HONG KONG (AP) — The Lunar New Year holiday is usually a busy period for flower farms in Hong Kong, which gear up to sell plum blossoms, orchids and daffodils at flower markets during the festive season. But the pandemic and restrictions on such festive markets this year has many farms worried that they may be left with an oversupply of flowers. Traditionally, Lunar New Year fairs – known as “flower markets” in Cantonese – are held before the holidays, with thousands of florists and festive goods vendors hawking their wares to the public. This year, the Hong Kong government is restricting the markets to half-capacity with shorter business hours.
Drivers can now feel a little safer parking their cars near USC.Last week, the Los Angeles Police Department arrested two individuals they believe may be responsible for stealing more than 60 catalytic converters from around the Los Angeles area,including at USC.Catalytic converter theft has run rampant at USC and in the surrounding area, according to Capt. David Carlisle of USC’s Department of Public Safety. Carlisle said there were more than 20 thefts both in 2008 and so far in 2009.Catalytic converters — part of a vehicle’s exhaust system — are stolen because they contain trace amounts of valuable metals, including platinum, palladium and rhodium. Thieves can sell the converters to metal recyclers who can use the precious metals.Most of the time, the converters were stolen from Toyota pickup trucks, because the converters are easily accessible on those models, Carlisle said.“It’s something that occurs all the time and we started having those thefts, so that really comes to our attention as a specific problem,” Carlisle said.The Sept. 4 arrest of two suspects — 28-year-old Juan Calderon and 36-year-old Christopher Williams — came as the result of a joint investigation between LAPD, DPS and UCLA’s campus police force.“Our detectives have been working with LAPD all along in coordinating dates and times and these pieces of information so LAPD would have a clear picture of any trends,” Carlisle said.The two men were arrested by LAPD Pacific-LAX detectives after officers witnessed them removing a catalytic converter from a car parked on USC’s campus.According to Carlisle, LAPD has recovered eight converters so far and expects to recover more.“While we know these suspects completed at least one theft in a structure on campus … I suspect they were responsible for most, if not all,” Carlisle said.LAPD will continue to investigate the series of thefts in an attempt to determine how many converter thefts Williams and Calderon were involved in.Calderon is currently being held without bail and Williams is being held on $20,000 bail.Officer Bruce Borihanh, a spokesman for LAPD, said the two will likely face charges of vehicle tampering, burglary from a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property.Anyone with information regarding catalytic converter crimes is asked to call Pacific-LAX Detective Axel De Leon, at (310) 577-3473.
With the choice of captain of the national football team, the Black Stars, stirring controversy, the leadership qualities of former skipper has been held out as a shining example.Former spokesperson of the Ghana Football Association Randy Abbey explained, for Stephen Appiah, there was no fixation about holding down the captain’s armband.Ghana’s campaign to conquer African football is shaping up by off-field controversy, sparked by the Black Star’s star man Asamoah Gyan who announced he was pulling out of the squad.The decision was in reaction to coach Kwesi Appiah’s decision to pass on the captaincy to 29-year old Andre Dede Ayew, son of former Black Stars captain and former African Player of the Year, Abedi Pele.Photo: Coach Kwesi AppiahGyan would later do a u-turn after President, Nana Akufo-Addo intervened. Kwesi Appiah has named him in his 29-man squad and confirmed the 33-year old striker won’t captain the team after a seven-year hold on the role. The controversy has raised concerns the team to conquer Africa at AFCON tournament in Egypt has not conquered its internal rifts.Discussing the controversy on JoyNews analysis program, Newsfile Saturday, Randy Abbey expressed disappointed in the unfolding events.The football insider and one-time member of the Black Stars management team revealed, managing the players has always been a herculean task.‘It is about egos’, he said and warned Ghanaians would learn to their shock, player issues, management have to deal with within the Black Stars.But he doffed his hat to former Juventus player, Stephen Appiah who captained the Black Stars to Ghana’s first-ever appearance at a World Cup. He said as his career petered out, Stephen Appiah still captain of the Black Stars would be sitting on the bench while his compatriots battled on the field.When he would be called in to make a contribution as a substitute during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Stephen Appiah would not insist on wearing the band.“There were some occasions, he did not even take the band. There were times that he took, there were times that he asked John to keep it”Raving on, Randy Abbey explained Stephen Appiah would never as captain enter into a negotiation or discussion with management alone.“You won’t get him to come and negotiate one on one,” he said and explained he always brought along a group of senior players – Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, John Mensah, Richard Kingson and Asamoah Gyan. Photo: L-R Stephen Appiah, John Mensah, Asamoah GyanRandy explained, this group were tough to negotiate with and on some occasions, the captain Stephen Appiah would not even speak.“Stephen is a different player,” panelist Edudzi Tameklo contributed. ‘He was an outstanding player,” a lawyer and former sports reporter Robert Nii Arday Clegg a panelist also added.Stephen Appiah who played for eight foreign teams is now a technical coordinator for the Black Stars.Ghana have been drawn in Group F for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt alongside defending champions Cameroon. Guinea-Bissau and Benin are the other teams, making it an all West African group. Kwesi Appiah’s men will be based in Egyptian citiy, Ismailia, and will begin their tournament against Benin on Monday, 25 June.