measure unit of such peculiar trade � but this season �Tourism Switzerland� aims at increasing the number by 372,000 more overnight stays. To do so Marty�s authority has launched a very effective advertisement campaign in nearby France and Germany, hoping to attract those needed tourists to hit its target.
Most unlikely Sion has lost her battle for hosting the Winter Olympics of 2006 on which �Tourism Switzerland� had based much expectations, in the hope that many touristers would have liked to see, this year, the chosen city and therefore staying there overnight.
The promotional campaign includes a 5-language brochure distributed free of charge also in Switzerland, advertising 40 winter resorts and areas where skying is a must. But the marketing effort is not limited to that, in fact advertisement messages are being published on French and German press. The cost of the entire operation will be 1,500,000 SF.
To highlight how important the tourist sector is for the economy of the Confederation, it�s enough to mention that the federal budget to be allocated for the period 2000-2004 is on the order of 190-220 million Swiss Francs!
Dozen horses sacrificed nearly 2,500 years ago in full-dress regalia have been recovered frozen in a Scythian kurgan, or tumulus, near the village of Berel in Kazakhstan�s Bukhtarma Valley. �A discovery like this occurs perhaps twice a century,� says Henri-Paul Francfort, director of the French-Italian-Kazakh team excavating the horses, which were preserved with their skin, hair, harnesses, and saddles intact. This is the first time a Scythian kurgan in Central Asia�s Altai Mountains has yielded such a massive sacrifice of horses with all their equipment and finery in place.
A war-like nomadic people (see �All That Glitters Is Scythian�), the Scythians are known to have invaded Syria and Judea and sacked Nineveh and Babylon, yet their tumuli, scattered across the northern Black Sea steppe and Central Asia, are the sole monuments attesting their ancient might. �Even the most humble Scythian was buried in a kurgan,� says Francfort. �To be sure, he would have been accompanied by only one horse, or sometimes only its head or horse figurines.�
The horses were found buried side by side on a bed of birch bark next to a funeral chamber containing the pillaged burial of two Scythian nobles. The horses appear to have been left undisturbed. The wooden cheek pieces of their harnesses are carved with animal figures, while their saddles are decorated with gold leaf, leather, and felt and rested on red saddle blankets. Each horse appears to have worn ornaments relating to an animal commonly represented in Scythian art. Ibex horns fashioned out of wood were discovered near one horse and appear to have been worn on its head, while a griffin sculpture with leather horns was recovered near another pair of false horns.
Remember, old folks are worth a fortune, with silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet, and gas in their stomachs.You�re getting old when you don�t care where your wife goes, just so long as you don�t have to go along to. You�re getting old when you wake up with that morning-after feeling, and you didn�t do anything the night before. It�s hard to be nostalgic when you can�t remember anything.You�re getting old when getting lucky means you find your car in the parking lot.
January 11, 1913 the first sedan-type automobile, a Hudson, went on display at the 13th Automobile Show in New York.
January 11, 1935 aviator Amelia Earhart began a trip from Honolulu to Oakland, California, that made her the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean.
January 11, 1978 two Soviet cosmonauts aboard the �Soyuz 27� capsule linked up with the �Salyut Six� orbiting space station, where the �Soyuz 26� capsule was already docked.
January 12, 1945 during World War Two, Soviet forces began a huge offensive against the Germans in Eastern Europe.
January 12, 1964 leftist rebels in Zanzibar began their successful revolt against the government.
January 13, 1992 Japan apologized for forcing tens of thousands of Korean women to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War Two.
All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
© 1998 IPA House. All Rights Reserved.