February 2014, Issue 147

unpan-ap@sass.org.cn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OECD Delivers New Single Global Standard on Automatic Exchange of Information

OECD Delivers New Global Standard to Target Tax Cheats

 

 

 

 

CHINA: New School Entry Rules Emphasize Equality

National Poverty Information System to Be Established

China Orders Crackdowns on Drunk Driving

Auditors Issue Chinese Version of Beijing Declaration

China Mulls Internet Finance Rules

CSRC Faces Lawsuit to Revoke Penalty

JAPAN: Govt to Set ‘Day of Cybersecurity’

Govt to Set Uniform Rules on Secret Info

Japan Keen on ICT Cooperation with Azerbaijan

Govt Sets Plan to Prepare for Major Disasters by May

SOUTH KOREA: Gov’t to Boost Flexibility of Labor Market

South Korea, Nigeria Collaborate on E-Government Master Plan

MONGOLIA: Draft Bill on Tax Exemptions for SMEs to Be Submitted to Parliament

Draft Bill on Treasury Fund Introduced

 

 

 

 

CAMBODIA: Unveiling 5-Year Trade Integration Strategy

MYANMAR: Constitution Amendment Proposals to Be Submitted Before 2015 Election

PHILIPPINES: Approving Bill on SMS Disaster Alerts

Philippine Supreme Court Declares Law on Online Libel Constitutional

THAILAND: Commerce Sets 3-Prong Plan to Pay Farmers

VIETNAM: Banning Import of Used Electronic Devices

Review of Social Welfare Policies Recommended

Vietnam Amended Law Aims at More Transparent Investment Climate

Public Investment Law Drafted

 

 

 

 

BANGLADESH: Public Service Law in the Offing

Take Effective Measures to Ensure Workers’ Welfare: PM

Plan to Sell Submarine Bandwidth

INDIA: Post Strict Regulations, Govt Plans to Ease Clinical Trials Norms

Sustainability Is Not a Choice, but a Necessity

National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research

 

 

 

 

ARMENIA: Non-Constructive Policy Prevents Establishment of Friendship in Region

AZERBAIJAN: Implementing All Measures to Prevent Possible Threats to National Interest and Security

Azerbaijan to Adopt Law on Seaports

Azerbaijan Amends Rules on Admission to Secondary Specialised Educational Institutions

Azerbaijan Develops Program for Improving Demographic Situation

 

 

 

 

AUSTRALIA: Issuing Privacy Guidelines for Public and Private Sectors

COOK ISLANDS: Parliamentarians Work to Realise Pacific Health Rights

NEW ZEALAND: Unveiling Cadastre 2034 Strategy

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Cabinet Approves New Youth Bill

PNG Launches First National Security Policy

SOLOMON ISLANDERS: New Education Policy Focuses on Labour Market

Solomon Islands Gov’t to Bring Integrity Bill Back to Parliament

 

 

 

 

Global Passive Safety Systems Market: Trends and Opportunities (2013-18) Report

Ambitious Structural Reforms Can Pave the Return to Strong and Sustainable Growth, OECD Says

World Bank: Pension Reforms Needed in Emerging Europe and Central Asia to Protect Future Generations

 

 

CHINA: Xi Jinping to Lead National Security Commission

CPC to Curb Surplus Official Appointments

Xi Pledges to Further Advance Reform

Premier Li Hears Opinions on Gov't Work Report

Li Pledges Clean Governance

Li Vows to Shift More Power to Markets

Xi Urges Army's Implementation of 'Mass Line'

Xi Cheers College Grad Village Officials

Chinese Gov't Slashes More Admin Approvals

Xi Urges Modernization of Governing System

Premier Li Stresses Solid Reform Efforts

JAPAN: Temp Staffing System Reform Must Lead to Better Labor Conditions

Government to Review Swelling Cabinet Office

SOUTH KOREA: Service Sector Has 10 Times More Red Tape Than Manufacturing - Report

Science Ministry to Launch Special ICT Commission

South Korea’s Conundrum: More Open, Less Freedom

 

 

INDONESIA: Former Investment Chief as Trade Minister Appointed

PHILIPPINES: Gov't Implements "Systemic Reforms" to Fight Smuggling

Philippine President Names New Army Chief

VIETNAM: HCM City to Adopt Two-tier Admin System

 

 

INDIA: Times Higher Education Draws Up India Specific Indicator to Judge Indian Educational Institutions

 

 

AZERBAIJAN: New Head of State Road Transport Service Appointed

UZBEKISTAN: New Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Appointed

 

 

AUSTRALIA: CPSU Prepares to Brawl Abbott over Cuts and Conditions

Australian State Engages Citizens to Transform Service Delivery

Public Service Wages and Conditions in Coalition Crosshairs

NEW ZEALAND: Govt TPP Forecast 'Doubtful' - Review

New Zealand Appoints eHealth Ambassadors

More Kiwis Go Online for Government Services

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Challenge for Change Given to Public Servants

SOLOMON ISLANDS: Launching Its New Electronic Civil Registration System

Solomon Islands Gov’t Urged to Table Truth and Reconciliation Report

 

 

 

Digitisation's Labour Reduction Effect Will Cause Social Unrest: Gartner Analyst

More Governments Want Twitter User Data

Slow Growth in the Middle East and North Africa Region Calls for Bold Approach to Economic Reform

Report Stresses Need for Bold Moves Toward Gender Equality at Work

3D Printing and Wearable Tech to Transform Asia CIOs' Role

Asia-Pacific Secure Content Management Market CY2012

CommunicAsia2014, EnterpriseIT2014 and BroadcastAsia2014 Showcase Breakthrough Technologies for an Increasingly Connected World

Think Differently for Asia's Water, Food, and Energy Security - ADB President

APEC to Recognize 'Intelligent Transportation' Innovator

 

 

CHINA: More Funding for Key Technology Pledged

Xi Urges Leading Group to Push Reforms

Chinese VP Encourages Scientific Innovation

Chinese Leader Calls for More Marine Power

Official Stresses Regional Coordination for Festival Traffic Jams

China's Major Cities Report Booming Holiday Tourism

China Expands Coverage of Serious Illness Insurance

China to Build Unified Pension System

A Move to Liberate the Market  

Graft Busters Under Increasing Scrutiny in China

Beijing Gov't Slashed amid Continuous Smog

Government to Publicize Administrative Approval Items

China Plans to Increase Advertising Fraud Fines

JAPAN: NIH Expected to Enhance Nation’s Medical Competitiveness

Expressway Toll System Must Be Continued to Ensure Safety

Japan Urged to Bring More Women into Labor Market

Japan’s Smart Education Raises $5.4 Million to Take Kids E-Learning Apps Global

SOUTH KOREA: Gov’t to Commercialize 5G Technology by 2020

Korea Is the Most Innovative Country: Bloomberg

Gov't to Boost Market Monitoring Efforts Throughout 2014

Gov't, Carmakers to Develop Low-cost Electric Vehicle Batteries

S. Korean Gov't to Expand Benefits Under Public Health Insurance

Korea Beefs Up Training to Counter Cyberterrorism

S. Korea Announces Events for ICT Meeting

 

 

INDONESIA: Government Improves Disaster Management Participation

PHILIPPINES: Government Improves Outcome-based Budgeting System

The Philippines Government Develops Disaster Early Warning System

Jakarta Partners with Mapping Agency to Promote Use of Geospatial Information

SINGAPORE: Fosters Civic Innovation with Hackathons

Singapore Prison Rolls Out Cloud-based Notification System

Singapore to Continue Tightening Inflow of Cheap Foreign Labor

THAILAND: City Shares Intelligent Traffic Management Plan

Thailand Wildlife Dept Gets Real-Time Monitoring System

Court Limits Govt's Emergency Powers

VIETNAM: Reforms Sought in Public Science, Technology Area

 

 

BANGLADESH: Experts Call for Transparency in Climate Fund Disbursement

Dhaka, Delhi Discuss Issues of Common Concerns

INDIA: Promoting Pollution-free Environment for Better Eye-care

Excess Electricity Generated from Renewable Energy Sources

India to Double Renewable Power Capacity by 2017

Mobile Devices to Help Health Workers Under MMPs

Continuation of the Mission on Nano Science and Technology in the 12th Plan Period

Building Better Cyber and Telephony Infrastructure and Evolving New Cyber and Telecom Security Practices

 

 

AZERBAIJAN: Transport Ministry to Reconstruct Major Avenue in Baku

Baku Metro Completes Construction of Important Technological Facility

Azerbaijani Sciences Academy to Develop Proposals on Use of GMOs

Passenger Transportation Tariffs Fall in Azerbaijan

Real Estate Registration to Simplify in Azerbaijan

KAZAKHSTAN: To Create Investment Fund for Renewable Energy Source Projects

 

 

Urban Management Can Boost Living Standards and Climate Change Resilience in Pacific - ADB Report

AUSTRALIA: VIC Invites Citizens to Innovative with Data

FIJI: Government Reimburses Victims of Fraud

NEW ZEALAND: To Get Cloud-based Productivity Tools

New Zealand to Help Tackle Multinational Tax Avoidance

SOLOMON ISLANDS: Facing Potential Economic Rescue

VANUATU: 'Cutting Edge' Disaster Response

 

 

 

Global IT Service Management (ITSM) Market 2012-2016

IDC Cuts Global IT Growth Forecasts on Renewed Emerging Market Fears

Worldwide and Regional Public IT Cloud Services 2013-2017 Forecast

The Global Military IT, Data and Computing Market 2014-2024

Telecom Network and ICT Technology Trends: Next Big Things

Economic Crisis Provides Lessons for New Approaches to Forecasting, Says OECD

Strategic Opportunity Analysis of the Global Smart City Market

Global IT Business Confidence Research Report 2014: Worldwide Industry Share, Investment Trends, Growth, Size, Strategy and Forecast Research Report

Release of OECD’s Going for Growth 2014

Big Data Market in Transforming Industry Verticals ICT and Telecom 2018 Forecasts

Global Market for Healthcare IT Is Expected to Reach USD 103.0 Billion by 2020, According to a New Study by Grand View Research, Inc

ICT Procurement Trends in Retail Banking - Enterprise ICT Investment Plans

Only a Small Percentage of CIOs in Asia Are Mobile Ready: Scott Bales

Asia/Pacific (Excluding Japan) Tablet 2013-2017 Forecast and Analysis

IT Shares Fall on Cognizant Revenue Outlook

APEC Building on 25 Years of Progress

APEC to Boost Global Agreement on Trade Facilitation

 

 

CHINA: Internet Failures Arouse Hacker Concerns

China's Copyright Registrations Soar in 2013

Hackers Blamed for Online Crash Affecting Millions

China's 2013 Urban Unemployment Rate at 4.1%

Senior Official Calls for More Care of Poor People

E-Commerce, the Fuel Driving China's Economy

Chinese Economy Shows Signs of a Slowdown

China Aims to Establish Domestic IOT Giants

Japan, U.S. to Boost Cyberdefense Efforts

Record 12.8 Billion Cyberattacks Seen in Japan Last Year

Japan's Sales Tax Hike Favorable to E-Business

Japan's Economy Logs Best Growth in 3 Years, but Concerns Loom

SOUTH KOREA: Internet Services to Be Available in Inter-Korean Park This Year

S. Korea's Economy Faces Many Structural Problems: Finance Minister

Science & ICT Ministry to Promote Strategic Industries, Shared Growth in 2014

S. Korea's Mobile Ad Market Nearly Doubles in 2013

South Korea to Build Cyber-Attack Tools: Report

Special Report: The Cyberwar Threat from North Korea

 

 

Online Games Go Local for Southeast Asia's Booming Market

INDONESIA: Endeavoring to Expand Airports

World Bank Says Poverty Falls in Cambodia, Yet Many Still at Risk of Slipping Back into Poverty

MYANMAR: Infrastructure Key to Future of Tourism

Myanmar Calls for Construction of New Homes for Aged

Myanmar Brings Improvement to Human Rights Situation: UN Envoy

MALAYSIA: Big Data & MOOC - Focus for Digital Roadmap

PHILIPPINES: Gov't to Cut Poverty Incidence to 18 Pct

The Philippines Rolls Out Telemedicine with TV White Spaces

SINGAPORE: Education Minister Calls Teachers to Use ICT with Gutsiness

Cyber Security Remains a Priority for Singapore Government

Singapore to Be Regional Big Data Analytics Hub

Singapore Unveils Additional Healthcare Support Package for Its Pioneer Generation

Singapore's Crime Rate Falls While Cyber Crimes Increase

Singapore Government Launches GIS-Based Property App

Singapore Government Enables Mobile Workforce

THAILAND: E-Commerce Pioneer Outlines Key Trends

Thailand Post Sees Growth in E-Commerce

VIETNAM: President Urges Farm Reform

Vietnam to Send 90,000 Workers Abroad in 2014

VN Promotes Sustainable Growth

 

 

BANGLADESH: Telecom and ICT Ministries Merged

Wi-Fi on Dhaka Road .

INDIA: Opera Mobile Store Passes 100 Million Users

Indian Govt to Invest in Cloud e-Government Infrastructure

Food Safety in India

Role of STPI in Promoting Software Industry

Odisha Govt. Asked to Integrate ‘Mobile Seva’ in E-Governance Projects

NASSCOM Views India as a Fast Growing Digital Economy

India to Hand Over Tourism Faculty, Landing Craft to Maldives

Rolling Out of Next Generation E-Ticketing

NEPAL: Social Security Allowance Through Bank

Tourism Contributes 2 Percent to GDP

PAKISTAN: $ 4.065bn Telecom Equipment Imported in Five Years

Economy Grows, Indicators Show Positive Signs

Govt Committed to Expand Road Network for Socio-economic Uplift

 

 

AZERBAIJAN: Seeking to Join Global Players in ICT Market - Minister

MNP Service to Be Launched on Azerbaijani Mobile Operator Networks from Feb. 1

Azerbaijan Simplifies Registration of Immovable Property

Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies Not Satisfied with Information Security in Country

Resolution for 2014: Improve Cyber Security

Azerbaijan’s ICT Revenue Increased 14 Percent

Electronic Payments in Azerbaijan in 2013 Exceeds Economy Size Two-Fold

"Electronic Court" Information System to Be Created in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani E-Commerce Market Increases 1.7 Times

Some $258 Million Invested in Azerbaijan’s ICT Sector

Commercial Package of Digital TV in Azerbaijan Expands

Public Services to Be Integrated in E-Government Portal in Azerbaijan by Late 2014

KAZAKHSTAN: Electricity Generation Increased in 2013

Kazakhstan to Review Conditions to Attract Investments

Kazakhstan May Create Offshore Zone

TURKMENISTAN: Ready to Increase Electricity Supply to Afghanistan

Turkmen Mobile Operator’s Subscribers Exceed 3.7 Mln

UZBEKISTAN: National Mobile Operator to Be Created

 

 

Pacific Nations Need Help Away from Aid

AUSTRALIA: Government Mobile Centres Serve Remote Communities

Australian Government Launches Medicare Mobile App

Australian State Opens Online Court Registry

NEW ZEALAND: Yet to Fully Benefit from ICT-enabled Productivity - Commission

 

 

 

Capital Financial Global to Acquire $5.6 Million Distressed Refinery Debt

Asia Is Better Prepared for Economic Travails: ADB President

 

 

CHINA: Seeing Surplus on Inflow of Capital

Rigid Accounting for Gov't Financial Records: Premier Li

Finance Ministry Makes Approval Catalog Public

China's Subsistence Allowance Increased in 2013

JAPAN: Govt to Cut Public Pension Payout by 0.7% in FY14

Diet Enacts ¥5.5 Trillion Extra Budget

Ministry Targets Lower Costs with Medical Fee Changes

Abe Keen to Cut Corporate Tax Rate, Says Suga

BOJ Boost to Loan Programs Seen as Sign for More Easing

Record Trade Deficit Pressures Abenomics

SOUTH KOREA: To Invest 1.6 Tln Won in Building 5G Network

Gov’t to Provide Financial Support for Artists

 

 

MYANMAR: World Bank Approves Funding for E-Government

Myanmar, ADB to Cooperate in Poverty Alleviation, HIV Control

PHILIPPINES: Education Gets Big Share of the Budget

Philippine Remittances Hit Record High of 25.1 Bln USD in 2013

SINGAPORE: To Pump Millions of Dollars to Support Maritime Industry

VIETNAM: Central Bank Pledges $2b in Soft Loans

 

 

INDIA: NABARD Explores into Warehousing Finance; Sanction Projects Worth Rs6064 cr Under RIDF

Government’s Clarification on the Reports That Finance Ministry Pays Interest on Excess Tax Refund

Government Urges All Tax Payers to Disclose Their True Income and Pay Appropriate Taxes

 

 

AZERBAIJAN: Central Bank Launches New Version of Temenos T-24

ADB Prepares Road Project Loan Approval in Azerbaijan

KAZAKHSTAN: Fees for Services Not to Change Until May 2014

TAJIKISTAN: Parliament to Consider Grant Agreements with IBRD and ADB

UZBEKISTAN: WB Allocates Grant for Agricultural Development

 

 

ADB Investment in Transport in Pacific Projected at $484 Million for 2014-2016

AUSTRALIA: Extending 120 Mln USD in Medical Research Funding

NEW ZEALAND: Industry Group Welcomes Changes to Education Budget

English Announces Budget 2014 Delivery Date

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: ADB Gives Funds to Tackle Climate Change

 

 

Global ICT Market in the Education Sector 2014-2018

5 Critical Hot Spots in the Building Industry in Asia-Pacific in 2014

APAC Telcos Must Transform Enterprise Offerings

New Grant to Aid Businesses Creating Jobs, Services for Poor

ADB Grants US$3.6mn to Support Around 20 Private Sector Businesses in Asia

 

 

CHINA: Ministry Urges Enhanced Education Supervision

China's Alibaba to Open New E-commerce Site in America

JAPAN: Major Firms See Better Profits in Fiscal 2013

Govt to Survey Small Firms on Passing on Sales Tax Hike

Firms Resist Government Pressure to Lift Base Wages

SOUTH KOREA: Park - Public Sector Reform Should First Focus on Making 'Visible' Progress at Large Firms

Pres. Park Says Private-sector-Led Creative Economy Will Be More Successful

South Korean Credit Card Firms Suspended Over Data Breach

KT Most Valuable Telecom Brand in S. Korea: Report

 

 

THAILAND: SMEs Seek Working Capital as Political Crisis Hits Cash Flow

Exports, Private Stakes to Drive Thai GDP Growth: WB

VIETNAM: Ha Noi Steps Up Efforts to Expand Highway Section

Support for SMEs Increased in Binh Thuan

 

 

INDIA: Investment in Renewable Energy Sector

Indian Farming Sector Needs Small Projects, Not Big Ones

Increasing Public and Private Investment in Agriculture

Introduction of E-Insurance in the Insurance Sector

E-books Provides Opportunity to Diversify Industry: Publishers

 

 

AZERBAIJAN: Securing Online Admission of Big, Medium-sized Entrepreneurs' Reports

KAZAKHSTAN: To Simplify Administrative Procedures for Entrepreneurs

 

 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Growing SMEs Ambitious Target

SOLOMON ISLANDS: IFC Expands Operation to Boost Private Sector Investment, Create Jobs

Agreement Signed with International Finance Corporation

 

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OECD Delivers New Single Global Standard on Automatic Exchange of Information

 

Offshore tax evasion remains a serious problem for countries and jurisdictions worldwide, with vast amounts of funds deposited abroad and sheltered from taxation when taxpayers fail to comply with obligations in their home countries. Responding to a mandate from G20 leaders to reinforce action against tax avoidance and evasion and inject greater trust and fairness into the international tax system, the OECD has unveiled today a new single global standard for the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities worldwide. Developed by the OECD together with G20 countries, the standard calls on jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions and exchange that information automatically with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. It sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions that need to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions.

 

The OECD will formally present the standard for the endorsement of G20 finance ministers during a 22-23 February meeting in Sydney, Australia. The G20 invited the OECD to develop a global standard on automatic exchange of information in 2013, and remains the driving force behind the move toward greater tax transparency worldwide. Presenting the new standard, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: "This is a real game changer. Globalisation of the world's financial system has made it increasingly simple for people to make, hold and manage investments outside their country of residence. This new standard on automatic exchange of information will ramp up international tax co-operation, putting governments back on a more even footing as they seek to protect the integrity of their tax systems and fight tax evasion."

 

The new standard draws extensively on previous OECD work on the automatic exchange of information. It incorporates progress made in this area within the European Union and ongoing efforts to reinforce global anti-money laundering standards. It also recognises the catalytic role that implementation of the USForeign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has played in the G20 move towards automatic exchange of information in a multilateral context. More than 40 countries have committed to early adoption of the standard. The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, hosted by the OECD,  brings together 121 jurisdictions worldwide. It has been mandated by the G20 to monitor and review implementation of the standard. The OECD is expected to deliver a detailed Commentary on the new standard, as well as technical solutions to implement the actual information exchanges, during a meeting of G20 finance ministers in September 2014.

From http://www.oecd.org/ 02/13/2014

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OECD Delivers New Global Standard to Target Tax Cheats

 

The OECD on Sunday delivered a new global standard to crack down on tax evasion with more than 40 countries already committing to measures which the European Commission called "a big step" forward. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) chief Angel Gurria called it "a real game-changer" that would strengthen international cooperation to catch cheats. "Globalisation of the world's financial system has made it increasingly simple for people to make, hold and manage investments outside their country of residence," he said. "This new standard on automatic exchange of information will ramp up international tax cooperation, putting governments back on a more even footing as they seek to protect the integrity of their tax systems and fight tax evasion." Offshore tax evasion remains a serious problem worldwide, with vast amounts of funds deposited abroad and sheltered from tax collectors in their home countries.

 

As an example, the OECD said profits from US companies held offshore amounted to US$2.0 trillion, while the tiny British Virgin Islands -- a tax haven -- is now one of the top five investors in Russia and China. OECD tax director Pascal Saint-Amans said G20 finance ministers, meeting in Sydney, were also working on standardising the rules governing where the profits of multinationals should be taxed. It comes as concern mounts that companies, particularly those involved in the digital and Internet sectors, can reduce their tax bills by shifting profits around the world to areas where rates are lowest. Ahead of the Sydney meeting, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said accounting for revenues from global digitised businesses like Google and Apple was a "big ongoing problem and process".

 

- Closing down loopholes -

She urged governments to radically rethink international tax arrangements to deal with it.

"The political message is we are closing down all the loopholes," Saint-Amans said.

"If taxpayers don't have trust in the fairness of the tax system, then the level of compliance drops."

The OECD will present its report looking at the increasingly digitalised global environment to another G20 meeting in Cairns, in northern Australia, in September. G20 ministers asked the OECD to examine the issues as a way to inject more trust and fairness into the international tax system. On Sunday, they formally endorsed the single global standard for the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities worldwide.

 

The measures proposed involve countries obtaining information from their financial institutions and exchanging the details automatically with other jurisdictions every year. The OECD said the standard sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the institutions that need to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered and common due diligence procedures. "I want to underline the importance of the big step achieved concerning the fight against tax evasion," European Commission vice president Olli Rehn said in welcoming the common standard. Current G20 president Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey conceded that the new standard was not a silver bullet, but said G20 nations were "absolutely determined to get real action" on the issue.

 

"There was unanimous agreement around the room that we're not arguing about who gets what share of tax, we're arguing that companies should pay tax. This goes to the heart of the sustainability of issues like free trade and open commerce," he said. Ahead of the Sydney meeting, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew described tax reform as among the group's most crucial initiatives and backed the need for greater harmonisation. "Automatic exchange of information has quickly become the new global standard, and I believe that the G20 should continue to provide its full support and encourage all nations to adopt the standard," he said on Friday. The new standard was drawn up on the back of progress made on tax-dodging within the European Union and ongoing efforts to reinforce global anti-money laundering standards.

So far 42 countries have committed to early adoption of the OECD standard.

From http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/ 02/24/2014

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CHINA: New School Entry Rules Emphasize Equality

 

The Education Ministry said Sunday that the proportion of enrolled pupils with special talent will be gradually reduced in admission to junior middle schools.The proportion of enrolled talented pupils approved by education departments at the provincial levels will be scaled down below five percent by the end of 2016, according to a new admission rule unveiled by the ministry."The admission rule in favor of talented students has laid a heavy burden on our children," an unidentified official with the ministry said, adding it contradicted the principle of compulsory education which advocates all-round development for students.China's nine-year compulsory education system covers primary school and another three years of junior middle school. No entrance tests are required for admission and students are assigned to schools according to where they live.In reality, however, students who excel in certain subjects or display talents related to maths, music or sports can sometimes obtain entrance to higher-tier middle schools regardless of where they live.The education authorities had banned enrollment based on scores of Olympic-style math competitions, the content of which is far more complicated than that taught at primary schools."Information about admission to every junior middle school will be made public to ensure students' equal right to education," said the official.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/27/2014

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National Poverty Information System to Be Established

 

An accurate poverty relief information system will be established to better manage poverty reduction measures, according to a new guideline from the central authorities published on Saturday.Under this system, each poor village and family will have their own file to identify poverty relief targets. It will connect poverty reduction and development with the minimum living standard security system in rural areas. Detailed poverty relief measures should be joined with poverty identifications, according the guideline.In-depth analysis will be conducted on individual poverty cases, which will help implement targeted measures for each family.Liu Yongfu, head of the State Council's poverty alleviation office, vowed to establish a strict managing system to ensure poverty-relief fund allocations for the poor. A feasibility study on poverty-relief funds information disclosure system above the county level is on the way, People’s Daily reported.The guideline also specified a number of prominent problems that should be solved in poor regions, including village-level roads, drinking water safety, the electricity supply, renovation of run-down houses, education and health care.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/27/2014

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China Orders Crackdowns on Drunk Driving

 

China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Monday ordered stricter inspection on drunk driving after a number of deadly accidents were reported on and after the Lunar New Year Eve.

More than 800 cases of driving under the influence of alcohol were reported from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, of which more than 90 were drunk driving cases, the ministry said in a statement.One passenger was killed and another three severely injured after their van was hit by a passenger car in south China's Hainan Province on Monday. The passenger car driver was found drunk driving, police investigation show.On Jan. 30, a driver surnamed Liu was found drunk driving after his car claimed four people's lives and injured another three on a rural road in east China's Shandong Province.The MPS has required police to focus their attention on rural roads and rural-urban fringe zones as well as family gatherings in the countryside, while watching out for drunk drivers in urban area.The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is the annual peak season of cases of driving under the influence of alcohol.China amended the Criminal Law to criminalize drunk driving in 2011. The amended law stipulates that all drunk driving constitutes a criminal offence, even if no road accidents or other serious consequences occur.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/04/2014

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Auditors Issue Chinese Version of Beijing Declaration

 

The National Audit Office (NAO) on Thursday issued a Chinese version of the Beijing Declaration, by the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).The Beijing Declaration on Promotion of Good Governance by Supreme Audit Institutions, was passed at the 21st international congress of INTOSAI in Beijing in October 2013.The document stresses good governance through supreme audit institutions, pointing the direction for global auditors on "what to do." In the past, most documents stressed "how to," said Zhang Ke, an official with the NAO.Set up in 1953, INTOSAI has expanded from an initial 34 members to 192 full members and five associated members.Its key documents include the 1977 Lima Declaration, which established the founding principles of independent, efficient and effective public sector auditing, and the Mexico Declaration on supreme audit institutions independence of 2007.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/14/2014

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China Mulls Internet Finance Rules

 

China's securities regulator said on Friday that it would work with other agencies to issue a set of rules to govern the burgeoning Internet finance industry.Despite being "generally supportive" of Internet finance, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said the nascent sector still needs proper regulation and guidance."Internet finance has some unique features and we need targeted regulations," a commission representive told a press conference.The sector's growth has shaken up the financial community, and the comment comes as media reports suggest the central bank is readying a set of Internet finance rules.The charge has been led by Jack Ma's e-commerce giant, Alibaba.

 

The company's personal online finance product, Yu'E Bao (Leftover Treasure),has attracted a lot of attention since it was launched last June. Yu'E Bao allows customers to invest any balance on their account in a money market fund. Less than nine months later, at the end of 2013, the scheme had attracted 43 million investors with aggregate deposits of 185 billion yuan (30.3 billion U.S. dollars) making it the the single biggest public fund in China.The potential of this market has not gone unnoticed by other Internet superstars like Tencent and Baidu. Both are now pushing similar financial products.Alibaba's latest move to attract investors was an offer of financial products worth 880 million yuan. They were snapped up within three minutes.While investors are delighted by the new investment choices, analysts advise caution.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/14/2014

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CSRC Faces Lawsuit to Revoke Penalty

 

The former head of a trading unit at Everbright Securities has filed a lawsuit against China’s securities regulator over a punishment he received for insider trading following a trading error that caused wild fluctuations in the Shanghai stock market last year.Yang Jianbo, who was in charge of Everbright’s strategic investment department, was fined 600,000 yuan (US$98,897) and banned from the securities industry for life after being charged with insider trading by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.In an interview with Capital Week, Yang denied the insider trading charge because he had informed officials of the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shanghai bureau of the CSRC that he would make hedge trades.

 

Yang lodged the lawsuit at Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court on February 8 to ask that the punishment by the CSRC be revoked.The court hasn’t decided whether to accept the lawsuit.A design flaw in Everbright’s system for proprietary trading triggered a deluge of orders that caused wild movements in the Shanghai stock market on August 16, with the composite index surging 5.9 percent in two minutes.Everbright then sold shares through exchange-traded funds and opened short positions in the stock-index futures market to hedge against the massive erroneous orders.Yang and three former executives of Everbright were accused of insider trading as they were alleged to have made the hedge trades before disclosing the trading error publicly.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/15/2014

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JAPAN: Govt to Set ‘Day of Cybersecurity’

 

The government has decided to designate the first weekday of February as a cybersecurity day to help heighten people’s awareness about risks on the Internet, smartphones and other information communication networks. The cybersecurity day will fall on Feb. 3 this year. On that day, the government will hold a symposium of experts and call for caution to be exercised among the public via its website and other means. In February 2006, the government compiled its first basic plan regarding information security, which called for safety measures to be put into place when using information technologies. Since then, the government has made every February a month of information security, during which various actions have been taken. Recently, however, there has been a large number of incidents targeting ordinary individuals, such as personal computers becoming infected with computer viruses through malware pretending to be updates of video-replay software, and hackers stealing personal information from smartphones through app software. Given this situation, the government decided to set a day at the beginning of the month of information security to raise people’s awareness.

From http://the-japan-news.com 01/26/2014

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Govt to Set Uniform Rules on Secret Info

 

The government will set uniform rules on the management of secret information by government agencies, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said. The rules, to be worked out by the Cabinet Secretariat, will not cover defense or other top secrets whose treatment is stipulated in the law on the protection of designated state secrets, enacted last year.

From http://the-japan-news.com 02/06/2014

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Japan Keen on ICT Cooperation with Azerbaijan

 

Azerbaijan and Japan have great potential for cooperation in the field of ICT. The remarks were made by Tsuguo Takahashi, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Japan at a workshop held in the ICT Ministry with the participation of Japanese specialists on February 13. A delegation of Nippon Electric Corporation (NEC), Japan's leading corporation in the field of telecommunications and satellite, is on an official visit to Azerbaijan. The workshop was aimed at establishing cooperation between the two countries, and enhancing relations in the field of ICT. Takahashi noted that Azerbaijan is rich in natural resources, and the interest of other countries in Azerbaijan is growing every year. Pointing out that diplomatic relations between the two countries was established in 1992 and grew stronger year after year, Takahashi stressed that there is a wide range of partnership opportunities in all areas, including the economic field. Every visit is contributing to the development of bilateral relations, he noted. "I am confident that NEC, which is offering a wide range of products and services all over the world, will also become a successful and reliable partner in Azerbaijan. This partnership will further strengthen the relations between Japan and Azerbaijan, and raise the relations to a new level." General Manager of Europe, Middle East, and African Division of NEC Corporation Masahiro Ikeno spoke about the company's activities, products, and services, and expressed his country's great interest in Azerbaijan's market. Ikeno stressed the importance of bringing into conformity with local requirements of products and services provided by the corporation and optimization of technologies to local conditions. The presentation of NEC Corporation, sessions on ICT solutions, broadband Internet development projects, and sessions dedicated to the themes of basic network systems were also discussed at the workshop.

 

Azerbaijani ICT Minister Ali Abbasov spoke about future targets on building new, diversified, and sustainable economy based on the results of Azerbaijan's energy policy. Abbasov noted the importance of the economic sector which was based on science-intensive, innovative, and advanced technologies, saying the ministry plans further development in these three main areas. Azerbaijan is expected to develop information and network infrastructure, manufacture electronics and innovative products and services, make offers for regional markets, and expand information technology services in regional and domestic markets in the coming years. Abbasov also talked about the creation of new mobile application and solutions and carrying out infrastructure projects, including the Development of National Broadband Internet that envisages access to the broadband Internet over high-speed fiber-optic cable networks and other advanced telecommunications services. He pointed to the importance of international cooperation in implementing measures for the development of digital economic sector in the country and mass production of various innovative products and services. Abbasov expressed his appreciation for NEC Corporation's visit to Azerbaijan and expressed confidence that the visit would contribute to successful cooperation between the two countries.

 

NEC CEO Masahiro Ikeno told journalists that the corporation has received an invitation to participate in the tender for the construction of a second telecommunications satellite in Azerbaijan. Launching the Azerspace-2 satellite is scheduled for 2017. It will be designed to provide digital broadcasting, Internet access, data transmission, and creation of multiservice networks VSAT. Ikeno said the corporation will give the final answer after assessing its capabilities for participating in this project. "NEC Corporation has a number of technologies in the field of network infrastructure and is known worldwide for its solutions and services. Along with telecommunication systems, the corporation also has a capacity of satellite systems' production. In the next two days, we will consider the prospects for cooperation in many areas and will further define its priorities," he said. Ikeno also touched on the issue of producing tablet computers in Azerbaijan, saying that this area has certain specifics. "Before establishing such a production, you must estimate its contribution to the society," he said. "KUR", Azerbaijani company for production of computer equipment earlier announced its plans for the production of tablet computers under its own brand.

From http://www.azernews.az 02/14/2014

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Govt Sets Plan to Prepare for Major Disasters by May

 

The government plans to draw up a basic plan by May to prepare for major disasters, such as massive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday. “It is an urgent task to strengthen our homeland and protect the lives of the people, in light of concerns about a possible major quake that could directly hit Tokyo or a quake in the Nankai Trough [off the Pacific coast of Japan],” Abe said at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting. Abe discussed the “homeland-strengthening” basic plan, ahead of the third anniversary of the calamitous earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Efforts to rebuild areas of northeastern Japan devastated by the disaster “have produced some results” but are “still halfway,” Abe said. “Acknowledging the basic fact that there will be no revival of Japan without reconstruction of disaster impacted areas, we will do all that we can,” he stressed. Speaking on heavy snowfalls in the Kanto-Koshin and Tohoku regions earlier this month, the prime minister pledged that the government would fully support affected areas, in accordance with local situations. Agriculture minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said at the parliamentary committee meeting that the government plans to cover costs arising from nonrevenue periods at orchards that were severely damaged.

From http://the-japan-news.com 02/24/2014

 

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SOUTH KOREA: Gov’t to Boost Flexibility of Labor Market

 

The government plans to place top priority on boosting the flexibility and stability of the labor market in its three-year economic reform plan. A government official said Thursday labor market reform and the establishment of win-win relationships between labor and management will likely be a major part of the government's economic reform plan. President Park Geun-hye proposed the idea of the the three-year plan in her New Year's news conference. The government plans to ease employment-related regulations to balance the supply and demand of the labor force. It will also dole out more unemployment benefits and strengthen the social safety net for workers. The official said the government’s effort to promote labor market flexibility has not produced tangible results because of resistance from the labor sector. He added, however, there is a growing consensus in the society that the flexibility of the labor market should be enhanced in order for the nation's economy to make a leap forward.

From http://world.kbs.co.kr 02/13/2014

 

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South Korea, Nigeria Collaborate on E-Government Master Plan

 

The federal government has contracted the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to develop an e-Government master plan as part of the global best practices obtained world over. This was disclosed by the minister of communication technology, Omobola Johnson, during a strategy workshop on master plan for e-government in Nigeria, organised by the ministry of communication technology in collaboration with KOICA and Sangmyung University, South Korea in Abuja. The minister represented by director of e-government in the ministry, Dr Tope Fashedemi, said the federal government turned to the Korean government to help it develop an e-government master plan because Korea had been adjudged competent in the field, saying the development of a national master plan would help Nigeria take its rightful place in global development. He said, "The e-government training was part of bilateral cooperation between Nigerian government and its Korean counterpart. The first phase of the project is to develop an e-government Master Plan for Nigeria as being the global best practice in driving e-government, then to be followed by the establishment of the e-government training centre at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria."

From http://allafrica.com/ 02/20/2014

 

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MONGOLIA: Draft Bill on Tax Exemptions for SMEs to Be Submitted to Parliament

 

The New Government for Changes promised to make tax innovations to support businesses in its 2012-2016 action plan. The governmental meeting of January 18 discussed the draft bill to make amendments to the law on VAT and the law on income tax for an economic entity and organization, which will give impetus to meeting the goals stated in the government’s action plan. Officials reached a decision to submit the draft bill to the Parliament for further discussion. The draft bill proposes that criteria for being registered as a value added tax (VAT) payer should be changed, adjusting to the increase of current economic growth and the increase of commodity and product prices. In accordance with the law on VAT adopted in 1998, entities with income greater than 10 million MNT should pay VAT, and the law has not been amended since. The newly developed draft bill sets the threshold amount of the VAT payer at 50 million MNT and 10 million MNT for entities who want to be registered as VAT payers. By increasing the threshold amount of the VAT, around 50 percent of tax payers and SMEs will be exempted from providing VAT tax returns, conducting registration or from bill collection. According to estimates by the Finance Ministry, the majority of VAT payers had sales revenue of 50 million MNT to 1.5 billion MNT by the end of 2013. In the last decade, the Mongolian economy has expanded several times, and the product prices and sales revenue of entrepreneurs have increased notably. In 2000, GDP was 1.2 trillion MNT and tax income was 222 billion MNT, while in 2013 GDP increased by 14 times and tax income by 23 times. The draft bill to make an amendment to the law on income tax for economic entities and organizations gives back 90 percent of an economic entity or organization’s paid taxes, applying to those whose annual revenue income is no higher than 1.5 billion MNT. But this applies only to companies not operating in the mining, minerals, petroleum product import, oil export, communications, or alcoholic beverage and cigarette production or distribution sectors.

From http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn 01/22/2014

 

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Draft Bill on Treasury Fund Introduced

 

In order to create benefits from natural and mineral resource profits for future generations, the President of Mongolia initiated a draft bill on the future inheritance, or Treasury Fund. The draft bill initiated by the President was discussed in the President’s Civil Hall. Opening the consultation, advisor to the President, L.Dashdorj emphasized the lack of a clear system and policy to leave significant income and revenue from natural treasures and mineral resources for the next generation, and the importance of accumulating wealth for the long-term and nurturing it. If 500 million USD were accumulated in the Treasury Fund annually, a total of 230 billion USD would be gathered after 50 years. The draft bill is also believed to include policy that supports Mongolbank’s currency reserves. The bill opens up the possibility of protection from losses caused by declining trade and complex losses in the budget over 20 years through the Treasury Fund. According to the draft bill, the accumulation of the Treasury Fund will begin in 2016. In 2025, up to 25 percent of the accumulation will be spent on education. The returns from the Treasury Fund will begin to be spent in 2050, which means the right to spend it will be given to future generations. The consultation was hosted by Civil Participation and Economic advisor to the President, L.Dashdorj, and was attended by the staff of the Finance Ministry and scholars and teachers from the National University of Mongolia, the Institute of Finance and Economy and the Academy of Management.

From http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn 01/24/2014

 

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CAMBODIA: Unveiling 5-Year Trade Integration Strategy

 

Cambodia on Tuesday launched its Trade Integration Strategy 2014-2018 aiming at assisting the country to effectively integrate into global trade and transform trade into the main engine of economic development. Speaking at the launching ceremony at the Peace Palace, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia regards trade as a priority sector since it is instrumental in promoting economic growth. "This integration strategy will sharpen Cambodia's ability to contribute to ASEAN community 2015," he said. "It will help enhance the outcome of trade development and reflects the firm and unwavering commitment of the government to achieving the socio- economic development vision." The premier said the country's export of goods and services increased by more than twofold in the last seven years from 4.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2007 to 9.4 billion in 2013. Ten key export value chains are garments, footwear, light manufacturing and assembly sector, processed food, fisheries products, milled rice, cassava, rubber, tourism and silk products. Cambodia's major trading partners are the United States, European countries, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea. Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol said the strategy was the third one, aiming at identifying where the country's export sector stood at the present and what was needed to go forward. "The strategy would help us mobilize donors' technical assistance to focus on priority issues," he said. "This updated strategy will provide our government with useful insights and ideas on how we want to move forward in implementing some of our needed reforms, particularly in the trade area in the coming years." He said the strategy would enhance trade sector competitiveness, create new and better job, increase incomes and reduce poverty

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 02/18/2014

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MYANMAR: Constitution Amendment Proposals to Be Submitted Before 2015 Election

 

The Committee for Implementation of 2008 Constitution Amendment will submit amendment proposals for the 2008 constitution to the Parliament six month ahead of the 2015 general election, Myanma Freedom Daily said Wednesday, citing House of Representative Speaker U Thura Shwe Mann. Speaking at the Union Parliament session in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday, U Shwe Mann said that the implementation committee had agreed to analyze matters including elevating the role of Union Parliament (two houses of parliament), regularizing the role of Myanmar army to a democratic role, working towards a decentralized system of governance and the prospect of self-determination in order to progress the nationwide peace process. The Union Parliament has sent the basic principles for amending the constitution to the committee which will carry out the work. The 31-member implementation committee formed on Feb. 3 for amending the constitution was tasked to review a report compiled and submitted by the Parliament's Joint Committee for Review of 2008 Constitution at the end of January. The earlier Joint Committee for Review of 2008 Constitution said it received over 28,247 letters of suggestions from over 20 political parties, legal experts, government departments including the military and civil societies. The call for amendment includes an article 59-f in the constitution that was said to have been intentionally drawn by the previous military government to block Aung San Suu Kyi from being eligible to run for presidential election. The 194-page 15-chapter Republic of the Union of Myanmar Constitution 2008 was promulgated by the previous military government in May 2008.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 02/19/2014

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PHILIPPINES: Approving Bill on SMS Disaster Alerts

 

The House of Representatives recently approved a proposed bill which that mandates telecommunication companies in the Philippines to send text alerts free of charge in the event of natural or man-made disasters and calamities. According to Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, authors of the House Bill 353 or the “Free Mobile Disasters Alert Act”, the Philippines is struck by at least 19 typhoons every year, leaving a trail of socio-economic devastation in its wake. “Many victims blame the government’s lack of proper response to the situation. Often, the victims are caught unaware as they are not fully informed of the disaster looming in their midst,” the two lawmakers said. “Modern notification systems, such as mobile phone alerts, can be used to augment the existing and inefficient system. The ubiquity of mobile phones should be maximised to send out emergency alerts, at no cost to consumers.” Under the bill, mobile phone service providers are mandated to send out alerts at regular intervals as required by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and other relevant agencies in the event of an impending tropical storm, typhoon, tsunami, or other calamities. The alerts shall consist of up-to-date information from the relevant agencies, and shall be sent directly to the mobile phone subscribers located near and within the affected areas. Furthermore, the alerts shall include the contact information of local government units, first responders, evacuation areas, relief sits and pick up points.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/14/2014

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Philippine Supreme Court Declares Law on Online Libel Constitutional

 

The Philippine Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday declared constitutional several provisions in Republic Act 10175 or Cybercrime Law including the one that penalizes online libel. Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te told reporters in a press briefing that the online libel provision in the Cybercrime Law is constitutional with respect to the original author of the post. The High Court, however, did not allow penalties for those who simply receive the post or react to it. The SC also declared constitutional a provision on aiding or abetting in the commission of cybercrime such as illegal access, computer-related fraud, computer-related identity theft, and cybersex. The High Court, however, declared unconstitutional the power of the Department of Justice to take down computer data. Other provisions that were ordered scrapped by the SC for being unconstitutional are those that pertain to penalties for posting of unsolicited commercial communications and that which authorizes the collection or recording of traffic data in real-time. Te said petitioners are allowed to file a motion for reconsideration before the SC. With the ruling, Te said the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the SC against the implementation of Cybercrime Law is automatically lifted. The SC extended indefinitely the TRO on the implementation of the Cybercrime Law before the 120-day TRO lapsed on Feb. 6 last year.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 02/18/2014

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THAILAND: Commerce Sets 3-Prong Plan to Pay Farmers

 

THE COMMERCE MINISTRY yesterday launched a plan to raise funds to pay growers under the rice-subsidy project after the recent fiasco over lending by a state-run bank.

The Government Savings Bank suffered large withdrawals over consecutive days after it granted a loan last week to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC). Customers wanted to show their opposition to GSB's alleged support for the controversial rice-pledging programme. Caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said yesterday that a group of pro-government farmers, rice millers and the ministry would cooperate to encourage rice traders and others who wanted to help farmers withdraw their money from other banks to deposit at the BAAC. Once that happened, the BAAC should have sufficient revolving funds to assist the farmers who have not been paid for their pledged rice. However, Yanyong did not provide a clear opinion on whether this idea would be workable. Moreover, he said the ministry would set up a "Thai Rice Farmers Assistance Fund". Those who wanted to help the farmers could donate money to the fund at BAAC account number 020033119718. This measure was designed to assist the farmers in the short term.

 

Liquidity for farmers

For the long term, Yanyong said the ministry would establish a "Thai Rice Farmers Bank" to manage farmers' money and ensure that they have their own financial institution and more liquidity. He said the BAAC should have a method to transfer money from deposit accounts to pay farmers under the rice-pledging scheme to relieve their suffering. He added that he had withdrawn his own money from two commercial banks and deposited it in the BAAC to join the effort to help the farmers. Asked about the practicality of his measures and their possible effect on the banking sector, he said there should not be any legal prohibition preventing people from helping farmers, as the BAAC should have authority to manage the money they deposit and pay the rice growers what they are owed. However, according to the Bank of Thailand, payments to farmers under the pledging scheme should come from three sources: the national budget, the Finance Ministry's borrowing, and income from sales of rice from the state stockpiles.

 

Yanyong said the proposed Thai Rice Farmers Assistance Fund would depend on donations and tax revenue paid by rice traders, which amounted to several billion baht. The fund should be able to serve needy farmers interest-free, he added. Wichian Phuanglamchiak, president of the Thai Agriculturist Association, said some farmer groups understood that the caretaker government could not meet its obligations under the pledging project as its normal sources of funds had been cut off. The Commerce Ministry's proposals should increase the government's ability to pay the farmers very soon. Meanwhile, a survey this week by the National Institute of Development Institution found that 47.81 per cent of respondents did not believe the government could come up with all of the Bt130 billion it owes farmers before the end of this month.  About 16.76 per cent believed that the government could pay the farmers less than half that amount, while 16.23 per cent believed it could pay in full.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/20/2014

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VIETNAM: Banning Import of Used Electronic Devices

 

The import of used personal computers and phones has been prohibited as of yesterday, according to Circular 04 issued in January by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Personal computers include laptops, notebooks, sub-notebooks, mini laptops and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The ban is also applicable on other electronic products such as mobile phones, pocket-sized cassette players, digital cameras and personal watches.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/20/2014

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Review of Social Welfare Policies Recommended

 

Policymakers should review assistance policies carefully to support Viet Nam's long-term comprehensive poverty reduction and growth strategy, the Central Steering Committee on Sustainable Poverty Reduction suggested. The meeting, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, was held in Ha Noi yesterday to contribute to a government draft report on the implementation of legal polices on poverty reduction in the 2005-12 period and evaluate the results achieved in 2013. A report presented by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs revealed that the country saw an annual average poverty rate reduction of 2 per cent and a 5 per cent fall in disadvantaged districts and communes from 2005 to 2012. In 2013, 621,000 poor households were provided with preferential loans for production development, and 13 million disadvantaged and ethnic people were granted health insurance cards, according to the report. The poor had full access to preferential policies, thus helping reduce the poverty rate and improving their living conditions, it added. However, the achievements were unstable, especially in mountainous and ethnic minority populated regions, where the number of poor households accounted for 50 per cent of the country's total, noted the report. Ninh also asked related ministries to reach a common view on developing suitable policies to ensure sustainable poverty reduction and strengthen people's awareness on the topic. Meanwhile, localities should apply the policies in a creative and effective manner based on their own socio-economic conditions, he said.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/21/2014

 

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Vietnam Amended Law Aims at More Transparent Investment Climate

 

Creating a more transparent investment climate, amending and adding new administrative procedures and addressing difficulties in gauging investment performance are the key targets of the amended Investment Law. This was discussed at a workshop held to gather opinions from industry insiders in Ha Noi yesterday. Speaking at the workshop, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong said the amended Investment Law needed to clarify four issues: defining foreign investors, procedures to set up a business with foreign investors, procedures for capital contributions to buy shares and essential issues to implement a one-door policy. A representative of the Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) noted that the amended investment law is adaptable to localities and provinces as these areas are thirsty for foreign investments. The difficulty was that foreign investors were still skeptical about the implementation of administrative procedures for business registrations or investment certificates, he said. Nguyen Thanh Tra, a representative of a law firm, remarked that foreign investors were now unwilling to buy stock from local companies.

 

The existing law did not stipulate whether investors who buy shares that constitute less than a 49 per cent stake in a local company should obtain an investment certificate. He added that the amended law needed to clarify this issue. To ensure consistency and transparency, the draft regulations should not discriminate between domestic and foreign investors. If the law is changed, incentives for investors should remain unchanged. In addition, the open-door policy was also enacted to address procedures on investments, land and construction through the agency of investment certification. The amended law will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval this year. The current Investment Law consist of 10 chapters and 77 sections enacted in 2005. After more than eight years of implementation, the current Investment Law has proved to have a number of limitations and shortcomings. In particular, the sections on investment industries and investment areas are haphazard and ineffective. The provisions on investment conditions and procedures are still unclear and unfeasible. This does not create an equal legal framework for both domestic and foreign investors.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/21/2014

 

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Public Investment Law Drafted

 

The National Assembly will choose a list of key national programmes and projects funded by state budgets and government bonds that will be included in the country's middle-term investments. This is part of the draft law on public investment that was discussed at the 25th session of the National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday. However, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said such projects in the middle-term investment plans should be approved by the government as is currently done. This, he added, is because that practice is effective and has helped improve democracy and the sense of responsibility among ministries and agencies. Moreover, Vinh remarked that because of changing conditions during the middle term when the government decided on the list of investment projects, the process would become flexible, and over time, projects could be changed to adapt to new conditions. Chairman of the National Assembly Economics Committee Nguyen Van Giau stated that under the draft, all programmes and projects that were funded partly or wholly with public investments must submit their investment plans and get them approved. Currently, the National Assembly will only consider and approve investment plans for key national projects, Giau noted.

 

The draft has more regulations covering the authority responsible for approving investment plans and deciding investments, Giau said. The NA Finance and State Budget Chairman Phung Quoc Hien noted that those who make the decision for resources or funding for a project should be the ones who decide on its investment plan. For example, the National Assembly will decide on projects funded with government bonds. Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minorities Ksor Phuoc said the National Assembly's role is to guide and supervise, while the government will implement and manage. He said it was necessary to include the agencies responsible for public investments as it was especially useful if public investment projects were ineffective. He also urged regulations to increase transparency at various stages of public investment projects from project selection and bidding information to implementation progress and assessment. NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung emphasised the importance of the authorised agencies that selected investment plans and urged for clarity on groups of projects based on criteria such as their role, scale or sectors. He said organisations representing the people, such as the National Assembly, will decide investment plans only, while individuals who signed investment decisions would manage and shoulder the responsibility.

 

The draft law on public investment will cover the management and use of public capital. However, the state's capital in enterprises is not subject to this law but to the law on managing and using the state's capital in production. This law is expected to be next on the National Assembly's agenda. Also, yesterday afternoon, members of the NA Standing Committee discussed the revised Construction Law, particularly with regard to regional, provincial or urban/rural planning, granting construction licenses and managing project construction. Earlier the same day, lawmakers discussed the law project on amendments and supplements to some articles of the Civil Aviation Law. They agreed with the need for amendments and supplements aimed at increasing state management and business efficiency for aviation businesses as well as ensuring passengers' interests. However, they proposed the compiling board continue reviewing the draft law project's regulations to ensure they match other laws. Most of the deputies agreed to add regulations on unmanned aircraft and ultra-light aircraft as the operation of these vehicles are closely related to aviation security and safety as well as to national defence and security. Lawmakers also discussed the implementation of a resolution on procedures for conducting a vote of confidence on persons holding elected positions or those appointed by the NA or People's Councils. They said the move was greatly welcomed by the public since it served as a channel to assess public servants and help raise their responsibilities as well as state management efficiency. However, many deputies suggested more research was needed to perfect the resolution and proposed the NA Standing Committee temporarily delay conducting such a vote of confidence beyond the upcoming seventh session of the 13th NA, which is scheduled for May this year.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/22/2014

 

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BANGLADESH: Public Service Law in the Offing

 

The draft of the proposed public service law is at the final stage and will be placed in parliament very soon, said Prime Minister’s international affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi on Sunday. Addressing the inaugural session of a seminar at Brac Centre Inn, he also said the draft law includes provisions like granting civil servants a security of a 10-year term and giving promotions on the basis of merit instead of seniority. The seminar, titled ‘Good Governance in Bangladesh: An Agenda for the Future’, was organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) with assistance from Canadian High Commission in Dhaka. Gowher Rizvi noted that the new law is designed to increase professionalism of public servants who are rather politically inclined despite showing integrity in many other respects. He added that the draft of the law was completed through intensive consultation with people in public services.

 

The PM’s adviser said such a law was supposed to be enacted long before as per the promulgation of the first constitution of the land in 1972. The Anti Corruption Commission Act 2013 will also be overhauled soon by the government to replace the provision that curtailed the ACC authority to file graft charges against the government officials, he said. There is another law in the offing to regulate foreign funding in the country through non-government organisations, he added. Presided over by BEI president Farooq Sobhan, the programme was also addressed by Canadian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Heather Cruden.

From http://unbconnect.com/ 02/16/2014

 

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Take Effective Measures to Ensure Workers’ Welfare: PM

 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday directed the Labour and Employment Ministry to take effective measures for the welfare of the workers by creating a congenial working atmosphere and ensuring appropriate wages for them. It is one of the main responsibilities of the government to ensure minimum wages for the workers, a big strength for the country, she said in her introductory speech at a meeting with the high officials of the Labour and Employment Ministry at the Bangladesh Secretariat. Sheikh Hasina, also in-charge of the Labour and Employment Ministry, directed the officials concerned to complete within the stipulated time the unfinished or under implemented development programs and projects under the Ministry, which were taken during the last tenure of her government. She said that though there is no scope to allow ‘trade union’ in the EPZ areas of the country under the existing law, but steps should be taken to ensured the welfare of the workers.

 

At the same time, she also asked the Labour Ministry to take measures to protect the rights of the ‘housemaids’ (griho karmi), which is most often neglected in the country. In this regard, the Prime Minister advised the Ministry to prepare some rules and regulations to issue license for outsourcing business of housemaids, which, she said, will make it easier for the outsourcing agencies to ensure all rights of the housemaids including their wages and working hours. Expressing satisfaction over the steady growth of exports despite what she said various destructive activities in the name of movement by BNP-led alliance during last couple of months, Hasina laid emphasis on spreading agro-based industries in the country. She said work on the establishment of special economic zones in seven divisions is progressing to create employment opportunities for the huge unemployed youths.

 

The Prime Minister asked the concerned ministries to make it mandatory to keep provisions for water reservoir and fire extinguishing system for establishing any industry as well as housing facilities nearby for the female workers. Terming the recent success of legalizing the workers in Saudi Arabia and arrangement of changing their work permit (Iqama) as a diplomatic achievement of the government, she advised the Labour Ministry officials to work with honesty and sincerity or face the music for negligence. Sheikh Hasina said the aim of her government is to turn Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2021 and a front ranking developed one by 2041. To achieve the goal, the seventh five-year plan will be formulated after the completion sixth five-year plan by 2015, she said. With the implementation of the perspective plan, she added, per capita income will be raised to 1500 US dollar, poverty reduced to 13 percent and annual growth rate increased to 10 percent by 2021. Mentioning that her government always considered the issues of increasing salary and wages to enhance the living standard of the workers, the PM said wages of the garment workers were increased to Tk 5300 from Tk 1662 in four years – an increase of 229 percent which no developed country could do.

 

She present government has laid emphasis on strengthening organizational structure for enhancing efficiency of the workers through training, and improving the owners-workers relation. Training is being imparted to the workers, workers leaders, owners and other labour related representatives through four ‘industrial relation’ educational institutions across the country, she added. Sheikh Hasina mentioned that during its 1996-2001 term, her government totally stopped child labour in the garment sector. She said her government is pledge bound to stop child labour and as part of it over 50,000 children are being imparted training on skill development in 14 districts of the country. Fifty percent of the country’s population is women and without their empowerment desired development of the country is not possible, she said adding that decision has been taken to create employment opportunity for the poor women of the northern region of the country imparting them appropriate training.

 

The PM said construction work of four training centers and dormitories is progressing in Dhaka, Chittagong, Ishwardi and Uttara EPZ of Nilphamari district for the purpose and over 14,400 female youths will get employment in the garment factories of EPZ areas. The government, she said, has already formed ‘National Skill Development Council’, which is formulating curriculums for coordinated technical training and curriculum for various professionals for the entire country. With the introduction of the training program, recognition of labour efficiency could be achieved at home and abroad and the standard of Bangladeshi workers would be duly evaluated and their salary will also be increased, she added. Besides, Sheikh Hasina said a cabinet committee on garment industry affairs has been formed headed by the Labour and Employment Minister for regular evaluation on safe working atmosphere and maintaining stable.

From http://unbconnect.com/ 02/16/2014

 

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Plan to Sell Submarine Bandwidth .

 

The government has decided to sell the unused bandwidth of the country's lone submarine cable to generate more revenue.On Sunday, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication took the decision, which is to be carried out by retaining enough bandwidth to meet the country's projected needs up to 2021, Post and Telecommunication Secretary Abu Bakar Siddique told bdnews24.com after a meeting of the ministry.

From http://newsfrombangladesh.net/ 02/10/2014

 

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INDIA: Post Strict Regulations, Govt Plans to Ease Clinical Trials Norms

 

Bangalore: Clinical trials in India have seen a drastic fall after stringent norms were introduced following Supreme Court directives. Not only have the number of trial approvals in the country reduced, there has also been a significant reduction in the number of sponsoring Pharma firms applying for such approvals. Recently, during an event, Union health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad hinted that the government is on the talk for relaxing norms for clinical trials in India, reports Nirmalya Dutta of Health.India. The Union Minister, at an event held in biopharma company Biocon’s facility, said “There has been more than 50 percent drop in clinical trials after stringent regulations were put in place last year. We did it to improve transparency, but that should not happen at the cost of innovation. Industry feels that regulations we have made are too difficult. I think we need to strike a balance, considering the rise in some deadly diseases,” reports Health.India.

From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 02/06/2014

 

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Sustainability Is Not a Choice, but a Necessity

 

South Asian region is most vulnerable to climate change impact, warns Thet Thet Zin, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Myanmar. New Delhi: The impact of climate change is more visible now then it was two decades before. The fourth assessment report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific intergovernmental body, clearly substantiates earlier findings showing the unequivocal effect of human actions in altering the global climate. Political representatives from various countries including Bhutan, Myanmar, Mexico, Mongolia, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom, talking about the various greeninitiatives being run in their respective countries, said that a combination of political will and the change in mindset only could prevent the world from succumbing to the hazards of climate change. The leaders speaking during the session on ‘Dealing with the impacts of Climate Change’ at the 14thDelhi Sustainable Development Summit, exchanged ideas on the ways to tackle issues like carbon dioxideemissions, longer dry seasons and chilling cold in the western parts of the world.

 

Lord Prescott,Former Deputy PM and Member of Parliament, UK, said that change cannot happen just by policy statements. Prescott emphasisedon the need of legal framework at both the national and international levels.There has to be some legal framework for achieving low carbon energy. Expecting positive results from the DSDS-2014, Prescott highlighted the role that could be played by legislators in influencing governments on the climate change issue. The small mountainous country of Bhutan inspired all by the tremendous work it has done to fight to the climate change.Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji, Minister of Agriculture& forests, Bhutan, said that sustainable development was not a choice but an absolute necessity. Bhutan has maintained that climate change has to be tackled within the framework of sustainable development. “Bhutan has forest cover on 70% of the land and 60% of the land has been reserved for forest cover for all times to come,” Dorji said. Raising concerns for India which holds most of the Himalayan region,he said that melting Himalayan glaciers are leading to increased frequency floods. Lauding the efforts of Bhutan,John Gummer, Lord Deben, Former Secretary of State for Environment & Member of Parliament, UK, urged the world to learn some essential lessons on how to avoid the ‘global battle’ on climate change.

 

Thet Thet Zin, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Myanmar, quoting an ADB report, said that the South Asian region was most vulnerable to climate change. Human beings have to be at the centre of sustainable development, she said. “Ground water table is lowering in the dry regions of Myanmar. Fresh water is a big challenge for all of us,”Zinsaid. Oyun Sanjaasuren, Minister of Environment and Green Development, Mongolia, said that her countrywas disproportionately affected by climate change impact. Given its harsh climate, it is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, she said. “The change in climate is affecting the whole world especially countries that depend highly on agriculture for sustenance. An example of such country is Mongolia which is the 12th most affected by climate change,” she said. Jorge Moreira da Silva, Minister of Environment, Portugal,said that the year 2015 could be a litmus test for the world. According to him, climate change is at the centre of policy framework for Portugal. “60% of electricity is from renewable energy. We look at green growth as a major policy,” he said.

 

Graco Raminrez Garrido Abreu, Governor of Morelos, Mexico, said that sustainability cannot be traded with growth. Lars Andreas Lunde, State Secretary of Climate Environment, Norway, said that not addressing climate change would lead to increase in poverty. Energy amounts to 60% of the green house gas emissions. According to him, forest degradation is only a global issue but also a local problem. “If we cannot reduce deforestation, arresting climate change adversities would become very difficult,” he said. The political representatives also faced various questions from the audience including the one that why such crucial development issues are discussed without the presence of representatives from the finance ministry.

From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 02/12/2014

 

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National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research

 

Indian Council of Medical Research and Department of Biotechnology jointly released guidelines in 2007 for Stem Cell Research and Therapy. Considering the developments in the field and the views of the stake holders, the 2007 guidelines were revised and finalized in December 2013 and named as National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research. The salient features of the National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research (2013) are as follows:

• National Guidelines for Stem Cell Therapy – 2013 reiterate that the general principles of biomedical research involving human participants shall also be applicable to all human stem cell research.

• The guidelines have been laid down to ensure that research with human stem cells is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner and complies with all regulatory requirements pertaining to biomedical research in general and of stem cell research in particular.

• Updated guidelines have incorporated advances in the field with regards to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), xeno-free cultures, characterising cell product for therapy and to harmonize them with the internationally revised guidelines.

• One major recommendation of the Committee has been to omit the word Therapy from the title of the Guidelines. This has been done to emphasize the fact that stem cells are still not a part of standard of care; hence there can be no guidelines for therapy until efficacy is proven.

• These guidelines are intended to cover only stem cell research, both basic and translational, and not therapy. It has been made clear in these Guidelines that any stem cell use in patients, other than that for hematopoietic stem cell reconstitution for approved indications, is investigational at present. Accordingly, any stem cell use in patients must only be done within the purview of an approved and monitored clinical trial with the intent to advance science and medicine, and not offering it as therapy. In accordance with this stringent definition, every use of stem cells in patients outside an approved clinical trial shall be considered as malpractice. It is hoped that this clear definition will serve to curb the malpractice of stem cell “therapy” being offered as a new tool for treating incurable diseases.

• These Guidelines apply to all stakeholders including individual researchers, organizations, sponsors, oversight/regulatory committees and any others associated with both basic and clinical research on all types of human stem cells and their derivatives.

 

National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research envisage setting up of a National Apex Committee for Stem Cell Research and Therapy (NAC-SCRT) to monitor and oversee activities at national level and Institutional Committee for Stem Cell Research (IC-SCR) at institutional level. These Committees shall ensure that review, approval and monitoring of the research projects in the field of Stem Cell Research are done rigorously and effectively as per the national guidelines. Few cases of violations have been received by NAC-SCRT. After deliberations, these cases have been forwarded to concerned regulatory authorities/agencies for necessary action.  Ministry of Health and Family Welfare vide order dated 01-09/2010 constituted a Core Investigational New Drug Panel of Experts namely “Cellular Biology Based Therapeutic Drug Evaluation Committee (CBBTDEC) under the chairmanship of Director General, ICMR & Secretary, DHR to advice DCGI in matters pertaining to regulatory pathways leading to the approval of clinical trials and market authorization for the “Therapeutic products derived from Stem Cell, human Gene manipulation and Xenotransplantation technology”. CBBTDEC has deliberated on the need for strengthening the regulatory agency (DCGI) by establishing separate wing for Stem Cell Research supported with knowledge and capacity to regulate the activities in the country. Accordingly, Directorate General of Health Services, office of Drugs Controller of General (India) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India vide order dated 16.03.2012 has established Stem Cell Division within Biological Division in Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (HQ) for the internal evaluation of all proposals including Stem Cell concerning with clinical trial and marketing authorization before referring to CBBTDEC. This was stated by Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare in a written reply to the Lok Sabha today.

From http://pib.nic.in/ 02/21/2014

 

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ARMENIA: Non-Constructive Policy Prevents Establishment of Friendship in Region

 

As long as Armenia does not abandon its dirty politics, Azerbaijan will continue keeping this country under blockade conditions, chief of the Political Analysis and Information Provision Department of Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, Elnur Aslanov said on Feb. 17. Aslanov made the remarks in Baku during an international conference on the topic 'Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey: Trilateral union and future of regional policy'. He said Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey have come a long way over the last ten years and have attracted the world public's attention with projects implemented for not only their, but also of other nations' benefit. "All three countries implement major geopolitical projects, and realization of new projects is currently under discussion," Aslanov said. He believes that today these countries are outlining the new energy and transport map of Europe. "This cooperation could become an example for many countries. But, unfortunately, there is a country that has a negative impact on this cooperation. This country is Armenia. As long as Armenia does not abandon its non-constructive and emotional politics, there will be obstacles hindering the establishment of friendship and brotherhood in the region," Aslanov stressed. "We want Armenia to abandon its dirty politics. As long as this does not happen, Azerbaijan will continue keeping this country under blockade conditions".

 

Aslanov went on saying that the Armenian leadership should understand that political backwardness and their country's regression can not bring success to the Armenian people. He also stressed that the conference held in Baku today will create bases for future cooperation between the three countries. "Azerbaijan wants Armenia to join these processes too," he said. "The time will come, when we will hold these conferences in Khojaly, which was turned into ruins by Armenia, as well as in the region's pearls - Shusha and Khankendi". Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's representative also expressed concern that some forces are striving for opening borders between Turkey and Armenia. "Unfortunately, some Western foundations and organizations are working towards opening the border between Turkey and Armenia. Unless the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is solved, the opening of the borders is out of question," Aslanov said. The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/17/2014

 

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AZERBAIJAN: Implementing All Measures to Prevent Possible Threats to National Interest and Security

 

Azerbaijan implements all measures to prevent possible threats to national interests and security, head of Public Relations Center of Azerbaijani National Security Ministry, Arif Babayev told Trend. He made the remarks commenting on the issue of possible provocations by members of radical religious organizations. He also said that currently the operative situation is under control.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/28/2014

 

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Azerbaijan to Adopt Law on Seaports

 

The Economic Policy Committee of the Milli Mejlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan at today's meeting advised a discussion on a bill for seaports should take place at the plenary session.

The law will regulate relations in the framework of merchant shipping at sea ports, their construction, opening and closing, work in ports, as well as its rules. The basis of state regulation of seaport activity will be reflected in the law. The law will also cover activities of shipping agents at ports, marine terminal operators, carriers, owners of port infrastructure, financing port operations, as well as terms of rental property owned by the state in the port area.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/31/2014

 

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Azerbaijan Amends Rules on Admission to Secondary Specialised Educational Institutions

 

Azerbaijan has made amendments to the rules on admission to secondary specialised educational institutions on the basis of a nine-year education, according to a message from the State Students Admission Commission of Azerbaijan (SSAC). Competition for admission to the secondary specialised educational institutions on the basis of a nine-year education in 2014 will be conducted based on the results of final school examinations in line with the amendments, according to the message. In particular, the ninth-grade graduates wishing to participate in the competition to be admitted to the secondary special educational institutions will be able to choose a specialty based on the final exams. That is, no separate exams will be conducted for admission of ninth-grade graduates to secondary special education institutions. The separate examinations will be held only for the ninth-grade graduates of previous years, according to the message. The exams are scheduled for June 29, 2014. Those wishing to be admitted will be required to pass the exams only in two subjects, the mother language and mathematics.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/10/2014

 

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Azerbaijan Develops Program for Improving Demographic Situation

 

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Labor and Social Protection has developed a draft project for a state program to improve the development of demography and population growth from 2014-2025, the ministry reported on Feb.18. The state program envisages direction and measures on the development of this sector over the next 10 years.  A draft state program will be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers soon.  The Azerbaijani population exceeded 9,477 million people on Jan. 1 of this year, which is 120,600 people (or 1.3 percent) more compared to the beginning of 2013, according to the State Statistics Committee.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/18/2014

 

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AUSTRALIA: Issuing Privacy Guidelines for Public and Private Sectors

 

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) today released the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) guidelines, an important step toward preparing public and private sectors for major changes in privacy law to be implemented in March this year. “March 12 will see the biggest change in privacy law in 25 years, and the APP guidelines are an essential tool for the implementation of this change,” shared Australian Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan. The introduction of the APPs is one of the significant changes under the new laws. The APPs are a single set of principles that will cover both public and private sectors when the amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 come into place. Currently, Australian Government agencies are covered by the Information Privacy Principles, while the private sector is covered by the National Privacy Principles. The APP guidelines will be a key resource for entities covered by the Privacy Act in assessing their compliance with the new laws. “We have put a lot of work into producing the APP guidelines, including extensive public consultation, so that we can maximise their usefulness to business and government,” said Professor McMillan.

 

“The APP guidelines not only outline minimum compliance requirements, they also provide practical examples of best practice.” The new privacy laws from 12 March will mean that Australians can more easily ask an organisation where they collected their personal information from and find out if it will be sent overseas. They will also be able to request access to their personal information held by an organisation or government agency or request a correction to their information held. In addition to the APP guidelines, the OAIC will also be producing a practical tool for organisations to review their privacy policy, that will be ready in March.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 02/21/2014

 

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COOK ISLANDS: Parliamentarians Work to Realise Pacific Health Rights

 

The Parliament of one of the world’s smallest nations, Cook Islands in the Pacific, has become the latest nation to establish a Parliamentary Group on Population and Sustainable Development. Vice chair of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD), Senator Claire Moore, praised the Cook Islands parliamentarians for wanting to join the 26 other Asian-Pacific parliamentary groups dedicated to progressing the rights-based implementation of the ICPD. “Cook Island parliamentarians have played a strong role in progressing a rights-based approach to reproductive health and population programmes to benefit their constituents,” said Senator Moore. “The Cooks’ Health Minister and AFPPD advocate Nandi Glassie played a leading role in last year’s Asia Pacific Population Conference and we hope the Pacific nations will continue their commitment to evidence-based best policies at April’s gathering of all the world’s nations at the UN, the Conference on Population and Development.” The Cook Islands parliamentarians formed their PGPSD during a workshop in the capital Rarotonga with AFPPD’s deputy executive director John Hyde, as they developed an action plan for the coming year.

 

Veteran Opposition MP Tangata Vavia was elected chair of the PGPSD, with Government Minister Atatoa Herman as vice chair, new Opposition MP Mrs Selina Napa as secretary, and the government’s population and development advocate MP Tai Tura as treasurer. More than half of the Parliament’s MPs attended the workshop. Senator Moore also welcomed the parliamentary group’s willingness to work with AFPPD’s civil society partner, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). IPPF in London helped sponsor the workshop and the Cook Islands local IPPF branch’s vice-president is the Cook Islands Parliament’s Clerk, John Tangi. Senator Moore praised the commitment of Speaker Niki Rattle, a long time gender advocate, who attended the workshop and the support of parliamentary staff and executive director of the Pacific Legislatures for Population and Governance, based at Cook Islands Parliament, Tangata Vainerere, who will operate as the secretariat for the PGPSD Cook Islands.

From http://www.islandsbusiness.com 02/10/2014

 

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NEW ZEALAND: Unveiling Cadastre 2034 Strategy

 

Surveyor-General Dr Don Grant unveiled the Cadastre 2034, a comprehensive strategy designed to ensure that, in the next 10-20 years, New Zealanders will be able to enjoy easy access to cadastral information and have greater understanding of the various rights, restrictions, and responsibilities related to their land and real property. The cadastre is the record of boundaries and locations of rights in land. New Zealand’s world-class cadastre already gives citizens certainty about their properties when buying, selling and using land. “While good advice can be obtained from the land professionals who understand the cadastre, it is not easily understood or accessible to the general public – or even to many government agencies,” Dr Grant says. “People today are increasingly getting information delivered through their smartphones, and are able to see where they are on a map to within a few metres. This strategy is based on the idea that people will expect clear and reliable information about land to be delivered to them wherever they are. This information will need to include the complete set of land and property rights, restrictions and responsibilities that apply to the use of land. To make use of this information, people need to know where these rights apply.”

 

Furthermore, the strategy also sets the cadastral system within the wider location system. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has a leadership role in maintaining and developing this location system in general and the cadastral system in particular. Cadastre 2034 aligns with LINZ’s long-term strategic direction to lead the creation of a world class location system. The growing of which, according to Dr Grant, will prompt the development of innovative tools and information services for generating good decisions about the best use and management of land. “This strategy is the first step on the journey towards developing the cadastre over the next 10-20 years. It will enable the best investment decisions to be made and the benefits to all stakeholders maximised,” he said.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 02/04/2014

 

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Cabinet Approves New Youth Bill

 

Papua New Guinea National Executive Council (NEC) has recently approved a proposed bill to repeal the National Youth Commission Act 1999 and replace it with the National Youth Development Authority Act 2013. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said Cabinet had endorsed the proposed bill since the National Youth Commission Act 1999 has outlived its legislative purpose in empowering the young people in nation-building. He said for the last 38 years since, Papua New Guinea has undergone tremendous institutional and structural changess to emerge as a nation, despite its diverse social and culture groupings. “The changes it had undergone including shifts in the social and occupational structures and the changes to its political and cultural institutions no doubt has affected both the young and old. This process of social, economic and political change has resulted in the social differentiation among our young people today. The youths are now caught in between these strains and contradictions,” he said.

 

O’Neill said as a nation with an evolving young population, focus must be on contemporary and emerging youth-related issues such as the lack of patriotism, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, substances abuse, alcoholism, law, order & justice problems, Selling Sex for Money (SSM), rural-urban migration, peer group pressure and entrepreneurship skills to enter job markets both in the informal and formal sectors. “The proposed bill is the way forward as it will elevate the youth development work to the next level in reforming the delivery mechanism and improving the quality of young people’s life as embedded in the 2050 Vision and the National Youth Policy 2007- 2017,” he said. The Prime Minister said the proposed bill, together with the National Youth Policy, would further embrace and strengthen the national government’s desire to improve the quality of young people’s lives through legislative reforms, which is experienced so far in the delivery mechanism of the public sector.

From POST COURIER/PACNEWS 02/04/2014

 

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PNG Launches First National Security Policy

 

The PNG government has chosen a new Commander for the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF)—Colonel Gilbert Toropo, the former Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment. The announcement came soon after PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill launched the country’s first ever National Security Policy and an updated the Defence White Paper at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby on December 20, 2013. After a lengthy process of security sector reform in the 2000s, O’Neill acknowledged there was still a long way to go: “Our national security has lacked cohesion and effective coordination since independence. “Our response to security issues has been largely disjointed as a result. Our national security institutions have been neglected to the extent where they lack appropriate capabilities to provide effective public safety and protection of our natural resources and our international borders.” Toropo, 51, hails from the Southern Highlands Province, like Prime Minister O’Neill. He was one of the first PNG officers to receive Special Forces’ training in the United States and also participated ina senior officers’ training in Australia in 2007, when he attended the Australian Defence Force’s Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS) in Canberra.

 

The PNG National Executive Council also appointed retired Colonel Jeffrey Wiri as the new chief of operations of the PNGDF. Outgoing Commander Brigadier-General Francis Agwi will take up a new role as PNG’s High Commissioner to New Zealand. In the 1990s, defence relations between Canberra and Port Moresby were strained by debates over human rights abuses, the use of Australian-supplied helicopters and patrol boats during the conflict in Bougainville and the Sandline affair. At government level, those debates are long gone and Papua New Guinea is being presented as a key strategic partner. The May 2013 Joint Declaration for a New Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership stated: “Australia and Papua New Guinea are committed to strengthening their enduring defence partnership. Recognising that people-to-people links, training and capacity building benefit the security of both countries and the Pacific region more broadly, Australia and Papua New Guinea have jointly determined to deepen bilateral cooperation in areas that advance their mutual security interests, including maritime and border security, regional peacekeeping, and disaster relief.”

 

Papua New Guinea will host the next South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting in 2014, a reflection of broader defence co-ordination between Canberra, Wellington and Pacific governments, as well as colonial powers like France and the United States. As well as the initial regional ministers meeting in May 2013, Australian and Papua New Guinea held their inaugural Defence Ministers Meeting on December 10, 2013. The two countries agreed to establish an annual security dialogue between senior officials from their Prime Minister’s, Defence and Foreign Affairs departments. Australia’s Defence Cooperation Programme (DCP) for PNG is the largest allocation for any country at A$27 million (2013-14), with funds for the PNGDF doubled in the ALP government’s 2012 budget. Australia has 25 ADF personnel working in Papua New Guinea and in 2012 announced a new programme to improve the PNGDF aviation wing, with a A$7 million annual budget for three helicopters, operating costs, maintenance and training. In the 2013 PNG budget, the O’Neill government increased defence spending to 188 million Kina (A$94 million).

 

Papua New Guinea has also developed new strategic policy to address core defence roles (defence of PNG land and waters; security partnerships with Indonesia, Australia and other players; and regional peacekeeping operations, especially through the Melanesian Spearhead Group). Working through the Office of Security Coordination and Assessment in the Department of the Prime Minister, the PNG National Executive Council established a Technical Working Group in July 2012 to draft the new National Security Policy. With support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the working group involved officials from the police, defence, Correctional Services, National Intelligence Organisation, Immigration and Customs. From June last year, the working group held consultations in a number of provinces to engage provincial governments and community organisations in the debate about security. PNG’s last Defence White Paper was released in 1999, but throughout 2013, a team led by Lieutenant Colonel Siale Diro prepared a paper for the consideration of the National Security Committee and PNG Cabinet. The White Paper has chapters focusing on recruitment to increase manpower, new weaponry, infrastructure, welfare issues for military personnel, and capabilities for land, sea and air elements.

 

It also looks at the PNGDF’s capability for peacekeeping—alongside Fiji, Papua New Guinea is now a UN Troop Contributing Country. With Australia providing pre-deployment preparation and training, PNGDF personnel have deployed to UN peacekeeping missions in South Sudan and Darfur. Post-RAMSI, Papua New Guinea is also working with Fiji on regional peacekeeping. Military leaders from Suva and Port Moresby have agreed to pool together their forces under a new defence co-operation agreement incorporating the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the PNGDF. The two countries are driving co-operation through the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), which began looking at an MSG Police Formed Unit (PFU) in 2011, to send Melanesian police officers on international peacekeeping missions. This concept has now expanded and at their June 2013 summit in New Caledonia, MSG leaders endorsed the establishment of a Department of Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO). The expansion of these capabilities however, is hampered by many examples of lack of discipline in the disciplined forces, which have led to human rights breaches across Melanesia. In recent years, the PNGDF has faced the alleged misuse of funds earmarked for the Commercial Support Program (CSP). In July 2013, PNG soldiers attacked medical students at the University of Papua New Guinea firing weapons, holding knives to their throats and causing injury and widespread damage to property. The process of security sector reform has a long way to go.

From http://www.islandsbusiness.com 02/20/2014

 

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SOLOMON ISLANDERS: New Education Policy Focuses on Labour Market

 

The new draft policy on Government funded scholarships will shift the focus on training towards preparing Solomon Islanders for jobs that are in demand in the labour market. The new policy which will become effective this year is a result of a review of the Tertiary Education policy, which was a 2013 National Education Action Plan activity of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development. In the new policy, training needs of Solomon Islands to be delivered either in the country or abroad are based on the labour market demand. The Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) will lead the assessment of demand through research and consultation with local industries. It is also intended that there will be greater fairness in the way scholarships are allocated across provinces. Female students will receive an increasing allocation of the scholarships awarded. The policy is necessary to ensure that scholarships are properly managed so that the country gets the expected returns from its investment on human resources.

 

Under the previous policy, scholarships were awarded based on students’ own areas of interest but that has now been changed to meet the local labour market demand in the long term. The new measures are put in place so that the government does not repeat challenges that it has faced in the past. In addition, the Ministry of Education is developing a new database to record management of scholarships. The aim is to allow students to view information about their scholarship and apply for scholarships or requests for information on-line. The new administration is part of improving the delivery of services to candidates and scholarship students. The Ministry will also be giving greater emphasis on explaining the new policy during 2014 so that the new system is fully implemented in 2015. Meanwhile, the Government has reduced the number of scholarship awards for 2014 as part of measures to control tertiary education scholarships with the need to link awards to labour market demands.

From http://www.solomontimes.com 02/13/2014

 

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Solomon Islands Gov’t to Bring Integrity Bill Back to Parliament

 

The Political Parties Integrity Bill will be taken back before Solomon Islands parliament in its April sitting this year. Newly-appointed director of Governance Program within the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) Calvin Ziru confirmed this to the Solomon Star, on Wednesday. He said a few amendments have been made to the bill based on submissions from the public and the Opposition group. “What we are going to do next is to forward the bill to cabinet, and then onto the Bills and Legislation Committee, before it can go before the April sitting,” Ziru said. Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee Manasseh Sogavare said it’s interesting to know the government is bringing the bill back after Prime Minister Lilo withdrew it on the floor of parliament last year. Sogavare said if this government intends to address political instability through the bill, it must also bring along a separate constitutional amendment bill. “The Opposition will support the bill if the government brings along an accompanying constitutional amendment bill,” Sogavare said.

 

Prime Minister Lilo withdrew the bill last year after much debate, citing lack of support from MPs. “Given that numerical requirement, the Government side would not be able to pass the bill,” he said. Members of the Opposition have staunchly opposed the bill, saying it was unconstitutional in its current form. Opposition MPs insisted a constitutional amendment bill must be brought along with the party bill if they are to support it. “We all have our own observations and views and opinions on what we think would be the basis that makes us to make our decision and obviously there are different views on the way that we will go about developing political stability in our country,” Sogavare said then.

From SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS 02/20/2014

 

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Global Passive Safety Systems Market: Trends and Opportunities (2013-18) Report

 

The report titled 'Global Passive Safety Systems Market: Trends and Opportunities (2013-2018)' provides an in-depth analysis of global automobile passive safety system with focus on major products such as Seatbelts Systems, Airbags Systems, Steering Wheels and Electronic Control Unit (ECU) Systems. It also accesses the key opportunities and underlying trends in the market and outlines the factors that are and will be driving the growth of the industry in the forecasted period (2013-18). Further, key players of the industry like Autoliv Inc., TRW Electronics, Takata Corporation, Denso Corporation and Bosch Limited are also profiled in the report. Passive safety systems refer to collection of systems in the car which protects the driver and passengers from injury if an accident occurs. These automotive safety systems have been around since decades with the implementation of seatbelts by Volvo in the year 1959. Passive safety systems such as Airbags, Seatbelts, Steering Wheel and Electronic Control Unit (ECU) minimize the risk of injury in an accident. For example, Airbags provide a cushion to protect the driver and passengers during a crash; Seatbelts restrain passengers in place so that they are not thrown forward or ejected from the car.

 

These systems are engaged when the collision takes place; some features helps in absorbing crash forces; some restrain occupants from colliding with the vehicle interior, and other prevents objects inside the vehicle from striking the driver or passenger. In order to evaluate passive safety systems, automotive manufacturers along with the government in various nations perform tests to evaluate how well the systems perform in crash scenarios. The growth of the segment is driven by increasing focus of consumers on safety, rise in number of safety regulation in nations worldwide and growth of global automotive industry. However, factors such as rising cost of raw materials, price competition, exchange rate fluctuation, reliance on specific customers and product defect risk are posing challenge to growth of the industry. Major trends prevailing in the market are deployment of active steering wheels, Vacuum Folding Technology (VFT) Airbag and Flexible Venting Technology (FVT) Airbag.

 

Key Topics Covered:

Executive Summary

Automotive Safety Systems

Global Passive Safety Systems Market: An Analysis

Global Passive Safety Systems Market: An Analysis

Global Passive Safety Systems: Segment Analysis

Global Passive Safety Market: Growth Drivers & Challenges

Global Passive Safety Market Trends

Competitive Landscape

Company Profiles

List of Figures and Tables

Companies Mentioned

- Autoliv Inc.

- Bosch Limited

- Denso Corporation

- TRW Electronics

- Takata Corporation

From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 02/18/2014

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Ambitious Structural Reforms Can Pave the Return to Strong and Sustainable Growth, OECD Says

 

Adopting ambitious and comprehensive structural reform agendas will offer governments the best chance for a return to strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth that creates jobs and reduces inequality, according to the OECD’s latest Going for Growth report. The report assesses and compares progress that countries have made on structural reforms since 2012 and takes a fresh look at what else can be done to revive growth and make it more inclusive.  The OECD shows that most governments have continued enacting reforms, despite the challenges posed by a subdued growth environment, and highlights actions that can still be taken to boost productivity, raise public sector efficiency, improve educational outcomes, and strengthen labour markets. “Signs of a broad-based recovery are becoming more tangible, but governments of advanced and emerging economies now face the risk of falling into a low-growth trap,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said during a launch event in Sydney. “Australia has focused its G20 Presidency on promoting stronger economic growth and employment while making the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks. The structural reform recommendations the OECD puts forward today offer governments practical ways to boost productivity, lift growth, create jobs and avoid the low-growth trap,” Mr Gurría said.

 

Mr. Gurría presented Going for Growth with Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, ahead of the 22-23 February meeting of G20 finance ministers. He said the report’s analysis of potential reforms to product and labour market regulation, education and training, tax and benefit systems, trade and investment rules and innovation policies are applicable to OECD and G20 countries alike. The going for Growth analysis forms the basis of the OECD’s wider contribution to the G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth. “Progress on structural reforms can boost growth and living standards worldwide,” Mr Gurria said. “Slowing productivity growth and persistently high unemployment in many advanced economies cry out for further reforms. The vulnerability of many emerging-market economies to the ongoing tightening of monetary policy and the cooling of the commodity boom serves as a reminder that the case for structural reforms is also strong there." Going for Growth 2014 points to countries where reform action has been taken as well as where more needs to be done: The intensity of reform has remained highest in southern euro area countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, which are suffering from high long-term unemployment and youth joblessness. Considerable action to reform the labour market and break down barriers to job creation and mobility has been taken, in particular in Spain in Portugal, which have begun growing again.

 

Many emerging economies have yet to launch comprehensive structural reform agendas, and should implement wider efforts to improve education, address physical and legal infrastructure bottlenecks and bring more workers into formal sector employment. Mexico stands out among emerging economies for its adoption and ongoing implementation of broad-reaching reforms in competition policy, education, energy, financial services and telecommunications. In OECD countries which face particularly rapid population ageing, such as Japan, Korea and Germany, bringing more women into the labour market and ensuring that they are fully integrated remains a key challenge.

 

Advanced and emerging economies are both encouraged to boost competition across their economies. Another country hard hit by the crisis – Ireland - has made the most progress on bankruptcy reform and toward creating a more competitive business environment. A special feature of Going for Growth 2014 assesses the progress countries have made since 2008 toward reducing regulatory barriers. The new OECD Product Market Regulation indicators show that while governments have continued to move towards more competition-friendly regulation, progress has only been modest in most cases (see data visualisation below). Competition in network industries and professional services like accounting, architecture, engineering and legal services continues to be held back by regulatory barriers to entry. Where regulatory settings have been improved, the legislated changes need to be fully implemented, to ensure the effective easing of administrative burdens on companies and the entry of new firms.

From http://www.oecd.org/ 02/21/2014

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World Bank: Pension Reforms Needed in Emerging Europe and Central Asia to Protect Future Generations

 

The profound effects of aging populations and a shrinking labor force on overstretched state pension schemes in emerging Europe and Central Asian countries demand significant reforms, says the World Bank’s new report The Inverting Pyramid: Pension Systems Facing Demographic Challenges in Europe and Central Asia. If bold pension reforms are not made, it will be today’s young and the elderly poor who will suffer the most from the inability of state pension systems to ensure basic income protection in old-age. Failing to act today raises equity concerns for the next generation as it would likely result in future pension benefits cuts and these would hurt the poor more than the rich, according to the report. The report, launched today in Brussels at a conference hosted by the European Commission and the World Bank, finds that most pension systems have already reached “maturity,” with little possibility to expand the number of contributors due to a stagnant and declining working-age population.  The declining working-age population is causing the traditional population pyramid – with a few elderly at the top and larger numbers of working-age populations at the bottom – to invert, with smaller working-age populations now at the bottom and larger numbers of pensioners toward the top.

 

“The countries of emerging Europe and Central Asia have been some of the most active reformers in the world, adopting a number of new pension designs, such as point systems in Serbia and Croatia, notional accounts in Latvia and Poland, universal benefits in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kosovo, and individual savings accounts in Estonia, Romania, F.Y.R. Macedonia, and the Russian Federation,” said World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Laura Tuck.  “However, many of these reforms have not been sufficient for pension systems to sustain adequate benefit levels in the face of deep demographic changes. Moreover, some of these reforms have been reversed in the face of short-term fiscal pressures.” The report states that transition countries of Europe and Central Asia, including Turkey, have made big efforts in the past 20 years to reform their pension systems in order to align them with the new social and economic realities of market economies. However, with the high economic growth of the mid-2000s, some countries increased the generosity of pension benefits in light of their higher revenues. The financial crisis left these countries with reduced revenues and higher pension benefits, which led to pension reforms reversals. For instance, some countries undid the individual savings accounts to help fill their revenue shortfalls, but at the risk of further compromising the sustainability and adequacy of pensions in the long run.

 

“Pension systems can no longer promise to provide ever more generous benefits to the ever-increasing number of pensioners. Increases in life expectancy, sharp declines in fertility, and increasing emigration have contributed to compromise the affordability of many pension systems,” said World Bank Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, Ana Revenga, in her opening remarks at the event.  “The report examines a range of solutions and concludes that the public pension system will have to prioritize the provision of basic pensions, coupled with measures to encourage longer working lives and individual own savings.” Reforms need to ensure that the elderly do not fall in poverty by providing a minimum pension benefit. This has implications for the way pensions are currently financed.

 

“Changing the financing mechanism for old-age security has implications for who gets benefits and how much they get,” said Anita Schwarz, a Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia region, and one of the principal authors of the report.  “Right now, countries often limit pensions to those who have contributed, and link the benefits they receive to what they have paid in.  But all elderly need some form of old-age income support to maintain a dignified living standard.  This raises the need to look for financing sources other than labor taxes.”  The report examines two potential solutions to face the demographic challenges to pension systems: generating additional fiscal revenue to cover pension deficits, and increasing the number of contributors to the system.  However, countries in the region tend to already have high tax burdens, especially on labor, leaving them little scope for generating additional revenue to address pension deficits.  Moving away from labor taxation as the financing source for old-age security and toward consumption and property taxes might help generate some additional revenue, but even there the scope is limited in most countries.   

 

Expanding the number of contributors is not a panacea either. In most of the countries in emerging Europe and Central Asia, most prime-age adults, those aged 35-44, are already working.  The space to expand the labor force lies in the older populations, fewer of whom are working when compared to other regions of the world.  Moreover, expanding the base of contributors can only ease or delay needed reforms of pension systems if the relationship between contributions and benefit accrual remains fundamentally flawed. “One of the more striking findings in the report is that expanding the number of contributors by bringing in informal workers or the growing influx of immigrants helps the pension system in the short-run when it receives additional revenue, but makes things worse in the long-run when pension benefits have to be paid to even more retirees,” said Omar Arias, a Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia region, and a principal co-author of the report.  “Formalization and immigration might help buy time for governments to make the needed adjustments to pension systems, but neither of them will achieve the twin objectives of adequacy and sustainability of pensions in the long-run.”

 

While both additional revenue and increased labor force can contribute to mitigate short-term adverse impacts of unavoidable pension reforms, the long-term solution might lie in adjusting the generosity of pension systems so that retirement income covers only the period when individuals can no longer work, typically the last 15 years of life. This is what was afforded to retirees in the 1970s, compared to an average of 18 years of retirement for men and 23.5 years for women in many countries today. Raising retirement ages and encouraging and supporting individuals to work longer would go a long way toward enabling pension systems to provide for basic old-age income and be more financially sustainable. Measures to encourage older workers to continue working include: providing options for gradual retirement, for example, by allowing older people to work part-time while collecting a partial pension; adopting small adjustments to the workplace, such as putting magnification on computer screens and providing ergonomic chairs, to raise the overall productivity and comfort level of older workers; and investing more effectively in training at older ages by rethinking adult education, training, and lifelong learning systems to make them a better fit for aging brains.

 

Finally, fiscal pressures are leading countries to increasingly limit their already-overstretched pension spending by fostering private pension provision and individual long-term savings plans. Savings allow workers to have additional retirement resources available. Measures such as automatic enrollment in savings schemes can induce workers to fill any gap in retirement income with their own savings. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions.  Regardless of the path chosen, countries need to begin a social dialogue on what approach is best suited in each country context to preserve the ability of pension systems to provide basic income protection in old-age for today’s young and the less well-off elderly in the face of their demographic challenges.

From http://www.worldbank.org/ 02/21/2014

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CHINA: Xi Jinping to Lead National Security Commission

 

President Xi Jinping will head China's new national security commission, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee decided on Friday.The political bureau decided to appoint Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang as the commission's deputy heads, according to a decision adopted at a political bureau meeting.The commission, which will answer to the Political Bureau and its standing committee, will be the CPC Central Committee agency responsible for decision-making, deliberation and coordination on national security work, the document said.It will be in charge of "making overall plans and coordinating major issues and major work concerning national security," it said.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/25/2014

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CPC to Curb Surplus Official Appointments

 

The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee will launch a special campaign to rule out appointment and promotion of officials beyond quota this year.The move follows last year's campaign to tackle violations in the promotion of officials, said a statement issued by the department on Sunday to explain the Party's guidelines on selection and promotion of officials.Carrying out the campaign is like waging one war after another against malpractice in official promotion, said the statement, adding that it will help to solve and correct problems that have aroused public discontent.In the statement, the department vowed "zero tolerance" and severe punishment for violations in the selection and promotion of officials.The department will also explore a mechanism to record the promotion and selection process and conduct real-time monitoring using network information technology to facilitate investigation and make it easier to hold officials accountable for misconduct, according to the statement.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/26/2014

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Xi Pledges to Further Advance Reform

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in an interview aired Saturday that his country will forge ahead with reform and he is confident in its future development.During the exclusive interview with Rossiya TV, Xi hailed the remarkable achievements China has made in the past decades since the initiation of the country's reform and opening-up policy.Xi arrived in this Russian resort city on Thursday to attend Friday's opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games. The three-day visit was his first overseas trip this year.Given the rapid pace of economic globalization, increasingly fierce competition in comprehensive national strength and the profound changes in the international situation, Xi said, reform and opening-up remain the primary path for China to achieve fresh and greater development."In comparison with the past, the breadth and depth of China's reform have been considerably expanded. In order to further promote reform, top-level design must be enhanced," Xi said.

 

Late last year, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decided to further deepen China's reform in an all-around way, and Xi became head of the newly established leading group responsible for the undertaking."It is no easy task for China, whose population is as large as 1.3 billion, to deepen reform," noted the Chinese president.With low-hanging fruit already picked, China must roll out bolder measures in a steady manner so as to rise to the challenges and march forward in the right direction, Xi added."I am very confident in China's development prospect," the Chinese leader said.When asked about his first-year experience as China's president, Xi said it is important for a Chinese leader to have overall considerations and keep balance between different matters while focusing on priorities."It is like you need to use all the ten fingers when you play the piano," Xi said.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/09/2014

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Premier Li Hears Opinions on Gov't Work Report

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday held a symposium to solicit opinions from leaders of non-communist political parties on the draft of an annual government work report.Leaders shared their views on the government's work in 2013 and made suggestions on the work in 2014 at the symposium, according to a statement issued after the gathering.The participants offered suggestions in a wide range of areas, including deepened reforms of the administrative system, the national marine economy strategy, resolving overcapacity and reforms to the medical and healthcare system.Chen Changzhi, chairman of the Central Committee of the China National Democratic Construction Association, said that the market should play a better role in resolving overcapacity, and that management of government debt should be enhanced.

 

Yan Junqi, chairwoman of the Central Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy, said that the government should focus more on building a sound environment of ruling by law and fair competition.Li exchanged ideas on major topics with the group and expressed his thanks to non-communist parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, as well as personages without party affiliation for their long-term support for the government's work.The premier said that the State Council, or China's Cabinet, will seriously study and adopt their opinions, adding that consensus needs to be built in order to resolve challenging issues in development and push forward reform.A number of senior officials including vice Premier Zhang Gaoli also attended the symposium.China has eight non-communist political parties that participate in state affairs under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Under the multi-party cooperation system, the CPC and non-communist parties work together and supervise each other.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/11/2014

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Li Pledges Clean Governance

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday pledged to combat corruption, boost government transparency and build a clean government.Li made the remarks as he presided over a meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, which mapped out this year's anti-graft plans.Li expects strict budget management from all arms of the government and called on auditors to meticulously investigate any questionable activity, stressing that all income and spending records must be included in budget management."A strict accounting system should be enforced as a safety lock on public funds. Auditing and supervision should be imposed on all public funds, state-owned properties and state-owned resources," Li said.Li called on auditors and supervisors to be "brave enough to crack the hard nuts" and investigate "deeply, thoroughly and concretely."The premier hailed 2013's progress at various levels in fighting corruption and building a clean government, but admitted that corruption still exists and occurs all too frequently in certain areas.

 

With zero tolerance for corrupt officials, Li promised to implement the eight anti-bureaucracy, extravagance-busting guidelines announced by the central authorities late in 2012.During the meeting, Li called for a complete halt to construction of new government buildings, training centers and hotels, curbing the often lavish spending of public funds, adding that numbers of government personnel should be restricted.The money saved will be used to improve ordinary people's lives, Li added, promising to streamline administration and delegate power downward.Li pledged maximum effort to reduce approval for investment.Last year, there were three rounds of loosening administrative approval, and in 2014 another 70 procedures will no longer require administrative approval, or be approved to lower levels.

 

Noting that during tender processes, purchases, and the allocation of state-owned land corruption is still rife, the premier asked for such operations to be standardized and legislated for.Li pledged complete transparency in government affairs regarding "three public consumptions": vehicle purchases and maintenance, overseas trips and official receptions.He also urged more publicity for food and drug safety, affordable housing and medical charges.He called for officials to take the lead in clean government by implementing the spirit of President Xi Jinping's anti-graft speech to the third plenary session of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in January.A number of senior officials including Wang Qishan, secretary of the CCDI of the Communist Party of China, and vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, also attended the meeting.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/12/2014

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Li Vows to Shift More Power to Markets

 

Premier Li Keqiang has pledged to return more authority on investment issues to the market this year, as a method to reduce government intervention and cast off corruption.The premier called on the government to adopt the "negative list" approach in delegating powers and reducing administrative approvals at a meeting on clean government on Tuesday."The list should be worked out according to the law to prevent any new administrative approvals being added by local governments without proper legal procedures," he said.He especially stressed the importance of facilitating investment, urging for "the greatest determination" in reducing administrative approvals that may impede investors."Sometimes governments are intervening in issues that fall outside their territory, and that has increased transaction costs and weakened the role of the market in allocating resources," Li said.

 

Li made the remarks on Tuesday at the State Council's second meeting on clean government, a year after the first meeting was held.In building a clean government and fighting corruption, Li said the reduction of government approval was one of the necessary measures.Last year, the State Council removed more than 330 items that were subject to administrative approval, or has delegated the approval power to lower-level governments.In addition to power delegation, other measures were also proposed at Tuesday's meeting to avoid the abuse of power and fight corruption.Li reiterated the government stance that no new government buildings will be built, the government payroll will decrease, and receptions, business trips and the use of official vehicles will be slashed.Areas prone to corruption, such as the public bidding for construction projects, government procurement, and land and mining rights transfer, will be closely monitored, he said.

 

He also urged auditors to keep an eye on areas with public funds and State-owned assets.Information on government spending, food and drug safety, the allocation of government-subsidized houses, and the recruitment of civil servants and university students should be made public to avoid abuses."Openness and transparency will always be the key to fighting corruption," he said.Li Jiangtao, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, suggested the government work out a guideline to specify how revenues being saved by the government can be used to improve the daily lives of the people.Zhang Jianhua, chairman of Hubei Chamber of Commerce in Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province known for small and medium-sized businesses, suggested the government remove more administrative approvals rather than delegating the power to lower-level governments in further reform.

 

"It doesn't necessarily mean that enterprises can benefit from power delegation, since they still need to go through the whole approval procedure," he said.Jiang Ming'an, a law professor at Peking University, acknowledged the government's efforts to build its credibility among the people, but he noted that more human resources should be added to grassroots governments to improve their ability to cope with an increasing workload."As more administrative approvals are being delegated to grassroots governments, local officials have found that they are lacking the professional knowledge to do their work. Training is needed to improve their working capability," he said.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/12/2014

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Xi Urges Army's Implementation of 'Mass Line'

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made instructions to the army, calling for further implementation of China's "mass line" guideline.According to a statement issued by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Thursday, Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, said in the instruction that the armed forces achieved much in the first phase of the "mass line" campaign.The "mass line" initiative was launched in June 2013, with the aim of making government more accessible to the general population, while cleaning up four undesirable work styles -- formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance.Xi warned against any recurrence of the problems that have been rectified, calling for continued efforts to implement the campaign to a higher standard and with problem-based methodology in the second phase, launched recently.The leading group in charge of the campaign for the army asked all levels in the military system to learn Xi's instruction and study implementation measures based on realities.The second phase of the campaign should focus on bad practices affecting soldiers, and solve problems that lead to inadequate services for the grassroots, the leading group said.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/13/2014

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Xi Cheers College Grad Village Officials

 

President Xi Jinping has called for village officials who graduated from college to improve themselves and contribute more to underdeveloped rural areas.Xi made the comments in a letter to Zhang Guangxiu, 28, who became an official in a village in eastern China's Shandong Province in 2009 upon graduation.Winning local residents' praise for her painstaking work, Zhang's story was brought into the media spotlight and brought sympathy nationwide following her diagnosis with acute leukaemia in September 2010.Central leaders including Xi saw to her receiving treatment in Beijing from early 2011, and she returned to her post in June last year.Xi's letter, made public on Thursday, was written on Jan. 28 in reply to a letter from Zhang, in which she told the President about her recent life and work.Welcoming Zhang back to her job, Xi expressed his pleasure at her recuperation and advised her to take care of herself.

 

"Changing the appearance of villages and helping farmers live good lives... requires good policies from the Party and the government as well as vast, unremitting efforts from rural people, guided by grassroots officials," Xi said.According to Xi, hundreds of thousands of college graduates have been offering their services and realizing their value in the countryside since the "College to Village" campaign started in 2008."Your sacrifice and contribution are heartily felt by rural people, and I'm happy with your progress and achievements after reading many graduate village officials' outstanding stories," Xi wrote.Xi hoped that young officials could love rural life and take root there, boost their knowledge and competence, promote rural development, benefit rural residents and have no regrets from their youth.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/14/2014

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Chinese Gov't Slashes More Admin Approvals

 

The State Council, China's cabinet, announced Saturday it has exempted administrative approval for 64 items, abolishing or transferring them to subordinate government departments.A total of 64 items were exempted from central government approval and another six had already been submitted to the top legislature for revision of laws, the State Council said in a statement.The move followed decisions made by the State Council in 2013 to set aside or downgrade administrative measures in a bid to transform government function and stimulate vitality and creativity in the market.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/16/2014

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Xi Urges Modernization of Governing System

 

President Xi Jinping on Monday said the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and the government must constantly improve the level of governance and promote socialism with Chinese characteristics.Xi made the remarks while speaking at a workshop at the CPC Central Committee Party School on the comprehensive advancement of the reform, as demanded by the third plenary session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC.Attendees of the workshop are leading officials of provincial-level regions and ministerial-level officials.Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, told the workshop that the Party's mission is to find a "stable and effective" system for development, the wellbeing of the people and society's long-term stability.An effective governing system will only happen if Party and officials' integrity, capability and skills are improved and the efficiency of Party organs, government departments, public institutions, enterprises and civil organizations are raised, he said.

 

The CPC must rule in an "scientific, democratic and legalistic manner," he said."A governing system is determined by history, cultural tradition, economic development, and the will of the people," he said.Although China's current system needs improvement, the CPC should be confident that it represents the results of gradual development based on history, culture and the economy. Confidence in the current system does not mean fear of reform, he said."Without confidence, the CPC will not have the courage to reform and without reform, confidence will not last long," he said.Chinese people are open-minded and are good at learning and incorporating what they learn into their own system, Xi said.Xi also called for greater efforts to promote core socialist values and set up a value system with Chinese characteristics in line with the new era, calling them an important part of good governance.On Dec. 23, 2013, the CPC issued an unusually detailed guideline of bolstering core socialist values and pooling positive energy to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation .

 

According to it, core socialist values include national goals of prosperity, democracy, civility, and harmony; social goals of freedom, equality, justice and the rule of law; and individual values of patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendship.Stressing the role of culture in promoting values in society, Xi urged to strengthen exploration and interpretation of China's fine traditional culture and realize its innovative development to integrate tradition and modernity."As long as the Chinese nation aspires after fine and noble ethics generation after generation, our country will always be replete with hopes," Xi said.At the workshop, Xi reiterated the resolve to carry out the reform plan issued at the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee last November."Drafting a good document is only the first step for a long march, and implementation is still the key," said Xi.

 

According to Xi, officials should understand each specific policy in the context of the overall policy arrangement as well as the relations between long-term and short-term policies, achieving a balance between principles and flexibility.In terms of implementation, Xi urged officials to have a strong sense of duty in putting various policies into practice in a timely manner but told them to have patience for positive results."Reform is a job that needs to be done gradually and demands both the courage for breakthroughs and sure, steady footsteps," Xi said.Xi noted that the reform plan is determined based on the country's overall interests, basic interests and long-term interests, ruling out the conservative ideas that policies that are not immediately pleasant should not be considered."Changes in favor of people's benefits and the long-term prosperity and stability of the Party and the country must be made with resolution, and that's called being responsible for history, the people and the nation," Xi added.Also attending the workshop were the six other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 02/18/2014

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Premier Li Stresses Solid Reform Efforts

 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday called for solid efforts in pushing forward reforms to achieve new breakthroughs in the country's economic and social development.At a workshop attended by leading officials of provincial-level regions and ministerial-level officials, Li reiterated the importance of reforms for sustainable and healthy growth.Acknowledging the difficulties in the process, he urged a determinate yet progressive approach by first piloting reforms in some areas before rolling them out nationwide.Li said the target is to make sure that benefits are shared by the public.During Tuesday's workshop, Li detailed major tasks in deepening reforms in areas such as administrative procedures, fiscal systems, financial market and regional development.He also stressed the proper handling of the relationship between government and market so as to create a fair environment for market entities.The workshop was presided by Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.China's economy grew 7.7 percent in 2013, overshooting the government target of 7.5 percent. The growth target for 2014 will be announced in March, which analysts largely expect to be kept at 7.5 percent to allow leeway for reforms.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 02/19/2014

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JAPAN: Temp Staffing System Reform Must Lead to Better Labor Conditions

 

Reform of the temporary staffing system must lead to stable employment conditions for temporary workers. An advisory panel of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has compiled a report permitting companies to employ temporary workers indefinitely if certain conditions are met. Currently, the employment period for temp staffers at companies to which they are dispatched is set, in principle, at a maximum of three years. The system will be changed to make it possible for firms to employ temp staffers continuously in any type of job if they are replaced every three years. As part of the growth strategy promoted by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the reform is aimed at making it easier for companies to hire temp workers when they expand production and undertake new projects. The labor ministry will work out a basic plan and submit to the current Diet session a bill to revise the Worker Dispatching Law, with implementation of the new system targeted for the spring of 2015. Lengthening the term of employment for temp staffers is the right thing to do. What is important in working out a basic plan is to devise measures that will lead to better labor conditions for temp workers. The dispatch law was amended by the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration in March 2012 to prevent the practice of laying off temp workers, which was rampant in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The revision resulted in tougher regulations such as banning, in principle, the short-term dispatch of workers for up to 30 days. The revision was aimed at protecting dispatched workers.

 

Contrary to the DPJ-led government’s effort to secure stable employment for temp workers, the reform did not lead to improved labor conditions for these staffers. The situation remains unchanged as dispatched workers can be hired for relatively low salaries and no annual pay hikes, which are set according to the number of years of work experience. If only the employment of temp workers expands without the system being reformed, the hiring of regular workers may be restricted. Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), hailed the panel’s report, saying it will “help change the system into a more understandable one.” The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo), on the other hand, criticized the proposed reform, arguing it may lead to “backpedaling on the protection of workers.” The report’s call for balancing the treatment for dispatched workers and regular employees probably reflected labor’s concern. To improve conditions, it may be necessary for the government to help establish a permanent framework for talks between firms dispatching and hiring temp workers. It also will be indispensable for temp staffers to acquire skills in keeping with improved labor conditions. The report is praiseworthy for its demand to make temp agencies carry out vocational training programs for the workers they dispatch. It is also crucial to expand the possibility of hiring temp workers with many years of experience as regular workers. The government has decided to start providing subsidies to job placement firms if temp workers are dispatched on the premise that they will become regular workers and gain that status eventually. Implementation of this policy must be accelerated.

From http://the-japan-news.com 02/04/2014

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Government to Review Swelling Cabinet Office

 

The government and the Liberal Democratic Party will start reviewing the Cabinet Office’s workload this month, as the administrative body has been swamped with ever-increasing duties and is now overseen by nine Cabinet ministers, up three from its launch in 2001. The Cabinet Office was established to strengthen the functions of the Prime Minister’s Office, but its workload expanded every time a new prime minister brought in his own agenda. A swelling Cabinet Office is now doing more harm than good, according to many observers. “We have more cross-sectional work and tasks that must be tackled by the Cabinet Office and ministries, and most of the workload is concentrated in the Cabinet Office and Cabinet Secretariat,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a meeting Friday of the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee, underscoring his alarm about the present situation. “It’s necessary to hand over tasks [finished by the Cabinet Office] to each ministry.” As part of the reorganization of the central government bodies in 2001, the Prime Minister’s Office (Sorifu in Japanese and a different entity from the existing body with the same English name), the Economic Planning Agency and Okinawa Development Agency merged to become the Cabinet Office.

 

Initially six Cabinet ministers at the office took charge of such duties as gender equality, disaster management and science and technology policies. In addition, three senior vice ministers and three parliamentary secretaries were appointed to the office. With changes of administration, duties such as anti-suicide measures, food education and support for the provision of compensation for damage incurred by the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1. nuclear power plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, were added to the workload, which have never been subject to streamlining or reduction. Currently, there are nine Cabinet ministers, six senior vice ministers and seven parliamentary secretaries. “It’s like a vacuum cleaner with no opening [to remove the dust],” one Cabinet ministers said. “It is about to explode.” Its structure has grown increasingly complicated. The number of employees at the Cabinet Office has increased to 2,895 from the initial payroll of 2,245. Of them, more than 20 percent are also doing jobs for their original ministries. For example, staff in charge of measures to deal with alcohol-related health problems at the Cabinet Office mainly work at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

 

Some LDP members vented their frustration over how the Cabinet Office is handling its job. “It has become harder to know where responsibility lies because the Cabinet Office is now too big,” a senior LDP member said at an LDP General Council meeting on Jan. 21. During the meeting, the General Council postponed giving its stamp of approval to a draft of the action plan for the government’s growth strategy, overseen by the Cabinet Office, in an apparent rebuttal for insufficient prior consultation with key council members. As early as this month, the LDP Administrative Reform Promotion Headquarters will review the Cabinet Office workload and propose a set of streamlining plans to the government. “It’s a very big issue that could lead to another reorganization of ministries and agencies,” Tomomi Inada, the minister in charge of administrative reform who will oversee Cabinet Office streamlining, said at a press conference on Feb. 7. “I’d like to watch closely how LDP discussions will turn out.” Turf wars to protect sectional interests and fighting to pass on undesirable jobs to take to other ministries are expected to erupt when transferring work from the Cabinet Office to other ministries and agencies. “It requires tremendous political clout to unite ministries and agencies [under the same goal],” one observer said.

From http://the-japan-news.com 02/17/2014

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SOUTH KOREA: Service Sector Has 10 Times More Red Tape Than Manufacturing - Report

 

South Korea's service sector is excessively regulated, with 10 times more restrictions than manufacturing, which can hinder the country's drive to create more jobs, a report by corporate lobbying group said Thursday. According to findings by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), the service sector is subject to 3,601 restrictions compared with 338 for manufacturers.

From http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/ 02/06/2014

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Science Ministry to Launch Special ICT Commission

A special law went into effect Friday that creates a new commission to oversee the country's policies on the information, communication and technology sectors, the science ministry said. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said the commission, to be headed by the prime minister, will function as the "control tower" of South Korea's IT sector, improving efficiency in policymaking.

From http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr 02/14/2014

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South Korea’s Conundrum: More Open, Less Freedom

 

If technology makes governments more open and accountable, South Korea should be among the world’s greatest successes. This is increasingly not so, according to the findings of a draft progress report by the Open Government Partnership, released recently for public comment.

On the one hand, President Park Geun-hye has embarked on an ambitious transparency project called “Government 3.0,” pledging wide-ranging information disclosures on areas that were previously off-limits. A new open data law enacted in October 2013 seeks to overhaul information disclosure practices. The Park administration promises that by 2016, it will nearly quadruple the scope of administrative data releases from 16% to 60% of the available total source documents in areas like transport, climate, finance and welfare. It’s an ambitious pledge, but access to information is a reasonable expectation in any democracy as well-equipped as South Korea. In a global rarity, its Constitutional Court has ruled that access to information is a constitutional right; in 1996, Seoul became an early country to pass a freedom of information law. The country runs exemplary technological infrastructure and e-government services, earning it a raft of accolades from the United Nations Public Administration Network. Yet South Korean authorities have also chilled the same democratic expectations to an open and responsive government in recent years, stepping up censorship of the press and Internet, the OGP study finds.

 

Last year, South Korea lost its top ranking for political rights in Freedom House’s annual report, Freedom in the World. In 2011, the organization downgraded its press and Internet freedoms ratings on South Korea from “free” to “partly free.” The rollback goes across the spectrum, hurting freedom of expression and access to information. Last year, about 63,000 Korean web pages were blocked, up from the 4,730 websites blocked in 2008 at the request of the Korea Communications Standards Commission, the public Internet regulator. The body makes these requests for websites that violate a pornography ban and spread alleged North Korean propaganda, to name a few examples. In 2013, authorities indicted 102 people under the 1948 National Security Act, a more than threefold increase from 2006. The vague law, which bans praising, encouraging, or propagandizing for North Korea, has been used to muzzle political opponents and satirists. Also last year, the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, warned that “certain laws and practices” in South Korea do not meet international standards in freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. These are all concerns for the evaluation arm of the OGP, an international membership organization with 63 participating governments that pledge to become more open, responsive and accountable to citizens. Under membership guidelines, governments are expected write a National Action Plan, consult a wide range of civil society organizations, and partake in an evaluation process with a national researcher.

 

However, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, the body that oversees South Korea’s OGP membership commitments, didn’t respond to requests for information for much of the research period. In its response to the draft report, the ministry has mainly emphasized steps it has taken to reduce corruption, although nearly all were carried out before South Korea published its National Action Plan in April 2012, beginning participation. A self-assessment report released by the ministry in February 2014 marks accomplishments in the “Government 3.0” transparency project. Surely President Park wants her nation to stay the healthy and vibrant republic that has been so successful in the past two decades. But before any effort for “open data” will translate into “open democracy,” her administration will need to address other chronic problems that will stop citizens from getting the information they need to hold their government accountable. It can revise criminal defamation laws and repeal the National Security Law, for starters. [Editor’s note: Lim Byung Chul, a deputy director at the Ministry Of Security And Public Administration said that the ministry “faithfully” replied to all external requests related to the Open Government Partnership.] Geoffrey Cain is the South Korea researcher for the Open Government Partnership’s evaluation arm, the Independent Reporting Mechanism. 

From http://blogs.wsj.com 02/18/2014

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INDONESIA: Former Investment Chief as Trade Minister Appointed

 

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday named former head of investment coordinating board, Muhammad Lutfi, as new trade minister. Lufti,44, replaces Gita Wirjawan who resigned last month to focus on his campaign to become presidential candidate for the ruling Democratic Party. The appointment was undertaken as President Yudhoyono's cabinet is to end in months to come before the direct presidential polls in July. U.S.-educated Lufti was most recently Indonesian ambassador to Japan, the top investor in the Southeast Asia's largest economy last year, according to a survey. "I have conducted a fit and proper test to someone who I chose as trade minister, Muhammad Lutfi," Yudhoyono told a press conference at the State Palace on Wednesday. In his message, President Yudhoyono asked Lutfi to lobby at the international forum for fair trade. "I gave a special attention to encourage the trade minister to conduct effective diplomacy. Hence, Indonesia will not witness unfair trade," said Yudhoyono.

 

The government slapped broad mineral ores export ban on Jan. 12, which may erode export earning. Lutfi would also shoulder task to narrow the country's trade deficit which widened to 4.02 billion U.S. dollar last year from 1. 65 billion U.S. dollar at the previous year. President Yudhoyono said that he would officially install Lutfi on Friday. On his comment, Lutfi said that stabilizing prices, inflation and scaling up exports were among his top priority. Pressure on inflation lingers in the vast archipelago country as the meteorology and geophysics agency foresees rainy season is going to peak up by up to March that may disrupt food and other products transport. Lutfi was head of the country's investment board during President Yudhoyono first five-year term ending in 2009, during the time the investment scaled up to about 11 billion U.S. dollar in 2009 from about 5 billion U.S. dollar in 2004.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 02/12/2014

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PHILIPPINES: Gov't Implements "Systemic Reforms" to Fight Smuggling

 

The Philippine government has adopted "systemic reforms" to combat rampant smuggling in the country, a senior government official said here Tuesday. Philippine Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a news briefing in Malacanang, the presidential palace, that President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered new Bureau of Customs Commissioner John Sevilla to take steps to promote transparency and openness and adopted a systemic approach to plug loopholes and minimize opportunities for graft and corruption in his agency. Among the specific measures being implemented now at the bureau include centralized single reference for valuation information and implementation of a single dispute resolution process for valuation, he said. The Customs bureau has also started digitization of every single formal transaction, review of the monitoring of Customs bonded warehouses, revamp of the importer accreditation process, and has intensified monitoring of sensitive imports, Coloma added. He also said that the Philippine government acknowledged the need to amend the Customs and Tariff Code to strengthen the anti- smuggling campaign of government. "We assumed office without any illusion that this (smuggling issue) is a small-time problem. We realized that this is a systemic and deeply-rooted problem that is why we are prepared to address it strategically and to adopt long-term solutions," he explained. Washington-based Global Financial Integrity group earlier reported that for the past 51 years until 2011, the "illicit funds " flowed into and out of the Philippines were estimated at 410.5 billion U.S. dollars, bulk of which came from smuggling.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 02/04/2014

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Philippine President Names New Army Chief

 

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday appointed Maj. Gen. Hernando Iriberri as the new chief of the 80,000-strong Philippine Army. Iriberri, commander of the 7th Infantry Division, succeeded Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes who retired from service after he turned 56 -- the mandatory retirement age for soldiers. "As the new head, I expect you to show exceptional strength, discipline and dedication in order to continue the transformation of the Philippine Army," Aquino said in his speech during the change of command ceremony. Iriberri, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983, also served as the senior military defense adviser of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 02/07/2014

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VIETNAM: HCM City to Adopt Two-tier Admin System

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc yesterday chaired the final session on a proposal for HCM City to adopt a two-tier administrative system, saying the nation's commercial hub should be seen as a special urban area that needs new policies to fully exploit its potential and resources. The proposal will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval next month. Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the HCM City People's Committee, said at the meeting that the city faced many obstacles to its development, and these were partly caused by outdated policies. He said the lack of proper co-ordination between city departments had hindered the city from realising targets set by the central government. The municipal administration has said that the proposal, which has been under consideration for a long time, will benefit HCM City residents significantly because it will reduce the number of administrative procedures. Under the two-tier model, there will be no ward-level administration, so all issues at this level will be dealt with by district administrations, considerably reducing red tape for residents and enterprises. Currently, civil administrative procedures are dealt with at both ward-level and district-level administrations. The new system will create favourable conditions for HCM City to develop faster and promote its role as a national growth engine, helping improve the lives of its residents, city leaders said.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/18/2014

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INDIA: Times Higher Education Draws Up India Specific Indicator to Judge Indian Educational Institutions

 

The Times Higher Education has agreed to draw up an India specific indicator that would act as a parameter for global education stakeholders and international students to judge Indian educational institutions. International rankings are perceived to be of significance in enhancing global mobility of students and teachers and in attracting funding. Owing to this perceived significance, a Committee, constituted by the Standing Council of IITs, has held meetings with the THE Ranking Agency and the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Ranking Agency on the matter of ranking of IITs. The THE Ranking Agency has also held a workshop in May, 2013 wherein Universities and Technical Institutions, including IITs and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) were invited. The Government is continuously striving to improve the quality of higher education in the country by legislative initiatives as well as through schemes and programmes. The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010, which aims to make accreditation mandatory for all higher educational institutions in order to ensure an independent quality assurance mechanism, has been introduced in Parliament on 3rd May, 2010.

 

To facilitate dedicated Universities as hubs for research ecosystems to develop as clusters of education, research and innovation and to promote innovation in learning and design, development and delivery of solutions, the Universities for Research and Innovation Bill, 2012 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha on 21st May, 2012. Cluster innovation centres and Design Innovation Centers have also been initiated in the University system to promote interdisciplinary research and innovation. The Human Resources Development Ministry had asked all Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Central Universities to appoint a nodal person to coordinate with Times Higher Education (THE) to develop India specific parameters.

From http://pib.nic.in/ 02/10/2014

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AZERBAIJAN: New Head of State Road Transport Service Appointed

 

Huseyn Salamov has been appointed head of the State Road Transport Service of Azerbaijani Transport Ministry, the ministry said on Jan.30. Salamov previously served as the head of the ministry's International Relations Department. Salamov replaced Chingiz Bakhishov in this post who in turn has been appointed adviser to the minister of transport, the ministry said. During a meeting held on Jan.30 at the ministry, the Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov stressed the necessity of carrying out work in the sphere of renovation of bus and car fleets, prevention of illegal activities of inspectors, application of electronic payment for public transport, passenger safety, etc.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/30/2014

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UZBEKISTAN: New Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Appointed

 

According to the Uzbek president`s order, Shukhrat Teshayev has been designated a minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, the press service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources said. According to the press service, the new head of the Ministry was presented at the ministry on Feb. 7. Before this designation, Teshayev had worked as the first deputy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, was a deputy of the Director General of science and production association "Pakhta tozalash". In September 2013, former minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Zafar Ruziyev was appointed Khokim (the head of the Administration) of Kashkadarya district.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/08/2014

 

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AUSTRALIA: CPSU Prepares to Brawl Abbott over Cuts and Conditions

 

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is sizing up for a bare-fisted bout with Tony Abbott’s government over the renegotiation of the more than 100 industrial agreements for federal agencies. Simply put, the sector is digging in for the biggest round of forced retrenchments in 15 years and unlikely to acquiesce to being short changed by ministerial rhetoric and promises that can’t be delivered. It’s not exactly a new tune either. The renegotiations of the crucial federal industrial instruments come as morale in the sector hits new depths and frustration mounts over the lack of policy direction and continued application of the previous Labor government’s Budget cuts that are on track to cull at least 14,500 jobs. The timing of the key public sector negotiations could not be worse; the Coalition government is now preparing the ground for what Treasurer Joe Hockey is selling as the end of the era of entitlement and the beginning of personal responsibility. As any financial planner will tell you, the government helps those who help themselves. So good luck with that when it comes to protecting retirement income.

 

Some of the novel proposals already floated by key ministers include the combination of frontline services from Australia Post, Medicare and Centrelink. This brave notion has been bookended by a mooted merger of the service delivery-oriented Department of Human Services with the recently reminted and policy driven Department of Social Services – a concept that could potentially deliver public servants back to a Hawke-era structure that was supposedly jettisoned for a more modernist model under former Prime Minister John Howard. However the big risk for the Abbott government is sure to come from well-seasoned and prospectively soon-to-be-redundant public servants simply refusing to cede any ground on pre-existing conditions and entitlements as a hedge against their payouts being potentially diminished. Public servants in their late-forties to mid-fifties – often Gen-Xers or older – ultimately have nothing to gain from bargaining away conditions in the final quarter of their career, particularly when many have already seen their personal investments and retirement capital badly depleted following the global financial crisis.

 

The most obvious calculation for many prospectively redundant public servants, and their union, is a call on whether to trade away long-held entitlements for a longer, if more uncertain, working future over protecting a payout that could provide much greater long-term financial security. The CPSU is not about to let rational fears over job security and  erosion of conditions go to waste as a tangible opportunity for the recruitment of new paying members, nor the re-engagement of lapsed believers. The union has progressively restricted the industrial relations and advocacy content of its website to paid-up members. That tactic appears aimed at both bolstering membership and restricting the flow of information to a recently elected government that has demonstrated overt hostility to not just unions but public sector productivity in general. Regardless of where perceived political bias or alleged allegiances may lay, the reality is that most of those being prepared for the chop have served a smorgasbord of diverse, often paradoxical, political interests to easily see through a cheap short sell to read the longer game.

 

The added fact that the present industrial instrument expires after the Budget at the end of June isn’t really in any government’s favour. The CPSU puts it this way. “We are deeply concerned the Government’s lack of transparency and consultation will lead to an unbalanced bargaining policy and delays. By leaving little time for genuine negotiations, the Government has made it more likely that staff will be offered sub-standard, take-it-or-leave-it agreements.” Don’t be fooled by the monotone drawl of the union’s delivery. Them’s fightin’ words from the folk that deliver inexperienced ministers from the jaws of Senate Estimates.

From http://www.governmentnews.com.au 02/14/2014

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Australian State Engages Citizens to Transform Service Delivery

 

Queensland State in Australia is engaging citizens to revitalise the delivery of frontline services through the One-Stop Shop. Information Technology Minister, Ian Walker, said that the One-Stop Shop will transform the way the Queensland Government delivers its frontline services, putting the customer first with a faster, simpler, more convenient approach. The Government has selected two areas - Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley - to launch a pilot of its One-Stop Shop programme based on their varied spread of industry and growing residential populations. “We’ll roll out a pilot programme trialling different models for service delivery and continue to work with residents to adjust and improve, and evaluate their successes,” the Minister noted. “Whether customers jump online, call or visit a counter, we want to make it easier to apply for and receive everything from fishing licenses, baby capsule hire and business support to camping permits and emergency updates. Our plan is to have moved 200 services online by the end of 2015 and we’ve made great progress with 38 new services online since July last year, including registering relationships, requesting historical birth certificates and checking your vehicle registration.” This pilot will not only deliver better services for residents of Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley, but will act as a template of how to improve service delivery across the State, he concluded.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 02/18/2014

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Public Service Wages and Conditions in Coalition Crosshairs

 

The Abbott government has moved decisively to put the rollback of long-standing employment conditions for 160,000 federal public servants at the forefront of its battle to curb the influence of unions, setting the stage for a major confrontation by mid-year. In a provocative manoeuvre certain to inflame already elevated tensions in the public service, government employees will be asked to choose between trading away conditions and entitlements for a maximum productivity-linked pay rise of 2.5 per cent or simply sacrificing any pay rise at all. A key element of the conditions the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says the government is trying to water down is personal and carer’s leave (effectively counted as sick leave) from present levels of between 18 and 20 days to a “service-wide maximum standard” of 15 days. Such leave provisions are generally accepted as more generous than private sector allowances. However ability to access higher levels of carer’s leave or similar provisions is widely regarded as an effective incentive for attracting the kind of full-time talent to the public sector that would otherwise command much higher remuneration in the private sector or be more expensive if resourced under contracting arrangements.

 

The hardball tactics come as the clock counts down to the expiry of Australian Public Service’s main industrial agreement by the end of this financial year and follows continued uncertainty over the number of forced redundancies that have been estimated to be between 14,500 and 26,500 positions. The key details of the government’s latest plans are contained in a new enterprise bargaining policy officially put to the powerful CPSU. Dubbed the Australian Government Employment and Workplace Relations Policy, the new guidelines indicate that the government wants agency heads to be essentially sidelined in forthcoming industrial negotiations. According to the CPSU, it is now highly likely the government will attempt to block ‘whole-of-service’ negotiations with the union by pushing a strict new and highly centralised bargaining model that requires deals to be struck agency-by-agency. Importantly, the CPSU claims that the latest moves by the government aim to “severely restrict” what department and agency chiefs can potentially negotiate into deals for their employees because they will be forced to stick to a rigid template that requires a representative of the Australian Public Service Commission.

 

The CPSU has also hit out at the level of oversight and control from Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service Senator Eric Abetz’s office, saying the new bargaining policy amounts to the centralised vetting of individual deals by the minister. “The Coalition Government is telling us it is not ready to talk about bargaining, yet it appears it has all but drafted the fine print on a highly-aggressive policy to cut real wages, conditions and rights,” said CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood. “Public sector workers are facing a double whammy. Firstly thousands of jobs are being cut and the remaining staff are being flogged harder to get the work done. Secondly, no-one is going to get a pay rise that keeps up with inflation, unless they agree to have their rights and conditions cut.” One issue that the Coalition’s industrial tacticians will have to deal with is the raising of political stakes around industrial relations after Senator Abetz hit out at “weak-kneed employers caving in to unreasonable union demands” – comments that were later bookended by the Abbott government’s announcement of a Royal Commission into union governance and corruption.

 

Government News understands there is a degree of unease within some parts of the Coalition that a fresh round of attacks on and already demoralised public service could act to impede the implementation of wider policy and service delivery reforms. One concern is that bureaucrats who are necessarily focused on their own survival are less likely to be effective in pushing for reforms internally or delivering the kind of workplace and systemic innovation now common in the private sector. Some public servants also indicated that a push to wind back conditions as a trade-off for minimum pay rises effectively reduced the ability of senior public servants to reward their high performers with tangible incentives, particularly if both the range and flexibility of options available were restricted because of industrial conflict.

From http://www.governmentnews.com.au 02/19/2014

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NEW ZEALAND: Govt TPP Forecast 'Doubtful' - Review

 

Government claims that New Zealand will see an economic gain of $4.5 billion from the proposed 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal are "doubtful," according to an academic review released Wednesday. The controversial TPP's economic benefits would be less than a quarter of those the government had claimed and the proposed trade deal, which is being negotiated in secret, would impose serious costs, said the report commissioned by the Sustainability Council of New Zealand. The government had repeatedly used estimates of $4.5 billion in gains by 2025 from the US-based Peterson Institute to justify the TPP. However, senior associate of the Victoria University Institute of Governance and Policy Studies Geoff Bertram concluded in a review that a third of the stated benefits should not be counted at all as they are outside established economic theory. The review concluded that only a minor part of the remaining gains were justified and that the total benefits likely to be available were less than a quarter of gains Trade Minister Tim Groser had claimed, said a statement from the Sustainability Council.

 

"In exchange for a small gain in relative terms, New Zealand is being asked to sign away large slabs of its sovereignty. The TPP bundles the small gains from trade with a wide range of non-trade matters that will set privileges for foreign investors. These would impose serious costs in the form of limitations on a government's ability to protect the public interest," it said. "More than any previous trade deal, it matters what gains are really available and whether these exceed costs. On the information publicly available, it is doubtful there is a net benefit for New Zealanders from the TPP." The review stated that "a proper accounting will be possible only when a full text is made public." The New Zealand government and negotiators have kept the texts of the proposed agreement under wraps, but Prime Minister John Key said last month that concluding the TPP was a"top priority." The Employers and Manufacturers Association dismissed the review as "mere speculation, premature and wildly misleading."

From Xinhua News Agency 02/05/2014

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New Zealand Appoints eHealth Ambassadors

 

Health Minister Tony Ryall has named a group of seven innovative GPs who will lead the way in a national rollout of patient portals this year. “A patient portal is an online service which allows a patient to securely log in and do things like check their latest laboratory test results, order a repeat prescription, or send a message directly to their GP – all from the convenience of their home,” explains the Minister. “This gives patients much greater access to their own health information and the ability to manage more aspects of their own care. The portals also offer huge benefits for doctors, and I’ve already received great feedback from GPs about the benefits of having this service in their practice.” The newly appointed eHealth Ambassadors are: Dr Richard Medlicott, a Wellington GP; Dr Bev Nicolls, a Nelson/Marlborough GP; Dr Damian Tomic, a Hamilton GP; Dr Brendon Eade, a Te Aroha GP; Dr Karl Cole, an Auckland GP; Dr Andrew Miller; a Whangarei GP; and Dr Sue Wells, University of Auckland.

 

The abovementioned eHealth Ambassadors are all either using a patient portal or are in the process of introducing one. They will work closely with the National Health IT Board to encourage more GPs to establish patient portals in their practices this year. “Between 15 to 20 percent of general practices have, or are in the process of implementing these portals. By the end of the year we want at least half of all general practices in New Zealand to be offering a patient portal. “Having these innovative GPs available to help other GPs with practical advice and give the benefit of their own experiences will really help to encourage the further rollout of portals around New Zealand,” he says.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 02/19/2014

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More Kiwis Go Online for Government Services

 

The aim is for an average 70% of New Zealanders’ most common transactions with government to be completed in a digital environment by 2017. New Zealanders are increasingly using government online services, as measurede by Better Public Services. Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says that by December 2013 an average of 43.3% of measured government service transactions were happening online, up from 29% in June 2012. The aim is for an average 70% of New Zealanders’ most common transactions with government to be completed in a digital environment by 2017. The target is measured through 10 key services provided online, including applying for a passport, filing an individual tax return, applying for Ministry of Social Development financial assistance, paying for vehicle licences and applying for overseas visas. Dunne says good progress is being made but there is more work to do to ensure more government services online are integrated. “New Zealanders expect to be able to access more and more services from devices such as smart phones and iPads,” he says.

From http://www.computerworld.co.nz 02/24/2014

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Challenge for Change Given to Public Servants

 

PUBLIC servants in East New Britain have been challenged to use a K1 billion from the Government over the next four years to change the lives of the people. Acting provincial administrator Akuila Tubal told public servants in Gazelle district during the provincial 2014 budget implementation consultative workshop on Tuesday at Vudal, the amount would consist of district and local level government services improvement programme funds over the next four years. “One billion kina over the next four years is a lot of money so let us try and create some impact for the good of our people,” he said. Tubal stressed the need for public servants to start planning properly now. “Towards the end of last year, I was amazed at the number of late claims coming to my office from the districts and this year the flow should be steady,” he said. “From this conference, we should be able to start programming the implementation programme so that by the end of the year we are not rushing.” Tubal said the provincial administration structure was undergoing review to improve communication among public servants and boost service delivery. He was concerned about overhead costs such as maintaining the provincial administration’s transport fleet and other services. He urged district administrators and LLG managers to work on realistic budget plans for next year that must meet the people’s expectations.

“I will be checking on my deputies if they are liaising with public servants to ensure that this is done.”

From http://www.thenational.com.pg 02/24/2014

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SOLOMON ISLANDS: Launching Its New Electronic Civil Registration System

 

Solomon Islands has taken another step forward in improving its services to citizens with the official launching of its new Electronic Civil Registration Database System, replacing the previous paper- based system, on Friday 7th February in Honiara. This new system guarantees a much more secure, centralized, reliable and transparent system of storing and maintaining records of all births in Solomon Islands, as well as capturing and maintaining data on other key vital events such as deaths, causes of deaths, changes of names, and eventually other functions including marriages and adoptions. During the launch, the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, the Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs Fred Fakarii, together with Fiona Misake, 11 year old girl from Malaita province, had their births registered and were presented with their birth certificates. The Prime Minister opened his official remarks at the launch of the system emphasizing how it marks a very significant milestone in the development of the country. In explaining to the audience what birth registration is, the Prime Minister highlighted that, “a birth certificate is the most tangible proof that a Government legally recognizes a child as a Member of society” and that a child who is not registered at birth is invisible in the eyes of the authorities.”

 

Chief of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Solomon Islands, Yun Jong Kang, highlighted the importance of birth registration as the right of every child. “The Convention on the Rights of the Child says that every child has the right to be registered at birth without any discrimination, however birth registration is more than just a right; it is the starting point for recognizing a child’s identity and existence.” He explained that birth registration guarantees a birth certificate which is essential to access key services such as school enrolment, health treatment, social security benefits, opening a bank account, obtaining a passport to travel overseas, as well as supporting the enforcement of minimum age legislation as in the case of child marriage or children getting in contact with the justice system. The coverage of birth registration of children in Solomon Islands is currently unknown. However, according to a UNICEF-supported assessment carried out in 2007, Solomon Islands is estimated to be the lowest in the Pacific with approximately 0.1% of all births formally registered in 2007. Yun Jong Kang said that because of this, UNICEF’s support aims to assist the Solomon Islands Government to progress towards its target of 100% births registered in Solomon Islands by 2015, as detailed in the Solomon Islands’ National Children’s Policy.

 

Among the key efforts to strengthen birth registration coverage in Solomon Islands since 2010, the partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health to facilitate direct registration at birth through selected health facilities across the country (currently in Honiara, Western Province, Choiseul Province and Guadalcanal), as well as the establishment of the centralized electronic database to strengthen accuracy and reliability of Civil Registration data and processes. “It is our hope that the Government will fully integrate this system into the Ministry of Home Affairs plan, including future allocation of human and financial resources, to ensure sustainability”. Kang also acknowledged the partnership with the Solomon Islands Government, Development partners, particularly WHO and SPC, together with funding support from the European Union, Australian Government, and the New Zealand Government. Birth Registration and Civil Registration services are currently available in Honiara, at the Civil Registration Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs, level 6, Anthony Saru Building.

From UNICEF PACIFIC/PACNEWS 02/12/2014

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Solomon Islands Gov’t Urged to Table Truth and Reconciliation Report

 

Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) has renewed calls for the tabling of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) report. The group urged the Prime Minister to address the TRC report which has already gone viral and interpreted in different languages around the world. FSII President, Redley Raramo said the Prime Minister must put aside his angry outburst of the unconventional release of the TRC report. “There is no way we can correct the wrong that was made,” Mr Raramo said. “Avoidance of addressing the repercussion of the spilled report is not the way forward. Now it is time the government looks constructively at ways to facilitate the report to ensure recommendations proposed in the report are fully adhered and carried out accordingly by the responsible government. “The reality is that, the odd has emerged hence it is only relevant that our PM lead the way in solving the consequential effects. The results only reflect the frustrations of the people as reflected through numerous calls made by different organisations, civil societies and individuals for a serious consideration of the timely release but to no avail hence the action although legal has been flawed. As such it is fitting; the government speedily organises itself to critically handle and face the reality because avoidance will only fuel much desperation from the victims affected by the evil tensions”.

 

Raramo the PM should swiftly intervene in a more prudent manner to start the process of administering and facilitating by first tabling it on the floor of parliament by way of fulfilling Part VI section 17(1) of the TRC Act. He said this is to achieve and effectively pursue relevant and pragmatic approaches for the speedy healing of our nation. FSII chief executive officer Benjamin Afuga said: “Now let’s face the truth…it’s time to stand up, unshackle the hatred, bad memories, trauma, and pain. “Let’s fasten forgiveness, embrace love, hug joy, enjoy peace, enrich unity and move forward to find true healing, progress and prosperity”. Afuga said he believed the big call now is how everyone can help the government deal with the leaked TRC report. “Let’s stop talking about Terry Brown and the PM. No one will ever change the fact that the TRC report has been leaked and already seen by many Solomon Islanders, including the entire world.”

From http://www.pina.com.fj 02/19/2014

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Digitisation's Labour Reduction Effect Will Cause Social Unrest: Gartner Analyst

 

IT's disruptive influence will have major social repercussions in the coming years. According to Brian Prentice, VP of Gartner Research, one of the top future trends is the increasing effect of digitisation on labour. "By 2020, the labour reduction effect of digitisation will cause social unrest," he said in a presentation today in Singapore. It means the world will see more "Occupy Wall Street" kind of movements in the near future. This will trigger "a quest for new economic models in several mature economies." This current economic model presents a conundrum for both business leaders and political leaders of the world: The world's population will grow 9 billion over the next 50 years; however, as economies are getting increasingly digitised, there will be less and less jobs for humans. "CEOs and CIOs are focused on growing shareholder value, so this is not what concerns them," said Prentice. "However, this is a serious realisation that is setting in. They will have to think about society at large."

 

This trend will not only affect the jobs of blue collar workers (industrial workers), it will also affect the careers of knowledge workers. "The rise of smart machines will impact jobs of knowledge workers in both positive and negative ways," said Prentice. He gave the example of Siri as a positive aid. However, a technology like Bitcoins might threaten jobs in the credit card industry (finance). In his predictions, Prentice covered areas such as the digital industrial revolution, digital business, smart machines and the Internet of Things and how all these could disrupt the realities of our world.

 

3D printing

One of the major disruptions will come from 3D printing. "3D printing will determine most of our future," he said. "It will disrupt the supply chain dynamics." By 2016, there will be many legal issues around the question of bioprinting (3D printing of tissues and human organs). One of the side-effects of 3D printing will be an increase in counterfeiting of goods. "Counterfeit goods are inevitable," he said. "By 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least US$100 billion per year in intellectual property globally."

Some of the other predictions by Gartner are as follows:

- Digital business and crowdsourcing: By 2017, 75 percent of consumer innovation will come from crowdsourcing solution

- Business of personal data: By 2017, 80 percent of consumers will trade or barter their personal data for cost savings or convenience.

- Digital security gets more difficult to guarantee: By 2020, enterprises and governments will fail to protect 75 percent of sensitive data

- The rise of learning machines - By 2017, 20 percent of computers will be learning (like IBM's Watson) rather than processing.

- The Internet of Things will take off - 15 billion to 1 trillion things will be connected to 2020

- Wearable Technologies will also take off

 

An ICT market worth US$4.2 trillion

According to Andy Rowsell-Jones, Vice President at Gartner Research, the world's ICT market will be worth US$4.2 trillion by 2017. He was discussing business model innovation and how to unleash digital value in companies at the same event.

He unveiled his five golden rules to find digitiasation opportunities:

- For every business issue or opportunity, you must ask yourself: how digital will affect you?

- Address issue of business cannibalisation (by competitors) quickly and courageously

- Think of digital and physical in combination

- Focus on the evolution of your digital ecosystem

- Embed digital execution in multi-disciplinary teams

From http://news.idg.no/ 01/28/2014

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More Governments Want Twitter User Data

 

As with other technology companies, the number of requests for Twitter users' data from governments worldwide has continued to rise, it reported Thursday in a report showing that it complies with requests from U.S. authorities about 70 percent of the time. The number of government requests for user account information increased by 22 percent overall during the latter half of 2013, to 1,410 total requests, Twitter reported in its fourth biannual transparency report. The majority of the requests, at 59 percent, came from the U.S., with Japan ranking a distant second at 15 percent. However, unlike other technology companies, Twitter does not include requests for data related to U.S. national security because of the government's requirement that such information be provided only in vague terms. Last week, an agreement was reached between the U.S. Department of Justice and technology companies to allow them to say more about national security-related data requests they receive. Twitter was not a party to that agreement, made in the wake of disclosures around government surveillance leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

 

Twitter does not say anything about the numbers of national security-related orders it receives, if any. The company says it is taking this route because of the restrictions put in place by the DOJ. As it stands now, companies are allowed to break out data requests coming from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court versus national security letters (NSLs), but only in ranges of 1,000. "Allowing Twitter, or any other similarly situated company, to only disclose national security requests within an overly broad range seriously undermines the objective of transparency," said Jeremy Kessel, Twitter's manager of global legal policy, on Thursday. But that hasn't stopped Google, Facebook and Microsoft from saying more. On Monday, Microsoft made a surprising disclosure when it said that for the first half of 2013, it received between 0 and 999 FISA orders seeking user content. For the requests that Twitter does disclose, which usually involve criminal law enforcement, the company often complies in the U.S., providing some users' information nearly 70 percent of the time during the latter half of 2013, a compliance rate that has stayed roughly the same since at least 2012, when Twitter first started releasing its transparency reports.

 

In Japan, Twitter's compliance rate has been below 25 percent since 2012. Twitter does give some reasons for why it may not comply with requests. "We do not comply with requests that fail to identify a Twitter account," the company says on its website. Twitter also says it seeks to narrow requests that are overly broad. The company says it notifies users of requests for their account information, unless it is prohibited by statute or court order. But if Twitter complies nearly 70 percent of the time for the U.S. government requests it discloses, that also means Twitter does not comply more than 30 percent of the time. That's actually a high rate and shows that Twitter is doing a good job in how it handles certain types of government data requests, said Parker Higgins, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who specializes in freedom of speech.

 

Each year EFF releases its "Who Has Your Back" report, which grades companies' data protection practices based on whether they require a warrant for content, or publish law enforcement guidelines, among other factors. Last year, Twitter ranked among the top performers in the survey, tying with Sonic.net, an Internet service provider. The real mystery might be Twitter's policies around how long it holds on to users' data, which may include IP address records, Higgins said. The EFF advocates for "data minimization procedures," to limit the amount of potentially sensitive user data that companies might hold on to. Often companies don't review their policies in this area as much as they should, he said. Twitter did not reply to a request for comment about its report.

From http://news.idg.no/ 02/06/2014

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Slow Growth in the Middle East and North Africa Region Calls for Bold Approach to Economic Reform

 

Ongoing regional tensions, together with a challenging external environment, have hit the economies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region hard. Economic growth is slowing, fiscal buffers are depleting, unemployment is rising, and inflation is mounting in seven transition countries in the region. Long overdue reforms, that could help spur growth and create jobs, have continued to be delayed to avoid further social and political discontent. The World Bank Group’s latest Quarterly Economic Brief argues that these countries should seize the opportunity to advance structural reforms needed to break the vicious circle of slow growth and political instability. “Governments in these countries cannot afford to continue short term policy actions such as increasing public sector wages and subsidies”, says Shanta Devarajan, World Bank Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa region.  “These policies exacerbate a situation which is driven by long-standing structural weaknesses, including labor market rigidities, complicated and opaque regulations, infrastructure deficiencies, regressive and inefficient subsidies, and inadequate social safety nets”.

 

The report, entitled Middle East and North Africa: Growth slowdown heightens the need for reforms, assesses the macroeconomic situation in seven of the region’s most vulnerable economies-- Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Libya -- post Arab Spring and emphasizes the urgency of the reforms needed to reverse the downward spiral of these economies.  The report outlines reform priorities and challenges for these countries. It cautions that raising general subsidies and public sector wages will impose fiscal pressures on the government and reduce the fiscal space available for spending priorities on health, education and investment in infrastructure. “Policymakers have resisted reforms lest they increase social discontent.  But reforms can both create fiscal space and help restructure the economy towards job creation and inclusive growth”, argues Lili Mottaghi, World Bank MENA Economist and principal author of the report.

 

Oil-importing countries, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon suffer from years of underinvestment, especially in industry and infrastructure. In Egypt, the barriers to doing business are numerous and cronyism dominates the private sector.  In Tunisia, social and economic disparities across regions remain key economic challenges. The Lebanese economy suffers from inadequate public services, overcrowded public schools and limited access to government clinics and hospitals for low income people, especially in rural areas. In Jordan, urgent reforms including streamlining business regulations, removing labor market rigidities, and improving the efficiency of public spending, are needed for macroeconomic stability. And the influx of Syrian refugees has stretched all of these sectors to the limit. The mismanagement of petroleum resources heightens the urgency for economic diversification in oil exporters in order to address long-term financial and economic stability in Iran, Yemen and Libya.  Public and quasi-public sectors are large and hindering private sector development in these countries. “The lack of access to financing, uncertainty in the legal environment and a fragile security situation are preventing private sector growth“, says Devarajan.  Streamlining general subsidies is urgent because of their large share in the government budget which reduces space for pro-poor and pro-growth expenditures. Governments’ fiscal positions in Yemen and Libya are deteriorating and short and medium term financing needs remain large.

From http://www.worldbank.org/ 02/07/2014

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Report Stresses Need for Bold Moves Toward Gender Equality at Work

 

A new report by the World Bank Group stresses the need for bold, coordinated actions to advance equal opportunities for women in the world of work, such as addressing gender biases early, expanding women’s access to property and finance, and raising legal retirement ages—with major payoffs in tackling poverty. By virtually every global measure, women are more economically excluded than men, according to Gender at Work. Trends suggest women’s labor force participation worldwide over the last two decades has stagnated, dropping from 57 to 55 percent globally. This is despite accumulating evidence that jobs benefit women, families, businesses, and communities. “We know that reducing gender gaps in the world of work can yield broad development dividends: improving child health and education, enhancing poverty reduction, and catalyzing productivity,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “This agenda is urgent. Failure to act represents a huge missed opportunity. Progress so far has been too little and too slow.”

 

“Today, many more girls are going to school and living longer, healthier lives than 30 or even 10 years ago. But this has not translated into broader gains,” Kim said. “Too many women still lack basic freedoms and opportunities and face huge inequalities in the world of work.” The report says since women face multiple constraints to jobs, starting early and extending throughout their lives, progressive, broad-based, and coordinated policy action is needed to close gender gaps. A companion to the 2013 World Development Report on jobs, it says options should include mainstreaming gender equality into jobs and growth strategies, reforming legal systems, and engaging the private sector in innovative solutions to promote gender equality. It also says social norms can exacerbate the deprivation and constraints women face. Nearly four in 10 people globally—close to one half in developing countries—agree that when jobs are scarce, men are more entitled to them than women. Common constraints faced by the most disadvantaged women include lack of mobility, time, and skills, exposure to violence, and the absence of basic legal rights.

 

“Poor women in particular are likely to confront multiple, overlapping constraints,” World Bank Group Gender and Development Director Jeni Klugman, co–author of the report with Matthew Morton, said. “Leveling the playing field and unleashing their economic potential could be a game-changer in tackling extreme poverty.” In Latin America and the Caribbean, women’s labor force participation has risen by 35 percent since 1990. Analysis by the World Bank Group has found that in 2010, extreme poverty would have been 30 percent higher and average income inequality 28 percent higher, were it not for women’s increased income through increased labor earnings, access to pensions, and labor force participation from 2000-2010. Country-level diagnostics are vital to help governments in determining the best policies and more involvement by the private sector—by far the largest source of jobs—is critical, the report says.

 

The private sector can lead the way by creating family-friendly working environment and policies, attracting women into non-traditional roles and sectors, and reviewing human resource policies and systems for addressing discrimination and harassment. And more investment is needed to fill major gaps in data and knowledge. To advance gender equality at work, the report recommends governments target actions that cover a woman’s life cycle—saying interventions that focus only on women of productive age start too late and end too early. Biases can begin very early in life, sometimes in subtle ways, making it ultimately difficult and costly to resolve inequality.

 

Gender at Work recommends a range of policies for governments to consider over a woman’s lifetime:

During childhood and youth, policies can tackle inequalities through education and training, such as incentives for girls to attend school. For women of productive age, actions to be considered include eliminating restrictions in labor and employment; allowing and encouraging women’s ownership and joint-titling of land; and enforcing equitable inheritance laws. Other strategies include family-friendly leave and flexibility policies, affordable childcare and early child development programs, and infrastructure development to reduce burdens on women’s time for household and care work. Equal access to assets and financial services are vital. Addressing constraints outside the formal sector is particularly important in low-income countries, since most people—and more so women—do not work for wages and salaries.

 

For older women, governments can support equitable old-age labor regulations combined with appropriate social protection. Retirement and pension ages for men and women should be equal and targeted programs can upgrade skills among older women willing and able to work, while pension policies can provide protection without discouraging women’s work. The report warns that ageing populations in the developing world will become increasingly important for governments to consider. Through 2050, the old-age dependency ratio in developing countries is expected to soar by 144 percent, during which time the child dependency ratio is projected to fall by 20 percent, altering the nature of the care burden in families and societies.

 

“Today only half of women’s productive potential is being utilized globally. This is a waste, since gender equality in the world of work is a win-win for development and for business. The commitment must begin with fostering girls’ and boys’ skills and aspirations equally from their early years, so it stays with them long enough that they and future generations enjoy a more equitable and prosperous world,” Klugman said. The International Labor Organization estimates almost half of women’s productive potential globally is unutilized compared to 22 percent of men’s. Closing these gender gaps could yield enormous dividends for development: A Goldman Sachs study finds that narrowing gender gaps in em­ployment could push per capita income in emerging markets up to 14 percent higher by 2020.

From http://www.worldbank.org/ 02/20/2014

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3D Printing and Wearable Tech to Transform Asia CIOs' Role

 

Among Gartner's latest top 10 predictions on global IT market, the rising of 3D printing and wearable tech are expected to be most significant to Asia's CIOs. The research firm noted the by 2018, 3D printing will result a minimum loss of US$100 billion per year from intellectual property (IP) theft. Manufacturers are expected to take the biggest hit, as 3D printers can allow IP theft to easily scan and produce large quantities of items that exactly replicate the original products, according to Michael Warrilow, research director at Gartner, in his recent visit in Hong Kong. "At least one major western manufacturer will claim to have had IP stolen for a mainstream product by thieves using 3D printers (by 2015)," stated the firm.

 

Massive impact to Chinese manufacturers

He said the accessibility of 3D printers can also tremendously bring down the cost and take the manufacturing locations much closer to consumers, reducing the value of low cost manufacturing plans in Asia, particularly in China. "The potential impact [to the Chinese manufacturers] is massive, in a negative way," he said. "It is not going to get rid of manufacturing, but 3D printing will allow mass customization and personalization." Apart from losing its advantage in cost competitiveness and customization, Chinese manufacturers also lack the ability to assert IP, creating a more challenging environment for them. "This has already happened to music and it has happened to books in some degree," added Warrilow. "Industries are being transformed in the digital era, it is happening in the marketing (industry) right now, we believe manufacturers will go through the same with 3D printing as a catalyst." The earlier the Asia and Chinese manufacturers and their CIOs realize the situation and prepare for it, the more likely they can reduce the risk. He said manufacturers could start looking at protective measures like stamping or sealing their products or working with insurance company to develop protection policies.

 

75% of sensitive data will not be protected

Gartner also predicted that "by 2020, enterprises and government will fail to protect 75% of sensitive data, and declassify and grant broad/public access to it." "The reason why is pretty clear because it's really unrealistic and unlikely to protect the vast amount of data," said Warrilow. The research firm said at least one more Snowden or WikiLeaks moment will occur by 2015 and more NSA-like organizations will develop technics to access corporate data that both enterprises and governments will find it very challenging to protect. Instead of fencing all the data, he said enterprises should focus on data classification and apply maximum protection to only the top 25% of data. "So I'd tell the CIOs to close their eyes, take a deep breath and let it go," he said. "But they can't. They may be so fixated on it that they will have the ultimate security, but it still won't work and their businesses slowly disappear into the digital horizon." Warrilow added it is important to have good security, but if such protection "does not support the business model and the transformation it needed, it's not worth it."

 

Privacy and IoT

He noted part of the reasons enterprises will find it difficult to protect all their data is that more consumers are willing to "barter their personal data for cost saving, convenience and customization." Gartner predicted that in three years (2017), 80% of consumers are willing to do that. "Consumer interest in self-tracking also suggests that consumers are investing more time and energy in collecting data about themselves," said the research firm. "They increasingly view such data as a key asset for life improvement, which is potentially consistent with the idea of trading it for value under the right circumstances." Warrilow added that IoT is expected to pick up even faster in Asia, where mobility is more prevalent. Consumers' interest to collect and trade their personal data means enterprises will find it difficult to protect sensitive data. But it will also create business opportunities as "by 2020, consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5% of sales," according to Gartner.

 

What do these mean to the CIOs?

According to Warrilow, more organizations will introduce new titles like Chief Digital Officer (CDO), whose specific job is to raise the enterprises digital footprint and grow the business via digital channels. CIOs need to be able to transform into these roles or eventually being replaced from CDOs. "I'd like to see the CIOs to become CDOs," he said. "But many will keep the traditional role and won't be the CIOs by 2024, or they may have a CDO to replace its job by then." "CIOs are also encouraged to move beyond the three to five years planning horizon, as the implications of these technologies covers to 2020 — 2022. These changes are societal to human changes, they will come with discomfort and require the CIOs to be a true leader of technological change, rather than just a leader of technologies," Warrilow concluded.

From http://www.computerworld.com.sg/ 02/03/2014

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Asia-Pacific Secure Content Management Market CY2012

 

The Asia-Pacific Secure Content Management (SCM) market continued to perform well during 2012, posting a healthy YoY growth of 13.7 percent, despite economic uncertainties posting negative impact on regional enterprises. The spending sentiment on email and Web security technologies remained high across enterprises, and it is set to continue in the future. The stable growth was mainly driven by greater understanding among businesses of the criticality of content security solutions to business communications and its value in preventing increasingly sophisticated threats and attacks.

 

Executive Summary

• The Asia-Pacific Secure Content Management (SCM) market continued to perform well during 2012, posting a healthy Year-over-Year (YoY) growth of X% despite economic uncertainties casting a negative impact on regional enterprises. The spending sentiment on email and Web security technologies remained high across enterprises, and it is set to continue in the future. Stable growth was mainly driven by greater understanding of the criticality of content security solutions to business communications and their value in preventing increasingly sophisticated threats and attacks.

• The market continued to be fuelled by the contributions of big markets, such as Japan, ANZ and Greater China. While Japan and ANZ witnessed a slowdown in terms of growth rates due to various market challenges, Greater China experienced a strong growth of X% in 2012. The year saw stable economic conditions in these regions, which increased business confidence and led to increased spending on Web and email security solutions.

 

• Greater demand for secure content management solutions was also observed across enterprises in India and the ASEAN region, thanks to growing market potential and, more importantly, the relatively high prevalence of greenfield opportunities. The Asia-Pacific security content management (SCM) market is expected to be mainly driven by business growth and performance in these regions.

• Across technology segments, the SCM market was still led by the adoption of email security solutions, as email has increasingly become an important communication tool for enterprises in their day-to-day operations. Therefore, ensuring the security of email gateways has become one of the highest priorities for most enterprises.

 

• On the Web security front, with more enterprises looking to leverage on the potential offered by the Web, there was a growing need for them to strike a fine balance between restricting and enabling Web access for their employees. Enterprises were particularly interested in increasing visibility, managing employee Web behavior better, and obtaining greater control over Web content, especially micro-applications which are a common feature of Web sites.

• Security issues faced by email and Web security gateways are expected to be exacerbated by the rising prevalence of enterprise mobility and the growing adoption of bring your own devices or bring your own applications (BYOD or BYOA) trends. In this way, enterprises are likely to experience increased threat exposure brought about by mobile devices, many of which may become attack vectors or pose greater risk issues due to intentional or unintentional human errors.

 

• The lack of recent market buzz and innovation in email and Web security technologies has caused the segments to be overshadowed by other security technologies in some instances. As such, the onus is on content security vendors to introduce more capabilities into the solutions and create greater value for their customers, especially in terms of how future content security technologies are going to impact the business perspectives of an organization beyond simply catering to the IT perspective.

 

CEO's Perspective

1. An increasing number of competitors offering cloud-based security services as an alternative to software and hardware solutions would dampen the growth prospect for SCM product markets.

2. A proliferation of new mobile technologies, along with the big trend of enterprise mobility or BYOD, would boost the technology demand for current content security solutions.

3. Web security gateway solutions have evolved to be more behavior- or user-centric, in addition to providing threat intelligence.

 

Market Overview—Definitions

Email Security

Refers to technology developed to filter or screen emails for spam, malware, or other objectionable content. The principal function of email filtering is to eliminate sending and receiving unsolicited emails (spam) or security threats that are often embedded in emails. Email filtering can be deployed as a stand-alone gateway solution, as part of security appliances, or together with the email servers (Groupware) within the network.

Web Security

URL Filtering refers to technology (based on URL) developed to screen and block Web sites or sections off Web sites that are deemed inappropriate, offensive, or undesirable and those that may contain embedded security threats. URL filtering is mainly deployed at the gateway level.

 

Recreational Application Controllers

Recreational Application Controllers refers to technology developed to filter and block any recreational application, be it peer-to-peer (P2P), wikis, or instant message applications or words and phrases defined by administers. Recreational application controllers can be for either intranet (designed to be used within the corporate network) or the Internet. Others refers to technologies other than the above-mentioned ones, for instance, auditing, recording, proxy identification, Web content rating, etc.

 

Market Overview—Geographical Coverage

Greater China

China

Hong Kong

Taiwan

South Korea

Japan

ANZ

Australia

New Zealand

India

ASEAN

Singapore

Malaysia

Indonesia

• The Philippines

Thailand

Vietnam

 

Key Questions This Study Will Answer

Is the SCM market growing? How long will it continue to grow, and at what rate?

Are the existing competitors structured correctly to meet customer needs?

Will SCM solutions continue to exist, or will they get replaced by other solutions?

How will the structure of the market change with time?

Will the products and services become features in other markets?

Are the vendors in the market ready to go it alone, or do they need partnerships to take their business to the next level?

 

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Market Overview

3. Total Secure Content Management Market

• External Challenges: Drivers and Restraints

• Forecast and Trends

• Market Share and Competitive Analysis

4. ANZ Breakdown

5. ASEAN Breakdown

6. Greater China Breakdown

7. India Breakdown

8. Japan Breakdown

9. South Korea Breakdown

10. The Last Word

11. Appendix

From http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/ 02/05/2014

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CommunicAsia2014, EnterpriseIT2014 and BroadcastAsia2014 Showcase Breakthrough Technologies for an Increasingly Connected World

 

Social media, big data analytics, OTT, multi-platform screening and CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) have been cited in various industry reports as some of the key trends to watch in 2014. These trends are fuelled by a steep increase in consumption of data and entertainment on mobile devices, with mobile data traffic in Asia Pacific expected to exceed the rest of the world by 2017. End-users now seek reliable and seamless services on the go; and the industry is responding with a proliferation of cutting-edge solutions such as business analytics, cloud services, social TV, and second/multi screens that help consumers stay connected in an evolving digital world. "As the dominance of mobility proliferates in every aspect of our lives, businesses in Asia need to be agile and flexible to reach out to the always-connected consumer, while maintaining a competitive edge in the market. Our comprehensive showcase of the latest products and solutions including connected devices, multi-screen broadcasting, satellite mobility applications and ultra HD, across CommunicAsia, EnterpriseIT and BroadcastAsia will enable companies to explore sustainable business models to remain competitive and current," says Mr. Victor Wong, Project Director of Communication Events, Singapore Exhibition Services.

 

The application of these technologies will be intertwined throughout the three exhibitions and conferences. Visitors will not only get to experience the convergence of technologies, they will also get to unlock new business pathways with access to networking with major global industry players. CommunicAsia2014, EnterpriseIT2014 and BroadcastAsia2014: Where Mobility and Connectivity Take Centre Stage. Enabling technologies for the entire mobile ecosystem, ranging from satellite communications, embedded technology, mobile technologies to multi-platform screening and broadcasting, will come together during CommunicAsia2014, EnterpriseIT2014 and BroadcastAsia2014 when the industry's most established event opens from 17 to 20 June 2014 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

 

CommunicAsia2014 together with EnterpriseIT2014 will demonstrate how various technologies connect people, enterprises and cities with three new thematic clusters - NXT Cities, NXT Enterprises and NXT Connected Services:

-- NXT Cities - focuses on technologies that enable the progression towards a truly connected city

-- NXT Enterprises - spotlight on services that are designed to improve business operations, including business analytics and cloud services

-- NXT Connected Services - demonstrates the enormous potential for a personalised experience to stay connected at anytime, anywhere with any devices

 

Agilent, AppearTV, Eltek, KORE Wireless, PCCW Global, Siemens, ST Electronics and Toshiba Electronics are just some of many key market leaders whom have confirmed their participation at CommunicAsia2014 and EnterpriseIT2014. A part of CommunicAsia2014, SatComm2014 will return to provide a strategic base for the global satellite community to showcase the latest satellite communications and turnkey solutions that meets the critical needs of Asia's entire mobile ecosystem. Confirmed exhibitors include APT Satellite, Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS), Asia Satellite Telecommunications (AsiaSat), China Satellite Communications, Inmarsat, Intelsat, MEASAT, SES and THAICOM.

 

BroadcastAsia2014 will feature the hottest state-of-the-art technologies and solutions from acquisition to production to delivery that will enhance the multi-screen experience for users 'on the go'. Key highlights include:

-- Sportscasting - featuring latest technological leaps related to sportscasting, from acquisition to production to delivery

-- ProfessionalAudioTechnology - an international showcase for professional audio equipment, services and technology

-- Cinematography / Film / Production Zone - a one-stop venue for the showcase of ground-breaking motion picture production tools and software

Confirmed exhibitors at BroadcastAsia2014 include Canon, EVS, GoPro, Gospell, Grass Valley, Harris and Playbox Technology.

 

Knowledge Transfer Platform

Comprising visionary keynotes and specialised industry sessions, the CommunicAsia2014 and BroadcastAsia2014 International Conferences bring a knowledge transfer hub and networking platform for attendees to debate and discuss critical upcoming trends such as disruptive technologies in the ICT and broadcast market landscapes, industry risk factors and models for success that will enable companies to ride the mobility wave and remain profitable. The CommunicAsia2014 Summit will examine exciting new trends such as using big data analytics to power the 'Internet of Things'. An impressive line-up of conference tracks will cover the latest hot topics including the 'Internet of Things', the rise of VSAT mobility solutions for land, air and sea, enterprise consumerisation and CYOD, presented by C-level industry thought-leaders from companies such as Celcom Axiata, Dell, SES, SingTel and Telekom Malaysia.

 

BroadcastAsia2014 International Conference will delve deep into OTT as well as the role of social media in the future of TV, whilst the Creative Content Production Conference 2014 will focus on content creation and distribution, and the technical aspects of 4K. An insightful series of conference tracks will cover the latest disruptive technologies that enable companies to increase eyeballs, with specialised tracks on Asian audiences and strategies for success in Asia. Experts from EVS, Media Prima Digital, Mediacorp, Nielsen and Sony will present case studies and share their thought-provoking ideas at the conferences. CommunicAsia, EnterpriseIT and BroadcastAsia saw more than 51,000 trade attendees from 100 different countries/regions in 2013.

From http://www.japancorp.net/ 02/06/2014

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Think Differently for Asia's Water, Food, and Energy Security - ADB President

 

It is critical that Asia’s precious but increasingly scarce water resources are managed in a coordinated way to ensure the region has not only sufficient water but also enough food and energy to meet its needs, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao said today. “We need to think differently about water and its uses for food and energy production—and take action,” Mr. Nakao told delegates in a keynote speech at the 14th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi. Asian Water Development Outlook 2013 notes that 36 of ADB’s 48 Asian member countries, including the People’s Republic of China and India, have poor water security, with some nations facing imminent water crises that threaten their food and energy security. ADB’s Food Security in Asia and the Pacific publication calls for a new approach in addressing malnutrition while the Energy Outlook for Asia and the Pacific looks at the policy, social, infrastructure, and technology issues affecting energy demand. Mr. Nakao said it is critical to look at the links - or nexus - between water, food, and energy.

 

Excessive groundwater has been extracted in some places because subsidized energy allows for unrestricted use of electric power pumps. This in turn threatens water shortages for farmers and a lower power supply to other users. Such distorted pricing must disappear. Meanwhile, rising energy use will squeeze already scarce water resources since large quantities of water are needed for extracting energy and refining fuels.  As 80% of water use is for agriculture, water shortages lead to food shortages. The region must change its mindset to understand that “food wasted is water and energy wasted,” Mr. Nakao said. He said river basin organizations that gather users, utilities, and government representatives are key to resolving competition between different uses for water. ADB is working with such organizations to encourage collaborative water management, set up new institutions with better data and information, and encourage innovative technologies. These activities are helping improve water security for more than 400 million people in around 30 rivers basins in the region. The annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit gathers policymakers, experts, and leaders from business, academia, and civil society to discuss sustainable development. The event is organized by The Energy and Resources Institute, based in New Delhi.

From http://www.adb.org/ 02/06/2014

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APEC to Recognize 'Intelligent Transportation' Innovator

 

APEC has opened the nomination period for the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research, and Education, also known as the ASPIRE Prize, which in 2014 will honor a young scientist whose work has made an outstanding contribution to ‘intelligent transportation.’ The theme reflects APEC member economies’ focus on improving regional connectivity further during China’s year as APEC chair, including joint work on infrastructure development and the promotion of sustainable transportation solutions. It was selected in recognition of the bigger influence transportation is exerting on economic growth, environmental protection and people’s livelihoods as more APEC economies face rapid urbanization. “Infrastructure needs are becoming more apparent and must be addressed to support increasing flows of goods and people that are crisscrossing the Pacific Rim,” added Dr Alan Bollard, the APEC Secretariat’s Executive Director. “Joint research within the region is helping to improve infrastructure planning, construction and management to create more efficient supply chains, and in ways that take economic and environmental considerations into greater account.”

 

The ASPIRE Prize celebrates collaboration between APEC researchers, universities, research centers and businesses that fosters ideas and technologies which drive more robust, integrated and sustainable economic activity. Nominees are evaluated based on the merits of their research, as validated by scholarly publication, and collaboration with scientists from other APEC economies. This year’s ASPIRE Prize spotlights developments in areas such as civil engineering, intelligent transport systems, traffic engineering and urban planning. The goal is to encourage innovation that is vital to ensuring better connectivity in the APEC region. Asian economies will require about USD8 trillion in infrastructure development for the period between 2010 and 2020 alone, according to the Asian Development Bank. “'Intelligent transportation solutions will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of regional connectivity and promote smart, clean and low-carbon urbanization,” said Dr. Agus Hoetman, Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation which administers the ASPIRE Prize.

 

The award will be presented later this year. It is sponsored by Wiley and Elsevier, two publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge. The winner will receive USD25,000 in prize money. “The 2014 ASPIRE Prize recognizes scientists from the APEC region who are working together on innovative solutions and systems to solve transportation and urbanization challenges,” said Stephen M. Smith, Wiley’s President and CEO. “The award nominations that are submitted as APEC China 2014 gets underway will provide a window into how young researchers are contributing to the region's growth and connectivity,” concluded YoungSuk Chi, Chairman of Elsevier. Each of APEC’s 21 member economies may nominate one individual under 40 years of age for the 2014 ASPIRE Prize.

From http://www.apec.org/ 02/13/2014

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CHINA: More Funding for Key Technology Pledged

 

China will better manage its scientific research funds to ensure key technologies receive more fiscal support, a government statement said on Wednesday.Frontier technologies, strategic high technologies and those that have a bearing on social welfare will be supported by a combination of governmental fiscal input and social capital, according to the statement issued after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.Technological innovations can boost social development and economic upgrading, the statement said, noting the need for reforms to research fund management to ensure funding reaches innovative and competitive teams.Scientific institutions are encouraged to cooperate with enterprises to facilitate the industrial application of science and technology. Personnel flows between the institutions and companies are also encouraged, in the hope that it can enable talented people to benefit from research findings.

 

Government approvals for technological research will be streamlined while supervision of the fund's use will be strengthened, the statement said, citing a "blacklist" mechanism that will reflect the credit of research institutions.China will launch a package of supportive policies for the cultural and creative industry as well as the design industry, according to the statement.It noted that these industries are efficient in energy use, cause little pollution and have high added value.Among the supportive policies are stronger intellectual property rights protection, better education to nurture more talents, and diversified financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises.A regulation on the management of China's south-to-north water diversion project was also passed during Wednesday's meeting. It mandates safety of facilities and quality of water.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/22/2014

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Xi Urges Leading Group to Push Reforms

 

At the first meeting of the central leading group for overall reform on Wednesday, President Xi Jinping urged officials to make resolute and timely efforts to implement new policies.Reforms will deeply touch many relationships and interests, and officials need to make preparations to deal with the repercussions, Xi said, adding that governments should work out timelines and move forward with concrete steps to achieve complex systemic reforms, he said."Officials of the government should speed up their work and at the same time move forward with steady steps," Xi said.The leading group gathering is the latest development of a reform blueprint put forward at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November.The idea for the group was developed at that session.Headed by Xi, the group has six departments: economy and ecology; democracy and justice; culture; society; Party construction; and discipline and supervision.

 

Premier Li Keqiang attended the meeting along with Liu Yunshan, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli. All are deputy chiefs of the leading group.Since the duty of the leading group is to implement reform policies, its members must have the courage to deepen reforms no matter how hard the task is, Xi said.To push forward the reform, the group should coordinate with various departments to set up detailed rules, and then monitor the government's performance.Xi spoke highly of the central and local governments' implementation of the reform package so far, noting that they have made many concrete changes that include streamlining approval procedures and fighting corruption.

 

Xi lamented that some government officials could not understand the importance of deepening reform and did not strive to improve their work.But the leading group should count on the people's support as it makes reforms that will benefit the country, Xi said, and it should tailor policies to fit what the people want.Some local governments have already begun to implement reform policies. For example, on Jan 13, Beijing authorities approved 57 specific criteria covering 17 different areas of government.One of the highlights of that decision is that GDP growth will no longer be the primary criterion when evaluating an official's performance.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/23/2014

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Chinese VP Encourages Scientific Innovation

 

Vice President Li Yuanchao on Saturday called for China's top scientific association to unite and lead scientific staff in promoting innovation and economic development.Li made the remarks while attending a meeting of the China Association of Science and Technology.He asked the association to improve the mechanism for nurturing talent and better motivate the creativity of scientific personnel.Li also stressed the role of the Internet, encouraging scientific staff to popularize science online.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/26/2014

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Chinese Leader Calls for More Marine Power

 

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli Sunday called for research in polar regions and oceans and make new contributions to the building of a marine power.During a visit to the State Oceanic Administration, Zhang made a video connection with scientists in polar regions and researchers onboard the scientific research vessel "Xuelong" in the Antarctic.He extended festival greetings to the scientists ahead of China's Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 31 this year.Zhang spoke highly of Xuelong's performance in rescuing 52 passengers from an icebound Russian vessel.Research in polar regions and oceans will play an important role in promoting sustainable development of society and dealing with global climate change and environmental protection, Zhang said."Great progress has been made by Chinese scientists in advancing mankind's understanding of polar regions and oceans and promoting humanity's peaceful use of the land," he added.Zhang called for improved communication equipment in polar areas to better respond to emergencies.

From http://www.news.cn/ 01/27/2014

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Official Stresses Regional Coordination for Festival Traffic Jams

 

Vice Minister of Public Security Huang Ming on Tuesday called for regional coordination to tackle traffic jams as rain and snow are expected in parts of China during the Spring Festival travel rush.At a national teleconference, Huang urged police to get prepared for traffic congestions and crack down on criminal offences such as drunk driving.The National Meteorological Center on Tuesday issued a blue alert, the lowest level of a four-degree warning system, for blizzards that will sweep through northern and eastern regions of China from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening.Heavy snow will hit Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, with some regions receiving up to 15 cm, the center said.The snow may disrupt travel, coming at a time when tens of millions of Chinese are heading back to work after Spring Festival, a traditional holiday for family reunion. 

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/05/2014

 

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China's Major Cities Report Booming Holiday Tourism

 

China's major cities have reported significant rises in tourism income during the week-long Spring Festival holiday from last Friday through Thursday, local authorities said.The capital city of Beijing reported two-digit increases in tourism revenue as well as number of sightseers.In the first week of the Chinese Lunar New Year, the capital city earned 4.384 billion yuan (723 million U.S. dollars) of tourism income, up 13 percent from the same period of last year, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development said in a press release Thursday.Beijing welcomed an estimated 9.75 million sightseers during the holiday week, up 12.3 percent year-on-year, it said.The sightseers included Beijing residents as well as domestic and international travelers, said Zhou Zhengyu, chief of the commission.

 

The majority of the local sightseers visited Beijing's traditional temple fairs, or crowded Spring Festival gatherings that feature acrobatic shows, song and dance performance and stalls selling snacks and souvenirs, Zhou said.The temple fair hosted at Ditan Park, also known as the Temple of Earth in the northeast of Beijing's city proper, received 1.14 million visitors during the holiday week, up 11.4 percent year-on-year, according to the document.Nearly all other temple fairs reported surges in the number of tourists, too, it said.The temple fair at Longtan Park in the southeast of Beijing received 757,000 tourists, up 3.2 percent year-on-year, and that at Yuanmingyuan Park in the northwest of Beijing drew 416,000 sightseers, up 13.2 percent from the same period of last year.

 

Tourist destinations in Beijing's rural areas received nearly 700,000 sightseers and earned 68.24 million yuan in tourism revenue, thanks to a special policy that exempts nationwide expressway toll fees on public holidays, said Zhou.The neighboring Tianjin municipality reported 3.584 billion yuan of tourism revenue during the week-long holiday, an all-time high, according to figures released by the city's statistical bureau Thursday.Tianjin hosted an estimated 4.3 million sightseers over the past week, of whom 1.4 million were travelers from other parts of the country or international tourists.Meanwhile, over 4.4 million travelers passed the customs checkpoints in Shenzhen during the holiday week for sightseeing or shopping tours in Hong Kong, averaging 600,000 people daily, according to figures released by Shenzhen customs.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/07/2014

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China Expands Coverage of Serious Illness Insurance

 

China will expand a program that enables people with serious illnesses to get more compensation from medical insurance schemes to all the country's regions in 2014.According to a statement issued by the State Council medical reform office on Saturday, pilots of such programs should be launched in all the country's provincial-level regions by the end of June this year.The new move is aimed at reducing the number of cases in which people are reduced to poverty by the burden of medical fees, the statement said.Six Chinese authorities issued a circular in 2012 on the program, stating that part of the funds collected in the current basic medicare insurance schemes for urban and rural residents could be used to purchase commercial medical insurance, so that a greater proportion of the medical fees of people with serious diseases will be covered.A latest circular issued by the medical reform office said that local finance, human resources and social security, civil affairs, health and insurance authorities should collaborate for the expansion of the program, according to Saturday's statement.There should be more efforts to raise public awareness of the program so as to make the benefits easier for people to secure, it said.The statement added that the quality and the expenditure of medical services should also be scrutinized to curb unreasonable medical treatments and fees.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/08/2014

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China to Build Unified Pension System

 

China plans to reform its pension scheme by unifying the two separate systems for urban and rural residents to allow people better access to social benefits, according to a statement issued after the meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Friday.As a move to address pension payment gaps between urban and rural areas, the unified system will build stable expectations for improving livelihood and facilitate population movement. It will also boost consumption and encourage more business start-ups.According to the statement, pension funds will be pooled from individuals, employers and governments at various levels.  More subsidies will be provided by the central government to people in less-developed central and western regions.The statement said the pension system will serve as a safety net for millions of seniors.China has the largest senior population in the world, with 194 million people at or above the age of 60 at the end of 2012, according to the China National Committee on Aging.The age group is expected to grow to 243 million by 2020, and one-third of the population will be over the age of 60 by 2050.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/08/2014

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A Move to Liberate the Market                                 

 

The Third Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee in November made it clear that the key to the country's comprehensive reforms was proper handling of government-market relations and allowing the market to play a decisive role in the distribution of resources.This concept, in line with the general law of market economy, is expected to end the decades-long government-dominated economic growth model, and help the country pursue a more equitable and sustainable development path, and expedite reforms in economic, political and other fields.The concept of allowing the market to "play a basic role in the distribution of resources under national macro-regulations" was first raised at the 14th National Congress of the CPC in 1992.

 

It formed an important theoretical basis for China to break the barriers of the planned economy, expedite market-oriented reforms, create a favorable atmosphere for the reform of State-owned enterprises and promote the private sector's development. The subsequent establishment of a market mechanism ignited China's economic vigor and brought in two decades of fast-paced growth.The establishment of a basic market economic framework and China's entry into the World Trade Organization in the 21st century helped the Chinese economy to further open up to the world. While China made notable achievements in promoting marketization during that time, it also saw the emergence or intensification of some problems such as environmental deterioration, ordinary people's difficulty in getting affordable education and healthcare, and lack of a sound pension system.

 

This was also the time when a debate sparked over whether SOEs or the private sector should play the leading role in the national economy.For more than a decade, China emphasized the market's basic role in resource distribution. But a consensus could not be reached on whether the government or the market should have the final say in resource distribution.After China decided to establish a socialist market economic system, it allowed the market to play a basic role in distributing resources. But the government continued to dominate or intervene in investments, the pricing mechanism and other market activities.

 

In particular, following the global financial crisis, growth-thirsty local governments reinforced the government-dominated economic growth model, a practice that has seriously stifled market vitality, exacerbated overcapacity and raised local government debts, threatening the entire financial system.Under these circumstances, the decision of the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee to allow the market to play a "decisive role" - as opposed to the earlier "basic role" - in resource distribution is a milestone in China's market reforms and pursuit of an equitable and sustainable development path.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/10/2014

 

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Graft Busters Under Increasing Scrutiny in China

 

As China's anti-corruption campaign picks up momentum, those charged with rooting out graft are themselves being placed under increasing scrutiny.On Tuesday, the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee publicized 10 cases of disciplinary or legal violations by police officers, judges and prosecutors."This sends a signal: the disciplinary as well as the political and legal systems are not a sanctuary [in China's anti-corruption campaign]," said Xin Ming, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.The cases include a Supreme People's Court official suspected of taking bribes of over 2 million yuan (327,493 U.S. dollars) in exchange for intervening with trials; a prosecutor in central China's Shanxi Province charged with taking bribes and failing to explain the sources of assets worth over 40 million yuan and 1.8 kg of gold; and a Ministry of Public Security director suspected of taking advantage of his position to benefit others, and accepting bribes of more than 2.23 million yuan.

 

Publicizing cases is a first for the commission. Previously, corrupt political and legal officials were named and shamed within their own circles.Only a day before, four discipline officials who worked for the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) were reported to have been punished for breaking laws and Party anti-graft guidelines.In the most serious case, Wu Qiang from east China's Jiangxi Province was stripped of his CPC membership and expelled from public office for drunk driving and killing a pedestrian in 2013.In another incident, Wu Jimian from central China's Hubei Province was prosecuted for killing a hotel worker and injuring two others while driving a police car after leaving a banquet.Shen Wanhao from north China's Hebei Province was dismissed from his post for beating another discipline official during a banquet.The fourth official, Ren Jiangang from north China's Shanxi Province, received a Party warning for holding banquets to commemorate his father's death and accepting 7,900 yuan in cash.

 

While these cases may not constitute the powerful "tigers" the CPC vowed to take down in the fresh anti-graft drive, they nevertheless sound an alarm for disciplinary, political and legal officials, said Xin, who added that anti-graft bodies would be more effective and powerful once they fix their internal problems."Officials of the discipline, political and legal systems are fighters against corruption and guardians of justice... They cannot do their job if they themselves are crooked," he said.His comments were echoed by Wang Yukai, professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, who added that such public naming and shaming could improve the image of anti-graft bodies and tempt the public to be more actively involved in the campaign."By exposing their 'skeletons in the closet,' the discipline as well as the political and legal systems are signaling that they would not cover up their own mistakes and would remove the 'black sheep' from within," Wang said.

 

Fighting corruption has been on the front pages of many newspapers since Chinese President Xi Jinping became CPC leader in November 2012.Addressing the third plenary session of the CCDI in January, Xi described corruption as "a disease that calls for powerful drugs". He stressed zero tolerance of graft and promised to seriously punish every corrupt official.Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday also pledged to combat corruption, boost government transparency and build a clean government when presiding over a meeting of the State Council, or China's cabinet, to map out this year's anti-graft plans.Since 2012, the Party has targeted both "tigers" and "flies".A total of 31 high-profile officials were investigated by the CCDI in 2013, including Jiang Jiemin, former head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and Li Dongsheng, former vice minister of public security.

 

Nationwide, about 182,000 officials were punished by the CPC's discipline inspection agencies.To ratchet up the pressure on officials, the CCDI updated its website in September. It now has a feature where the public can provide tip-offs, as well as a naming and shaming section. Many lower-level anti-graft agencies have followed suit.But sadly, corruption is still far from rooted out, even within the disciplinary and judicial systems, with cases of bribery, adultery and graft often igniting public outrage."Law enforcement staff usually break the rules while they are fully aware that they have done wrong, and the negative impact on society is much greater," Zhou Hanhua, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told Xinhua.These cases damage the image of governments and law enforcement organs, posing a grave threat to fairness and justice, he said, adding that "the black sheep in law enforcement must be eradicated."Noting that the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs has promised to continue the practice of naming and shaming, Zhou said such a high-profile campaign is truly necessary.He said the publicity these cases generate should be a warning for all staff in the political and legal realms.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/13/2014

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Beijing Gov't Slashed amid Continuous Smog

 

Heavy smog has lasted for days in Beijing, triggering public criticism over the municipal government's inaction.At 8 a.m. Sunday, the air quality index (AQI) at monitoring stations in the city's downtown areas read between 424 and 470 at Level 6, the highest level indicating hazardous pollution, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center's website.Heavy smog has continued for at least three days, and there has been mounting criticism over the inaction of the municipal government.The business channel of the China Central Television (CCTV) on late Saturday questioned why the government failed to initiate an emergency response under such a smoggy weather."Beijing municipal government, don't pretend to be blind taking advantages of the fog," the channel said via its official microblog website at the Twitter-like weibo.com. "

 

The government should not shun its responsibility or turn a blind eye to the smog."The channel tweeted twice on the matter in five minutes, forwarded by netizens thousands of times as of Sunday morning.Beijing municipal government passed an emergency response system last October and made it effective the same month. The system requires that traffic be cut with alternate driving days for even- and odd-numbered license plates and schools suspended if a red alert, the highest level for air pollution, is issued. Industrial plants will be closed or told to reduce production if an orange alert, the second highest one, is issued.However, since the program's effectiveness on Oct. 22, 2013, the government has not initiated the emergency response once, although the public for several times believed the smog was heavy enough for a government response.The government on late Saturday issued a blue alert for air pollution.The city adopts a four-tier alert system, using blue, yellow, orange and red to indicate the lowest to the highest level of air pollution.

From http://www.news.cn/ 02/16/2014

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Government to Publicize Administrative Approval Items

 

China's central departments have been ordered to make public catalogues of their administrative approval items, in a bid to make government power more transparent.According to a circular issued by the State Council on Thursday, all central government departments should publish their remaining administrative approval items on their official websites in the coming days, so they can be viewed by the public. The move came amid the country's drive to slash red tape. The central government has cut or delegated to lower governments nearly 400 administrative approval items since the new leadership took office last March. But how many items remain in central authorities is unknown. The State Council, or China's cabinet, said it will combine the catalogues into a collective publication and take stock of the total items kept for central departments after heavy slashing.

 

Central government departments will not be allowed to intervene the approval of items not included in the catalogues they publicized, according to the circular. Moreover, the circular warned them not to exercise extra-catalogue administrative approvals, nor reinstate exempted items under disguise.Some central departments had already taken action before the order. Logging on the website of the Ministry of Education, a Xinhua reporter found a catalogue listing all its 24 remaining approval items in the middle of its homepage. Administrative approvals are an important demonstration of government rights. Fewer approvals by central government will give more power to local governments and freedom to enterprises, which is believed to contribute to the economy.

 

The move is aimed to let government power be exercised under the sun, said Dong Keyong, dean of the public administration and policy school of the Renmin University. It will help "put power into the cage of regulations," Dong said, quoting words that President Xi Jinping used in a vow to fight corruption.He said that the approval items had long been a secret to the public and some departments even played games as they often add items under various excuses while the central government strives to exempt them.In Thursday's circular, government departments are also required to solicit public opinions on further reductions of such approvals and give priority to fields in which the removal of administrative approvals may have had a good impact.

 

Regarding one Ministry of Education's approval item on the appraisal and selection of professors in higher learning institutions, a professor with a Beijing-based university, who refused to be named, had a word to say. The appraisal of academic title is part of the university's independent rights and should be decided by universities, the professor said, adding that the appraisal criterion also varies in different universities. He held that the the ministry should collect public views on whether or not the item will be kept. With the deepening of China's administrative approval reform, local governments are also expected to publicize their approval item lists.

 

Premier Li Keqiang noted in a meeting earlier this week that China will establish a system to make all local governments' power regarding administrative approvals transparent. East China's Zhejiang Province has announced that it will promote a "government power menu" system this year. Central province Anhui also asked local departments to "draw a diagram displaying the operation of power" in a pilot reform program.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 02/21/2014

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China Plans to Increase Advertising Fraud Fines

 

Fines for misleading and deceptive advertisements will be increased, according to a draft amendment to China's advertisement law. The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council is soliciting public opinion on the draft amendment, which says that advertising for drugs and medical equipment should comply with registered certificates issued by drug supervising departments. New requirements on ads for prescription medicine and over-the-counter remedies will be put in place, along with new protection for juveniles. The draft amendment bans advertising on primary and middle school campuses and in kindergartens. It includes textbooks, uniforms and school buses. Ads for any kind of medical products or services, online games and alcohol are to be banned from any media aimed at juveniles and children. Further information is online at chinalaw.gov.cn. The public can submit their comments before March 24.

From http://www.china.org.cn/ 02/22/2014

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JAPAN: NIH Expected to Enhance Nation’s Medical Competitiveness

 

Excellent results in medical research must lead to the development of new drugs and remedies. A “headquarters for medicine” to be established soon is expected to play a significant role in enhancing Japan’s competitiveness in this field. The government has decided to create an independent administrative entity tentatively called the Japan medical research and development agency to promote research and development in the medical field. With creation of the agency, the government aims to unify various systems at different ministries and agencies to support the research and development of medicine. The agency is called the Japanese version of the U.S. National Institutes of Health because it is being modeled on the U.S. organization, which leads the world in medical research and the creation of new drugs. The government plans to submit related bills to the current ordinary Diet session and to launch the new agency in April 2015. The medical field is expected to be a pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy. The government must not let the agency become an empty letter but make it a viable organization with power to drive the nation’s growth. The new agency is tasked with managing research and development funds from various ministries and agencies in an integrated fashion, and with distributing them to universities and other research institutes. The agency will give priority to promising fields and provide constant support to them, from basic research to commercialization of products.

 

As the development of induced pluripotent stem cells by Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka shows, the level of basic research in the medical field is very high in Japan. End sectionalism Nonetheless, Japan lags behind the United States and European countries in the practical application of medical technology. For instance, imports of medicine and medical equipment exceed exports by about ¥3 trillion. It is problematic that a gap between basic research and clinical application has prevented companies from converting research results at universities and elsewhere into commercial realities. Government support for research and development is sometimes not well coordinated. For example, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry is in charge of supporting basic research; the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is in charge of clinical application; and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry is in charge of industrialization. The ministries often compete with each other to win budget appropriations for similar research.

 

To help the new agency function appropriately, it is essential to end sectionalism among ministries and agencies, and to make their support for research and development more efficient. The new agency will be staffed by medical and pharmaceutical experts from the private sector, but it will not be easy to secure such people. They will have to exercise good judgment in selecting research subjects with potential, and in connecting research institutes and companies to realize their product development. There is a mountain of issues to be tackled jointly by the industrial, government and academic sectors. The creation of the Japanese version of the NIH is just a start. While seeking to change the mindset of university researchers, who tend to overemphasize basic research, the government also should help accelerate the nurturing of start-ups that tackle the development of innovative technology with a high risk of failure. We expect the government to build a system together with all the related sectors in Japan to increase the nation’s international competitiveness in the medical field by developing the Japanese version of NIH into a major, solid organization.

From http://the-japan-news.com 01/26/2014

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Expressway Toll System Must Be Continued to Ensure Safety

 

With an extension of up to 15 years, or up until 2065, eyed for the expressway toll-collection system, the government has submitted a bill to the current Diet session for revising the Special Measures Law Concerning Road Construction and Improvement. The rebuilding and repair of aging expressways is urgently needed to ensure the safety of their users. About 40 percent of all expressway sections have been in use for 30 years or longer. In December 2012, ceiling panels in the Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi Prefecture collapsed apparently due to aging, an incident that created many victims. Because of its financial woes, the government can hardly afford to invest huge amounts of public funds into maintaining expressways. Extending the toll-collecting period is unavoidable as the expenses involved in renovations and repairs must be covered mainly by toll revenues. Six expressway operators, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway Co., have recently estimated their renovation and repair costs to total ¥4 trillion in the next dozen years or so. When privatizing then Japan Highway Public Corp. in 2005, the government came up with a projection to make expressways toll-free by having the public corporation’s debt of about ¥40 trillion repaid through toll revenues up until 2050.

 

The projection, however, failed to fully take into account the colossal expenses of repairs and related work in the future. There can be no denying that the projection was based on overly optimistic estimates. All expressway companies must do their utmost to keep a tight rein on road renovation and repair costs so that expressway users in the future are not forced to shoulder excessively heavy burdens. The expressway companies also should use their ingenuity for tapping private-sector funds through such measures as selling or renting the rights to use the space above expressways and the ground below elevated ones. Another issue of high importance is the renovation of expressways to make them easier and safer to use, such as by making them wider and reducing the number of tight curves, instead of simply rebuilding aged expressways with few design improvements. Thus we cannot help but find it questionable that the government has been continuing to uphold the goal of making expressways free of charge in the future. Given that expressways will certainly remain in use regardless of whether they become toll-free, it is evident that additional expenses will be necessary to fund renovation and repair projects in the future. The problem of how to secure new sources of revenue to take the place of tolls is bound to be raised.

 

In light of this, it is unavoidable to thoroughly review the current expressway policy, which is premised on abolishing expressway tolls in the future. It may be a feasible option to continue to levy low tolls for many years to come. It is reasonable that the government has now decided to reduce toll discounts for motor vehicles equipped with electronic toll-collection systems starting in April. Since 2008, about ¥3 trillion of taxpayers’ money in the aggregate has been used for the toll discount system. Discounts, however, should be carried out as part of expressway operators’ services offered through their business management efforts. The specifics of toll discounts have been changed with every change of administration, and they have become highly complicated and unintelligible in the eyes of drivers. The current discount system should be scrutinized in terms of its effectiveness and be revamped into a new system to make the discounts more useful for such purposes as revitalizing distribution systems and alleviating traffic congestion on ordinary roads.

From http://the-japan-news.com 02/17/2014

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Japan Urged to Bring More Women into Labor Market

 

Japan should take measures to encourage more women to work to overcome the economic challenges posed by the aging of its population, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Friday. In some OECD countries facing particularly rapid population aging, such as Japan, Germany and South Korea, “bringing more women into the labor market and ensuring that they are fully integrated remain key challenges, along with the need to boost productivity in services,” the organization said in a report on structural reforms in member countries and nonmember emerging economies. In Japan, the working-age population is expected to fall by 40 percent by 2050, the OECD said.

From http://the-japan-news.com 02/21/2014

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Japan’s Smart Education Raises $5.4 Million to Take Kids E-Learning Apps Global

 

Tokyo-based Smart Education, a developer of educational mobile apps for kids, announced yesterday that it has raised 550 million yen ($5.4 million) from CyberAgent’s Fujita Fund and Infinity Venture Partners. This follows their previous funding worth 75.3 million yen (approximately $750,000) from Shinsei Corporate Investment, secured back in May of last year. CyberAgent also invested in the startup’s series B round in April last year. Speaking about this latest funding round, Smart Education’s CEO Daigo Ikeya explains:  When looking at our users, we found characteristics very close to those of Ameba users (CyberAgent’s blog platform). So we thought that partnering with CyberAgent could create a synergistic relationship in the future. But more importantly, this partnership lets us benefit from the advice of CyberAgent. Ikeya previously worked at CA Mobile, a mobile app development arm ofCyberAgent (TYO:4751). He told us how Fujita got involved in this investment: I think their investment was possible because of Fujita’s decision. Our business sector is not bad but it can’t make a bunch of money. It may require some time to reach any successful milestone, but he has been encouraging us to keep going, saying that the sector will grow enormously in five to ten years. Fujita Fund is an investment initiative by CyberAgent, its name derived from the company’s CEO, Susumu Fujita. It’s focused on mid/late-stage startups in Japan. This contrasts with investment arm CyberAgent Ventures, which deals with early-stage startups across Asia.

 

Smart Education has been working on global expansion with the Gocco series of apps (see one in the video above). The startup’s apps are showing good numbers in terms of overseas user acquisition. They have surpassed 6.4 million total downloads and will reach seven million very shortly. The company expects to reach 10 million downloads, with an eventual domestic/international ratio of 50/50. But it’s not clear how many are active gamers. It has been said that our apps are designed to suit Japanese preferences, and have been not accepted in the overseas markets. But our Gocco brand targets the global audience, and has been seeing good results. If we can keep going at this pace, we may catch up with other developers in this space, such as Sweden’s Toca Boca. Their apps are currently making money through in-app purchases, but they plan to shift it to a monthly, subscription-based system, as they do with their apps targeting the Japanese domestic market, which may contribute to more rapid growth in downloads as well as revenue.

 

Smart Education is doing more than just developing apps. It’s making an effort to guide parents on the appropriate usage of apps for infants, based on discussions with experts in the educational industry. The company recently announced that its educational app Oyako de Smahon(literally, “smartphone app for parents and kids”) will be adopted at 250 nurseries in Japan. The startup wants to get people using its apps as they would an illustrated book. Ikeya explains: By sorting out a curriculum focused on digital creation, and giving kids opportunities to learn through picture-drawing apps, we expect to help kids create something by taking advantage of IT skills. If kids draw and share their pictures, it can break language barriers and may even start interactions with people in different countries. Ikeya adds: There’s no border for such communication. We expect kids to experience this concept in their childhood, and we would like to help them grow as cosmopolitan-minded people through our business. Smart Eduction will spend this year creating manuals for their curriculum, followed by the launch of a full-scale service next year.

From http://www.techinasia.com/ 02/18/2014

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SOUTH KOREA: Gov’t to Commercialize 5G Technology by 2020

 

The government intends to commercialize fifth generation mobile telecommunication technology (5G) for the first time in the world by 2020 and it will invest KRW 1.6 trillion into the technology over the next seven years. The next generation standard is, in theory, one thousand times faster than the current fourth-generation technology (4G), which is also known as long-term evolution (LTE) technology. The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) announced its mobile communications development strategy containing these plans on January 22. With the vision of becoming a 5G mobile telecommunication leader, the government plans to quickly commercialize 5G technology, cooperate internationally on standardizing 5G technology, support research and development and create a technological ecosystem for developing 5G technology. The speed of transmission for 5G is as fast as 1 Gbps and it would only take 1 second to download a movie of 800 megabytes. It is much faster compared to the current state-of-the-art LTE-Advanced technology, which takes 40 seconds to download a movie. When 5G technology becomes real, people will live in a truly fully-connected society in which they are online with various devices and equipment at all times, everywhere they go, receiving a constant streamline of information. Super-multiview displays and hologram services will also become available through such mobile communication technology. 

The 5G technology is being developed around the world as one of the core elements of a creative economy’s physical infrastructure. In 2013, the ministry formed the 5G Forum together with mobile telecommunication carriers, manufacturers and small- and medium-sized enterprises. The ministry has also established development strategies for the future of mobile telecommunications, along with industry and academic professionals. The ministry intends to develop and commercialize five core 5G services: future social network services, mobile 3D imaging, artificial intelligence, high-speed services, and ultra high-definition resolution and holograms. It plans to show off these technologies during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. The government intends to exchange technologies with the United States, Europe and China in order to develop a 5G standard. It also plans to secure global frequencies and carry out research in finding new 5G bandwidths beyond the 6GHz spectrum. “The 5G mobile telecommunications is a core infrastructure through which knowledge and information can be traded. It will create a ripple effect in the economy, helping to develop related content, platforms and devices,” said Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning Choi Mun-Kee. “The public and private sectors will together develop and commercialize the necessary technologies.” 

From http://www.korea.net/ 01/27/2014

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Korea Is the Most Innovative Country: Bloomberg

 

Korea has been selected as the most innovative country in the world.  According to Bloomberg, Korea scored a total of 92.10 points, ranking first in its Global Innovation Index, up from second place last year. The most innovative country last year, the U.S., came in third this year, after Sweden, in second place.  Bloomberg’s rankings examined 215 countries and sovereign regions across seven categories: R&D intensity, productivity, high-tech density, researcher concentration, manufacturing capability, tertiary efficiency and patent activity.  Korea was in the top three in five of the categories: R&D intensity, high-tech density, manufacturing capability, tertiary efficiency and patent activity. Of those five categories, Korea was second in manufacturing capability and patent activity, giving way to China and Taiwan, respectively, and it was third in R&D intensity, high-tech density and tertiary efficiency. Korea ranked sixth in researcher concentration. Following Korea, Sweden secured second spot in the innovation index, scoring 90.80 points. The U.S. came in third with 90.69 points. Japan and Germany followed next with 90.41 and 88.23 points respectively. 

Here are this year’s winners in each category and the top ten nations in the Bloomberg innovation index.

 Top ten nations                                                                    Winners in each category

 1: Korea (92.10)                                                                  R&D Intensity: Israel 
 2: Sweden (90.80)                                                               Productivity: Luxembourg
 3: United States (90.69)                                                      High-Tech Density: United States
 4: Japan (90.41)                                                                 Researcher Concentration: Iceland 
 5: Germany (88.23)                                                            Manufacturing Capability: China 
 6: Denmark (86.97)                                                              Tertiary Efficiency: Canada 
 7: Singapore (86.07)                                                            Patent Activity: Taiwan 
 8: Switzerland (86.02)
 9: Finland (85.86)
 10: Taiwan (83.52)

From http://www.korea.net/ 01/27/2014

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Gov't to Boost Market Monitoring Efforts Throughout 2014

 

First Vice Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho says the government will continue to boost market monitoring activities throughout the year. Choo made the remark on Friday at a meeting in Seoul on examining economic and financial situations. He said the government largely expected the latest developments in foreign exchange rates and stock markets, adding market volatility decreased from the second half of this week. Choo said though South Korea was less affected, the market situation will continue to require close monitoring throughout the year. He then said the government will respond preemptively if necessary. Choo also said employment and inflation indices are two major variables that affect decisions of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee. He noted Seoul will closely watch changes in U.S. employment figures. The U.S. is set to unveil job-related indices later on Friday. 

From http://world.kbs.co.kr 02/07/2014

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Gov't, Carmakers to Develop Low-cost Electric Vehicle Batteries

 

South Korea plans to spearhead the development of low-cost electric vehicle batteries, which are regarded as the nation's next-generation growth engines. The government will join forces with carmakers and energy companies to develop affordable lithium-ion batteries with a higher mileage. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the auto industry said on Monday the government will draw up a mid- to long-term plan by March to develop high-tech lithium-ion batteries for EVs. In the first stage, the government plans to mass produce EVs that cost between 20 million to 30 million won with a range up to 300 kilometers by 2020. At present, EVs made by U.S.-based Tesla have a range of up to 370 kilometers, but the basic model starts at 63-thousand dollars or 67 million won. Among South Korean cars, Kia Motors' Soul EV, which was unveiled at the Chicago auto show last week, has a range of up to 148 kilometers. But sales are expected to be slow for now because the infrastructure to charge electric cars has not developed well enough yet. The popularization of EVs will depend on making low-cost high-endurance batteries because the battery makes up 60 percent of the car's price tag. Tesla batteries are made by connecting around three-thousand rechargeable batteries to form a single power unit. Tesla opened the way for the commercialization of EVs by selling two-thousand units a month, but its cars are not cheap. The government plans to build on the battery model employed by Tesla, with an emphasis on cutting costs while providing greater endurance, quicker recharge time and higher safety. If stage one development is successful, it plans to boost a single charge to reach 500 kilometers.

From http://world.kbs.co.kr/ 02/10/2014

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S. Korean Gov't to Expand Benefits Under Public Health Insurance

 

The South Korean health ministry said Tuesday it will add more benefits to the public health insurance program that will expand medical services for the elderly while reducing medical expenses for all patients. The move, however, will likely lead to a rise in insurance premiums as it is expected to cost up to 4.6 trillion won (US$4.28 billion) over the next four years.

From http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr 02/11/2014

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Korea Beefs Up Training to Counter Cyberterrorism

 

Here at a leading university in Seoul, a special class is in session where students are being taught the basics of cyberwarfare. Some of the tactics include learning how to prevent computer hacking attacks, tracking IP addresses and creating online countermeasures. The intense workshop takes place in the so-called "War Room" and is part of the school's cyber defense program. "In terms of security, it's not just about operating a computer. We also receive instruction in mathematics, computer programming and military classes." Launched in 2012 in cooperation with the defense ministry, this elite program recruits gifted freshman and trains them in high-level hacking and science-related technology. "We start with basic instruction in areas such as information security. Then students are taught a wide-range of topics including cyber law and cyber policies, all so they are able to deal with incoming cyber threats and cyber terrorism." Similar joint development programs have already been established at five other special research universities including KAIST and POSTECH. It's part of a greater initiative by the government to foster Korea's next generation of information security experts and cyber-intelligence officers. "The ministry will establish social support measures to advance graduate school enrollment and employment, as well as provide support for start-ups. In cooperation with the defense ministry, we will also provide recruitment information for job seekers in the defense sector." Modeled after Israel's elite forces training program, Korea aims to train more soldiers that can effectively respond to cyber terrorism threats to enhance national security, all the while improving the country's expertise in science, technology and engineering.

From http://www.arirang.co.kr 02/17/2014

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S. Korea Announces Events for ICT Meeting

 

South Korea's telecom and science ministry said Sunday that it has drawn up detailed events for a global conference on information and communication technologies (ICTs) slated to start in the country in October. South Korea is set to host the 19th International Telecommunications Union (ITU) plenipotentiary conference in Busan, the country's largest port city, from Oct. 20 through Nov. 7.

From http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr 02/23/2014

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INDONESIA: Government Improves Disaster Management Participation

 

Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Indonesia (KOMINFO) and Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) will launch a three-digit emergency phone line and four-digit SMS gateway to make it easier for the public to contact the authorities. Both agencies aim to enhance citizen participation in disaster management and preparedness through this move, announced KOMINFO last month. According to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of Data, Information and Public Relations at BNPB, the previous six-digit phone number is not easy for the public to remember. The Directorate of Telecommunications has offered three available options - 191, 171 and 141 - for BNPB to choose from.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/10/2014

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PHILIPPINES: Government Improves Outcome-based Budgeting System

 

The Philippines Department of Budget and Management will be improving its Performance-Informed Budgeting (PIB) system to ensure a more outcome-based budgeting approach in time for next year’s budget cycle. Traditionally, a mass of numbers and line items are displayed without clarity on where funds are going. The PIB is a budgeting approach that uses performance information to influence where funds will go. Through this approach, the Government aims to make public expenditure more responsive, transparent and accountable. With the new PIB system, the Department will take a more ambitious and better-informed approached in crafting next year’s budget, according to Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad (pictured). The national budget for 2015 is P2.606 trillion (US$60 billion), a 15.1 per cent increase from last year. In order to better support the various government agencies’ programmes, the Department plans to improve the PIB system by strengthening the connection between the target and budgetary requirements of each agency. The new approach also promises to improve inter-agency collaboration and better align agencies’ programmes with the Government’s priorities, such as anti-corruption, financial inclusion, economic growth, sustainability and law and order.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 01/20/2014

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The Philippines Government Develops Disaster Early Warning System

 

In order to keep the public updated of impending storm surges floods or landslides, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has created an early warning system. The system is designed to alert residents - especially those living in densely populated areas such as Metro Manila - of tropical cyclones. The warning will be given 48 hours in advance, according to DOST Secretary Mario Montejo and Project NOAH Executive Director Mahar Lagmay, who presented the project to President Benigno Aquino III last week at a cabinet meeting. The storm surge warnings will have three indicators, Storm Surge Advisories (SSA) No. 1 for storm surges up to two metres in height, No. 2 for up to five metres and No. 3 for anything higher than five metres. Flood warnings will similarly have three indicators, starting with No. 1 for rainfalls of up to 129 millimetre in the next 24 hours, No. 2 for up to 190 millimetre, and No. 3 for up to 240 millimetres. The team proposed several measures to minimise disaster risks, such as enforcing ‘no-build’ zones in coastal areas, enhancing the resiliency of residential and commercial structures, and building natural and man-made barriers to soften the impact in the event of a storm surges.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/06/2014

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Jakarta Partners with Mapping Agency to Promote Use of Geospatial Information

 

The recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Indonesia’s capital city and Geospatial Information Agency (In Bahasa Indonesia: Badan Informasi Geospatial or BIG) will promote the greater use of geospatial information to help Jakarta reach a smart city status. Jakarta is home to more than ten million people, making it the most populous city in Southeast Asia, and 13th most populous city in the world. The growing population and various economic and commercial activities have put a strain on the city’s key infrastructures and scarce resources, prompting city officials to partner with BIG to help them sustainably plan for the city’s future. According to Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, in order for Jakarta to be globally competitive, it is important for decision makers to have readily available authoritative information to help them design liveable urban neighbourhoods and craft sustainable plans to support businesses, commerce, utilities and transportation among others. “Planning cannot be done without proper amount of data,” he said. As part of the MOU, the Governor ordered every city department to submit their respective data and geospatial information to BIG in order to build up the city’s Geospatial Information Infrastructure.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/11/2014

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SINGAPORE: Fosters Civic Innovation with Hackathons

 

Ng Siau Yong, Director of the Geospatial Division at the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), shares how their hackathons are helping them promote a spatial thinking mindset in the country.  Not all knowledge resides within the government. As such, we are looking at ways to promote civic innovation through partnerships with various agencies and the private sector in apps prototyping weekends or hackathons.  Through these hackathons, members of the public form teams and collaborate over a 48 hour period to develop innovative solutions for a variety of urban challenges related to mobility, social and public safety, clean environment and smart cities.  In the recent “Clean and Green” Hackathon organised by the National Environmental Agency and UP Singapore, we saw 10 out of 15 prototypes created using location data or maps. One interesting app, which won the OneMap Challenge Prize, used location services to facilitate the exchange of electronic items and in turn, reduce “e-waste”. 

 

Another notable mention was the SingCity app which was developed during the “Data in the City” hackathon organised by the Infocomm Development Authority. This app used OneMap’s tools and data services (such as demographics data) to allow members of the public to identify gaps in amenities in their neighbourhood and recommend suitable locations to provide those amenities and services. The innovation surrounding the use of geospatial information tomorrow will be shaped and determined by the creativity of our youths today. Hence, it is critical for us to help develop the spatial thinking mindset from young; to get them ready for the “Future Singapore”. In August last year, SLA organised the Singapore Geospatial Challenge (SGC) which introduced gamification components to make GIST more fun and accessible to over 350 Secondary and Junior College students from 40 schools. Armed with a smart phone installed with a specially designed geospatial application, students competed in a geocaching game around the civic district to learn more about heritage trees and buildings in the shortest time possible. Through SGC, students applied their critical thinking about GIST and explored how wielding geospatial technology could help them make more strategic decisions and plan better.

 

Through the hackathons and the various competitions and challenges we have organized over the years, we are getting remarkable geospatial innovations from our citizens and students. We wish to turn some of these ideas into reality or scale them up for wider implementation. In this regard, we launched the GeoInnovation Fund in October last year, where students and apps developers can apply for up to SG$50,000 (US$ 40,000 ) in funding to develop their geospatial apps. Furthermore, to underscore the government’s commitment to the development of GIST, we will be introducing the Singapore Geospatial Scholarship for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. This scholarship, jointly conferred by several public agencies, will allow recipients to develop a geospatial career with exposure in various public agencies. More details on this scholarship will be announced at a later date.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/07/2014

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Singapore Prison Rolls Out Cloud-based Notification System

 

Singapore Prison Service has implemented an online SMS system to improve the ease of contacting inmates who are still under the enhanced supervision programmes such as ‘Half-way care’ or ‘Aftercare’ programme. The halfway care programme provides selected inmates the opportunity for a gradual reintegration into the society near the end of his or her incarceration. Inmates under this programme serves out his or her remaining sentence outside of the Prison. The aftercare programme provides support to inmates who have been released. The Prison staff will periodically call them back for counselling sessions, meetings, medical check-ups and other purposes. Every two to three times per month, the Prison staff has to contact approximately 80 of them. Singapore Prison Service decided to implement a SMS system in order to improve staff’s efficiency. After considering various options, a public cloud-based service was selected. Inmates’ identity and privacy are kept secure as only the mobile numbers are stored in the SMS system. Codes are also used within the SMS text to ensure added confidentiality. “Understanding the business, asking critical questions when evaluating opportunities and risks and the guts to take action, is vital to decision making and success of any organisation.” Kuai Ser Leng (pictured), Senior Assistant Director, Technology Branch, Singapore Prison Service.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/27/2014

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Singapore to Continue Tightening Inflow of Cheap Foreign Labor

 

Singapore will continue to tighten the inflow of foreign workers on work permits, which often command lowest salaries on a hierarchy of permits for foreigners to work in the city state, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said on Sunday. Singapore will continue to do so even though the jobs they have may not be attractive to Singaporeans, because they have the " greatest bearing" on foreign worker numbers in Singapore and thereby contributes to the strains on infrastructure, Tan said at a dialogue session with the residents of a local district. An employer mentioned that Singaporeans are unwilling to take up certain jobs, but Tan said, "but if wages don't move, it's not surprising that Singaporeans don't want to take those jobs. If the wages are high enough, I think there will be Singaporeans keen to do (the job)." Tan cited construction as an example of slow productivity growth resulting from the use of cheap foreign labor. "That's why construction industry's productivity is very low in Singapore, because it's still cheaper to pay and get a Bangladeshi worker or someone from China to work, as opposed to changing the way we do business," he said.

 

Work permit holders, often those who take up jobs in the services and construction sector, make up about seven in 10 of the more than 1 million foreign workers in Singapore. Singapore has been tightening its foreign labor policy since around the general election in 2011, when immigration polices became one of the issues that generate the most discussions. Tan said the long-term target is to keep Singapore's overall labor force growth rate to 2 percent a year for the next 10 years, down from the historical average of 3-4 percent. However, Tan said that it is necessary for Singapore to remain open to foreign labor. "But I don't think it'll fill up everything. Which is why it's important for Singapore to still remain open to have foreign labor here," he said. "Foreigners, in a sense, are competing with us. That's globalization, it's not something we can wish away because it's happening and it's affecting every country in the world. And we're no different," Tan added. But overall, the presence of foreigners remains positive as they create opportunities for Singaporeans. "If we swing too far the other way, you can run the risk that if you become too closed, too tight, inflexible, some of these companies might find that they are better off just operating somewhere else," he said.

From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 02/16/2014

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THAILAND: City Shares Intelligent Traffic Management Plan

 

Khon Kaen, a thriving city in Thailand with a population of 113,754, has come up with a comprehensive plan to improve traffic management. In collaboration with IBM, Khon Kaen City Municipality worked with other government agencies such as Department of Transport, Police Department, Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, to identify the city’s key transport challenges. Economic and population growth has increased the pressure on the city’s transport infrastructure. According to the City’s Governor Somsak Suwansucharit (pictured), the traffic situation in Khon Kaen has grew to a point similar to that of Bangkok. He is pleased to be looking for solutions early to alleviate transport challenges. The assessment team suggested suggested initiatives in three key areas:

•Governance: effective collaboration across agencies, enhancing traffic law enforcement, initiatives to reduce peak-hour traffic

•Transport network optimisation: improving surveillance with analytics technology, traffic light management to improve flow, capturing traffic violation through licence plate recognition technology, setting up an Intelligent Operations Centre for better management

•Integrated Transport Services: implementing an integrated fare management system across different modes of public transport, opening up traffic data to the public

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 01/30/2014

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Thailand Wildlife Dept Gets Real-Time Monitoring System

 

Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has introduced an online image-sharing network to increase effectiveness of wildlife and forest protection in the country. Deputy Director of DNP, Teerapat Prayoonsit, revealed that the ‘Smart Eyes’ project involves installation of equipment to capture photos across national parks in the country, including conventional cameras, video cameras, CCTV cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles. These are linked with the main online database of the department, enabling real-time photo sharing and allowing rangers to respond quickly to any suspicious or illegal activity in the forests. The project costs THB 150,000 (US$4600) annually and was piloted late last year in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and Khao Yai National Park. It will also be implemented in Kui Buri National Park where suspicious deaths of wildlife have raised public concerns.

From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 02/14/2014

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Court Limits Govt's Emergency Powers

 

THE anti-government movement scored a major victory yesterday when the Civil Court ruled in favour of protester Thaworn Senneam's petition, prohibiting the government from abusing the emergency decree to subvert people's right to peaceful and constitutional assembly. The court by a majority vote ruled that the government's Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) cannot use force to disperse the protest. Also, the authorities cannot confiscate chemical substances used by protesters for personal purposes, or order the removal of barriers put up by protesters to protect themselves or stop them from using traffic routes. It ruled that the government and its operation centre cannot stop more than five people from gathering for political purposes, or prohibit people from entering state premises. It also cannot block protesters from moving in or out of their rally sites. The government and the CMPO are also not allowed to block traffic lanes for their operations during the state of emergency. The protesters do not need to seek permission to trade, stock or use consumer goods during their activities, the court said. The judgement prohibits the government from exercising measures announced under the emergency decree invoked on January 21. Though the court did not specify this, lawyer Sawat Charoenpon said the authorities could not arrest protesters for allegedly violating the emergency decree.

 

Thaworn declared the ruling as a personal victory and would coordinate with protesters' relatives to file a criminal lawsuit against the government for the losses they suffered during the clashes. CMPO director Chalerm Yoobamrung said the centre had no problem with the ruling as it would not disperse unarmed protesters. However, operations to clear areas where protesters were not peaceful would go ahead, he said. Clashes between security officials and protesters since the state of emergency was declared have killed six and wounded 130 on both sides. In the latest development, two people travelling in a vehicle adorned with an anti-government movement logo were shot and wounded yesterday evening, the Erawan Emergency Medical Service Centre said. The vehicle was travelling on the tollway near the exit leading to the Lat Phrao intersection when the shooting occurred. The two men, aged 40 and 24, sustained gunshot wounds to their legs. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will next week seek more details on the bloody clash between protesters and police on Tuesday. An investigation team led by Dr Nirand Pitakwatchara, a member of the NHRC, and Dr Pornthip Rojanasund, renowned forensic scientist, examined the scene where a suspected grenade was thrown at a company of police during the CMPO's operation to recover traffic space from protest sites at Phan Fah Lilat Bridge. Nirand said he will today invite forensic police to visit the areas near Phan Fah and collect more evidence.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/20/2014

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VIETNAM: Reforms Sought in Public Science, Technology Area

 

Non-commercial State-run institutions in the scientific and technology sector have been asked to speed reforms to become more sustainable in both organisation and financial activities. In an announcement posted on the Government's web portal last week, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said that reforms of scientific and technology institutions had been slow in the past, while the roadmap for them to become more independent and responsible for their own staff, management, financial activities and international co-operation had not been detailed or formalised. Ninh urged the Ministry of Science and Technology to make plans for reforms appropriate for the sectors so each institution can choose the appropriate mechanism for itself and become more active in reforms. Additionally, the ministry was asked to classify and place the institutions into groups, including those that will still be funded by the State budget, those which will have to be weaned from the state budget immediately and those that will have to do so on a set schedule. Also, the ministry will set a period of time for institutions to reform, while gradually reducing the rate of financial support from the State budget. In the 2015-20 period, State-run institutions working in fundamental science will be ensured continuing financial support, while providing incentives to those that will reform to become financially independent. Regarding scientific and technology missions, the Deputy Prime Minister asked the ministry to detail expenses, purchases and orders so that institutions can select their own implementation schemes and apply for the assignments and funding.

From http://vietnamnews.vn/ 02/10/2014

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BANGLADESH: Experts Call for Transparency in Climate Fund Disbursement

 

The government should prepare an index listing the areas vulnerable to climate change to ensure transparent and pro-poor distribution of funds allocated in this sector, a seminar was told here on Sunday. Speakers at the meeting said the index is needed since all areas of the country are not equally threatened by the adverse effects of climate change. Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad (BUP), in association with Oxfam Bangladesh and the European Union, organised the national dialogue titled, ‘Climate Change Financing: Managing a Transparent and Pro-poor Fund in Bangladesh’ at Jatiya Press Club in the capital. Chaired by BUP chairman MA Jalil, the discussion was addressed by coordinator of Bangladesh Climate Change Negotiation Team Prof Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, environment specialist of Policy Research and development Initiative Shamsuddoha, additional secretary of Environment Ministry Aparup Chowdhury and climate change specialist Dr Assaduzzaman.

 

Prof Kholiquzzaman said there is poor coordination among the ministries in implementing the government-run projects including those related to climate change. He said the Ministry of Environment and Forests is yet to create skilled manpower to manage the climate change projects. “We hope that the ministry will be able to build skilled manpower within this year,” he said. Kholiquzzaman, also the chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), said PKSF gets only 10 percent of allocation from the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) to distribute among non-government organizations. He said PKSF is transparent in the disbursement of the funds. Shamsuddoha said although the process of fund disbursement from the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) is transparent, the trustee board of the fund is not transparent yet as there are a fewer representatives from the civil society in the board. He urged the government to reform the trustee board ensuring reasonable representations from the government and civil society in the board to make it transparent and accountable. Mizanur Rahman Bijoy of Network on Climate Change, Bangladesh made a power-point presentation on climate change situation.

From http://unbconnect.com/ 02/09/2014

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Dhaka, Delhi Discuss Issues of Common Concerns

 

Bangladesh and India have discussed various issues of common concerns, including the progress on the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) and Teesta water-sharing deal. The long-pending issues came up for discussion when visiting State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam held a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on the sidelines of the 35th meeting of the Saarc Foreign Ministers in the Bandos Island Resort in the Maldives on Thursday. The State Minister also held meetings with Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon and Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Prof GL Peiris, according to a media release issued by the Foreign Ministry here. Mentioning that the Bangladesh nationals are facing difficulties in obtaining Indian visa, Shahriar requested the Indian government to ease the visa procedure for Bangladeshis. He advised that they may consider issuing long-term visa for renowned businessmen of Bangladesh to ease the visa congestion. The State Minister also requested the Indian Minister to expedite the process of importing 100 MW power through Tripura.

 

In his discussion with the Maldivian Foreign Minister, Shahriar Alam appreciated the government of the Maldives for hosting a large number of Bangladeshi expatriates and stressed the need for further acceleration of the existing cooperation between the two countries. During his meeting with the External Affairs Minister from Sri Lanka, the State Minister conveyed thanks to the government of Sri Lanka for expressing solidarity with the election process of Bangladesh and its commitment to work with the newly elected government. Earlier, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom formally inaugurated the 35th council. The council was convened more than two years after the last council held in the Maldives during the 17th Saarc Summit in November 2011. Prior to the council of Ministers, the 40th session of the standing committee, 6th special session of the standing committee and 45th session of the programming committee took place at the same venue attended by senior government officials from the member states.

From http://unbconnect.com/ 02/21/2014

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INDIA: Promoting Pollution-free Environment for Better Eye-care

 

Eye-wear major Gangar Eyenation and Oakley launches a joint campaign to promote bicycle ride among masses as an alternative mode of transport. Mumbai: The adverse impact of pollution on eyes is a well-known. However, very little has been done to educate and encourage masses to do their bit to reduce automobile pollution. Taking a cue, the eye-wear major GANGAR EYENATION and Oakley came together and launched a joint campaign recently to promote bicycle ride among masses as an alternative mode of transport which would help reduce pollution and thereby improve eye-care.The campaign was launched throughoutits 43 outlets in Mumbai, Pune, Suratand Vadodara where in the buyers of Oakley Eyewear were entitled to participate in scheme that could help them win a Firefox Bicycle.

From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 02/09/2014

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Excess Electricity Generated from Renewable Energy Sources

 

The distribution companies are free to purchase renewable energy in excess of the stipulated Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has received representation from the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam that distribution licensees who are purchasing renewable energy over and above their minimum purchase obligation at preferential tariff should be made eligible entity for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), in lieu of such excess energy. The Chief Minister, Government of Punjab has also made a similar request.

 

CERC vide Order dated 2 December 2013 has observed that the existing provisions of eligibility in the REC Regulations which is limited to generating companies is adequate at this stage of development of REC market. It however, taken note of the submissions and concerns regarding issuance of RECs to the distribution licensees in excess of their RPOs and directed staff to examine the issue and submit a proposal to address the problem, if any, for consideration of the Commission. It may be mentioned that amendment to the Regulations is a quasi-judicial process and the CERC takes a view after following due process of law including public hearing.

From http://pib.nic.in/ 02/10/2014

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India to Double Renewable Power Capacity by 2017

 

New Delhi: India will add nearly 30,000 MW of power generation capacity from renewable energy sources - doubling it from the current size - in the next 4 years, a senior official said. "We plan to add around 20,000 MW of wind and around 10,000 MW of solar capacity by 2016-17," said B K Chaturvedi, Planning Commission Member (Energy). At present the renewable energy capacity in the country is around 30,000 MW. "India has massive renewable energy source, we have around 30,000 MW of renewable energy at present, of which around 20,000 MW is wind energy, a lot of it is bio energy primarily from sugar factories which is co-generation and some of it is solar," Chaturvedi said. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, the government aims to connect 20,000 MW of solar power to the National Grid by 2022.

 

As per estimates of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of U.S., resources or the potential for wind energy in India are as high as 10 lakh MW and for solar 20 lakh MW. Chaturvedi said: "We have plans to expand our wind energy. We have technology in the form of wind turbine." On the clean energy front, he said the government has identified 600 power guzzling industries as the focus area for promoting efficiency measures. "We have identified 600 industries where there is need for energy efficiency. These are cement, fertilizer, oil refineries, steel plants, paper mills etc," he said. Another area which requires attention is coal mining, he said, adding: "Coal mining is an area where we need to work more, mining is one sector where there are enormous employment opportunities and will help the GDP".

From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 02/12/2014

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Mobile Devices to Help Health Workers Under MMPs

 

Adoption of Information Technology is important in improving access to healthcare in India. After pilot projects in a few states, Central Ministry of Health is planning to empower health workers with handheld devices like mobiles phones for data collection at the grass-root level. Under the Mission Mode Project, government plans to implement this in two to three months across the country. Earlier, some of the state governments, including those of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had done pilot projects on data collection through handheld devices. The Accredited Social Health Activists were given mobile phones to capture and send real time data. These were data regarding outbreak of diseases like dengue and malaria, maternal and child care etc.

 

Usage of handheld devices also can help significant reduction of cost in comparison with setting up hardware infrastructure in rural areas. Report identify the importance of shifting from ‘infrastructure focus’ to ‘productivity focus’ to generate corresponding improvements in India’s healthcare access. This can only be achieved if larger fund allocation for healthcare is accompanied by effective and innovative interventions to improve the existing healthcare ecosystem in order to achieve global standards

From http://egov.eletsonline.com/ 02/12/2014

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Continuation of the Mission on Nano Science and Technology in the 12th Plan Period

 

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for continuation of the Mission on Nano Science and Technology (Nano Mission) in its Phase-II in the 12th Plan Period at a total cost of Rs. 650 crores. Nano Technology is a knowledge-intensive and "enabling technology" which is expected to influence a wide range of products and processes with far-reaching implications for the national economy and development.  The Mission`s programmes will target all scientists, institutions and industry in the country.  It will also strengthen activities in nano science and technology by promoting basic research, human resource development, research infrastructure development, international collaborations, orchestration of national dialogues and nano applications and technology development. The Nano Mission, in this new phase, will also make greater effort to promote application-oriented R&D so that some useful products, processes and technologies also emerge. It will be anchored in the Department of Science and Technology and steered by a Nano Mission Council chaired by an eminent scientist.

From http://pib.nic.in/ 02/20/2014

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Building Better Cyber and Telephony Infrastructure and Evolving New Cyber and Telecom Security Practices

 

Government is working to enhance its capacity to protect data and information flows by building better cyber and telephony infrastructure and by evolving new cyber and telecom security practices. Government is promoting Indian players in the Information Technology field to develop and offer Internet Services by having their servers located in India, in order to protect the interests and secrecy of communication of Indian citizens. Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today, Shri Milind Deora, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, said that already Rediff and Indiatimes have set up servers and accessories in the country to provide email and other services to Indian citizens. Government is also working towards promoting the evolution of better international internet governance-norms, through ongoing discussions at international fora.

From http://pib.nic.in/ 02/21/2014

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AZERBAIJAN: Transport Ministry to Reconstruct Major Avenue in Baku

 

Azerbaijani Transport Ministry plans to complete the reconstruction of Ziya Bunyadov Avenue in May 2014, Deputy Transport Minister, Musa Panahov said on Jan. 28. He said the Transport Ministry plans to start reconstruction of Babak Avenue following the completion of reconstruction at Zia Bunyadov Avenue. "Babak Avenue is an important transport artery of the capital, so conducting its reconstruction is a necessity," Panahov said.

From http://en.trend.az/ 01/28/2014

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Baku Metro Completes Construction of Important Technological Facility

 

A new technological building for the Baku Metro, located near the '28 May' station, is near completion, according to a message posted on Feb. 3 on the Baku Metro's website. The new building will provide management, organization and regulation of traffic, as well as, the safety of passengers in Azerbaijani capital's metro, according to the message. The message said that the creation of the technological building's main facilities is at the final stage; these are the traffic control points, which are important in the organization of not only movement, but also the work of the metro. "The creation of traffic control points have been completed," according to the message. Currently the length of Baku Metro's lines is 34.6 kilometers. It has two lines. Plans are to bring the number of the lines to five, the length to 119 kilometers and the number of stations to 76. The Baku Metro has operated since 1967 and has 23 stations. Earlier, a 20-year program for development of Baku Metro was adopted.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/03/2014

 

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Azerbaijani Sciences Academy to Develop Proposals on Use of GMOs

 

Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) will develop a package of proposals for the legal regulation of the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The country joined the Cartagena Protocol in 2005 and has a commitment to prevent the spread of GMOs and their use for commercial purposes, the Public Relations Department of the ANAS board central office told Trend. At the same time Azerbaijan has no legislation limiting the spread of genetically modified products. In this regard, the Research Institute for Human Rights of ANAS has studied the international experience and legal regulation in Azerbaijan in this area. Currently the limit for GMOs in the products within the European Union is set at 0.9 percent. Most environmentalists fear that this type of product may pose a threat to the nature. Given the lack of legal regulation in this area and incomplete study of the effect of genetically modified products on the human body, the ANAS decided to prepare appropriate proposals for legislative consolidation.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/06/2014

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Passenger Transportation Tariffs Fall in Azerbaijan

 

In January 2014 the freight transportation tariffs in Azerbaijan's transport sector remained unchanged with respect to the figures for December 2013, according to a message from Azerbaijani State Statistics Committee. The committee said the passenger transportation tariffs fell by 1.2 percent in January. The tariffs on railway passenger transportations and air passenger transportations to the CIS countries fell by 7.5 and 5 percent respectively. The air passenger transportations to other international destinations fell by 6.2 percent. The tariffs for marine freight transportations rose by 7.4 percent in January. Last month the oil transportation tariffs fell by 3.9 percent, and gas transportations increased by 2.5 percent. Freight and passenger transportations by motor vehicles rose by 4.7 and 0.2 percent respectively in January.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/17/2014

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Real Estate Registration to Simplify in Azerbaijan

 

The set of procedures relating to the registration of real estate will be simplified substantially in Azerbaijan in March, the head of the State Property Issues Committee, Karam Hasanov told journalists on Feb. 19. "The state committee is collaborating with the Ministry of Justice on this issue," he said. "The Office informed us that on March, 3 its part of the work will be completed, after which the notary authorities will have access to the electronic information database of the State Committee." The citizens will more easily obtain the necessary information and arrange the purchase and sale of property, according to Hasanov " It will be enough to apply to a notary for obtaining Form 1 - perhaps it will be possible, to issue an appeal and pay the fee. Notary authorities will send documents electronically to the territorial control of the State Committee. Later citizens will have to visit their territorial administration only once in order to receive prepared reference" Hasanov said. Furthermore, it will be possible to issue the sale of secondary housing at the notary offices in the near future. "A notary, in real time, will be able to obtain our electronic database information and carry out the operation of buying and selling," he said.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/19/2014

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KAZAKHSTAN: To Create Investment Fund for Renewable Energy Source Projects

 

A memorandum was signed in Kazakhstan between the National Agency for Technological Development (NATD), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the private investor on the creation of Central Asia Renewable Energy Fund LP, head of Baiterek Holding, Kuandik Bishimbayev said on Feb.6. This was whilst speaking at the expanded board of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Industry and New Technologies with the participation of the country's Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov. "This fund will make investments in renewable and alternative energy sources projects for a period of eight to 10 years," Bishimbayev said. The total volume of the fund at the initial stage will be $50 million with a further $100 million, according to the holding head. Bishimbayev said the fund will finance only those projects in Kazakhstan. Over two thirds of the fund's authorised capital will be formed with private and foreign investments and the state will provide less than one third of the total volume through the National Agency for Technological Development. "The list of potential projects that can be financed by the fund has already been approved," Bishimbayev said.

From http://en.trend.az/ 02/06/2013

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Urban Management Can Boost Living Standards and Climate Change Resilience in Pacific - ADB Report

 

Improved urban management in the Pacific region can boost living standards and resilience to climate change, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). “Strengthened urban management is key to better living standards and reduced exposure to natural hazard and climate change risks in the region's growing cities and towns,” said report author and ADB Urban Development Specialist Allison Woodruff. Moving from Risk to Resilience: Sustainable Urban Development in the Pacific outlines some of the socio-economic benefits of urbanization. For example, providing social services such as health and education can be more cost-effective when the population is concentrated in urban clusters, compared with providing the same services to small, dispersed rural communities. The concentration of people and commercial enterprises may also contribute to more innovation and greater productivity which will drive economic growth. The region is rapidly urbanizing, with 20% of its population now living in urban areas. If Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste are excluded, this figure increases to 36%. In the region’s smallest countries—the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Palau—at least three out of every four residents are already urban dwellers. At the same time, many of the region’s urban centers are located in hazard-prone areas such as coasts, floodplains, or low-lying atolls.

 

Accommodating the growing number of urban residents is a challenge for Pacific governments. Urbanization has been associated with lack of access to, and poor quality basic services such as water supply, sanitation, and solid waste. The ADB report notes that integrated urban development strategies may be used to improve urban living conditions particularly among low-income households, as well as build resilience to climate change. An integrated approach may include encouraging development away from high risk hazard zones such coastal or floodplain areas. Enforcing building codes which require homes to be built with minimum floor heights or heightening existing infrastructure can be used to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards such as flooding. The report recommends that urban development strategies be implemented in a participatory way to ensure support from communities. Adequate human and financial resources, access to reliable data on climate change risks and coordination between agencies involved in urban management are also critical to the success of the implementation and promotion of sustainable urban development in the Pacific region.

From http://www.adb.org 02/20/2014

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AUSTRALIA: VIC Invites Citizens to Innovative with Data

 

Victoria’s Technology Minister, Gordon Rich-Phillips, has encouraged member of the community to get creative in the Data Vic Competition by using government data housed on data.vic.gov.au. “Data.voc.gov.au presents a wealth of opportunities to access government data and turn it into innovation, which will benefit Victorians and the broader community,” said Rich-Phillips. “The competition also provides opportunities for other datasets not currently available through the Data.Vic directory to be discovered. The possibilities are endless.” The competition aims to encourage users to interact with and gain a better understanding of the untapped potential of the data. The winning entries will showcase how government data can be used to serve a market need or address industrial, environment or community issues. The Data Vic Competition is now open for registration and will close on 28 February 2014. Winners will be announced on 14 March 2014. Four prizes of AU$2500 are up for grabs, along with the opportunity to consult with the Victorian Government to further develop the winning projects. The competition is an initiative between the Victorian Government and Spatial Industries Business Association.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 02/12/2014

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FIJI: Government Reimburses Victims of Fraud

 

The Fiji government will reimburse more than seven hundred thousand dollars to Fijians who lost money to local micro financing institutions set up during the days of the Soqosoqo Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) government. Attorney General Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum says more than nine thousand two hundred savers have fallen victims to alleged unscrupulous dealings by those who were running the institutions. Their funds, Sayed-Khaiyum says, have gone missing and are unaccounted for. “Namely micro finance west which includes Kadavu and Nakoilava. Mcrofinance Central Eastern, Micro Finance Labasa and the Micro Finance in the tikina of Vuya in Bua. Saiyed-Khaiyum says, the anomalies were discovered after initial queries by the Reserve Bank of Fiji and audit by the Auditor General Office and the Ministry of Trade. “The reason why Ministry of Trade got involved is because National Centre for Small Micro Enterprise used to for a number of years give grants to these micro finance institutions but unfortunately not withstanding those grants being given to those MFIs, these institutions were’nt managed properly, the book keeping was atrocious”. Teams from the Ministry of Trade will identify victims who will be reimbursed by April this year. The reimbursement wasn’t budgeted for, but will come from government savings. News laws are also being dafted to prevent such incidents in the future.

From FBC NEWS/PACNEWS 02/21/2014

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NEW ZEALAND: To Get Cloud-based Productivity Tools

 

New Zealand’s Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO), Colin MacDonald, has announced that it is looking to have the first phase of a cloud-based productivity suite available to agencies early this year. The first phase of Office Productivity as a Service (OPaaS) focuses on email and calendar, and also includes email archiving, data loss prevention, content filtering and SEEMail Gateway. According to an update by the GCIO, the team was in its final negotiations with a preferred supplier as of December 2013. The second phase is expected to be available shortly after the first and is undergoing solution refinement. The second phase will bring services such as instant messaging, device-based conferencing, enterprise social networking, team workspaces for file and content, web-based document viewing and editing, and file sharing and synchronising. This project is part of a range of cloud-based solutions which the New Zealand Government is rolling out, including desktop management and enterprise content management.

From http://www.futuregov.asia 01/30/2014

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New Zealand to Help Tackle Multinational Tax Avoidance

 

New Zealand tax officials will be offering solutions to the erosion of national tax bases by profit-shifting multinationals at a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) group of developed nations this week. Inland Revenue Department officials would be seeking international cooperation to combat the problem at the Paris talks on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), tactics used by multinationals to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions, Revenue Minister Todd McClay said in a statement Monday. "My officials are contributing to discussions on the growth of the digital economy, its impact on tax bases, and possible solutions to combating the BEPS problem," said McClay. New Zealand's participation was highly valued, in part because of the strength and integrity of its domestic tax laws. "As New Zealand is becoming more and more attractive as a place to do business and invest in, it is critical that we continue to strengthen our tax rules to ensure overseas companies pay their fair share," said McClay. "Multilateral cooperation is the key to addressing these cross- border issues. Multinational base erosion and profit shifting requires a pragmatic international response; it is clear that it cannot be solved by individual countries working in isolation."

From Xinhua News Agency 02/03/2014

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SOLOMON ISLANDS: Facing Potential Economic Rescue

 

As it edges closer to an election later this year, the Hapi Isles appears to be in an economic turmoil. All indicators are that things could only get worse. Critics say the nation’s economic woes are self-inflicted. It originated from a decision taken by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s government a little over two years ago. In the main, the decision taken by cabinet gave politicians the ultimate say on how funding in the nation’s largely donor-funded Development Budget is to be used. An immediate impact of the decision was that technocrats whose work is largely funded in the Development Budget had nothing to do as politicians took control of the funding allocations for projects. “We simply come to the office to collect our pay cheque. There are no funds to go out in the field,” one frustrated official said. One official has since resigned after pressure from politicians to release cocoa and copra rehabilitation funding last year. The official stood his grounds because politicians failed to honour a signed agreement to furnish his department reports on how they used tens of millions of dollars in cocoa and copra rehabilitation funds in the previous year.

 

Two years after the decision which allowed politicians to be economic managers of public funds, the impact has spread far and wide, impacting on service delivery around the country. Sectors after sectors are now beginning to feel the pinch. The first known casualty is civil aviation. Two of the nation’s dozen or so airstrips have been forced to close down in as many months. No one knows how long the closure will be. A third is in the queue. Many more could follow. Last December, the nation’s capital was without drinking water for hours as landowners turned off the water mains that supplies Honiara’s 80,000 residents. Not that this is an unfamiliar happening. It isn’t except that last December’s incident had also affected hotels. Some stop gap measures were taken and water was again flowing. All these were happening because of one of two things.

The government has simply fallen behind in paying its statutory charges on-time or has knowingly ignored the payments as they fall due. Resource owners who have had enough are not taking this sitting down. And the fire of chaos seems to be appearing everywhere. In the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, for example, the government uncovered albeit too late a $10 million (about US$1.34 million) fraud. Over-charging in freight and fictitious charters chalked up the funds.

 

Two payments alerted the government to this fraud. One took Treasury officials just 45 minutes to process the payment. The second took a lot lesser time. What attracted the attention of some Treasury officials was the fact that payment for this particular project often jumped the queue and was often the first to be paid. As a consequence, work on three health centres had stopped because the funds, provided under Australian aid, have simply evaporated.

 

Investigation

Police investigation has unearthed prima facie evidence which seems to be pointing to an entrenched network amongst senior public servants with links to private sector operators. In the infrastructure sector, two multi-million dollar projects to be funded by the Japanese Government hang in the balance. One is for the construction of a new jetty to ease overcrowding at the main Point Cruz wharf, the other an 8km road linking Ranadi’s industrial area directly with Point Cruz. These projects are under question mark because the Honiara Government has been undecided about the fate of the board members of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (), which the Minister for Infrastructure Development, Seth Gukuna and Finance Minister Rick Hou jointly sacked last October. Hou, a former governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, has since withdrawn his support for the sacking. Instead, he has counselled his colleague minister Gukuna to reinstate the sacked board. Gukuna was unmoved. While Tokyo is ready to proceed, Honiara is not. Japan has made it clear that unless the sacked SIPA board is reinstated, JICA has no local partners on the ground to work with.

 

This could cause further delays to both the new wharf as well as a new road to be built from the Ranadi industrial area in the east, direct to the Point Cruz wharf. This new road is intended to ease traffic in the capital. Despite what is happening, the government appears to act as if nothing is wrong. Take for example the plight of ordinary Solomon Islands men and women who contributed to the success of the 2012 Festival of Pacific Arts, which Solomon Islands hosted for two weeks from July 6 that year. There’s revelation in the local media that contractors are still being owed SB$17 million (about US$2.28 million) in unpaid contracts 19 months after the regional event had ended. A police probe instituted shortly after to investigate serious allegations of misuse of public funds appears to have come to naught. Mid last month (January) it was announced that the registration of voters for the new system of voting (biometric) to be used in the national election later this year has been delayed until March. It was to have begun on January 20 and end on March 20. This was postponed due largely to the fact that the government does not have the money to pay workers who would administer the new system. Whether lack of money was simply an alibi so the old system, riddled with cheating and other electoral fraud, could be retained, is open to conjecture.

 

As one observer puts it, “How can this be happening when there’s so much money around? Solomon Islands has never ever experienced a time when there’s so much money.” What is making news big time here too is the cost of education, which has skyrocketed in the last 12 months. Many parents have been forced to withdraw their kids from school simply because they could not afford the tuition fees and various other charges levied by school boards, including government-owned schools. A SB$20 million (about US$2.7 million) Constituency Scholarship Fund, introduced by Prime Minister Lilo’s government and administered by MPs, has failed to make a dent in the parents’ struggle to meet their children’s school fees. This is because politicians, in many cases, have restricted the use of the scholarship fund to their voters only, leaving hundreds of thousands of parents to fend for themselves. Already the education sector has been hit hard this year. Its overseas and Solomon Islands National University’s (SINU) combined intake was halved to just 430 students this year. Solomon Islands’ economic woes come at a time when even the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has revised downwards the nation’s economic growth outlook.

 

For example, the nation’s growth forecast for 2013 was lowered to 2.5 percent from the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2013 forecast of 4 percent in April. This largely reflected slowdowns in gold, logging, and agricultural production, the bank says. “In the first 7 months of 2013, gold exports were down by 22.9 percent and log exports by 11.6 percent compared with the same period in 2012. The Gold Ridge mine operator cut its forecast for gold production in 2013 by 10 percent. Agricultural and fishery production were also down in the first 7 months of the year, with production of cocoa declining by 23.5 percent and of copra by 63 percent, year on year. The fishing catch was 28.5 percent lower due to poor weather and fewer fishing vessels.” What happens between now and the next national general election, due in November, is anyone’s guess.

From http://www.islandsbusiness.com 02/20/2014

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VANUATU: 'Cutting Edge' Disaster Response

 

Vanuatu’s disaster communications plan has been given a ground-breaking overhaul, supported by VSA volunteer Simon Donald. The country is now the first in the region to have a text-message disaster response system. Like all Pacific Islands, Vanuatu is vulnerable to natural disasters, such as cyclones and earthquakes. The National Disaster Management Office relies on reports from affected communities to inform its response, but Simon says they found that information could take a week, or even two, to reach the NDMO. To cut short those delays, Simon and the NDMO set up the automated text message service. Leaders of Community Disaster Committees text a short code related to the type of impacts in their area. These texts are automatically collated and mapped, showing where help is needed most urgently. While the short codes are not new, traditionally they’d be phoned in, Simon explains. The text message service was harder to set up, he says, but is better in a country where cellphone reception often can’t support a call, and requires less staffing. The NDMO has had successful trials of the short-code system in simulation exercises with community workshops, though Simon notes he’s pleased there’s been no real-world need for it yet. "It’s a catch-22", Simon says, "the testing went really well, but we want a disaster to really test it. But we don’t want a disaster!"

 

An unexpected bonus

In the far north, the Torres and Banks Islands are a "black hole" for cellphone coverage, he says, so work there involved strengthening "backbone" communications - HF and VHF radios. With the UNDP and the Red Cross, Simon formed the Torba (Torres and Banks) HF Radio Project, and furnished the islands with seven new HF radio stations, and trained local operators on use and upkeep. While they have set times to check in with one another via radio, “outside of those times, everyone just natters away”, says Simon. The radio rooms have become central hubs, "which is a good kind of extra bonus", he adds. “It’s improved their lives, not just for decreasing vulnerability to disasters because we can now really effectively warn them when there’s a threat, but they can now talk to each other, talk to the island over really easily, without having to take a boat across which can be expensive, often dangerous if the weather’s not good. “It’s really turned the Torres - which is about 150km in area from top to bottom - into a village that can talk to each other really easily.” VSA is New Zealand’s largest and most experienced volunteer agency working in international development. We bring together New Zealanders and our Asia-Pacific neighbours to share their skills and experience, working to transform lives and create a fair future for all.

From http://www.islandsbusiness.com 02/20/2014

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Global IT Service Management (ITSM) Market 2012-2016

 

TechNavio's analysts forecast the Global IT Service Management (ITSM) market to grow at a CAGR of 7.30 percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is that an increasing number of employees are using personal technology devices in workplace. The Global IT Service Management (ITSM) market has also been witnessing the increasing popularity of ITSM among SMEs. However, the lack of transparency in service level agreements could pose a challenge to the growth of this market. TechNavio's report, Global IT Service Management (ITSM) market 2012-2016, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the Americas, and the EMEA and APAC regions; it also covers the Global IT Service Management (ITSM) market landscape and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. The key vendors dominating this market space are BMC Software Inc., CA Technologies Inc., IBM Corp., and Hewlett-Packard Co. The other vendors mentioned in the report are Axios Systems, Cherwell Software LLC, Citrix Systems Inc., Compuware Corp., EMC Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., Microsoft Corp., NetScout Systems Inc., Oracle Corp., ServiceNow Inc., Symantec Corp., and VMware Inc.

 

Key questions answered in this report:

What will the market size be in 2016 and what will the growth rate be?

What are the key market trends?

What is driving this market?

What are the challenges to market growth?

Who are the key vendors in this market space?

What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the key vendors?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of these key vendors?

You can request one free hour of our analyst's time when you purchase this market report. Details are provided within the report.

 

Methodology

Research methodology is based on extensive primary and secondary research. Primary research includes in-depth interviews with industry experts, vendors, resellers and customers. Secondary research includes Technavio Platform, industry publications, company reports, news articles, analyst reports, trade associations and the data published by Government agencies.

01. Executive Summary

02. Scope of the Report

02.1 Market Overview

02.2 Product Offerings

03. Market Research Methodology

03.1 Market Research Process

03.2 Research Design

03.3 Research Methodology

04. List of Abbreviations

05. Introduction

06. Market Landscape

06.1 Market Overview

06.2 Market Size and Forecast

06.3 Five Forces Analysis

07. Market Segmentation by Application

07.1 Global ITSM Market by Application 2012-2016

07.2 Global Configuration Management Market

07.2.1 Market Size and Forecast

07.3 Global IT Service Desk Market

07.3.1 Market Size and Forecast

07.4 Global IT Asset Management Market

07.4.1 Market Size and Forecast

07.5 Global Application Performance Management Market

07.5.1 Market Size and Forecast

07.6 Global Availability and Performance Management Market

07.6.1 Market Size and Forecast

07.7 Global Network Management Market

07.7.1 Market Size and Forecast

07.8 Global Job Scheduling Market

07.8.1 Market Size and Forecast

07.9 Global DBMS Management Market

07.9.1 Market Size and Forecast

08. Market Segmentation by End-users

09. Geographical Segmentation

10. Key Leading Countries

10.1 USA

10.2 France

10.3 UK

11. Buying Criteria

12. Market Growth Drivers

13. Drivers and their Impact

14. Market Challenges

15. Impact of Drivers and Challenges

16. Market Trends

17. Trends and their Impact

18. Vendor Landscape

18.1 Competitive Scenario

18.2 Market Share Analysis 2012

18.3 Other Prominent Vendors

19. Key Vendor Analysis

19.1 BMC Software Inc.

19.1.1 Business Overview

19.1.2 Business Segmentation

19.1.3 Key Information

19.1.4 SWOT Analysis

19.2 CA Technologies Inc.

19.2.1 Business Overview

19.2.2 Business Segmentation

19.2.3 Key Information

19.2.4 SWOT Analysis

19.3 IBM Corp.

19.3.1 Business Overview

19.3.2 Business Segmentation

19.3.3 Key Information

19.3.4 SWOT Analysis

19.4 Hewlett-Packard Co.

19.4.1 Business Overview

19.4.2 Business Segmentation

19.4.3 Key Information

19.4.4 SWOT Analysis

20. Other Reports in this Series

 

List of Exhibits

Exhibit 1: Market Research Methodology

Exhibit 2: Global ITSM Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 3: Global ITSM Market Segmentation by Application 2012

Exhibit 4: Global ITSM Market Segmentation by Application 2012 & 2016

Exhibit 5: Global Configuration Management Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 6: Global IT Service Desk Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 7: Global IT Asset Management Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 8: Global Application Performance Management Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 9: Global Availability and Performance Management Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 10: Global Network Management Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 11: Global Job Scheduling Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 12: Global DBMS Management Market 2012-2016 (US$ billion)

Exhibit 13: Global ITSM Market by End-user Segmentation 2012

Exhibit 14: Global ITSM Market by Geographical Segmentation 2012

Exhibit 15: Global ITSM Market by Vendor Segmentation 2012

Exhibit 16: Business Segmentation of BMC Software Inc.

Exhibit 17: Business Segmentation of CA Technologies Inc.

Exhibit 18: Business Segmentation of IBM Corp.

Exhibit 19: Business Segmentation of Hewlett-Packard Co.

From http://www.reportbuyer.com/ 02/05/2014

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IDC Cuts Global IT Growth Forecasts on Renewed Emerging Market Fears

 

IDC has cut its worldwide IT market growth forecast for 2014 on the back of renewed fears regarding the performance of emerging markets. The company had previously said that a rebound in IT spending in major emerging markets including China and Russia this year following a slowdown in 2013 would boost global IT spending to over 5%. However, IDC now expects that figure to be closer to 4.6% in constant currency terms, after cutting its forecasts in Asia Pacific including China, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa. Latin America's growth forecast remains unchanged, but with expected growth of 8% for 2014, it is already significantly lower than the 14% seen last year. The explosive growth of mobile devices in recent years has inevitably begun to cool, while currency devaluations and inflation are likely to inhibit business confidence in many emerging economies during the first half of this year, IDC said. Exchange rate volatility is likely to exert a strong influence over global IT suppliers' revenues this year, and although it is too early to predict whether the dollar will remain strong throughout 2014 - it may create economic instability in key emerging markets, IDC said.

 

Latin American countries have so far been among the hardest hit by currency devaluations against the dollar in the first month of this year. Meanwhile, some areas of IT spending are picking up in mature markets, with servers and storage each expected to grow by 3%, and the PC market showing tentative signs of stabilization. Businesses in mature markets are beginning to feel more confident about the economy, and there is significant pent up demand in the US and Europe for infrastructure upgrades, capacity and bandwidth investments, as well as overdue replacement cycles. However, despite this mature market improvement, cannibalization in both the hardware market - as users transition to mobile devices - and in software and services as the cloud model increases in popularity, will continue to inhibit IT growth in these regions, IDC said.

From http://www.bnamericas.com/ 02/05/2014

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Worldwide and Regional Public IT Cloud Services 2013-2017 Forecast

 

This IDC study forecasts revenue growth for public IT cloud services through 2017, segmented by five functional categories within eight regions/countries. The forecast data, driven by IDC's key forecast assumptions for public IT cloud services development and adoption, leads to the study's key conclusions regarding cloud offerings' revenue and growth impacts on the IT industry, customer adoption shifts among the five IT cloud services categories, and shifting adoption patterns among the eight regions/countries. According to IDC Chief Analyst Frank Gens, "The cloud services market is now entering a dramatically different 'Chapter Two' phase, with the scale of adoption rising, the type of customers shifting, and the type of solutions radically expanding. It will be essential for cloud services providers to reexamine their cloud strategies, preparing for a marketplace focused intensely on business innovation, industry transformation, a new generation of "killer apps" based on a fusion of cloud services and Big Data, and increasingly pressured pricing and operating models. How suppliers navigate the next two years will tell us a lot about who the IT market leaders will be for the next two decades."

From http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/ 02/06/2014

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The Global Military IT, Data and Computing Market 2014-2024

 

The Global Military IT, Data, and Computing Market 2014-2024 offers the reader detailed analysis of the global Military IT, Data and Computing market over the next ten years, alongside potential market opportunities to enter the industry, using detailed market size forecasts. Recent years have witnessed the spiraling importance of network-centric warfare (NCW), which utilizes digitized operational assets to leverage information supplied in times of war. Various technological and structural efforts aim to create an information-based army that is capable of responding to threats more quickly, thereby effectively fighting asymmetric enemies. The Global Military IT, Data and Computing Market 2014-2024 provides detailed analysis of the current industry size and growth expectations from 2014 to 2024, including highlights of key growth stimulators. It also benchmarks the industry against key global markets and provides detailed understanding of emerging opportunities in specific areas.

 

Key Features and Benefits

The report provides detailed analysis of the market for Military IT, Data and Computing during 2014-2024, including the factors that influence why countries are investing or cutting expenditure on biometric systems. It provides detailed expectations of growth rates and projected total expenditure. Public and private partnerships are crucial to effectively combat cyber-attacks. The costs of developing effective cyber defenses are increasing rapidly due to advancements in technologies, and defense ministries around the world have realized that developing these solutions by themselves would result in expensive procurement costs. When a joint development project is undertaken however, the RandD costs are shared by all countries in the consortium, with almost all member countries procuring a system, resulting in lower unit costs.

 

Key Market Issues

The US, the highest spender on Military IT, Data and Computing systems has spent a vast amount of money on the development of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems over the last decade. However, as the Army, Navy, and Air Force look to implement these systems, they are struggling with time delays and cost overruns. The emergence of affordable, smart mobile devices, along with advances in wireless communications such as 4G, WiFi, and Bluetooth, have worked to increase the vulnerability of national networks, with a large number of business enterprises widely adopting mobile devices. Even critical infrastructure entities, including tactical military units and electronic grids, are employing commercial wireless technology into their operations. This area poses a tough challenge for cyber security providers, as the increasing capability of mobile phones is also expected to increase the complexity of attacks faced by these devices.

 

Attacks from malware makes it important for defenders to identify the source of the malware so that similar patterns can be tracked and observed for flaws, and a proper response to the attack can be delivered without causing undue inconvenience to the entire cyberspace community. This challenge stems from the fact that the cyber security institutional eco-system, which consists of a broad set of international, national, and private organizations, has unclear and overlapping boundaries, as well as differing capacities, due to which a comprehensive database on such malware has not been developed.

From http://www.prweb.com/ 02/07/2014

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Telecom Network and ICT Technology Trends: Next Big Things

 

This IDC study examines the technological drivers behind ICT transformation and identifies and describes five key interrelated trends that are driving network change in the immediate two- to five-year future. We then take a closer examination of 10 state-of-the-art emerging technologies that will transform global communications and electronics in the longer-term horizon over the next decade or more. "The global ICT sector is poised for dramatic transformation over the next decade as novel technologies and entirely new approaches to handle the unprecedented data explosion make their way to market," says Lawrence Surtees, principal analyst and vice president, Communications research and study author at IDC Canada.

 

Table of Contents

IDC Opinion

In This Study

Methodology

Situation Overview

New Technology Drivers

Future Outlook

Five Immediate Trends

Wireless, Wireless, Wireless!

LTE at Metro Ethernet Speed Soon

Gigabit LTE Next

DARPA Pursues 100Gbps RF Backbone

Faster Optical Networks

CANARIE Deploys Ciena 100Gbps

From 100Gbps to 400Gbps in the Core

And 40Gbps to 100Gbps in Ethernet Edge

Toward Terabit Ethernet

Hollow-Core Fiber to Boost Speed Further

Machine-to-Machine Communications

Near-Field Communication

Rogers and Bell Embrace NFC

Interac Flash Bypasses Wireless Providers

IPv6 Addressing

LISP

Software-Defined Networks and Network Integration

Vendors Eagerly Embrace SDN

NSPs Test SDN While Awaiting Standards

Google Embraces SDN with OpenFlowSAVI Test Bed Readied

Next Big Things: Ten Long-Term Enabling Technologies

Millimeter Waves

WiGig: Gigabit WiFi

Millimeter Wave Power Amplifiers

Terahertz Frequencies

Millimeter Wave Rocket Propulsion

Heterogenous Wireless Networks

Cognitive Software-Defined Radios and MIMO Antennas

Smart Antennas

Miniature Satellites

M3M Maritime Surveillance

Sapphire Space Junk Tracker

NEOSSat

 

BRITE

Extreme Miniaturization: Systems on a Chip

RF System on a Chip

SoCs Needed for HetNets and Triple-Play Platforms

Seven Devices, One Chip to Navigate Without GPS

Multifunction Cryogenic Superconducting Chips

Enabling Big Data

Massively Parallel Processing

Accumulo Engine

Deep Learning to Extract Meaning

Next-Generation Speech and Video Search

Sensory Computing

Gallium Nitride Next-Generation Semiconductors

Nanoscale Optoelectronics and Photonics

Nanoscale Plasmonics

Quantum Computing

Quantum Cryptography

Essential Guidance

Actions to Consider

Learn More

Related Research

Methodology

 

Synopsis

Table: Millimeter Waves

Table: Heterogenous Wireless Networks

Table: Cognitive Radios and Smart Antennas

Table: Miniature Satellites

Table: Systems on a Chip

Table: Multifunction Cryogenic Superconducting Chips

Table: Enabling Big Data Analytics

Table: Gallium Nitride Semiconductors

Table: Nanoscale Optoelectronics and Plasmonics

Table: Quantum Cryptography

 

Figure: The 3rd Platform Defines "The New IT"

Figure: Circuit Density: Transistors per Microchip, 1970-2030 (M)

Figure: Global Internet Traffic Forecast by Device Type, 2012-2017

Figure: Ethernet Bandwidth Projection Core Versus Server, 1995-2020 (Mbps)

Figure: Rise of Converged ICT Systems

Figure: Wasu Network Topology with 100G Optical

Figure: Ethernet Link Speeds, 2011 and 2013

Figure: Machine-to-Machine Ecosystem

Figure: Near-Field Communications Applications

Figure: Future Internet Architecture of IPv6 with LISP

Figure: Google's B4 Global WAN Software-Defined Network

Figure: Corporate Heterogeneous Networks for 4G and WiGig

Figure: HetNet Distributed Antenna System

Figure: Cognitive Radio Spectrum Hole Dynamic Spectrum Allocation

Figure: Beamforming Smart Antenna

Figure: Canadian M3MSat Minisatellite Coastal Patrol Constellation

Figure: Space Debris Growth, 1958-2011

Figure: System on a Chip

Figure: Objects Stored in Amazon S3 Cloud Service, 2006-2Q13 (B)

Figure: Cray XE6 Titan Massively Parallel Supercomputer

Figure: Accumulo Open Source Big Data Engine

Figure: University of Toronto Leads in Deep Learning and Cognitive Computing

Figure: Semiconductor Performance Traits by Number of Transistors on a Single Chip, 1985-2010 ('000, MHz, Watts)

Figure: Gallium Nitride Next-Generation Semiconductor Material

Figure: Plasmonic Optoelectronic Microrings

Figure: D-Wave QuickSilver Cryogenic Quantum Chip Package

From http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/ 02/10/2014

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Economic Crisis Provides Lessons for New Approaches to Forecasting, Says OECD

 

Extreme volatility during the global financial crisis complicated economic forecasting, leading to large errors that underline the need for better modelling methods and new approaches for making and presenting projections, according to an OECD report. OECD forecasts during and after the financial crisis: a post-mortem says that the Organisation’s economic projections under-predicted the depth of the collapse in activity in 2008-09 and over-estimated the pace of recovery in recent years. The degree of forecasting errors seen over the 2007-12 period is similar in size to that seen around the first oil shock in the 1970s. The OECD report analyses the key factors driving forecast errors and draws lessons that can be used to improve its forecasting and analysis. “We have learned a lot from the crisis,” OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan said during a launch event today in London with the London School of Economics. ”We have taken steps to improve short-term forecasting models, construct better indicators of financial conditions and explore the risks around our forecasts more systematically,” Mr Padoan said.

 

The analysis of forecasting offers new insight into how the global economic crisis impacted different countries. Forecast errors were larger in the economies that are most open, in terms of trade and finance, suggesting that globalisation has increased exposure to external shocks and made countries more connected than in the past. Errors in economic projections were also larger in countries with the most stringent pre-crisis labour and product market regulations, suggesting weaker resilience than in more deregulated economies. The large and negative errors on growth in countries with weak banking systems, confirm that financial factors need to be given more weight in economic models. “The repeated deepening of the euro area sovereign debt crisis took us by surprise, because of the stronger-than-expected feedback between banking and sovereign weaknesses, and this influenced our over-estimation of projected growth during the early stages of the recovery,” Mr Padoan said. Strong moves toward fiscal consolidation have been blamed by some for weaker-than-projected growth, but the OECD finds that this holds true only in some years, and only when Greece is included in the analysis. “The OECD did not underestimate fiscal multipliers,” Mr Padoan said. “It was the repeated assumption that the euro crisis would dissipate over time, and that sovereign bond yield differentials would narrow, that turned out to have been the most important source of error.” The review of forecasting is part of a wider effort at the OECD to better understand the global crisis and use it as a source for the development of New Approaches to Economic Challenges.

From http://www.oecd.org/ 02/11/2014

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Strategic Opportunity Analysis of the Global Smart City Market

 

The research service sets the stage for visionary thinking by identifying and analyzing one of the significant Mega Trends, Smart is the New Green. 'Smart' as a value proposition has been increasingly replacing 'Green' concepts. This presentation would highlight examples of projects, companies and technologies that will invade and change the smart city space globally in the next decade. It also provides information on the total addressable smart city market size opportunity and discusses smart city business models, funding mechanisms, and stakeholder analysis. It also provides an analysis of macro-to-micro implications of smart cities on various industries in driving convergence of competition.

 

Key Topics Covered:

Executive Summary

Definition of Smart Cities

Key Findings of the Study

Summary of Smart City Market

Key Conclusions and Future Outlook

Associated Multimedia

Research Scope, Objective and Methodology

Research Scope

Research Aims and Objectives

Research Background

Research Methodology-From Macro to Micro

 

Introduction and Definition

Introduction to Smart City Concept

Definition of a Smart City-Key Parameters

Smart Energy-Smart Grid the Future 'Energy Internet'

Smart Buildings-The Triple Zero Architecture of the Future

Smart Mobility-Technology on Wheels

Smart Healthcare-Health in a Greener Economy

Smart Infrastructure-Digital Management of Infrastructure

Smart Governance and Smart Security-Governance-on-the-Go

Smart Citizen-The Digizens of the Future

Definitions Used in the Study

 

Global Smart Cities in 2025

Regional Snapshots of Smart Cities

Smart Cities in North America

Smart Cities in Europe

Smart Cities in Asia

Smart City Market, Business Models and Stakeholders Analysis

Global Smart City Market

Smart City Business Models

Smart City Funding Mechanisms

Smart City Stakeholder Analysis

 

Convergence of Competition

Smart Convergence

Section Slide Numbers

Smart City Roles

Next Game Changers in Smart City Business

Smart Cities: The Future Services, Technology and Connectivity

Smart City Services-eService

Future of Technology

Future of Connectivity

 

Case Studies of Companies Offering Smart City Solutions

IBM-Smarter Planet

Siemens AG-Infrastructure and Cities

GE-Ecomagination

ABB-Smart Grid Solutions

Cisco-Cisco Smart + Connected Communities for Cities