Summer 2003 Issue 2
  Ensuring Privacy Protection and Overcoming Consumer Fear: Goal of APEC E-Commerce Meeting
Pacific Get Its Words in Information Society Draft Declaration
Bringing Competitors Together to Cross the Digital Divide
Pacific Consultation Identifies Information Society Priorities
E-Government: Anti-Corruption - 2003 Seoul Conference
E-Russia Threatened by Cuts in Financing
Blueprint for E-Commerce Identity Authentication Launched
The Asian Network of Major Cities 21
IDC: Asia to Lead in Developers by 2005
Protecting Developing Economies from Cyber Attack - Assistance to Build Regional Cyber Security Preparedness
Linux Asian-Pacific Center Settled in Shanghai
Asia's Broadband Boom
IDC Sees Asia's Continuing Dominance in Broadband
5th Annual Event Global IP Carriers 2003
e-Government Asia 2003
Fourth Annual Event Information Security World Asia 2003
Inaugural Billing World Asia Pacific 2003
4th Annual Carriers World Japan 2003
APICTA 2003
 
  CHINA: Government Adopts Active IT Outsourcing Strategy
HK Issues Telecommunications Order
HK to Fund Software Development
Cyber Cafe Rules
Highlights on Shanghai Informatization in 2002
Legislation Status of Shanghai IT Application in 2002
Shanghai to Develop the Software and IC Industries in 10 Aspects
South China's Shenzhen Makes Huge Investment in IT
JAPAN: Hiroshima Mayor Wins Re-Election with Ease
Digital Broadcasting Licenses Issued
SOUTH KOREA: Ministry Draws Up Plans to Foster Digital Content Industries
Mobile Internet Platform Plan Murky
Seoul Unveils Master Development Plan for 2020
Six Strategies of the City of Daegu
 
  MALAYSIA: Special Act Soon for Players of E-commerce
SINGAPORE: IDA and Sun Focus on Developing Next Generation Internet Applications in Strategic Collaboration
Connected Singapore -Unleashing Potential, Realizing Possibilities Through Infocomm-IDA Plans To Take Infocomm Industry To Next Level Of Growth
THAILAND: Govt to Adopt New Piracy Rules
 
  INDIA: Assembly Passes Information Bill
New Communication Strategy on the Anvil
PAKISTAN: Cabinet-IT & Telecom Divisions Row Deepens
Govt to Help in Promoting IT & Telecommunications
Pakistan Sets Up Special Wing to Fight Cyber Crime
Pakistan Blocks Pornographic Sites
 
  37pc Keen to Vote Online: Survey
AUSTRALIA: Internet Trader Given Jail Sentence
NSW Govt Promises $5m IT Program
Interconnect Inquiry Announced
Net Laws Useless: Think-Tank
Canberra Clamp on Net Porn
NEW ZEALAND: Statutes Moving to Web
Email Trail Ends in Jail Sentence for Public Servant
Southland Gets $2M from Govt
IT Report Gets Govt Nod
Breaking Through the Govt Barriers
Pacific Islands Governments Urged- End Telecom Monopolies, Cut Rates
 
  UAE: Dubai E-government to Team Up with the Banks to Introduce Online Direct Debit for Public Transactions
CHINA: South China City Cuts Management Costs to Lift Competitiveness
Website Feedback
E-government to Drive Hong Kong's IT Development
Guangdong First Region to Launch GPS Net
Hong Kong Drives E-government Excellence
City to Digitize Water Conservation Services
Shanghai Central Districts Will See Initial Shape of E-community Administration and E-public Service
Beijing Backs Computer Networks
Hot Line Helps Cops Fight Crime
SOUTH KOREA: City Monitoring Team Adds 800 Civilians
Seoul Launches First Broadband Network
Seoul to Run Service Center for Foreigners
UKRAINE: e-Ukraine Program Launched
 
  MALAYSIA: E-Govt Slow in Implementing Open Source
Online Way to Handle Public Complaints
Build Teleworking Centres for the Poor
Providing On-demand E-government
Smart Farmers Initiative
PHILIPPINES: BI to Track Aliens Through New Computer Systems
Dotc Plans to Set Up E-centers
JBIC Asked to Finance P4.7-B E-gov't Center
IT & IM Professionals Join Forces in Country's First SIM Program
Consumers Can Post Complaints Online: DTI
Local Government Units to Have Websites: NCC
SINGAPORE: One Password for E-Services Greater Convenience in Government Services
THAILAND: `On-Demand' Strategy for E-government
Warnings Raised over Govt E-Procurement
VIET NAM: Infrastructure: Internet Still in Infancy
 
  INDIA: Download Forms but Queue Up for Payment
Govt to Beat Crime with Technology
New Service Lines Key to IT Sector Growth
Indian Call Centres Going Multinational
Online Payment of Power Bills
Trains, Stations May Soon Have Internet Facility
Data on Natural Resources Mapped
Law Dept Goes Hi-Tech, to Have Computerised Data
SRI LANKA: On-Line Transaction with Govt Institutions by Next June
PAKISTAN: PTCL Launches Two New Bandwidth Products
 
  AUSTRALIA: Armadale Centrelink in National Award Win
Cisco and 90East Team Up to Provide an Integrated Network to Link 120 Australian Commonwealth Government Departments
Centrelink's Free Financial Help for ACT Bushfire Victims
Australia Continues to Deliver on E-Government
NIEU: Niueans Get Free High-Speed Broadband Access
NEW ZEALAND: Tourism Website Launched
Government Plan 'Resembles ID Cards'
Electoral Centre Seeks New System
French Polynesia to Help Cooks Boost Internet, Cellphones
TONGA: Tongans Launch National Information Community Technology Society
 
  CHINA: Website for Disabled Job-Seekers Launches
Chongqing Draws Up Communications Blueprint
Cute Telephone Booths to Decorate Shanghai
E-map to Be Published
Online Video Profiles for Local Job Hunters
4,000 IT Companies with 170,000 Staff at Zhongguancun
Growth of IT Key to Jiangsu
East China Province Highlights Information Industry
Beijing to Become Asian Software Center
City Set Up Bankcard Industry Park
Xi'an Telecom Park Kicks off
Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Prepare to Build the First E-CBD in the World
Shanghai Bankcard Industry Zone Opened
Beijing Activates More ATMs
Multimedia Library System Goes International
JAPAN: Smart Card Lets Tokyo Crowds Zip on Through Electronic Wallets Catch on as Train Ticket Alternative
ISPs See a Drop in Number of Dial-up Subscribers
Online School Planned for Truants
An Introduction to Kyoto Business Location Cyber Center
Kansai Science City, Kyoto, Japan
IT Is the Key to Improving International Competitiveness
Robot Knowledge Society Program Worked Out
SOUTH KOREA: Five Items Picked for Songdo IT Valley
Seoul City to Play Host to 2003 World Cyber Games
IBM Korea, Samsung SDS Launch Web-Service Center
Korea's e-Retail Market Largest in Asia
Online Data Storage Service Improves Corporate Sharing
Seoul Ranks the Best City for Doing Business
°« -Plan of Daegu
Seoul Digital Media City: Information & Telecommunication
TV & Democracy
UZBEKISTAN: Number of Internet Users Increases Twofold in 2002
 
  MALAYSIA: Internet Training Centre to Reduce Digital Divide
E-village For Baram in the Offing
KL Funding Greatly Helps Sabah in IT Access: Tham
Sabah's First 'E-book' Tailored to Tourism
PHILIPPINES: Unionbank Offers E-payment Service
Globe Eyes New Hub Store in Cebu, Unveils Video Messaging Service
SINGAPORE: Top Up Cashcard's Lifespan
E-Banking: What Is Winning Over Customers
Online Banking: It's Everyone's Turn
Play It Safe and You Won't Be Sorry
Broadband Becoming a Pervasive Mode of High-Speed Connectivity in Singapore
Global Patent Search Service Launched in Singapore
A Fully Electronic Cert of Origin System
THAILAND: Chiang Mai Firm to Develop Software for Aviation Sector
Thailand, Malaysia Form E-business Link
Banks Sign with Visa System Used for Secure E-commerce
Shin Offers E-learning Tools
VIET NAM: US$16.6-Million E-Commerce Development Project Okayed
 
  BANGLADESH: Cisco Invests into Creating Global Networking Skills in Bangladesh
Online Banking Service in Dhaka EPZ
BB Governor for Maximum Use of IT in Banking Sector
Digitised 'Drainage Maps' Developed
INDIA: IT Boom Has Changed the Image of IIts
Pre-Paid Booths Remain Shut
Kalam Launches National Social Security Number
Bangalore IT Wizards Take Communities Online
Delhi to Be Number One Cyber City by Dec 2003: Dikshit
Cyber Cafe for Visually Impaired in Delhi
e-Counselling for Students
NEPAL: World's Highest Internet Cafe
PAKISTAN: IT University Campuses to Be Established
ISLAMABAD: IT Projects for BZU, Islamia University Approved
 
  AUSTRALIA: New IT Frenzy Akin to Y2K
Canberra Bushfires Put Networks to the Test
Brisbane Airport First to Offer Wireless Internet Access
CBA's Nine-Year Windows Plan
French Polynesia Introduces Broadband, Lower Costs
NEW ZEALAND: Superbank Settles on IT
New Site Links Buyers, Markets
Crackdown on IT Firms May Shift to NZ
Tourism's Online Voyage
Kiwi Website Wins Award
 
  CHINA: IT Lessons Offered
e-Government Summit Hong Kong 2003
Local Families to Receive Internet Training
Shanghai Women to Get Free IT Training
Web Conference Logs on in June
Seminar on Development of Shanghai Bank Card Industry Held
JAPAN: 10th Multimedia Seminar on Possibility of TV
JAPAN: International KEITAI Forum in Kyoto City
International Forum on Asian Urban Problems
Osaka Sets Up IT Promotion Institute for Java
Robodex: Japan's Robot Expo Opens
SOUTH KOREA: Busan Selected as Host City of ITU Telecom Asia 2004
Ministry to Finance Specialized Training for IT Students
 
  MALAYSIA: Institutes to Provide E-training on Work Skills
Developing Talents in Technology
PHILIPPINES: Cedf-It to Set Up I.T. Testing Center
ADB Gives SEC New Technical Assistance for Capacity Building
STI Franchise Drives IT Education to Greater Business Heights
THAILAND: Bank to Provide Finance for Budget Computers, Training
VIET NAM: Training Course on Building TCVN- Net and Data- Associated Child Websites
The Economist Intelligence Unit/Pyramid Research E-Readiness Rankings
 
  BANGLADESH: Three-Day Electronics, IT Fair From April 17
INDIA: Wipro to Recruit 2500 IT Professionals for Kolkata SDC
New Horizons Plans $10 Mn Indian Investment
Samsung to Supply PCs to Goa Govt
Online Tutorial for Overseas Bengalis
9 IPS Officers Selected for Training in IT Management
SRI LANKA: Computer Education in War-Torn Area
Education Ministry to Set Up Computer Units at Schools
National IT Conference to Focus on E-Sri Lanka
PAKISTAN: 5-Year Pilot Project to Train 10000 IT Teachers
 
  AUSTRALIA: Microsoft to Make Presentation at NOIE Open Source Seminar
NEW ZEALAND: Doctorate Offered in Computing
Growth Forum Issues Tough Challenges
Net Crime Subject of Conference
Only 2 Pacific Islands Governments at Information Summit Meeting
Fiji, Samoa Help World Shape Path Towards Information Society
     
 
 
 

Ensuring Privacy Protection and Overcoming Consumer Fear: Goal of APEC E-Commerce Meeting

Chiang Rai, Thailand -- Developing greater e-commerce security and consumer confidence is the objective of an APEC conference taking place in Thailand on Thursday, February 13. 'Addressing Privacy Protection: Charting a Path for APEC' is the title of the conference that will bring privacy advocates, businesses and government representatives together to develop a new approach to online data privacy for the Asia-Pacific Region. Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, Ambassador Piamsak Milintachinda, said that the day-long conference will address some of the main fears people have with transacting online and seek practical solutions. "From this e-commerce conference we hope to lay the groundwork for APEC policy guidelines on data privacy," said Ambassador Milintachinda. "We are aiming to develop an approach to privacy protection that will enhance consumer trust in e-commerce. "The potential of e-commerce, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, is enormous. "Trading online is one of the purest forms of cross-border trade that is not compromised by red-tape and traditional barriers to trade. "One of the greatest obstacles to expanding e-commerce is the issue of data privacy and what this means for consumer confidence. "The problem is that many businesses and consumers do not feel secure providing private information over the internet in order to complete online transactions. "The way to overcome these fears is through the development of transparent standards of data protection. "There is no question that laws and standards on e-commerce and data privacy are crucial. "Private information must be protected in a way that does not inhibit the flexibility required for online trading to be effective. "This APEC conference will bring together some of the most informed speakers on the subject of on-line data privacy from legal, academic, business and government circles. "Presentations will be given by privacy officers from companies such as IBM and Oracle. "Privacy advocates and government officers will outline their priorities and concerns, as will a number of researchers and academics. "This conference highlights the importance of data privacy as an important policy aspect of the burgeoning e-commerce industry in the Asia-Pacific." Ambassador Piamsak said the issue of data privacy is particularly relevant to the 2003 APEC sub-theme of expanding the knowledge based economy. "Developing and expanding access to the digital or knowledge based economy is an important sub-there of the 2003 APEC year hosted by Thailand," said Ambassador Milintachinda. "Enhancing standards between economies in areas such as data privacy helps build a stronger environment for the expansion of e-commerce and the digital economy. "Expanding free trade on the Internet is another step towards APEC's Bogor Goals of free and open trade between developed APEC economies by 2010 and between developing economies by 2020." The 'Addressing Privacy Protection: Charting a Path for APEC' conference will be held in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and will coincide with the first APEC Senior Officials Meeting for 2003.,Key participants include: Mr. Peter Ferguson, Chair of the APEC E-Commerce Steering Group. Mr. Kunying Dhipvadee Meksawan, Ministry of Information and Technology, Thailand. Mr. Murray Long, Murray Long & Associates, Canada. Mr. Naoshi Shima, NEC Corporation, Japan Professor Masao Horibe, Chuo University, Japan. Mr. Joseph Alhadeff, Oracle Corporation, United States. Mr. Peter Ford, Attorney General's Department, Australia.

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 02/11/2003

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Pacific Get Its Words in Information Society Draft Declaration

Geneva (PINA Nius) - The second meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom-2) for the World Summit on the Information Society now has a draft declaration of principles - including the "island paragraph". As a result of the work put into the Tokyo Declaration by the Pacific Caucus, the draft declaration has included the "island paragraph" word for word. The draft declaration of principles has been produced in Geneva by a Working Group. This worked from the regional conference declarations, such as that from the Asia-Pacific conference in Tokyo last month. It is now working on the draft action plan. Under Key Principles, the draft declaration has included the "island paragraph" from the Tokyo Declaration, saying that in building an Information Society consideration must be given to: "Special circumstances of Small Island Developing States (SIDS): These countries, with fragile ecosystems vulnerable to environmental hazards, and characterised by small homogenous markets, high costs of access and equipment, human resource constraints exacerbated by the problem of 'brain-drain', limited access to networks and remote locations, will require particular attention and tailored solutions to meet their needs." The Civil Society and NGOs Bureau is now also commenting on the draft declaration of principles. Work will continue on the drafts in the interim and also during the third meeting of the Preparatory Committee, to be held in Geneva in September. This is in readiness for the first phase of the summit in Geneva in early December. Some of the Common Visions in the draft declaration say that the Information Society is: *an economic and social system where knowledge and information constitute the fundamental sources of well-being and progress and represent an opportunity for countries and societies; *one where all persons without distinction of any kind, exercise their right to freedom of opinion; *should be people centred, with citizens and communities at its core; *full exploitation of the new opportunities provided by ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) and of their combination with traditional media; *the right to communicate and the right to access to information for citizens should be considered a basic human right; *the existence of independent and free communication media is an essential requirement for freedom of expression and a guarantee of the plurality of information. Meanwhile, the Civil Society Bureau at the Geneva meeting says it welcomes the moves by the Preparatory Committee to include more stakeholders in the process leading to the Summit. The bureau says since the first meeting of the Committee, "the door has been opening". It called on its members to "fully utilise this opportunity." "More and more governments have expressed the desire to work together with the stakeholders including the civil society, NGOs and the private sector," it said. The stakeholders have been given a total of 30 minutes at the plenary session of SubCommittee 2 every day to express their views on the issues in the draft declaration and action plan. Small delegations from Fiji and Samoa have ably represented the Pacific Islands amongst the more than 700 government representatives in Geneva from around the world. The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) has also been in Geneva representing the interests of the region's news media. PINA has linked up with other leading international news media organisations in Geneva. They have jointly promoted the fundamental human rights to freedom of expression and information and the role of the traditional news media. The World Summit on the Information Society will occur in two phases: *The first phase will take place in Geneva hosted by the Swiss Government 10-12 December. It will address the broad range of themes concerning the Information Society and adopt a Declaration of Principles and plan of action, addressing the whole range of issues related to the Information Society. *The second phase will take place in Tunis hosted by the Tunisian Government, in 2005. Development themes will be a key focus in this phase, and it will assess progress that has been made and adopt any further plan of action to be taken. - PINA Nius. (by Johnson Honimae)

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 02/27/2003

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Bringing Competitors Together to Cross the Digital Divide

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- The APEC Telecommunications Working Group (APEC TEL) has developed a program that, with the support of governments, will encourage competing telecommunications companies to interconnect to get a better deal for customers. The Interconnection Training Program (ITP) has been developed to assist business and governments to negotiate and formalize interconnection arrangements faster and more efficiently. "Telecommunication is a business in which competitors must cooperate to link networks while maintaining robust competition in the marketplace," said Colin Oliver, Director for Regional Cooperation at the Australian Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, who has been appointed as the project overseer of the ITP. "Effective arrangements for interconnection require sound regulatory arrangements and the appropriate people trained to negotiate agreements and resolve disputes. "APEC TEL is helping members in the private and public sectors to encourage investment in the extension of telecommunications networks. "Greater investment in telecommunications infrastructure, particularly in developing economies, is essential for reducing the digital divide and building a regional knowledge based economy." The final training session was conducted in conjunction with the APEC TEL Working Group Meeting, TEL 27 which has been taking place in Kuala Lumpur this week. The training workshops began in Bangkok, before moving to Jakarta and then Kuala Lumpur. The senior instructor for the program, Jim Holms, said skills that were learnt over the two days of sessions are able to be immediately implemented in APEC economies. "The workshops equip participants to deal with a range of disciplines and market conditions they will encounter in the modern telecommunications industry," Mr Holms said. "The ITP was targeted at increasing skill levels for senior regulatory managers in government agencies, existing businesses supplying telecommunications services and new market entrants."

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 03/26/2003

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Pacific Consultation Identifies Information Society Priorities

Suva (PINA Nius) - A Pacific Islands Regional Information Communication Technology (ICT) Consultation in Suva has been helping develop regional participation in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Priority issues that were identified in preparation for the summit in Geneva in December included: the special circumstances faced by small island developing states in becoming knowledge societies, focus on information rather than technology, improvements in human resources and infrastructure, the importance of traditional media, recognizing diversity and special needs, and the role of non-governmental organizations. The consultation was organized and sponsored by: UNESCO, Foundation for Development Cooperation, Global Knowledge Partnership, International Telecommunication Union, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association, and the e-Pacifika project team (UNDP/UNOPS). It was attended by almost 100 representatives of governments, communication and information service providers, media organizations, and NGOs and civil society entities. The objective was to ensure that the unique contributions and needs of Pacific Islands countries and peoples are: fully recognized and represented throughout the WSIS process; and ultimately reflected in the Declaration and Action Plan to be adopted at the Summit in Geneva in December. Participants considered presentations on national and organizational policies, strategies and action plans relating to ICTs. Other inputs included: the Pacific regional framework documents (the Forum Communication Action Plan and the Pacific ICT Policy and Strategic Plan); documentation from the Asia-Pacific Regional WSIS Conference held in Tokyo in January; the draft WSIS framework which has been developed through a series of regional conferences and preparatory committee meetings; and papers provided by NGOs and other participants on a wide range of related issues. The consultation made recommendations on ICT development issues that were included in a regional guidance document. This is for use in preparations by national governments and relevant regional organizations for their participation toward the Summit. - PINA Nius

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 04/12/2003

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E-Government: Anti-Corruption - 2003 Seoul Conference

On both the private and public, and the domestic and international levels, corruption remains a most subtle yet poisonous problem in modern society. With continuing globalization trends, the need for international cooperation in the fight against corruption is becoming more prominent. In May 25-31, 2003, the Korean Government will host the 11th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) and Global Forum III on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity, together as the 2003 Seoul Conference. The International Anti-Corruption Conference, first convened in 1983, is now the premier global meeting aimed at containing corruption. Its program caters to the whole spectrum of anti-corruption stakeholders - including public officials, the media, professional groups, academia, the private sector and the NGO community. It is practical and action-oriented, providing a forum for frank and open information exchange, training, agenda-setting and networking. The aim is to produce concrete results which galvanize global anti-corruption efforts. A special feature of the 11th conference is that it will be linked to the Global Forum III on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity taking place at the same venue in Seoul, 29-31 May 2003. Global Forum III is an inter-governmental meeting bringing together government ministers and public officials to promote greater integrity and accountability, share experiences, refine understanding about effective practices, and search for new and better ways to defeat corruption. Group discussions will be held at the expert level to provide a ground for the exchange of views and information, and for the search of practical solutions in a wide range of related topics. The five tentative workshop pillars and conference program include such topics as use of e-government to fight corruption, and e-corruption.

From http://www.developmentgateway.org/ 03/01/2003

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E-Russia Threatened by Cuts in Financing

Under the federal budget for 2003, 1.4 billion rubles ($44.4 million) was allocated for E-Russia, or less than 20 percent than originally planned. Most of the financing will be used for so-called priority programs, the ministry said. One of the priority programs is "electronic government," which funds posting information online about governmental agencies and their activities. The government earlier this month ordered all government agencies to publish information not regarded as a state secret, including financial data, on their web sites in an effort to curb corruption. The corresponding resolution was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. Other priority projects include improving computer network infrastructure, boosting IT education and working out the necessary legislation and coordination for E-Russia projects in the regions. A total budget of 76.15 billion rubles was originally approved for the eight-year E-Russia program. The federal budget was expected to provide around 39 billion rubles, regional budgets were to contribute 22.5 billion rubles and non-budgetary sources 14.7 billion rubles. Regional budgets are expected to provide more funding for the program than planned to compensate for the lack of federal money. Federal financing for E-Russia was cut 28 percent to 431 million rubles last year, when the Communications Ministry had hoped to lay the groundwork for the program. Regional budgets provided 39 million rubles. The ministry expected to work out mechanisms to administer the program and coordinate regional E-Russia projects. Despite the lack of funding, the ministry said it was largely successful in implementing E-Russia, which has started 39 projects. Government information was published online, an electronic commerce system was set up for government agencies, allowing them to buy supplies through the Internet, and some official paperwork was brought online, the ministry said. Furthermore, under the Cyberpost program, some 2,600 public Internet access points were opened in post offices in 83 regions, Communications Minister Leonid Reiman said. Some 800 of those access points were opened in rural areas. The number of public Internet access points should be increased in 2003 and connection speed should be higher, Reiman said without elaborating. (by Svetlana Ufimtseva)

From http://www.herald.kz/wn/7.htm 03/21/2003

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Blueprint for E-Commerce Identity Authentication Launched

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, -- A report to guide governments in developing appropriate laws to enable the identification authentication of individuals and computers during electronic transactions has been presented at the APEC Telecommunications Information Working Group in Malaysia. The "Electronic Authentication: Issues Relating to its Selection and Use" report has been described by eSecurity Task Group Chair, Steve Orlowski, as a major step forward in extending secure e-commerce throughout the APEC region. "One of the major risks when exchanging money Online is knowing whether the person you are sending money to is legitimate and not a fraud," said Mr Orlowski. "The Electronic Authentication report will assist governments to enact effective legal and policy frameworks for Internet users to determine with greater security that the person they are dealing with is genuine. "The report provides a roadmap to assist governments to avoid obstacles that would deny their economies the benefits of electronic commerce." The report was delivered as part of the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group Conference (APEC TEL 27) being held from 24 to 28 March in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Deputy Assistant Attorney-General at the U.S. Department of Justice, John G. Malcolm, has praised the initiatives in the report that he said is critical for the development of online trading in the region. "It has been estimated that online trade in the Asia-Pacific region will grow by 720% from 2002 to 2006," Mr Malcolm said. "This economic growth could be compromised by the activities of cyber-criminals and cyber-terrorists. "The APEC TEL 27 meeting has brought about a number of achievements including the Electronic Authentication Report together with a number of other initiatives designed to create a safer environment for telecommunications and information networks and systems. These initiatives are in response to commitments made by APEC Leaders at their meeting in October 2002. "The commitments made by the Leaders were designed to facilitate the implementation of cybercrime legislation in all APEC economies. It is envisaged that this legislation will assist the efforts of international cybercrime units and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in the region. "In their last meeting APEC Leaders stated that appropriate cybercrime legislation and systems for exchanging threat and vulnerability information should be operational by October 2003. "In their 2002 Statement, the APEC Leaders also called for closer cooperation between law enforcement officials and business on issues of information security and fighting computer crime," Mr Malcolm said. As part of this week's activities, APEC TEL 27 has conducted a CERT workshop, initiated projects funded by APEC to assist economies in developing CERT capabilities and in implementing Cybercrime legislation and approved the finalization of a compendium of computer security standards. The CERT workshop, held over two days, was co-sponsored by Australia and Japan in close consultation with Malaysia as host of this week's APEC TEL meeting. The vulnerability of computer infrastructure and systems to cyber attack, particularly in developing economies was a key issue at the workshops. Coordinator of the CERT workshop, Mr Alex Webling, Special Adviser for eSecurity at the Australian Attorney-General's Department said that the workshop was "both stimulating and challenging" and called for economies to consider ways in which APEC can establish effective CERTs across the region. Mr Webling also said that Australia has committed US$100,000 to provide in-country training for Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to develop CERT capacity. The APEC Budget Management Committee has endorsed an additional US$94,500 to extend this capacity building to Chile, Mexico, Peru and Russia. The APEC Budget Management Committee has also endorsed a submission for the expenditure of US$76,000 to supplement a US$50,000 project from the United States to bring together experts in cybercrime law and policy," Mr Webling said. "This meeting will allow them to exchange views on the development of comprehensive cybercrime legal frameworks and the establishment of cybercrime investigative capacity to cooperate between economies." The APEC TEL 27 meeting also approved the finalization of a compendium of computer security standards. The compendium which was developed in cooperation with Standards New Zealand will assist business and government in identifying the appropriate standards for implementing security on their computer networks and systems.

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 04/01/2003

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The Asian Network of Major Cities 21

The Asian Network of Major Cities 21 (ANMC 21) is a new international network aimed at promoting joint projects and using the results of these projects to further the prosperity and development of the Asian region. This will be done by tackling topics of common concern to all the cities such as the development of new technology, environmental measures, and the promotion of industry. A joint declaration aimed at establishing such a network was adopted by the cities of Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Tokyo in August 2000. At the same time, decisions were also reached on the themes of the joint projects to be undertaken under the Asian Network of Major Cities 21, and on candidate cities for membership of the network. A meeting gathering together the mayors and administrative heads of the participating cities was held in Tokyo in October 2001, marking the official launch of the network. Fifteen joint projects, and the cities taking part in each project, were decided. On the basis of an urgent proposal submitted on that occasion, it was also decided that the cities would exchange information on comprehensive urban crisis management. The second plenary meeting was held in Delhi in India in November 2002.
Participating Cities Participation in the network is open to capital cities and other major cities in Asia. The cities taking part in the network are as follows: Co-advocate cities (4): Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Tokyo. Other cities (8): Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Jakarta, Manila, Singapore, Taipei, Yangon
Topics to be tackled jointly: * Environment * Issues of urban planning * Promotion of arts, culture and tourism * Joint development of new technology and new products (including IT) * Participation of women in society * Health * Disaster prevention management * Human resources training and aid * Education
  
History of the ANMC21 August 2000: Meeting of the co-advocate cities held in Kuala Lumpur; joint declaration. June 2001: Working level meeting of co-advocate cities held in Tokyo; decision reached on plans for projects to be proposed at the first plenary meeting. October 2001: First plenary meeting of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 held in Tokyo. The main topics discussed were: * Decision on Charter of the ANMC 21. * Proposal for crisis management and decision of 15 joint projects. * Adoption of the Tokyo Declaration. The ANMC 21 project exhibition, the Asian Dreams and Dynamism Exhibition, was held at the Citizens' Plaza in front of the Metropolitan Government Building at the time of the first plenary meeting.
Outline of Main Joint Projects:
Promotion of Development of Small-to-medium Sized Jet Passenger plane, Despite the prospect for drastic growth in demand for air travel throughout Asia, no Asian countries have as yet formulated their own plans for aircraft development, and they continue to rely on manufacturers in Europe and the United States for parts. Efforts will therefore be made to promote the development of a uniquely Asian, small to medium sized jet passenger plane. Asian Distance Learning Project Cooperation in technical and financial areas is moving ahead throughout Asia, but in order further to encourage economic development in the region, efforts will be made through the effective use of IT technology to promote Asian industry and to train individuals with knowledge and skills that can be shared throughout the region. More specifically, distance learning business with an Asian focus will be fostered. This will involve use of the Internet to distribute lecture texts and to enable question and answer sessions.
Comprehensive Urban Crisis Management: Earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters are continuing to take their toll on human life and property throughout Asia. A major problem in recent years has been posed by crime and terrorism extending over national boundaries, and a rapid and finely-coordinated response to this problem has become an urgent concern. In line with the emergency proposal made by TMG in fiscal 2001, the first stage of comprehensive crisis management is currently occupied with the establishment of an emergency liaison network linking all the participating cities.
Other important projects: * Asian Performing Arts Festival * Welcome to Asia campaign * Asian Cities' Network for Controlling Vehicle Emissions * Training projects

From: http://www.chijihonbu.metro.tokyo.jp/ Access time: 02/01/2003

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IDC: Asia to Lead in Developers by 2005

A new report by market research firm IDC predicts that North America will lose its standing as the world's leading producer of professional software developers to the Asia/Pacific region by 2005. "The IDC 2002 Worldwide Professional Developer Model" study surveyed the number of professional developers in 191 countries and six geographic areas. The study defined a professional developer as a "paid professional who uses application development tools to build applications." Developers also had to be employed to be counted in the study, according to a statement released by IDC. With 1.7 million software developers, the Asia/Pacific region is currently the No. 2 producer of development talent, surpassing Western Europe's 1.6 million developers, but well behind North America's 2.6 million professional developers in 2001, according to the IDC study. With strong growth in the number of professional developers projected over the next two years in countries such as China and India, however, the Asia/Pacific region is on course to take over the No. 1 spot, IDC said. Eastern Europe (including Russia), the Middle East and Africa are also predicted to experience a rapid growth in the number of developers in the coming years, according to IDC. IDC researchers didn't rely on census or historical data in calculating the number of developers in each country. Instead, a statistical model was developed that derived the number of developers from several variables such as population forecasts, figures on software spending and the level of higher education in the general population. The number of software developers was predicted to grow the most rapidly in countries such as China, where the number of college-educated adults and professional developers was low, relative to the overall population, IDC said. In countries such as the U.S. and Canada, where the number of college-educated adults and professional developers is high relative to the total population, growth was predicted to be lower. Not surprisingly, the sharp economic downturn in North America has also weakened the region's status as the No. 1 producer of software developers, resulting in massive layoffs of IT workers in the U.S. and elsewhere. The number of developers in North America fell 0.5% from 2000 to 2001. By comparison, the number of developers in the Asia/Pacific region grew by more than 6% during the same period, according to the study. Overall, the study found that the number of professional developers worldwide is growing. The world's population of developers will reach 13.3 million by 2006, up from 7.8 million in 2001, according to IDC. That population is concentrated in just 10 countries, with the U.S., China, India, Russia, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, the U.K. and Italy accounting for just over 64% of the world's professional developers. The U.S. still holds the lion's share of professional developers, with almost 30% of the world's total. By comparison, the country with the second-largest share of professional developers, Japan, has just under 6% of the total. The study also compiled data on the primary development languages used in each surveyed geographical area, and it addressed trends in the growth of those languages. C and C++ continued to be the most commonly used development languages, with Java overtaking Visual Basic as the next most commonly used language worldwide, IDC said. (by Paul Roberts)

From Computerworld 02/20/2003

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Protecting Developing Economies from Cyber Attack - Assistance to Build Regional Cyber Security Preparedness

Singapore -- Creating new Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to protect against cyber-attack will be the focus of the APEC CERT Seminar in Kuala Lumpur on 22 - 23 March. The vulnerability of business and government computer infrastructure to cyber attack, particularly in developing economies, will also be a key issue at the meeting. Director of the Information Technology Security Policy Office at the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry in Japan, Mr Hidetoshi Ohno, has described the protection of internet and computer systems in the Asia Pacific as critical to the region's economic stability and security. "Over recent years internet attacks have been increasing in frequency, sophistication and scale," said Mr Ohno. "APEC's free trade and investment goals are at risk of being undermined by the activities of cyber criminals, terrorists and basic hackers. "To confront this threat APEC members have agreed to establish national cybercrime units and international high-technology assistance points of contact by October 2003. "In order to better respond to cyber attacks, CERT Coordination Centres have also been established to advise governments and business on cyber security." Co-ordinator of the APEC CERT Seminar, Mr Alex Webling, from the Australian Attorney-General's Department, said speakers at the seminar will discuss issues that are central to specialist cyber-security teams operating efficiently with business and government sectors. "If the business and government sectors in each APEC economy had access to the services of a local CERT, individual attacks could be quickly shut down at their source," said Mr Webling. "Several developing economies will also receive a boost over following months to develop their cyber-security preparedness. "Australia has committed US$100,000 to provide in-country training for Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam to expand CERT capacity," said Mr Webling. "The CERT Seminar will also outline plans for the proposed APEC CERT project that will use existing APEC funding for cyber security training in other developing APEC economies." The CERT Seminar, co-sponsored by Japan and Australia, has been arranged through close consultation with Malaysia as host of the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group Conference (APECTEL 27) Conference being held from 24 to 28 March in Kuala Lumpur.

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 03/18/2003

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Linux Asian-Pacific Center Settled in Shanghai

The last few days have seen the Hewlett-Packard Co. and Intel Co. collaborating their first application program in Asia-Pacific region in Shanghai, marking the striding toward application of Linux on enterprise level. The center, located in the machine room of the Hewlett-Packard Shanghai East China Branch, is equipped with over 100 intel processors, enjoying an internal memory of over 400GB and a total storage capacity of over 7,000GB. The center will mainly offer services to independent software suppliers and software developers. The present main task of the center --- to facilitate the application on enterprise level shifting to the Linux environment, will gradually shift to the popularization of the industrial standard framework server featuring Itanium64 chips. The Hewlett-Packard and Intel have successively built up two Linux solution centers of same scale and the center in Shanghai as the only one in Asia-Pacific region shows the attitude of the international enterprises temporizing to the Linux trend in China.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 03/26/2003

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Asia's Broadband Boom

As Brazil's Ronaldo slammed the ball into Germany's goal to win the World Cup final last summer, Tokyo spectators rose to their feet and cheered wildly. It's almost as if they felt the power of the shot. No wonder: Although the game was being played 50 kilometers to the south, in Kanagawa, the 500 fans in Tokyo saw it live on a 40-meter-tall, 100-meter-wide screen -- a monster nearly the size of the football field itself. "In the future, people anywhere in the world will be able to watch the Olympics and other major events in virtual stadiums," predicts Michitaka Hirose, the University of Tokyo professor who designed the system. The key to delivering this long-distance soccer fix was a hyperfast optical network that linked digital projectors in Tokyo to high-definition TV cameras in the stadium. For innovative next-generation services like this, the center of the universe is in Japan and South Korea. That's because both have made high-speed optical networks a national priority. That stands in sharp contrast to the U.S. and Europe, where broadband penetration has lagged as carriers dig their way out from a mountain of debt piled up by early bets on wireless and Internet infrastructure. There's little doubt that a revolution is under way. Most new buildings in Japanese and Korean cities are served by high-speed fiber-optic cables. Two-thirds of South Korea's 15 million households boast broadband connections, compared with about 15% of U.S. homes. And the average speed of these Korean networks is 3 megabits per second, about twice as fast as most U.S. systems. In Japan, some 40% of homes are expected to have broadband running as fast as 12 Mbps by yearend. One big attraction: price. Broadband in Japan costs just $18 per month, less than half the typical U.S. price. In Korea, it's about $25 per month. In the '90s, both Japan and Korea largely missed the Internet boom. Not wanting to be caught again on the wrong side of the wave, South Korea's government invested $9.2 billion in broadband infrastructure over the past four years and will spend another $11 billion to deliver 20-Mbps services to 90% of households by 2005. In Japan, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT ) will spend $6.4 billion this year on new fiber-optic networks. Japan expects to bring fiber -- with speeds of 100 Mbps -- to almost every home by the end of the decade. "Japan has suddenly gone from being the worst to the best in the developed world," says Mark Berman, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston in Tokyo. Thanks to these networks, the two countries can offer a dizzying array of services. In Korea, housewives can't seem to get enough of Internet soap operas delivered via broadband. Nearly 150,000 small groceries, car-repair shops, and others use online services for billing and inventory for as little as $25 per month. In Japan, tech companies offer everything from unlimited videoconferencing ($2.50 per month) to unlimited Japanese anime videos (also $2.50 a month). "We expect online content will become a big money-earner," says Yuji Yamagishi, content manager for Fujitsu's network operator, Nifty Corp. The new networks are changing lifestyles, too. In March, Japan's normally apathetic university students used the Net to organize one of the country's biggest demonstrations in years, against the war in Iraq. At Seoul Girls' Commercial High School, classrooms are filled with Net-linked PC terminals, where instructors in distant locations teach skills such as using enterprise resource planning software, something once reserved for on-the-job training after graduation. Now, Japan is tackling whole new modes of communication. Sony Corp. (SNE ) is pursuing "grid" systems, using broadband to connect thousands of home computers and game consoles. Ultimately, all the devices on the network will be able to draw on the others, so each gains the power of supercomputer. And Tokyo University's Hirose has a system of cameras that captures a person's image from various angles, creating a video avatar -- a sort of body double. That information is then transmitted over a fast network, allowing others to see and interact with the avatar. Heady stuff. If Japan and Korea are right in betting that ubiquitous high-speed communications are the key to growth, this new broadband era could usher in Asia's Golden Age. (by Irene M. Kunii in Tokyo and Moon Ihlwan in Seoul)

From http://www.businessweek.com/ 04/09/2003

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IDC Sees Asia's Continuing Dominance in Broadband

The Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) will remain tops in the world for its number of broadband access subscribers in 2003, predicts research firm IDC. IDC identified further price declines, growing population of road-warriors and increasing availability of broadband infrastructure as some key reasons for the rising penetration of broadband access services across the region. Sandra Ng, vice president, Communications and Peripherals, IDC Asia-Pacific, said: "Although the Korean market is reaching saturation in terms of subscriber base, other markets such as the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan, are growing rapidly as more infrastructure is being made available to users, businesses and consumers alike". As pricing for access services continues to decline in Singapore to counter competitive pressures and attract more subscribers, service providers are finding innovative ways to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) such as voice over broadband (VoBB). Moreover, the increasing popularity of online gaming in the country should have positive ancillary effects on broadband uptake. Fifty-three percent of online gamers surveyed by IDC have broadband connections as compared to 39% of non-online gamers with only dial-up access service. As online gamers tend to be broadband subscribers, the continued growth of the hobby should also increase broadband subscribers. ADSL is the technology of choice for broadband for many telcos in the region today and will continue to be so till 2007, according to IDC. However other broadband access technologies like metro Ethernet and public wireless LAN services are also gaining popularity.

From http://www.carriersworld.com/ 04/22/2003

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5th Annual Event Global IP Carriers 2003

Royal Garden Hotel, London
7-9 April
Conference Programme
Day One: Tuesday 8th April 2003
Day Two: Wednesday 9th April 2003
Pre-conference workshop: Monday 7th April 2003

From http://www.carriersworld.com/ 03/20/2003

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e-Government Asia 2003

Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers, Hong Kong 21-22 October. Implementing enterprise applications in the government sector Governments throughout the Asia Pacific region are launching ambitious e-government schemes to radically transform the delivery of public services. "By embracing technology, governments are finding they can reap the same type of rewards as e-businesses," said Lisa Shishido, senior analyst e-Business & e-Government, IDC Australia." These rewards include more efficient business processes, improved public services, and cost savings, allowing governments to do more with less - all of which lead to greater satisfaction within the departments. It's a chance to transform their infrastructure and organizational structure, bringing them into the 21st century," she said. e-Government Asia 2003 will provide information by way of case study and analysis that is crucial for all public servants hoping to transform the delivery of service through the adoption of information technology. The event is the avenue for industry professionals to converge, learn, discuss and debate, resulting in a synergy which allows a broad and deep spectrum of networking and business opportunities. Did you know? e-Government spending is China is growing at 40%! e-Government spending in Singapore and Korea is growing at 20%! e-Government spending in Australia is growing at 15%! e-Government spending in Hong Kong is growing at 13%! What other vertical sector is spending money on enterprise applications at the same level. This creates major opportunities for IT vendors and service providers as the public sector seeks advice, products, services, and partnerships in implementing e-government projects. In summary, e-Government Asia 2003 is, Where government officials meet and discuss the implementation of e-government initiatives with other government officials facing the same implementation issues and problems. Where the government sector implements enterprise applications to improve accountability, productivity and service Case study driven conference, workshop and networking sessions The most powerful and cost effective marketing network The best way to make contact with new markets and new players e-Government Asia 2003 gives industry leaders the opportunity to: Take a leadership position in the adoption of e-government programmes Use the world's most powerful and cost effective marketing network, with over 30,000 members Access Asia's decision makers

From http://www.ccworldnet.com/ 03/23/2003

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Fourth Annual Event Information Security World Asia 2003

Suntec Singapore, Singapore 23-25 April
Where technology, ideas and practical applications come together. Information Security World is where technology, know-how and ideas come together to make Asia's information security initiatives possible. Contact Stella Tan at +65 6322 2756 for your prime exhibition position. Be our sponsor, leverage on our year-round branding and marketing campaign.

From http://www.isecworldwide.com/ 03/23/2003

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Inaugural Billing World Asia Pacific 2003

Great Wall Sheraton Hotel, Beijing 3-4 June

Where Asia's billing professionals converge in the fastest-growing marketplace

Asia Pacific has been called the epicenter of the telecom world. This is not surprising when you comprehend the facts that:
1. Taiwan and Hong Kong have penetration levels of over 100% - as the number of mobile handsets actually exceeds the number of inhabitants
2. Japan is the largest mobile economy in the world
3. India has the largest potential for growth given that it is the largest under-served market in Asia
4. China's mobile phone figures surpassed those in the United States in July 2001, making China the world's top mobile user
With the growing growth rate of mobile subscribers, content-rich services are also being introduced and embraced by consumers at an accelerated pace. Billing World Asia Pacific gives you insights into developments in the region, especially in the areas of billing and customer care.

6 reasons why you must attend Billing World Asia Pacific 2003:

1. The best of both worlds - meet leading operators from the Asia Pacific region, as well as Chinese operators, China Mobile and China Unicom.
2. Learn from real-life case studies, share and discuss with your peers in the mobile communications industry, anticipate industry developments, and ride the trends of Asia successfully.
3. Increase your revenues through more accurate & efficient billing of your customers for the value-added mobile services you provide.
4. The opportunity to meet many more participants from mobile operators, instead of just vendors.
5. Value-for-money investment - no need to make multiple appointments and travel the region to meet the region's players - save time and money with this unparalleled networking opportunity.
6. 2 keynotes, 4 panels, 7 country focus studies, and 20 regional speakers - all within 2 days to give you invaluable insights you cannot gain anywhere else.

From http://www.carriersworld.com 03/23/2003

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4th Annual Carriers World Japan 2003

Carriers World Japan has been the focal meeting place for the Jpanese Carrier community in the past 3 years. With the highest quality forum derived from detailed market research and industry players, this is the ONLY event that addresses the state and dynamics of the carrier marketplace in Japan. Now into its 4th successful year, Carriers World Japan is recognised as the place senior carrier executives convene yearly to network and do business. It is seen as the place to learn about the business models of Japan's carrier market, to evaluate solutions from leading service providers, and most importantly, to rub shoulders with Japan's Who's Who in the carrier community. Carriers World Japan is where you get the ideas and relationships to help your business. Join us as a sponsor or speaker and be associated with top-level decision makers from Asia's most dynamic carrier marketplace - Japan.

From http://www.carriersworld.com/ 04/01/2003

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APICTA 2003

The 2003 Australian Asia-Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) are shaping up to be the most exciting and rewarding event on the Australian ICT industry calendar. It is expected more than 300 nominees across all sectors of economy and community will contest the 20 application based categories. Each of the twenty 2003 Australian APICTA category winners will receive :One free return airline ticket to Hong Kong; 5 nights accommodation in Hong Kong; One Exposition Booth at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. All this is provided by the Board of Trustees of APICTA via sponsorship monies received so as to ensure that Australia showcases its 20 most innovative companies, individuals and schools at the 2004 International Asia-Pacific ICT Awards which are to be staged in Hong Kong Sept 2004. Our nominees will be competing against the best ICT developers from the other 14 APICTA nations in the15 International Categories. In addition to the 20 winners of the 2003 Australian Asia-Pacific ICT Awards the Board of Trustees will in 2004 be substantially funding a further 25 companies, individuals & schools from the nominated finalists to also represent Australia at the 2004 APICTA Hong Kong event. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors and judges for their commitment in assisting APICTA Australia to further develop and showcase the innovation & capabilities of the Australian ICT sector. (by Paul Phillips, Chairman - APICTA)

From http://www.itawards.com/ 04/18/2003 (Access Time)

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CHINA: Government Adopts Active IT Outsourcing Strategy

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) has been adopting a vigorous information technology (IT) outsourcing strategy to enhance its capacity for IT services delivery, accelerate the delivery of IT solutions, and develop the IT industry locally. Various modes of outsourcing have been employed to tailor to the needs and objectives of different government bureaux and departments. The above remarks were made by the Assistant Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Dennis Pang Chi-tat, when he shared with his counterparts the HKSARG's IT outsourcing experience at the E-government Projects and Outsourcing Operations Conference in Beijing today (January 15). The Conference was organised by the China Information Industry Association with an aim to explore and formulate the outsourcing strategy of China's E-government projects based on the overseas experience and the current development trend of E-government in China. "Adopting the IT outsourcing strategy has helped to speed up the momentum of our E-government initiative and foster the development of the IT industry locally," Mr Pang told the participants. "It also enables us to better utilise our in-house human resources, adopt new technology sooner and tap into the talents and expertise outside of the Government," he said. In the 2001/02 financial year, over 80 per cent of government IT projects were contracted out. This involved $1.23 billion and accounted for 84 per cent of the total government expenditure on IT projects. The latter ratio is expected to rise to 87 per cent in 2002/03. The HKSARG's flexibility in carrying out its outsourcing policy can be demonstrated in its various outsourcing models. Examples can be seen in the Intellectual Property Department and the Judiciary which had outsourced non-core services of the department and a full range of its IT services of the entire department respectively. The Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) Scheme used another outsourcing model, in which the private enterprise contractor financed, developed and managed the front-end ESD portal and services. The contractor is also allowed to provide commercial services on the same portal to generate income. The HKedCity project, whose web site provides online resources for the education sector, was the result of the collaboration of the Government, the education and the private sectors. Mr Pang said that outsourcing through turnkey projects, such as the Electronic Tendering System, the Computerised Social Security System, and the Land Registration System, had also been done by some departments. This practice allows the Government to just "turn a key" to start the system to support its services to the public. Meanwhile, some projects were completely outsourced from the planning, research and development to the provision of maintenance and help desk service. Examples include the Government Office Automation Programme and the School Administration and Management System. Mr Pang said, "Some government IT projects are outsourced on an assignment basis by using standing offer agreements." Under the IT Professional Services Arrangement (ITPSA), the HKSARG in 2002 awarded 23 standing offer agreements to 12 companies which worked with some 70 sub-contractors. Under the agreements, IT assignments can be open for competition by two to four contractors of the ITPSA and are awarded to the contractors which satisfy the requirements and offer the most competitive price. Ninety projects involving some $70 million have been awarded since the service agreements came into effect in June last year. Outlining the advantages of the ITPSA to the participants, Mr Pang said, "It simplifies procedures under an established contract and management framework. It also allows healthy competition among contractors and enables us to build up a business-partner relationship with them through a continuous cross-project agreement." Mr Pang pointed out that the successful implementation of IT outsourcing requires clear objectives, service level agreements, monitoring systems, stringent quality control, sub-contractor management, etc. "The Government will continue its efforts to work with its IT contractors in a mutually beneficial manner and adopt the most appropriate and effective mode of co-operation to cope with the technology advances and ever-changing market conditions," Mr Pang said.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 01/15/2003

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HK Issues Telecommunications Order

The Hong Kong SAR government issued the Telecommunications (Telecommunications Apparatus) (Exemption from Licensing) Order on Jan.17 to provide a more business-friendly regulatory environment, according to a government news release. The Order will update and relax the regulatory regime on telecommunications apparatus. In particular, new frequency bands will be released for the public to deploy new wireless apparatus in Hong Kong, including the opening of a new frequency band in 5150-5350 MHz for establishing wireless local area networks (LAN), and new bands for cordless telephones, wireless smart card systems, short-range radio systems, etc. a spokesman for the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau said. Under the Order, the establishment and maintenance of any means of telecommunications and the possession, use, sale or demonstration with a view to sale, import or export of radio-communications apparatus are all subject to licensing. The spokesman noted that to protect consumer interests, the provision of public telecommunications services using exempted telecommunications apparatus will continue to be subject to licensing control. The Order will be tabled at the Legislative Council on Jan. 22 and will take effect as soon as possible, the spokesman said.

From Xinhuanet 01/17/2003

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HK to Fund Software Development

A senior Hong Kong official said Friday the government will provide financial assistance to local software companies to obtain certification of Capability Maturity Model (CMM). Speaking at the topping-out ceremony of Le Meridien in Cyberport, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology Henry Tang said that to enhance the competitiveness of the software industry in international and the Chinese mainland markets, Innovation and Technology Fund has endorsed in principle a 640,000-US dollar program for supporting the software companies. Each software company could receive a maximum grant of 38,000 dollars for obtaining the certification of CMM, an international quality standard for software development, he said. He said software development is also a crucial element of Hong Kong creative industries. Through the implementation of this program, the government hopes to build up a group of Hong Kong software companies with world recognized quality certifications, to boost Hong Kong's image as a leading digital city in the region. The official said Hong Kong will set up a support center in the Cyberport for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) engaged in the development of contents, applications and services for wireless and mobile communications, leveraging on existing and future networks, such as 3G. Hong Kong is also to set up a digital media center to provide hardware, software and technical support for industry, particularly SMEs, to spearhead the development of the digital media industry, including electronic games, animation for entertainment and advertising. Mentioning the development of the Cyberport, Tang said 2003 expected to witness the completion of phase two and phase three building of the Cyberport, including an office building, a cybercenter and a hotel. He said the whole Cyberport project will be completed in mid-2004 when the last office building is completed.

From Panorama Network 01/20/2003

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Cyber Cafe Rules

Shanghai government issued a new regulation yesterday to further tighten supervision of Cyber bars and cafes. According to the regulation, the first time a Net establishment is caught admitting minors or staying open past the allotted time, it will be warned and fined. The second time it will be ordered to suspend the business for restructure, and the third time its business license will be abolished. Officials said they had re-registered 1,329 Cyber cafes and more than 100 Net cafes or bars had been closed.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 04/18/2003

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Highlights on Shanghai Informatization in 2002

The Shanghai city informatization infrastructure construction has been advancing on a steady pace. All essential communication technologies have enjoyed provocative application in Shanghai, where blind areas in wireless communication have been initially eliminated, the network coverage and capacity of inter-connection and communicating have further improved, thus laying solid support for important activities of all kinds in safeguarding the communication. Fixed telephone, mobile phone, cable TV and the popularization rate of the internet users have steadily stepping up. 2. Amidst the pervasive environment of stagnancy of global IT industry, Shanghai IT industry has been continuously developed, with a value-added proportion reaching 9% of the city GDP, of which the turnover of software industry grew at the rate of 61%. 3. The issuance of coverage of social security cards, public transportation cards and bank cards have been constantly improved to become the passport?°ņ for the Shanghai citizens in their daily affairs, traveling and consumption. The social security and citizen service information system has won the gold medal on the 4th Shanghai International Industry Fair. 4. Shanghai has taken the lead in the country in completing the school broadband project, enabling the students-to-PC ratio in senior middle schools, junior middle schools and primary schools in the city to reach respectively 8:1, 10:1, 15:1, and with the initial realization of the broadband access, the informatization level in fundamental education of Shanghai has drastically improved. 5. Construction of the Shanghai E-port has been crowned with provocative achievement and effectively supported the ?°„Great Custom Clearance?°ņ and facilitated boosting the custom clearance efficiency in Shanghai port. 6. Shanghai has taken the lead in giving experimental broadcasting of digital TV programs. 7. Marked by the opening of enterprise credit information collecting system, Shanghai has taken the lead in initial completion of the Shanghai social credit trans-collection system and played an important role in regularizing the market economic orders. 8. Shanghai has formally issued the fundamental platform of Shanghai??s geographic information system and made the city??s electronic map with unified standards, which have been widely used in the city construction and administration areas. 9. ?°„Shanghai China?°ņ--- the official portal website of Shanghai Municipality has formally started functioning. The construction of governmental affair network has been in smooth progress and the Shanghai E-governmental construction has launched its full-fledged operation. 10. Marked by the 4th Shanghai International Industry Fair, the 3rd Forum on City Informatization in Asian-Pacific Region, APEC Telecommunication Ministers Conference, the 1st China Internet Conference and CeBIT Electronic Information Products Exhibition, Shanghai has shown its elegant demeanor as the capital of international IT conferences. 11. National software institutes have been founded in four universities as Fudan university and others, and special policies supporting start-ups in software and integrated circuit design enterprises by returned overseas students to Shanghai have been unveiled; the information technology curriculums have been popularized in middle schools and primary schools across the city and CIO position training has been broadly practiced, thus forming the highland for human resource in the construction of Shanghai informatization. 12. On the foundation of the pilot projects of community informatization in the Wuliqiao community of Luwan district and the No.2 Shimen Rd.community Jing??an district, all communities across the city have dedicated to applying information technology to improve the community administration and service. 13. ERP being introduced and popularized in important industrial enterprises across the city and MIS system in important commercial enterprises, the enterprise informatization has rapidly developed, with enterprises like the Bao Steel Co., Shanghai Motor Co., Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. and Lianhua Supermarket making great achievements in the construction of enterprise informatization. 14. Information industry bases and zones have been constantly progressing. The integrated circuit industry base featuring ?°„One Sector and Two Zones?°ņ, seven software industry base of international and city levels and information security, multi-media industry bases have developed on a certain scale with internationally renowned IT enterprises like Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Nortel Network settling their research and develop organs in Shanghai. 15. A series of IT-related industry associations in the informatization area have been organized and have taken on the functions of attestation of enterprises capacity and products, auditing and price coordination, thus enhancing the industrial development.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 03/26/2003

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Legislation Status of Shanghai IT Application in 2002

In the area of the E-government administration, the Regulations of Shanghai Municipality on Digital Certification Administration and the Provisional Regulations on Strengthening the Municipal Website Security have been unveiled. The Regulations of Shanghai Municipality on Digital Certification Administration has stressed that the digital attestation must be applied in the E-government administration, and electronic documents between government and individuals, government and enterprises, and those among government departments. The municipal government departments shall take the lead in using the digital certificate and advocate the application of the digital certification in the whole society to solve the problem of mutual trust in the virtual world and enhance the safety of on-line activities. With the powerful interpose of the electronic government administration, the linkage effect shall give an impetus to the application of the digital certificate in the E-commerce. The Provisional Regulations on Strengthening the Municipal Website Security applied a supportive dual measures in the security of government websites and made sound regulations in system administration, personnel allocation and security details. In the industrial area, the Provisional Administrative Measures of Shanghai Municipality on Financial Aid to Software and Integrated Circuit Design Start-ups by Returned Overseas Students in Shanghai and the Provisional Administrative Measures of Shanghai Municipality on CMM Attestation of the Software Enterprises and Financial Aid. These two measures have played an aspiring role in encouraging the returned overseas students to set up software enterprises and integrated circuit enterprises in Shanghai, and speeded up the development of the city software and integrated circuit enterprises and inspired those enterprises to improve their production flow and scale production. The year 2003 will witness a smooth progress of the Shanghai municipal government in the field of legislation in its IT application projects and the enhanced development in IT application projects. Meanwhile, Shanghai will refer to the advanced international experiences and introduce the internationally applied information audit system to systematically audit the conduction of the IT projects. Secondly, Shanghai will speed up the legislation in credit sincerity including individual credit, enterprise credit, government credit and multiple problems concerned in the process of the popularization of the information technology, which includes individual rights to privacy and treatment of bad information. Thirdly, acceleration in constituting the Detailed Regulations of Shanghai Municipality on the Implementation of Social Security Card and the Detailed Regulations of Shanghai Municipality on the Administrative Measures of Social Security and Citizen Information Service System so as to standardize the building of social security card project by means of lawful measures and guarantee the normal and regulated work of social security card. Fourthly, Implement Regulations on Collection and Administration of Public Information to coordinate in pressing ahead the new government IT application projects.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 03/26/2003

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Shanghai to Develop the Software and IC Industries in 10 Aspects

On the software and IC industry meeting of the city of Shanghai held on Jan. 24, 2003, Shanghai Municipality declared its development layout of the city software and IC industries in the following three years, emphasizing on 10 aspects to enhance the development in these two fields. 1.Support to the key projects of the software and IC industries will be kept up. In the following three years, the municipal government will redouble its efforts to the control of fund coordination, and the leading role of policies and funds. 2.Mate the construction of informatizational application projects with the endeavor to enhancing the city development of software and IC enterprises, such as those in the fields of enterprise informatization, education informatization, commerce and trade circulation, the second-generation citizen-ID card and social security card, whereto no less than 25% of the technological development fund of all kinds shall be arranged to support the software industry annually. 3.Redouble the effort to attract investment of software and IC enterprises in Shanghai and promote the exportation of products in these two fields. Effort shall also be made to ensure medium and large-scale software projects to settle in Shanghai. 4.Research and establish the governmental procurement measures for domestic made software and IC products which shall invite public bidding through publishing the governmental purchase product catalogue and service standards. 5.Strengthen the fundamental research in information technology, centering on digital TV, multi-disturbing proof, development of the third generation of mobile telecommunication products and the coalition of entire equipment enterprises and research and development organs. 6.Enhance the pluralization of industry investment. Through the governmental seed venture capital, mobilize domestic start-up funds of all kinds, investment companies and enlisted companies etc. to invest in Shanghai so as to speed up the establishment and optimization of venture investment mechanism of Shanghai??s informatization industry. 7.Further consummate and enhance the city??s policies of IC industry chain development with the hope that within 2 or 3 years, Shanghai shall turn into one of the strongest places in the world in the aspect of IC industry coordination capabilities. Further effort shall be made to consolidate the seat of Shanghai as the most favorable development area of IC industry in China. 8.Speed up the establishment of software engineering centers and upgrade the innovation level of software technology. In areas with a high density of colleges and science research institutions and those with a sound groundwork of software industry, build up a certain number of software project research centers featuring a coalition of production, study and research and aiming at momentous software technological innovation, so as to help the formation of the software innovation system ranging from software development technology to software industry. Endeavor to achieve breakthrough in fundamental and commonness software and improve the kernel competition capability of the software industry. 9.Further enhance multi-level human resources education and training system. Since Shanghai lacks quality compound and international management human assets, construction of the city software and micro-electronics institutions shall be speeded up to provide urgently needed human resources for the industry development. Continually endeavor to attract the foreign quality talents, overseas students and excellent people of the country. 10.Further strengthen the construction of industry bases and zones so as to form a industry structure centering on bases and zones on national level and city levels that have radiating effect on the surrounding regions.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 04/08/2003

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South China's Shenzhen Makes Huge Investment in IT

Shenzhen, a special economic zone in south China's Guangdong Province, is set to invest four billion yuan (480 million US dollars) this year in developing information technology (IT) projects. IT projects to be built included an e-government pilot project, a digital library, and Shenzhen Telecommunications and digital wire broadcasting system, said an official with the city's information office. An initial sum of 1.8 billion yuan (217 million US dollars) has been arranged for the 85 projects, said the official, adding that some key projects would be open to investment from public capital. The projects with investment exceeding 100 million yuan (12 million US dollars) include the city's subway automatic booking system, projects at the civilian recreation center, an IT transport card research project and network projects in the university town. The largest investment would be in a network information system which needed funds of 500 million yuan (60.2 million US dollars), the official said, adding the projects would effectively boost the city's social and economic development. Shenzhen has gained initial headway in digital development. Statistics show the information network popularization rate in the city is 37.28 network terminals for every 100 persons, with broad-band connecting 30 percent of the households. In addition, average per capita consumption of information facilities accounted for some 20 percent of per capita total consumption expenditures. Thirty percent of the public services offered by the city government are conducted through the network. About 50 percent of the city's total enterprises have been connected. In 2002, Shenzhen registered three billion yuan (361 million US dollars) in electronic business turnover, the official said. Application of IT has become more popular in Shenzhen where it has been widely applied in banks, taxation, enterprise monitoring, digital libraries and residential services.

From Xinhuanet 04/11/2003

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JAPAN: Hiroshima Mayor Wins Re-Election with Ease

Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and Aichi Gov. Masaaki Kanda sailed to re-election Sunday, while former Kofu Mayor Takahiro Yamamoto won a narrow victory in the Yamanashi gubernatorial race. Yamamoto's self-proclaimed successor, meanwhile, managed to win the mayoral election in Kofu. Sunday's elections in these prefectures and cities and elsewhere around Japan were widely viewed as a forerunner to nationwide local elections in April. Akiba, 60, trounced four challengers, including Takeshi Koba, the 66-year-old former manager of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team, to head the city with a population of about 1.13 million for another four years. Hiroshima's Aki Ward offered electronic balloting for the first time among 13 major designated cities in Japan. Akiba, a former Diet member of the Social Democratic Party, kept his hold on the mayoral office thanks in part to support from reformist Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka. In the Aichi gubernatorial election, Kanda, 51, beat Yoshinori Ikezumi, 58, a nongovernmental organization activist; Makoto Igeta, 33, a former prefectural assembly member; and Yasuharu Yoshino, 71, a farmer. Although all four ran as independents, Kanda was supported by the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party. Kanda will preside over the 2005 Aichi World Exposition and Chubu International Airport projects. He was first elected governor in 1999. In Yamanashi Prefecture, Yamamoto, 67, shook off former House of Representatives member Shomei Yokouchi, 60; Yukihiko Inoue, 65, a former superintendent general of the Metropolitan Police Department; and Goshi Fukuda, 57, a vice chairman of the local chapter of the Japanese Communist Party. Yamamoto will succeed Ken Amano, who is retiring after serving 12 years. Yamamoto was supported by the DPJ and the Liberal Party, while Fukuda was supported by the JCP. Masanobu Miyajima, 57, an unaffiliated candidate supported by the DPJ, won the Kofu mayoral election with a pledge to continue Yamamoto's policies. Miyajima, an unaffiliated candidate supported by the DPJ, defeated three other candidates, including Shigeo Usui, a 58-year-old former prefectural assemblyman, to become the city's first new mayor in 12 years. Voter turnout was 67.17 percent, up 11.5 percentage points from the previous mayoral election. Miyajima highlighted such campaign themes as rejuvenating the city's center and implementing administrative and fiscal reforms.

From The Japan Times 02/04/2003

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Digital Broadcasting Licenses Issued

The government issued provisional licenses Friday to 17 television stations planning to begin terrestrial digital broadcasts in December. Toranosuke Katayama, minister of public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications, handed certificates of the licenses to representatives of 16 private companies and NHK. The stations are to begin test transmissions this summer prior to the Dec. 1 start of broadcasts in parts of the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya areas. TV sets and tuners capable of receiving terrestrial digital broadcasts are likely to be in stores in the fall, according to industry sources. But the broadcasters face some problems in promoting the new system, which they say will provide high-definition images_2, interactive programming and mobile phone services, among other features. Preparations for the mobile phone services, which the TV industry hopes will ignite demand for digital broadcasts, have stalled over patent fees for data-processing systems. In addition, doubts have been raised about the feasibility of interactive programming, given cost-effectiveness problems because of an expected low-key start to digital services. Under the circumstances, the telecommunications ministry said this week the government plans to encourage consumers to buy digital TV sets in a promotion drive aimed at bringing total sales to 100 million by 2011. Targets have been set at 12 million sets in 10 million households by the 2006 World Cup soccer finals in Germany and 36 million sets in 24 million households by the 2008 Beijing Olympics, according to the ministry.

From http://www.japantimes.co.jp/ 04/19/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Ministry Draws Up Plans to Foster Digital Content Industries

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) announced Friday (Feb. 7) that it has drawn up a 3-year digital content (DC) industry development plan in an effort to turn the nation into an international hub of the industry.

From Ministry of Information and Communication of Korea 02/10/2003

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Mobile Internet Platform Plan Murky

A local telecom standardization association is allegedly seeking to pay royalties to a U.S.-based technology firm to clear the way for introducing a single wireless Internet platform, a move that has sparked uproars from critics. The Korea Wireless Internet Standardization Forum (KWISF) is pushing ahead with a single mobile Internet platform called WIPI (wireless Internet platform for interoperability), but its move has faced challenges as Sun Microsystems filed a protest to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in mid-February, arguing that WIPI usage violated intellectual property rights. The Korean government and mobile carriers ironed out their differences to work out a unified platform to deliver the mobile multimedia services smoothly, but the plan is mired in a series of disputes and delays. At the heart of the dispute is that the USTR would not allow the Korean government to make it obligatory for mobile carriers to adopt WIPI. The Ministry of Information and Communication is now trying to address the issue by claiming that mobile carriers and solutions developers are pushing for WIPI on their own. The trouble is that KWISF, a wireless Internet standardization association in Korea, considered paying royalties to Sun Microsystems to untangle the complicated intellectual property dispute. Critics said the deal with Sun might restrict the technology innovation of mobile Internet solutions led by Korean mobile carriers and solutions developers, as a future upgrade of WIPI should meet the technical requirements of Sun solutions. KWISF is reportedly preparing for royalty negotiations with Sun, acknowledging that WIPI`s Java technology includes Sun`s proprietary MIDP (mobile information device profile) solutions. KWISF and Sun did not reveal details about royalty payments, but people familiar with the matter said that royalties might be set at 30 cents per mobile handset equipped with WIPI platform. In fact, Sun`s mobile technology virtually controls the global wireless Internet platform market, carving almost a 70 percent share. The logic is that Korean companies should adopt the virtual standard of Sun in order to enter overseas markets. But critics said the move to embrace Sun`s technology could undermine WIPI`s future growth as an independent wireless Internet platform. The information ministry had initially mapped out a plan to introduce a wireless Internet platform in a bid to reduce the domestic mobile industry`s dependence on CDMA (code division multiple access) technology developed by Qualcomm Inc. Ministry officials are now reluctant to comment on WIPI, citing the sensitivity of the issue, clouding the outlook for WIPI implementation further. WIPI is designed to help mobile subscribers send and share games and multimedia content over the mobile network even though they have signed up for different carriers. Korea`s mobile users are now blocked from downloading games or other content from the networks of other carriers due to the inconsistent formats. SK Telecom is using SKVM, a wireless Internet platform based on GVM, while KTF relies on Qualcomm`s BREW technology. LG Telecom is using K-VM, a system that is not compatible with other platforms.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 04/02/2003

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Seoul Unveils Master Development Plan for 2020

The Seoul Metropolitan Government yesterday unveiled a master plan for urban development by the year 2020, which focuses on developing the areas north of the Hangang(River), which bisects the capital, to the level of the more affluent southern districts. Under the plan, a `heart` zone and five satellite center zones will be designated the nucleuses for urban development. The development of the areas north of the river will be focused on the heart zone around Gwanghwamun and three satellite centers in Sangam-dong, Yongsan and Cheongnyangni. The heart zone will attract international financial institutions and preserve cultural sites including old places. The areas along the Cheonggyecheon(Stream), which will be uncovered by 2005, will be also developed linked to the heart zone. The satellite center in Sangam-dong, which will serve as a nucleus for developing the northwestern parts of the capital, will be shaped into a high-technology complex and a base for inter-Korean exchanges, city officials said. The development of northeastern areas, which will be centered on the Cheongnyangni zone, will be focused on creating more workplaces and nursing homes for senior citizens. The satellite center in Yongsan near the Hangang(River), will be developed into a park and an international business center linked to the nearby station of a high-speed railway linking Seoul to Busan. Satellite centers in Yeongdeungpo and Yeongdong were designed to facilitate the development of southwestern and southeastern parts of the capital, respectively. The areas around Yeongdeungpo will be developed into housing estates and distribution centers, while the Yeongdong zone will attract more information and technology businesses. A city official said the master plan focuses on improving living conditions in the northern areas of Hangang(River) to the level of the southern parts, noting key centers for transportation, culture and business are set to be located in the north of the Hangang(River). He said the city will finalize the plan by June after holding public hearings and collecting opinions from advisory committees on urban development and ask for an approval from the Ministry of Construction and Transportation. Once the plan is successfully implemented, Seoul will become a city boasting of harmony between nature and human beings and between tradition and high technology, said the official.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 04/04/2003

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Six Strategies of the City of Daegu

The City of Daegu has established six strategies to facilitate the development of the city. First, Daegu will create the high quality living environment to make a sustainable city, desirable all for the urban community, nature and people. Secondly, the city will uphold and further grow the regional cultural resources inherited from the time-honored tradition. Next, Daegu will become a hub area in the Yeongnam region by fostering the knowledge-based industries. Besides, the city will gradually realize the productive welfare to progress in the partnership even with the minority groups. Fifth, the civic transportation system will be organized in a more convenient and safer mode and eventually Daegu will play the role as a logistics city. Lastly, Daegu's urban space will be rearranged into a future-oriented structure toward an international city. Five themes have been selected for the city conception to formulate the urban development plans. DAEGU conceives the ideas of Dream, Advance, Equality, Green and Unity in its name. Dream represents that Daegu is the city where citizens cultivate their valuable dreams. Advance represents that Daegu will grow a high-tech city that leads such industries related to IT, BT and NT. Equality is accepted as meaning that Daegu citizens desire an equal community beyond all barriers. Green stands for Daegu's environment agreeable to forward an eco-city in the future. Unity shows that Daegu citizens are in the wishes for the harmonized vision or ideal for the city's development.

From http://english.daegu.go.kr/ Access time: 04/18/2003

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MALAYSIA: Special Act Soon for Players of E-commerce

JITRA: An Electronic Transaction Bill will be tabled in Parliament next month to protect consumers doing business electronically via the Internet through the E-Commerce concept, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Saturday. "So far there is no law to protect consumers doing business through the Internet," he said after opening the consumers convention organised by the Kubang Pasu Umno Division. He said the new law was in keeping with the latest developments in information technology relating to the commercial field. The Electronic Transaction Bill would be the umbrella Act to cover all forms of electronic trade, he said. He also said people who placed orders for goods via the Internet outside Malaysia would have to face any risk accompanying such purchases as the new Act would only apply to electronic transactions within Malaysia. - Bernama

From http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/ 02/09/2003

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SINGAPORE: IDA and Sun Focus on Developing Next Generation Internet Applications in Strategic Collaboration

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Sun Microsystems today announced the launch of Java Tarik ONE (Java TONE in short), a strategic collaboration that will focus on capability development, market development and market access for Next Generation Internet Applications (NGIA). The collaboration was officially launched today by Mr Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman, IDA and Mr Scott McNealy, Sun's Chairman, President & CEO. Mr McNealy was speaking as IDA's Distinguished Infocomm Speaker at the same event. Following the success of the Java Tarik initiatives since 1997, Java TONE aims to develop competencies in the local Infocomm workforce (ONE Capability) and encourage innovation in emerging technologies for NGIA. This will be achieved through initiatives in R&D, piloting and adoption of emerging technologies (ONE Development). Java TONE will also create access to international markets for the resulting innovations (ONE Market). These three areas will form the pillars of Java TONE. Mr Lam Chuan Leong, Chairman, IDA said, "IDA is happy to participate in this S$100m collaboration with Sun Microsystems, academic and research institutes, as well as technology providers in the industry. This will help develop and trial emerging technologies for Next Generation Internet Applications and create some 500 jobs for our Infocomm industry. "Sun ONE provides a future-proofed model that supports open standards with the ability to integrate products and solutions. Based on this vision of services on demand, our desired outcome for Java TONE shall be an overarching programme that leverages on various current and new initiatives, maximising resources, and gaining maximum value for the infocomm industry in Singapore," said Mr Lionel Lim, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia South, Sun Microsystems. "Java TONE will present many opportunities to create wealth for Singapore. As part of this collaboration, Sun will also be looking at donating an additional S$200 million in software and training to the schools, colleges and universities of Singapore". ONE Capability will leverage existing Java Competency Centres at the research centres and institutes of higher learning. The scope of such collaboration includes training and attachment programmes, building and integrating new curriculum as well as public competitions for generation of ideas. ONE Development will spur collaboration in research and development areas such as Sun's N1 architecture and strategy for network computing and identity management. These Sun sponsored research labs will also link with Sun Labs and Centres of Excellence around the world, to facilitate potential co-development of new products. To bridge the gap between technology and adoption, ONE Development will also facilitate projects that will deploy new technologies through pilots and trials in different sectors. ONE Market will identify and expand business and technology opportunities for Singapore infocomm enterprises. Local enterprises can leverage Sun's global networks to access Sun's research and development resources, develop global strategic alliances, and penetrate overseas markets.

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 03/19/2003

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Connected Singapore -Unleashing Potential, Realizing Possibilities Through Infocomm-IDA Plans To Take Infocomm Industry To Next Level Of Growth

Picture this vision - By 2006, 50% of households in Singapore will be on broadband1 with consumers enjoying a wide range of 3G services. Innovative projects worth S$100 million will be undertaken over the next three years as Singapore gears up to be the Digital Living Lab, creating innovative infocomm products and services. It is also expected that 3,000 jobs will be created through collaborative industry projects within these three years. And by 2012, the Infocomm industry will contribute 10% towards Singapore's GDP. These are a few of the key targets outlined in the vision of Connected Singapore, presented by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to a group of industry leaders today. Launched by Mr David Lim, Acting Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts (MITA), Connected Singapore aims to bring Singapore's infocomm development to new heights, including more pervasive connectivity among the people and businesses through infocomm technology, and revitalising the infocomm industry. To launch a new wave of growth, Minister Lim said, " We must go beyond a government driven process, to a new industry-government partnership. Industry investment and enterprise must be the new driver, with the government providing support to bring clear and sustainable benefits to industry. We must encourage big businesses and smaller start-ups to work closely together, to deliver value to customers, and to build strong niches for local industry. And we must go beyond our shores, to the region and beyond, to grow markets, build our companies, and ultimately, create good, challenging and meaningful jobs for the ICT industry in Singapore. "In presenting Connected Singapore, Mr Leong Keng Thai, Acting CEO of IDA, said, "IDA's intent remains to harness the power of infocomm technology to create new business opportunities, well-paid jobs and superior consumer value and experiences. We have a process in place to help us achieve this, but from time to time we need to fine tune the process to take in the rapidly changing technological and economic environment, both locally and internationally." To focus its infocomm industry development efforts, IDA identified five specific clusters in the infocomm sector that offer high growth potential, or 'good bets', for Singapore in the next one to three years. They include Value Added Mobile Services; Infrastructure for Wireless and Wired Networks; Multimedia Processing & Management; Web Services & Portals; and Security & Trust Infrastructure. IDA will also work with the industry to encourage more entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the new networks and capabilities, and will look into how to better seed and support start-ups and help companies grow beyond Singapore. As announced by Minister Lim, IDA, through the Overseas Development Programme (ODP) aims to nurture 50 globally competitive local companies to achieve export revenue of more than $50 million through partnerships with MNCs over the next 2 years (See Annex A on the ODP programme). To realise the Connected Singapore vision, there will be four broad strategies. The first is to leverage existing network readiness and capabilities for wireless pervasiveness, develop contents and promote infocomm literacy. The second is to develop Singapore as a leading global digital distribution and trading center. The third is to grow new economic activities and create jobs in Infocomm through developing innovation capabilities, encouraging technology development and expanding access to overseas markets. The fourth is to help businesses and government agencies use infocomm to re-engineer key business clusters and government services. (See Annex B on details of the four strategies).To support the four strategies, IDA will invest in capability development including infocomm manpower and among local enterprises. This is done through training programmes, competency centers and the Infocomm Local Industry Upgrading Programme (iLIUP). IDA will also continue to take the lead in charting the technology landscape in Singapore and identify emerging technologies to give Singapore the competitive edge in future business opportunities. In addition, IDA will continue to look into pro-business regulations and policies in the industry. Said Mr Leong, "While IDA adopts the role of master planner for the strategies and acts as catalyzing agent and facilitator for the initiatives, the success of each program is heavily dependent on the participation of industry and citizens. It is hoped that these programs will spur every sector of the economy and population to identify how infocomm can specifically fit in and benefit their lives and businesses."

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 03/26/2003

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THAILAND: Govt to Adopt New Piracy Rules

The Commerce Ministry will announce new regulations to protect intellectual property and which will affect the selling and production of CDs containing software, movies and music. It will also give rewards as incentives to policemen who catch illegal sellers. Deputy Commerce Minister Wattana Muangsuk said the ministry had been reviewing its regulations for the past couple of months in order to reduce the piracy rate here. At present, cases related to intellectual property require an accusation from an intellectual property owner before action can be taken. However, the new regulations will allow police to take action against illegal CD-ROM sellers and producers without an accusation. Working with a committee on goods and service prices, the ministry expects to release a list of products that should be under its control as well as rewards for police this month. ``If a CD-ROM is a controlled product, police can charge the seller even if they find only copied covers. It is like a case of illegal vehicles,'' he said, adding that there will also be strong punishments including five-year jail terms and a 100,000 baht fine. ``We are confident that with the regulations and reward incentives, the number of illegal sellers will soon be dramatically reduced,'' he noted. The idea received support from the Association of Thai Software Industry (ATSI) chairman Arporna Sribhibhadh. He said if there was such a regulation allowing police to catch illegal software sellers, it would be a good measure. The Intellectual Property Department (IPD) is also reviewing its intellectual property laws in order to provide better protection for digital technology, according to IPD director general Yanyong Phuangrach. ``We will work with various parties such as the Council of State to revise the law to cover future problems,'' he said, adding that it would include the right to integrate digital technology with digital works or a new description of fair use for the digital world. He said it would take some months before the updated law is complete. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA) assistant marketing manager for Asia Pacific Roland Chan, besides strong legal enforcement, education is also needed. He said illegal software usage by corporate users has been its biggest piracy problem here and that this requires better understanding from users to reduce the piracy rate. The idea is also supported by the Thai Entertainment Content Trade Association (TECTA), according to general manager Piset Chiyasak. He said consumers should have moral standards and not support copied products. ``If they have ethical usage, this will be the best way to protect intellectual property rights,'' he noted. (by Karnjana Karnjanatawe)

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 02/09/2003

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INDIA: Assembly Passes Information Bill

MUMBAI: Despite opposition from the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, the state legislative assembly on Monday passed the long-pending Maharashtra Right to Information bill, which aims to bring in greater transparency and accountability in the administration. The bill was earlier adopted in the state legislative council last year. The bill will help the people access any government document which is not classified or has financial implications. It aims at removing bureaucratic hurdles in procuring information from government departments, local self-government bodies like the BMC and state bodies like the housing authorities. It provides for the appointment of a public information officer who will give the information sought by a member of the public within 15 working days. The bill also includes provisos to impose a fine on the officer concerned if he or she refuses to part with the information asked for. An appeal against any denial of information can now be made directly to the Lok Ayukta. The Shiv Sena-BJP opposition, however, said that the bill was being hastily introduced and passed by the house. The opposition members demanded that it be widely circulated and publicly debated before being passed by the house. BJP MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar said though the bill appeared good on paper and provides for imposition of penalty on state officers refusing to part with information, it would not serve any purpose. He said the government should provide for harsher punishment like suspension and sacking of the official concerned. The entire opposition later chanted slogans and refused to listen to the reply to the debate given by minister of state for general administration, information and publicity, Vijaykumar Gavit. "We refuse to listen to any reply given by a tainted minister,'' the opposition members said. Mr Gavit has been accused of doling out welfare funds from the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojna to select persons in his hometown Nandurbar. The opposition later staged a walk- out to register their protest even as the bill was approved by a voice vote.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/10/2003

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New Communication Strategy on the Anvil

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said an effective communication strategy would be evolved in the 10th Five Year Plan to expand dissemination of information. "Large part of the common mass is deprived of information and therefore the Government is planning to chart an effective communication strategy in the 10th five-year plan to expand its dissemination", he said. The minister said Doordarshan has been given a sum of Rs 80 crore to improve the quality of reception so that the national network could compete with other private channels. Saying that news in India is being watched more than entertainment programs, Prasad made it clear that Government would not allow the foreign media to come to the country in news segment with more than 26 percent equity. On the US-led invasion of Iraq, he said India wanted to see an early end to it and had launched diplomatic initiative through the United Nations. Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said an effective communication strategy would be evolved in the 10th Five Year Plan to expand dissemination of information. "Large part of the common mass is deprived of information and therefore the Govt is planning to chart an effective communication strategy in the 10th five-year plan to expand its dissemination", he said. The minister said Doordarshan has been given a sum of Rs 80 crore to improve the quality of reception so that the national network could compete with other private channels. Saying that news in India is being watched more than entertainment programs, Prasad made it clear that Government would not allow the foreign media to come to the country in news segment with more than 26 percent equity. On the US-led invasion of Iraq, he said India wanted to see an early end to it and had launched diplomatic initiative through the United Nations.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 03/30/2003

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PAKISTAN: Cabinet-IT & Telecom Divisions Row Deepens

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (PNS) - The dispute over jurisdiction between the Cabinet Division and IT &Telecom Division has deepened with Secretary Ashfaq Mahmood insistin g to exercise authority on the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority while Cabinet Secretary Javed Masud deciding to file a reference on the issue with the law division. The ministry of IT & Telecom has been continuously trying to regulate the affairs concerning the PTA. According to the rules of business, the Secretary IT and Telecom Division has no jurisdiction as the revisional authority under Section 7(3) of th e Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act, 1996 (XVII Of 1996 to reverse any decision made by the PTA as it is subordinate to the cabinet secretary. Cabinet Secretary Javed Masud told PNS on telephone, We are filing a reference with the Ministry of Law to settle this controversy over jurisdiction. He said the IT & Telecom Division in their reply to his letter has said they do exercise authority over the PTA. Cabinet Secretary said, We have taken a legal course and the law division would further clarify the situation. About a fortnight ago, Cabinet Secretary Javed Masud had written to Secretary IT and Telecommunication Ashfaq Mahmood asking him to explain for E2 809Ca major violation of rules and regulations while reversing a Pakistan Telecommunication Authority decision against PTCL. Giving relief to the subordinate telecommunication corporation, the IT&T secretary had E28098unlawfullyE28099 reversed the decision of Cabinet Divisions body, PTA, in a dispute involving pay phone card operators and the PTCL. As a matter of policy, the government has separated the administrative control of regulatory authorities from the service providers i.e. ministries and divisions. In this connection, PTA was shifted from IT &Telecom ministry to the Cabinet Division as were Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) from their concerned ministries. The separation of the regulatory and operators functions is meant to have an independent and neutral regulator. Now that the Cabinet secretary finds the IT&T division reply unsatisfactory, he has decided to move the law division. To a question, Cabinet Secretary Javed Masud said so far the PTA chairman or representatives have been attending the hearings on various issues headed by the IT&T secretary. E2809DBut the PTA has been instructed not to attend the hearings in the IT &Telecom ministry as by doing so the authority is accepting their jurisdiction. The fact of the matter is, the PTA is under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division. In a most recent incident, the IT and Telecom Division has issued notices to the PTA as well as over 100 Internet services providers of Pakistan on the issue of blocking of net2phone controversy. The responsibility of regulating telecom related issues falls with the PTA which is under administrative control of the Cabinet division.

From http://www.paknews.com/ 02/07/2003

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Govt to Help in Promoting IT & Telecommunications

KARACHI, Pakistan (PNS) -- Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications, Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari, has assured full cooperation for the IT Commerce Network (ITCN) Asia 2003 to be held in August this year at Karachi Expo Center. This was announced by the organizers in a statement issued here on Friday. The moot is being organized by the Government of Pakistan, Board of Investment, Government of Sindh, eCcommerce Gateway Singapore, CommerceNet Singapore and Jang Group. They said that the Ministry of Science and Technology had provided full supports towards the ITCN Asia 2001 and 2003 and that the encouragement play a significant role for the success of these events. It was further stated that the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry has once again endorsed ITCN Asia 2003.

From http://www.paknews.com/ 02/08/2003

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Pakistan Sets Up Special Wing to Fight Cyber Crime

A Pakistani security agency has launched a special wing to combat cyber crimes in part because the country had to rely on US investigators to trace e-mails sent by the kidnappers of American journalist Daniel Pearl a year ago, officials said. "The purpose of establishing the National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes is to stop misuse of the Internet and trace those involved in cyber-related crimes," Iftikhar Ahmad, spokesman for Pakistan's Interior Ministry, told The Associated Press. "The importance of this special wing was felt when Daniel Pearl was kidnapped, and his captors started sending e-mails to newspapers," he said. The Wall Street Journal correspondent disappeared on Jan 23, 2002 from Pakistan's southern city of Karachi. On Jan 27, 2002, the Journal and other media received an e-mail from a group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty. The e-mail contained a photo of Pearl, 38, with a gun to his head. The FBI traced the e-mails, and police captured those who allegedly sent them to the newspapers, but, on Feb 21, 2002, the US Embassy received a videotape showing Pearl was dead. "The National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes will play a key role in the days to come in tracing those terrorists who often use the Internet or prepaid telephone cards to communicate messages to their associates for carrying out acts of terrorism and other purposes," Ahmad said.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 03/12/2003

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Pakistan Blocks Pornographic Sites

KARACHI: Pakistani telecommunication authorities have blocked more than 1,800 pornographic websites in an attempt to protect Internet users from what they call their corrupting and evil influence. More than 60 per cent of an estimated one million Internet users in Pakistan visited pornographic sites, said Zahir Mohammed Khan, a senior official of the state-run Pakistan Telecommunication Co Ltd (PTCL). "We launched a campaign to block such websites in February and, so far, have identified and blocked 1,800 of them," he told Reuters by telephone from Islamabad. "But it's a difficult task as such sites are in millions." The PTCL was also identifying what Khan called anti-Islamic and blasphemous sites. "They too are being blocked," he said, without giving details. Internet service providers (ISPs) say a majority of those accessing pornographic sites are youngsters. Middle-aged people are also said to be regular visitors. Thousands of Internet cafes have sprung up in major cities and in remote, often conservative towns where youngsters spend hours surfing pornography sites for as little as Rs 15 an hour. Waqas, 21, a student who refused to give his second name, said he and his friends were unable to access the hugely popular sites. "But not all have been blocked. We have managed to find new ones," he said. "I wonder why the government interferes so much in our lives?" PTCL's Khan said even that access would soon be blocked. "We are importing new software in the next couple of months which would block all such sites," he said. Mohammed Anwar, who owns a small Internet cafe in Karachi, said the ban had started to affect his business. "Now there are fewer visitors. There has been at least a 50 per cent drop in the number of visitors here. Our clients also spend less time surfing on the Net now," he said. PTCL officials say the blocking of sites had slowed down the system. "But it is temporary. Once the new software is installed, it would be back to normal," Khan said. "Every week we update the list of banned sites. We hope people will turn to other, informative sites because of the ban," he added. "But still our data shows that 25-30 per cent users are trying to visit the banned sites," Khan said, admitting that PTCL could see a drop in Internet users once the ban is fully enforced. He gave no detail of the estimated drop in revenues. "These pornographic sites are a big social evil. The government cannot fight it alone. We need help from the ISPs and parents to fight this menace," he said. Mirajul Huda of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a key component of a six-party Islamic opposition group, welcomed the ban but said it was too little. "This ban is not enough. There is a need to reform the entire education system and the electronic media in line with our culture and religion so that our youngsters are not tempted with such evils," he said. Faisal Iqbal, an employee at an Internet company, said the government's ban would prove futile. "People will find a way to dodge the PTCL system. No country can insulate itself from the world," he said.

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 04/06/2003

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37pc Keen to Vote Online: Survey

MORE than one-third of eligible voters were interested in taking part in online referendums and debates, including whether Australia should go to war against Iraq, a survey shows. The Newspoll found 37 per cent of voters were interested in logging on for the debates, and the figure increased among younger voters. The results were part of a larger survey on whether Australians want to vote online at state and federal elections rather than attending a polling station on election days. Newspoll said the national sample found that 32 per cent of Australians would prefer to vote online but that percentage was higher among Australians aged 18 to 24, more than half of whom wanted to vote online. A Newspoll spokesman said the fact that nearly 70 per cent of Australians did not want to change the voting system was in line with a recent warning by a group of senior politicians and public servants. "They believe Australia risks damaging the integrity of its voting system if it rushes to replace the current paper and pen system with electronic or online voting," he said. He said the warning came despite the successful introduction of electronic voting in less developed nations such as Brazil, resulting in reduced federal election costs, a lower level of informal votes and minimised risk of corruption or electoral fraud.

From http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/ 02/04/2003

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AUSTRALIA: Internet Trader Given Jail Sentence

Internet trader Neal Arthur Lyster has been given a jail sentence by the Federal Court after he failed to comply with conditions of the suspended sentence resulting from action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over misleading and deceptive conduct through an Internet site promoting Purple Harmony Plates. An ACCC media relase said Mr Lyster was previously found guilty of contempt of court and the Federal Court issued a warrant for a month's imprisonment, suspended if he transferred his domain name, www.purple-plates.com, to the ACCC and filed an affidavit of his assets in the Federal Court. The release said Mr Lyster continued to defy the Court, maintaining his belief that he had seceded from the Commonwealth of Australia and was not subject to the Court's jurisdiction. The original Federal Court orders included a direction to publish a corrective notice on the company's website within 14 days. The corrective notice should have been displayed immediately upon accessing the website's homepage and order form. A US-based Registrar of domain names acknowledged the Court orders and has transferred the domain name http://www.purple-plates.com to the ACCC. The website now displays a notice alerting consumers to the misleading nature of representations previously displayed at that website."The jail term now imposed on Mr Lyster demonstrates that the ACCC is serious about its legal actions", ACCC chairman Professor Allan Fels said.

From http://www.smh.com.au/ 02/10/2003

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NSW Govt Promises $5m IT Program

The NSW government has launched IT programs worth almost $5 million to boost communications for firefighters and other public servants in its latest election pledge. Information Technology Minister Kim Yeadon said the 18 projects covered in the package would seek to better integrate state government services. Out of the $4.85 million being rolled out, $750,000 will go to information-sharing facilities for firefighters and fire managers to help chart the location and progress of bushfires. More than $1 million will go to health services, including an interactive virtual cancer center and online databanks for people with disabilities and domestic violence victims. Other areas to receive funding are business and planning ($1.3 million), natural resources ($1.1 million), education ($588,000) and law and order (310,000). "Our focus is to use technology to better coordinate information so that people in government and in the community can get important information from a whole range of sources more easily," Mr Yeadon said in a statement. "This will be a feature of our information technology election policy."

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 02/18/2003

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Interconnect Inquiry Announced

AFTER years of complaint from small and medium internet services providers, the competition watchdog has announced a public inquiry into ISPs charging practices for data interconnect. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today announced the inquiry, which was foreshadowed by Communications Minister Senator Richard Alston last month after a recommendation from the federal Government's Broadband Advisory Group. Internet interconnect allows customers to be connected to one network to send and receive emails and access web sites which are connected to another network. Four large ISPs - Telstra BigPond, OptusNet, WorldCom/OzEmail and Telecom NZ's Connect.com.au have a "peering" arrangement for interconnect that excludes other ISPs. Several other ISPs have complained that they have no choice but to accept less favourable charges. Acting ACCC chairman Ross said that while people could send emails to almost anyone and visit websites in far flung places, he was concerned to ensure arrangements between domestic ISPs were competitive. "There are some apparent curiosities with current interconnection arrangements," Mr Jones said in a statement. "If I am connected to a smaller ISP and I send an email to my friend at one of the four larger ISPs, the larger ISP will generally charge my smaller ISP for sending the email. "However, when my friend at the larger ISP sends me a return email, my smaller ISP will have to pay the larger ISP once again." (by Kate Mackenzie)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/21/2003

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Net Laws Useless: Think-Tank

THE nation's Internet laws were basically useless and service providers should filter online pornography to protect children, a public think-tank said today. Following a survey yesterday showing 84 per cent of boys aged between 16 and 17 were exposed to pornography on the Internet, the Australia Institute today released a second report saying Australian regulatory authorities had manifestly failed. Meanwhile Prime Minister John Howard today said he was looking at options to tighten controls over Internet pornography. Australia Institute executive director Clive Hamilton said the survey results showed the present system of Internet regulation managed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) was next to useless. "It is inexplicable why the ABA and the minister for communications say they have the problem under control," Dr Hamilton said. The report said both the ABA and NetAlert, the body established to promote safe use of the Internet, were more concerned with promoting the use of the net than protecting children from its dangers. It also found only 17 per cent of parents with Internet connections had installed filters. "The Internet industry has convinced the government that there is little that can be done to prevent pornography coming in from overseas," Dr Hamilton said. "But this is false. Mandatory filtering by Internet service providers (ISP) would severely restrict the availability of pornography." He said mandatory filtering would receive strong backing from the public, especially parents. The Australian Institute report also called for a nationwide program of high school education on the risks and dangers of pornography, similar to those used to highlight the risk of drugs and HIV/AIDS. "This program would teach children strategies to understand and critically evaluate pornography and help to inoculate them against its negative effects," Dr Hamilton said. Labor's information technology spokeswoman Kate Lundy said the Australia Institute report vindicated the opposition's criticism of the government's nonsensical approach to internet censorship. But she said it would be unworkable to force service providers to filter sites. "The cost this would place on ISPs would be prohibitive and Internet speeds would be significantly reduced," Senator Lundy said. "The end result for consumers would be a slower, more expensive Internet." Mr Hamilton said Newspoll surveyed 200 teenagers aged 16-17 - 100 boys and 100 girls - from Sydney and Melbourne over the telephone late last year. The Prime Minister told a meeting of coalition MPs and Senators that he had held discussions on the issue and would look at options. "The Prime Minister said that he had had a discussion with some of his colleagues about this, and he was looking at what the options might be," a spokesman quoted the Prime Minister as telling the meeting.

From http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/ 03/04/2003

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Canberra Clamp on Net Porn

THE federal Government will move to tighten control over the internet to reduce the accessibility of hardcore pornography from personal computers. One of the options being considered by Communications Minister Richard Alston is a central system to filter all local and overseas internet traffic through a proxy server. But Senator Alston fears that could slow down overall internet speeds. He favours an approach that would toughen regulations on internet service providers, which are already obliged to filter out offensive material. "There is a lot to be said for taking another look at what we might do in terms of expecting more from ISPs," Senator Alston told parliament. "Every child in Australia knows that you can get this material on the internet and their parents know it as well," he said. But Clive Hamilton from the Australia Institute, which this week published research showing hardcore internet porn use was rife among teenage boys, dismissed the existing regulations as naive. "The internet industry has convinced the Government that there is little that can be done to prevent pornography coming in from overseas," Dr Hamilton said. "But this is false. Mandatory filtering by internet service providers would severely restrict the availability of pornography." John Howard told his partyroom colleagues yesterday that action must be taken immediately to protect children. "The Prime Minister said that he had had a discussion with some of his colleagues about this and he was looking at what the options might be," a Liberal MP said of Mr Howard's briefing to federal colleagues yesterday. The Department of Communications has commissioned a report on the effectiveness of filtering software in Australian households, but the Government believes that ISPs should be preventing the material from getting through. The Australia Institute this week published research showing that 84 per cent of teenage boys were exposed to internet pornography, with 5 per cent saying they were weekly users. The push for tighter controls is being led by Tasmanian independent senator Brian Harradine, whose support is crucial to the passage of important government legislation, including the proposed changes to media ownership laws. Senator Harradine said yesterday that ISPs had a commercial interest in allowing pornography to continue unchecked, and regulatory bodies such as the Australian Broadcasting Authority had failed. "Telstra and the ISPs benefit financially from the current system where they continue to earn substantial money from bandwidth charges for the pornographic images_2 downloaded," Senator Harradine said. "But we should not allow trade in pornography at the expense of our children." (by Luke McIlveen)

From http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/ 03/05/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: Statutes Moving to Web

Infotech Legislation Direct, which has printed and distributed laws for 136 years, has been dismantled with the loss of 15 jobs as the business of drafting the country's legislation prepares to move to the Net. It was part of the Government Printing Office, before being sold to Blue Star Group in 1990. The Parliamentary Counsel Office has taken the pre-press work involved in printing legislation in-house. It is preparing to launch a $5.6 million computer system built by US company Unisys which will let the office of parliament draft laws electronically and publish them straight to the Web. An interim site providing online access to copies of legislation sourced from privately-owned publisher Brookers is already accessible at www.legislation.govt.nz When the new system goes live in March or April, it will also be possible for the public to access parliamentary bills and government statutes for free online. Former Legislation Direct head Chris Eales says the disappearance of Legislation Direct marks the end of an era. "On many occasions, our small team has turned last-minute requests for legislation to be ready in the House into small printed miracles." (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/03/2003

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Email Trail Ends in Jail Sentence for Public Servant

Corrupt public servant Errol Noel Brassett's undoing was an email sent on April 26, 2001, to a former colleague at the Ministry of Economic Development. A senior investigator in the ministry's trade remedies group, he had just resigned to run a trade remedies consultancy business after 14 1/2 years doing the job for government departments. The trade remedies group investigates the dumping of cheap foreign goods on New Zealand shores and the impact on New Zealand business. Its recommendations can lead to duties on imported goods that are dumped here too cheaply. A vital component of the group's work is the collection of sensitive commercial information from businesses alleging dumping. Brassett, 45, left the ministry on April 19, 2001, to start running his own company, TR Consultants Intl. A few days later he emailed former junior colleague Sanjay Bhawan seeking an update on an investigation into Korean whiteware dumping in New Zealand. He was involved in the probe before his resignation, a role that gave him access to confidential information from New Zealand's largest whiteware manufacturer, Fisher & Paykel. But the email alerted the ministry that something was up. Why was Brassett asking questions about the case when he was no longer working for the ministry? That, in the words of ministry chief executive Geoff Dangerfield, is how the whole case was unravelled. A search of the group's computer system found Brassett had been sending official files home by email. When police searched Brassett's Tawa home on May 4, 2001, they found 3500 electronic documents, some personal, from the trade remedies group. Of these, 660 were confidential. Brassett had approached the Korean electronic industries association - before he had even left the ministry - offering to work as a consultant for the same whiteware firms whose exports were being investigated in the Fisher and Paykel case. He approached the Saudi Arabian Government for work after it asked New Zealand authorities to help it set up a trade remedies division of its own. He also had information on the importation of Chinese shoes, and documents relating to the production of a World Trade Organization manual on anti-dumping investigations. In the Wellington District Court yesterday, Judge Margaret Lee told Brassett she had no doubt that his consultancy business would have greatly benefited from possession of the documents, which he had no right to have. Lee jailed Brassett for 18 months. The term was reduced from 2 1/2 years after pleas of mitigation from his lawyer, Richard Laurenson. Leave to apply for home detention was granted. A plea from Laurenson that the jail term be suspended temporarily so Brassett could help move his family from Wellington to Waitati, near Dunedin, was declined. A first offender, Brassett was found guilty by a jury in December on eight charges, six of corruptly using official information to indirectly obtain an advantage, and two of making documents with intent to defraud. He was found not guilty on 10 charges: six of corruptly using documents, three of making documents with intent to defraud, and one of theft of a ministry computer. The judge said the sensitive commercial information Brassett took could have been "extremely detrimental" to New Zealand industries. Some documents were so sensitive they were never even given to the jury. Judge Lee said the offending put the ministry's reputation in jeopardy, and threatened to undermine its credibility and therefore its ability to carry out its statutory functions. The trade remedies group's existence was based on the willingness of companies to provide it sensitive information. "The ministry would not be able to function if that trust was lost. It was a gross breach of trust," the judge said. "There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that similar offending by senior civil servants will be met by a severe sanction." She rejected Laurenson's submissions that Brassett was naive and the offending was an "aberration" by a public servant with a blameless and dutiful 25-year career. Laurenson urged that he not be imprisoned, saying he obtained no actual gain or advantage and had offered his apologies to the ministry. Lee said while the case differed from other corruption cases because no bribe was taken and no financial gain was made, it did not make the offending any less serious. Fisher & Paykel says the commercially sensitive information Brassett took could have been extremely damaging. General manager of finance Mark Richardson told the Business Herald that the company just happened to get caught up in the case. "We are very happy with the actions the ministry have taken to rectify the situation. "We have every confidence in them." The company supplied detailed profitability and pricing information to the ministry on a strictly confidential basis in relation to the Korean anti-dumping allegations. The information was commercially sensitive and its disclosure to competitors either in New Zealand or overseas would have been extremely damaging. "You are disclosing all your financial information, all your pricing information, all your cost information, so it is very confidential information," Richardson said. The ministry refused to let the Business Herald talk to Brassett's colleagues. Dangerfield said he could not comment on the sentencing, nor on Brassett himself because he had never met him. But he said the case had cast a shadow over the whole ministry. "The people who work here feel somewhat aggrieved that the hard work they put in and the professionalism they bring to the job might be brought into question by the actions of this person. "This sort of behavior is regarded as intolerable and that's why the whole issue was referred to the police when it was first uncovered." Dangerfield said it was crucial to both individual firms and the country that sensitive commercial information not be misused. "We can't do our job effectively in this area if the companies don't give us the information." Security systems for the handling of sensitive commercial information in the trade remedies group had been reviewed by an outside agency and its recommendations adopted, Dangerfield said. Asked if the case would have a lasting effect on the ministry's reputation, he said the fact Fisher & Paykel had said the case did not affect the way the company dealt with the ministry was gratifying. "This is a one-off," he said. Compared with some other countries, New Zealand seems lily-white when it comes to corruption. The latest Transparency International annual corruption survey, released last August, rated New Zealand and Denmark second equal out of 102 nations. State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham said corruption was rare among the country's 30,000 public servants. But any such case was of concern because it undermined confidence in public institutions on a scale disproportionate to the offence. The Government relied on the confidence of the citizens in institutions for voluntary compliance with tax laws and other regulations. A corruption-free state and private sector were big contributors to a healthy economy and fair society. Wintringham said corruption - the use of public office for personal gain - had to be distinguished from lesser offending such as theft as a servant. "We have got a really good track record, and we have got to keep it that way," he said. "Once it becomes entrenched, or you lose that, it's really hard to recover." Wintringham said any public servant discovered behaving corruptly could expect to be prosecuted. Business New Zealand chief executive Simon Carlaw said the Brassett case was a warning to other civil servants about how they treated sensitive commercial information. New Zealand was fortunate in being relatively corruption-free, and the great majority of civil servants were careful. "In 99-plus per cent of cases there is every reason to have confidence in the New Zealand bureaucracy." (by Kevin Taylor)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/04/2003

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Southland Gets $2M from Govt

Southland's broadband initiative has secured close to $4 million from government and regional sources as the region gears up for its $43.5 million rollout of high-speed Internet access and Internet telephony. The $2 million understood to have been allocated to the Southland project by the Ministry of Education will be the first funding provided from the Government's promised "tens of millions" set aside last year for Project Probe - an initiative to get high-speed Internet access into all schools and surrounding regions. Southland, along with Northland and Wairarapa, forged ahead with plans to introduce broadband into their regions before Project Probe kicked off. The three regions are excluded from the Project Probe tender process currently underway, but are vying for a cut of the money which the Government has earmarked to roll out the services nationwide. Venture Southland strategic projects and policy manager Steve Canny declines to discuss the Project Probe funding but acknowledges that funding has been approved at cabinet level. He confirms that Venture Southland is also finalising funding to the tune of about $2 million with other unnamed agencies. The parties involved have been partners in the project since the initial research phase in 2001. But while Venture Southland and other regional agencies are assisting financially, Mr Canny says they won't own the infrastructure as has been touted by some regions who want joint-venture operations which are partly community owned. "We're introducing financial mechanisms to make the investment in infrastructure viable for the service provider. We're not getting into ownership of the infrastructure." An eight-member Venture Southland Charitable Trust is being established to manage the financial aspects of the Southland roll-out, along with governance and policy for the project. The Trust is made up of local authority representatives and community, business and iwi members. The $43.5 million cost to roll out to the Southland region includes core infrastructure and consumer investment for equipment housed at customers' premises. A fibre optic network which will be added as demand necessitates, is also included in the cost. Mr Canny says Vodafone has made a significant investment rolling out cellular sites which will co-locate with data sites in many cases. Three new cell sites have already been established. Vodafone will also handle all customer support and billing when the network goes live. Walker Wireless will also make a significant financial investment in building the network. The final draft of the commercial agreement with Walker Wireless and Vodafone was due last Friday. The first sites will be rolled out in April, followed by a closed trial. Mr Canny says the trials will continue until the network is deemed to be 100 per cent satisfactory. The network will continue rolling out through to late 2004, when 92 to 95 per cent of Southland's population of 92,000 will be covered via the 22 points of presence. Mr Canny says Venture Southland also knows how to service the remaining communities, using wireless. "What savings we can make through community effort and so on in the deployment of the network we will be applying towards extending the coverage beyond our targets." He says on-going operational funding for areas which are not economically viable have been ruled out. "It is quite clear that the provision of services to some areas will never be economically viable on an ongoing operational basis. "We have communities that have 30 households and a school and 30 connections and a school, no matter what happens, isn't economically viable for that element of the network. He says that cross-subsidies - with the profits from the commercially viable areas propping up those that aren't economically viable - will ensure that the region as a whole is economically viable. Southland is also looking at a range of applications covering weather and "innovation - techniques and programs designed to encourage innovative thinking". Applications covering soil, climatic and crops data are also being investigated. (by Heather Wright)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/17/2003

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IT Report Gets Govt Nod

ICT taskforce chairman Murray McNae says the Government has given a quiet thumbs-up to the group's draft report on how to boost New Zealand's IT industry. Mr McNae says the taskforce is happy following last week's 90-minute meeting with IT Minister Paul Swain, which was designed to provide the first informal feedback from the government since the report was issued in November. The report has been considered by government bodies such as IRD, Treasury, SSC and the Tertiary Education Commission, and Mr McNae says no taskforce recommendation was rejected out of hand. "But more work will be required in working with government and government officials on implementation of the recommendations. "The key will be the extent to which changes made go far enough, but we can't know that yet. "We were encouraged by the response but the proof will be in the pudding - what changes are made and how far they go." The taskforce meets today to discuss the next steps. Mr McNae says a final report is likely, but he wants an implementation schedule issued around the same time. He says it is critical to keep the momentum going. IRD and Treasury indicated that they understood the issues and were continuing to analyse them. TEC wanted more involvement from the ICT industry and asked for a detailed submission about what it required. A key recommendation involved management training with emphasis on entrepreneurial skills and export knowledge. Mr McNae says TEC has responded that courses of this nature exist today, but he says they need to be better publicised. SSC indicated it was prepared to talk further on the Buy New Zealand recommendation in the report, which suggested that chief executives need to be held more accountable for their decisions to choose offshore suppliers. Mr McNae expects some government funding will be needed to implement the report, but says that could be minimal, involving perhaps a few dedicated staff to coordinate activities among various industry groups. He sees a need for strong centralised communication with the many ICT lobby groups that exist. "We need to go back to industry groups already in existence to see how they could play a role. We need to harness the capacity that already exists and bring it together physically or virtually." The ICT taskforce was one of three created after the prime minister's Growth and Innovation speech in February last year, when she highlighted ICT as an industry key to New Zealand's future prosperity. Report recommendations included writing off development expenses, encouraging skilled ICT immigration, and developing Kiwi managerial skills. Mr McNae says similar issues have been addressed in the biotechnology taskforce report and anecdotal evidence suggests these issues will recur in the creative industries report. He cites tax breaks, incentives and graduate supply as common issues. (by Adrienne Perry)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 03/03/2003

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Breaking Through the Govt Barriers

Developing 100 ICT companies with $100m in annual sales within 10 years is an ambitious project. Will Harvie reports. The Government has given a warm but cautious reception to the ICT taskforce report that last November proposed developing 100 New Zealand information and communication technology companies each doing over $100 million in annual sales by 2012. "We are taking these issues seriously and there will be some movement on some of them" in this term of Parliament, Minister of Information Technology Paul Swain said at the weekend. None of the ideas raised in the taskforce report, titled Breaking through the Barriers, were rejected out of hand, Mr Swain said. "If it had been rejected out of hand, then I wouldn't be so positive. "I'm very pleased with the report. It's one of the most concrete things I've been involved with," he said. Mr Swain, who hosted a video-conference with members of the taskforce last Wednesday evening, said the Government would issue a formal response to the ICT taskforce later this autumn, probably in May. Separate taskforces looking at biotechnology and creative industries have proposed broadly similar Government actions, Mr Swain said, and there would be efforts to merge the three proposals into a single package of reforms. Getting to another 100 companies with $100m in annual sales within 10 years is an ambitious project, all sources acknowledge. There are just 16 firms in New Zealand now doing better than $100m a year, including NZ Telecom. There are just 15 companies in the next tier down (generating revenues of $50m to $100m) and 42 in the third tier (doing $20m to $50m). Assuming every one of the second and third-tier companies won't grow to $100m, the balance must come from the 7544 New Zealand high-tech companies doing annual business worth less than $20m, and new start-ups. But the benefits of reaching the target are immense. If achieved, the ICT sector would triple employment, from the current 41,000 jobs to an estimated 125,000 by 2012. Export sales would grow from about $900m in 2001 to about $16 billion in 10 years. If it happens, ICT would account for about 10 per cent of New Zealand's gross domestic product, up from its current 4.3 per cent. Unfortunately, the sector is expected to plateau at about 6 per cent of GDP in 2012 without structural reform of the economy by Government. "The reality is that it's a big target," said Mr Swain. "I was probably the only nervous person in the room, but they've convinced me that it can be done." "It's nice to hear they are looking at it at the ministerial level," said Dennis Chapman, a Canterbury-based member of the taskforce. He was "encouraged" by what Mr Swain indicated during the video-conference. Taskforce chairman Murray McNae said "the over-all response by Government has been positive and supportive of the recommendations". "There's more work to be done with government agencies to ensure that these things are addressed satisfactorily," he said. Taskforce members and Mr Swain agree that growing the ICT is not a function of government. "Growth of the industry is in the hands of industry, but clearly government has a role," said Mr Swain. "This is not about government trying to fix and solve problems. We can't do that. Industry must do it." But government can address specific issues, most notably tax, education, and immigration. The taskforce, for example, recommended creating a tax- neutral investment vehicle. Under the current system, if an individual invests in a high-tech company and eventually sells his shares for a profit, it is treated as a capital gain and no tax is paid. If a company makes and sells the identical investment, it is taxed at the corporate rate of 33 per cent. The taskforce proposed that New Zealand follow the US and Australian models that treat individuals and companies the same. Other tax ideas include carrying forward tax losses, fairer treatment of share options, and tax deferment in some cases. "I think there's a chance" these sorts of issues can be addressed, Mr Swain said. He said industry was engaging tax officials and the fruit of the consultation would flow to Finance Minister Michael Cullen. "One never leaves out Michael Cullen. He's the hand behind it all." On education, the taskforce called for Government to "take urgent and active measures to address the quality and relevance of ICT course content and the ICT skills shortages". Until the number of Kiwi ICT graduates began to rise appreciably, the nation will have to allow more trained immigrants into the country, according to the taskforce. Mr Swain said some action on these fronts is already under way. A new seventh-form ICT qualification was being developed, for example, and immigration rules have already been rewritten once to encourage high-tech immigration. But on the "single biggest constraint" to the growth of New Zealand ICT companies - the "shortage of skilled leaders and marketing/sales executives with the experience appropriate to taking a (company) global" - Government's role is small. Because the domestic market is tiny, New Zealand high-tech companies are "forced to launch into offshore markets at a very early stage" compared to their North American, European, and Australian competitors, the report noted. A California start- up, for example, may not sell its products or services outside the state for years, and the founding chief executive can run the company with little management assistance. A comparable Kiwi start-up needs a "fully tiered management structure" much sooner on the growth curve. Nurturing this talent requires things like leadership and executive development programs and building an entrepreneurial culture that celebrates business success, according to the taskforce. Some of this can be achieved with better treatment of share options, for example. None of it matters, said Rollo Gillespie, president of the New Zealand Software Association, if New Zealand companies don't sell more overseas. "Without sales we have no need for any of the other stuff such as regulatory, educational, and capital infrastructure, let alone any of this grossly over-hyped innovation." "All of this stuff is important but it is subordinate to sales."

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 03/04/2003

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Pacific Islands Governments Urged- End Telecom Monopolies, Cut Rates

Suva (PINA Nius)-Continuing concerns over Pacific Islands telecommunication monopolies and their charges have been raised in Suva at a major meeting on information communication technologies (ICT). A paper by the regional Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) for the Pacific Islands Regional ICT/World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Consultations said: "Compared to the rest of the world, access to the new media in the Pacific Islands is expensive, slow and unreliable. "Governments should be urged to liberalise the telecommunication sector. Breaking up monopolies and introducing competition should improve services and reduce costs for users. "Governments must ensure widespread access to telecommunication services, through subsidies and appropriate access requirements in licensing or franchising agreements." The three-day meeting is co-sponsored by the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association, UNESCO, the Global Knowledge Partnership Secretariat, the Foundation for Development Cooperation, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and e-Pacifika (a joint United Nations agencies project). It brings together regional telecommunications, information communication technology, and communication specialists and development agencies. It is part of continuing preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society. The summit will occur in two phases: The first phase will take place in Geneva hosted by the Swiss Government 10-12 December. It will address the broad range of themes concerning the Information Society and adopt a Declaration of Principles and plan of action, addressing the whole range of issues related to the Information Society. The second phase will take place in Tunis hosted by the Tunisian Government, in 2005. Development themes will be a key focus in this phase, and it will assess progress that has been made and adopt any further plan of action to be taken. PINA's paper for the Suva consultations stressed that competition among Internet Service Providers will improve services and reduce costs for users. Governments should also include computer literacy in their education master plans, said PINA, the main professional association of the region's news media. Its paper highlighted the 2001 Pacific Islands Forum Communique, which said: Readers also recognized the important role of information technology in the delivery of education and further called on members to urgently implement measures to address the high cost of accessing information technology infrastructure. The consultations began today with country presentations on progress in national strategy development. This was to be followed by an overview of the Pacific Islands ICT policy and plan by Robert Guild, of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Tomorrow's session highlights include a review of the outcomes of the Asia Pacific WSIS Conference in Tokyo and preparatory committee meetings in Geneva. This session features Bill Withers (International Telecommunication Union); Abel Caine (Fiji Government); Johnson Honimae (PINA) and Mr Guild. The consultations continue till Friday afternoon.- PINA Nius.

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 04/09/2003

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UAE: Dubai E-government to Team Up with the Banks to Introduce Online Direct Debit for Public Transactions

Dubai Government will introduce an Online Direct Debit system for public service transactions through banks, which will open up a secure additional channel to enable the people to use government services electronically. In a strategic step in this direction, Dubai eGovernment recently held a for a meeting with the major banks in the UAE ,the Central Bank and Comtrust, to discuss the Central Bank's proposal for using it's ATM Switch for Online Direct Debit for people-to-government transactions, including payment of utility bills and renewal of licences, health cards and work permits. Salem Al Shair, Director e-Services, Dubai e-Government, said: "Dubai eGovernment is working on different fronts to make the electronic services more user-friendly in line with the directives of H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to provide easy payment solutions to the people, and The Online Direct Debit facility will be a unified Net-based payment system through the portal www.dubai.ae allowing direct debit from the personal account of the consumer to the Dubai eGovernment account. It will be one of the payment options for online users and we are devising a strategy that will make it a fully secure and quick mode of payment". Al Shair added:" The UAE banks, which have demonstrated an impressive maturity in adopting innovative programmes for consumers, have responded enthusiastically to Online Direct Debit. This face-to-face meeting with the banks gave us an opportunity to drive home the advantages of the system as well as listen to their suggestions and concerns so that the consumer can get the best possible service, and The various government departments too have shown a highly proactive approach in preparing themselves to migrate to innovative payment modes and offer the public integrated services through the Dubai eGovernment portal.". Under Dubai e-Government's Online Direct Debit system, consumers will be required to make a written request to their banks authorizing Dubai eGovernment to debit directly from their personal accounts, through a centralized system, namely the UAE Central Bank Switch, which controls the ATM transactions. Banking professionals who attended the briefing supported Dubai e-Government's initiatives to give consumers wider payment options and expressed their strong support to Online Direct Debit. The proposal to make use of the available UAE Switch for Dubai e-Government's Online Direct Debit has found favour with most banks, but we are also exploring other alternatives," said Asem Fikree, Manager e-Banking Systems, IT Department, Commercial Bank of Dubai. "We would favour the UAE Switch system for direct debit since it is fast and credible and routed through the Central Bank, unlike international credit cards that have to go through a global network. We would like to pledge all our support to this system." Mohamed Ali Musabbeh Al Nuaimi, Senior Manager, Business Development & Planning, National Bank of Dubai, said: "The Online Direct Debit system of Dubai eGovernment will be a pioneering service regionally and globally. All banks should lend their support to this project so that they can provide a secure service to their clients and facilitate an easy and cash-less transaction. We welcome the proposed adoption of the UAE Switch system to enable direct debit from a client's personal account to the Dubai eGovernment account." E. S. Venkat, Vice President & Product Head, e-Business, Gulf Levant & Pakistan Region, Citibank, commented: "The Online Direct Debit is a major initiative that matches the principal status acquired by Dubai. This image will be consolidated when the full scope of Dubai eGovernment is unfolded. We are happy to associate ourselves with the new initiative, as Citibank has been a pioneer in providing Internet-based financial transactions." Dubai eGovernment will be conducting further such discussions with UAE banks to fine-tune the system and arrive at a consensus to evolve the most user-friendly and secure payment option for online government transactions. "We would like to thank the UAE Central Bank for supporting the initiative," said Al Shair. "We also welcome the suggestions made by the different banks, many of whom have responded very positively to the proposal. We are confident that the interest shown by the banks will contribute significantly in raising the standards of the Dubai eGovernment services to match those of the highly developed countries."

From http://beiruttimes.com 03/03/2003

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CHINA: South China City Cuts Management Costs to Lift Competitiveness

Though one of China's most competitive cities, the southern metropolis of Guangzhou is exploring ways to reduce its management costs in a bid to maintain its competitiveness. "We have to control our city operating costs to maintain our advantage," said Mayor Lin Shusen. "We should target both domestic and overseas markets." So far, the city government has introduced market forces to most public services and simplified its administration procedures to lower its public services costs. Major projects in the city under construction include a new airport, a deep-water port and an information processing center. Meanwhile, public bids for government procurement, on-line government management and a scientific public budget system are also being introduced. Guangzhou is planning to further relax controls over investment in water supply, energy, roads, bridges and subways, hoping to create a transparent, effective and low-cost business environment for investors.

From Xinhuanet 02/11/2003

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Website Feedback

Some 10,000 people logged on the official Shanghai government Website - www.sh.gov.cn - since June to comment on its work in the various sectors, the city government disclosed yesterday. At yesterday's meeting on Website evaluation, Mayor Chen Liangyu expected it to become a "worldclass" Website by 2005.

From http://www.sh.gov.cn/ 02/12/2003

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E-government to Drive Hong Kong's IT Development

The Government will continue to drive forward Hong Kong's information technology (IT) development by building an effective and efficient E-government. The above remarks were made by the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, at the "From e-Government to e-Security Conference 2003" in Hong Kong today (February 26). Jointly organised by the Hong Kong University School of Professional and Continuing Education and the Hong Kong Productivity Council, the two-day conference aims at benchmarking the up-to-date development of e-Government and e-Security in Asia. Mr Wong was the keynote speaker for the event and exchanged views on these two topics with other senior government officials, academics and experts. Mr Wong told the participants that Hong Kong had been an early IT adopter and was now at the forefront of IT development. However, the Government will not stand still and will carry on its efforts in the building of an E-government to achieve the goal of its "Digital 21 Strategy", which is to position Hong Kong as a leading e-business community and digital city in the globally connected world. The Government has been making substantial investment in its IT infrastructure and systems. In the current financial year, $1.75 billion has been earmarked to meet the necessary capital expenditure in IT projects. "In a tight budget year, these figures reflect our strong commitment to sustain a continuous roll-out of government IT projects," Mr Wong pointed out. To modernise government operations by using IT and promote the wider adoption of e-business in the community, the Government targets to increase the percentage of e-option of government services to 90 per cent by the end of this year. At present, over 80 per cent of government services amenable to the electronic mode of delivery are already provided with an e-option. "Our E-government services are characterised by customer-centred transactional processing capability. Our citizens and businesses can interact with the Government and the services they required are at their fingertips with a user-friendly interface," Mr Wong said. The Government has adopted a pioneering public-private partnership approach in driving its E-government initiatives, thus enabling it to capture the best available services in the market and optimise cost- effective benefits. Examples of this kind of partnership arrangements include the Electronic Service Delivery Scheme, the Electronic Tendering System and Tradelink. Mr Wong also introduced to the participants other E-government flagship projects. To promote E-logistics, the Government has been actively exploring the feasibility of developing a Digital Trade and Transport Network System, which is an open and neutral e-platform for exchange of data among logistics players in the supply chain. Meanwhile, the replacement of the Multi-Application Smart ID card will be rolled out in mid 2003. Besides value-added functions such as library card and digital certificate, the new Smart ID card will provide a platform for automatic passenger clearance at border points. Turning to information infrastructure, Mr Wong said, "We are carrying out a number of enhancements to the Government's IT infrastructure." These include improving the accessibility to computer facilities in the civil service, upgrading the Government Backbone Network for broadband connections and establishing a common transaction platform for electronic service delivery. Leveraging on the strengths of the infrastructure, the Government will strive for exploitation and adoption of enabling technologies, such as Extensible Markup Language, wireless, smart card and the next generation of Internet technologies. Mr Wong emphasised that as information security was an important pillar to establish reliable and secure environment for e-business to prosper, the Government had also launched various initiatives to enhance its e-security infrastructure and facilities. They include a clear legal framework through the enactment of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance, an architectural framework for secure e-commerce and the operation of the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Co-ordination Centre. To raise public awareness in information security, the Government has collaborated with other agencies to organise promotional activities and also set up a one-stop portal to enhance public access to related resources and updates. The Assistant Director of Information Technology Services, Mr John Wong Shak-chuen, will also speak at the conference tomorrow (February 27) and share with the participants the government policies on e-Security.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 02/26/2003

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Guangdong First Region to Launch GPS Net

South China's Guangdong Province is set to become the first region in the Chinese mainland to establish an advanced Global Positioning System (GPS), which will better serve the province's dynamic economic and social development. Ten ground receiving stations and a central control headquarters are to be built in the first phase starting this coming June, with more than 30 million yuan (US$3.61 million) earmarked for the construction. The entire GPS network is scheduled to be complete within the 10th-Five-Year-Plan period (2001-05), providing every city with a ground receiving station. The GPS network, which will include geographical information systems and advanced remote satellite technologies, is to be utilized in agricultural, meteorological, communications, logistical, telecommunications and security applications in the prosperous province which borders Hong Kong and Macao. The GPS network will help improve the standard of government decision-making and improve work efficiency, said Chen Jun, director of the State Basic Geographical Informational Centre, on Apr.9. Chen said the GPS network will have a marked impact on the forecasting and monitoring of floods, drought, storms and other natural disasters. Guangdong is struck by typhoons many times during the summer season, resulting in many deaths and injures.

From People's Daily 03/04/10

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Hong Kong Drives E-government Excellence

E-government initiatives remained a high priority despite budgetary restraints in the coming years, Acting Director of Information Technology Services Mr Stephen Mak Hung-sung said today (March 13). Mr Mak was making the keynote speech at the Delivering e-government Excellence Seminar. The seminar brought together officials from government departments and public service corporations, as well as information technology (IT) practitioners to discuss IT solutions to ensure excellence in e-government services. Mr Mak said the e-government strategy was formally launched in May 2001 (as the Digital 21 Strategy) to position Hong Kong as a leading e-business hub. "Over the past two years, through the concerted efforts of the E-government Co-ordination Office, e-business co-ordinators and colleagues in various bureaux and departments, we have made substantial progress in our e-government programme," he said. By the end of 2002, the Government has already provided 81 per cent of public services amenable to electronic mode of delivery with an e-option and is confident of reaching its target of 90 per cent by the end of this year. Last year, the flagship Electronic Service Delivery Scheme saw a 40 per cent increase in monthly transaction volume. The scheme is already the channel for over 140 online public services from over 40 departments and agencies, and the Government will continue to extend its scope, improve its service quality and drive its usage further. Last November, the Government launched the Interoperability Framework, which contains the technical and data specifications that facilitate the seamless integration and interconnection of government applications and their public interfaces. An Extensible Markup Language (XML) Co-ordination Group has also been set up to help develop a strategy for more effective use of XML in the Government. "These initiatives not only represent the adoption of innovative technologies, but also signify the Government's commitment to streamlining business processes and realising the full potential of collaborative working," Mr Mak said. In the area of trade and logistics, the Government is actively developing the Digital Trade and Transportation Network to drive e-commerce to improve Hong Kong's competitiveness. It will also develop a multi-modal cargo clearance system for road transportation. These initiatives will support Hong Kong as a key logistics hub between the Mainland and the rest of the world. Meanwhile, good progress has been made in the development of the new Smart Identity Card programme, which will be rolled out in the middle of this year. The card is expected to provide further impetus to the community's adoption of e-options for government services and will be conducive to many innovative uses for e-transactions that the public and private sectors can consider. "We have embarked on a number of joint e-government initiatives," Mr Mak said. These include the study on an Integrated Criminal Justice System linking those departments involved in the arrest of suspects, identification, prosecution, trial, correctional and rehabilitation processes and the release of the convicted person. An e-option for citizens to notify their change of address to a large number of government departments using a single online interface will also be developed and studies on the setting up of information and transaction portals for business, property, and licensing operations are ongoing. To deliver more e-options with limited resources, the Government has been rigorously applying the 3Rs - re-prioritise, re-organise and re-engineer and the one M - the making use of market capabilities. "While maintaining our momentum for e-government development, we do make use of resources and expertise from the market while bearing in mind the need to reduce the size of the civil service," Mr Mak said. The establishment of IT Management Units in bureaux and departments and an aggressive IT outsourcing strategy were initiatives launched to help achieve this goal.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 03/13/2003

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City to Digitize Water Conservation Services

Shanghai will adopt information technology in its water conservation development and establish an IT framework to digitize services by the year 2007, according to a work conference on water conservation technology and informatization held by the Shanghai Water Conservation Bureau yesterday. The Shanghai Water Conservation Bureau will establish a framework consisting of data platform, network platform and application platform by 2007 to automatically monitor water conservation infrastructure such as watercourses, water gates, pumping-stations and water pipes. Local residents can call 962450 for help with any water supply problems, according to the bureau.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 03/20/2003

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Shanghai Central Districts Will See Initial Shape of E-community Administration and E-public Service

In 2003, each central district of Shanghai will see a model community which has realized the E-community administration and E-public service. And the year 2005 will see the formation of a personalized, and self-helped community service on the basis of network and intelligence control in 80% of neighborhoods in Shanghai. With the aim of saving residents?? time in running for procedures, 70% of the community??s working procedures will be simplified and optimized with the help of information technology, and LAN will be created covering the neighborhood committee and all departments of the community management office so as to realize the coordinated working of the different departments, the standardized practice and more transparency of community administration, and improved efficiency and service level offered by the community administration offices. In the coming 3 years, more efforts will be made in the planning of E-community administration and E-public service work --- pivot of the city informatization, and the coordinated development and comprehensive management will be strengthened in this regard. 1. In 2003, the E-administration will be experimented in some 15 key communities on the basis of one working platform and uniformed technical application standard. With the trial running of the community administration system??s working platform, the internal management affairs can be integrated and optimized, the management affair information can be published on Internet, the administration work can be conducted on the basis of networks, and the basic mode and working mechanism for the E-community administration and E-public service will be formed. 2. By the end of 2003, a model community for E-administration and E-public service will been chosen for every central district. 3. By 2005, 80% of the City??s communities will reach the functional standards of the community informatization. The personalized, self-help community service on the basis of network and intelligence control will have taken initial shape with the community administration and public service in the main upgraded to a higher level. Actively acting on the requirements of energetically advancing the informatization in community administration and public service by the government, the Shanghai Telecom, Shanghai Cable Network Co., Shanghai Xinzhi Software Co. and Shanghai Informatization Service Hotline Co., etc, have offered relative coordinated services. The Shanghai Telecom has lowered the access charge for the ADSL or LAN with the transfer rate of 512K from ?°Ť130/month to ?°Ť98/month for neighborhood committees. The Shanghai Cable Network Co. has lowered their charge for the cable modem with a transfer rate of 512K for uplink and 256K for downlink from ?°Ť120/month to ?°Ť90/month, with a preferential range of over 30%. The 82000 Shanghai Informatization Service Hotline has complimented away one year of free service to the key communities and offered response to emergent maintenance and repair within two hours.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 03/26/2003

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Beijing Backs Computer Networks

Beijing wants to plug its government departments and various institutes into 200 computer networks, it was revealed at the weekend with the announcement of a series of government tenders. Beijing Vice-Mayor Fan Boyuan said on Apr.12 the networking projects, involving 14,000 computers, will start by the end of the year. According to the municipal government plan, 130 of the projects and about 5,000 of the computers have been earmarked for e-government and education. "Such projects should depend on fiscal investment, and fair and transparent government purchasing will offer great opportunities for CPU (central processing unit) designers, software developers, computer manufacturers and solution providers," a spokesman from the Beijing municipal government's purchasing office said. The government spokesman said the purchasing for 130 projects should be completed by the end of the year.Another 50 projects will be installed in some financial, medical, commercial and manufacturing institutes, which enjoy preferential prices for networking facilities, as the government has set up a fund to support the spread of computer networks in the city.

From China Daily 04/14/2003

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Hot Line Helps Cops Fight Crime

This year is the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the city's 110 police emergency call system, and local police said the system has contributed a lot to the city's security and vowed to improve it by establishing a wider network and faster response. Over the past 10 years, city police received more than 18.2 million calls, helping cops uncover more than 24,000 criminal cases, according to Zhao Jinyi of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. Thanks to the hot line, more than 200,000 criminals were nabbed. Meanwhile, police also offered emergency help to 210,000 residents and dealt with more than 1.1 million traffic accidents. One of the exciting stories from the hot line was revealed recently. According to Zhao, an emergency call helped cops react quickly to frustrate an extortion attempt involving 8 million yuan (US$963,855), in which the criminal claimed he would use a plane to attack the city's Jin Mao Tower on September 13 in 2001 - just two days after the World Trade Center in New York was destroyed by terrorists. "The man directly called 110 and threatened the tower to get the money," said Zhao. Hot line operators were able to keep the man on the phone long enough to track the call to the city of Wuhu in Anhui Province. The man was still on the phone when police caught him. The scheme was later found to be a hoax, and police dis-covered the man had tried to use a similar scheme to extort 8 million yuan from officials in Shenzhen. "This is just one of the stories that illustrate the successful operation of the 110 emergency call system to fight against crime," said Zhao. In September 1997, police started to link local taxis with the system. Beginning in 2000, the city's book stalls, convenience stores, gas stations and supermarkets were joined to the 110 network to report emergencies and crime as quickly as possible, providing those working the night shift an increased sense of security. City police established a 110 mailbox and an Website in 1998 and 2001 respectively.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 04/14/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: City Monitoring Team Adds 800 Civilians

The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Wednesday commissioned 800 new civilian monitors at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Since the introduction of a city government monitoring system in 1997, the system has been a way for the citizens to participate in local government affairs. Officials said their input will contribute to government policies. The current team of monitors, the 7th of its kind since 1997, was selected after a strict screening process, ensuring that representations of all regions, gender, ages and jobs are equally reflected. The members will submit their opinions on assigned topics such as the Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project-related traffic policy and the New Town development plan. The government will also gather their ideas on issues related to housing, environment, public health, welfare and other concerns. In the latter half of the year, a cyber monitoring system will also be used to assign discussion topics over the Internet and for allowing monitoring members to debate on issues. The government said it would develop the monitor system as a more participatory system, allowing more exchange of opinions between civilian monitors and the city.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 02/14/2003

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Seoul Launches First Broadband Network

A new high-speed Internet network exclusively for the Seoul Metropolitan Government administrative services was launched last Friday. The network, named e-Seoul Net, makes Seoul the first major city in the world to have its own broadband network. Ushering an era of electronic city administration, the e-Seoul Net will allow Seoulites to enjoy fast access to the city`s various services, particularly in the traffic, environmental and cultural sectors. The city`s broadband Internet network took three years to complete, costing some 9.2 billion won. The entire city is now connected by a 2.5 giga bps fiber-optic network. The city was able to reduce the project cost by using the city`s subway system to install the optical fiber network. About 159km of the 180km optical fiber cable was installed along the subway lines, greatly cutting down on the need to dig into roads. By having its own fiber-optic network, the city expects to save 2 billion won in its IT budget in 2003, the first year of its operation. Starting next year, the annual savings is expected to reach about 3 billion won. According to the city, e-Seoul Net will greatly improve the information and telecommunications quality and reliability, allowing the city to provide richer multimedia services. Another advantage is that information and resources can be accessed quickly and efficiently at times of disaster and accidents. In all, the network is estimated to have an economic effective value of 20-30 billion won per annum. With the launch of the e-Seoul Net, the local government will be able to provide 192 categories of administrative information and provide free high-speed Internet access to the city`s welfare facilities. The broadband Internet network will also be used to provide cyber education and contribute toward narrowing the digital divide among different groups of population. Starting this year, the city will be able to provide GIS-based eco-friendly urban management system through the newly opened e-Seoul Net. In the latter half of the year, video conferencing will be introduced between City Hall and district offices that can also be used to efficiently respond to emergency situations.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 02/28/2003

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Seoul to Run Service Center for Foreigners

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said yesterday it will open a center to provide comprehensive services for foreigners at City Hall in June. The "Seoul Foreign Help Center" will merge services offered by a foreign investment consulting office and the Seoul Hot Line created to help with problems troubling foreign residents, a city official said. An exclusive information room for foreigners will be set up in the center to provide them with investment and public relations documents both on paper and online, he said.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 04/16/2003

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UKRAINE: e-Ukraine Program Launched

e-Ukraine, the national program designed to encourage the integration of ICT in the country was officially presented in Kyev at the Telecom and Internet 2003 this week. According to the e-Ukraine strategy document, the first step will be the total computerisation of all institutions financed from the state budget. The next steps will be the modernization of the country's laws to bring them in line with the demands of an information society, and then improvement of the national telecom networks, and e-commerce and e-government implementation. For more information, please click at the link below.

From http://www.developmentgateway.org/ 04/03/2003

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MALAYSIA: E-Govt Slow in Implementing Open Source

KUALA LUMPUR: Government policies to encourage the use of Open Source technology in Malaysia's electronic-government projects have been lagging in terms of execution and implementation, according to computing giant IBM. "Mampu (the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit) has evaluated and investigated policies to ensure the use of Open Source computing -- however this still lacks 'real action' on any projects," said Khairiyatun Azlina Akhiruddin, senior manager of IBM Malaysia's Public Sector division. Mampu is the lead agency for all e-government projects in Malaysia. "Statements of intention have been issued, but we have yet to see any active responses," Khairiyatun told reporters at a recent briefing. IBM sees an opportunity to be involved in policy framework discussions. In fact, according to Khairiyatun, one of the policy consultations that IBM has taken part in is the national framework for Open Source adoption. "IBM has consulted and is moving towards formal discussion with governing bodies such as Mampu to come up with a national framework for Open Source adoption," she said. As the Malaysian government pushes forward with its e-government initiative, the role of Open Source computing can serve as the backbone infrastructure to drive the transformation. The e-government initiative, a flagship application of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), aims to re-invent the government sector through the use of information technology, and to ultimately foster a collaborative environment. Despite the slow execution of some policies, Khairiyutan was confident that this year would see greater interest and support by the Government for Open Source computing, especially using the Linux operating system, as a tool for integration and ensuring interoperability within government agencies. The Government has moved in the right direction with its announcements on the adoption of Open Source computing standards in public sector procurement. In addition, it has also explored the phenomenon, especially the popularity of Linux. Having said that, there are some policy actions that have yet to be discussed on an implementation level, said Khairiyatun. She noted that the Government has not investigated and evaluated the use of Linux as part of national IT, R&D and economic development strategies. The Government should also consider forging partnerships with technology companies to realise the benefits of Open Source computing and Linux or other Open Source software, she added. Making progress From a larger perspective, Malaysia's desire to bring government to the information age was noteworthy, Khairiyatun said. Creating an online presence via a website was the most elementary step to take, she noted, however addinmg that e-government adoption in Malaysia was currently straggling between two key phases: access and enterprise integration. The access phase, she said, was where ministries and individual government agencies maintain an online presence through a website. However, the content currently was still not dynamic and very much based on print information. With enterprise integration, inter-departments should integrated via a portal, for example. This integration would allow customers and citizens to perform service transactions electronically. (by L.C. Wong)

From http://www.star-techcentral.com/ 03/14/2003

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Online Way to Handle Public Complaints

PROCESSING of complaints on the public service will be made more efficient with a new Web-based linkage of computer systems between the Public Complaints Bureau, which is under the Prime Minister's Department, and 12 agencies. Its director-general Datuk Wan Abdul Wahab Abdullah said the bureau's Public Complaints Computer System has recently been linked to these agencies to facilitate online communication between the bureau and the agencies in a secure environment. He said prior to the linkage, information relevant to process complaint cases are retrieved manually from affected agencies. This, he said, could lead to delay in investigation and subsequent action taken on a complaint. "But via the link, an agency could view information on complaint cases such as status of investigation and statistics. The agency would not, however, be able to tamper with information in our database nor view information on complaint cases related to other agencies," he told Computimes in Putrajaya on Monday. According to him, the bureau will soon train relevant personnel from the 12 agencies on ways to use the system. The agencies involved are the Finance Ministry, Home Affairs Ministry, Education Ministry, Human Resources Ministry, Energy, Communications and Multimedia Ministry, Health Ministry, Transport Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Housing and Local Government Ministry, Public Works Ministry, Rural Development Ministry, and the Public Services Department. In addition to facilitating processing of complaints, linking the bureau's system and the agencies would also facilitate online reporting of complaints received by the agencies to the bureau, said Wan Abdul Wahab. "We also expect the agencies to submit reports from their monthly meet-the-public sessions to us electronically." The linkage, he added, is part of a recent upgrading exercise, completed early this year, of the bureau's Public Complaints Computer System. The system has been operational since 1999 and is also linked to the bureau's four branches nationwide, which are Penang, Kuala Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru. "The system has significantly increased our productivity and facilitates better management of public complaints from receiving, input of information, assignment, status of investigation to completion of complaint cases," Wan Abdul Wahab said, adding that so far RM2 million had been invested in the system. The bureau, he said, receives complaints through various modes such as letter and facsimile, telephone, Web-based form or e-mail. He said 13.8 per cent of the 4,209 complaints that came in last year were received through e-mail and Web-based forms. (by Sharifah Kasim)

From http://www.emedia.com.my 03/20/2003

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Build Teleworking Centres for the Poor

KUALA LUMPUR: Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has urged local authorities to build teleworking centres in public housing areas for the urban poor. She said the centres could provide extra opportunities for low-income groups, as they would enable unemployed people in those areas, especially women, to enter the job market. "This is about empowering the urban poor," Shahrizat said this morning at the launch of a teleworking portal for the teleworking centre at the Desa Tun Razak Public Housing Project (PPR Desa Tun Razak), a low-cost housing project. She said that she would leave it to the local authorities concerned to initiate efforts to build such centres, but she emphasised that more developed and highly populated areas like Kuala Lumpur, where there are thousands of families categorised as urban poor, should lead the way. "Just as these residential areas have prayer halls, community halls and other facilities, so should they have teleworking centres," she said. "I urge DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) to seriously consider this." Shahrizat also said such centres could also be used as ICT centres to provide Internet access for local communities. She added that the Ministry's five Pusat Khidmat Wanita -- or centres that have been set up to provide various social services for women -- would be upgraded for teleworking. The centres, which are located in five states, already have computer facilities for basic ICT classes. Shahrizat also said that women were under-represented in the ICT job market, although there were a high demand for ICT skills and services, including in areas like teleworking. She cited statistics from the Energy, Communications and Multimedia Ministry that showed that there were 2.6 million Internet subscribers in Malaysia at the end of 2002, but only 30% of them were females. "Women have many opportunities in the ICT sector," she said. There are many thousands of people living in low-cost residential areas in Kuala Lumpur, with over 48,000 housing units under the management of DBKL's housing management department. These are located in more than 60 areas, including Gombak, Lembah Pantai, Bangsar, Loke Yew, Setapak and Cheras. About 10,000 residents live at PPR Desa Tun Razak alone, out of which about 1,800 were unemployed. Women make up about 60% of them. The average monthly income of the residents is about RM1,200. The PPR Desa Tun Razak teleworking centre project was started last June and is funded under the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry's Demonstrator Application Grant Scheme (DAGS) administered by the National Information Technology Council (NITC). About 200 participants were selected for the first phase of the phase of the project, out of which 56 met basic criteria for teleworking. Forty-five participants have remained, and they comprise largely women, many of whom are single mothers, widows and housewives. Perantara Jalinan Enterprise, the promoter of the project, claimed that all the participants have acquired sufficient ICT skills to perform simple teleworking jobs like data entry, webpage design and graphic design. In addition, PC ownership has risen among the teleworkers, and many of the PC owners have also subscribed for Internet access. Six companies have outsourced some jobs to the teleworkers, who are getting paid between RM300 to RM400 for their work. The teleworkers source for jobs via a teleworking portal, which provides potential employers the ability to list work that they would like to outsource, select teleworkers, and negotiate payment rates and the mode of work. DAGS funding for the project will end in June, but PPR Desa Tun Razak residents association chairman Abdul Wahab Mohamad said that the project itself would not end then. "We will manage the centre as well as we can and make sure that it is sustainable," he said. The teleworkers have formed a committee to manage the centre, and have decided to allocate 20% of their income towards the costs of running it. They have also produced computer-designed National Day greeting cards that would be sold online. The proceeds of the sale would go towards their income and also to cover costs. RM2 from the sale of every RM15 set of nine cards would go back to the centre. (by Raslan Sharif)

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/21/2003

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Providing On-demand E-government

AS governments worldwide face greater responsiveness from constituents seeking services "on demand", the need for a viable solution to address this issue becomes more urgent. The solution can come in the form of on-demand electronic government, which, according to IBM Malaysia's public sector country manager Khairiyatun Azlina Akhiruddin, is a government whose business processes are integrated end-to-end across governmental departments and with key partners, suppliers and citizens that can respond with speed and agility to any citizen's demand, changing political or economic dynamics or external threats. The adoption of such an e-government generally goes through three phases: the access phase, where the government assesses the concepts of going electronic; the enterprise integration phase, where departments and agencies start implementing electronic means; and the on-demand phase, where the government has gone fully electronic and can meet its constituents demand in real-time. Going on-demand, Khairiyatun explains, is led by an understanding of the business processes and not technology-driven, and that open source computing will actually enable on-demand e-government. Besides that, open standards drive interoperability and integration, provide choice and flexibility, lower the cost of ownership, and allow adoption of future technologies, she says. Khairiyatun suggests that governments take five policy actions in moving towards becoming an on-demand e-government. These are adopting open computing as an underlying philosophy; embracing open standards in public sector procurement; investigate the open source phenomenon, especially Linux; evaluate Linux as part of the national information and communications technology, research and development, and economic development strategies; and partnering with technology companies to realise the benefits of open source computing. Khairiyatun says IBM is also in talks with some government agencies to help develop the national open source policy. She adds that cross process integration, across all government agencies and departments is necessary to make on-demand e-government possible. (by Prasanna Raman)

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 02/26/2003

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Smart Farmers Initiative

EFFORTS to bridge digital divide among the farming community in remote locations of Sabah are underway under a pilot project called Smart Farmers initiated by the State Government. The project is scheduled to begin in a few months? time in Kundasang, Ranau, known as the market garden of Sabah, which is located about 108 kilometres from the State capital Kota Kinabalu. The pilot run which is expected to last six months to one year, involves the deployment of information and communications technology (ICT) tools to help farmers work more efficiently. Sabah Deputy Chief Minister and Resource Development and IT Minister Datuk Tham Nyip Shen said it would involve the installation of sensors on the ground to monitor soil acidity and other conditions that affect farming activities. He explained that the information from the sensors would be fed into a system to help farmers determine what to do in order to ensure a good yield. Apart from that, Tham said the project is aimed at providing farmers in Kundasang with information such as the latest farming technologies and weather conditions in real time. He said compared to current media such as newspapers, the online channel would also provide faster information access at a cheaper rate, over the long haul. Ultimately, the goal of the project is to focus on the final product which has to be of high quality and marketable. The system is expected to facilitate the marketing activities of these farmers by helping them to identify potential markets. Tham said about 100 farmers involved in the pilot phase, will be guided throughout the pilot and trained to become smart farmers. While bridging digital divide is our aim over the short term, the eventual target is to help the farmers improve their socio-economic standing through better farming techniques which would yield higher productivity he told Computimes in Kuala Lumpur last week. Upon completion of the pilot and if the project proves to be beneficial in terms of increasing productivity and income for farmers, the plan is to embark on a statewide, and eventually, nationwide rollout. Tham said there is also a possibility of selling the system to other developing countries, and as such, the State Government is currently looking out for a partner from either the Government or private sector to help with the funding of the project. Tham said the Smart Farmers project is part of the State Government focus under its IT masterplan to position Sabah to tap opportunities in the digital age. Under the plan, the State is embarking on an exercise to connect all 21 districts directly using very small aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite system. At the moment, only the major towns of Sandakan, Tawau, Keningau, Beaufort, Lahad Datu, Ranau and Kota Marudu are connected using the system. The rest are still linked via dial-up access, which is not fast enough to support electronic government and business applications.? He said a satellite link will be advantageous in the sense that there will be no constraint. Is long as the location is within the footprint, the area will be able to enjoy good network access.? He added that apart from these initiatives, the State Government is taking steps to boost security aspects of the public sector ICT systems via the State Government Computer Emergency Response Team (sgCert), which was set up recently. (by Anuja Ravendran)

From http://www.emedia.com.my/ 04/10/2003

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PHILIPPINES: BI to Track Aliens Through New Computer Systems

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is planning to develop computer systems that would track aliens while staying in the country and monitor their whereabouts and activities. Under the current computerization program, Immigration Commissioner Andrea Domingo said her agency intends to develop four integrated systems - immigration law enforcement system, legal support system, executive support system and electronic commerce. The immigration law enforcement system would store and provide data on arrests, detention, bail and deportation of aliens. "There is a need to compile information and reports on suspected personalities and organizations," said Domingo. The legal support system would track deportation complaints and cases as well as provide an electronic law library. As a quasi-judicial body with a lot of legal work, the BI is also planing to acquire a law library and computer programs to support the legal research. The executive support system would answer pertinent queries from top BI management for decision making. On the planned electronic commerce, Domingo said her agency wants to make it easier for foreign clients to transact their immigration business with the bureau while they are in the country. "With proper safeguards, we believed that BI should be given the capability to issue visa extensions and accept immigration fees via e-commerce," said Domingo. BI also intends to maximize revenue generation by a more efficient assessment and collection of immigration fees and charges through information technology that would track and alert on evaders. During a recent briefing on the E-government held the World Trade Center, the Bureau of Immigration disclosed that the agency plans to reorganize and decentralize its functions under a pending bill in Congress. "We have created an Anti-Fraud Division and an Intern Affairs Division which we believed are imperative to our task," said Commissioner Domingo. BI is also looking at the possibility of integrating its information systems with other agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Travel control is BI's most mission-critical operation which involves the admission or exclusion of aliens and their departure or interception. "An effective information system should provide immediate indicators if a foreigner may be admitted or allowed to depart based on his personal identity and travel papers and the existing files on him if any." The BI top management should have immediate access to all databases from their desks and the bureau is putting up a wide area network (WAN) linking all main ports and sub-ports nationwide to the BI main office in Manila, Commissioner Domingo said. Alien registration is a tool for monitoring and control of immigrants and non-immigrants. A system is needed to track aliens for proper action by the BI. It was noted that the present system at the BI supporting law enforcement carries only data of those excluded, deported, watchlisted or blacklisted since 1993. There is no electronic system tracking the progress of deportation complaints and cases as well as the final results. The BI's records management is done manually. "We have not not yet microfilmed the non-current records. The bureau's files occupy one whole floor of the BI main building," said Domingo. The bureau has a travel information system which provides data on the arrival and departure of all travelers whether Filipinos or foreigners. The agency's derogatory information system contains data on those who have been excluded, deported, watchlisted or blacklisted. There is no electronic files on alien criminals and terrorists or fugitives. (by Edu H. Lopez)

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 03/02/2003

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Dotc Plans to Set Up E-centers

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) has proposed the setting up electronic centers (E-Centers) throughout the country to provide basic services such as Internet access and telephone. The DoTC intends to set up a coordinating mechanism that would facilitate and rationalize the various electronic center (E-Center) initiatives in the country. The proposed E-Centers would allow people to access e-mail, voice mail, fax machines and other services, according to Assistant Secretary Cecilia Reyes, co-chair of Information Technology & E-Commerce Council (ITECC).The main objective is to promote universal access to information and communication services and help narrow the digital divide. These centers would also provide training programs in the use of information and communications technology (ICT), access to government information, library services, electronic learning, telehealth, web page development and hosting. Reyes was one of the speakers during the recent 3rd ITECC plenary meeting held at the World Trade Center (WTC).Specifically, these centers would provide rural communities access to government information and services with an opportunity to achieve local economic regeneration. An E-Center could also serve as the point of delivery of government information services, distance education, community library, news and business services. Reyes said the E-Center would provide community awareness on the benefits and challenges of ICT.E-Centers could be classified into a micro mobile e-center with wireless terminal or data capable cell phone, a micro e-center with pay phone and built-in web browser, smart card reader or receipt printer; a mini e-center with a personal computer (PC), fax, scanner, printer, copier or call meter; a large e-center which has 10 telephone lines, call management system, a scanner, two to 10 PCs with Internet access, a printer and photo copier. The community e-center concept has other names. These are community teleservice center, multi-purpose community center, a virtual village, multi-purpose community information and communication center, telekiosk or a community e-center. Reyes cited the success of e-center models in Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil and Canada. In order to sustain the planned e-centers, Reyes stressed the need for building information resources, appropriate infrastructure and technology adoption. Public service delivery must be balanced with commercial applications and document success stories for replication in other sites. E-Centers must be part of a bigger plan to ensure use and development impact in the country. While E-Centers are encouraged in other countries, collaboration should be encouraged to achieve success, Reyes added. (by Edu H. Lopez)

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 03/01/2003

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JBIC Asked to Finance P4.7-B E-gov't Center

The state-owned National Development Co. (NDC) has asked the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to finance the Philippines' R4.76 billion e-Government Program Development and the first e-Government Center project. The e-Government Center, to be located at Fort Bonifacio Global City, will serve as a basic structure to facilitate the implementation of projects in the Government Information Systems Plan (GISP) framework. Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II explained that under the planned GISP, "online users can interact and access the Philippine government's information and services. It is actually a more dynamic way to also benefit from the government's services." At a time when the economy is reeling from uncertainties in the global market, Roxas said, the government needs every effort to increase efficiency and enhance its competitive lead. Under the plan, NDC and the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) will form a joint venture to oversee the construction and implementation of the said e-Government Center. It will be supported by the Information Technology and E-commerce Council (ITECC) and the National Computer Center (NCC). JBIC's loan grant, projected at 85 percent of the total project cost, will be based on JBIC's evaluation. NDC has met with the JBIC appraisal team to discuss project preparations. JBIC is a government-owned institution in charge of granting loans to developing countries at concessionary rates. GISP will develop applicants to integrate government institutions systems and provide an online inter-agency frontline information service. It will also be a strorehouse of data from varied government institutions. Government agencies to initially benefit from the GISP include the Department of Trade and Industry, Board of Investments, Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the BCDA. GISP will feature the following systems: Business Name and Investment Registration System (BNIRS), Business Monitoring System, Trade and Investment Geographic Information System and other BNIRS-related systems.

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 03/10/2003

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IT & IM Professionals Join Forces in Country's First SIM Program

Business leaders and professionals in information technology (IT) and information management (IM) will gather to hear industry luminaries discuss issues and challenges at the launch of the country's first Strategic Information Management Program (SIMP). The event will be held on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at the Tower Club in Makati. Leading the roster of distinguished speakers of the event will feature Canadian Ambassador Robert Collette, House Speaker Jose De Venecia and former Presidential Advisor on IT and now SIMP Program Advisor Chito Kintanar. Topics include the Importance of Information in Congress, Information Management & Doing Business in the Philippines and Information Management, Strategic Importance in Business. Offered by the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (AGSB)-Center for Continuing Education (CCE), the SIM Program was first successfully held in Canada and is aimed at enhancing the working knowledge of IT/IM professionals by identifying issues and challenges for solutions processing. The program also serves to develop realistic action plans for implementation in the workplace and communicate IT/IM concepts effectively. Rather than just a lecture-discussion format, SIMP uses one-on-one interaction with mentors and participants, presentations and lectures on case studies and other solutions and interactive discussions. Mentors and facilitators are public and private ICT practitioners and IT/IM professionals ensuring that participants graduate from the program with a refined action plan and a network of SIMP colleagues. The AGSB-CCE also provides workplace-based courses customized to meet organizational development needs through eight disciplines. Among these disciplines, the Global Competitiveness Program chaired by Filemon Berba Jr. is slated to hold courses addressing national and firm level competitiveness. These courses are PQA Internal Assessment, PQA Application Development, Baldridge Quality Program for SMEs, Information Management for Business Excellence, Customer Relations Effectiveness Workshop, Service Quality Management: Keeping Customers Better Than Competition, Total Quality Management, Managing Project Teams and Creative Approaches to Complaints Handling. The AGSB-CCE serves as Ateneo's dynamic link to business, finance and technology and integrates ethics, IT and research into a distinctive learning experience. Certain courses for individual institutions and sectors are also creditable toward an Ateneo MBA.

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 03/16/2003

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Consumers Can Post Complaints Online: DTI

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will launch this month the www.i-reklamo.net.ph, a website that will facilitate consumer complaints in the country. DTI Consumer Welfare and Trade Regulation Group Assistant Secretary Ferdinand Hernandez said the DTI project, done in collaboration with the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), aims to empower consumers in enhancing the quality of products and services manufactured and distributed in the country. "This project does not only address the complaints of the consumers. The website also serves as a feedback mechanism wherein our companies, especially exporters, would know through the complaints how to improve their products and services so that they would be able to compete in the world market," he said. Hernandez said anybody could access the site and air his complaint online. The complaint will then be directed to the government agencies concerned. Many agencies "The DTI is not the only agency that listens and acts upon consumer complaints. Other government agencies are also involved. For instance, complaints regarding food and drugs must be addressed by the Bfad (Bureau of Food and Drugs), and agricultural products by the DA (Department of Agriculture)," Hernandez told reporters. The other pilot government agencies involved in the online complaint project are the National Telecommunications Commission, Department of Health, Bfad and DA. DTI also is inviting other government agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Justice, National Economic and Development Authority and the National Statistics Office to join the project, he said. Hernandez said updates on the actions taken on the complaint would also be posted in the website. But to protect both the consumer and the businesses involved, only the complainant would be able to access the complaint and the updates, he said. Each complainant would be given an ID number before he entered his complaint. He would use that same number to gain access to the update of the complaint. The project is being funded by the United States Agency for International Development through the Philexport, he said. (by Jessica B. Natad)

From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 04/10/2003

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Local Government Units to Have Websites: NCC

THE National Computer Center (NCC) will focus on the creation of the e-LGU (electronic local government unit) this year, as its mandate is the e-enablement of the government. Frederick Amores, information technology (IT) coordinator for the NCC in Central Visayas, said this is a three-year project where the center helps the LGUs in the municipal and provincial levels have a Web presence and go online. The NCC supervises the IT initiatives of the government, he said. Amores was speaking during the third "One Internet Day" held in Cebu City last Thursday at the University of Southern Philippines Alumni Hall. Cyberpromdi, an association of IT entrepreneurs and practitioners, organized the affair in celebration of the ninth year of the country's connection to the Internet. Amores, a member of the board of directors of Cyberpromdi, said the NCC will also be conducting advocacy programs, that is, e-governance seminars, and an e-readiness survey to assess an LGU's capability for e-enablement. NCC will provide assistance to the different LGUs by facilitating information system strategic workshops and by giving software on real property, business permits and licensing and treasury operations. Aside from providing the software to be used, the center will also be providing technical expertise. The pilot cities, the first batch that will receive NCC's services, are Talisay City, San Remegio and Dalaguete for the province of Cebu. For Bohol province, it will be Maribojoc, while Negros Oriental will have Bayawan City. An evaluation was first made before the selection of the pilot cities. The criteria included the willingness to commit to the project.

From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 04/12/2003

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SINGAPORE: One Password for E-Services Greater Convenience in Government Services

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) today announced that "SingPass" will replace the CPF PAL PIN from 1 March 2003 as the common password for government e-services. 400,000 more people will be able to use SingPass to access government services, if they wish. "SingPass" stands for "Singapore Personal Access". The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) explained that SingPass allows users to choose their own alphanumeric passwords of up to 24 characters. The existing CPF PAL PIN only allows 8 digits, with no alphabets. SingPass is required for e-services where users must identify themselves online. Examples of such internet services are the filing of income tax returns, registering a business and encashing Economic Restructuring Shares. With SingPass, users need to remember only one password for dealing with different government agencies. Users can also change the password any time they wish. SingPass is the online equivalent of the identity card. The CPF PAL PIN is only issued to CPF members. All Singapore residents above the age of 15 can apply for SingPass. SingPass will also be automatically issued to Singaporeans who register for their identity cards at the age of 15, new CPF members, and new employment pass holders and their dependents. Existing CPF PAL PIN users will be automatically migrated to the SingPass system when they next log in to any government e-service using their CPF PAL PIN. They will be prompted to change their PAL PIN to the SingPass password before they proceed. Singaporeans and residents who do not have a SingPass or have forgotten it can apply for SingPass and reset their SingPass on the spot at all CPF offices, all Community Development Council (CDCs) offices and selected Community Centres (CCs) from 1 March 2003. Requests for a new SingPass password or reset of password can also be made at all post offices and a password mailer will be sent to the user's home address. Additional channels for SingPass issue and reset will be made available in the coming months. "SingPass makes it simpler and more convenient for the public to transact online with the government.Our goal is to make government e-services user-centric, intuitive and easy to use. SingPass brings us one step closer to this goal," said Mr Loh Khum Yean, Deputy Secretary (Services), Ministry of Finance. "With SingPass, users need to remember only one password to access government e-services. This makes it more convenient for users to transact with the government. By end-2004, we expect all government e-services requiring authentication to offer SingPass access," added Mr Willie Tan Yoke Meng, General Manager, Central Provident Fund Board.

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 02/24/2003

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THAILAND: `On-Demand' Strategy for E-government

IBM (Thailand) is introducing its ``e-business on-demand'' concept to government agencies as part of an e-government push.Thamrong Phongthitithep, IBM Thailand country manager for finance, communications and the public sector, explained that on-demand e-government is where business processes are integrated end-to-end across government departments and with key partners, suppliers and citizens. In this way, the public sector can respond with speed and agility to citizen demands for service. Mr Thamrong suggested a number of policy actions the government should take. These include adopting open computing as an underlying philosophy; embrace open standards in public sector procurements as a matter of policy; investigate the open source phenomenon, especially Linux; evaluate Linux as part of national IT, R&D and economic development strategies; and partner with technology companies to realise the benefits of open computing and open source software. According to IBM Thailand software group country manager Jadesada Kraisingkorn, the essential characteristics of an on-demand operating environment are integration, open standards, virtualisation and autonomic computing. For example, it would enable the integration of data among government agencies, such as the Passport division and the Bureau of Registration Administration. IBM's software product line, as well as its hardware and services, have been readied for the on-demand strategy. IBM's software range includes Websphere, DB2, Lotus and Tivoli. Ms Jadesada noted that Websphere is the engine for web services. IBM has conducted workshops with the public agencies on a solution framework and formulation. Meanwhile, IBM announced that it was ranked number one in the server market last year in terms of revenue, with around 37% of the market. (Sasiwimon Boonruang )

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 04/03/2003

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Warnings Raised over Govt E-Procurement

E-procurement has the potential to bring cost savings to the government, but it could also spell disaster for those companies that provide the services, experts have warned. Association of Thai Computer Industry (ATCI) honorary president Manoo Ordeedolchest noted that e-procurement was a good policy from the government, but it needs a very large system that is hard to implement. He said starting with e-auctions was the right approach, but noted that there were both good and bad points. It forces businesses to stay alert, but it could also affect SMEs, because an e-auction is essentially a price war and SMEs cannot compete this way. If they don't find a way to survive, SMEs will go the same way as the dying traditional retail shops, which are struggling to compete with super stores. With the e-auctions that the government has started, some estimates point to savings of up to 15%. This term, the government can save 15 billion baht, but it is the private sector that suffers through the drop in revenue. ``The government can save money but it should be responsible for developing the business of the country. That 15 billion baht has been taken out of the market,'' Mr Manoo claimed, adding that there is no solution at the moment. According to Internet Thailand president and CEO Trin Tantsetthi, the annual government budget is supposed to be one trillion baht, with half for salaries, the other half for procurement. ``If 10 percent of the procurement budget is done electronically, accounting for 50 billion baht, the value from transaction fees at 0. 5% to the companies will be around 250 million baht,'' he calculated. But the number of firms aiming to become e-procurement providers will be around 20, so each will have only 12.5 million baht per year of revenue. ``It looks insecure because there is no economy of scale owing to an oversupply, so no one can survive,'' said Mr Trin, who added that six companies have already been approved as providers and more than 10 are now pending. The situation resembles the ISP business, where a lot of companies entered the business and finally folded within a short period because they could not earn a profit. In the e-procurement business, companies need to figure out the whole process. With electronic practices, Mr Trin said procurement in the public sector will be transparent, but whether it is useful or not depends on the understanding of the government. It may buy some products only on price such as stationary items, but e-procurement cannot serve for all products. An executive in the public sector said the government had accelerated e-procurement among government agencies, without concerns about their readiness, but officials were too afraid to make objections.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 04/16/2003

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VIET NAM: Infrastructure: Internet Still in Infancy

The Internet in Vietnam sees stagnant growth, ailing Internet service providers (ISPs) and unbalanced development between hardware and software services, said chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Informatics Association Le Truong Tung. With 80 million people, 20 million of whom live in urban areas, Vietnam has had less than one million Internet users (including some 200,000 subscribers) and four operational ISPs after five years of being hooked up to the Internet. It had 1,961 Internet subscribers by late 1998, 7,847 by 1999, 102,139 by 2000, 166,616 by 2001, and 174,144 by June 19, 2002, according to statistics from the Vietnam Network Information Center (VNNIC). Such growth rates are relatively low compared to those in China, which recorded a 50% increase between June 2001 and June 2002, to 32.8 million users. Only four of the 12 licensed ISPs, the Vietnam Data Communication Company (VDC), the Corporation for Financing & Promoting Technology (FPT), NetNam and SaigonNet, have provided Internet services, the first two being the only fully functioning ISPs, partly because they bring about small profits, even losses. SaigonNet reported Internet service losses of VND600 million ($ 39,500) in 2001, though it has offered the service for five years. Netnam, an Institute of Information Technology's arm, says it manages to break even in terms of Internet services. Revenues generated from Internet services mainly come from Internet access charges because advertisements and transactions via the Internet in Vietnam are still in their infancy. Current Internet access charges are fixed at VND40-VND180 (0.3-1.2 US cents). ISPs signed up 10,000 subscribers in the first half of 2002, down 67% on-year, and realizing only 6% of the yearly plan, according to VNNIC. By June, VDC had the largest Internet market share at 56.85%, FPT 30.64%, NetNam 5.97% and SaigonNet 6.54%. However, experts assume that the Internet market is not saturated, but Internet services are not attractive enough, giving that there are too few websites written in the Vietnamese language, and too few businesses interesting in e-commerce. According to a survey by the Mekong Project Development Facility, only 3% of Vietnamese enterprises apply some phase of e-commerce, 7% intend to use e-commerce at different levels, and the remaining 90% have little knowledge of this advanced trading method. Tung said the local information technology (IT) market stood at $ 340 million in 2001, with hardware representing up to 82%. Although the proportion of software and services in the market's value rose by 4% on-year, it remains low in comparison with the world's figure of 49%. Vietnam now has 370 software companies with a 7,400-strong workforce. The high incidence of software copyright violations, a slowdown in Internet use, and the poor quality of IT training courses are attributed to the fledging IT industry, he said. One of the key challenges in 2002 will be fresh government attempts to regulate the use of the Internet, say foreign experts. Recent legislation has clarified provisions governing the activities of IXPs and ISPs. The real question, however, is whether there will be a ministerial clash between those in government wishing to promote Internet services versus those wanting to maintain control of information exchange. Recently, FPT and the Military Telecommunications Company were licensed to act as Internet exchange providers or IXPs (formerly known as Internet access providers), breaking the monopoly of VDC over the past five years. It will take much time, however, for them to function as IXPs because they have to undertake complicated procedures. The government approved an IT application and development framework up to 2005 on July 17, which will receive total investment equaling 2% of gross domestic product. The framework, which focuses on developing software, hardware and human resources, consists of three main goals, with the first being to match the average IT development level of regional countries. systems, and 4-5% of the population should be Internet users. The second goal is to reach an annual growth of 20-25%, while the third is to train 50,000 more IT experts, half being advanced experts and programmers with a good command of foreign languages.

From http://www.bvom.com/ 04/11/2003

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INDIA: Download Forms but Queue Up for Payment

NEW DELHI: The Delhi state government that claimed to be ushering in e-governance, has a site that does not accept online payments or offer any interactive service. At best users can download forms from the site. Delhiites applying for a temporary liquor licence for a party (L-49A) can download the form but then have to fill it up and queue up outside a counter to deposit it. Deputy excise commissioner V K Jain said, ''We do not have the technology to accept credit card payments on the net. We are trying to upgrade our system.'' He said, ''By mid-2003 we should be able to accept payments online.'' Similar is the problem with the sales tax department that receives payments from 160,000 traders in the city. A senior official said, ''We do not have a dynamic website as of now. The very purpose of going online is to make services available on the Net. But as of now traders have to approach banks to pay sales tax.'' All that the sales tax site has to offer is information about the Act, list of traders who are penalised and also an e-mail address to which grievances can be sent. The official said, ''We have also put a system by which traders can check the status of their case payments. For this traders have to key in their registration numbers. But this is yet to be free of glitches.'' When the Sheila Dikshit led government came into power in 1999, it set up a special information technology department. The aims were lofty - to covert Delhi into a cyber city and attract foreign companies to invest in Delhi. Four years hence, the government's official website is like any other lack-lustre site. City chief secretary Shailaja Chandra said, ''More than 60 per cent of our functioning is online. It is not easy to switch to computers. By the end of 2003, we would be fully on the Net.'' She said, ''Some users would be given user names and passwords by which they would have access to information and data on the net. But this service would only be for our officers and not for the general public.''

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 02/12/2003

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Govt to Beat Crime with Technology

NEW DELHI: The Indian government wants to use technology to crack down on organised crime. In an attempt to create a pan-Indian network, as in the USA, police stations across the country are going to be inter-connected. Police posts that do not have the basic computer infrastructure will be provided the same with the aim to keep a track on organised crime, criminals and possible terror attacks. The move comes as part of a massive modernisation exercise, estimated at over Rs 20,000 crore, co-ordinated by the union government to bolster security in the country. The inter-connect software called V-Cop is already in place and a pilot project involving 10,000 police stations have been identified in north India which will be networked. There are over 25,000 police stations in the country. The software is being indigenously developed by Indian enterprise software and database solution provider, CMC. The project was put on a fast track post the attack on the Akshardham temple in Gujarat and the arrest of Abu Salem, when it was found that the gangster had procured passports from Hyderabad and Mumbai, with the police unable to compare information available. Further, some of the success in staving off any further terror attacks in the USA has been attributed to a vast network of computers, that can throw up updated criminal records at the click of a mouse. The government has roped in private sector players to provide the required technology inputs. Global database major Oracle Corporation has already installed a similar software in Andhra Pradesh. Oracle Corporation and Hewlett Packard have joined hands to set up a centre of excellence in e-governance in Gurgaon to tap the growing opportunities in the computerisation of the government sector. "The potential areas identified include national security, which is crucial for countries like India," says Derek Williams Oracle Corporation, executive vice-president. The Centre will be supported by CMC and PriceWaterhouse Coopers. The union home ministry that works under Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani has been at the forefront of modernisation of police and paramilitary forces across the country. Among the other steps being undertaken is re-training personnel through firearms-training simulators, with emphasis on tackling strikes on places of worship, schools and hospitals. The government is in the process of implementing the issuing of Multi-purpose National Identity Cards (MNIC) to all citizens. Huge funds have been released for the upgradation of the BSF. Another move to increase the pay scales of the National Security Guards or the black cats have been stymied by the finance ministry. Getting to the bottom of cellphone interactions, most commonly used by terrorists, is another aspect receiving a lot of attention. (by Siddharth Srivastava)

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 02/12/2003

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New Service Lines Key to IT Sector Growth

India needs to concentrate on new service lines to increase its market share in global IT services from 2 per cent to 4.6 per cent by 2008. The country also needs to tap new areas like engineering, research and development, logistics and sales to take the market share in IT-enabled services from 2 per cent of the global market to 4.8 per cent during the period. Speaking at Nasscom 2003 being held in Mumbai between February 11 and 14, Nasscom president Arun Kumar said, "India needs to move from operating in the custom application and development space, which forms only 10 per cent of the global IT market, to network infrastructure management, IT training and education, network consulting and integration." Indian vendors can increase their global market share in the system integration market, which is expected to reach $142 billion by 2005, from the existing 0.5 per cent to 2-3 per cent in 2008. Various speakers during the day emphasised the need to maintain the tempo of the sector. According to McKinsey principal Noshir Kaka, "The sector's impact on the economy has to be taken seriously. If we meet the aspiration of $77 billion of revenues by 2008, the sector will be equal to one-third of the agriculture sector, and 7 per cent of the GDP and will earn $60 billion in foreign exchange."

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 02/12/2003

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Indian Call Centres Going Multinational

From multi-city operations Indian call centres are going multinational, with one becoming operational in Mexico and two looking at acquisitions in the Philippines, the West Indies or South America. MSource, the BPO unit of software exporter Mphasis, has started billing its US-based financial sector client since opening the Spanish language-based 350-seater at Tijuana in Mexico. And the Bangalore-headquartered ICICIOnesource as well as Gurgaon-based Daksh are seriously looking at acquisitions over the next 12 months in the Philippines for instance to become Indian multinationals. The BPO sector is expected to grow by 60 per cent to $2.4 billion according to a latest Mckinsey report to Nasscom presented last week. "Clients would like us to handle not just English but other languages too (for voice services). For Spanish language support, we need to have centres outside India," ICICIOnesource president, K Ganesh told IANS. "Nearly 18 per cent of the calls to the toll-free 1800 from the US are in Spanish. So we set up the greenfield call centre at Tijuana in 75 days flat, including training and going operational with 50 agents to start with," said group CFO of Mphasis-MsourcE, Ravi Ramu. "More than geography, for us it was language. This quarter ending March 31, our balance sheet will show revenue from Mexico," said Ramu. "India remains the best location in terms of quality, cost and availability of manpower, unbeatable by any other location. But large clients seek some country risk mitigation strategy," added Ganesh. "Maybe 10 to 20 per cent of the work to be done outside India." "It is still early days. But I suppose wherever there are extra costs, they would be covered with higher billing rates," Ramu added. The Mckinsey report has pointed out that the challenges India's growing BPO sector faced were: geo-political risk, threat of war and political backlash of the US federal governments. The latest move, led by MSource and soon to be followed by ICICIOnesource and Daksh, delivers a strong message to the global companies outsourcing work that Indian BPOs can also function as MNCs outside the country. But will all this demolish the campaign against outsourcing work to India as epitomized by the controversial New Jersey legislation? "We are not affected by the legislation. We are not seeking US government work," asserted Ramu. "Outsourcing is a business imperative and the need to cut costs, increase productivity and efficiency for corporations to be strong and healthy. A weak, loss making company is more detrimental to the economy and the people that some processes being off-shored (to India)," remarked Ganesh. "Manufacturing off-shoring helped in bringing the price of goods down in the US and Britain and made it affordable for the masses to get the goods (there). The same logic applies here," he added.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 02/25/2003

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Online Payment of Power Bills

NEW DELHI: Paying the electricity bill no longer means standing in queue at the local power distribution company office. Payments can now be made online. Tata Power-managed North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL) started its online consumer care centre on Tuesday. BSES-which distributes electricity to south, east, west and central Delhi-now accepts complaints online and redresses them as well. NDPL's senior manager Deepak Konnur, who worked on the online project with a team of officials, said:''The opening of the online centre will make billing payments easier than before. Till now, the entries made by the bill counter staff were done manually. But now the data about bills will be keyed into the computers directly.'' Not only bill payments, but the issue of duplicate bills will also be much easier with the system going online. BSES officials say that their system of accepting bills online is already in place. ''It started in January this year, when we put the entire system of online bill payment in place,'' a BSES official said. The BSES website now offers residents a chance to calculate their electricity load on the site itself. ''People exceed their sanctioned load, so this is a good way to check their own load,'' the BSES official said.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/05/2003

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Trains, Stations May Soon Have Internet Facility

Railway stations and trains could soon have internet connections. The RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Railways, is planning to install internet service in trains and net kiosks at the New Delhi Railway station. Internet service connection would be provided in one of the trains as a pilot project during 2003-2004, an official statement said here today, adding the train and routes were under finalisation. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Railways has issued detailed guidelines to Zonal Railways for providing internet services at railway stations to enable rail users to communicate with their near and dear ones without any extra-payment. There is, however, no scheme at present to provide Doordarshan and other TV channels at stations and in trains. So far, four pairs of Shatabdi Express trains have been provided with telephone services. These are: New Delhi-Kala Shatabdi Express, New Delhi-Amritsar Express and New Delhi-Amritsar Swarna Shatabdi Express, it added.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 03/18/2003

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Data on Natural Resources Mapped

BANGALORE: The picturesque Uttara Kannada is considered nature's best kept secret, but the district administration was not even aware of the region's tourism potential for the last five decades! However, now it has access to basic data required, ourtesy the Natural Resources Data Management System (NRDMS),which produced taluk-wise maps of tourist spots. A joint initiative of the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST) and the Centre, for the first time in Karnataka, district-specific reports on natural resources have been prepared with an eye on all-round development and improvement of socio-economic conditions in the area, by adopting NRDMS. Reports of 16 districts have been completed so far while the remaining will be covered in a phased manner. "The objective is to develop district-level profiles on natural resources and allied sectors using modern scientific tools such as geographical information system (GIS),spatial decision support system and sectoral models. It will assist planners in solving development problems like water supply, sanitation, health and agriculture," science and technology minister Nafees Fazal, told The Times of India. To conduct survey of natural resources,NRDMS centres were set up at the district-level with the state headquarters located in Bangalore. NRDMS centres are functioning at Mysore, Dharwad, Dakshina Kannada, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Kolar, Belgaum, Hassan, Bangalore Rural, Tumkur, Raichur, Bellary, Kodagu and Mandya. About Rs 350 lakh has been spent on the entire exercise till date. Fazal pointed out that the data available in the reports are at the micro level. It contains population census database, which will enable crucial decision-taking system. "For instance, the population data can be used for estimating foodgrains, water and energy requirement of the district. The reports will reach online departments like revenue and rural development through the zilla panchayats for planning based on the database of local natural resources," she explained. The NRDMS centres will continue to prepare reports on specific resources or data sought by the district administration. The KSCST is in the process of handing over the maintenance of these centres to the zilla panchayats, Fazal said. Apart from supplying data, the NRDMS centres will forage links with local bodies of governance and extend technical support and expertise in scientific management of resources.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 04/14/2003

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Law Dept Goes Hi-Tech, to Have Computerised Data

GANDHINAGAR: The state government has decided to maintain computerised data of legal matters of each department as part of the E-governance programme so that advocate-general's office and government pleaders could be promptly given details at the time of hearings in the courts. Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked senior officials of law and judiciary to accord priority to this work at a presentation of these two departments held in presence of senior secretaries. Concerned officials should make concerted efforts to help litigants who have moved courts for injustices meted out to them by the departments in civil and criminal matters. In case of delay in disposal of such cases, accountability of officials should be fixed and responsible employees be taken to task, he said. Modi said the charity commissionerate dealing with registered trusts and voluntary organisations should introduce qualitative changes in the functioning of trusts and their financial transactions. In another presentation of cultural activities and youth services, the chief minister suggested that departments should set up city museums at headquarters of all the 25 districts with the help of corporate companies and urban co-operative banks.

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 04/23/2003

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SRI LANKA: On-Line Transaction with Govt Institutions by Next June

"The High-Powered Agency on e-Sri Lanka under its phase I of e-Sri Lanka initiative will lay a strategy for people to interact with the government on the internet and on other digital sources . Phase I will come in to operation on June 2003 said Eran Wickremaratne IT Adivisor, Ministry of Economic Reforms and CEO National Development Bank (NDB) at a seminar on "e-Sri Lanka Smart People, Smart Island, Opportunities and Challenges " at National Chamber of Commerce auditorium recently. The seminar was organised by The National Chamber of Commerce. Phase II which is a step forward from phase I is targetted to provide facilities to transact business with the government and for the success of phase II much attention will be focussed to get all government ministries together on-line, Wickremaratne said. Emphassing on the economic and social advantages accruing from the e-Sri Lanka initiative, Wickremaratne said that e-Sri Lanka will be a tremendous impetus for social integration and it will also create a conducive environment to achieve export-led economic growth. This initiative will revolutionise the administrative structure of the country as it fulfils the need to establish an open and transparent government. One of the ultimate consequences will be achieving a contended higher living standard, he said. Speaking on the response received from the LTTE towards e-Sri Lanka initiative he said that LTTE accepts and believes that there is a great potentiality for the country's growth under this program. But the organisation doubted as to whether the e-Sri Lanka strategy will expand its services to villages in North and East, he said. "The role of the government would be to play a facilitatory role in order to create a necessary background to carryout the strategy. One of the aims of this initiative is also to develop ICT resources. Those are building information infrastructure and implementation capacity, he said. Setting up of centers of excellence on ICT education, providing multi-level ICT training, ICT training for professionals and mainstream ICT education at all levels are the programs to be launched under e-Sri Lanka, he said. We are in the process of empowering the implementation structure which is crucial for better realization of this initiative. The recruitment of required IT professionals for necessary bodies is in progress ,he added. We will not leave any possibility for a bureaucracy to build up in the official bodies which take charge of implementation. The initial leadership will be given by the Prime Minister himself who regards this program as one of the priorities of the government. The official bodies consist of a National Consultative Committee, and an ICT agency. Each Ministry will also have its own Chief Information Officer for better co-ordination of the whole plan, he said. The liberalisation of telecom policy will help in getting e-Sri Lanka move fast. Explaining the process of funding the initiative Wickremaratne said that part of the expenditure will be funded by donors and other friendly and countries. We expect private investment to follow as a better foundation is laid for actual implementation of the whole strategy. Prof. Rohan Samarajeewa, Team Leader - Public interest program unit Ministry of Economic and Reforms, Science and Technology who was one of the keynote speakers said that a rapid development of Telecom infrastructure especially in rural areas is very vital for a smooth implementation of e-Sri Lanka. The government has also to create incentives for the private sector to build a cost-effective multi service platform across the country, Samarajeewa said. Manju Haththotuwa, Chairman, ICT Committee, NCCSL, Neil Seneviratne, Secretary General NCCSL and several other representatives from the business community also spoke. (by Sudarshana Perera)

From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 03/07/2003

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PAKISTAN: PTCL Launches Two New Bandwidth Products

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (PNS)- Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) and M/s FLAG, Ireland, have launched two new international bandwidth products to provide state of the art and technologically superior services which are at par with the existing similar services, available to PTCL valued customers. ISPs and software exporters would equally benefit from the newly launched services. Two new services i.e. International Private Leased Circuit (IPLC) and Managed Bandwidth Services, would provide high speed unrivaled connectivity and fully managed international circuits to the Middle East and Asia, as well as high speed links to key locations in American and Europe. The main beneficiaries of these two services would be Internet Service Providers (ISPs), software exporters and Data Network Operators (DNOPS), which require multiple data links and high speed transfers. Customers can benefit from the entire international network infrastructure including trans-oceanic cable system and landing stations. The network is purpose built, rather than being assembled from legacy network, which enables to offer a service that is very reliable, truly manageable and highly scalable. It gives customers the option to route traffic in either direction around the globe. Customers can also access IP transit service from Karachi Point of Presence router to Karachi gateway. PTCL and Flag telecom continuously monitor and maintain control of the system on 24 hours basis, through Network Operations Centers. Details on the offered products can be obtained from PTCL Information Technology Infrastructure (ITI) offices in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

From http://www.paknews.com/ 02/27/2003

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AUSTRALIA: Armadale Centrelink in National Award Win

Armadale Centrelink has been recognised for its improved performance over the past 12 months, and the part it played in Area WA winning the coveted Centrelink Ross Divett Award. The national award is named in honour of former Centrelink Deputy CEO Ross Divett, one of the architects in establishing Centrelink five years ago, who tragically died of mesothelioma in May 2001. Armadale Centrelink manager, Janet Crossland, said it was a real honour to be part of this year's winning team, especially considering the fierce competition within Centrelink to secure the highest national award. "Twelve months ago, the 25 Customer Service Centres and Perth-based support office that make up Area Western Australia, took on the challenge of matching Centrelink colleagues Australia-wide on performance and customer-service," Ms Crossland said. "Through a relentless and ongoing focus on improving customer service and other aspects of the business, Area WA is now one of the best performing regions in the Centrelink network." Centrelink has more than half a million customers in Area WA, which covers the majority of the state, from the South Australian border to the West Coast, and extending north past South Hedland. "All of the staff in Armadale have contributed to achieving this goal, and are thrilled with this added recognition," Ms Crossland said. The Ross Divett Award was introduced by Centrelink in 2001. The Award is presented for work that exemplifies the legacy Ross left the organisation, through his commitment to performance, public service values and community.

From http://www.centrelink.gov.au/ 01/15/2003

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Cisco and 90East Team Up to Provide an Integrated Network to Link 120 Australian Commonwealth Government Departments

CANBERRA, Australia - - The Australian Government has selected Cisco Systems Inc and 90East to create a secure communications network for all federal government departments, under the Fedlink initiative. Overseen by the National Office For the Information Economy, Fedlink (www.fedlink.gov.au) is deploying a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to enable the 120 government departments to communicate more efficiently. FedLink was designed, implemented and is currently operated by 90East, one of Australia's leading security service providers. The VPN, based on Cisco networking equipment and software, will replace the traditional, inefficient dedicated communications system that many departments currently use. The VPN is being implemented using a distributed communications model, based on the IP Security (IPSec) encryption standard. IP Sec takes advantage of the efficiencies and scalability of Internet-Protocol (IP) technology. Cisco networking products had to pass a formal evaluation process before being accepted by the Commonwealth Government for use by departments. This evaluation process, called Common Criteria, is accepted by more than 15 national governments including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Canada. The Cisco IP Sec implementation is currently one of only two network encryption solutions to complete its evaluation at the EAL 4 level - the highest level attainable by normal commercial products. In Australia, Common Criteria is administered by the Australasian Information Security Evaluation Program (AISEP), part of the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). The AISEP evaluated the Cisco IPSec implementation to ensure it provides the confidentiality, authenticity and integrity of data travelling between multiple locations connected by Cisco routers over a public network, such as the Internet. Cisco Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Terry Walsh said; "As a market leader in security, Cisco is committed to ongoing formal certification of our security products. The evaluation is rigorous and confirms that Cisco products meet the highest level of security." Cisco networking products certified under Common Criteria and deployed within Fedlink and other government agencies include the Cisco 1700, 2600, 3600, 7100 and 7200 series routers.

From http://www.cisco.com/ 01/23/2003

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Centrelink's Free Financial Help for ACT Bushfire Victims

Centrelink is running a series of special seminars next week to explain the financial options available to bushfire victims in the ACT. "Centrelink Financial Information Services Officers will be on hand to provide expert advice about the payments and services available to people affected by the bushfires," Centrelink Area Manager, Jenni Colwill, said. "Participants do not have to be existing Centrelink customers to take advantage of the seminars." The seminars will provide information on: Centrelink payments available to assist people affected by bushfires Other financial assistance that may be available What to do if you have lost your income Centrelink Social Work Services. To make a booking please call Centrelink on 13 6357. "Centrelink staff have been helping out at the Canberra Evacuation Centres since Saturday and are also available at the Recovery Centre at Lyons Primary School," Jenni said. "Centrelink plays an important role in times of crisis and our staff are doing all they can to help people rebuild their lives during this difficult time." Session times Wednesday 29 January at 10.30am Southern Cross Club 92-96 Corinna St, Phillip Thursday, 30 January at 2pm and 7pm Belconnen Soccer Club Cnr Springvale Dr & Belconnen Way, Hawker Friday, 31 January at 2pm and 7pm Southern Cross Club 192-96 Corinna St, Phillip Seminars will run for about an hour and light refreshments will be provided.

From http://www.centrelink.gov.au/ 01/24/2003

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Australia Continues to Deliver on E-Government

Australia continues to be recognized as a world leader in the delivery of government services online, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said in a media release yesterday. Commenting on eGovernment Leadership: Engaging the Customer, a report by Accenture, Senator Alston said that the Federal Government's framework for the next stage of e-government was cited in the report as featuring "many of the hallmarks of leading-edge thinking about e-government today." Unfortunately, Senator Alston's office did not have a copy of the report in digital form to email to us. A hard copy was available for faxing, though. Accenture, despite its supposed accent on customer relationship management, had a broken link to the PDF of this report on its site (scroll to the bottom for the link). In the absence of the report, we continue from the media release. "The important issue for Australia is not our precise ranking in this survey - as Australia has ranked in the top five countries in various e-government reports over the last 12 months - but that we are consistently amongst the leaders. Internationally, we are recognized for our leadership in implementing and delivering e-government and in developing frameworks that support the transition from paper-based service delivery to electronic formats," Senator Alston said. The media release said the most significant worldwide example of customer relationships management was Centrelink which "leads the world in delivering integrated multi-channel multi-agency services to individuals". It also said Australia saw e-government as part of a wider transformation agenda, and, like other world leaders in this area, was adopting delivery mechanisms appropriate to its circumstances.

From http://www.smh.com.au/ 04/10/2003

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NIEU: Niueans Get Free High-Speed Broadband Access

Alofi (PINA Nius) - The Internet Users Society - Niue announced that it has launched free faster broadband Internet services for the local Internet community at its Internet Cafe on the island. Internet Users Society - Niue, a USA-incorporated, private charitable foundation locally managed in Niue, was established in 1997. It uses revenue from registration of .NU domain names to develop and fund free Internet services for all the people of Niue. Said Richard St Clair, a co-founder: "Deploying broadband at our free Internet Cafe has been wildly successful. "The old analog dial-up system was quite slow and only able to handle two machines. The new broadband services means we can expand to six PCs. "The service is so quick it virtually eliminated having people wait in lines at the Internet Cafe which serves about 50-75 visitors per day. "Basically, everyone on the island who does not own a computer ends up here at one time or another." Internet Users Society - Niue has also made substantial technical upgrades to its networking infrastructure, which has been providing free Internet services to all residents of Niue since 1997, he said. Working with Niue Telecom, it has doubled the number of dial-in trunk lines into its satellite gateway to the Internet, increasing the number of dial-in ports to 24. It has also upgraded the gateway from an outdated hub based network to a switching based network, which now runs at 100Mbs. New routers and servers have been installed and local Web hosting services have also been implemented for Niuean residents and businesses. These include www.dive.nu, www.niuerentals.nu, www.niueisland.nu, www.cas.nu, and www.niuenews.nu. IUS-N also sponsors the Niue tourism site www.niueisland.com and the government site www.gov.nu which are located overseas. Significant upgrades to the e-mail system include services that enable Niueans who are travelling to access their e-mail using a browser-based Web mail interface. In order to protect Niuean users from hacking, intrusion, and systems damage, the society has significantly increased security on all of its systems. Automatic anti-virus services have been installed and sophisticated anti-spam engines are now running on IUS-N's servers to help eradicate spam. Said St Clair: "The services provided to Niue by IUS-N have grown tremendously since initial deployment in 1997. The original e-mail-only system started off with just two dial-up lines for some 30 users, with usage at under 30 hours per week of online user time. "Currently the systems are running 4,800 hours per month in online time, with nearly 300 users, half private sector and half government, and in excess of 300 megabytes per day in Web traffic, with 20,000 plus e-mail messages per week. "Since we installed the full-time digital satellite Internet connection to Niue in 1999, we have logged 33,120 hours online. With only 8 hours of down time - mostly from the time the Niue power company replaced its transformers - we've maintained an uptime rate of 99.98%." The Internet Users Society - Niue (IUS-N) was designated to administer the ...NU top level domain, commonly known as the .NU Country Code, by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. - PINA Nius.

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 03/09/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: Tourism Website Launched

Tourism Research Council New Zealand has launched a website offering a full range of tourism sector data online. Tourism Minister Mark Burton welcomed the move as another key step towards building a sustainable tourism sector. A direct result of New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, it would increase the quality of tourism-related decisions, he said. The website address is http://www.trcnz.govt.nz.

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/20/2003

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Government Plan 'Resembles ID Cards'

The Government is dismissing suggestions that online password plans could bring an identity card system in through the back door. The E-government Unit of the State Services Commission claims that none of four models requires an identity card. But Models One and Two would involve maintaining a database of individuals seeking online access that operates across all Government agencies carrying such personal information as name, address and date of birth. The database in Model One would also hold details of the particular Government services a person uses. Auckland barrister Chris Patterson said it would be an electronic version of an identity card, just without the bit of plastic. "They are almost going to create a Department of Personal Information." Minister of State Services Trevor Mallard said the Government had rejected a national ID card. He said the difference was that there would be no card-readers or biometric technology, and the system would be "opt in". If people did not want to use the system they could continue to use traditional methods to interact with Government agencies. Wellington privacy lawyer John Edwards disagreed: "Opt in can become illusory if you need to opt in to conduct your business. Do you really have opt in ultimately?" E-government Unit head Brendan Boyle said a true national ID card would be one card or number that would identify people both for public and private purposes. "We are not looking at a number that would replace IRD numbers, or passport numbers or social welfare numbers." The privacy commissioner was unavailable for comment. (by Richard Wood)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/07/2003

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Electoral Centre Seeks New System

The Electoral Enrolment Centre is going shopping for a new computer system which will let officials instantly update New Zealand's register of electors. The centre, outsourced to New Zealand Post, has issued a request for information from potential vendors and expects to pick a preferred technology partner in May. The main requirement of the new system is that it lets New Zealand's 69 registrars of electors at 28 offices around the country log-in over the Web using thin client computers and update electors' details online. At the moment, changes to the electoral roll are processed in batches. As well as providing the software to run the electoral roll, bidders will be required to host and support the hardware on either Sun or IBM servers.

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 04/07/2003

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French Polynesia to Help Cooks Boost Internet, Cellphones

Avarua (Cook Islands News/PINA Nius)-French Polynesia has offered to help the neighboring Cook Islands speed up and expand its Internet services and develop a cellphone network. Cook Islands Prime Minister Dr Robert Woonton and visiting French Polynesia Vice-President Edouard Fritch discussed this, as well as the adding of music and sports channels to the Marama television network. The Cook Islands gets the satellite-delivered Marama network through help from French Polynesia. Dr Woonton said Tahitian telecommunications service provider OPT would now help Cook Islands develop Internet services, including to the outer islands. French Polynesia has invested heavily in developing its own telecommunications, including Internet links to its outer islands and satellite-delivered television. Dr Woonton said: "We already have the Marama television network which is provided by OPT. "Now we can address the introduction of internet links with the other islands and the development of a digital cellular phone system for Rarotonga, Aitutaki and perhaps one other island. "Dr Woonton said introducing a dual system for the Cook Islands and Tahiti would have benefits for French Polynesia too. The Cook Islands system could act as a back up for the Tahitian one, and vice-versa, he said. Vice-president Fritch had been agreeable to OPT adding music and sports to the Marama package. But whether this went ahead would depend on decisions to be made in Papeete and Paris, he added.Dr Woonton revealed he had also discussed with Vice-President Fritch the possibility of an undersea fibre optic cable that would link Tahiti, the Cook Islands and other Pacific region countries. Earlier Dr Woonton said the cable had already been discussed at last year's Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Fiji. The Fritch-Woonton meeting was not confined to telecommunications. It also included discussion of areas in which the Cook Islands would like assistance from France. The prime minister said those areas could include health, education, tourism development and the fishing industry. The main reason for Vice-President Fritch's visit was to invite Dr Woonton to meet with French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse on French President Jacques Chirac's visit to Tahiti in July. Dr Woonton said President Flosse wants to arrange one-to-one meetings between President Chirac and Pacific Islands leaders to discuss issues affecting the region. - Cook Islands News/PINA Nius.

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 02/05/2003

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TONGA: Tongans Launch National Information Community Technology Society

Nuku'alofa (PINA Nius)--Tongans have launched a National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) society as a forum for all sectors to discuss and participate in ICT development issues. President Siosaia Fonua said: "ICT offers new opportunities for national development including more effective government, telehealth, electronic commerce, tourism marketing and improved communications overall. "We hope that the new society can be an advocate for higher standards of service, better coordination and educating and developing our workforce." The new society recognizes that ICT enhances Tonga's participation in the global community with the Internet breaking Tonga's traditional barriers of distance and geographical isolation The society's formation is the result of a national strategy workshop organized in Tonga in July last year. This was funded by the United Nations Development Program's ePacifika project. - PINA Nius.

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 02/07/2003

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CHINA: Website for Disabled Job-Seekers Launches

Disabled job-seekers, employers and rehabilitation organizations can access employment information and services easily with the launch of the Labour Department's "Interactive Selective Placement Service" website. The website comprises three zones: * General Zone offers useful forms and publications, as well as links to other rehabilitation organizations. * Job-seeker Zone provides the latest job vacancies with a searchable database. Built-in interactive functions provide online preliminary registration, profile updating and job referrals. * Employer Zone is for employers sending job vacancies information to the department, searching for suitable candidates and arranging for interview arrangements. To ensure employees settle in their jobs well, the department's Selective Placement Division offers follow-up service for a minimum of three months after placement. Last year, the section secured jobs for 2,572 disabled job-seekers, a record number.

From http://www.esd.gov.hk/ 01/21/2003

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Chongqing Draws Up Communications Blueprint

China's southwest municipality of Chongqing plans to spend a huge amount of money on improving its road and water communications network. Local communication authorities say the city will invest 94.4 billion yuan (about 11 billion US dollars) by 2010 to build a communications centre on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. According to the development plan, Chongqing will build two ring roads and eight radial expressways leading to major cities in the neighboring provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou and Hubei. By then the city's expressways will cover 2,000 kilometers. Roads will also connect all its counties, townships and 90 percent of its villages. Taking advantage of the adjacent Yangtze river and its tributaries, the city is also keen to become the water transport center on the Yangtze's upper reaches. Officials say the city will develop a network of waterways through its territory. Chongqing will also upgrade the capacity of its ports and the annual throughput of all the ports will exceed 100 million tons by2010, an increase of 48 million tons from current levels.

From Xinhuanet 02/12/2003

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Cute Telephone Booths to Decorate Shanghai

In the next three years, over 8,000 exquisitely designed public telephone booths will grace the Shanghai's streets, officials said yesterday. Yuan Qinghai, chief of the Network Administration Division under the Shanghai Municipal Information Office (SMIO), said the new booths would be a major advance on the ones they replaced. "To implement this three-year plan, we have been communicating with about a hundred top design institutes at home and abroad and collecting design plans since last December," he said. Yuan added that the municipality had received a total of 165 designs for the telephone booths before the January 15 deadline. The committee has shortlisted 18 designs which meet the criteria of durability, beauty and convenience for users. Ma Dexin, senior director of the Local Service Division of Shanghai Telecom, the biggest public telephone service operator, said: "We regard human technology as the most important criterion and most of the designs ensure the users have privacy while they call someone, which is a big change from the existing telephone booths." Many designs have also integrated call services with Internet surfing. Yuan Qinghai said: "After the designs are put into use, our public telephone booths will reach the world's best standards." The 18 telephone booth designs are presently on display at Shanghai Exhibition Centre.

From China Daily 02/14/2003

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E-map to Be Published

Shanghai's first electronic map will be unveiled in April,officials of the Shanghai Mapping Institute announced yesterday. Technicians of the institute will finish recording a huge volume of map data onto a disc this month. The information covers 14areas,including public facilities,residential property projects,scenic spots,and restaurants across the city.It also includes information on 400-plus public transport lines,2,000-odd roads and more than 10,000enterprises. With this map,people would find it easy to locate any place in the city and get quick service and transport information,SMI officials said. SMI will update the e-map every year to keep pace with the rapid development of the city,the officials added.

From http://www.sh.gov.cn/ 02/14/2003

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Online Video Profiles for Local Job Hunters

The Shanghai Human Resource Service Center has launched a new system which will prepare online video profiles for some 150,000local job seekers this year, Shanghai Evening News reported. A video profile includes three main parts, center officials said. The first part is a three-minute self introduction recorded on video camera at the center. The second part contains the resume and certificates. The third part is a brief video in which the candidate describes work experience and related honors. In the future the center also plans to send out staff members to shoot a brief video in the candidate's work place, officials said. Any completed video profile is the property of the center, and the candidate will be given a keyword to view or update it online on the center's website. Employers can view it with the center's approval. Center officials expected that the new kind of profile will provide employers with more complete and vivid information about a job seeker. The center is responsible for confirming the authenticity of the information, with the support of the city government. Those eligible for such a profile this year are mainly returned students, experts and professionals introduced from outside the city, officials said.

From http://www.sh.gov.cn/ 02/17/2003

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4,000 IT Companies with 170,000 Staff at Zhongguancun

A five-month investigation by the Administration Committee of Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park covered 95 percent of IT companies in Zhongguancun. The result shows that there are somewhere near 4,000 enterprises engaged in IT related business staffed by 170,000 employees. Employee Structure The investigation showed that over 60 percent of the staff who worked in hardware or integration circuit design were from Beijing while those working in software and information services mainly came from elsewhere. Technicians from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and some foreign countries, made up a considerable proportion. Gender Ratio Fifty-nine percent of all employees were male and 41 percent were female. Among administrative personnel, the majority were male, at 83.3 percent. Age Distribution The average age was 28.8 with middle-ranking administrative staff at 31.46 and high-ranking administrators at 36.56. Educational Background A majority of 80 percent of staff had bachelor degrees or college degrees, 8.35 percent with master degrees and just 1.03 with doctorates. In software and integration, staff appear to be better educated with 54.21 percent holding degrees and 9.96 with master degrees. (by unisumoon)

From China.org, 02/18/2003

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Growth of IT Key to Jiangsu

East China's Jiangsu Province has pledged to accelerate the development of information technology (IT), making it the province's core industry. Vice-Governor Wu Ruilin told a working conference on information technology development: "A more favourable environment will be created to promote the growth of the province's information technology industry." The province boasts a concentration of IT personnel, seven provincial-level information industry bases, five software parks and numerous IT enterprises, which have contributed to the fast development of the IT industry in recent years. Statistics show that the sales income of IT sector in the past three years increased at an average rate of 42 per cent, reaching 157 billion yuan (US$19 billion) in 2002, the second highest in the country. The sector's rapid growth is partly due to the utilization of overseas capital, said Wu. In 2002, a total of US$3 billion was obtained for the sector, 29 per cent of the total actual use of overseas capital in the province. A large number of overseas information technology giants have now built their factories in the province, mainly concentrated in Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou and Nanjing. The sales income of these joint ventures accounts for 81 per cent of the total sales income from IT in the province. While manufacturing products for the domestic market, a large quantity of products are also for export. The export volume in 2002 reached US$10 billion, up 70 per cent over the previous year. Over the past three years, 56 billion yuan (US$680 million) was put into the innovation and development of 229 projects, yielding remarkable results in terms of product quality and marketability.

From China Daily 02/20/2003

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East China Province Highlights Information Industry

East China's Shandong Province plans to promote its information industry this year as part of its efforts to become a major information-backed industrial center over the next three years. According to Sun Zhiheng, director of the provincial information industry department, Shandong will focus on the development of high performance computers, broadband networks and telecommunications products, electrical household appliances using information technologies and new electronic materials and software. Shandong will continue to attract foreign capital for the development of the information industry. This year, the province will target investors from Hong Kong, Macao, Russia, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan and India, Sun said. In 2002 alone, Shandong approved the establishment of 255 overseas-financed enterprises, up 73 percent over the previous year. And 570 million US dollars of foreign capital was actually used, surging 121 percent over 2001. Shandong's information industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years and has had a more direct bearing on the daily lives of local residents. Seven local government sectors, including departments in charge of industry and commerce, finance and taxation, have established a network to support information exchanges, the first interdepartmental network of its kind to be established in the country.

From People's Daily 02/24/2003

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Beijing to Become Asian Software Center

The city of Beijing is to initiate a software development project that will rapidly develop the software industry and turn the capital into a software centre for Asia in the next three years. The project aims to increase sales of software in Beijing to nearly 10 billion US dollars by 2005, twice the volume of 2002. Officials with the municipal government revealed that the project would include five main objectives, including prioritising the development of industrial application software and greatly increasing volumes of software exports.

From 21dnn.com 03/21/2003

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City Set Up Bankcard Industry Park

Shanghai established a bankcard industry zone in Pudong yesterday to quicken the city's push to become a "cashless metropolis." The Shanghai Bankcard Industry Park is expected to attract 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) in investment within five years and become a home to both domestic and overseas bankcard companies, according to the Shanghai government. "The launch of the park will give impetus to Shanghai's economic development and quicken the city's steps toward becoming an international financial center," said Vice Mayor Feng Guoqin. Under the government's blueprint, the park is expected to have an annual production value of around 20 billion yuan and create about 20,000 jobs by 2007."The zone will be run as a global bankcard technology innovation center," Feng said. Also yesterday, China UnionPay Co Ltd became the first bankcard company to set up an office in the park. UnionPay kicked off construction on a 227,000-square-meter national bankcard information processing center in the park yesterday. The center is expected to start operations in October 2004.Licensed by the People's Bank of China last year, China UnionPay was founded by more than 80 domestic financial institutions to unify the nation's different bankcard networks." Shanghai is capable of acting as the bankcard center for China with the gathering of domestic and foreign bank card issuers in the city," said Wan Jianhua, president of China UnionPay. Beijing-based China Construction Bank and Shenzhen-headquartered China Merchants Bank shifted their bankcard centers to Shanghai at the beginning of last year while Huaxia Bank has plans to move its card center to Shanghai this year. Taking advantages of its vast alliances with financial institutions, China UnionPay will help the municipal government attract investment into the park, said Wan. While the city wants to develop an image as a global bankcard center, the vast majority of local consumers still prefer using cash to plastic. Only 10 percent of the city's 203.52 billion yuan worth of retail sales last year was transacted through plastic cards, compared with an average 40 percent in developed countries, said a China UnionPay official

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 03/27/2003

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Xi'an Telecom Park Kicks off

Construction started on the China West Telecommunications Industry Park yesterday in the capital of Shaanxi Province. With a total investment of some 4 billion yuan (US$481 million) injected by the Xi'an High-tech Industrial Development Zone and the Huaxia Construction Group, the project is set to be completed in 2006, said Jing Junhai, director of the Xi'an High-tech Industrial Development Zone Management Committee. Located in the newly opened development zone, the park, backed by the Ministry of Information Industry and local government, will cover an area of 148 hectares, Jing said.

From China Daily 04/07/2003

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Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Prepare to Build the First E-CBD in the World

Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone, though a late comer, will surpass other zones of its kind and is preparing to build itself into the first class finance and trade center in the world, relying on modern information technology. The zone has planned an investment of 100 billion Yuan to build the first Electronic-Central Business District (E-CBD). The investment will cover an area of 35 sq. km, which include the Lujiazui area, the World EXPO venue area and the North Bund area etc, altogether about 10 series projects. The Lujiazui E-CBD will have a dual structure of actual CBD and virtual CBD, of which the actual CBD consists of office building area, culture and recreation area, residential and commerce-trade area, which will change the traditional CBD style where working and residential areas are separated. To this end, a large number of underground recreation centers and underground commercial districts will be built. The virtual CBD will be composed of 3 platforms for fundamental information, transaction service and development innovation respectively,which will intelligentize the building colony. On the basis of present network facilities, circle network will be laid so that the Lujiazui central business district, North Bund and the World EXPO venue area will be connected; and the global financial data exchange center will be set up by utilizing the powerful fiber network so that huge amounts of global commercial information could be converged and exchanged here, thus making Lujiazui finance-trade zone a real international financial center. Lujiazui finance-trade zone, a vigorous modern CBD founded in the 1990??s has now become a world famous CBD district. Some 50 financial institutions from home and abroad have settled down here, among which there are 28 foreign-fund banks, including the world famous Citibank, Fuji Bank and the HSBC, and headquarters of 3,000 international corporations, syndicates and companies of all kinds. The E-CBD program with a total estimated investment of 100 billion Yuan, is not a small amount for a relatively small business district. In fact, during the 12 years of development in Lujiazui finance-trade zone, there have been more than 200 projects with 150 buildings completed and a total investment of 113.6 billion Yuan, whereas about the same amount will be needed to intelligentize these buildings and optimize the district functions. Many big multi-companies have come, such as the international famous Intel and IBM who have showed their interest in participating in the investment through the mode of the internationally practiced BOT and their investment will be available on the confirmation of project and the start of the construction. In July this year, the 4th Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asian-Pacific Region to be held in Shanghai will see an E-CBD Seminar discussing the feasibility of the E-CBD program.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 04/15/2003

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Shanghai Bankcard Industry Zone Opened

The Shanghai Bankcard Industry Zone has opened recently and the first entry project-Information Processing Center of China Unionpay has laid its foundation at the same time with a total investment of over 500,000,000 Yuan. That is an important step of Shanghai in building the international bankcard industry base and international financial center. Located in Pudong, the Shanghai Bank Card Industry Zone occupies an area of 920,000 square meters, including 8 functional districts to echo and link up each other, ie, the trans-bank information exchange district, operation district, customer service district, data processing district, software design and technology development district, machine and card producing district, comprehensive outsource service district and exhibition and zone culture district. The Shanghai Bankcard Industry Zone will attract relative enterprises from home and abroad to settle in and endeavor for congregation of capital, human asset, technology and industry to become a platform for the technological, operation and managing innovation of international bank card industry. It is estimated that by the end of the year 2007, the zone will have attracted an investment of 10 billion Yuan, with an annual production value of 20 billion Yuan and more than 20,000 job opportunities created. The China Unionpay Information Processing Center occupies an area of 230,000 square meters, consisting of national information processing center, business office area, training and exhibition center, call center and other secondary facilities, and is to be completed and put into operation in October 2004. By that time, based on modern communication network and the present bankcard network of commercial banks the center will have realized domestic trans-bank bank card information exchange, online coalition and resource sharing in bankcard operations across China, thus visualizing the connection to international credit card organizations to form a trans-bank connecting center with wide geographical coverage, complete operation varieties, powerful functions and stable system performance.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 04/15/2003

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Beijing Activates More ATMs

More than 1,300 automated teller machines (ATM) in Beijing were configured to accept international bank cards in the first quarter of this year, according to MasterCard International. These include 800 ATMs at branches of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, 300 at China Construction Bank and 200 at Agricultural Bank of China. The addition of the 1,300 ATMs in Beijing now brings the total number of ATMs in China capable of accepting international cards and facilitating foreign transactions to more than 8,000. The upgrading of the ATM networks is in response to the strong market demand for international bankcards and services in China, business insiders said. According to the China National Tourism Administration, 97.9 million inbound travellers visited China during the calendar year of 2002.

From China Daily 04/17/2003

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Multimedia Library System Goes International

The Multimedia Information System (MMIS) developed by the Hong Kong Central Library, with its strong archival features, has been included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Archives Portal. The gateway at www.unesco.org/webworld/portal_archives, is an international portal that links up a number of important websites from different countries to create one single effective interactive point for archivists and researchers to study the history and culture of places around the world. Hong Kong's MMIS provides users with instant access to more than 1.8 million pages of digital images_2 and documents, including the back issues of Hong Kong newspapers, house programmes, posters, maps, photos, news clippings, books and manuscripts and about 90,000 items of audio-visual and CD-ROM material. People can also make use of the system to link up with over 50 online reference resources to search for information in many different subject areas. With a valid library card, users can reserve, through the Internet, the workstations in the library, audio, video, CD-ROM database and children's CD-ROMs in the MMIS. Some of these digitised items are also available for Internet browsing at any time. The system has now been extended to 13 major and district public libraries across Hong Kong and the second phase expansion, to all major and district libraries, is expected to be completed this year. MMIS' database will also continue to be enhanced to better cater to the public's need for more updated information. In recognition of the excellent performance of MMIS in application and innovation, and its high expandability, the Hong Kong Computer Society honoured the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL) with a silver award in the Applications Category of its 'IT Excellence Awards 2001'. The system has also won a prestigious award in the E-Government and Services Category of the Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Awards 2002 held in Kuala Lumpur. The MMIS is available daily online from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm, except on Wednesdays from 1.00 pm to 9:00 pm. More information is available on the library website at http://hkclweb.hkpl.gov.hk

From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 04/19/2003

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JAPAN: Smart Card Lets Tokyo Crowds Zip on Through Electronic Wallets Catch on as Train Ticket Alternative

TOKYO - Way too busy to waste any time, on-the-go commuters stream through Tokyo train stations, chatting on mobile phones, listening with disc-player earphones, and flicking "smart cards" instead of stopping to pull out tickets. Although the technology is generally a novelty elsewhere, gadget-loving Japanese commuters have embraced the cards - plastic embedded with a tiny computer chip, permitting payments without the hassle of coins or making change. Here, the challenge is not getting people to use them, but figuring how to expand the system for shopping, concert tickets and other electronic wallets. Similar cards have been introduced or tested in Washington, France and Hong Kong, and in the United States by retail chains like Target and ExxonMobil. But Tokyo commuters outdo them all: Some 5.6 million people, or roughly half the possible users, have the green-and-silver Suica cards introduced about a year ago by East Japan Railway Co. "It's so convenient," says 18-year-old Yusuke Hirohama, a high school student who uses Suica just about every day. "It's a breeze to use." East Japan Railway decided to switch to Suica because the old ticket-reading machines and old passes were getting worn out, says spokesman Kazushi Masuya. A play on the Japanese expression "sui-sui" (pronounced "sooh-eeh sooh-eeh"), which means "zip on by," Suica stands for "super urban intelligent card." Unlike most commuter passes and cards found elsewhere, these smart cards work from up to four inches away. Most Japanese don't bother to take their Suica out of their wallets, coat pockets or even bags as they zip on by. That can be critical in a crowded, uptight city like Tokyo where dozens of rushing commuters are moving up behind you. If people try to pass through without paying, a turnstile flips out to block their path, and an alarm goes off. Suica's success among commuters could be a fluke. Similar technologies that have been introduced in Japan have yet to reach the scale of Suica. The commuter cards caught on quickly because millions were already familiar with the railway's more primitive card system, which used magnetic tape for commuter passes. Sony Corp., which developed the Suica technology, also runs its own smart card service called Edy, short for "euro, dollar, yen." About 2,100 stores in Japan accept the 650,000 or so Edy cards in circulation. Now that Suica has caught on, users are looking to do more without having to turn to other cards. Reflecting common sentiment, Hirohama's only complaint is that Suica can't be used on the subways, which are run by different railway companies. And shopping with Suica would be nice, the student commuter mused. The possibilities are enormous. Tokyo train stations are brim-ming with newspaper stands, coffee shops, soda vending ma-chines, drug stores, even restau-rants and fancy shopping malls - most run or leased by Japan Railway or its subsidiaries. But the company, a former gov-ernment monopoly that takes pride in a stodgy image of public service rather than competitive marketing, says it has no imme-diate plans to expand Suica as an electronic wallet. It says it's still studying the options. Sony senior manager Shusaku Maruko says the key to success is how widespread it can become. "Is the neighborhood green grocer going to invest in this?" he said. "Or is he going to insist, 'I just deal in cash?' " (by Yuri Kageyama)

From http://www.gomemphis.com/ 02/17/2003

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ISPs See a Drop in Number of Dial-up Subscribers

Most of Japan's major Internet service providers are starting to see a leveling off in the growth in the number of subscribers to their services. The number of people newly subscribing to broadband high-speed, large-capacity services, such as asymmetrical digital subscriber lines, is rising, but the amount of people using slower dial-up access services is decreasing. At some providers, the falls in the dial-up category are larger than the gains in broadband subscribers, causing a dent in the overall number of subscribers. An industry official said some providers are also padding the number of clients in their releases. "Some companies are counting past subscribers or people receiving free-of-charge content," the official said. Japan Telecom Holdings Co. reported that the number of broadband subscribers to its ODN Net access services grew to 340,000 as of the end of last year, up from 300,000 at the end of September. But the total number of ODN subscribers fell to 1.87 million from 1.90 million. Nifty Corp., Japan's largest Net access provider, stopped publicly announcing the number of its subscribers after reporting 5.24 million subscribers as of the end of June. Nifty is owned by electronics firm Fujitsu Ltd. NEC Corp., another electronics firm, said the number of Biglobe subscribers rose to 4.18 million at the end of last year from 4.15 million as of Sept. 30. The rate of increase had slowed, however. At DION, run by telephone company KDDI Corp., the number of subscribers came to 2.3 million at the end of 2002, only 10,000 more than the total three months earlier. Sony Communication Network Corp., a unit of Sony Corp., said its So-net services had 2.29 million subscribers at the end of last year, little changed from the number as of Sept. 30. But the Yahoo BB ADSL service, operated by the Softbank Corp. group, is seeing a sharp rise in the number of its subscribers. The number surpassed 1 million at the end of September, up from 779,000 at the end of July, and had risen to 1.69 million by the end of December. Analysts said Yahoo BB is becoming more popular on the strength of the BB Phone IP (Internet protocol) telephone services introduced by the Softbank group last April, a step ahead of its rivals. IP phone services are known for their extremely low prices, compared with conventional telephone services. According to the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, Japan is the world's second-largest Internet power after the United States in terms of the number of Net users. In 2001, there were 57.9 million Net users in Japan, compared with 142.8 million in the U.S. China ranked third with 33.7 million Net users.

From The Japan Times 02/19/2003

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Online School Planned for Truants

Tokyo's Toshima Ward will launch a new education system from September to enable truants and students who refuse to venture out of their houses to study at home using the Internet, it was learned Tuesday. The new system, to be called My School Net, is expected to help such students keep up with their academic studies via a form of distance-learning, in which students learn using materials on a computer and receive e-mail instructions from school staff members. The ward is the first in the nation to introduce such a system, in which participation will count as attendance. "We believe that students can build confidence by associating with society through class activities, so we want to help reduce the mental burden of students who can't come to school and tap their potential," a ward education board member said. According to the board, 30 primary school students and 102 middle school students in the ward were reported truant in the last academic year. Of that total, 23 students refused to leave their homes. In response to this situation, the board decided to develop the system, hoping the students would eventually opt to rejoin society because of a growing interest in learning. Under the new system, students choose drills, which are classified by grade and subject, and send the answers via e-mail. Students then receive corrections and advice from staff members, including former teachers, according to the board. The board said it counts participation in the program as school attendance in a flexible manner, depending on the degree of involvement. The board will begin developing special software in spring and plans to launch the system in September.

From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 02/19/2003

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An Introduction to Kyoto Business Location Cyber Center

International shipping by sea transport centers around Maizuru Port in the north, and nationwide transportation by Meishin Expressway in the south. Kyoto Prefecture stretches from north to south in the center of the Japan archipelago. Kyoto Prefecture is currently actively working to invite businesses for the next generation under the catchphrase "The 21st Century-A Century of Progress". At the core of this is the "Kyoto Industrial Park" series and numerous other industrial sites in every region of Kyoto Prefecture. With well-developed transportation infrastructure and a rich work environment, we can confidently recommend these areas. Through various generous tax incentives such as tax waivers, monetary assistance programs and public financing, we strive to support business enterprises. Please put your faith in these areas linking development and the bright futures of industry and Kyoto Prefecture. We look forward to your visit.

From http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/ Access time: 02/22/2003

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Kansai Science City, Kyoto, Japan

A National Project Kansai Science City (KSC) is a national project conceived as an international, creative, interdisciplinary, and multi-industry nucleus for the promotion of culture and academic research. This new community is poised to make a great contribution to humanity in the future. KSC in Japan In eastern Japan, Tukuba Science City, situated approximately 60 kilometers north of Tokyo, was built for the pursuit of frontier research and study in the field of national science. KSC will be situated in the Keihanna Hills (which extend over Kyoto, Osaka and Nara prefectures) within a 10 to 30 kilometer radius of these cities, which constitute the center of western Japan. KSC's aim is to promote not only the natural sciences, but all the natural sciences, but all the inter-related activities of culture, academic research and industry, including the humanities and the social sciences in cooperation with industry, academia and government. A Prime Location The Keihanna Hills where KSC is under construction are noted for their abundant nature and rich cultural heritage as the cradle of Japanese civilization. This unique and central location means that KSC has been able to establish close ties with the major science and research parks of the Kansai region. With The construction of Kansai International Airport, KSC also convenient access to major cities around the world.

From http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/ Access time: 02/22/20032003-4-29

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IT Is the Key to Improving International Competitiveness

The 1990s were branded Japan's "lost decade" quite some time ago. But in light of Japan's slowness in adopting information technology during those 10 years, we might also refer to the 1990s as the wasted decade. The government and corporations were so intoxicated by the bubble that they had actually turned their backs on information technology. On top of that, vitality was also sapped by wasteful public works projects and tax cuts. The competitiveness of Japan's major international ports, for example, has been on a steady decline. In recent years, Japan's ports have been desperately trying to introduce information technology to improve convenience, but they won't be able to make up lost ground in one fell swoop. Ports in Singapore, Hong Kong, and other countries already operate 24 hours a day, and have had computerized entry procedures, customs, and other tasks since many years ago. As globalization spreads, international competitiveness has become an increasingly important engine of economies. According to studies by think tanks based abroad, Japan managed to maintain an international competitiveness ranking near the top even after the bubble burst and well into the mid-1990s. But according to the Swiss International Institute for Management Development's assessment of global competitiveness, Japan's ranking has declined to No. 30, and Japan now lags behind the major countries of Asia. The main reason for this decline has been Japan's belated adoption of information technology. The Global Information Technology Report compiled recently by the World Economic Forum unfortunately bears out this point. While Finland has surpassed the U.S. to occupy the top spot in the Networked Readiness Index Rankings, Japan is now ranked No. 20. Among Asian countries, Japan places fifth. Japan's public sector has been much too slow in adapting to the international trend of building economies around a core of information technology. The e-Japan, or electronic government plan, was given concrete shape only three years ago, and the central government won't complete the basic infrastructure for this plan until the end of fiscal 2003.The objectives are to not only to make government more efficient and smaller but also more open and amenable to participation by citizens, the government's clients. But so far, tax collection is the only function of the central government that seems to have been markedly transformed by the introduction of information technology, while education-related IT investment has fallen behind. Indeed, local municipalities appear to be achieving better results in this area than the central government. There are municipalities like Yokosuka in Kanagawa Prefecture which use the Internet to facilitate and increase the transparency of bidding for public works projects. But in general, Japan's public sector has been slower to adopt information technology than those of other advanced industrialized countries. Japan's slow adoption of information technology has been blamed on lack of English ability and lack of familiarity with keyboards. But an even more important factor has been the delay in the deregulation of the telecommunications industry. The U.S. has overtaken Japan in the competitiveness rankings because it deregulated faster. While Germany had also gotten off to a late start, its electronic government plan has enabled it reach the No.10 ranking. Charles Darwin said that the key to survival is not strength but the ability to adapt to change. Japan's future will be determined not by the size of its economy but rather by how it accommodates itself to the information technology revolution that is sweeping the world.

From http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/ 03/03/2003

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Robot Knowledge Society Program Worked Out

The Osaka Municipal Government has worked out a program to create a 'Robot Knowledge Society' to promote industries using robot technology (RT). The program was worked out based on the result of studies made by the 'Study Group for Robotics Industries Promotion' comprising experts in the industry, government and academia to discuss measures to promote the robotics industry. The group was inaugurated in December last year. The program says RT is a 'living-support' technology and aims at creating a comprehensive intellectual forum related to RT for living. The city will promote the creation of the RT industry through invitational activities for RoboCup 2005, one of the international projects to promote studies of robot engineering centering on soccer matches to be played by robots and artificial intelligence.

From http://www.kippo.or.jp/ 04/23/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Five Items Picked for Songdo IT Valley

Incheon`s Songdo district, envisioned by the incoming government as a Silicon Valley-like global IT R&D hub, is to specialize in five strategic industrial items, including display devices, officials said yesterday. The four other items to be intensively promoted for Songdo`s IT cluster are non-memory semiconductors, mobile communications equipment, car electronics and life sciences, said the officials. "The government of President-elect Roh Moo-hyun is determined to turn Songdo into a state-of-the-art cluster of IT-related R&D centers in keeping with its vision of Korea as a Northeast Asian R&D hub," said Chung Tae-in, a ranking member of Roh`s transition team. "To the end, domestic and foreign conglomerates will be encouraged to focus their R&D operations in Songdo on the five strategic sectors." He argued that Songdo, a vast 17.65-million-square-meter reclaimed land, about 40 km west of Seoul, is ideal for housing a cluster of large-size corporate R&D centers outfitted with test plants. "Manufacturing and production are not recommended for Songdo, due to its coastal location. In fact, Korea`s top groups have already shown interest in basing their high-tech R&D centers there," the official noted. Industry watchers speculate that Samsung and LG groups would select Songdo as new R&D bases for display devices, non-memory chips and mobile communications gear, while Hyundai Motor and SK groups are mulling over R&D centers for car electronics and life sciences, respectively. Chung said that the transition team is contacting the individual groups to sell them on the blueprint for the IT valley in Songdo. "The Roh government will strive to make the Songdo blueprint appealing to the private sector so that investors would voluntarily rush to the district. Thus, creation of investor-friendly environment is the top priority for Roh," he explained. Songdo, set to be designated as a special economic zone in July, is credited with its proximity to Seoul, Incheon International Airport and Incheon Port, offering ideal conditions as the host of international R&D facilities. Besides the top-four groups, foreign businesses and prestigious engineering colleges will also be invited to set up R&D facilities in Songdo, helping turn the seaside district into a Korean Silicon Valley. Samsung may also consider relocating its existing chip-research facilities in Giheung, south of Seoul, to the Incheon district, while Hanjin Group will build a large-scale logistics facility. (by Yoo Cheong-mo)

From Ministry of Information and Communication of Korea 02/04/2003

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Seoul City to Play Host to 2003 World Cyber Games

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will co-host the 2003 World Cyber Games (WCG) along with the WCG organizing committee, city officials said. More than 600 representatives from over 50 countries are expected to participate in the competition to be held at the Olympic Park facilities in Seoul Oct. 12-18, they said. Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak will sign an agreement to co-host the international cyber games competition with chief officials of the WCG organizing committee Monday. Seoul held the first WCG competition in 2001. A city official said the WCG event will serve to promote Seoul as a modern city boasting the latest in cutting-edge technology worldwide. He said the metropolitan city government is planning to launch an advertising campaign to upgrade Seoul's image during the preliminary contest period in foreign countries. The city will link its Web site to the WCG and local Web sites of countries participating in the competition, said the official. The city government will also arrange for a tour program for foreign participants including players and reporters during the WCG event, he said.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 02/10/2003

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IBM Korea, Samsung SDS Launch Web-Service Center

Samsung SDS and IBM Korea yesterday launched the Samsung SDS Web-Service Center on WebSphere (WoW center) at the Samsung SDS High-Tech Center located in Bundang in an effort to establish a Web-service support system. IBM Korea said that it provided the software and hardware needed to establish and operate the center while Samsung SDS manages the overall operation of the center and its staffing. "It is a pleasure for us to open the Samsung Web-Service Center on WebSphere. This year, IBM Korea is focused on Web services as a main infrastructure of e-business on-demand enterprise-wide, and the newly opened center is IBM`s first strategic move for Web-service business in 2003," said Kim Tae-young, executive of IBM Software Group. Samsung said that it aims to effectively provide IBM Web-service solutions to customers and apply them to ongoing projects. In particular, the new Samsung SDS Web-Service Center on WebSphere is designed to allow the two companies to secure new business based on the J2EE Web service and establish a Web-service support system within Samsung SDS and for its client companies. The two firms plan to cooperate with each other in planning and developing J2EE-based Web service solutions integrated with IBM solutions. Lee Kye-sik, managing director of Samsung SDS Information Technology Research Center, said, "The new Samsung SDS Web-Service Center on WebSphere is part of an effort by Samsung to examine and apply leading Web service technology. Particularly, the Web-Service Center on WebSphere is believed to be the most efficient Web-service solution center for client companies because it enables the application of Web services in a middleware environment, which includes IBM WebSphere, DB2, Lotus and Tivoli and various server platforms environment ranging from Unix to NT." (by Yang Sung-jin)

From Ministry of Information and Communication of Korea 02/12/2003

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Korea's e-Retail Market Largest in Asia

Korean e-retailers raked in an estimated 6.53 trillion won ($5.49 billion) last year, the largest in Asia, according to an AC Nielsen-Visa Korea survey revealed. Based on market figures collected from December of last year to January in 12 Asian regions, last year`s sales volume is near triple the 2.27 trillion recorded a year earlier. The survey did not give specific figures for China, Australia and India. Korea also ranked No. 1 in the region for number of online shoppers with 6.28 million people, 73 percent of a total 8.6 million Internet users, followed by China with 5 million and Taiwan with3.64 million. The average per-shopper expenditure online came to 726,000 won, up 56.7 percent from 412,000 of 2001. The report, however, showed that many Korean Internet users are still hesitant about purchasing online due to worries about exposure of personal information, including credit card data. Of a total of 25,732 online shoppers surveyed in Korea, 18,527 or 72 percent said they made fewer than 10 Internet transactions a year due to uncertainties concerning the quality of goods, safety issues regarding online credit card use and security issues related to divulging private information online. "In order to ensure the continued development of the online commercial market, the most important step would be to guarantee protection on private information," a Visa representative said, explaining the company will soon introduce such a security program. Meanwhile, the number of female Internet users has increased from 29 percent of users in 2001 to 46 percent of users in 2002 while men`s usage has declined from 71 percent to 54 percent. Also, about 73 percent of Internet users are aged between 20 and 35, the study said.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 03/02/2003

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Online Data Storage Service Improves Corporate Sharing

As digital technology advances at breakneck pace, people are exchanging more data files of larger size, such as music, photos and movies, etc. at a faster rate than ever before. The resulting demand for more storage space, however, can present a host of problems for most corporate and individual users, as most commercially available data-storage devices can often prove to be insufficient or costly to upgrade to keep up with the demand for larger and larger storage capabilities. Enter online-storage services - a growing market that has found its niche in the make-it-or-break-it world of Internet e-commerce - from which a host of Korean firms are already making money out of. "Storing and sharing data on the Web is now at a turning point in Korea thanks to fast-growing online storage services," said Lee Chang-woo, senior vice president of the e-Biz Business Division at Dacom Corp., a fixed-line telecom and Internet solutions provider. Lee is in charge of Dacom`s most promising business item named "Webhard" (www.webhard.co.kr), which is the country`s No. 1 online-storage service. The business is, in fact, growing faster than Dacom expected. The company started offering virtual data-storage service for mostly business users in March 2000. The service fee, though varying according to the space size, is not cheap. One gigabyte (GB) of Webhard space - today`s top-rated hard disk drive is usually 60GB - costs 13,000 won per month. Nevertheless, the demand is skyrocketing. "The number of paid Webhard users is about 130,000 now, but the figure is expected to reach 1 million at the end of this year," Lee said. Dacom`s Webhard business generated some 2.5 billion won in revenue last year, and the company targets 12 billion won in revenue this year. Of course, he is not joking. "Online collaboration through swapping of large multimedia files is on the rise. And Webhard is already a household name in the advertising, computer graphics and IT venture industries," Lee said. Webhard has virtually become synonymous with the online-storage service in Korea. Its clever name has clicked with a number of local Internet users. The Internet company has also striven to exceed customers` expectations by offering highly competitive and dependable services - a task which is in today`s cutthroat e-business climate easier said than done. Dacom`s Webhard unit, however, is pouring resources into upgrades of storage solutions, backup devices and site security. Webhard engineers said that their company has been able to successfully fend off and defeat numerous hacking attempts aimed at either breaking into the firm`s database or Web site. "Whether we can maintain our brand in terms of security against hacking is a make-or-break issue for Webhard, so we never spare money on strengthening the security and backup technology," Lee said. The firm`s heavy capital investment makes perfect business sense to Lee, especially as more and more businesspeople - particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises - rush to adopt Webhard to improve their corporate collaboration capabilities and share larger and larger multimedia files. Individual users tend to view Webhard`s monthly fee as a bit high, but commercial users see it as a good value, Lee said. Dacom`s business-oriented approach to packaging and marketing Webhard`s services has been quite successful largely because of the country`s fast-evolving broadband infrastructure. With more than 10 million broadband subscribers, Korea`s high-speed Internet access is pervasive and readily accessible practically everywhere you go in this country. The Internet speed is also going up. ADSL, a dominant broadband technology here, usually delivers data at about 2Mbps. But its upgrade VDSL is 10 times or 20 times faster, making it a snap to upload and download bigger files on the Web. "Webhard is very simple. You just upload your file and the data limit depends on the monthly fee, and you share those files with your colleagues or simply back up those files for your personal needs," Lee said. Lee said the company plans to set up multi-lingual versions of Webhard to respond to demands by non-Korean speaking users. Webhard recently introduced a new version for PDA (personal digital assistant) users, allowing subscribers to download and upload files on the Web through their wireless services on their PDAs.

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 04/10/2003

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Seoul Ranks the Best City for Doing Business

Seoul was awarded the grand prize by the president for its best environment for doing business. The awarding ceremony was held April 12, which was organized by the Korea Economic Daily and sponsored by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), and the Federation of Korean Industries. Designed to encourage local governments to boost their sluggish economy, the judging committee evaluated the scale of their financial support and services for private companies. Granting the nation's capital the grand prize indicates that many enterprises and journalists evaluate high the city's efforts to improve business condition in the region.

From http://english.metro.seoul.kr/ 04/15/2003

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°« -Plan of Daegu

Daegu Techno Park promotes the establishment of a technical industrial complex, which will create venture start up companies and technological development through the collaboration of the industrial sector, academia and governmental bodies. Daegu Techno Park, a decentralized techno park founded on the network basis, is being promoted under the name of the "°« plan". This is because the networks presently form a "°«" type, connecting the techno building which creates new technologies, with Gyeongbuk University, acting as the central figure and the Daegu venture center in Dong Daegu ro as well as the Dong Daegu venture center and the Sung Seo Techno Polis - which unites venture companies in the Sung Seo industrial complex.

From http://www.ttp.org/eng/index.asp Access time: 04/18/2003

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Seoul Digital Media City: Information & Telecommunication

1. DMC is a information and communication infrastructure is fail-safe DMC's information and communication networks will be established with diversified channel design, backup systems and perfect security system from the initial planning stage in order to secure the world's best level of safety. DMC Network Management Center will also be set up and administered with the finest systems and manpower to provide uninterrupted information and communication services along with various countermeasures against natural disasters and calamities. 2. With the basic speed of 52Mbps, DMC is committed to bringing you the very best internet services DMC's information and communication infrastructure is designed to support no less than 52Mbps for each of the subscribers, and such speed will enable the DMC residents to use high-quality digital content services like digital broadcasting and Internet movies on real-time basis. All areas of DMC will be serviced with fiber optic cable backbone network in the speed of Tbps ( bps), and the backbone network will directly connect to other overseas Internet networks at the speed of Gbps ( bps) to provide uninterrupted Internet services. Also, the faultless 'Blue Tooth' and high-speed mobile LAN (IEEE802.11(a,b,g)) system will offer the same Internet speed as cable network through mobile phones or PDA's within the DMC area.3. DMC Information and Communication Network advances to the future.DMC Information and Communication Network, which supports next-generation Internet services like Ipv6 and Grid, will open yet other business opportunities for many venture businesses that are playing their parts in developing and applying new technologies. And the differentiated information and communication services will also serve as an exemplary development model for upcoming IT complexes in Korea.4. DMC Information and Communication Network is inexpensiveBy providing the resident companies with information and communication services at the lowest possible cost, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and communication service providers will place their all-out investment efforts to help improve the competitiveness of DMC residents in their business activities.

From http://www.dmc.seoul.kr/ Access time: 04/18/2003

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TV & Democracy

"Public TV must be a precise reflection of the Constitution of a free and democratic State, its principles and positions". Such is, according to Henricas Yushkiavichus, advisor of the UNESCO director general, the main dictum of the Vienna declaration on public broadcasting. H. Yushkiavichus spoke with a report on administrative and financial aspects of public television organisation today, on 3 February at an international workshop on the organisation of public broadcasting services (PBS). According to him, in Septembre, 2003, the 10th anniversary of the Vienna declaration will be celebrated. PBS supports values, underlying political, legal and social bases of the democratic society. In particular, the observance of human rights, cultural and political pluralism. According to H. Yushkiavichus, a parliament or a president of a country can play the role of an initiator in the establishment of the public broadcasting. The second important step towards the PBS is an establishment of a Council for public TV, into which representatives of various groups of the civil society would be included. However, according to the advisor, there are many obstacles for the creation of the public TV, financial as well as psychological. Public TV must not serve either government, or parliament, or separate groups. It must reflect the interests of various strata of the civil society. The financing of the independent and non-commercial public TV, according to H. Yushkiavichus, is an important issue. The lest acceptable way - is financing by the State. In this case public TV depends on the State and doesn't have a right to criticise the government solutions. It must be a combined variant, when a part of the budget is formed at the expense of license fee and another part - at the expense of profits from advertisements. This combination is widely distributed in Europe. It is quite cheap for the citizens to finance their own radio or a TV channel. For instance, in Canada the public TV costs approximately 2 cents per day.

From http://www.gazeta.kz/ 02/03/2003

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UZBEKISTAN: Number of Internet Users Increases Twofold in 2002

Estimated number of Internet users in Uzbekistan reached almost 275,000 as of late 2002, which is more than twice as much compared to 2001 (137,000). At the same time, the growth of Internet use in the regions noticeably lags behind the capital, the session of the Cabinet's Complex for Information and Communication Technologies said. According to the latest data, up to 72.9% Internet users are concentrated in Tashkent. The lowest number of users per 1,000 people are observed in Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya regions.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 01/20/2003

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MALAYSIA: Internet Training Centre to Reduce Digital Divide

KOTA KINABALU: Cisco Systems and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) yesterday launched the Internet Training Centre Initiatives for Developing Countries (ITCI-DC) in Malaysia. UMS is the only education institution to be selected in Malaysia and among the 12 similar organisations in the Asia Pacific region picked by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The programme,scheduled to begin by June with the intake of 50 undergraduates, was officially launched by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Tham Nyip Shen on behalf of Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat. Welcoming the setting up of the training centre at UMS, Chong said the ITDI-DC at UMS would go a long way to benefit the state by reducing the digital divide while making the local university a centre of excellence. "The selection of UMS for the programme is another feather in the cap for UMS in its never-ending goal of achieving excellence in the field of education," said Chong in his speech read out by Tham. The ITCI-DC was started by the International Telecom Union to address acute shortage of skill networking and IT professionals in developing countries. The initiative is a model for public and private partnership to bridge the digital divide and aims to establish 50 such training centres around the world by 2003. Cisco System's Cisco Networking Academy Programme curriculum is the only IT education programme being delivered at ITU's Internet training centres. The programme is an e-learning model that delivers web-based educational content, online testing, student performance tracking, and hands-on labs with instructor training and support.

From http://202.186.86.35/ 02/15/2003

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E-village For Baram in the Offing

MIRI - An E-village will be set up in Baram as the first step by the youth section of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Telang Usan Division to connect the rural community there with the outside world. Its youth chief, Dennis Ngau Jok, said yesterday that the movement had identified a few schools as target for the implementation of its Information Technology (IT) project similar to the one in Bario, which is known as E-Bario. However, he added, only one school would be chosen for the start and the project would be expanded if its implementation was successful. He disclosed that the project would enable the rural community to obtain up-to-date and latest information about anything. Meanwhile, Telang Usan PBB youth would also appeal to the government to set up a college or an institute of higher learning in Baram so as to give opportunity for youths in the region to acquire higher level education. Dennis said the committee had implemented student adoption programme whereby two potential students from the various ethnic groups in the region would be selected to further their education through full scholarship at local private institutions. "We have met with prospective institutions that are willing to give full scholarship to students selected by us," he added. Two Punan students have been selected and will start their further education at Maxcell Institute of Hotel Management in June. "The committee will motivate and keep in contact with these students to ensure that they take the opportunity seriously and complete their studies." (by Diana Hiu)

From http://www.jaring.my/ 03/10/2003

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KL Funding Greatly Helps Sabah in IT Access: Tham

Kota Kinabalu: Funding from the Federal Government has greatly assisted the State Government, through its Information Technology (IT) Development Unit, to provide IT access to more people. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Tham Nyip Shen said at the moment, Sabah was still struggling to get the greater part of the people in the State connected. Stating this may take some time, he assured that the Government would fully optimise all the help it was getting to bring results in IT which, in turn, would assist in developing other resources such as human resource, among others. Tham said this at a press conference after handing over prizes to the winners in the Web+Courseware Design and Development Competition (WCDD 2001) at Sabah Trade Centre in Tanjung Lipat here Monday. Also the Minister of Resource Development and Information Technology, Tham said basic computer training was also being given to State Government servants. He said of the 30,000 civil servants, about 5,000 had gone for the training, thus promoting the e-government concept. It is also heartening that more and more personnel are using computers to do their job such as by e-mailing letters, which is more efficient and economical, he said. Tham, however, said some of the Ministry's web pages were outdated and need to be changed. Hopefully, personnel in the respective ministry can do updating of these web pages, he said. WCDD 2001 was jointly organised by the Education Department, Sabah Computer Service Department, KKIP Communications Sdn Bhd, State Library and the State IT Development Unit. Twenty teams from colleges and schools throughout Sabah took part in the competition. The full results of the competition can be viewed via the Internet at www.sabah.edu.my/wcdd2001.

From http://www.dailyexpress.com.my 03/25/2003

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Sabah's First 'E-book' Tailored to Tourism

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah could become a "laggard" and then finally "obsolete" unless it acts to keep up with a fast changing world, said Assistant Minister of Tourism, Environment, Science and Technology, Datuk Karim Haji Bujang. "This is something quite new and I can assure you that in years to come multimedia CDs will be as common as a cup of coffee," he said at the launching of Sabah's first "e-book" entitled "Discovering Sabah Interactive Multimedia CD. He added that the technology is already here to replace books, citing the reality that huge volumes of book-form weighty encyclopedia can now be obtained in the form of CDs. The e-book is jointly published by Natural History Publications (Borneo) and KKIP Communications Sdn Bhd. "Sabah is very lucky to have an outstanding natural history and tourism publisher, Datuk CL Chan, for his vision and dedication to publish all information concerning the immensely rich bio-diversity in Sabah and Borneo in recent years," said Karim. He hoped that more such CDs tailored to the tourism industry would be launched in the future to help maintain the million mark tourist arrivals achieved last year. At the same time, Karim expressed concern that the rampant CD piracy in the market place may prove very damaging to the investments and efforts put forth by people like Chan. Meanwhile, Chan said "Discovering Sabah" was first published as a coffee table book in 2001 with the support of Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat and Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation (STPC) and it turned out to be "the most successful" out of more than 70 books he had published. "And because of its immense popularity, it was translated into Chinese and Japanese languages," he said. "My courage to produce this Interactive Multimedia CD on Discovering Sabah is, however, derived from the constant encouragement of Datuk Tham Nyip Shen and the favourable terms and conditions offered by my collaborator, KKIP Communications," he said. KKIP Communications Managing Director, Edwin Liew, said Discovery Sabah Interactive Multimedia CD is a "prime example" of how information and communication technology (ICT) can be utilised to deliver the same piece of information and knowledge offered in a more interactive, lively and interesting manner via the digital channel. He said the fact that the contents of these physical, conventional printing materials can be presented by using creative combination of graphics, sounds and visual clips make them more lively and interesting.

From http://www.dailyexpress.com.my 03/08/2003

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PHILIPPINES: Unionbank Offers E-payment Service

In its continued effort to support the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), UnionBank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently launched and conducted a joint briefing with the BIR at the City Sports Club Cebu to update leading large corporate taxpayers of the enhancements on the electronic filing and payment system (EFPS). UnionBank is one of the first private banks accredited by the BIR to offer e-payment and is today, one of BIR biggest partner banks in terms of absolute tax collections under the EFPS. UnionBank enhancement of its BIR e-payment facility is in conjunction with the new BIR Revenue Regulations 26-2002, which mandates taxpayers using EFPS to follow a staggered deadline in e-filing of their tax returns based on their industry grouping. The payment due dates however, are not affected. BIR EFPS project manager Carolyn Anne Reyes stated that the e-filing schedule is based on industry grouping. As an example, the deadline for the e-filing of the monthly VAT declaration of a construction company is on the 25th day while that of a taxpayer whose primary business is renting of goods and equipment is on the she said. Michael David, assistant vice president of UnionBank cash management services, explained that during e-filing of a return, the taxpayer shall send the payment instruction to its bank. UnionBanks enhanced corporate electronic facility stores the payment instruction. The actual debit on the taxpayer quote s bank account happens when the taxpayer confirms the payment instruction on or before the payment due date, he said during the open forum. With this new feature, companies can now log-on directly at the UnionBank payment page to authorize e-payment transactions, UnionBank product manager Jod Garcia. Jonathan Capanas, Officer-in-Charge of the Cebu Large Taxpayers Division Office, urged the corporate taxpayers present to continue supporting BIR initiatives. He said BIR would keep on providing services that will ease tax payment. The EFPS is BIR Internet-based tax filing and payment system initially intended for large corporate taxpayers. The EFPS was designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the BIR and the Bureau of Treasury in accounting for and monitoring collections and remittances through the banking system. It further aims to increase taxpayers convenience and satisfaction in paying tax obligations to the government. Over 1,500 large taxpayer corporations are now enrolled in the EFPS.

From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 03/07/2003

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Globe Eyes New Hub Store in Cebu, Unveils Video Messaging Service

Globe Telecom is eyeing another outlet dubbed as the Hub in Cebu City this year in addition the three Hubs in Manila to reach out more clients and partners in that southern city. The three other Hubs are located at the Glorietta 4 in Ayala Center in Makati, the Podium in Ortigas Center and Rockwell Plant. Gracielu G. Khoe, area business manager of Globe Telecoms' centers management group said the Hub is different from Globe's business center. At the Hub, people would be able to explore and experience the handsets or try a demo of a gadget an its accessories. Customers get the first experience on the latest handsets and Globe innovations and services. Regina Roa, head of Globe Telecom retail marketing said the Hub was conceptualized to give the techno-savvy as well as the techno-inclined individuals the firt hand access to the latest mobile phone, applications and Globe technology. "Hub shops give consumers the privilege to experience the latest in mobile technology at the retail level. They used to only read about it. Now they can come to our shops and actually experience it for themselves," says Roa. Customers are encouraged to touch and tinker with the phones laid out on cone stands. The latest technology is clients would be able to send video messages through their MMSenabled phones. Globe Telecom is the first mobile phone operator to offer video messaging where subscribers can send quick video sequences using their mobile phones. With Globe video messaing, "we are offering our subscribers an innovative product. It is now possible for the first time to record moving images_2 using a mobile phone and to send these to friends or business colleagues directly," said Khoe. For instance, the upcoming Nokia 3650 has a built-in camera and video player and is compatible with Nokia 7650. The Globe video messaging service allows users to record, save and play back video clips of up to 10 seconds. This is initially available to new G-Plan subscribers who will purchase a Nokia 7650 handset at the Hub. The phone would be loaded with a free Globe video messaging software which will allow users to capture video and send it to others with the same software and handset. Recorded video messages can also be sent through e-mail. Users would have to visit the myGlobe website and download the Nokia video player application to view the message. Globe has a promo rate for sending video message at R5 per message within the Globe Telecom network. At the Hub, competent and tech savvy frontliners offer in-store assistance for subscription and other technological queries. The design of every Hub store complements the stylish, sophisticated and fashion forward lifestyle of its customers. Globe Telecom also provides value-added services to customers through partnerships with premier brands. Some of its recent highlights covered tie-ups with such popular labels like Samsung and Bvulgari. The Hub offers the phones, the technology and even those delightful little extras that would match the customers' lifestyles. Roa said the Hub is place where Globe would be able to deliver a relevant lifestyle packaged for customers. (Edu H. Lopez)

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 03/09/2003

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SINGAPORE: Top Up Cashcard's Lifespan

CashCards currently expire after five years. But individuals and companies are asking why, especially if the cards are in good condition. Up to 800,000 CashCards will expire between March and June this year when their five-year lifespan ends. The sole reason for replacement is wear and tear, but users say it is troublesome to replace the card every five years while companies find it expensive. Though the new cards will have the latest software and security features, there appears to be little use for them. While six million CashCards have been issued since 1996, the number distributed was minimal until 1997 when the Government put up electronic road pricing (ERP) gantries to collect road tolls. "With the fifth anniversary of the ERP coming, our concern is for CashCard holders to check their card's expiry date and get them replaced," said Mr Chan Kah Khuen, group head (commercial), Network for Electronic Transfers Singapore (Nets), which manages and operates the CashCard infrastructure. Nets has been ramping up its publicity campaign since last year when the first batch of cards expired, to urge the public to check their CashCards. Once expired, the cards can no longer be used. Mr Gerald Koh, 29, an account manager at a multinational company, obtained his card about three years ago, and uses it mostly for the ERP and to pay car park fees. "It's troublesome to have to replace the card so soon. It would be better if the card had an indefinite lifespan." Mr Chan said the five-year validity period ensures that CashCards are retired before damage is caused by wear and tear. New CashCards also have a five-year lifespan. New cards will bear the latest software and security features. But, so far, the only improvement on the new cards is that they bear the date of issue. When asked if Nets plans to offer new services, Mr Chan would only say that this, such as the printing of the date-of-issue on cards, would be "an ongoing enhancement". "Keeping software and security features current in the cards is important for ensuring reliable service for all CashCard users, whenever and however they use their cards." Mr Koh, however, noted he has no real need for additional security features as he uses it merely for ERP. "Security is only a concern if I use it for shopping or online banking. Payment by CashCard isn't that pervasive anyway." Another cashCard user, Ms Tricia Leo, an assistant marketing managers in her twenties, agrees. She uses her CashCard mostly for driving, and once to pay a library fine. "Would added security features prevent someone from using my card if it's stolen? If not, then it doesn't make any difference. So it depends on what these new features and software are. As far as I know, they don't seem to affect me as a user. "Furthermore, I would know how to replace my card when it's damaged, so saying that I should have it replaced now just to prevent future wear and tear doesn't make sense." She said it is inconvenient to replace the CashCard at banks where queues are long. Mr Koh suggested that Nets could send replacement cards automatically to users, the way credit card companies do. Cards aren't cheap NTUC Link will be sending replacement cards to members whose cards are expiring. First issued in 1998, the chip-based Link cards -- which double up as CashCards -- are membership cards for the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and its affiliated unions, including NTUC Income and NTUC Club. Mr Larry Lian, general manager for NTUC Link said: "Because we are riding on Nets' infrastructure, we have to follow the five-year validity period. Our first batch of cards will expire later this year, and members will receive replacements about a month before the expiry date. "We would have liked the lifespan to be longer because smart cards aren't cheap, with each costing up to $8 to produce." NTUC Link will absorb the cost of replacing expired cards. There are currently 650,000 NTUC Link cards. Smarter cards soon Nets will be rolling out a contactless prepaid card by this September, a stored value card that will use an identification number (ID) instead of storing a cash value like in the CashCard. It means a monetary loss to the CashCard owner if it is stolen or lost. Whenever a deduction is made from the contactless card, the point-of-sale terminal will capture the card's ID and go online to check with a database to see if the card has sufficient funds and will deduct accordingly. If the card is lost, the owner can cancel it and transfer the balance to a new one. In the initial rollout, it will be a dual-chip card, so that the same card will be able to work with CashCard's contact and contactless readers. In addition, users will be able to integrate these cards with other financial systems such as their online banking accounts. A user can thus use a Web-based e-payment profile system to automatically debit his bank account to top up the card whenever it falls below a certain limit. The contactless prepaid card is just one of the many methods of moving Singapore into a cashless payment society by 2010. In a move to get 90 per cent of Singaporeans to use cashless payment systems, Nets will run awareness programmes to convince consumers that electronic payment is a viable and attractive alternative to cash. (By Eileen Yu)

From http://computertimes.asia1.com.sg/ 02/19/2003

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E-Banking: What Is Winning Over Customers

One year was all it took for Citibank to double its online customer base. Last year, only one in four of its customers banked online. Today, every other client has an online account. The bank would not reveal figures but said it had the highest online banking usage rates here. The catalyst, executives asserted, is personalisation. Last February, it transformed its e-bank website into a full financial services portal, offering financial management and customisation -- something not provided in great depths by most rivals, particularly local banks. The portal allows customers to do a full financial needs analysis (FNA), receive customised alerts, start a financial savings plan, buy investment products and track their investment and banking portfolios all through a single interface. The bank's vice-presi-dent for direct banking, Mr Lim Cheng Lok, explained that the FNA uses a "powerful proprietary tool" that assesses each person's savings and profile before offering him investment products and services online. The portal allows customers quick access to information that they are interested in. And is linked to a 24-hour call centre which they can dial into for more advice. Polytechnic lecturer Chung Shang Hao, who has been trading online for the past few years, gets stock market information beamed to his personalised Citibank portal each time he logs in. Said the 35-year-old: "It's true that some share trading portals offer stock market information. But it's so much more convenient when you get the same information through your own bank's portal." Affluent bank customers such as John Lee (not his real name) lament that local banks have not come up to speed where personalisation is concerned. The management consultant and scion of a well-known industrial family, holds accounts in five local and foreign banks here. His largest account, more than $300,000, is with a local bank, where Mr Lee and his family have banked for generations. His complaint? "When I log on to my $300,000 local bank account, the page that greets me is the same as the one meant for someone with $20,000 in his account." No, he is not being snobbish, said the 36-year-old. He just wants convenience. "The person with $20,000 in his bank may be interested in investing in mutual funds that require a minimum investment of $1,000," said Mr Lee. "I am interested in investments where the minimum amount required often exceeds $100,000." So he would like to see alerts on his local bank portal every time an investment opportunity crops up. As a privileged banking customer, Mr Lee has a personal banker whom he consults regularly on complex investment matters. But, he said: "Right now, my personal banker has to call me, and usually I have to go down for a fancy dinner to discuss the details." "It's true that some share trading portals offer stock market information. But it's so much more convenient when you get the same information through your own bank's portal." -- Mr Chung Shang Hao, polytechnic lecturer who gets stock market info beamed to his personalised Citibank portal "When I log on to my $300,000 local bank account, the page that greets me is the same as the one meant for someone with $20,000 in his account." -- John Lee (not his real name), a management consultant who would like a more customised online service from his bank.

From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 04/02/2003

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Online Banking: It's Everyone's Turn

Administration supervisor Robert Ong routinely logs onto his DBS Bank portal to check his account balances, pay bills and transfer funds. Nothing unusual. Except that he is 55 years old. And many in his age group have until recently preferred to give high-tech conveniences a miss. He said: "I know many in my generation are not comfortable with Internet banking. But that's because they've never tried it." Then there's 58-year-old housing agent Edward Tan who logged onto his DBS Bank account for the first time last month. So far, he has only checked his balance online. He insists that he will graduate to bill payments soon. "If I can do it with only a month's experience in handling the Internet, I think anyone can bank online," said Mr Tan. Internet banking (IB), once regarded as the sole preserve of the tech-savvy professional, appears to have gained mass appeal in Singapore over the past year. The figures speak for themselves. Banks here claim that the ranks of their online customers have swelled by 80 to 100 per cent. DBS Bank, for instance, says it has 450,000 IB customers now, up from 320,000 a year ago. United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Citibank declined to reveal figures but claimed a 100 per cent increase in their online customer base. Transaction volumes are higher as well. Figures for DBS alone jumped from $5.7 billion in 2001 to $7.5 billion last year, with more than 35 million transactions conducted. Recent surveys by research firms International Data Corporation (IDC) and AC Nielsen support the figures, ranking Singapore second only to Australia in the Asia-Pacific in the number of e-banking customers. According to IDC, roughly 25 per cent of Singapore Internet users banks online. AC Nielsen's web-based survey pegs the figure much higher -- at 63 per cent. Banks have different views for the spurt in online banking. Managing director for e-banking services at DBS, Mr Sherman Tan, said that more "ordinary" users such as Mr Tan and Mr Ong have traded in passbooks for PCs. When DBS first began Internet banking in 1997, it saw "the geeks sign on". Around 2000-2001, tech-savvy professionals caught on to it. "This year, we are finally beginning to see the first signs of adoption by the masses," he said. To boost Internet banking among ordinary folks, DBS tied up with educational service provider One Learning Place to provide IT literacy courses with a special segment on Internet banking. And that's what Mr Tan signed up for last month. Citibank said that its online customer base doubled mainly because of increased customisation. In February last year, the bank launched personalised financial management services that allowed customers to receive news and alerts, pay bills, transfer funds and shop for investment products and services all through a single portal. Indeed, online banking regulars are already looking ahead. Management consultant Atul Goyal, 26, who has been paying bills and transferring funds online at DBS for years, would like even more personalised services. The first on his wish list: A single electronic version of all his various bank accounts. "Account aggregation is pretty common in the United States", said Mr Goyal. "Perhaps, it's time for banks here to offer such services as well." Internet banking used to be the preserve of people like Ms Ng Cheh Gee, (above) who works in the finance industry. Paying bills, transferring funds and buying unit trusts online are a matter of course for the 33-year-old. Now, seniors like 58-year-old housing agent Edward Tan (below), are also joining the online banking brigade. Roll out the red carpet online, too In banking circles, it is known as the 80/20 rule -- 20 per cent of a bank's wealthiest clients account for 80 per cent of its business. When online banking was introduced, the Internet was seen as a cheap and efficient way for banks to offer low-value transaction services to ordinary folks. This, the banks thought, would free staff to sell higher value bank products and services to the rich. And bolster the 80-20 rule. The reverse has happened. With online banking, the bigwigs are staying away from over-the-counter transactions. A recent study by research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) showed that it is the more affluent customers who are shunning face-to-face bank interactions for the convenience of the Internet. IDC's research manager for financial services, Mr Douglas Jaffe, said that banks must learn to understand and segment their customers online, the same way they did offline, and offer services accordingly. He added: "Internet banking systems should be able to detect the financial needs of customers and gently prod them to buy products and services that meet those needs." Mr Jaffe added that local banks could lose customers to foreign ones that offer more personalised services, unless they beefed up their abilities to detect the financial needs of their customers online. Local players such as DBS Bank said they have already begun tracking and analysing customer behaviour online and offering banner advertisements that may be relevant to them. However, the bank's managing director for e-banking services, Mr Sherman Tan, said the bank was "very prudent" with this "targeted cross selling" as it did not want to "spam" customers with indiscriminate advertising windows. Targeted selling is when a bank anticipates a customer's financial need, say for a loan, and offers a product for it. He added that as the bank's online customers become more sophisticated, the bank would move into more wealth management and financial planning services. And that will not be a moment too soon. Advertising firm manager Winie Soon said that she is "more than happy" with the transaction services offered by her local bank currently. But that is only because she does not "have much money to invest" now. She added: "If my local bank still does not offer me personalised services in a few years' time, when I'll be sure to invest bigger sums, I may migrate my account to a bank that does." (By Radha Basu)

From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 04/02/2003

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Play It Safe and You Won't Be Sorry

Apart from paying bills and transferring funds, chartered accountant San Kin Cheong has even paid big money for investments online. The largest amount was $20,000. As far as security at the server end is concerned, he trusts his bank to do its best. On his part, the 41-year-old DBS Bank customer believes in self-help. "I don't use a public PC for Internet banking, regularly clear my cache, have anti-virus software in place and check my account several times a month," he said. "In short, I'm not all that worried about security." Mr San may well be echoing the sentiments of other e-bankers here. Despite a breach in Internet banking security last June, when a hacker disappeared with the $62,000 he withdrew from the accounts of 21 DBS Bank customers, security -- for most customers -- is a non-issue. Indeed, contrary to popular belief, security was not the biggest obstacle to e-banking, a recent International Data Corporation study discovered. More than half of the respondents who did not bank online said they did not do so simply because they had no need for it. Only about 14 per cent of those interviewed cited security as a deterrent. Finance professional Ng Cheh Gee, 33, who has been banking online for more than two years, said: "It's up to users to safeguard their PCs, though any additional security feature the banks provide would also help a lot." One such feature, an SMS or e-mail alert for third-party funds transfers, was introduced by both DBS Bank and Citibank in the wake of last year's Internet fraud. Third-party transfers allow customers to move funds from their account to accounts of other e-banking customers. In last year's incident, the hacker had used this service to defraud unsuspecting customers. "I was a bit apprehensive for a while after the incident," said Ms Ng, who transfers funds online to her parents' account. "Which is why when DBS offered the alert service, I promptly signed up." Other banks are also tightening e-banking security. For instance, at OCBC Bank, two-factor authentication for "higher-risk transactions", such as third-party transfers, will start in the second quarter of the year, said Mr David Tan. He heads the Interactive Delivery Group in the bank's Consumer Financial Services Division. The two-way authentication requires a user to key in an additional password, apart from his usual user ID/PIN, before he performs an online transaction.

From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 04/02/2003

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Broadband Becoming a Pervasive Mode of High-Speed Connectivity in Singapore

Two in five or 1.24 million Singaporeans are now broadband users. This is a 30 per cent increase from its 950,000 user-base in 2001. The finding was revealed by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) in its annual Survey on Broadband and Wireless Usage in Singapore, 2002. "The 30 per cent increase in broadband users shows broadband has come of age in Singapore as a pervasive mode of high speed connectivity. This bodes well for Singapore's vision to see 50 per cent of our households on broadband by 2006." said Mr. Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA. The Survey revealed that in 2002, Singaporeans used broadband more frequently compared to 2001. In 2001, 71 per cent of all broadband users typically spent an average of about 10 hours a week on broadband. But the usage rose 8 percentage points to hit 79 per cent in 2002.Apart from increased usage, more Singaporeans are also accessing broadband from home (53 per cent in 2002 from 46 per cent in 2001), the workplace (49 per cent in 2002 from 46 per cent in 2001), schools (18 per cent in 2002 from 14 per cent in 2001) and other locations such as cyber caf®¶, libraries and public areas (12 per cent in 2002 from 11 per cent in 2001). "Broadband is becoming a way of life for Singaporeans who are enjoying high speed access and rich media content, whether they are at home, the workplace, in public areas or schools. This is possible because Singapore has put in place the enabling infrastructure for 99 per cent nation-wide broadband coverage since 1997. " said Mr Khoong Hock Yun. In terms of applications, most Singaporeans continued to use broadband to access emails in 2002 (94 per cent). Broadband was also used for online entertainment, in enhancing one's lifestyle.For instance, working adults used broadband for online shopping (39 per cent), online banking (35 per cent), download/update of software applications (34 per cent), online music (34 per cent) and online government-related transactions (25 per cent).The trend in using broadband to enhance one's lifestyle holds true for students as well. In 2002, students used broadband for online music (57 per cent), download/ update of software applications (40 per cent), access online library services (32 per cent), online videos (23 per cent), online shopping (20 per cent) and e-learning (19 per cent). "The Survey results show that Infocomm can be used to enrich our lives. Broadband connectivity helps to overcome physical limitations, by allowing Singaporeans to continue with their way of life and to seek entertainment, telecommute and e-learn regardless of where they are." added Mr. Khoong Hock Yun. The Survey highlighted that broadband users are willing to pay for content but at prices deemed reasonable. For instance, an average of 79 per cent of broadband users surveyed are prepared to pay not more than S$8 for children education content per viewing (68 per cent), online games per one-time subscription (72 per cent), 'live' webcast per month (87 per cent) and online videos per viewing (89 per cent).However, if the price goes beyond S$8, an average of only 21 per cent of broadband users will pay for children education content per viewing (32 per cent), online games per one-time subscription (28 per cent), 'live' webcast per month (13 per cent) and online videos per viewing (11 per cent)."To drive more sophisticated broadband usage, we hope content and access providers can offer consumers and businesses more compelling solutions and competitive pricing to help Singapore become a more connected nation in order attain higher quality and more productive lives at home or at work." said Mr. Khoong Hock Yun. As of November 2002, there were 3.2 million mobile phone subscribers in Singapore, representing a penetration rate of 76 per cent. This is a 14 per cent increase in the number of subscribers as compared to November 2001, where there were 2.8 million mobile phone subscribers.80 per cent of the mobile phone subscribers interviewed in the Survey indicated they were SMS users. They also used the mobile phone to download ringtones and icons (29 per cent), participate in donations (17 per cent) and check leisure-related information such as food/ music reviews, horoscope, flight details (15 per cent). Confirming the growing trend that broadband is used to enhance lifestyle, about one in eight Singaporeans saw the need for Wireless LAN to be installed at public places. Among this group, 76 per cent would like to see Wireless LAN access at cafes and restaurants while 74 per cent, at shopping malls. In terms of pricing for Wireless LAN usage, 55 per cent preferred to pay based on connection time, with the majority (83 per cent) willing to pay up to a maximum of S$4 per hour. 33 per cent preferred to pay based on a flat monthly rate with the majority (67 per cent) willing to pay S$20 a month. The remaining 12 per cent preferred to pay based on data volume. The Survey also revealed that about one in eight or 13 per cent of working Singaporeans (200,000) enhance their working lifestyle by telecommuting; citing benefits such as greater flexibility (92 per cent), time and cost savings (75 per cent), increased productivity (72 per cent), better balance between work and family commitments (71 per cent) and enhanced employment opportunities for the disabled (64 per cent).

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 04/15/2003

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Global Patent Search Service Launched in Singapore

Singapore-based Rhom Intellectual Property Group has launched a worldwide patent search service from Singapore. It will offer a global patent database, a set of analytical software tools, and validation technology. Rhom has tied up with US-based MCam Inc and will use MCam's 'Doors' operating system to provide patent search facilities, IP (intellectual property) consultancy in R&D and financial investments. 'The Singapore government is extremely aware of the need to create, own and manage IP,' Rhom's director, M Ravindran, told BizIT. 'That is why we have introduced our services here first. We believe the market here is ready for it.' Doors uses state-of-the-art automated search algorithms, including its proprietary Latent Semantic Filtering (LSF) methodology. The LSF checks patent documents by individual words, patterns and relationships in a number of different languages. It can help answer many key questions - from basic ones such as how many patents there are in a particular tech sector, to the possible number of parties which could be likely candidates for licensing the technology. 'The Doors operating system and tech platform incorporate about 98 per cent of the patent documents electronically published by the various patent issuing authorities worldwide, including the US Patent and Trade Mark office,' Mr Ravindran said. 'The text and data associated with this vast array of documents - numbering in the millions - is standardised to a global protocol to ensure that the database can be efficiently searched.' Rhom was set up by lawyers from Ravindran Associates, patent attorneys, patent search experts and investment research specialists from Australia. It has offices in Australia; Singapore is its Asia-Pacific headquarters. 'We are convinced in the mid- and long-term prospects of the market for such services,' he said. 'There is a growing need to validate IP before making investment decisions, whether the investment on time, effort and money on R&D is worth the effort.' Rhom is offering a suite of IP products and services covering the entire spectrum of IP requirements. This allows the company to help manage both the threat and the opportunities associated with IP investment. It has five directors based in Sydney and two, including Mr Ravindran, in Singapore. The explosion in patent filings worldwide makes it very difficult to manually search for 'prior art' (the previous level of technology available in the area where the patent is being filed). There is thus a growing acceptance of computerised patent search services. 'The key, however, is a validated database as well as sophisticated analytical tools that can pick up relevant 'prior art' and sieve out irrelevant technology,' Mr Ravindran said. 'Once the computerised search is done, there is still a need to analyse and evaluate the data.' Rhom's solution provides both an analytical base from which to track the technical aspects of claims over technology, and the market behaviour of companies across and within industries.

From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 04/18/2003

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A Fully Electronic Cert of Origin System

Alocally-developed innovation, embraced by the leading chambers of commerce here and the Singapore Confederation of Industries (SCI), has enabled Singapore to become the first country to have a fully electronic and paperless system for granting exporters a certificate of origin for goods exported. Officially launched yesterday, the CertOfOrigin solution was developed, and is managed by, local IT services provider CrimsonLogic. It is being implemented by the SCI, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC). According to the chambers' representatives, this new system cuts costs, time and hassles for exporters. A certificate of origin is an endorsed trade document granted to an exporter by authorised third parties - mostly local chambers of commerce and to some extent the government - proving the country of origin of the goods exported. SICC deputy executive director Lee Ju Song said this is the first system in the world to electronically accept and issue certificates with a link to banks for letter-of-credit clearance. She said the solution will be showcased as the world's first electronic certificate of origin system at the World Chambers Congress in Canada in September. According to Mrs Lee, countries such as Canada and the US have shown interest in the CertOfOrigin system. V Mathivanan, CrimsonLogic's chief executive officer, said there is also interest coming from Taiwan, Malaysia and Korea. He added: 'In line with Apec's drive towards a paperless trading community and given the current dismal economic conditions, we hope that CertOfOrigin will add zest to the trading scene.' The CertOfOrigin solution builds on CrimsonLogic's Electronic Certification of Origin system which allows exporters to electronically submit their applications. However, under the old system, there was still a need to physically collect the document from the authorised organisation and thereafter dispatch them manually to relevant recipients. The new solution acts as a electronic repository and all authorised people can view the document on-line through the Internet, given the necessary access codes. According to Mr Mathivanan, the initial system, introduced in early 2000, was launched with $200,000 in seed money which came from the five chambers and a matching grant from the government. The present system builds on that and also costs around $200,000. Both amounts exclude hardware and other costs borne by CrimsonLogic, he added. The CertOfOrigin solution uses Public Key Infrastructure technology to ensure data security and authenticity. Users are required to use a smartcard to digitally sign on an application. When a hardcopy is required, users can print the certificate of origin at their premises and/or allow copies to be printed by the trading partners concerned. To ensure document originality, CertOfOrigin uses optical watermarks to enable visual authentication of the document and prevent unauthorised reproduction once the document is printed on regular paper via standard laser printers. CrimsonLogic charges on a pay-per-use basis. Subscribers to existing products from CrimsonLogic, like TradePalette, would get the service as an add-on. However, CertOfOrigin would also be available as a standalone solution. The chambers have decided to charge a $5 per application for members and $8 for non-members. This is less than the $7 and $10 charged respectively for manual applications. There would be further charges for additional services. At present, according to the chambers, more than 80 per cent of companies apply manually for the certificate. With the tremendous interest that the new system has drawn because of its cost benefits, they expect a surge of interest in electronic registration. Speaking on behalf of the chambers, David Chin, executive director, Singapore Business Federation, said: 'With CertOfOrigin, businesses can leverage on CrimsonLogic's core competency in technology and the Internet to streamline trade documentation, saving significant amounts of time and costs.'

From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 04/25/2003

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THAILAND: Chiang Mai Firm to Develop Software for Aviation Sector

Chiang Mai-based Fiko Software has recently set up a new company to develop aviation-related applications called Aeronautical Software Lab Thailand (ASLT). The company also signed a joint venture agreement with aviation companies in Germany and the US for the developments of airborne DO 178B certified system software for the aviation industry. Products developed will include GPS-based moving map systems, embedded software for communication, navigation and transponder units, multi-function displays (MFDs) and integrated multimedia applications for airborne systems. Fiko CEO Attila Sandor Fiko said ASLT aims to build an aviation development environment in Chiang Mai to help reduce time-to-market for manufacturers in this highly competitive market by enabling them to focus on their own area of expertise rather than developing the software themselves. To ensure a smooth start-up of ASLT, the company has since October last year worked closely together with aviation system engineers from the US, Taiwan, Germany and Poland. He said ASLT currently has three system engineers and is now looking to expand further with two or three software engineers. ``The goal is to have about 20 software engineers at ASLT by 2004,'' he added. Roland Becker, CEO of Becker Flugfunkwerk, one of the strategic partners of ASLT, said that establishing ASLT in Thailand was done because they already have operations in both Taiwan and China. ``ASLT will become an important part in the development process of software for airborne products and we also hope that we can see some support from the Thai government to enable ASLT to become a strategic centre in Asia for certified aviation software developments,'' Becker said.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 02/19/2003

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Thailand, Malaysia Form E-business Link

Two digital certificate service providers Thai Digital ID and DigiCert of Malaysia have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote secure e-commerce transactions between Thailand and Malaysia. DigiCert CEO Noor Azli Othman said the cooperation would facilitate e-trading between the two countries and in the future would be a model for similar agreements among Asean members. `Our efforts today will enable both companies to create an infrastructure where the two most critical components, trust and security, are implemented through interoperable PKI,'' he said.The PKI (Public/Private Key Infrastructure) is an encryption technology for digital signatures. Both companies will use the X.509 PKI standard. Although the technology is based on the same standard, both parties will need to adjust their middleware, applications, business processes and legal issues, he noted. As a result, they will form a joint-study group to look at the technical issues, which will take around 12 months before the service is implemented. ``The model that will be developed by DigiCert and TDID will be used as a model for interoperability with other CAs from the Asean member countries,'' he claimed, adding that the effort would help promote e-trading within the region. TDID CEO Chartchai Srirassamee said after the cooperation with DigiCert, TDID would also try to forge similar agreements from Japan's PKI Forum some time this year. TDID is a private company owned by PCC, which manages the banking ATM pool. The company plans to invest around 100 million baht to promote its CA (certificate authority) service. Currently, it has around 200 customers and has issued around 1,000 certificates. DigiCert is Malaysia's first licensed CA and was founded by the government sector. The company has sold more than 50,000 digital certificates since it began operating in July 1999, mainly to financial firms and government agencies.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 03/26/2003

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Banks Sign with Visa System Used for Secure E-commerce

Visa International has introduced an authentication e-payment service called ``Verified by Visa'', with four local banks already signed up to adopt it. Visa expects to boost e-purchasing confidence and add security functions to online payments here. It also aims to gain up to 30% of the total value of e-commerce transactions this year. According to head of business to consumer services for e-Visa Michael Kearney, Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia where the service has been introduced. Today, only 20% of Internet users have made a purchase online, according to the company. He said there was a lot of opportunity now for consumers to make their first purchase, with the main growth hinderer being security. ``Verified by Visa'' will be a guarantee that Visa cards _ both debit and credit _ would provide secure transactions. The service requires Visa card holders to first register with their bank to gain a password. The four banks that will announce the service this year are Bangkok Bank, Bank of Asia, Krungthai Card and Siam Commercial Bank. When users make their payment, a pop-up screen with the ``Verified by Visa'' logo will show up and ask for the password, which will authenticate the purchase, he noted. E-merchants will benefit from reduced risk of online disputes. The service will first be seen at around 50 e-shops including those in entertainment, travel and retail. Visa expects around 200 shops and at least two more commercial banks to join the service this year. In Asia Pacific, the Verified by Visa service has already been implemented by more than 40 card issuers, accounting for 70% of cards in the region. Currently, around 600 e-merchants are implementing the service across the region, Mr Kearney added. (by Karnjana Karnjanatawe)

From http://www.bangkokpost.com 04/02/2003

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Shin Offers E-learning Tools

Shin Broadband Internet (Thailand) has introduced an e-learning service to help content providers build their own e-courses. To date, the company hosts around 30 e-courses over its web site (www.ip-tv.tv) including cooking courses from the popular TV cook Ajarn Yingsak Jonglertjetsadawong, courses on Feng shui, and management training courses of C.E. Enterprise Consulting. ``We try to make the courses more natural and convenient for anyone to study,'' said web content manager Pornvut Ammarasingha. The company uses technologies such as video streaming for presenting the lessons. At the same time, it also has interactive content for learners to read while watching the teacher. They can jump to other topics when they want to, he added. Also integrated in the service is digital rights management technology to protect intellectual property of content. ``The on-demand system we offer is not only convenient for learners to study whenever they want, but it's also easy for teachers to develop a course on their own,'' he noted. The company develops courses with a step-by-step content guide based on its own development tools. Teachers can limit the time of each course, speed the Internet connection from 56.6 to 256 kbps as well as offer online examinations. Files from each student are also recorded. ``We build the tools for content providers to promote their lessons to students worldwide over the Internet,'' noted broadband web development manager Suchitr Sorojsrisom. Although the cost of broadband access is the main obstacle to the growth of the service, it has to invest today in order to lay the foundation for future business, he noted. Shin Broadband Internet has invested around 20 million baht in its broadband content development technology. Recently, the company signed a contract with Burapa University to develop Thai language classes for foreigners, as well as Japanese and Vietnamese language courses. It plans to promote the service to other educational institutions. (by Karnjana Karnjanatawe)

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 04/16/2003

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VIET NAM: US$16.6-Million E-Commerce Development Project Okayed

The Ministry of Trade (MOT) has approved a US$16.6-million project to build technical infrastructure for electronic commerce development in Vietnam, a MOT official said. Information technology centres having software and hardware systems compatible with existing e-commerce networks will be set up on a trial basis in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, the three largest cities in the country. The project is expected to be kicked off in the first quarter of this year and to be completed in late 2004. At present, e-commerce is rated by experts as underdeveloped, partly due to the lack of regulations on e-signature and online payment regulations in the country. As Vietnam encourages Internet industry growth with tax breaks and other IT-friendly policies, e-payment has become a popular tool of business transaction in recent years.

From http://www.bvom.com/ 02/18/2003

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BANGLADESH: Cisco Invests into Creating Global Networking Skills in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh - Cisco Systems today announced the appointment of seven of Bangladesh's premier technical institutes as Cisco Networking Academies. As a result of this announcement, the seven institutes will offer Cisco's global Networking Academy Program to around 350 students annually across five cities in Bangladesh. The seven institutes, along with the Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), will offer a complete, four-semester 280 hours program on the principles and practice of designing, building, and maintaining networks capable of supporting national and global organizations. "Over the past year, Cisco has worked very closely with international agencies and institutes of technical education in Bangladesh to offer world-class networking education. Our long-term intent is to help create a pool of IT professionals who can help drive greater adoption of technology and communications to enable Bangladesh to succeed globally," said Manoj Chugh, President (India & SAARC), Cisco Systems. Cisco has partnered with international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)/Asia Pacific Development Information Program (APDIP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to establish Networking Academies in Bangladesh. In fact, the first Academy in Bangladesh - BUET - was established as a result of the strategic alliance between Cisco and UNDP/APDIP. In the coming year, Cisco will also partner with other international development agencies such as Job Opportunities and Business Support (JOBS), a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project implemented by the IRIS Center at the University of Maryland to set up more Networking Academies across Bangladesh. Currently in it's sixth year of operation, the JOBS Project is a leading donor project which has been instrumental in developing the ICT related sector of Bangladesh, including human resources. Together with the Cisco Networking Academy Program Career Connection, a web site bringing both Academy students and potential employers together, Bangladesh students who have completed the Academy program will now have wider opportunities for jobs in the growing IT industry in the country. The Cisco Networking Academy Program focuses on teaching students how to design, build, and maintain computer networks. The program prepares students for the 21st Century workplace, while serving as a valuable model for eLearning. World over, Cisco has over 10,100 Networking Academies and more than 2,90,000 students.

From http://www.cisco.com/ 01/20/2003

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Online Banking Service in Dhaka EPZ

Standard Chartered Bank will launch its online banking service for entrepreneurs in Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ) very soon. The bank signed an agreement with BEPZA Saturday to start banking service inside the DEPZ, a Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) press release said. Mohammad Didarul Anwar, member of investment promotion and finance of BEPZA, and Zakir H Joarder, head of administration and country security of Standard Chartered, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides. Executive chairman of BEPZA Brigadier General (Retd) M Mofizur Rahman, member (engineering) Abu Reza Khan, general manager (investment promotion) AZM Azizur Rahman, and representatives from the bank, among others, were present on the occasion.

From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 02/03/2003

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BB Governor for Maximum Use of IT in Banking Sector

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed has emphasised on maximum use of information and technology for improvement of the banking sector. Exchanging views with officers and employees of the local branch of Bangladesh Bank on Sunday, he highlighted the ongoing reforms program of the banking sector and stressed development of human resources for making the central bank a time-befitting institution. Later, Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed planted a sapling on the premises of the regional office of Bangladesh Bank. The Bangladesh Bank governor and Executive Director Kazi Anwarul Mahbub arrived here after an official visit to Bogra office on Saturday. They also attended a meeting at the Rangpur RDRS auditorium to exchange views with the representatives of local chamber of commerce and bankers and senior officials of the district administration. General Manager of Bangladesh Bank regional office conducted the session. Underscoring the necessity of establishing small-cottage and agro-based industries, the Bangladesh Bank governor urged the entrepreneurs and the bankers to play their due role for raising the socio-economic condition of the northern region, said a Bangladesh Bank release.

From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 03/04/2003

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Digitised 'Drainage Maps' Developed

Digitised version of 'Drainage Maps' of four pourashabhas -- Mymensingh, Jessore, Tongi and Dinajpur -- have been developed jointly by the government and non-government organizations to encourage environment-friendly urban planning. "These editable software-based maps will work as a living tool in planning the expansion of these four urban areas at any point of time," said Faheem Y Khan of CARE Bangladesh, the major partner in developing the maps. The pourasabhas, LGED and SHAHAR (Supporting Households Activities for Hygiene Assets and Revenue) project of CARE took the initiative to develop the maps a year ago and completed the job with financial assistance from the USAID. Khan said: "We feel that these maps will be of significant benefit to any organization dealing with urban infrastructure in these pourasabhas." The maps would assist the project in planning appropriate drainage structures. Pourasabha staff have been trained on this software and made capable to make changes as and when required. Apart from drainage, other additions such as "garbage dump sites" could be made directly on these maps, Khan said. The maps have been handed over to the four pourasabhas to help those bring about a better life for urban masses.

From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 03/13/2003

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INDIA: IT Boom Has Changed the Image of IIts

MUMBAI: Last week, more than 2,000 alumni came together in Silicon Valley to celebrate the golden jubilee of IIT (Kharagpur) and build an IIT brand. Indeed, most IITians only realise this goodwill when they attempt networking of the non-computer kind. "Whenever we meet a client or venture capitalist, our IIT background gives us instant credibility," says Sandeep Srivastava, recent graduate and founder of a start-up called Myzus. "The initial exercise of generating trust becomes unnecessary." But is this faith and belief in the IITs warranted? What has led to the sudden wave of international recognition? How have these institutes avoided the mediocrity and corruption which infest so much else in India? The IITs benefited greatly because they were born in the same maternity ward as the nation. The fact that Pandit Nehru played fairy godmother ensured extraordinary blessings - residential campuses and generous funds. So, VJTI, with 3,000 students, manages with about Rs 8 crore annually, while IIT (Powai) with 4,700 students, has an annual budget of Rs 100 crore. "More important than the funds, even, is the autonomy that the IITs have to change their curriculum, introduce new courses, and make financial decisions," says Mr Sundaram, pointing out that most other universities are strangled by red tape and state government intervention. "Also, the IITs have benefited from international exposure because they were established with the help of partner countries." IIT (Powai), for example, was created with Soviet assistance, while IIT (Chennai) received German help. The fact that teachers routinely went to Moscow for training, or even that the campus computers gave error warnings prefaced with 'Achtung', imparted a subliminal message. "In my IIT years I metamorphosed from a smalltown boy with limited aspirations to somebody with larger vision. IIT gave us the confidence that we could compete in a world-class environment," says Jitendra Shah, who graduated from Powai in 1972. Adds Deepak Phatak, both alumnus and professor with IIT (Powai), "We always knew we were world-class, but now that is being widely recognised." While the IITs have long been an educational mecca for Indians-an overwhelming 1.78 lakh applicants each year vie for about 3,700 seats-respectability has blossomed into glamour. No longer are the IITs dismissed as a zone of 'muggoos' and greasy mechanical equipment, they are now perceived as incubators of magazinecover success stories. "The IT boom has contributed to the changing image," says Mr Misra, explaining why the IITs have suddenly hopped from the education supplements to the lifestyle sections of newspapers. "Also, those who graduated in the '70s and '80s have reached the top of their organisations. Entrepreneurs who set up companies have reached a high level of recognition." Indeed, that the IITs have produced the likes of Rajat Gupta, Victor Menezes and NarayanA Murthy may have fetched them their '60 minutes' of fame. But there is still a lot of ground to cover, and issues like brain-drain to grapple with. "When it comes to teaching undergraduates, we are as good as the best," says Mr Misra. "But when it comes to research and post-graduate education we are okay-at the level of an average, B-plus American university." Indeed, barring exceptions like the wireless technology from Chennai and prime numbers algorithm from Kanpur, the IITs have achieved few major results and technologies. "The IITs harbour the finest talent in this country, but we haven't yet tapped their full potential," says Spenta Wadia, a physicist with TIFR and graduate of IIT (Kanpur). "From teaching institutes for undergraduates, they need to change gears and also focus on research and innovation. The time has come for a greater synergy between institutions like TIFR which focus on research and the IITs." Behind the buzz and backslapping generated by IIT-50, these issues are being anxiously discussed. Attempts are being made to identify IIT alumni involved in quality research abroad, and to involve them with their alma maters. "If all this leads to the germination of even one big research idea, it is worth more than a billion dollars as far as I am concerned," says Mr Misra. Concurs Mr Phatak, "It's time for the IITs to move onto the next stage of development, to become places which nurture not only great talent, but also great research and ideas." (by Shabnam Minwalla)

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 01/28/2003

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Pre-Paid Booths Remain Shut

NEW DELHI: Pre-paid auto and taxi booths in the city continued to suspend their operations on Wednesday, even as Delhi state chief minister Sheila Dikshit asked lieutenant-governor Vijai Kapoor to intervene and solve the crisis. Dikshit wrote to the L-G on Wednesday asking him to direct the traffic police to adhere to the gazette notification of February 5, regarding the revision of auto fares. The traffic police discontinued the pre-paid booth operations since Monday evening. The traffic police said they had not got any copy of the gazette notification on the fare revision. They maintained the same line on Wednesday as well. Sources, however, said the matter is likely to be resolved on Thursday, when the state transport department will send them a copy of the gazette notification. ''We cannot issue orders for change in fares on the basis of a public notice, which have been published in the newspapers,'' a traffic police official said. Dikshit, in her missive, said the traffic police have ''arbitrarily closed'' down the 28 pre-paid booths in the city. ''This has been done despite sending STA directive on this subject to the Delhi Police by a letter from the joint commissioner (operations) of our transport department on February 6,'' she wrote. But the traffic police said the field personnel were facilitating hiring of autos at reasonable rates from railway stations, airports and inter state bus terminals. Dikshit also said the traffic police have increased the service charges of pre-paid booths from from Rs 2 to Rs 5, without any intimation or approval of the transport department. ''Any change in the service charges should be first discussed with the transport department,'' her letter to L-G said.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 02/12/2003

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Kalam Launches National Social Security Number

NEW DELHI: President A P J Abdul Kalam on Tuesday launched the national social security number, initiated by Employees Provident Fund Organisation, and said social security for the organised and unorganised sector would continue to be the priority of the government. "Social security to the organised and unorganised sector will continue to be the priority of government even in this era of liberalisation," he said here. Considering the need for social security and based on the Second Labour Commission report, Kalam said "an umbrella legislation is being finalised. He said the country could develop only by increasing the productivity in various sectors including electronics, garments and textiles. Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma said the launch of the national social security number (NSSN), initiated by Central Board of Trustee of EPFO, was part of the efforts of EPFO to "re-invent". "We plan to register all our active members within a year and to issue them a social security card," Verma said, adding all efforts would be made to reach out to the entire workforce and allot NSSN to the workers in the unorganised sector also.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 02/25/2003

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Bangalore IT Wizards Take Communities Online

Pantoto, launched by the Bangalore-based TB Dinesh and expatriate Suzan Uskudarli, sees itself as a simple but effective community building tool that just about anybody can use. This online community builder aims to support existing real world communities, by giving them the cyber tools that could make their networking and knowledge sharing more effective and meaningful. "It uses information architecture tools to allow communities to manage and nurture a repository of community knowledge," explains Dinesh. Its goals include providing an online platform, where people who are part of any community (or extended network sharing similar interests) can interact and come together for their common cause. Pantoto seeks to promote information-centric communication, as its developers call it, between members of a community. To keep the software simple, it is small and light in size, and works in any browser- the software widely used to search the Internet. To make the knowledge sharing among any community more effective, this tool offers a well-organised information repository. It says the communication of the group can be "customised to suit the needs of any community" and this also helps the group to build a cost-effective presence on the Internet. This makes people, rather than technology, the key towards leveraging the power of the Internet. Pantoto says it can help groups build an online community, and also put up their treasure-chest of useful and relevant knowledge out there for everyone to share. "With its three basic outputs - a community, knowledge-repository and web-presence - a community can create any output," claims Dinesh. "The output would depend on the information needs of the community and how they choose to structure and manage information." But managing information and sharing it effectively out there on the Internet might not be as simple as it sounds. To be able to run Pantoto, anyone would need just the technical skills of "knowing how to use a web browser", claim its promoters. Web-browsers are very simple tools, used sometimes without even being aware of it, by anyone browsing the Internet. Dinesh, who completed his Ph.D in computer science from the University of Iowa and post-doctoral research at Amsterdam, says: "Pantoto might soon be used for project listing by indic-computing community and CharityFocus India chapters. "But our main work lately has been to work with local NGOs to help them build information management solutions, themselves, for their varied needs." "Pantoto is an attempt to first bring information architecturing to the end-user, where by we hope that organisations (like a typical NGO) can be empowered to be independent of IT consultants for much of their everyday needs and next to provide flexibility with look and feel," says Dinesh. Uskudarli stresses "the importance of structuring information" to make information "accessible and usable" in the long term. "Structuring provides meaning to the information. Thus, intelligent searching, filtering, and other processing such as analysis becomes possible," she adds. Over the past three months, some NGOs have begun using Pantoto with a "little bit of hand-holding and initial training". These include Sakti, a Bangalore-based NGO that works for women empowerment and with communities like landless labour. It is using this tool to capture and analyse information related to a baseline survey of 148 villages in Karnataka. New Horizons, another Bangalore-based group, that helps people with disabilities to get access to jobs and health care, is using it to create a management information system for all products manufactured by their network. (by Frederick Noronha)

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 03/02/2003

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Delhi to Be Number One Cyber City by Dec 2003: Dikshit

Intensifying its efforts to make Delhi the number one cyber city in the country by this year end, Delhi government organized an "IT Road Show" showcasing its successful e-governance projects. "One of the goals of our government was to improve the government-citizen interaction and to make capital the number one cyber city," said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit while inaugurating the function organized by Delhi's Information Technology department. "Trust begets trust. A society moves forward only when its people feel that they are a part of the decision-making. This effort of ours will facilitate a wider dissemination of information to citizens," she said. However, Dikshit said that along with e-governance, the government would also have to simplify the complicated procedures followed by various departments, which in turn would evoke trust among the citizens. Congratulating the IT department for providing computer kiosks in slums, Dikshit said this endeavor would help in narrowing down the "digital divide" between the various strata of the society. Computerization in 23 departments of the Delhi government has been completed with many more departments to go the same way, she added. The show was also attended by Chief Secretary Shailja Chandra, Principal Secretary (IT) S Raghunathan and Special Secretary (IT) Prakash Kumar.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 03/13/2003

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Cyber Cafe for Visually Impaired in Delhi

National Association for the Blind, in association with Microsoft Corporation India, announced the launch of a specialised cyber cafe for the visually impaired, in the capital. The cyber cafe would be equipped with hardware and software which include IBM Pentium IV computers, multi-media kits, scanner, CD writer, Microsoft Windows, a dedicated Local Area Network and a TouchTel Zipnet Internet connection, among other facilities. The cyber cafe, situated at NAB centre for Women is aimed at empowering the visually impaired to surf the Internet using "JAWS" software, which voice enables both input and output commands. This is the second such cyber cafe, launched by Microsoft in association with NAB. The first such cafe was set up in Mumbai in May 2002. The company is planning to provide computer training in the Mumbai centre soon, Rajiv Kaul, MD, Microsoft India said. The cafe was inaugurated by IT secretary Rajiv Ratna Shah in the presence of Rajendra T Vyas, secretary general of NAB India.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 04/04/2003

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e-Counselling for Students

NEW DELHI: A spot of counselling and fewer heartbreaks await aspirants of engineering, technology, pharmacy and architecture education across the country. An interactive website is being created to keep them informed and offer them choices. In line with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the process of admission involving 327,000 students twice the number than in 2002 would be completed by the second week of July in time for the commencement of the academic year the next week, the government announced on Monday. A Central Counselling Board (CCB) set up to help the examinees who appear for the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) has finalised what is billed as "a highly interactive, counselee-friendly and transparent system" that would offer multiple choices to candidates in consultation with their parents and guides. Sources in the HRD ministry claim that in this first-ever effort, time is spent on each candidate to help arrive at a final choice. This is conducted at several of the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Deemed Universities. The National Informatics Centre has launched http://www.ccb.nic.in in association with the Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad, and will also develop counselling software. The institute's director, I C Agarwal, heads the CCB with representatives from UGC, AICTE, CBSE, Director IIT, Hyderabad and vice chancellor, BIT, Ranchi. The NIC will also provide high bandwidth connectivity for on-line counselling. The newly developed counselling model was discussed here last Friday by representatives of 24 institutions, including the IITs, the NITs, deemed universities and IIITs at Allahabad, Gwalior and Hyderabad.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 04/07/2003

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NEPAL: World's Highest Internet Cafe

The grandson of a Nepali sherpa in the first expedition to scale Mount Everest 50 years ago plans to set up the world's highest internet cafe at the mountain's base camp. Tsering Gyaltsen, whose grandfather, Gyaltsen Sherpa, was in the 1953 team that helped Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reach the 8851 metre (29,040 foot) summit, hopes to open the cafe next month to cash in on a flood of visitors for the anniversary. Thousands of trekkers and mountaineers pass through the base camp at 5300m every year and many expeditions carry satellite phones into the Himalayas to run websites about their efforts and contact friends and family at home. The nearest phones are a four-day trek away. Gyaltsen, waiting for government permission to go ahead, will use radio and satellite links and solar and generator power. Money from the cafe will go to a project to clear Everest of the hundreds of tons of garbage left behind every year. Nepal has eight of the world's 14 highest mountains The tens of thousands of foreign tourists they attract annually are a major source of income for what is one of the world's poorest nations.

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/27/2003

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PAKISTAN: IT University Campuses to Be Established

KARACHI, Pakistan (PNS)- The setting up of information technology university in the province is the priority of the government. This was stated by the Sindh Minister for Information Technology, Shabbir Ahmed Qaimi, during a visit to the software company, Kalsoft Complex. He said that the campuses of the IT university will be established in all the districts of the province. The Minister said that IT is the need of the hour in this very modern era and for this work would be initiated from grassroots level so as to fully apprise the people especially the youngsters of the significance of this discipline. He stated that there is a plan of initiating training programmes for the students, teachers as well as the professionals. On the occasion, the Minister also praised the standard of the KalSoft Complex. He also spoke of important role of the private sector towards the promotion and development of IT in the country. The chairman of the group, Hanif S. Kalia pointed out that there are immense prospects for the youngsters in the IT sector in the country. However, he stated that the career guidance was badly needed in this very sector.

From http://www.paknews.com/ 02/05/2003

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ISLAMABAD: IT Projects for BZU, Islamia University Approved

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has approved a Rs30 million project for expansion of existing information technology infrastructure at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, says an official statement. The project was approved at a meeting of the Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP) held recently at the HEC head office in Islamabad. According to the statement, the project will be completed in two years. The main objective of the project is to upgrade the existing Local Area Network (LAN) and to support its extension to three newly constructed hostels, the auditorium and the Saraiki Research Centre. The university's LAN would also be enhanced to provide a dial-in facility to off-campus users and to protect the network from hackers. To promote an effective IT infrastructure within the university, the project will support the establishment of small computer cells in various academic buildings. It will help the university to provide library services, internet services, and access to the digital libraries and the Pakistan University Academic Intranet to the students and staff of the university. The existing computer cells/laboratories of computer science, engineering, agricultural and management sciences departments will also be upgraded under the project. It is anticipated that about 1,200 faculty members and 9,000 students would benefit each year from the upgraded educational environment. A complete website for the university would also be constructed under the project, providing all relevant information for external users. APP ADDS: The HEC has approved a project for computerization and networking enhancement program at Islamia University, Bahawalpur, at a cost of Rs30 million. The project which has been approved by DDWP will be completed in one year. The main objective of the project is to provide internal automation of the three campuses of the university and to develop an infrastructure of e-offices. Local and wide area networks (LAN/WAN) to facilitate secure internet and intranet access for university employees and students will also be established under the project.

From http://www.dawn.com/ 03/31/2003

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AUSTRALIA: New IT Frenzy Akin to Y2K

Companies could face another software and systems investment like the preparations for the Y2K date change. Some businesses preparing for new accounting standards can expect another Y2K headache while the finance industry is juggling multi-million-dollar projects to meet new regulations that are predicted to squeeze IT resources. The next 18 months will be "crunch time" for many businesses, KPMG partner Egidio Zarrella warns; new International Accounting Standards, which require revamped record keeping and reporting practices, may have as much impact as 2000 for some companies. "It's the small to medium businesses that are going to struggle," Zarrella says. For the banks trying to take advantage of new capital adequacy standards under an international agreement, Basel II, the next 18 months will be tight as deadlines will also fall due for new tax changes. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision comprises central banks and regulators who set best-practice standards adopted by 100 countries. The biggest IT challenges for the Basel II agreement - which will allow internal ratings for credit risk - are data availability, consistency, storage and consolidation, with surveys showing issues over interfaces, a lack of historical data and a need for heterogenous databases. At the moment there are standard requirements for capital to be set aside for all banks, but under the new regulations banks will be able to rate their risk against their assets and determine their own capital adequacy subject to regulatory approval. But Basel demands greater transparency including standards for operational risk. A recent KPMG international survey found Australian banks were on track for a final deadline of 2006. The firm also estimated the cost of Basel IT projects for the big banks would be $20 million to $100 million. Software vendors such as SAS are already gearing up for the big sell and predicting that the banks lack the technology required. ANZ chief operating officer, David Boyles, says Basel is in his top five priorities but builds on work the bank is already doing on operational risk management, data collection and cleansing. "It's pretty straightforward (but) clearly Basel is going to drive a fair amount of spend," Boyles says. (by Sue Cant)

From http://www.smh.com.au 02/03/2003

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Canberra Bushfires Put Networks to the Test

The Canberra bushfires could not have come at a worse time for Mike Zissler and his staff as they prepared to open a $15 million process to update the ACT Government's communications networks, which puts a 10-year relationship with Telstra on the block. Meetings were scheduled to begin in Canberra the following Tuesday but now much of the existing infrastructure, from data and voice networks to PCs, has been reduced to cinders. More than 100 delegates representing 43 of the nation's biggest telecommunications providers flew in yesterday to attend the delayed briefing with Zissler, deputy general manager of the InTACT Group, the ACT's IT manager, to discuss the request for proposal (RFP). It covers an initial three-year contract, with an option to extend to five years, covering the management and design of the territory's core and peripheral networks integrating voice, Internet Protocol (IP), video, and mobiles. Zissler said it was a two-week "marathon" for InTACT as it executed a crisis management plan drafted six months ago. "We tested it a number of weeks ago on another matter," Zissler said. "If this had occurred a year ago we would have been in a less viable position." The plan called for a command and control (C&C) centre modelled on military lines to direct assets where they were most needed. Senior management and line staff were rostered on for a possible emergency and, when the fires struck, were directed to places of most need. He said rebuilding was initially hampered by a poor electricity supply, but this was resolved with local generators. Voice and data networks and 60 PCs in huts owned by the ACT Forestry Service melted when the inferno razed the area. The total number of PCs that need to be replaced could increase to hundreds once the full toll is counted. Zissler said in future the group will have a permanent infrastructure in the C&C room ready to switch in. "At the last minute we were plugging cables in. But in future, at the flick of a switch, we would turn it on. And the rostering will continue in a shadow guise so we know who is available so that as things occur we know who to call and when to call them." As staff rebuild, they have a keen eye to future calamity, assessing more closely an existing call in the RFP for wireless transmission. The ACT already uses microwave links for those sites where it is uneconomical to provide cable links. The RFP calls for cost-effective and innovative solutions encompassing the core requirement for a gigabit Ethernet backbone to link 13 important sites in the core network and the Canberra Hospital. Moving across to the new arrangements will start in early September, covering 883 sites, including nearly 13,400 telephone lines, more than 2000 mobile phones and 200 data line services. The proposal envisages 500 remote workers in the next two years, who will connect to the network using broadband xDSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or wireless technologies. The RFP calls for redundant 10Mbps broadband links to the internet to supplement or replace the existing Telstra Bigpond connection. It is anticipated that data, voice and video will be integrated using IP within two years. The ACT is keen to replicate the CSIRO's five-year Voice Over Internet Protocol implementation as a way to deliver greater savings, Zissler said. The ACT progressively changed its suppliers as it tested the market last year, dropping Fujitsu and CSC and taking on Corporate Express, Lexmark, Acer and Ricoh, said InTACT IT buyer Dick Hancock. "It's been long-standing and successful relationship with Telstra but it's time to test the market again," Hancock said. The bid by local ACT broadband telecommunications provider TransACT is not affected by the disaster, according to the company's corporate communications manager, Geoff Harris. (by Nathan Cochrane)

From http://www.smh.com.au/articles/ 02/04/2003

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Brisbane Airport First to Offer Wireless Internet Access

Brisbane airport has become the first in Australia to offer computer users access to wireless connections to the internet. The airport today switched on what are known as WiFi hotspots throughout the domestic and international terminals, so that laptop computers or other equipment can be connected without the need for cables. Brisbane Airport Corporate CEO Koen Rooijmans said the service was available to anyone with a WiFi card.

From http://www.smh.com.au/ 04/10/2003

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CBA's Nine-Year Windows Plan

THE Commonwealth Bank is about to complete an IT project it started in 1994 rolling out Windows-based teller software to all its branches. The Windows-based system has been installed in 320 branches since it was introduced. This has largely been done on an ad-hoc basis, as new branches opened and old systems failed. The Commonwealth's general manager of channel management, Phil Heaney, said the bank decided the time was right to push the system out to the rest of its branch network. Around 700 branches are scheduled to have the system in place by October. The Windows NT-based system was developed in-house by the bank. It will replace a system using Olivetti and NCR computers and terminals that is over 20 years old. Mr Heaney said moving to a Windows-based system would put all branches on the same technology base and network. Telling terminals would also be able to access customer service and other intranet applications. However Mr Heaney said the bank had not short term plans to integrate telling and customer service applications. He said the volume of transactions handled by the telling system ?750,000 per day ?meant it was unfeasible to bring the two together. "The best way we can provide customer service at our tellers is to keep those transactions running through very quickly," he said. The hardware required to implement the systems is being provided under the Commonwealth's existing outsourced arrangement with EDS. Software will be provisioned electronically. The telling application has been routinely updated since it was introduced, with new versions issued around every six months, Mr Heaney said. The decision to roll out the Windows-based system only as required was based on cost, he said. "The other system was fine. It continued to operate, but its just got to the point where we have well and truly extracted our investment out of the life of that system." (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 04/11/2003

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French Polynesia Introduces Broadband, Lower Costs

Papeete (Tahitipresse/PINA Nius) - Tahiti has moved into the Internet fast lane with broadband services. Mana, French Polynesia's Internet service provider, announced this along with a new range of lower prices for all Internet users. A new rate system will bill Internet users by the minute, replacing the previous system of a fixed rate for every eight minutes, the six-year-old Mana announced for its 11,000 Internet subscribers. Mana is a wholly owned subsidiary of the French Polynesia Postal and Telecommunications Department (OPT). Mana also announced fixed rates for a service technically known as A.D.S.L. (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), or what is better known among Internet users as broadband. This service will be billed on the basis of volume of information uploaded and downloaded. Because users may have 24-hour access to the Internet, there is no charge based on the length of time hooked up to the Internet. This new system is aimed at satisfying the consumer, said French Polynesia Vice President Edouard Fritch, who is also the government's minister of new technologies and postal services. The objective is to allow Internet access for everyone, regardless of where they live in French Polynesia, at a cost compatible with a households buying power.

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 04/13/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: Superbank Settles on IT

Superbank, the new bank to be opened in March by supermarket giant Foodstuffs and Australia's St George Bank, will use the same Kiwi outsourcing partner and Australian banking software as fledgling rival Kiwibank. Superbank has outsourced management of its back-end IT infrastructure to Datacom, which is 28 per cent owned by NZ Post, which also hosts Kiwibank. Datacom will host Superbank's hardware in Wellington, including Unix servers from IBM, with a disaster recovery facility located in Auckland. Superbank will use software from Melbourne firm Ultradata, also used by Kiwibank, meaning some features the two banks offer customers are likely to bear a resemblance. Chief operating officer James Munro says it may be three years before Superbank evolves into a full service bank with a comprehensive suite of financial services. Foodstuffs' network of 478 New World, Pak 'N Save, Four Square and Write Price supermarkets potentially give Superbank a bigger branch network than any New Zealand bank. However, operations manager Chris Wood says Foodstuffs doesn't yet have a data network linking its owner-operated supermarkets. This will constrain the range of services that can initially be delivered in-store. Ultracs includes an Internet banking module and Superbank has established a Web presence at superbank.co.nz. The bank will use a call centre in Wellington for phone banking. Mr Munro says six staff are already in place and he expects the call centre to grow to 20 to 30 people by the end of the year. Superbank has outsourced its call centre to Kiwi-owned outsourcer Startel, with telecommunications services provided by TelstraClear. Mr Munro says outsourcing will give the bank greater flexibility when growing its operations. He says Superbank selected Ultracs partly because of its successful track record getting new banks off the ground. Superbank is buying only the modules of Ultracs that it needs for now, he says. Ultracs doesn't provide Superbank with the capability to provide a credit card offering. But Mr Munro indicates the bank does intend to offer credit cards and has a partner in mind. While Ultracs has been proven in the New Zealand market by Kiwibank, it lacks some of the bells and whistles of heavily-customised software run by the big banks, such as sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) tools. "A lot of people are talking about CRM, but very few people are doing it well", says Mr Munro. "It excites me as much as anyone else but making it happen is another issue. Foodstuffs is extremely `into' CRM because of who we are and what we do." Foodstuffs has a 55 per cent share of New Zealand supermarket sales. About 3.2 million visits are made to its stores each week. Superbank has appointed Datacom's former professional services business development manager, Ross McKenna, as its IT manager. Some questions have been raised over the viability of banks which rely heavily on Internet and phone banking, following the recent departure of AMP from the New Zealand banking scene. Mr Wood says Superbank does not compare. "AMP were not well marketed. We are going to be out there and we are going to have a big presence."

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/03/2003

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New Site Links Buyers, Markets

Trade New Zealand expects eventually to have 2500 to 3000 exporters on its new MarketNewZealand.com website, which was officially launched yesterday. The site, which has been in trial mode since it went live in September, has 1900 local suppliers listed and has processed 1300 trade inquiries, of which 600 have been responded to by exporters. MarketNewZealand.com provides a way for international buyers to find quality suppliers from New Zealand more efficiently. Buyers themselves are also vetted but ultimately the responsibility for any transactions rests with the firms involved. Trade New Zealand chief information officer Hans Frauenlob said not all exporters had a web presence but whether they did or not, "the biggest value to exporters is that [the site] provides qualified opportunities". Trade New Zealand does some initial groundwork in each case to ensure leads are not just from "tyre- kickers". Inquiries can also be filtered, for example to limit inquiries from a particular set of countries. The 1300 inquiries so far compare with a total of 3000 each year under the previous, less automated, system. The web-based approach also allows Trade New Zealand to attract buyers and help exporters beyond the 38 overseas posts where it has staff. MarketNewZealand also takes on the role of providing international news and market intelligence information for exporters and export-related local news. Exporters can enter a "profile" and be automatically notified of relevant news and information. Registration is free but exporters must pass a "bar" to be sent inquiries. Each exporter is assigned an account manager to assist. MarketNewZealand.com is the biggest project out of $13.1 million provided by the Government to develop e-business for exporters and is based around the NZ Exporters Online directory. (by Richard Wood)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/11/2003

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Crackdown on IT Firms May Shift to NZ

A crackdown on technology companies by the Australian Taxation Office is likely to have ramifications in New Zealand, says a leading tax expert. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is reported to be auditing more than half a dozen IT companies - the latest step in a clampdown on unjustified transfer pricing practices which is said to have netted the ATO A$655 million (NZ$712 million) during the past three years. Ernst & Young's head of transfer pricing in New Zealand, Leslie Prescott-Haar, says the ATO shares information and cooperates closely with New Zealand's IRD, and the Australian crackdown could prompt greater enforcement activity in New Zealand. She says subsidiaries of multinationals operating this side of the Tasman should take steps to ensure their transfer pricing procedures can withstand scrutiny, if they haven't already done so. IT firms are heavily represented among businesses to which the IRD has sent questionnaires on transfer pricing policies in recent years, but the IRD hasn't so far followed up with significant auditing activity, she says. "I think IRD could do a bit more in terms of audit." Transfer pricing occurs when multinationals charge their subsidiaries for services provided from overseas, such as research and development and the use of the parent's brands and intellectual property. Such charges can be a significant component of the costs accrued by the Australian and New Zealand offshoots of large, multinational IT firms. Multinationals abuse tax rules if they set these charges artificially high - something they may be tempted to do if it lets them export profits to jurisdictions where lower tax rates prevail. Ms Prescott-Haar says technology firms operating subsidiaries in New Zealand can mitigate the risk of falling foul of the IRD by fully documenting their transfer pricing policies and, if necessary, reaching an agreement with the IRD on the value of services provided by offshore parents. The ATO has reportedly singled out IT firms for scrutiny and will use its enforcement in the IT sector as a "template" for other industries. Ms Prescott-Haar says the ATO is also critically examining "commissionaire agent" structures, whereby subsidiaries book a commission on local sales of their company's products as revenue, rather than booking the total value of sales and offsetting the cost of products against that. The commissionaire agent structure is used by the New Zealand subsidiary of American PC supplier Dell, and Ms Prescott-Haar says it is becoming an increasingly popular organizational model in the IT sector. This is often for reasons other than those related to subsidiaries' tax treatment, which can cut both ways, she says. IRD's national adviser on transfer pricing, Keith Edwards, first indicated interest in the IT sector in March 2001, citing concerns over royalty payments made by loss-making subsidiaries to overseas parents. However, the department appeared to equivocate on the extent of transfer pricing-based tax evasion within the IT sector last year, saying it had no evidence profits were being siphoned off to low-tax jurisdictions. It declines to name companies targeted for audits and other enforcement activity.

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/17/2003

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Tourism's Online Voyage

About $1.7 million worth of annual tourism data is now available online in an effort to help New Zealand sharpen up its tourist services and target specific markets. The Tourism Research Council New Zealand website, at www.trcnz.govt.nz, brings together tourism information in a format that allows tourism operators and other users to search and narrow it down into data that is meaningful for them. Tourism Minister Mark Burton says the site will help the tourism sector reach its full market potential and make an even more valuable contribution toward moving New Zealand back to the top half of the OECD. Tourism accounts for nearly 10 per cent of New Zealand's GDP, with international visitor spend for 2002 hitting $5.8 billion. Ministry of Tourism team leader for research, Bruce Bassett, says the site allows people to analyse the characteristics of tourism at a regional as well as national level. Analysing the data for Northland, for example, shows that visitors to the region are high users of rental cars and campervans, visit the Bay of Islands for cruises, take coach trips up to Cape Reinga and do the Kauri Forest loop. It also shows that there are not many hotel or accommodation providers in certain places that enable them to stay over longer - potentially useful information for an accommodation provider. "It's data that the users of the information can draw conclusions from." Information such as what activities each nationality seems to favour, arrival and departure points for each grouping, how much money they spend and how they travel internally is available. Mr Bassett says regions could use the information to decide which tourists they want to target. The data includes material received in about 50,000 survey questionnaires from accommodation providers, arrival and departure forms - of which about five million are filled out each year. However, though the information could be a gold mine for tourist operators, access in the past was difficult, with some content held in paper form and some held electronically. The site, developed by Kiwi companies Intergen, Information Tools and Lancom, allows information to be sliced and diced and presented in a range of comparative graphs, charts or reports. Development company Intergen developed the site while Information Tools established the data management capability. Lancom hosts the databases and provides the servers. The University of Waikato established and will maintain the index of tourism research. Work on the website arose from the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2010, which recommended improving the structures that support the sector, especially in the area of research and development. (by Heather Wright)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/25/2003

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Kiwi Website Wins Award

A New Zealand website for budding local historians, www.livingheritage.org.nz, has beaten 109 entries from around the world to take a Global Junior Challenge award. The Global Junior Challenge is an annual international competition organized by the City of Rome, recognizing projects which implement information and communication technologies to support youth education and training. Living Heritage was established in 2001 with seed funding from the National Library, 20:20 Communications Trust, Sun Microsystems and The Learning Centre Trust of New Zealand - an organization comprising CWA New Media and Multi Serve Education Trust. It is the sole New Zealand winner. Four hundred and thirty contenders from 64 countries entered the competition, vying for 24 awards across five categories. Living Heritage is a bilingual website that enables New Zealand schools to develop and publish online resources telling their communities' stories. More than 120 schools are involved in the project with 11 having already published projects on the website covering topics such as Chinese people in Otago, Wellington's Pilot's Cottage and Recycling at Campbell's Bay Primary School. The Living Heritage site won the category for "Projects for users up to 18 years old" along with an Israeli website, www.friendsandflags.org. Learning Centre Trust of New Zealand chairman David Copeland says the Living Heritage site celebrates and preserves New Zealand's heritage and taonga while encouraging young people to become local historians and storytellers. The site has won the support of the National Library's acting assistant for collection management, Geraldine Howell. "We see this as an opportunity for young people to create a digital record of the historic, present and future heritage of New Zealand which the library can showcase and from which we can establish a permanent collection for the benefit of future generations," she says. (by Heather Wright)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 04/07/2003

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CHINA: IT Lessons Offered

The Shanghai government will provide information technology skill training to 1 million community residents from 2003 to 2005. The training project, sponsored by the government, will focus on local women aged between 35 and 60 years old who will receive lessons how to use computers. This year, 200,000 women will receive such training, according to officials.

From http://www.sh.gov.cn/ 02/20/2003

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e-Government Summit Hong Kong 2003

e-Government Summit Hong Kong 2003, July 15-16, is the first of its kind event being held in Hong Kong. It aims to serve as a medium to publicize government's IT initiatives and demonstrate the progress of its achievements. The framework and approach creates a platform for e-Government practitioners and IT professionals in Asia Pacific to exchange valuable experience and update latest e-Government technology.

From http://www.egov-summit.com.hk/ 03/04/2003

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Local Families to Receive Internet Training

Local government launched a new project aiming to train at least 1 million local families on Internet surfing skills and web-related programs yesterday. Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu, city mayor Han Zheng, vice mayor Yang Xiong and other high-ranking government officials attended the project launch ceremony. The project includes computer skills training, family web-surfing programs and lectures to introduce various online services for communities and families. Mayor Han Zheng spoke highly of the project and hoped it would contribute to the city's general objective of building Shanghai into a digital metropolis by 2007.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 03/26/2003

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Shanghai Women to Get Free IT Training

A million residents in the Shanghai are set to receive IT training over the next few years as part of efforts to make the metropolis a "digital city." The massive education campaign is expected to take three to five years and aims to equip citizens with basic technology skills in areas such as computer usage and the operation of television set-top boxes, China's Xinhua newswire reported. It is targeted mainly at urban residents, in particular, the most IT-unschooled such as women aged 35 to 60, said the report. In addition to computerizing government and corporate sectors, getting households up to speed in technology is another important step towards making Shanghai a "digital city" by 2007, Han Zheng, the city's mayor, was quoted as saying. As of December last year, Shanghai has an Internet penetration rate of 32 percent with an online population of 4.2 million. Of this, about 350,000 are using broadband services, said the report.

From CNET News.com 03/31/2003

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Web Conference Logs on in June

The Second Internet Conference of China is scheduled to run from June 16 to 20 at the Beijing International Convention Centre. Organized by the Internet Society of China, the event is expected to discuss the latest development of the Internet and help boost its development in China. According to the organizing committee, a series of seminars and forums will be launched focusing on many aspects such as e-commerce, mobile Internet and e-government. An exhibition on the latest achievements and applications of the Internet is also to be held. More than 2,000 participants are expected at the event.

From China Daily 04/07/2003

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Seminar on Development of Shanghai Bank Card Industry Held

Information came form the Seminar on Development of Shanghai Bank Card Industry 2003 that the bank card complaint hot line will be set up in Shanghai this year which enables the townspeople to supervise the environment of bank cards acceptance and create soft environment. Up to the end of 2002, Shanghai has seen a total of 35,650,000 bank cards issued out, making a total transaction amount of 106.5 billion Yuan, 40 % up than that of the previous year. Environment for the using of bank cards has been further improved whereto some 857 commercial enterprises in shopping centers on the city level such as the East Nanjing Rd., the Yu Garden market and the HuaiHai Central Rd., etc. Last year the consumption amount on POS machines by the townspeople made up around 15% of the total amount of the social commodity retailing. Aiming at the goal to ?°„Build the center for domestic bank card industry in three years?°ņ, the informatization office of Shanghai Municipal People??s Government will emphasize on the improvement of environment for bank card acceptance and cultivation of the townspeople??s habit in using bank cards. Except for the complaint hotline, the Informatization office of Shanghai Municipal People??s Government will appoint some citizens as ?°„volunteer surveillants?°ņ and take part in important hearings on discovering problems in the acceptance of bank cards.

From http://www.infooffice.sta.net.cn/ 04/08/2003

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JAPAN: 10th Multimedia Seminar on Possibility of TV

The Kansai International Public Relations Promotion Office (KIPPO) and the Kansai Press Club held the 10th Multimedia Seminar at the Osaka International Convention Center on February 7 to promote exchanges among members as well as between the members and media organizations. The participants numbered 110. The theme this time was the 'possibility of TV in the digital age.' Hideki Maekawa, senior operating officer of Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS), was invited to the seminar as a lecturer. Maekawa talked about the significance of high-precision and multi-channel broadcasting from a viewpoint of an 'information sender.'

From http://www.kippo.or.jp/ 02/12/2003

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JAPAN: International KEITAI Forum in Kyoto City

The second 'International KEITAI Forum,' where information about Keitai (an all-encompassing name for mobile communication devices and services, including cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and car navigation systems) comes together, will be held at the Heian Jingu Shrine in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, on February 19-20. The sponsor is the International KEITAI Forum Promotion Committee, headed by Yoshio Tateishi, vice chairman of the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and comprising the Kyoto Prefectural Government, the Kyoto municipal government, the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Kyoto Industrial Association and the Kyoto Industrial Support Organization 21. In addition to the exhibition of products and services by 24 Keitai-related enterprises and organizations, Japanese and Chinese Keitai-related company executives and experts will exchange opinions about Keitai society and industry in the future at a round-table conference. The panelists include Takeo Shiina, senior adviser of IBM Japan Ltd., Tetsuya Mizoguchi, director of Toshiba Corp., Liu Dong, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Beijing Internet Institute, and Lai Xiaorong, general manager of the Mobile Telecom System Division of Beijing Capitel Co. Ltd.

From http://www.kippo.or.jp/ 02/12/2003

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International Forum on Asian Urban Problems

The Osaka International House Foundation will sponsor an international forum on Asian urban problems at the Large Hall of International House in Osaka's Tennoji Ward on March 11 and 12. The International Forum 'Asia Looking to the Future' will discuss problems faced by large cities and international cooperation among large cities under the main theme of 'Globalisation and Decentralisation-Osaka, Exploring the Possibilities of International City-to-City Cooperation'. The forum will be jointly supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Osaka Prefectural Government, the Osaka Municipal Government and the Osaka Broadcasting Station of Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and others. The forum will be the third of its kind, with the first held in 1998 and the second in 2001. Hans van Ginkel, rector at the United Nations University, will deliver a keynote lecture. It will be followed by three sessions to be held under the theme of 'Problems Faced by Cities within the Asia Pacific Region,' 'The Decentralisation Trend and City-to-City Cooperation,' and 'Fostering City-to-City Cooperation that Respects Cultural Diversities.' Scholars and administrative officials from Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia, India and other Asian countries will take part in discussions. A summary session will summarize discussions at the sessions and propose a specific action program to be undertaken by local governments, NGOs, NPOs and ordinary citizens to deal with urban problems in the Asia-Pacific Region and foster cooperation among large cities.

From http://www.kippo.or.jp/ 03/05/2003

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Osaka Sets Up IT Promotion Institute for Java

The Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) has set up the 'Osaka IT Promotion Institute for Java Technology' jointly with the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at Osaka University, and Sun Microsystems Inc. to educate programmers of the Java language which will lead the next-generation software industry and promote Java technology in Osaka Prefecture. Java is a programming language for the Internet Sun Microsystems of the United States developed in 1995. Unlike other computer programming languages, Java depends less on equipment in which programs work, and theoretically, once the programming has been worked out, it can work under any condition. Therefore, applications made by Java are of multipurpose ones, and it is sought that business enterprises mutually use it effectively. But Osaka seriously lacks personnel who can use Java compared with Tokyo, making it unable to catch up with expanding demand for Java. The OCCI has thus inaugurated the IT promotion institute so that Java technology can be penetrated into the prefecture. The chamber will open a beginners' course for six times from March 29, and is also scheduled to hold advanced practical-use courses, promote the distribution of Java technicians and develop applications by contract.

From http://www.kippo.or.jp/ 03/19/2003

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Robodex: Japan's Robot Expo Opens

It's Robodex time in Japan again and that means a gamut of new robots including both improved and upgraded models and brand new machines, many from companies presenting their first work in the fast-growing field of robotics. Among the companies demonstrating new robots are Toshiba Corp., which is showing the ApriAlpha 1, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which is demonstrating its Wakamaru humanoid robot. Humanoid robots make up a large proportion of the robots on display at this year's show. Some robots, familiar to visitors to previous exhibitions, are back in upgraded versions. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. unveiled Wednesday a slightly modified version of its Asimo that can walk at about twice the pace of its predecessor while Sony Corp. took the wraps off the latest version of its SDR-4X, which has had major increases in abilities and intelligence, according to the company. The Sony robot isn't on sale yet but is intended to be an entertainment device much like the company's Aibo robot dogs. Honda is developing Asimo for potential use as a home help. Other companies are also developing robots that are intended to help people. Tmsuk Inc.'s Banryu will shortly go on sale and is intended to act as the eyes and ears of someone while they are, for example, away from home. To demonstrate its potential the company plans to send it CD shopping in central Tokyo over the next two days while controlling it from the Robodex hall in Yokohama. It's not all commercial robots. Several Japanese universities that lead in robot research are also at the fair and will be showing their latest research and development efforts. Unlike the work being done by major companies, the university research is usually concentrated on a narrow area of robotics, such as developing ways to make human-robot interaction easier, and the prototypes on display are less polished. The show, which is being held for the third time, is expected to draw around 70,000 people over its four-day run at the Pacifico Yokohama center. Organizers say there will be 79 different robots on display from 35 groups and organizations. More information can be found on the web at http://www.robodex.org.

From http://www.idg.net/ 04/02/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Busan Selected as Host City of ITU Telecom Asia 2004

The Ministry of Information and Communication announced on Thursday (April 10) that Korea's southeastern port city of Busan would host the ITU Telecom Asia, the largest IT trade show in Asia, in October 2004. The biennial event, ITU's seventh for the Asia-Pacific region, will be held at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO).

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 01/12/2003

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Ministry to Finance Specialized Training for IT Students

The Ministry of Information and Communication announced on Friday (Feb. 7) that it would provide a total of 3.9 billion (about $3.5 million) won to help college students, jobseekers or the unemployed with IT majors get specialized training starting from March.

From Ministry of Information and Communication of Korea 02/07/2003

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MALAYSIA: Institutes to Provide E-training on Work Skills

SHAH ALAM: The 20 industrial training institutes in the country will train prospects through the Internet under a Human Resources Ministry programme to reach out to more people to improve their work skills. The ministry manpower department has prepared 42 modules under the e-training programme for short-term courses on subjects which include automobile maintenance, plastics technology, controls system, tool and dye and information and communications technology. The fees would be kept low as the focus was on creating a knowledgeable workforce, said Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn. He said under the programme first phase, the ministry has set aside RM25mil to upgrade the Local Area Network (LAN) facility at these institutes. The cost for the module development under this phase will be about RM16.7mil. The second phase will involve specifications for the Wide Area Network (WAN) facility and will costs about RM60mil. Once this is in place, students from the various institutes could interact online, he told a press conference after attending a briefing at the Centre For Instructor and Advanced Skill Training here yesterday. He said the modules for the e-training were mainly on upgrading of skills.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/22/2003

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Developing Talents in Technology

ONE key factor that can impede Malaysia's effort to become a highly industrialised and knowledge-based economy is the lack of talents in the science and technology field. The country thus needs to develop a large pool of talents in this field to ensure the success of its industrialisation programme, says Datuk Dr Samsudin Tugiman, executive director of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM). He points out that the first step towards this is in increasing awareness about science and technology among the public. Everyone, he stresses, must be made to realise that scientific information and knowledge pervade society and the future belongs to anyone well attuned to the emerging state-of-the-art technologies. Those who choose to ignore science are disempowered in today's increasingly technological world. "Basically, we live in a society where a majority of people are fearful of science and technology," Samsudin says. "We have to wipe that feeling out and make that (science and technology) a part of our culture," he says, adding that with acceptance and willingness to indulge in science and technology, it will become easier for the country to develop the talents. According to him, a right start in this direction will be to create awareness among the younger generation on the importance of science and technology, and to provide the right pathways for them to indulge in this field. "We must encourage children to view science as part of their daily lives and continuously provide support for young minds to indulge in scientific research," he says. Children, he adds, must be grounded with the right foundation, thinking tools and guidance to lead the technological drive. Based on this premise, ASM has entered into a collaboration with Intel Malaysia which will see scientists and researchers from the academy playing a greater role at the Intel Science Camps in guiding, preparing and mentoring students with the best methodology and approaches to do research-based projects. The science camp, Samsudin says, can spur young people interest and positive impression in science. This, he adds, will become a vital factor in drawing their indulgence in science and technology. The Intel Science Camp is a training ground for budding scientists to learn the methodology of conducting science research in accordance with standards found at international science competitions. The camp aims to develop students' interest to participate in science fairs, to encourage best practices in science and to promote an inquiry-based learning environment. The ASM will jointly conduct five science camps in different parts of the country for teachers and students from Form Two and Four, and linking members and networking partners of the academy to mentor student research projects from the camp to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) and its affiliate fairs in the country. In addition to the partnership with Intel, the ASM has several plans drawn up to create a culture of science and technology among the younger generation in the country. Among the initiatives to be undertaken are a game show on science and technology, introduction of the learning station concept in schools and a nationwide youth programme similar to the Rakan Muda project, Samsudin says. "We are looking into creating as many science activities as possible for children and the general public in order to keep the interest going," he says. The game show, for example, will be aired on television to spur the interest and willingness to acquire knowledge in the science and technology fields, Samsudin says. "Similar to the current game shows on TV which emphasise more on general knowledge, we will introduce one that focuses on science and technology," he says. "As Malaysians typically like game shows, this will be a good platform to create enthusiasm about a certain field of study at the grassroots level." On the learning station concept, Samsudin says the ASM intends to work with the Education Ministry to enable students to learn the actual workings of an industry. This will involve collaboration with industries to allow students visiting their facilities to get first-hand exposure. The idea here is that by seeing what they have learnt in the classroom in real-life applications, students will understand the concept better, he explains. Currently, the academy conducts the National Science Quiz in collaboration with the Education Ministry for secondary schools, and will be soon introducing the competition for primary schools. The academy also conducts lectures for students to share knowledge, discoveries and information about careers in the science and technology field to draw the students' interest. Besides these activities, the academy also publishes estidotmy (Era Sains Teknologi dan Informasi), a publication which disseminates scientific information to students. (by Chandra Devi)

From http://www.emedia.com.my/ 03/24/2003

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PHILIPPINES: Cedf-It to Set Up I.T. Testing Center

CEBU will soon have a testing center where information technology (IT) professionals can take examinations and gain certifications from the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for IT (Cedf-it). A certification means Cedf-it sees a certain IT professional to be skilled in a certain programming language, said Cebu Investment Promotions Center (CIPC) managing director Joel Mari Yu. CIPC's expertise has been tapped by Cedf-it for the procurement of 20 personal computers that would be needed for the testing center. Yu said his office is also helping Cedf-it get funds for the development of testing modules for the different programming languages such as Java, C++, and Visual Basic. The development of each module for a language is estimated to cost P80,000, he said. Cedf-it is a consortium of government agencies, IT-related companies and the academe. Its main thrust is to improve the quantity and quality of IT human resources in Cebu to be able to achieve Cebu's vision of becoming an IT hub in the Philippines. Yu said Asiatown IT Park developer Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. had already pledged to house the testing center inside the IT park. Also, 30 large companies have committed to donate computers-either brand-new or used-for the testing center, he said. As of last week, Yu said, CIPC had already gathered 12 computer units. (by Jessica B. Natad)

From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 02/14/2003

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ADB Gives SEC New Technical Assistance for Capacity Building

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has again granted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a technical assistance for the agency's internal capacity building.According to ADB representative Chie Kashiwabara, the multilateral agency has given six of SEC's departments including the Office of the General Accountant operation manuals as part of the technical assistance.The SEC has been a recipient of many of ADB's financial and technical assistance which is part of the latter's commitment to aid in the development of the Philippine capital market and the strengthening of SEC as the country's corporate regulator.In view of this, ADB has recently funded the purchase of a real-time surveillance and risk management software called Advanced Warning And Control System (AWACS) for the use of the SEC in combating fraud and manipulation in the country's financial market .AWACS is designed to protect the integrity of the market from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices associated to trades occurring in the financial markets. The system enhances the capability of the SEC to oversee the Philippine capital market particularly the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).According to the SEC, AWACS is capable of doing Post Trade and Order Analysis and Visual Event Response Builder or VERB. The Post Trade and Order Analysis feature enables analysis through graphical charts filters. VERB meanwhile is a customization tool to facilitate the creation of user defined logic for alerts in addition to the online and off-line alerts.The installation of AWACS will be in tandem with SEC's efforts to boost investor confidence in the Philippine capital market by adopting the new technology. The SEC is in the process of fully computerizing its system and has started with the launch of SEC-iRegister System in June of 2002. The ADB has likewise funded the newly launched Accounting Standards Website, a project of the SEC in collaboration with the Philippine Institute of Public Accountants (PICPA), the Board of Accountancy (BoA), Professional Regulatory Council (PRC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Commission on Audit (CoA), the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and Bearing Point, a private company. According to the SEC, the website (http:/www.picpa.com.ph/adb) which will be hosted and maintained by PICPA will place the Philippines in equal footing with other countries that adhere to global standards.The website features comprehensive information on the basis for the country's adoption of the International Accounting Standards (IAS), the different agencies and organizations involved, the accounting standards and their schedule of adoptions, the pertinent exposure drafts, as well as the training sessions and materials in relations to the standards. The site also highlights the transition from the old US-based accounting standards to the now more acceptable IAS. (by Ana Marie Macuja)

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 03/18/2003

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STI Franchise Drives IT Education to Greater Business Heights

The STI franchise drives the Information Technology education to greater business heights. The STI Education Services Group (ESG), with the boom of information and communications technology (ICT) in the country, has made a resolve to educating thousands of students who intend to make a difference in their careers. Maria Halili was among the few who dared to choose the path of acquiring an STI franchise this past decade. Halili, a doting mother of three who offered her building premises in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, took part in spearheading quality ICT centered education to more people in the provinces by investing in the business. Halili, since the construction of the STI-Sta. Maria branch in 1998, made her dramatic transformation from simple housewife to a topnotch educator with her position as the school's chief executive officer. "I always believed that ICT education is an investment that will pay off while coping with the changes in the corporate world. It's something you build over time because going into school franchising is a slow but sure business," said Halili. "If ever one will choose ICT School franchising, it's best to take the plunge with STI. STI has been supportive in giving us all the training and technical assistance that we needed," she added. Halili recalled that Mrs. Victoria Madrigal, who was then in charge of branch expansion, convinced her to lease the family-owned building for construction of an ICT training center. Madrigal told her that the qualities needed in taking an STI franchise is having a good business sense and experience, willingness to run and manage full-time, personal integrity and solid financial resources. Beyond the financial viability of an STI franchise, Halili shared STI's passion to make a difference in the lives of people.

From http://www.sunstar.com.ph/ 04/23/2003

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THAILAND: Bank to Provide Finance for Budget Computers, Training

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry will work with the Government Savings Bank (GSB) to introduce loans for low-cost computers and for providing training to software developers. The ICT Ministry and the Education Ministry have also announced that they will work with private companies to train 4,000 teachers to build up interactive courseware this month. ICT Minister Dr Surapong Suebwonglee said talks with the GSB would be held to discuss details of the projects. ``We will ask GSB to set up a loan for those who want to own low-cost desktop PCs,'' he said, adding that the specification is being discussed with the Thai Computer Manufacturing Association. TCMA chairman Pisit Perksanusak told Database that the expected price would be around 12,000 baht and the preparation process was around 80 percent complete, with only the final price from suppliers and some details still open. ``This will be a special project which is designed for entry-level computer users,'' he said, adding that the final agreement is expected at the end of April. Another loan project will be established for training around 5,000 software developers. The budget for 10-month workshops is around 100,000 baht per person. After training, students will also be guaranteed a job for at least one year so that they can pay back the loan, said Dr Surapong. The project was proposed by the Association of Thailand Software Industry (ATSI).ATSI vice president Anukul Tamprasirt said the aim was to enhance skills to maintain economic growth. Meanwhile, the ICT Ministry will team up with the Education Ministry, the Kenan Institute Asia, TOT Corp, the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT), Oracle Systems (Thailand) and School Master 2002 (Thailand) to train 4,000 teachers. The effort is a ``Train the Trainer''sub-project and part of the national campaign of ``Developing Thai Youths with ICT''. Dr Surapong said the cost of nationwide teacher training is around 27 million baht, with most of the cost being absorbed by the alliance. After the national campaign was launched in February, it received around four million baht in donations and 8,636 PCs. Some broken PCs were fixed by CAT officers. The computers will start being distributed to schools this month and Internet connections will be supported by TOT. The teachers will be trained to create animation and graphics based on PhotoShop and Flash. In addition, they will also learn how to use educational tools from Oracle's Think.com and the e-community service of SchoolMaster 2002 (Thailand).``We expect to see one CAI (computer-aided instruction) program from each teacher,'' Dr Surapong said, adding that one teacher will be a trainer for five more teachers. Within the next six months, around 20,000 teachers and 400,000 students will have CAI and Internet literacy, he claimed. By the end of next year, the government plans to provide telephone lines and Internet connections to every high school, including those in remote areas. ``They might need to have satellite links instead of having wireline service,'' he noted. The ICT Ministry also plans to organise a nationwide CAI contest in the future. For further contributions to the Developing Thai Youth with ICT project, visit the ICT Ministry web site at www.ict.go.th or call the CAT on 1545. (by Karnjana Karnjanatawe)

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 04/02/2003

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VIET NAM: Training Course on Building TCVN- Net and Data- Associated Child Websites

Implementing the guidance of Directorate for Standards and Quality (STAMEQ) Leadership and supports from Office of small and medium enterprise development Project of the Republic of Germany, training course on skills of building and administering TCVN- Net and Data- Associated Child Websites of Provincial Departments for Standards, Metrology and Quality was held by Information Center for Standards, Metrology and Quality from 26 to 28 March 2003 in Da Nang city. Headers and officials from 16 Provincial Departments such as Thanh Hoa, Nam Dinh, Hoa Binh, Thua Thien- Hue, Ha Nam, Vinh Long, Lai Chau, Bac Ninh, Hung Yen, Quang Ngai, Da Nang, Quang Binh, Binh Phuoc, Ca Mau, Hai Phong and Thai Binh were attended. Information Technology Section under the Information Center has successfully studied and built software helping Provincial Departments build, update and administer by themselves their website in order to link with TCVN- Net of STAMEQ, forming system of websites associating with Internet, exchanging, exploiting information and propagating Standards, Metrology and Quality activities at the Locals. Visitor can access the websites of these above Provincial Departments according to the address http://www.tcvn.gov.vn/name of Provincial Departments, such as http://www.tcvn.gov.vn/thaibinh/ in order to get information of Thai Binh Provincial Department Website. The training course ended in success and met demands of the Provincial Departments.

From http://www.tcvn.gov.vn/ 04/01/2003

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The Economist Intelligence Unit/Pyramid Research E-Readiness Rankings

Education and literacy are necessary preconditions to a population's ability to navigate the web and drive future domestic Internet development. Because entrepreneurship and risk-taking play such an important role in building new e-commerce models, we also assess the national proclivity to business innovation and receptiveness to web content. Key points: Australia comes second only to the US in "e-readiness" °§Business agility and smart policy trump size and wealth °§North America and northern Europe are the most e-savvy regions °§Emerging markets rank lower but still offer pockets of e-business promise New rankings from the Economist Intelligence Unit and Pyramid Research showcase the importance of smart government policy in promoting e-business Dotcoms are in their death throes and NASDAQ has plummeted, so global e-business must be in trouble, too? Hardly. Just as far-sighted companies are pushing ahead with e-business initiatives (though now with more emphasis on cost-cutting efficiencies), so countries are continuing to embrace the Internet as an ideal conduit to the global marketplace. For many, indeed, e-business represents a chance not only to connect with the rest of the world but also to catch up. Just how are countries around the world faring in their efforts to harness the Internet? Which are moving rapidly to upgrade their communications infrastructure and dismantle barriers to global e-commerce, and which are merely giving the Internet lip service? In an effort to answer these questions, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), together with its specialist communications and Internet division, Pyramid Research, has compiled a new and enhanced edition of its "e-readiness rankings" (see table). Drawing on its extensive country and industry expertise, and using a powerful new methodology, the EIU has scored the 60 largest economies on "e-readiness". "E-readiness" is shorthand for the extent to which a country's business environment is conducive to Internet-based commercial opportunities. It is a concept that spans a wide range of factors, from the sophistication of the telecoms infrastructure to the security of credit-card transactions and the literacy of the population. Countries need to tick off a long list of prerequisites, we assume, before they can stimulate the creative ferment that the US has witnessed over the past five years. The e-readiness rankings are useful not only for executives keen on using the Internet to expand into new markets; they also provide an invaluable benchmark for the countries themselves. "What's useful about these readiness assessments," noted Ambassador Alan P. Larson, the US Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, in an interview last year with the EIU ebusiness forum, the free website on global e-business for which the rankings were created, "is that it lets a country look at itself and make an assessment and say to itself, 'You know, if we really do want to seize this opportunity, we are going to have to make some changes'." Who's ahead in the e-business race? The US, predictably, comes in first. But there are surprises elsewhere. Australia takes second place, putting English-speaking countries in the top four slots, with the UK placing third and Canada, fourth. Nordic countries claim four of the next five places, thanks to sophisticated telecoms, high mobile-phone penetration and gadget-savvy populations. Asia plants its flag as well, with seventh-ranked Singapore outclassing the rest of Europe.Among the main conclusions suggested by the new rankings: Policy matters. The legend of the Internet is that it has evolved so successfully precisely because it escaped government notice and thrived on self-regulation. It is true that an entrepreneurial culture is unambiguously good for e-business. But active government support is important as well. A prerequisite to affordable Internet access, for instance, is a competitive telecoms market. So for countries where a monopoly provider has traditionally supplied a large chunk of state revenues, e-business cannot take flight unless the government moves boldly and firmly to liberalise the sector. The importance of a regulatory regime geared to e-business is clear in our rankings; it the main factor that puts Australia 18 places ahead of its neighbour New Zealand, which ranks only 20th. Agility trumps size ... Some of the world's biggest countries score very low on our list. India, for instance, ranks 45th, despite a world-class cadre of software programmers and a booming outsourcing industry for everything from call centres to medical transcription. China fares even worse, at 49th, even though it boasts one of the world's fastest-growing Internet populations. The two countries score poorly despite such pockets of promise because poverty, illiteracy and infrastructure inadequacies prevent e-business from gaining critical mass. ... and wealth. That said, wealth does not automatically translate into e-business prowess; this is clear if the rankings are compared with figures on GDP per head. A strategic embrace of high-tech industries and broadband Internet access can help a nimble economy like Taiwan leap-frog a GDP heavyweight such as Japan in "e-readiness", and puts South Korea ahead of wealthier Italy. The US and Europe are not alone. In regional terms, the e-business race is hard to call. Top scores go easily to North America and Western Europe, but elsewhere the outlook is more ambiguous. Asia is a study in contrasts, with standouts such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan and laggards like Pakistan and Vietnam. More uniform regions offer contrasts as well. Although countries in Latin America and Eastern Europe cluster at the middle of the rankings, Hungary is a far cry from Ukraine and Chile is a world away from Ecuador. Even Africa and the Middle East, where scores are generally low, boasts aspiring digital economies such as Egypt and South Africa. Diversity is the global rule. The overarching message of our rankings, then, is one of individual achievement. Particularly in the developing world, most countries come to the Internet with some formidable handicaps; where telephones are scarce and literacy meagre, countries face an uphill battle to achieve even rudimentary "e-readiness". Still, there is room for manoeuvre even there, and the four groups into which we have divided our 60 countries are destined to be fluid: °§E-business leaders These countries already have most of the elements of "e-readiness" in place, though there are still some concerns about regulatory safeguards. °§E-business contenders These countries have both a satisfactory infrastructure and a good business environment. But parts of the e-business equation are still lacking. °§E-business followers These countries--the largest group in our rankings--have begun to create an environment conducive to e-business, but have a great deal of work still to do. .E-business laggards These countries risk being left behind, and face major obstacles to e-business growth, primarily in the area of connectivity. Methodology: How we derive the scores Our first round of e-readiness rankings, published to mark the May 2000 launch of the EIU ebusiness forum, were a rough proxy for "e-readiness", combining two variables: the EIU's business environment rankings, which themselves encompass 70 separate indicators, and Pyramid's connectivity scores. (Click here to read about the earlier scores.) Our new model is far more robust, thanks to the growing body of knowledge on the drivers of e-business worldwide. It tallies scores across six categories--including the business environment rankings--and 19 additional indicators. Each variable in our model is scored on a scale from one to ten. Where possible, the variables-connectivity in particular-rest on quantitative, statistical data; others reflect qualitative assessments by our country analysts. In devising the more sophisticated methodology, we weighed the factors we believe determine whether a country is prepared to seize the opportunities presented by the Internet. Our guiding assumption remains that successful e-business is not possible without a positive business climate overall. But we also take into account more specific elements of Internet and e-business infrastructure: not just connectivity, but also social and cultural factors, the legal environment for e-business, the development of e-commerce and the existence of supporting e-services. The six categories that feed into our rankings (and their weight in our model) are: Connectivity (30%). E-business simply cannot function without adequate telecommunications and Internet infrastructure. "Connectivity" measures the access that individuals and businesses have to basic fixed and mobile telephony services, including voice and both narrowband and broadband data. Affordability and availability of service (both a function of the level of competition in the telecoms market) also figure as determinants of connectivity. Business environment (20%). In evaluating the general business climate, the EIU screens 70 indicators covering criteria such as the strength of the economy, political stability, the regulatory environment, taxation, and openness to trade and investment. The resulting "business environment rankings" measure the expected attractiveness of the general business environment over the next five years. Calculated regularly as part of the EIU's Country Forecasts, these rankings have long offered investors an invaluable comparative index for 60 major economies. E-commerce consumer and business adoption (20%). Payment and logistics systems form the backbone of this set of criteria. Here we evaluate the extent of credit-card ownership as well as the existence of secure, reliable and efficient electronic payment mechanisms, the ability of vendors to ensure timely and reliable delivery of goods, and the extent of website development by local firms. Legal and regulatory environment (15%). The legal framework governing e-business is a vital factor than can enhance or inhibit the development of electronic trading. We consider the extent of legal support for virtual transactions and digital signatures. Ease of licensing and the ability of firms to operate with a minimal but effective degree of regulation are other criteria. Supporting e-services (10%). No business or industry can function efficiently without intermediaries and ancillary services to support it. For e-business markets, these include portals and other online intermediaries, web-hosting firms, application service providers (ASPs), as well as website developers and e-business consultants. The rankings assess the extent to which local companies and organisations have access to these services. Social and cultural infrastructure (5%). Education and literacy are necessary preconditions to a population's ability to navigate the web and drive future domestic Internet development. Because entrepreneurship and risk-taking play such an important role in building new e-commerce models, we also assess the national proclivity to business innovation and receptiveness to web content.

From http://www.bvom.com/ 04/11/2003

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BANGLADESH: Three-Day Electronics, IT Fair From April 17

A three-day National Electronics and IT Exhibition and Seminar will be held from April 17 to April 19 at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in Dhaka. Bangladesh Electronics Society (BES) and the Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology will jointly organise the show. "The main objective of the exhibition is to create a bridge between the people engaged in electronics industries and businesspeople," said AKM Fazlul Hoque, general secretary of the BES, at a press conference in Dhaka yesterday. The price for each 64-square-foot stall has been fixed at Tk 7,000 to Tk 20,000 depending on product types. Under special arrangements, individuals, groups and science clubs who have innovated or developed a product or a prototype but have not yet gone to commercialisation will be allowed to participate in the fair. They will be charged Tk 1,000 for each exhibited item. The organisers will try to make special arrangement for people, who would not be able to participate in the exhibition due to financial constraint. Locally produced electronic products like transformers, speakers, plugs, switch and computer software will be put on display at the exhibition. President Iajuddin Ahmed is expected to attend the inaugural function as chief guest. BES President Farouq Ahmed, vice-presidents Rezaul Karim Majumder and MM Shahidul Hasan, Treasurer Abdul Halim Hawlader and Exhibition Convenor Sidique-e-Rabbani were also present at the press conference.

From http://www.dailystarnews.com/ 03/14/2003

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INDIA: Wipro to Recruit 2500 IT Professionals for Kolkata SDC

Software major Wipro Technologies on Monday said it would recruit 2500 professionals for its upcoming software development center at Kolkata to be operational from June 2004. "We will be recruiting about 2500 IT professionals for our fifth major SDC in India, the physical structure of which is likely to be ready by the first quarter of next year. 85 per cent of the total would be fresh recruitment," Wipro president (enterprise solutions), Sudip Banerjee said. The first phase of the project was likely to be operational by June next year, he said, adding that in the first phase, about 1000 professionals would be recruited and the number would increase gradually. The project, to be set up at a cost of about Rs 50 crore, excluding the expenditure on systems, would be complete in three phases. Banerjee said the SDC would initially be an execution centre for existing business. "We will also do some IT-enabled services work here. We intend to build a completely integrated complex with unique features and enough space for recreation at Kolkata," he said. It would be spread over 12 acres in Salt Lake area with over 2.5 lakh sq ft of software blocks, he added.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 02/03/2003

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New Horizons Plans $10 Mn Indian Investment

New Horizons, the world's top independent computer skills trainer, plans to invest $10 million in India, seeing it as a high-growth area in the midst of a global sectoral downturn, a top official said on Tuesday. U.S.-based New Horizons Worldwide Inc, which offers classroom and Internet-based training for desktop applications, has teamed up with Delhi-based Shriram Group to set up more than 250 company-owned and franchise centers across India. "We plan to invest 480 million rupees ($10 million) over three years and hope to break even in the first year and even make a small profit by the end of 2003," Ajay Kumar Sharma, president of New Horizons' India, told Reuters. The firm, the world's largest stand-alone trainer with sales of $512 million in 2001, is competing with Indian market leader NIIT, Asia's biggest software education firm, Aptech and SSI in the 16-billion-rupee sector. New Horizons, which gives IT training to giants such as Motorola Inc and Ford Motor Co, is banking on high demand from Indian firms that have invested heavily in creating computer infrastructure to improve profits, he said. "India is a bright spot for global software training firms and has the highest potential after the United States," he said. "The next boom in IT-training in India will be led by corporates. The way companies and the government are spending on creating infrastructure, they have to have an IT training strategy and it will become a major growth driver in the market." Sharma said other demand for courses would come from India's booming backoffice industry which offers global firms services such as call centers and payroll processing. India's low salary costs and skilled English-speaking workforce make it a preferred destination for outsourcing software services. "By 2008 India is expected to be the backoffice for the world and will require two million professionals," he said. He forecast India's IT education market would grow by a compounded 16 percent over the next three years after shrinking for two years due to the dot-com bust and a fall in software firm hiring. "By the end of 2005 we're looking at a 15 percent share of the market which should be around 24 billion rupees," said Sharma, whose firm has more than 270 centers in 50 countries.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 02/18/2003

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Samsung to Supply PCs to Goa Govt

Consumer electronics major Samsung Electronics India announced it was tying up with Goa government to promote infotech education in the state. The company would supply a new range of PCs to government under Cyberage Students program, a company release said. It also launched a new range of PCs starting from Rs 29,999 which give greater flexibility, affordability and aesthetics.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 02/26/2003

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Online Tutorial for Overseas Bengalis

KOLKATA: Bengalis residing abroad will no longer have to worry about teaching mother tongue to their children. For, soon they will be able to teach the language through an online course in functional and communicative Bengali. The course will be launched by the Netaji Subhas Open University in collaboration with the Central Institute of Indian Languages, that promises to reach people living in other provinces of the country and outside. The site will be called www.bangla.com and hosted jointly by NSOU and CIIL. "The course will and bridge the gap between demand and supply. One can register online and get into the course. There will be various modules to suit various needs so that one can register anytime and continue with the course," said NSOU vice-chancellor Surabhi Banerjee on Monday, after announcing the results for the current year. NSOU would also introduce other innovative courses to cope with the increasing demands of the society, she said. "We have already launched a course in communicative English and vocation courses like automobile engineering," added Banerjee. The varsity is planning to raise the number of study centres to 72 from 47 by the end of the fifth year plan. "We are also planning to open centres in Silchar, Darbhanga and Agartala where the Bengali population is fairly high," she informed. This year, 441 students appeared for the first batch of graduation, among which 42 secured a first class and 243 second class. "We published the result within four weeks. The student strength is now more than 11,000. People from all walks of life like soldiers in Kargil are doing our courses," she said. The VC felt that there has been a renewed thrust on the open university concept. "The way the population is going up there will be no alternative to distance learning."

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/18/2003

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9 IPS Officers Selected for Training in IT Management

HYDERABAD: At least nine IPS officers, including an IGP and three DIGs, and 21 other officers from various departments have been selected by the government to be trained as chief information officers (CIOs) for the effective implementation of IT in the state. The 12-week IT management programme, a joint collaboration between the state government and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, will begin on April 7. The programme will focus on live projects and egovernment initiatives in the state and equip the officers to with additional skills for playing an effective leadership role in the planning and implementation of IT projects. It also exposes them to the current trends in hardware, software, communications and networks so that they can assess the new technologies for offering improved services, choose cost-effective technology in planning and also acquire a variety of skills for handling techno-commercial decisions. Secretary of IT (Human Resources) Ajay P Sawhney said the response to the CIO programme has been very encouraging. "We propose to introduce a special four-week programme designed exclusively for mid-level officers. The CIO programme for this batch has been revised in consultation with IIM Ahmedabad and is based on the feedback from the earlier two batches,'' he said. Sawhney said the programme was a first of its kind in the world and would soon be offered to officers from other states. The first two weeks of the programme will be held at IIM Ahmedabad and the rest at Dr. MCR HRD Institute in Hyderabad. New facilities including a state-of-the-art classroom accommodating the participants, 30 high-end workstations, two faculty rooms, a mini meeting hall and a server room have been created for the purpose.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 04/07/2003

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SRI LANKA: Computer Education in War-Torn Area

The Ministry of Vanni Rehabilitation has set up a computer learning center called E-Learning Center at Mulliyawalai East of Mullaitivu at a cost of Rs. 4 million. It is established in collaboration with an NGO - Tamil Information Technology Association (TITA) under a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Vanni Rehabilitation Ministry. According to Ministry's Secretary R. Tharmakulasingam, this program is being implemented as a pilot project in the war-torn area where normalcy is returning after a period of over 12 years. He said depending on the success of this pilot project, similar centers will be set up in other parts of the Vanni region. This is the first time that a computer learning center is put up to help those who are deprived of this facility due to the ethnic conflict. The main purpose of the Center is to provide computer knowledge to school leavers, teachers and public servants, living in the war-affected areas. Under the MOU, the Center is managed by the TITA whose experience in implementing similar programs in the other parts of the island was encouraging. Selection procedure to the Center is adopted by the TITA in concurrence with the Ministry. TITA has provided teaching staff, modules and other related equipment while the Ministry has provided the building to house the Center, 20 complete units of computers, a power generator and a multi-media projector. Tharmakulasingam who paid an official visit to the Center last week said that 180 persons have been enrolled in nine batches. The training programs are progressively carried out since November last year. He said although the demand for the in-take of trainees to the Center is very high, the authorities have to restrict the present number due to lack of facilities including accommodation. Meanwhile, the Ministry has initiated action to conduct English education to those who are undergoing computer training at this Center. This action has been taken due to lack of English knowledge among the trainees, following numerous requests made by them. This program is expected to commence shortly. The Ministry has given priority to this computer training program with the intention of joining the future general program of E-Sri Lanka.

From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 02/11/2003

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Education Ministry to Set Up Computer Units at Schools

The Education Ministry has embarked on a Rs. 500 million school computer facilitation project under its Secondary Education Modernization Project (SEMP) funded by the Asian Development Bank. Under the project that covers 800 advanced level schools selected from all eight provinces, a complete computer unit with a maximum of 20 machines will be provided to enhance IT education among school children. Hence, a 1 AB school (schools with Advanced Level science) will be provided 20 computers with three printers and a 1C school (schools with classes up to Ordinary Level), a smaller unit with 15 computers and two printers. Already the Ministry has completed setting up 200 such computer units under phase one: 43 in Western, 22 North Western, 6 in North Central, 30 in Central, 17 in Uva, 22 in Sabaragamuwa, 28 in Southern and 28 in North East provinces. "Although we boast a high literacy rate in the region we are far below in our English and IT rankings. Our aim is to implement a number of projects at school level to overcome this hurdle," Education Minister Dr.Karunasena Kodituwakku said. Steps have also been taken to introduce IT as an optional subject in the GCE Ordinary Level from next year (2004). The training of teachers for this purpose is already in progress and the Ministry is also contemplating on recruiting new cadres to meet the requirement. According to the Ministry the Asian Development Bank has earmarked Rs. 1 billion for 2003 for IT development in Government schools. Education Minister Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku says his target is to provide a computer unit for every school as soon as possible. These units will also get Internet connections and other additional facilities. The Ministry will open 205 school computer units set up under the SEMP within April. By August next year this number will be increased to 1,250 with an estimated cost of Rs. 1.78 billion. (by Manjula Fernando)

From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 04/01/2003

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National IT Conference to Focus on E-Sri Lanka

The National IT Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka organized annually by the Computer Society of Sri Lanka will be held from July 3rd to 4th in Colombo. This year's conference will be on the theme "e-Sri Lanka: from Vision to Reality" based on realizing the e-Sri Lanka vision document and action plan initiated by the Government Sri Lanka late last year. (see www.esrilanka.lk for details of the e-Sri Lanka vision) The computer Society invites proposed contributions for this conference. All contributions could be e0mailed to csslsec@lanka.ccom.lk.

From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 04/18/2003

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PAKISTAN: 5-Year Pilot Project to Train 10000 IT Teachers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (PNS) - Inter Ministerial meeting on "IT Teachers and Computer Labs project-matching program with Provinces" was held here Monday with Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Mr. Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari in the chair. Minister for Education Ms Zubaida Jalal, Minister of State for IIT & Telecom Mr. Raza Hiraj Hayat and Provincial Education Ministers of NWFP and Balochistan also participated in the meeting. The meeting was informed that this pilot project which expands over 5-year will be launched in Financial year 03-04 and lays emphasis on training of 10,000 Teachers in Information Technology in five phases. The project caters for providing training t. 00 teachers annually and establishment of 1500 computer labs. The project will be simultaneously implemented in all four provinces, FATA, FANA AJ&K and ICT. The meeting was also informed that this project would be initially funded for 3 years on 5050% bases by the Federal and respective governments while recurring maintenance expenditures would be born by the concerned governments. Giving his vision about the project the Minister for IT & Telecom, Mr. Leghari said that main focus be laid to its teachers training component as they would play pivotal role in the success of this project. Their Selection criteria, identification of proper schools and infusion of proper communication skills, should be the hallmark of this project. H. added that side by side his Ministry will launch the system through V-Sats or some other technological means to monitor the IT education being provided to the students by use of web cameras or internet. He said for this purpose control room could be established at Provincial and district levels through satellite communication. Mr. Leghari apprised the provincial governments that this project would also help in generating employment in addition to providing quality computer education and producing skilled manpower to meet the requirement and challenges of globalization. He also stressed the need for strict check on the mushroom growth of IT institutions in the Private Sector who were not providing quality education. Secretary, IT & T Mr. Ashfaq Mahmood, while commenting on the project said that this project would provide % coverage to the country need with its 70% average to schools colleges identified in the villages slumps areas. He said the project has been properly prioritized and PC-I would be submitted to the Government in due course of time for final vetting approval and inclusion in the budget 2003-04. The Education Ministers of NWFP and Balochistan and representatives of AJ&K, FATAFANA agreed to the provisions of PC-I, while feedback from Sindh and Punjab will be incorporated in due course of time.

From http://www.paknews.com/ 01/27/2003

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AUSTRALIA: Microsoft to Make Presentation at NOIE Open Source Seminar

Microsoft will be a surprise guest at the National Office for the Information Economy's (NOIE's) seminar on Open Source Software and the Role of Linux in the Public Sector on February 18. The seminar will be held at the National Press Club in Canberra for departmental CIOs and CTOs and invited guests. Microsoft business strategy senior vice-president Maggie Wilderoter will speak on behalf of the company. Other speakers include Robin Simpson, research director of Gartner, Mary Ann Fisher, the Linux Program Director, Public Sector, IBM, and Gordon Hubbard, treasurer of the Australian Unix Users Group. The seminar will address general issues of Open Source software with a focus on Linux and its applications. The Department of Veterans' Affairs and Centrelink are already using Linux while the Bureau of Meteorology is making use of Open Source software in selected areas, specifically in a spatial imaging application called VisAD. Peter Gigliotti of the Bureau of Meteorology and Tony Ablong of the Department of Veterans' Affairs will present case studies at the seminar.

From http://www.smh.com.au/ 02/13/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: Doctorate Offered in Computing

New Zealand's first professional doctorate in computing will launch this month in an effort to boost "professionalism" of the local industry and assist New Zealand's much touted "knowledge economy". The doctorate in computing, or DComp, is being offered by Auckland's Unitec. Director of postgraduate computing programs Donald Joyce says that unlike wholly research-based PhDs the DComp is a career-oriented qualification that allows students to explore issues from their workplace. "It offers a higher level of professional qualification than has been available in the past. The research the students conduct for their theses will be informed by, and relevant to, their practical work." Students must have held a "responsible position in a computing profession" to enter the program. The course has attracted interest from computer consultants, IT, network and database managers and tertiary teachers interested in attending part-time. "Computing is a field where the professionals have just grown themselves. When many of us started there weren't computing degrees available," Professor Joyce says. Many have learned on the job. "What this will do is help professionalize the industry." The course will involve an average of 20 hours work a week for part-timers or 40 for full-time students. No full-time students are expected in the first year. The eight to 16 students will also attend monthly weekend block courses where visiting speakers will include professors from the United States and Australia. DComp follows the success of Unitec's Master of Computing program, launched three years ago, which has attracted 192 students so far. (by Heather Wright)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/03/2003

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Growth Forum Issues Tough Challenges

New Zealand information and communications technology exporters should support multinational involvement, get over their fixation on innovation and employ more foreigners. Those were some of the strong opinions expressed at the information and communications technology (ICT) taskforce discussion held at the Software Association meeting last week. More than 50 software and electronics industry representatives attended, and six members of the Government's 11-strong ICT taskforce were present to hear feedback on their report. The taskforce vision of 100 $100 million ICT companies for New Zealand by 2012 was largely accepted. But there was wide-ranging discussion on how to achieve it. Ideas included boosting ICT education, overcoming the "tall poppy syndrome" and commercializing ideas. Former Intel New Zealand boss Scott Gilmour said New Zealand needed to encourage multinational companies to set up here. "It would be lovely to see all the ownership stay here and all the wealth created here, but the reality is you can't do it. We've got to bring in capital and there is a lot of good news in that." Gilmour said other successes would spin off larger companies' efforts just as they had off large local firms such as Christchurch-based Tait Electronics. "People get this education, experience, confidence, and money and can go off and do their own thing. "So let's bring in NetIQ, Symantec, Microsoft and Intel. We'll take their money, experience, and knowledge and leverage it and turn it over. That's how we'll get these 100 big companies growing." Greentree International executive director Peter Dickenson also took a hard line. "I'm sick of innovators and I'm even more sick of entrepreneurs," he said. "We believe within New Zealand, and particularly in this sector, that it is absolutely fantastic that you have an idea and you have a go. What we've created as a result is so much fragmentation and splintering and lots of tiny little organizations." In one company Dickenson was aware of, all of the 10 employees were working on their own projects at night. New Zealanders' independence stopped growth and was preventing firms from co-operating for the common good, he said. Orion Systems CEO Ian McCrae said his company had too many product ideas. The real need was to commercialize those products internationally. "We have an innovative culture. The problem we have is commercializing the things we produce, getting products into the US and Canadian market and others." And Software Association president, and managing director of Data Group, Rollo Gillespie said the ICT export industry was "fixated with infrastructure". "What we need is extrastructure. We need to sell before we worry about employing resources." And he said exporters needed to employ people in the countries they were targeting. "We need to be employing Eskimos in Alaska, Guatemalans in Guatemala, North Americans in North America." Xsol's John Blackham, a member of the ICT Taskforce, said New Zealand needed to produce an oversupply of expertise, but not for the obvious reasons. "We need to flood the world with cheap Kiwi labour because our big problem is not education, it is having people with experience who have [built $100 million companies]." People were not going to get that experience in New Zealand so they need to go overseas to get it, he said. ICT taskforce member Number 8 Venture's Jenny Morel said meeting the target meant New Zealand would need more knowledge to put together arrangements such as original equipment manufacturer agreements and partnerships with other companies, as well as to get products into other markets. "It's also an understanding of how you bring together bigger teams and how bigger companies work. "That is what the taskforce believe is the number one issue." (by Richard Wood)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/11/2003

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Net Crime Subject of Conference

Child pornography on the Net, white collar Internet crime and wireless security are just some of the issues up for discussion at a ground breaking conference dedicated to keeping users of communication technologies safe. Up to 500 delegates, many of them from overseas, will converge on Auckland between July 9--12 for 'NetSafe II: Society, Safety & the Internet' -- the largest conference of its kind ever held in the world. This is a follow up to the highly successful NetSafe Symposium held in 2002. The conference will address the social impact and associated safety challenges of the Internet, handheld computers, mobile phones and other such communication devices. It is a joint initiative between the New Zealand Police, NetSafe (The Internet Safety Group) and the University of Auckland. Conference Chair Liz Butterfield says that while most international conferences focus on only one area of modern communication and Internet safety, this conference will cover the entire range of associated cybersafety issues. "The conference is already attracting huge interest from around the world because of its broad focus on safety in the business community, schools and educational institutions, as well as in the home and workplace. It will also look at the legal, ethical and cultural issues related to safe use of the Internet," says Ms Butterfield. "Modern communication technologies facilitate global communication between users, so as users in different countries around the world connect with each other, it is of paramount importance that governments and law enforcement bodies also come together to agree about education, protocols and security measures to protect users. It is appropriate that the first such conference has been initiated by New Zealand, because our work in this field is so highly regarded internationally. "Our children are growing up cyberliterate, with the Internet, mobile phones and handheld computers as a part of their everyday lives. By bringing together experts in these fields, we can help future generations ensure they integrate these technologies into their lives safely and responsibly." The conference content will be covered in keynote addresses, panel discussions and workshops aimed at different levels of awareness. The conference is open to the public and will appeal to all sections of the community, from concerned parents and teachers to business people wanting to address commercial safety issues, child protection agencies and security experts. Ms Butterfield says there will also be a large component of free public education and on the final day (Saturday 12 July) a trade show will be open to the public and education workshops for parents and children will run throughout the day. The conference has already attracted considerable interest from overseas and Ms Butterfield says the international calibre of speakers will be a huge drawcard for both local and overseas attendees. Full details about all speakers and the conference, including registration details, are available on http://www.netsafe.org.nz/conferences/conferences_default.asp

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/13/2003

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Only 2 Pacific Islands Governments at Information Summit Meeting

Geneva (PINA Nius): Only two Pacific Islands governments have so far sent delegations to a key preparatory meeting for a summit which has objectives that include bridging the digital divide.Fiji and Samoa are represented at the second meeting of the preparatory committee (PrepCom-2) for December's World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva. Fiji appears to be the Pacific Islands government take the summit most seriously. It has strong representation in Geneva following its participation in the Asia-Pacific preparatory conference in Tokyo last month. Fiji's Geneva participation is led by Abel Caine, Manager Business & Systems Development responsible for E-Government. Official figures say that the two-week PrepCom-2 is being attended by 1632 participants, with 714 from governments. International Telecommunications Union Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi told today's official opening that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can help to make the world a better place. Mr Utsumi said this is through helping alleviate poverty, improving delivery of education and healthcare and by making government more accessible to the people. He said: "In the goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, humanity has a united vision of what we wish to achieve in the next decade. "ICTs are tools that will help us achieve that vision, and the World Summit on the Information Society will provide the direction." Mr Utsumi told the hundreds of delegates representing governments, NGOs, civil society organisations and businesses that their meeting over the next two weeks is the central one before December's summit. He said: "This is where the substance of the WSIS must be formed, and it is where we, the representatives of hugely diverse parts of humanity, have the responsibility to craft our inputs into a coherent whole. This second PrepCom is where the real work must be done." Following the opening, reports from five Regional Preparatory Conferences were presented to the meeting, including the declaration from the Asia-Pacific Region which came out of the meeting held in Tokyo. The Tokyo Declaration among other things said the Information Society in the Asia-Pacific region must: o provide equitable and appropriate access for all to well-developed, affordable and easily-accessed information and communication network infrastructures;o preserve the rich and diverse cultural heritage and social values of the region in the information age; o provide information and communication services targeted at disadvantaged groups in society, in particular those from lower income groups, to contribute to the alleviation of poverty; o use ICTs to strengthen traditional media such as broadcasting and print, which will continue to have an important role in disseminating content in the Information Society;o create appropriate and transparent legal, regulatory and policy frameworks with due regard to the rights and obligations of all stakeholders, including areas such as freedom of expression. Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce Maria Livanos Cattaui said business is ready to play its role as the "key provider of solutions at the WSIS but only if governments play their part." Speaking at the news conference, Mrs Cattaui said: "Business is at the implementation end of this equation - no one else has the experience, wherewithal or means to take the concept of an information society out of the realm of cyberspace and into the realm of every day. "Its entrepreneurial skill, its international reach, its ability to mobilise both people and capital with relative ease, makes business a vital player in this process." But Mrs Cattaui added that the ultimate responsibility for creating the right conditions for an information society rested with governments. "An information society will only exist where there is a stable local economy. Stable economies require dedicated business investment. Business will only invest where it makes sound financial sense to do so. "It is incumbent on governments to recognise this and create pro-competitive policy and regulatory frameworks and sound legal and governance structures such that their countries are attractive to private sector investments." The World Summit on the Information Society will occur in two phases: o The first phase will take place in Geneva hosted by the Swiss Government 10-12 December. It will address the broad range of themes concerning the Information Society and adopt a Declaration of Principles and plan of action, addressing the whole range of issues related to the Information Society. o The second phase will take place in Tunis hosted by the Tunisian Government, in 2005. Development themes will be a key focus in this phase, and it will assess progress that has been made and adopt any further plan of action to be taken. - PINA Nius. (by Johnson Honimae)

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 02/18/2003

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Fiji, Samoa Help World Shape Path Towards Information Society

Geneva (PINA Nius) - Calls for more cooperation between governments and non-government sectors before December's World Summit on the Information Summit echoed around Geneva as Pacific delegates headed home today. Despite their small numbers amongst 1535 participants, busy Fiji and Samoan government representatives ensured Pacific Islands views were heard at the two-week second preparatory committee meeting (PrepCom-2). As they prepared to leave, the meeting's president, Adama Samassekou, of Mali, told a closing news conference: "Our two main objectives have been largely met, and that is we now have two working documents for the declaration of principles and the action plan, and furthermore the historic event of creating a civil society bureau. "With the end of this meeting there should now be a strong signal to governments, the civil society, non-government organizations and private sector that the process towards the Summit is moving forward." International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi described the meeting as: "An extraordinary experience with the participation of 1535 participants from governments, civil society, private sector and United Nations agencies. "There is also now a new working framework between governments and non-government stakeholders," he said. "Without the participation of all the stakeholders the work being done will be meaningless. "From the two weeks of meetings, two major points have emerged - how to solve the digital divide and the issue of Internet governance. These issues will now have to be negotiated." The results from this second in a series of United Nations-backed preparatory meetings lay the groundwork for the first global summit on the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The Summit will be held in two parts: Geneva this 10-12 December and in Tunis 16-18 November 2005. As PrepCom-2 was not able to finalize the draft declaration of principles and action plan, the meeting has agreed to have an intersessionary meeting in July. This is to be held at UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) headquarters in Paris. There the text of the drafts will be further refined and negotiated before they go before the third meeting of the Preparatory Committee. This is to be held in Geneva in September. Meanwhile, the civil society group said the creation of the international Bureau of Civil Society constitutes an important step. "It enables civil society to get involved on an equal level in the negotiations with governments and the private sector," it said. "We are currently making history within the United Nations system. All governments present at PrepCom-2 recognized that each one of the civil society families could bring something to the Summit: knowledge, vision and the capacity to act. "We envisage actively contributing to the results of the Summit and to reduce the apprehension of certain actors, which fear the full integration of proposals from civil society into the Declaration and Plan of Action." The working documents identify and outline the following issues for consideration by the Summit: o Information and communication infrastructure: financing and investment, affordability, development and sustainability; o Access to information and knowledge; o The role of governments, the business sector and civil society in the promotion of ICTs for development; o Capacity building: human resources development, education and training; o Security; o Enabling environment; o Promotion of development-oriented ICT applications for all such as, e-government, e-business, e-learning and e-health; o Cultural identity and linguistic diversity, local content and media development;o Identifying and overcoming barriers to the achievement of the information society with a human perspective. Possible concrete and comprehensive actions include: o Developing national e-strategies for all countries within three years, including the necessary human capacity building. o Launching of a 'Global Digital Compact' as a new pattern for partnership and interaction between governments and non-governmental stakeholders, based on division of labor and specialized responsibilities, as well as on identified specific and common interests. o Developing an aggregate ICT development index and report, where the ranking of countries will be accompanied by analytical work on policies and their implementation. It was also suggested that the following could serve as benchmarks for actions to be taken: o All villages to be connected by 2010, with a community access point by 2015. o All universities to be connected by 2005 and all secondary schools by 2010 and all primary schools by 2015. o All hospitals to be connected by 2005 and health centers by 2010. o 90 per cent of the world's population to be within wireless coverage by 2010 and 100 per cent by 2015. o All central government departments to have a website and e-mail address by 2005 and all local governments departments by 2010. - PINA Nius. (by Johnson Honimae)

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 03/01/2003

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