Image copyrightINSTAGRAM: ANTHONY BOURDAINImage captionThis photo, shared on Instagram by US celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, drew more than 120,000 likes and thousands of comments

Deep in the heart of Hanoi, US President Barack Obama sat down for a $6 meal with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain on Tuesday. The chef, known for his love of adventurous street food, described the date in a series of tweetsand an Instagram post.

Here are six observations about the noodle summit at a hole-in-the-wall eatery.


Nobody appears to know they are there

The other diners appear to be totally oblivious to the presence of the US president, a celebrity chef, and presumably a substantial security detail, photographers and film crew.

"Love how the diners were so good at pretending they had no idea who is sitting at the table next to them," tweeted Brazilian journalist Sofia Perpetua.

The crowd outside the restaurant was slightly less restrained.

Image copyrightEPAImage captionThe scene outside the restaurant that greeted the US president

The discussion on Reddit, which attracted 3,000 users, spilled over into where any secret service agents might be hiding.


The symmetrical food

On the menu was bun cha, a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and rice noodles, some greens, all washed down with Hanoi beer. On social media, there were questions about the positioning of the food.

Image copyrightINSTAGRAM: ANTHONY BOURDAINImage captionThey'd like to teach the world to eat in perfect symmetry

"The perfect alignment of the food disturbs me," said an Instagram user. "Look at how symmetrical the bowls, chopsticks and plates are."

A bit more joie de vivre from another user: "Eating in perfect symmetry, awesome and smart."


Presidential chopstick skills - but a wrapper on the floor

Anthony Bourdain was quick to praise the president's chopsticks skills, describing them as "on point". And everyone seemed to agree.

"Proud of the president, that he placed his chopsticks neatly on top of his bowl and not stabbed them into the noodles - that would have been so rude and a big sign of disrespect," said another user.

Image copyrightTWITTER: ANTHONY BOURDAINImage captionWhile many praised the US leader's chopsticks etiquette, one user pointed out the appearance of a wrapper under the table

A photo from a different angled irritated another Twitter user. "Is it just me or does anyone not realise how a red chopstick wrapper has been dropped on the floor? Taking points away from him."


Plastic stools and Hanoi beer

The unpicking of the details in the picture became about the Vietnamese things in life.

"Ah, our rickety blue plastic stools - that's Vietnam for you," said Instagram user Chi Mai.

"No fancy interior, just simple furniture to let the food and conversation do the talking," said another.

Others wanted to know the US leader's choice of brew.

Question: "What kind of beer did they drink," asked Mic Vo on Twitter.

Answer: "Don't disappoint me, hope they had Bia Ha Noi," said another user.


The talk over noodles

Another question that boggled the minds of social media users: What could the world's most famous TV chef and one of the world's most powerful leaders be talking about?

Speculation ranged from Donald Trump to food to curing cancer, achieving world peace and finding unicorns.

Image copyrightAPImage captionMany social media users were questioning the setting up of the photo on Mr Bourdain's account

We don't know how long the meal even lasted. Some accomplished foodies could polish off a meal like that in less than 10 minutes.

Perhaps they spoke about the fact that the president had just lifted the US arms embargo on Vietnam.


So what was the photo really for?

Mr Obama found time to sit down for dinner just hours after his announcement about the embargo. Others on social media, saw it as publicity for Bourdain's food show.

How much did they plan it," asked Instagram user FlyMy90. "Were they filming for an episode of Bourdain's show?"

"Dinner will air in September," the White House was quoted as saying by one journalist.

Despite the speculation about the staging, the picture still delighted many around the world.

"Think you're cool? You'll never be eating noodles, drinking beer and sitting on low plastic chairs while talking to Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama in Vietnam-cool," tweeted New York resident Jon Hopper.

你和雅思的故事 - Go Hard or Go Home

发表于 2020-01-22


Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionMr Obama is the first president in 10 years to visit Vietnam, and the third since the war ended

Barack Obama has arrived for the start of his three-day visit to Vietnam, only the third by a sitting US president since the end of the Vietnam War.

The trip comes amid warming ties between the countries as the US seeks to build relations with Pacific allies.

Vietnam is keen for the US to lift an arms embargo that has been in place since 1984.

Mr Obama will later fly to Japan for a G7 summit. He will also become the first US president to visit Hiroshima.

Vietnam hopes as Obama visits

Vietnamese embrace new US relations

While in Vietnam, Mr Obama is expected to meet dissidents and make the case for Vietnam to remove obstacles to the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal.

Image copyrightEPA

Ben Rhodes, Mr Obama's deputy national security adviser, said before the visit that talks on removing the United States' embargo on selling arms to Vietnam would be discussed.

Doing so would allow Vietnam to bolster its defences at a time of territorial disputes with its neighbour China, which was unhappy with a partial lifting of the ban in 2014.

However, White House officials indicated the ban would be lifted only if there was an improvement in human rights in Vietnam.

On Friday, Mr Obama will tour Hiroshima, where a US nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945, killing at least 140,000 people.

In an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK on Friday, Mr Obama said he would not apologise during his remarks in Hiroshima.

"It's important to recognise that in the midst of war, leaders make all kinds of decisions, it's a job of historians to ask questions and examine them," he said.

"But I know, as somebody who's now sat in this position for the last seven- and-a-half years, that every leader makes very difficult decisions, particularly during wartime."

发表于 2020-01-22


Google has unveiled a broad corporate restructuring intended to accelerate its transformation from a search and advertising company into a conglomerate with stakes in some of the most promising long-term tech markets.

The move will see the company renamed Alphabet as it takes on a holding company structure that relegates its historical internet business to subsidiary status.

The move also takes founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin away from day-to-day involvement in the business they founded as graduate students 16 years ago, casting them instead as heads of a new holding company with tentacles stretching throughout the tech world.

The restructuring follows concerted pressure from Wall Street over the huge costs and capital investments Google has taken on as it diversifies away from its core business with bets on new markets like driverless cars, “smart home” appliances and healthcare.

Responding to calls for more disclosure as Google moves into new markets, the company said that for the final quarter of this year it planned for the first time to report the results of its internet businesses separately from all its other initiatives. The restructuring would make the new holding company’s operations “cleaner and more accountable,” Mr Page said in a blog post.

Mr Page and Mr Brin have shown signs for some time of stepping back from direct management of their search and advertising business, as their personal interests have moved to bigger, riskier — and occasionally more outlandish — ideas.

According to people who have worked with him, Mr Page has become progressively less involved in the company’s internet operations and has shown less interest in its quarterly results, turning his attention instead to its big long-term bets.

Speaking in an interview with the FT last year, Mr Page said he saw Google becoming more like Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, making bets in a series of unrelated markets. That would cast him as head of a holding company, pushing responsibility on to more independent managers who would oversee Google’s different businesses.

At the time, he said that there was no model for the kind of company he wanted Google to become, though Mr Buffett came closest to having all the qualities that would be needed to run such a group.

Mr Brin, meanwhile, gave up management responsibilities in the internet business to take over management of the controversial Glass project, which was handled under the company’s Google X experimental labs.

A backlash over privacy, among other things, led Google to abandon plans to launch Glass in its current form as a consumer product, instead putting it under a different manager. The company has not said since then whether Mr Brin has taken on any other direct responsibilities.

The shake-up will see Sundar Pichai, already the company’s most senior product executive, take over management of all its existing core businesses with the new title of chief executive officer of Google Inc, as the Alphabet internet subsidiary will be known. The elevation marks the second time recently that a product of India’s technical education system has risen to head a leading US tech company, following Satya Nadella’s rise to the top job at Microsoft.

In the blog post announcing the moves, Mr Page said the new name for the holding company was also a pun on “alpha-bet” — a reference to the huge investment Google was willing to stake on ideas that had the chance to outperform other stock market investments, known in market terminology as “alpha”.

Mr Page and Mr Brin have long set a deliberate course to avoid the fate of Microsoft, which failed to use the profits from its software monopoly to build leading positions in other big tech markets and has been left struggling to catch up in the mobile world.

“We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes,” Mr Page wrote. “But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”

Along with Mr Page, who will be chief executive of Alphabet, and Mr Brin, who will take on the title president, other early Google executives to leave the internet business to take on roles in the holding company are Eric Schmidt, who will become executive chairman, and chief legal officer David Drummond, who will take on the same role for Alphabet.

Along with Mr Page, who will be chief executive of Alphabet, and Mr Brin, who will take on the title president, other early Google executives to leave the internet business to take on roles in the holding company are Eric Schmidt, who will become executive chairman, and chief legal officer David Drummond, who will take on the same role for Alphabet.

The shares will continue to trade on the Nasdaq under the symbols ‘GOOG’ and ‘GOOGL’. Shares of the class A common stock climbed 6 per cent in after-hours trading to $705, adding more than $28bn to the group’s market valuation.

发表于 2020-01-22
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